Arrow Slits

 

Description of the Arrow Slits
The Arrow Slits were narrow vertical windows from which castle defenders launched arrows from a sheltered position. Arrow slits are also referred to as loopholes, arrow loops or bow loops. Arrow slits were different designs and sizes which accommodated the shape of different weapons. Arrow slits were accessed from wide inside areas narrowing to long, narrow apertures. The arrow slits were built to accommodate the archers who launched arrows using the short bow, the crossbow and the longbow.

 
 
 
Parts of a Castle
Castles Index 

Arrow Slits

  • What are the Arrow Slits
  • Description of a castle Arrow Slits
  • What weapons did arrow slits accommodate?
  • What was the purpose of the Arrow Slits?
  • How did Arrow Slits help Castle defenses?
  • How did Arrow Slit shape change over time?

Arrow Slits

Design of the Arrow Slits
Initially the Arrow slits were just simple vertical slots measuring less than two inches wide on the outside. The length of the Arrow slits averaged between 3 to 9 feet. The short bow was fired vertically but the crossbow was fired horizontally. Consequently the arrow slits were designed accordingly and arrow slits were later designed in a cruciform - in the shape of a cross. The shape of the arrow slits were plain vertical openings and apertures in the shape of a cross. The ends of the cross shaped arrow slits were then changed to become rounded to provide greater manoeuvrability of the bow. These openings were called 'Oilets'. Arrow slits were a feature of the Medieval castle from the 1200's.

The Arrow Slits
Arrow slits were introduced with Plantagenet Castles during the Medieval period dating from the 1200's. The old Medieval Castles were a symbol of wealth and power and were often the centre of historic battles and Medieval sieges. These great old Castles were built for Medieval warfare and defence and new parts of the castle were designed accordingly! This section of 'Castles' provides interesting facts and information about the many different parts of Castles! The Arrow slits were an important Castle part addition as a form of defence against intruders.

Arrow Slits

Parts of a Castle

  • What were the purpose of the different parts of the Medieval Castle?
  • What was the difference between the parts of a castle called the Garderobe and the Wardrobe?
  • Identifying parts of a castle - Description, purpose and function of the  Moat, Dungeon and Portcullis
  • Description, purpose and function of the Barbican, Gatehouse, Crenellations and Drawbridge
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