Sixteenth Century Sporting
string of a strong steel bow smoothly and easily, and with but slight
exertion on the part of the operator.
Nearly all the cranequins I have examined are lavishly decorated, a
proof that they were formerly owned by sportsmen and not by soldiers.
Between 1480 and 1530, I can find little variation in the construction
of the powerful bolt-shooting sporting crossbow which was bent by a cranequin.
About 1540, this weapon was, however, much improved. Its hitherto long
and pointed stock was shortened and was also made with an enlarged butt-end
to place against the shoulder.
Fig. 87. - Decorated Crossbow and Its Cranequin, the
Latter Being in Position for Bending the Bow.
Though this new form of butt could not be sloped downwards like that
of an arquebus, the alteration was a great convenience in aiming, especially
as the side of the butt was hollowed out to receive the right cheek so
that the right eye might glance along the top of the stock when aim was
The long tapering stock of the crossbow bent by a windlass and its ropes,
could not be fitted with an enlarged butt, as the small casing or box of
the windlass had to fit over the pointed end of the stock, fig. 75, p.
An easy pulling short trigger like that of a modern gun, together with