Ghosts (please see note on this page about tours and other visits)
Life around the Castle
The Pole Axe
The longbow and the men who used it were the most feared soldiers of their day. A good archer with a bow of around 100-150 lbs draw weight could shoot an arrow over 300 yards. At Agincourt 5,000 archers and roughly 1,000 men-at-arms defeated an army of between 20,000 and 30,000. If each archer shot 12 arrows a minute that would be 1,000 shafts a second leaving the bows. In 8 minutes it would be possible to shoot over half a million arrows. The chroniclers of the day said that men fell like leaves after the first frosts of winter, and the sky turned black with wooden shafts.
The crossbowPope Innocent II in 1139 tried to ban this weapon as he thought it should not be used against Christian souls, yet it remained popular in most parts of Europe. The French used large numbers of mercenary crossbowmen, such as the Genoese, in their armies. In England it was mainly used for hunting and in castle defence. Its limitations were its slow rate of shot. A good crossbowman could shoot 3 arrows a minute, compared with the 12-15 arrows a minute of the longbow.
arrows known as long bodkins were used against mail armour. Short
could also be used against mail and plate armour, which was becoming more common
on the battlefields by the end of the 14th century.
The first two arrows are crescent-shaped arrows used for hunting birds and small
game. A bodkin-type arrow could pass through the wing feathers of a bird in
flight, but the crescent would take out a substantial section of the wing,
bringing the bird to the ground.
broad-headed, swallow-tailed arrow-heads were normally used for hunting large
game, such as deer and wild boar. The razor-sharp edges of the barbs gave a long
cutting edge to kill or disable the animal.
shafts were made from ash and aspen, 32 inches long, with a thin slice of horn
to protect the V-shaped groove at the end of the arrow. These arrows were known
as clothyard shafts. The flights were made from flight feathers from
goose or swan, cut to shape, fastened on with glue and whipped with linen thread
for extra strength.
Illness in medieval times was seen as being the result of the four
bodily humours (blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile) being out of balance.
Diagnosis was carried out by questioning the patients regarding lifestyle,
examining complexion, pulse and bodily excretions, including urine as seen here.
The urine's colour, smell and taste would be evaluated.
Treatment - bringing the humours back into balance - could include
bleeding, taking more or less exercise or rest, or through the use of herbs.
Herbs could be combined with wine into a tissave which could be
drunk, although another way of administering medicine was rectally.
Surgeon was responsible for carrying out surgical procedures such as
suturing, or stitching wounds, setting broken bones, pulling teeth and carrying
out operations such as amputations and removing arrows, knives etc. Well-trained
surgeons were in the minority during the medieval period, many having gained
their experience treating wounded soldiers after battles or from butchering
animals (dissection of human bodies was forbidden by the church). As a result,
their collections of surgical tools were a far cry from those we associate with
surgery today, often resembling a butcher or blacksmith.
were available and often contained opium, alcohol or hemlock, but the problem
was not sedating the patient, it was reviving him afterwards. The most frequent
way of operating on a patient was to get his friends to hold him down while the
surgeon operated, as can be seen from the example of tooth-pulling.
When there was little surgery to be done, surgeons would make money by
cutting hair and shaving people.