[English Longbow] Does anyone have any information about my Self Yew longbow labelled "Benet Burbage"?

Che Rudge

New member
Does anyone have any information about my Self Yew longbow labelled "Benet Burbage"?

Dear All,

I am new to archery and this site. But i was just wondering if anyone could help me?

A few months back I was lucky enough to be given a couple of longbows. One I have been told was made by Ron Palmer.

The other is a self yew bow marked "Benet Burbage". I am keen to discover more about the maker if anyone knows anything? I have been told it was made by John Bennett from Burbage. But thats all the information I have.

I have no idea how old it is and therefore when it was made?

Its a beautiful bow. Hilary Greenland re-handled, re-strung and oiled if for me. It now looks stunning to me. Its still pulling its labelled weight of 48 28.

I am am now on my quest to learn to use it.

Thanks for your help



Staff member
Fonz Awardee
American Shoot
No probs, threads merged and duplicates removed. :beer:

Philip Head

New member
Dear Che

I shot with John in the 1970's and 80's at the Finsbury Mark . He died several years ago. He was one of the early members of our Guild (The Craft Guild of Traditional Bowyers and Fletchers) . He was a good bowyer , one of the last bows I saw him using was made from Snakewood and as I had just bought several logs of it I asked him if he had encountered any problems when using it. I am sure he would be pleased to know that one of his bows is still giving pleasure to another archer.

Good shooting Richard Head

Che Rudge

New member
Thank you Richard


Thanks for the responce! Thats great news. I was starting to think after 112 viewings that I would find nothing of its origins or it was a little known bowyer. Quite interesting that you knew him. Its been sitting in a loft in central Wales wrapped in bubble wrap for years, along with the Ron Palmer bow before both were given to me. The string was tired and it has a small crack on the handle so we had to remove it to access whether it was critical. But it seems to be ok. I have shot it a fair bit now and it doesn't seem to be getting any worse. I love it, its a beautiful bow - very pleased to own it. Its become one of my pride and joys.

I will try to attach a picture if that is possible on here? If the resolution is good enough you can see the small crack. I hope its ok?

It will be good to show you at some point. I guess that its made of english yew? The longbow guys at Bath loved it and were passing it around to have a look.

Thanks Richard


Small Crack Near Handle.jpg

Small Crack Near Handle.jpg


New member
Hi Che,

I found this forum while I was looking on the net for anything about my late father. He was the very same John Bennett of Burbage (Leicestershire) who made your bow. Dad died back in 2002 but I think he would have been thrilled to know that his bows are still out there in use. Dad worked for Jaguar cars for years as a craftsman but his real love was archery and his passion was traditional long bow making. He would spend many weekends with my mother Eileen at various shoots with my brother and I, usually sitting under a big green umbrella surveying the rain!
His favourite shoot was with the Royal Tox down in Burnham, He would also spend a lot of time in his shed making the bows. I can even remember being asked to bring back billets of Californian Yew and Osage Orange when I was older and used to travel to the states on business. Dad was a very quiet man so I doubt that his workmanship ever received the praise it was probably due. He made bows for enjoyment rather than for profit and would probably sell them for not enough money.

My mum still has quite a few of dad's bows in fact - but she doesn't shoot anymore. Sadly, I was always a rotten shot so I never took up the hobby, though I do work out of a shed (which would have pleased dad) albeit I work with glass rather than wood!

I would suspect that if you bow is non uniform it is English Yew, if it is quite straight it may be Californian Yew or Osage Orange which was one of dad's favourite woods. He also used a lot of exotic hardwoods like tulip wood.

Anyway - I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have about him if you get to read this.

Best Regards
Sally Carver (nee Bennett)


New member
Hi Sally

Very interesting to know more about your father. I have just been lent one of your fathers bows, by one of our club members, I shoot with Whiteleaf Bowmen in Bucks, (Hickory back and Osage Orange, I think) in an attempt to get a better sight mark at 100 yards! The bow is marked at 58 at 28" although I have not, as yet checked the draw weight. I did wonder who "Benet Burbage" was? and was pleased to read your comments. I can only say his bows are still in use and shooting well. And thanks Che for originally asking the question.

Best regards

Stephen Sharratt


New member
Hi Stephen,
Well, this is really lovely to know that Dad's bows are still around and working. Hope you get the draw weight out of the bow. I remember dad using a wicked looking contraption that he'd made to check the draw weights; used to frighten the life out of me - it was as dangerous looking as a giant man trap! I talked with my mum, Eileen last night about this post - she's not internet friendly but recognised lot of names of people on here and is very interested (and says hello to you all!) She also knows more about the compositions of the bows than I do, so if any questions do come up as a result of this post I'm sure she would be happy to get involved. Anyway - thanks for your reply Stephen, and happy shooting.


Active member
I've nothing on topic to add, but I have to say this is one of the reasons I prefer longbows over any other type of bow. Each one has a history and a person(s) behind them, rather than a faceless machine.


New member
Hi Sally

Further to your posts, I thought I would let you know how I am getting on. I managed to get a practice session in with your father's bow and was quite impressed with it. Although I do not get a Point of aim on the boss at a 100 yards; either just above the boss with my light weight clout arrows (Bill Searle arrows), or a couple of boss widths above, with some slightly heavier shafts.
For the first time I managed to get all six arrows on, at one end, which is a result for me! I was averaging 3 sometimes 4 most of the time, although I did have the occasional blank end too. My shooting technique obviously still needs a lot of work!
All in all, it is still a highly 'shootable' bow, and feels pretty fast to me. Given it's age, I would consider this a very good result. I may well start using this bow at the 100 yard distance in the odd tournament I get to, including one I shoot annually at the Royal Tox, maybe it will not be the first time it has appeared at their ground ?




New member
Hi Steve,
That's great! 100 yards is a fair old distance, but sounds like you're doing well. Yes, I'm willing to bet that the bow may have been at the Royal Tox at some time in it's life. My dad really enjoyed shooting there - it was his favourite place. When he died they allowed us to have an apple tree planted there with a little plaque for him. I haven't been there for about ten years - wonder if it's still there?
Good shooting!

David of Derby

New member
Hi . Interesting to come across these posts as i have a longbow that i use marked as Benet Burbage. I believe its hickory backed and what looks like lemon wood belly ( could be osage orange ) . Interestingly it is marked at 46# 28in however i have had it tested at merlin archery and was told its drawing 58# at 28in . No idea why . Its a lovely looking bow