arrow-head smith

1) A maker of iron arrow-heads, like ‘arrowsmith’. The shaft and the head of an arrow were made by different workmen, and the heads were the responsibility of a specialist smith.

In earlier centuries arrows had an intrinsic value and were sometimes used to settle rents in lieu of cash payments or services. In 1257-8, Elias de Knolle held land in Slaidburn valued at ‘12 barbed arrows’ and in an undated thirteenth-century grant of land in Swinton, the grantee paid ‘one arrow at the nativity of Saint John … for all secular services, suits, taxes, customs and demands’. The Sheffield smiths evidently enjoyed a national reputation for they supplied arrow-heads to the constable of Chester Castle in 1401-2 when weapons were needed to counter the threat from Owain Glyn Dwr. One entry was for 2,000 arrowheads from John del Smythy de Sheffeld. The occupational term was later than ‘arrowsmith’: 1500 Richard Bright of the Hurlowe [Whirlow] … arowehedsmyth

1556 Thomas Mytchell, Owlerton … arrowhead smythe

1558 Robart Bayte, Darnall, Sheffeld, arrowhedsmythe

1593 William Carr, Darnellarrowheadsmith. An Act was passed in 1541-2 which was designed to prevent the decline of archery by reinforcing earlier statutes which had debarred the playing of ‘unlawful’ games. It was in response to a petition by all the tradesmen involved in making bows and arrows, including the arrow-head makers. Nevertheless the trade inevitably declined over the next one hundred years and the Twiggs of Attercliffe were apparently the last Sheffield family to make arrow-heads: no references to the craft have been found later than 1660.

dates 1200-1299 1257-1258 1401-1402 1500 1541-1542 1556 1558 1593

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