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Longbow chests

This is one of the chests of longbows recovered from the Mary Rose, undergoing examination by Margaret Rule shortly after being brought to the surface.

Overall 172 longbows were recovered (with 2,303 arrows!) from a recorded total of 250 bows (and 9,600 arrows). Although 864 bowstrings were inventoried aboard the Mary Rose, only a small fragment on one has been recovered, although it is recorded that even after a short period, Tudor bowstrings would “decay”, giving them a short life under perfect conditions, never mind after submersion in saltwater!

They would also had a horn ‘nock’ at either end, to which the bowstring would be looped.