Wythe Retinue

              Medieval Living History

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Artillery Demonstrations 

In addition to providing a broad display of 15th Century life, our group has the added benefit of being able to demonstrate archery and early gunpowder artillery. We shoot/fire a variety of weapons and our experienced speakers can inform on a wide range of topics.

         The evolution and use of the longbow, crossbow, handgun and cannon

         Advantages and disadvantages of the weapons, and their role on the battlefield

         Archery in hunting, tournament and war

         The manufacture of cannons and gunpowder

         The lives of medieval archers and cannon crew


To see ashort video showing elements of an artillery demonstration (opens in media player) click here.


Our compliment of guns includes both muzzle- and breech-loading cannons, the pole gun, and the handgun or 'arquebus' (the precursor to the musket). We demonstrate archery with both longbow and crossbow, and show the dress and other arms of archers, hand-gunners and cannon crew in the 15th Century.


Cannon crews had unusual lives. It was sometimes a family business, sold to the highest bidder, and was one of the few places where it might have been possible for women to fight. In the early days, gunners could be excommunicated for using these murderous weapons, and the manufacture of gunpowder was protected by dark and powerful guilds.

Archery, on the other hand, was so important to national security that, at times, other sports were banned to encourage archery practice!

As well as being able to view all the weapons close up, there is nothing like a real demonstration to attract visitor interest!