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Visit to Islay Walton and Ashby de la Zouch Museum December 2007

In December 2007 members of the Company's Muniment Committee visited Isley Walton in Leicestershire and then went on to Ashby Museum. From 1629 until 1889, the Company owned the estate of Isley Walton and held the lordship of the manor there. The estate had been left to the Company by the will of James Wood who was a chandler in London and a member, it is believed, of the Bowyers´ Company. He was born in Leicester and as yet it is not clear how he came to own the estate.

The group was welcomed to the estate by Mrs Anne Gillies Shields, a member of the family that bought the estate in the early years of the twentieth century. They were able to visit the parish church and other buildings such as the old school house, built by the Company in the nineteenth century and take a number of photographs. Some the buildings still retain the coats of arms of the Company erected by the Shields family.

The next place to be visited was Ashby de la Zouch Museum that now has a collection of old documents relating to the history of the Company. These documents were kept by the Company at Isley Walton and were found among the papers of the Shields family. It is with gratitude that the Company recognises the generosity of the Shields family in donating these papers to the permanent care of Ashby Museum where they can be examined.

Ashby Museum has done an excellent job of sorting, arranging and saving these documents for posterity. The Muniments Committee will return to Ashby to explore these documents and report at regular intervals. The papers throw many a light on the Company´s past, especially in the nineteenth century.

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