Franc Archer

  • Medieval Era
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

Considered the founding of an organized Standing Army in Medieval France (13th Century), The “Franc Archers” were formed by Royal Decree in time of War. Each Parish was responsible for providing at least (1) “trained” Archer for conscription. As a “selected Man”, a Franc Archer was not under Tax (Taille), did not have to attend religious Feast or Church requirements and spent most of his time in Archery practice. Although practiced, The Franc Archer was still an undisciplined and unreliable Conscript. The advent of The Hundred Year War also did not afford them much better fare. The English “Invader” was equipped with the famed “Longbow” (whereas The French were not). This led to the temporary disbandment of The Franc Archer.


In 1485, The Franc Archers were reformed under more stringent training requirements and were deployed to many provinces – then in rebellion. Many of The Franc Archers refined their martial craft in these Conflicts. Typically lightly armored, a Franc Archer was provided with Mail and Helm – but had to provide their own Bow. Repairs were also born by The Archers. By the 15th Century, they were better equipped and financed by The King – often being fielded with Crossbow early firearms.


The bulk of their deployment by the 16th Century was in The Provinces, with many of The Franc Archers (still poor Commoners), resorting to looting and pillaging. In time they were acclimated into a “modern” French Army of the 18th Century, which provided more harsher punishments for such actions. Their Title of “Franc Archers” would disappear as well.