Welsh hook

A Welsh hook is a type of polearm, a halberd-like weapon with a hook on the back, and gained its name due to its prevalence among the Welsh soldiers during the medieval wars against the English.[1] It appears to have been derived from an agricultural implement known as a forest-bill (or a long hedging-bill) with the addition of a hook on the back and a spike on the front.[2]

In literature

  • "That no man presume to wear any weapons, especially Welsh-hooks and forest-bills", ("The History of Sir John Oldcastle", Folio 3, 1664, 60).[3]
  • Falstaff "My own knee? ... and swore the devil his true liegeman upon the cross of a Welsh hook,—What, a plague, call you him?", (Shakespeare Henry IV Part 1, 290).[3]


  1. ^ Lublin 2013, p. 115.
  2. ^ Shakespeare & Rowe 1821, pp. 286–287.
  3. ^ a b Shakespeare & Rowe 1821, p. 286.


  • Lublin, Dr Robert I (2013), Costuming the Shakespearean Stage: Visual Codes of Representation in Early Modern Theatre and Culture, Ashgate Publishing, p. 115, ISBN 9781409479048
  • Shakespeare, William; Rowe, Nicholas; et al. (1821), The Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare: Richard II. Henry IV, pt. I, F. C. and J. Rivington, pp. 286–287
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