The history of Trebuchet dates back to ancient times. The trebuchet is believed to have originated from China and regions near Chinese territories about 2000 years ago. However, the trebuchet was first experienced in Europe during the dark ages or the early middle ages during 500 AD. The French were the prominent users of the trebuchet during the middle ages.
The first version of the trebuchet was a variant of the sling and was referred to as a stave sling. The stave sling was made of a short piece of plank that elongated the arm to provide more leverage. The stave sling progressed into a traction trebuchet. The traction trebuchet had ropes that were fastened to the smaller arm of the lever. At the far end of the longer arm, a large bucket was attached. The bucket was where missiles were put. It was manually powered hence several men pulled the ropes downwards in order to thrust stones or other objects that were used as missiles.
During the early middle ages, the design of the trebuchet was altered in order to make it more effective than before. As such, the ropes were replaced with a large counterbalance weight. This ensured that men were no longer used to pull the ropes. The new design which replaced the traction trebuchet was henceforth referred to as a counterpoise or a counterbalance trebuchet. The counterpoise trebuchet could throw projectiles of up to 350 pounds, equivalent to 160 kilograms (Chevedden 86).
The introduction of the trebuchet into English territories in 1216 during the Dover Siege saw the progression of the counterbalance trebuchet. The French Louis the Dauphin and his army used the counterbalance trebuchet to assault the walls of the Dover Castle. Upon realizing that the constable of Dover was not ready to surrender, King Edward I issued an order to Master James of St. George, the chief engineer, to start the construction of an enormous version of the trebuchet which was known as the Warwolf. The Warwolf is believed to have been the most powerful and the most effective trebuchet in the history of trebuchets (Hansen 15).
The technical constructions regarding the trebuchets vanished in the early 16th century. However, in 1984, a French engineer by the name of Renaud Beffeyte made what was the first modern reestablishment of the trebuchet. Beffeyte made use of writings from 1324 to enable him reconstruct a trebuchet. Recent constructions of trebuchet have been for the purposes of study but not for use in war.
Chevedden, Paul E. (2000). "The Invention of the Counterweight Trebuchet: A Study in Cultural
Diffusion". Dumbarton Oaks Papers 54: 71–116.
Hansen, Peter Vemming (April 1992). "Medieval Siege Engines Reconstructed: The Witch with
Ropes for Hair". Military Illustrated (47): 15–20.