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Summer Message from the Master

Summer is always a busy time for the Bowyers. This year we kicked it off on May 18th with a Bowyers' City Walk led by the Upper Warden to the various places where the Bowyers were based in London in the years between 1300 and 1666. Simon Leach's report of the event appears below.

On June 13th we held a most enjoyable Field Archery Family Day in the Hampshire woods. Back in town on June 22nd we held our biennial 'Common Hall' at The Counting House in Cornhill, where 26 Bowyers came to hear and discuss short presentations by each of the Company's working committees, followed by a highly convivial supper, with entertaining reminiscences of his youth in Paris from Dr Sinclair Rogers.

On Midsummer's Day, June 24th, a number of us went to Guildhall to do our civic duty by voting for next year's City Sheriffs, followed by a very pleasant small lunch in a Guildhall Dining Room with members of the Cooks' Company. On July 4th the Upper Warden and I were at the Royal Toxophilite Society in Burnham presenting medals for the Bowyers' Prize Day invitational archery competition, and on July 5th I accompanied the Mercian Regiment's moving annual Pilgrimage to its war memorial at Crich in Derbyshire.

Coming up later in July, we have our Joint Shoot with the Fletchers in the Tower Moat on the 14th, and then our Court & Livery Black-Tie Dinner on July 23rd at Brewers' Hall, a new venue for us, when I very much hope to see as many Bowyers as possible, Liverymen and Freemen, coming together for a good 'members' evening'.

With warm regards to all,

The Reverend John Hayton TD, - Master Bowyer

Bowyers' Hall City Walk, 18 May 2015

24 Bowyers and their guests gathered at St Nicholas Cole Abbey on the fine Monday evening of May 18th for a City Walk led by our Renter Warden, Tony Kench. The church had recently been renovated as 'The Wren Café' and as home to a mid-week church ministry associated with St Helen's Bishopsgate.

After the party had enjoyed a welcoming coffee and bun kindly provided by The Wren, Tony began by recounting the association between St Nicholas Cole Abbey and the Bowyers going back nearly 400 years. The Company's most generous benefactor, James Wood, was married at St Nicholas in 1590, and in 1629 was buried here, in the parson's choir. at the East end of the Communion Table. In his will he left to the Bowyers his estate at Isley Walton in Leicestershire and four properties in London, at Cow Cross, Chick Lane, Old Fish Street (by the door of St Nicholas) and "The Sign of the Cock" in Fetter Lane.

The properties are long gone, but we regard James Wood's benefaction as one of the most significant events in the history of the Company, not only for the income it provided at a time when the longbow trade was in terminal decline, but also for the charitable focus and direction it gave us. It is debatable whether, had it not been for James Wood and his bequest, the Company could have survived into modern times...Read more.

Simon Leach

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