Forthcoming Bowyer Events: (bookable now)  | Bowyers' Family Carol Service & Supper, Mon 4 Dec, St Botolph Bishopsgate  | Bowyers' Court & Livery Dinner, Tue 30 Jan, Watermen's Hall
(future diary date) St George's Banquet,Tue 24 Apr, HQS Wellington
Forthcoming City Events:  |  The City Livery Committee's most recent 'Livery Briefing' may be downloaded here.

Agincourt Banquet

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.

Read the full article

Poitiers Supper: the Asian Composite Bow

On Monday evening 6 November, 35 Bowyers and guests crammed into the private dining room at Bangers' Wine Bar for a brilliant illustrated talk by Mike Loades on the Asian Composite Bow, as used in centuries past by the Scythian and Parthian horseback warriors, and still in active use today.

Read the full article

Widening Participation at KCL

One of the several 'youth development' activities supported by the Bowyers' Company charitable giving is the 'K+' Widening Participation programme at King's College London.

Read the full article

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.

Return to top of page.

Poitiers Supper 6 Nov: the Asian Composite Bow

On Monday evening 6 November, 35 Bowyers and guests crammed into the private dining room at Bangers' Wine Bar for a brilliant illustrated talk by Mike Loades on the Asian Composite Bow, as used in centuries past by the Scythian and Parthian horseback warriors, and still in active use today. Mike is well known as an author and TV presenter on historic weapons; he is a skilled horseback archer himself, and founder of the 'California Centaurs' horseback archery club. He also has a sideline career in Hollywood as fight arranger for historical films.

Mike talked us through the origins of the composite bow, examples of which have survived from as far back as far as 700BC, preserved in the Siberian permafrost. The bows had a complex construction from glued-together pieces of wood, horn and sinew, creating extraordinarily flexible bows of great power, as illustrated by the depicted Scythian-type bow being drawn to 120lbs at 28 inches. To maintain stability and balance for shooting while riding, the Scythians and Parthians developed special designs of saddle, some of which have also survived in the permafrost; a recreation of one (to a Parthian design) can be seen in he final photo showing Mike shooting at full tilt on horseback.

Mike lives in California these days. He was visiting London to give a couple of talks at the British Museum in connection with its current exhibition on The Scythians, and we were fortunate that he could find time to give us this superb talk, which will remain long in the memory.

Mike's books (available on Amazon) include 'The Longbow' and 'Swords and Swordsmen' as well as 'The Composite Bow', and he has just finished a new book on the 'The Crossbow' too, due out in 2018.

Return to top of page.

Widening Participation at KCL

One of the several 'youth development' activities supported by the Bowyers' Company charitable giving is the 'K+' Widening Participation programme at King's College London. K+ reaches out to schools with low-income pupils who might not otherwise think of going on to university but have good GCSE results and a positive attitude, and invites them to participate in workshops and mentoring chats with current KCL undergrads to inform and encourage them to apply. Started seven years ago, the programme now reaches out to 98 schools across London and is expanding rapidly: the 170 previous KCL K+ undergraduates have been joined by 61 more in 2016 and no fewer than 280 in 2017.

At the programme's annual reception at King's on 22 November, the Bowyers' Master, Upper Warden and Charity Chairman were able to meet some of the successful candidates. These included Josh Milton from Dagenham (pictured here with friend), an early K+ success story who has just graduated from KCL in English Literature, and is embarking, bright-eyed and full of enthusiasm, on the career he has always wanted, as a journalist. We'll watch out for the name!

Return to top of page.

About the Bowyers

The Worshipful Company of Bowyers is one of the older and smaller of the City of London's livery companies. We celebrate our piece of history, we work hard at our charitable activity, and we provide a convivial sociable environment that keeps our members engaged... Find out more

Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery