The Origin of the Longbow, Arrow and the Fletchers P. 4/4
We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the following for:
1. The illustrations by Gerry Embleton. Taken from Warrior 11 ‘English Longbowman 1330-1515’ © Osprey Publishing Limited, www.ospreypublishing.com
2. The photographs of arrows and arrowheads by kind permission of Richard Head. Taken from his website at: www.english-longbow.co.uk/
3. The help given through discussion and feedback: Mr D.H.Soar, Mick Manns, Barbara, Bethan and Sketty Fletcher
4. The quote by Robert Hardy taken from his book: 'Longbow: A Social and Military History' 1992.
5. References to the Battle of Agincourt taken from ‘Agincourt; the King, the Campaign and the Battle’ by Juliet Barker by courtesy of Mark Fletcher.
Here you will find some LINKS to relevant websites and they are provided for information only:
The Craft Guild of Traditional Bowyers and Fletchers was formed in 1989 by a group of craftsmen bow and arrow makers. Although a modern organisation, it recognises the ancient origins of its purpose.
The Worshful Company of Bowyers. A web site which details the history and activities of an ancient company whose origins go back to the 14th century.
To summarise, the origins of the Fletcher name stems from the skills described by the making of arrows. As the name Fletcher is from the French root word 'flecher', then its use in our language originates from 1066 and the Norman Conquest. Welsh longbow archers were brave, skilful and feared by their enemies. They were used by Edward 1, Edward 111 and Henry V in many battles e.g. Crecy, Agincourt, where the Welsh longbow archer used thousands of arrows. Most of the Welsh archers were from South Wales, hence the origins of Fletcher (the makers of their arrows) in South Wales. A person with the surname Fletcher today could trace the origin of their name back to this time. It is likely that, following the placement of William of Normandy on the English throne, fletchers migrated from England into Wales. They moved to where their craft was needed, often into the border counties between England and Wales. King Edward 1 paid English archers incentives to relocate to Wales to defend his castles and with them they would take their arrow makers, the fletchers. We can imagine these craftsmen settling into the local Welsh community, intermarrying and beginning families. In the Welsh language, occupational names are not used as surnames, therefore the descendants of the fletchers became Fletcher. The rest is history.
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