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Archer's Gear: The Shooting Glove


 A shooting glove is intended to save an archer's fingers from being hurt by the pressure and friction of the string. Ascham calls for the leather on the forefinger and the ring finger to be thicker than that on the middle finger, as they take the most weight. The forefinger should be thicker yet as it is most involved in "sure loosing." He recommends lining the glove with a soft and thick fabric. Warning that the string does not roll well off a new glove, he suggests cutting the fingers short and trimming them with an ointment, "that the string may glide well away." He also says that a "shooting glove hath a purse, which shall serve to put fine linen cloth and wax in, two necessary things for a shooter."

No surviving examples of gloves for the Hundred Years War are known to us. The nearest representation in time comes from a 15th century Flemish tapestry called the "Black Tapestry of Zamora." The glove depicted there offers the most likely model from which to pattern a reproduction glove. We do not know how common shooting gloves were among military archers of our period. Ascham says that some men use a glove or "other such thing" on their bow hand to ease chafing.