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The Company of Saint Sebastian

Picture: Some Group Members


About the group...

Brief notes on history

Group kit and equipment standards

Group contact details

Useful links

Re-enactment event calendar

Photo galleries

A map of this site




About our group



Geographic location and ethos

We are a small group based in Sussex, in the South of England. We aim to accurately portray the lifestyles of a retinue of English longbowmen and their company during the latter part of the 15th Century - an exciting time noted for political and social upheaval and on-going power struggles.

Unlike many larger groups, as a small company we are able to concentrate on one period and one period only. This ensures a greater degree of historical accuracy and enables us to continuously develop our knowledge.

We place strong emphasis on using carefully researched and sourced equipment and materials which accurately depict those available at the time. In this respect we are uncompromising.

Why name a group after Saint Sebastian?


 Picture of St Sebastian

Martyred by Romans for his Christian beliefs, Sebastian was executed by bowmen. In the artwork of the mediŠval period he is normally depicted bound to a tree, a tree trunk or a pillar, gazing either heaven-wards or directly at his tormentors with arrows piercing his legs and torso. As was customary, and owing to the method of his martyrdom, Sebastian was adopted as the patron saint of archers.

Image: St Sebastian (centre)

St. Sebastian and St. Christopher

Images of Saint Sebastian in MediŠval art

(these thumbnails are linked from external sites)





Company of Saint Sebastian group members use the English longbow, one of the most feared weapons of the period. Although not a precision instrument, in the hands of a skilled archer, arrows could be loosed at a rate of twenty (or more) a minute! After one single initial order to 'draw' and then 'loose', archers would continuously shoot arrows across the battlefield for as long as their stamina would allow. It was the sheer power, range and volume of projectiles loosed that made the English longbow such a formidable weapon. Famously, English longbowmen played decisive roles at the battles of Crecy (1346) and Agincourt (1415).

Our company archers use traditional English longbows made from yew (a natural laminate) or ash. Unlike later bows, they have no bindings for hand-grips. With draw weights of between 60 lbs and 90 lbs the effective range varies dependent on the type of arrow-shafts and heads used. Bows are strung with heavily waxed linen cord.

Arrow shafts are made from a variety of traditional woods selected for the length of flight and/or penetration required. They have horn knocks and are fletched with goose feathers affixed with rabbit and copper glue which are then bound to the shaft. The arrowheads are hand-forged in iron and consist of bodkins (for light armour piercing), broad-heads (for use against horses and un-protected flesh) and Type 16's (used as anti-personnel weapons). Blunts are used for practice and on the re-enactment field.



Image: Longbowmen

Image: Archer with longbow drawn

Image: Archers at practice


Archer with longbow drawn

Archers at practice

Photographs ęWW Forsythe, 2009


Side-arms and other weapons

Unsurprisingly an archer's predominant skill was in his bowmanship - effective over medium and long distances. However, archers would normally have experience in the use of side-arms to defend themselves when in close quartered combat. We try to reflect this by having group members proficient in using swords, falchions and, (in order to dispatch fallen enemies swiftly) the mediŠval rondel knife and/or fifteenth century bollock dagger.

Our company also has access to polearms including glaives and spears

You can see examples of our group in action in our gallery section.


Image: 14th Century Rondel KnifeImage: 15th Century Rondel Knife with Sheath

Glaive: click here to learn more...

Example of a sword

Example of rondel knives

Example of a glaive head

Example of a sword

Photographs ęWW Forsythe, 2009.


Foot Soldier with Glaive

Photograph ę SW Churchill, 2009


Map of Sussex - click to enlarge

We are based in Brighton & Hove, Sussex

Map ę WW Forsythe, 2009

Example of a Sword

Photograph ę WW Forsythe, 2009

Education and Learning

Group members are encouraged to read about the period, the notable battles, social structure and political events. We also want them to develop an understanding of mediŠval manners and attitudes to ensure a professional approach at all times - both on and off the field during public displays and events.

Although predominantly a fighting force, being able to live the history and portray it accurately is important to us. As all information is shared between the group, our members are confident and more than happy to engage with the public.

As a group we make every effort to research, reference and ensure that we follow established facts and not conjecture.

Suggested reading

We have compiled a list of books which we have found useful for research.

Our internet magazine

'MediŠval ROGUE' our very own internet magazine










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This site was designed by WW Forsythe and is ę Company of Saint Sebastian, 2009. All photographs and other artwork are property of their respective owners, used with permission and credited accordingly.