The Long Bowmen of Llantrisant

Welsh archers gained a reputation for their skill during the early middle ages when they were the main resistance to the Norman invaders. Giraldus Cambrensis - Gerallt Gymro - asserted in his 'Itinerary of Wales' written in the early twelfth Century that it was in South East Wales that the best long bowmen were found as in North Wales they were primarily spears-men. The bows of the Welsh were usually made of wych elm or ash and very rarely of yew. Their arrows were of ash with barbed iron heads and goose wing feathers fletchings.

Local tradition has for some centuries linked the freemen of Llantrisant with the archers of the 'Black Army' which one tradition associates with the Black Prince who fought with his father Edward III in the victory over the French at the Battle of Crecy in 1346. Though the part played by Llantrisant archers may have been exaggerated there is some evidence that amongst the 6,000 archers there were around 3,000 Welshmen and a number of these were from Llantrisant and the surrounding district.