Requirements for Masterpiece Assessment

If you have any queries on any point please contact our Liaison Officer Mr David Moss 01226 785838

Those accepted for direct entry without apprenticeship may show whatever additional archery items they wish as evidence of their skill, but these must be displayed separately from the required presentation pieces

Applicants may not present in more than two categories in one year

NOTE: It is expected that the applicant will present the best possible work of which he/she is capable, bearing in mind that this is their MASTER piece

Table of Contents

A. Arrows

  1. One boxed set of six two-point footed target arrows, matched for weight and spine.
    They should be fully fletched with hand cut and ground feathers.
    They should have piles, full horn wedge nocks and be crested and varnished
  2. One boxed set of six footed clout arrows, matched, fletched and crested as above
    [Both sets may be housed in the same box, which need not be made by the applicant]
    One of the sets above must made to the precise specifications provided by the Guild’s Liaison Officer, to prove your ability to meet a customer’s exact requirements
  3. One sample each of parallel, barrelled, chested and bobtailed profiles.
    [These may be un-fletched shafts, with any type of nock, and with a cone to receive the pile]
  4. One sample of four point footing
  5. One complete ‘Standard’ (mediaeval) Arrow made to the supplied specifications.
    The fletchings should be both glued and bound with linen or similar thread.

All arrows must be hand made from the plank. Bought-in dowels are not acceptable

Correct at May 2017


These are the points which the assessors will be looking for when you present your Masterpiece

Correct at May 2017

B. Arrowheads

  1. Two wrought iron London Museum type 15 swallowtail heads, one to be left as from the anvil prior to grinding to shape, the other to be ground and finished
  2. A finished set of six wrought iron London Museum type 16 heads with the sockets fire welded to the blades
  3. One tanged war head that is a copy of a proven original
  4. One socketed war bodkin which is a copy of a proven original

The applicants must also:

  1. Show the ability to forge most medieval types of heads in both wrought iron & mild steel; and his work should be of the highest standard with regard to quality & accuracy
  2. Be able to demonstrate knowledge of the historic periods, types and uses of arrowheads manufactured in England and Europe
  3. Demonstrate a sound knowledge of the manufacture, properties and uses of wrought iron & steel with particular reference to the historic development of their production
  4. Have an accurate knowledge of the history of the English longbow and its uses in the mediaeval period

Correct at July 2010

C. Bow-strings

  1. One laid-in string made from a hook or post, using the skein cut only at the bottom. The serving to be in the correct place and neatly finished. Commercial material acceptable
  2. One laid-in string made using the cut method (i.e. cut at each end) on a string board. Commercial material acceptable
  3. One laid-in double loop string made on the same board. Commercial material acceptable
  4. One string made using the continuous loop method, with served end loops and centre. Commercial material acceptable
  5. One string made using any of the above methods, from fibres spun by the applicant. This string to be finished with pearl glue rather than waxed.
  6. Samples of flax, silk, hemp and nettle thread which demonstrate an understanding of and an ability to spin all of these. A few yards of each will suffice.

Correct at July 2010

D. Target (recreational) longbow

  1. Two bows.
  2. These should be English type target/clout bows made to British Long-Bow Society criteria i.e. with handle riser and two working limbs, and no more than 70lbs draw weight

    Bow A should be of three laminations (i.e. back, belly and core) with the core lamination being tapered

    Bow B should be a self bow

    Both bows should have full horn nocks, a handle covering and an arrow plate. Each should also carry a good quality Flemish laid-in single loop string and have a waterproof finish.

    One of the bows must adhere precisely to the specification provided by the Guild’s Liaison Officer, to prove your ability to meet a customer’s exact requirements

    The other one may be either for a lady or a gentleman and should have its draw-weight clearly marked

  3. Glued samples of both V and Z joints to show competence.
  4. An example of a bloom repair - either on a bow or as a sample
  5. An example of a bow or a limb which has been repaired by the applicant, or a sample of scarfing.

Correct at May 2017


These are the points which the assessors will be looking for when you present your Masterpiece

Correct at May 2017

E. War Bow

Two self bows (non billeted) must be presented

Bow A should be of yew
Bow B should be of Laburnum, Ash, Elm, Hazel or another indigenous wood suitable for the purpose of a military bow

The requirements for both bows are as follows

  1. Minimum length shall be 6’3” between string grooves along the back of the unstrung bow
  2. Wood used must be split from the log. (Laminated and board bows are not acceptable as war bows)
  3. Minimum draw weight shall be 85lbs @ 30”
  4. The bow must come around full compass & work in the handle
  5. The bow must be capable of accepting and shooting a 31½” Standard Arrow (supplied)
  6. Bow nocks shall be of horn and side-nocked. The Guild suggests the extant Mary Rose nock as an exemplar
  7. “Peck marks” should indicate the upper limb
  8. The string shall be of linen, hemp, silk or nettle, with a Flemish loop at one end and a bowyer’s knot at the other, or double Flemish looped The bow nominated by the candidate for testing will be shot using the string with which it is presented
  9. The bow shall be finished with oil or wax
  10. A ‘D’ section need not be strictly adhered to as yew in particular varies in sap/heart ratio, and white woods perform better with a flatter section. However, a 5/8th depth to width ratio is specified in order to quantify the parameters to which the candidate must work
  11. Examples (either on a bow or as samples) of a bloom, scarfing or a replacement limb shall be submitted as evidence of competency in carrying out repairs

    Advisory points: The following of knots and grain will be seen as proof of good workmanship and skill, as will reduction of sap wood on the yew bow. The whitewood bow may have the outer annual ring as its back.

    It is expected that you will present the best possible work of which you are capable, bearing in mind that this is your MASTER piece


These are the points which the assessors will be looking for when you present your Masterpiece

Is the bow fit for purpose? Is the bow capable of shooting a Standard Arrow of 31½ inches, as supplied by the Guild, and attaining at least 11 score yards?

Note: The applicant may shoot the bow themselves or nominate someone to do this for them – either bow may be chosen for this

Correct at Nov 2017