Romans used crossbows as early as the forth century, however evidence of their use has be found in other parts of the world as well. Crossbows were first brought to England by the Normans in 1066 and soon became an important weapon in history. These Medieval Crossbows were used in open warfare as well as for hunting and were widely employed in England through the time of Elizabeth. In fact, the large crossbow was more powerful than any longbow and while the lighter crossbows were quite effective for use in the field by armor clad soldiers.
Large and giant crossbows were used in the attack and defense of fortified places such as castles. These giant crossbows were crucial in attack and were able to shoot a bolt or burning missile with such power to impale a stone wall, however the castle tower afforded an advantageous position for their use as the bolts had a much farther reach when employed at the top of a fortified wall. This extra altitude allowed the missiles to be fired into the air and allowed them to sail a further distance, impeded the charge of an attacking force from a great distance.