Fifteenth Century Windlass
This crossbow, with its windlass, massive steel bow, stirrup, bow irons,
wedges, long trigger and circular nut to hold the stretched string, shows
no alteration from the time it was introduced, to the time when it was
generally discarded in warfare, at the close of the fifteenth century.
The sporting crossbow employed for killing deer and other animals with
an ordinary non-poisonous bolt, was, for about a hundred years, precisely
the same in shape and mechanism - though rather smaller in size - as the
large military weapon.
As this windlass crossbow was commonly used in sport and war for a long
period, and as it is the one usually to be seen in museums and in mediaeval
illustrations, I will describe it in detail, as being the most interesting
weapon of its kind to select for this purpose.