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Christopher Ballenden Master 1992-1994

Christopher Ballenden with the Memorial
Window in the Artist's Studio

Christopher Ballenden was born on the 25th July 1931. He was educated at St Bede's Preparatory School, Douai, and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He joined his Regiment the King's Shropshire Light Infantry as a second lieutenant in 1952. During his military career he served in Aden, Kenya, Germany and for the last three years in the Sultan of Oman's Army.

In 1967 he married Morar. They have two sons William and Toby who are Freemen of the Company, and one daughter.

He retired from the Army in 1964, when he entered the commercial world and in 1967 he started his own company; which he sold in 1991.

He is a member of the Farmers' Club and the Forty Club. He was admitted to the Livery of the Worshipful Company of Bowyers in 1974 he was called to the Court in 1984 and was elected Master in 1992. During his Mastership he was responsible for leading the project to place the Bowyers Memorial Window in St Botolph's without Bishopsgsate.

Recreations: cider making, shooting, skiing.

A Past Masters view

"During my Mastership in 1993, I decided that I ought to know a little of our trade, and learn something of the bow. Having contacted Andrew Barnsdale, a Court member and a past secretary of the British Longbow Society I was put in touch with Chris and Ken Bearman of the Sennocke (Sevenoaks) Archers. They took Morar, my wife, and myself under their wing and on a very cold day in Autumn 1993 we turned up for our first lesson.

We started on the recurve bow at 20yds away at the Boss (or target) which is 4ft in diameter and gradually worked our way up to 50yds. We were then allowed to shoot the longbow. The fun of the longbow is that you have no artificial sights - you aim off and up or down according to the distance, the wind and the weather.

The shooting of the longbow has not really changed since we trounced the French at Agincourt. It is just a matter of practice. We were then measured for our longbows - length - pull and height - and asked Alan Pritchard, a well known bowyer, to make them for us. When they were ready we went to see Alan at Meriden and tried our new bows on the Woodmen of Arden Ground. Really a very enjoyable experience.

The longbow is a lovely piece of furniture and I am now having built a new and rather beautiful bow. I now shoot in competitions, and actually, in the last one managed not to come last!

The great thing is not to take it too seriously- a hit is a bonus (at least for me). You will on longbow, shoot in very interesting company, a lot of them being practising bowyers.

Most competitions for men shoot the York round, which is 6 dozen at 100 yards, 4 dozen at 80 yards and 2 dozen at 60 yards - this is interspersed over the day with coffee, sherry and a casual and lengthy picnic lunch.

The competitions are very friendly affairs - with a lot of leg pulling and good company."

Christopher Ballenden

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