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Agincourt Banquet 18 Oct

Tallow Chandlers' Hall was the popular venue for the Bowyers' 2017 Agincourt Banquet on 18 October, a splendid evening widely enjoyed by the 87 members and guests participating.

The Master, Tony Kench, introduced the evening with a short recording of the excellently appropriate 'Agincourt Carol', which had been composed as a thanksgiving for Henry V's return to London in 1415 after his victory at Agincourt. An eloquent Grace was said by our Chaplain, the Revd Dr Alan McCormack, and four superb courses were enjoyed, followed by the tradtional Loving Cup ceremony and, in the Bowyer tradition, the singing of a few songs.

Our principal guests were the Master Armourer & Brasier, Julian Beare, and Lt Col Paddy Ginn, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion of our affiliated Mercian Regiment. Our toast to the Guests was proposed entertainingly by Court Assistant Maj Gen Dr Andrew Sharpe, himself a former Colonel of the Regiment, and Lt Col Ginn responded with a stirring account of how the Regiment sets about living up to its motto of 'Stand Firm, Strike Hard'.

The Master, in the final speech of the evening, spoke of the very warm relationship between the Bowyers and the Mercians that has become closer still in the past few years, with the Regiment's Benevolent Fund having become our largest single charitable beneficiary. The Bowyers, having been suppliers of weapons to the infantry in medieval times, were very proud of their current-day infantry affiliation, and delighted to have the occasion of the Agincourt Banquet to celebrate the strongly shared values between the Company and the Regiment.

In the past summer, C Company of 1 Mercian had been on Public Guard Duties in London, and the Officer Commanding C Company, Major Andy Ryan, who was also happily present that evening, had hosted a superb small dinner for 10 of us in the Officers' Mess at St James's Palace at the end of July. The photo shows Lt Col Ginn and Major Ryan in the 1 Mercian Officers' Mess in Bulford together, alongside their Regimental Colours.

After speaking affectionately of our other affiliations too, with the Craft Guild and with HMS Northumberland, the Master then welcomed the three new Freemen who had joined the Bowyers' Company that evening: Lt Col 'Shove' Gilby (previous CO 2 Mercian), Lt Col 'Frosty' Ellwood (previous CO 1 Mercian), and Major Rob Agnew (current 2IC 2 Mercian); he also congratulated the two Bowyer Freemen who had been clothed in the Livery of the Company that evening: Robert Durrant and Michael Church.

It had been a most convivial and congenial evening in the best Bowyer tradition, and the Master gave warm thanks to all present for their active participation in the life of the Company.

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