The Reiver was primarily a horseman, but reiving could be carried out by parties on foot - as
For example, "on Sunday, the 17th April, 1597, the Lord Buccleuch, Keeper of Liddesdale, accompanied by twenty horse and a hundred foot, burned at noonday three onsets and dwelling-houses, barns, stables, oxhouses, &c., to the number of twenty, in the head of Tyne, cruelly burning in their houses seven innocent men, and "murdered with the sword" fourteen which had been in Scotland, and brought away the booty, the head officer with trumpet being there in person".
Foot Louns working in conjunction with a mounted Reiver
The longbow, which was first adopted by Edward I after his campaigns in Wales, was to become the bane of Scottish and French armies. Too many times they would find themselves at the sharp end of an English arrow storm.
It would prove itself valuable at the hands of Reivers too, for several reasons:
1. It was light to carry
2. It was an extremely effective missile weapon
3. Perhaps most importantly, it was silent. Where stealth was required it fitted the bill admirably.
4. Its “rate of fire” was excellent. An experienced archer could shoot 12 arrows per minute, far in excess of what was manageable by a man armed with a crossbow or musket.
The length of the longbow can be gauged form the height of this experienced archer below right. He stands about 1.8m tall (5feet 9 in.)
The bow also had its drawbacks, however. The main one being the length of time it took to train an archer so he reached his full potential. The draw weight ie the force required to fully extend the bow, was of the order of 110lbs (50kgs or 500 Newtons) - though this varied from bow to bow. To put this into context, this is the force required to lift 50 household bags of sugar . Naturally the archer didn’t just suddenly arrive at being able to do this. He would have been trained from youth, pulling stronger and stronger bows, until he had the required physique, which would take many years. Constant practice was also required and in Scotland, for example, to be caught playing football instead of archery practice might merit the death penalty.
Various types of anti-personnel arrow
Various types of armour-piercing arrow
The Devises Swallow-Tail an arrow designed for use against horses
Arrows - the arrows below are all to scale
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