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The Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts




The forging of metal arrowheads, usually in iron or steel.


Status Critically endangered
Historic area of significance UK
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK Iron Age
Current no. of professionals (main income) 2
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees 0
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers



Arrowsmithing peaked in the Mediaeval period when the use of the English war bow was at its height, and declined along with the bow as a weapon of war once fire arms became dominant. The craft was revived in the twentieth century with the formation of re-enactment groups, and today these groups provide the market for the craft.



Specialist forging techniques and tools are required for the forging of the heads.


Local forms

There are many variations in arrowheads, but they fall into two main groups: hunting and war.




Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Market issues: This is a very niche market and there is not enough demand to make a living from it.
  • Skills: The forging of simple bodkin arrowheads is within the capabilities of any good blacksmith but the forging of accurate arrowheads that are more complex requires specific skills over and above that of general blacksmithing
  • Overseas competition: there has been an increase in hobby arrowsmiths working overseas making arrowheads based on a few photos as compared to actual examples, and selling them for much less,¬† flooding the market with inaccurate products.

Support organisations


Craftspeople currently known

Other information