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The Military Archery at Neville’s Cross, 1346
By Robert Hardy
The Battle of Neville’s Cross, 1346, edited by David Rollason and Michael Prestwich (Stamford: Shuan Tyas, 1998)
Introduction: On 26 August 1346, Edward III’s army of English men-at-arms and archers and Welsh archers and spearman crushed the vastly superior forces of Philip of France, on the low ridge and valley that runs between Crecy-en-Ponthieu and Wadicourt. The victory was a great shock to the French. The thousands of longbowmen of Edward’s army, preserving perfect discipline and shooting arrows ‘so thickly and evenly that they fell like snow,’ outranged the mercenary crossbowmen sent forward by the French to open their attack, and then shot down fifteen or sixteen separate cavalry chargfes, or so disorganised them that, though hard-pressed, the English men-at-arms, fighting on foot, were able to hold their positions. France reeled; King Philip, wounded in the face by an arrow, narrowly escaped and set about persuading his young Scottish ally, King David, to invade England and provide a diversion.