Until modern times, arrows were fletched with feathers.  Due to preparations for the ongoing conflict with France, feather-collecting orders were made twice in the 1400s, in early 1417 and July 1426, along with the need  to obtain wax, silk and timber for arrow production.

Roger Ascham had a great deal to say about feathers in his book Toxophilus, published in 1544.  Feathers were the only suitable material for fletching, and as far as he was concerned, only goose feathers were remotely suited to the task, because: ‘The goose is man’s comfort in war and in peace….’.


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