Grant of Supporters 1996
Peter Begent (1930 - 2001), who was Master of the Bowyers' Company from 1996 to 1998, was an authority on heraldry. He was both a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Fellow of the Heraldry Society. Following the devastating fire at Windsor Castle in 1992, he and Hubert Chesshrye, who at that time was Chester Herald, were appointed as heraldic consultants for the reconstruction of St George's Hall. In 1999, the two of them co-authored a book, "Most Noble Order of the Garter 650 Years", which was the first comprehensive study of the history and ceremonies of the Order since the work of Elias Ashmole in 1672.
Peter was granted his own coat of arms and, during his mastership, his personal banner was flown alongside the banner of the Bowyers' at the shoots at the Royal Toxophilites at Burnham Beeches and on the Company's visit to Knokke in Belgium to shoot popinjay.
The grant of arms to the Bowyers of 20th November 1488 included only the shield, helm, mantle and crest. It did not include the motto - Crécy, Poitiers, Agincourt - which was adopted later (it is not known when exactly) and it did not include supporters. As his gift to the Company during his mastership, Peter petitioned for a grant of supporters to complete the heraldic achievement, 508 years after the original grant. The chosen supporters are a bowyer on the dexter and an archer on the sinister, both from the time of Henry V, standing on a field of sharpened stakes, like those which were hammered into the field of Agincourt ready to receive the French cavalry.
The illuminated scroll containing the Grant of Supporters was presented to the Company by Hubert Chesshyre, who was then Norroy and Ulster King of Arms, at the Master's Dinner at Tallow Chandlers' Hall on 24th July 1996 (see picture). Hubert Chesshrye arrived at the Hall that evening wearing a dinner jacket. Peter apologised to his guest for not asking him to come in uniform and, to Peter's delight, Hubert dashed back to the College of Arms and returned in full dress uniform in time to join the procession into dinner.
The full text of the Grant of Supporters is set out below.
TO ALL AND SINGULAR to whom these Presents shall come Peter Llewellyn Gwynn-Jones Esquire Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, Garter Principal King of Arms sendeth Greeting Whereas Peter John Begent Gentleman Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Fellow of the Heraldry Society Master of the WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF BOWYERS OF LONDON hath represented unto The Most Noble Miles Francis Stapleton, Duke of Norfolk, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire upon whom has been conferred the Decoration of the Military Cross, Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal of England that by Letters Patent dated the Tenth day of November 1488 Arms and Crests were granted and assigned by Sir Thomas Holme Knight Clarenceux King of Arms unto the Master Wardens and Fraternity of the Company of the Art or Mystery of Bowyers of the City of London and that the Master Wardens and Fraternity of the said Company now commonly known as the Worshipful Company of Bowyers of London being desirous of the privilege of bearing Supporters to the said Arms hath requested the favour of His Grace's Warrant for my granting and assigning such Supporters as I are suitable to be borne and used by the said Worshipful Company of Bowyers of London according to the Laws of Arms And forasmuch as the said Earl Marshal did by Warrant under his and Seal bearing date the twenty sixth day of September 1995 authorise and direct me to grant and assign such Supporters accordingly Know Ye therefore that I the said Garter in pursuance of His Grace's Warrant and by virtue of the Letters Patent of my Office to me granted by The Queen's Most Excellent Majesty do by these Presents grant and assign unto the said WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF BOWYERS OF LONDON the Supporters following that is to say - On the dexter a Young Man of the early fifteenth century with fair hair and beard proper habited in a Doublet with pendent sleeves per pale Sable and Argent belted Or and Hose the dexter leg Argent the sinister Sable the Boots Tenny holding in the dexter hand proper a Float the teeth uppermost Argent and on the sinister an Archer of the early fifteenth century the face hands and Steel Cap proper the Jack Sable set with studs of steel proper over a short-sleeved Undercoat Or the Hose and Shirtsleeves Azure the Boots Tenny grasping in the sinister hand a Longbow proper slung from the waist on the dexter side by a Belt Or a Sheaf of Arrows also proper the Compartment comprising a Grassy Mount set with ten sharpened Stakes of Wood those on the dexter bendwise sinister those on the sinister bendwise as are in the margin hereof more painfully depicted to be borne and used by the said Worshipful Company of Bowyers of London on Seals Shields Banners or otherwise according to the laws In Witness whereof I the said Garter Principal King of Arms have to these Presents subscribed my name and affixed the seal of my Office this Seventeenth day of July in the Forty fifth year of the Reign of Our Sovereign Lady Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen Head of the Commonwealth Defender of the Faith and in the year of Our Lord One thousand nine hundred and ninety six.
Tenny - orange-brown in colour