The Longbow Man

Background, by English actor and world ‘Longbow’ expert on Sir Robert Hardy (All Creatures Great and small fame) 

Although the longbow in itself gave England a huge military advantage, it could never have garnered England so many victories on its own. A key factor in the longbow’s success was the people who wielded it.

The English archers had training that was intense by any standards. The demands on the mind and body were so great that the Englishmen who became archers were almost a separate class of human beings, with a body build that differed from normal men, and a style of living that was unlike any other in Continental Europe. “The bow was put in the hand of every English body at the age of seven and it did not cease to furnish him with sport and occupation until the years had deprived his arm of strength and his eye of skill. From the Conquest down to the general introduction of the musket, the use and practice of the longbow were enforced by some form or other of English legislature.”4

The men who wielded the bow were not peasants bound to someone born into a superior position, or nobles fighting because it was their duty. They were mercenaries, men who lived and died by the bow, and who gave their lives to the English army in exchange for a contract giving them a steady rate of pay. Middle-sized or tall men, strong and broad-shouldered, “their profession was proclaimed by the yew or hazelwood stave slung over their shoulder.”5

Men who had been archers for long enough had spines twisted from the force exerted in drawing the string over and over again, and had no feeling in the fingers used to draw the strings. These fingers were often so thickly calloused that the hand would appear misshapen. These were scars worn with pride by those who bore them, though, because during the time in which these men were at their peak England barely lost a battle, and this was due, for the most part, to them.

The longbow is almost unique in the sense that it was not abandoned because it was out of date, for even once arquebuses and muskets were coming into common use, the longbow still had a faster rate of fire and greater accuracy. It was abandoned because the people that depended upon it abandoned it. The archers who were the longbow’s lifeblood stopped their rigorous training, and without them, the longbows rate of fire, accuracy, and many other advantages meant nothing, because not enough people to make an army were capable of performing them. That does not mean that the longbow died out altogether, though, because it has resurfaced as a military weapon on several occasions since then. One of the most recent occasions of its having been used on the battlefield was when Captain Jack Churchill, who shot for Great Britain in the World Archery Championships in Oslo in 1939, used the longbow in action against the Germans less than a year later.

“The English archer was not only a singular man of war, he also possessed a singular status unlike anything else in Continental Europe; it was a status that made him the fighting man he was, capable of standing to the death if ordered or making a sudden flank attack on his own initiative when the situation demanded. He was not a peasant bound to someone superior in birth and position, he was a freeman, a yeoman who gave his valuable fighting services in return for a contract setting out his rate of pay and term of service.”6 Sir Robert Hardy

The English Longbow Man (Working tile only.  30-minute TV script written)

Logline:

A young mysterious warrior travels a solitary path encountering hostile challenges and enemies.

Synopsis

Throughout England, a brutal ruler persecutes villages and settlements. Now, People treat strangers and outsiders with great suspicion, as they scrape a living in this hostile kingdom.

In the hands of a marksman, the simple, yet streamlined English Longbow is the most accurate and deadly hand weapon ever made. Buery’s bow is cut from a Yew tree blasted by lightning in a storm decade’s ago. This bow has special properties.

The men who wield the bow are not peasants bound to someone born into a superior position, or nobles fighting because it was their duty. They are mercenaries, men who live and die by the bow, the first in a select band of a new breed of warriors. Skilled with swords, Knives, Staves and their hands.

By choice 18-year-old Buery avoids habitation. A solitary figure who keeps out of trouble. Until he accidentally gets caught up in a skirmish, defending a woman about to be raped by some local thugs. Because he’s bound by an oath to defend those less able. Now he’s on the run with extra baggage that he can do without.

Buery’s compulsion is to find the man responsible for murdering his mother, father, sister and two brothers. Buery is top of the ruler’s wanted list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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