Forthcoming Bowyer Events:
(Bookable now) Tour of Goodenough College and Dinner at Ciao Bella, 20 November 2018 |  Bowyers' Carol Service, St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate, 3 December 2018
Court Dinner (Court Only), Coopers Hall, 10 April 2019 |  (Bookable soon) Court and Livery Dinner, Ironmongers Hall, 30 Jan 2019
(For your diary) St George's Banquet, Cutlers Hall, 30 April 2019 |  Tower Shoot, 25 June 2019 |  Bowyers Prize Day, Burnham, 6 July  |  Bowyers Longbow Plate Day, Burnham, 28 July
United Guilds Service, Friday 29th March 2019 | Election of Sheriffs, Monday 24th June 2019  | Election of Lord Mayor, Monday 2nd October 2019
Lord Mayor's Show, Saturday 9th November 2019...More dates for 2019 to follow soon

Forthcoming City Events:
Festival of St Cecilia, St Paul's 21, November at 11.00am. The Company has a small number of guest tickets available through the Clerk clerk@bowyers.com.

Mark Stretton's New Book:
Bowyer Freeman Mark Stretton's experiments on the penetrative power of the medieval warbow are well known
to Bowyer members. Mark has just published a new 50-page A5 book on his latest research results using 130/140lb bows; the price is £10, and for information
on how to order it, click on this link: https://konigbooks.uk/products/piercing-plate-armour-with-arrows-empirical-testing-at-bosworth-battlefield

Poitiers Supper 2 October

Thirty Bowyers and their guests gathered at Bangers Bar and Grill in The City to enjoy a fascinating illustrated talk from military historian and television presenter, Mike Loades, on the subject of 'The Crossbow'.

Our speaker immediately appealed to us to put aside any tribal dislike and snobbery towards the crossbow. His purpose was to change our minds, he said. He explained that the crossbow was much easier to use than the longbow, cheaper to produce and didn't require years of training. There had been two Papal interdictions banning their use against Christians but longbows and crossbows served completely different purposes in the medieval period - longbows for battle and crossbows for garrison defence and naval attack. Both had been successful in their objectives until overtaken by technology. They operated alongside each other in the medieval world and longbow men would have doubled up as crossbow men from time to time if the situation demanded it.

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Guildmote 30 September

On 30th September the Master and Archery Committee Chairman attended the 28th Guildmote of the Craft Guild of Traditional Bowyers and Fletchers, a guild formed in 1987 that does the job that we used to do centuries ago. The Guildmote acts as the AGM of the Guild and does everything done at such things but is also the place where apprentices submit for approval their handiwork, either longbows or arrows. The two submissions that day were meticulously inspected by the judges (assisted by the Master, Archery Chairman and Master Fletcher) and happily passed. The presenters were then promoted to full Guild membership and achieved the title of Master.

The day was fascinating with the Guild made up of the addicts of the archery world, all of whom are characters. We relaxed among friends and greatly enjoyed the day surrounded by those characters fulfilling their roles.

Agincourt Banquet 17 October

There is probably no more appropriate a hall in the City for the Company to celebrate the Battle of Agincourt than Armourers', as the battle was a decisive encounter between the longbow and the armour of the French Knights. As a matter of courtesy it is probably best said that it was French armour - if made in England perhaps the outcome might have been different. As befits an evening celebrating the six hundred and third anniversary, the Agincourt Banquet seems a timeless event, but with every year made memorable by differences that will be recalled by those who were there. Sadly this year our Master was the one who was abed - we wish him a speedy recovery - but he was extremely well represented by the Upper Warden who stepped up for a dry run for his forthcoming Mastership. As was often said on the night, it is a benefit of our two-year mastership that we will have the Master back for the next Agincourt Banquet.

Read the full article

Poitiers Supper 2 October

Thirty Bowyers and their guests gathered at Bangers Bar and Grill in The City to enjoy a fascinating illustrated talk from military historian and television presenter, Mike Loades, on the subject of 'The Crossbow'.

Our speaker immediately appealed to us to put aside any tribal dislike and snobbery towards the crossbow. His purpose was to change our minds, he said. He explained that the crossbow was much easier to use than the longbow, cheaper to produce and didn't require years of training. There had been two Papal interdictions banning their use against Christians but longbows and crossbows served completely different purposes in the medieval period - longbows for battle and crossbows for garrison defence and naval attack. Both had been successful in their objectives until overtaken by technology. They operated alongside each other in the medieval world and longbow men would have doubled up as crossbow men from time to time if the situation demanded it.

