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Answered 2010-12-27 18:24:52

The modern surname Fletcher derives from a medieval trade, that of the flechier (Anglo-Norman French), who assembled all the pieces that go to make up arrows.

The name comes from the word fleche, an arrow. Medieval longbow arrows were around 32 inches long and anything up to half an inch thick, with three feathers (commonly goose) from the same wing of a bird attached at one end and an iron point at the other. The feathers were cut down to create a triangular or half-shield shape; they had to come from the same wing because they have a natural "twist" and must all turn in the same direction, rotating the arrow in flight.

Feathers were both glued and tied on with a tight wrapping of fine silk or linen thread. Doing this correctly is a great skill and takes a great deal of practice.

From the 11th century, almost all English arrow points had a socket - this distinguishes them from Continental points which often only have a flat tang. Points came in a wide range of shapes, mainly designed to cause maximum blood loss when hunting wild animals, or to penetrate armour in warfare.

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