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The History of London from its Foundations by the Romans to the Present Time by William Maitland FRS (1739)

Book IV: Bowyers 38

This was a fraternity by prescription till the 18 of James the First who incorporated the same by his Letters Patent 25 May anno 1620 by the name of The Master Wardens and Society of the Mistery of Bowyers of the City of London. (Margin Note 1) That the incorporating of this fraternity should be deferred until this time is somewhat surprising; though not so much as that of its being incorporated then when the military engine called the bow was almost rendered useless by the invention of fire-arms.

The first mention I find of this fraternity is in the reign of Edward IV when the prices of the best bow-staves were by Act of Parliament fixed at 3s 4d each. But this was not answering according to expectation: the same was repealed in the year 1566 when the prices of the several sorts of bows were settled by Parliament, as followeth; viz each bow of the best foreign yew at 6s 8d; the second sort 3s 4d; the coarser sort and those made of English yew at 2s.

This company for the management of their affairs have a Master, two Wardens and twelve assistants with thirty liverymen each whereof at the time of admission pays a fine of £8. They have at present no hall though anciently one in Noble Street (Margin Note 2).

Margin Note 1 – Rec Roll Pat 18 Jac I p18 no 19

Margin Note 2 – Clerk Return Parl and Scrut Chamb Lond

The above text has been transcribed using modern spelling.

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