Our speaker suggested that we had lost a sense of how important a weapon the crossbow was. He gave us a whistle stop tour from 200BC China, where the weapon was originally chariot-based before being mass produced for infantry, through its heyday between the 12th and 14th centuries, (before it was supplanted in battle by the longbow in England), to the 17th century where it had evolved into a prestige hunting weapon. We were reminded that Richard I was killed by a crossbow and Edward III's bodyguards were also thus armed. Indeed, the crossbow endured as it evolved into a hunting weapon lending itself to embellishment with the distinct advantage of not requiring immediate use.

We were treated to graphic illustrations of the range of draw mechanisms - from belt and claw, to windlass, gafle, cranequin and cord and pull. Geared mechanisms at their most powerful were capable of delivering an extraordinary 1500lbs draw weight, we were told. The sheer variety of crossbows was eye opening -from the assassin's one-handed version to the great siege crossbows.

And what of the potential Bowyer involvement? The speaker was adamant pleading with us to open our minds. And declaring: "Crossbows are your business Bowyers". The skills and tools required to make the wooden lathes was clearly bowyery in action, he said. Crossbow guilds exist to this day in Europe, a relic of their importance in the defence of walled towns where they were easy to use by the general populace. He believed it to be inconceivable that Bowyers could not have been involved in English production in spite of the lack of documentary evidence.

Mike Loades' evident passion for the subject was both stimulating and intoxicating as befits a gathering of Bowyers. He left us in no doubt of our involvement and the importance of yet undiscovered evidence. The accompanying illustrations only added to our understanding and spoke of his extensive research and downright dedication.

Mark Benstead

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Agincourt Banquet 17 October

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There is probably no more appropriate a hall in the City for the Company to celebrate the Battle of Agincourt than Armourers', as the battle was a decisive encounter between the longbow and the armour of the French Knights. As a matter of courtesy it is probably best said that it was French armour - if made in England perhaps the outcome might have been different. As befits an evening celebrating the six hundred and third anniversary, the Agincourt Banquet seems a timeless event, but with every year made memorable by differences that will be recalled by those who were there. Sadly this year our Master was the one who was abed - we wish him a speedy recovery - but he was extremely well represented by the Upper Warden who stepped up for a dry run for his forthcoming Mastership. As was often said on the night, it is a benefit of our two-year mastership that we will have the Master back for the next Agincourt Banquet.

The reception was admirably dotted with familiar and new faces, including our two new Freemen Mr Benjamin Allen and Mr Clifton Lombard, plus a smattering of the mess dress of various Mercian Officers, particularly our honoured guest Major General Ian Cave, the Colonel of the Mercian Regiment. It is always heartening to see how the bond between us and the regiment continues to strengthen. We were also very pleased to welcome a Master from another warrior company , Mr Christopher Weston-Simons, the Master Armourer and Brasier.

The Beadle and bell summoned us to what is definitely the visual highlight of the evening, as the Hall is a masterpiece of candlelight glistening off the armour that hangs on all four walls. On this occasion the Upper Warden carried the Company longbow and the Renter Warden also came armed with a longbow that he had crafted with his own hands. A very convivial dinner followed, the conversation only occasionally interrupted by each course. My abiding memory of Bowyers dinners is the quality of companionship reflected in the level of noise that is generated by people having a good time. As ever, time flew and very soon the loving cup had been taken, the toasts proffered and we came to the more difficult part for the Bowyers - the singing of the Bowyers song. However, this year we were ably introduced to the tune by the guest baritone who led the assembly in the most stirring of renditions.

It only remained for us to be entertained and informed about our honoured guests by Renter Warden Mark Elliott and for Major General Ian Cave to reply in kind.

All too soon it was time to be abed, to remember another glorious evening.

Myles Archibald

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About the Bowyers

The Worshipful Company of Bowyers is one of the older and smaller of the City of London's livery companies. We celebrate our piece of history, we work hard at our charitable activity, and we provide a convivial sociable environment that keeps our members engaged... Find out more

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