Forthcoming Bowyer Events: (bookable now)  |  Agincourt Banquet, Armourers' Hall, Wed 17 Oct
(bookable soon)  |  Tour of Goodenough College and Dinner at Ciao Bella', 20 Nov  |  Carol Service, St Botolph Without Bishopsgate, 3 Dec

Forthcoming City Events:  |  Lord Mayors Show, 10 November, https://lordmayorsshow.london/
Festival of St Cecilia, St Paul's 21, November at 11.00am. The Company has a small number of guest tickets available through the Clerk clerk@bowyers.com.

Mark Stretton's New Book: Bowyer Freeman Mark Stretton's experiments on the penetrative power of the medieval warbow are well known
to Bowyer members. Mark has just published a new 50-page A5 book on his latest research results using 130/140lb bows; the price is £10, and for information
on how to order it, click on this link: https://konigbooks.uk/products/piercing-plate-armour-with-arrows-empirical-testing-at-bosworth-battlefield

Bowyers Sailing 21 to 23 September

In a short gap between storms Ali and Bronagh, an inaugural Bowyers Sailing Club met for a weekend of sailing on the chartered Bavaria 36, ' No Optimist', in the Solent. Skipper Nigel Heilpern and crew David Laxton, Mark Elliott and Tony Marinos picked up the yacht at Haslar Marina in Gosport on Friday 21 September and with supplies loaded and other preparations complete adjourned to a local pub to make a plan for the following days sailing.

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Bowyers Charitable Outreach

Tuesday 26th September was the Lord Mayor's 'City Giving Day', when businesses in the City showcase their charitable and volunteering efforts. Three Bowyers, David Laxton, Nigel Heilpern and Richard Martin visited Aon's building in Leadenhall Street to cheer on Suited and Booted with their 8 hour, fund raising, static cycle challenge. Suited and booted is a, Bowyers supported, charity, that provides business attire to over 100 job-seekers every month to help them look the part for job interviews. The Lord Mayor (pictured above) also visited the Aon building to lend his support.

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Poitiers Supper 2 October

Thirty Bowyers and their guests gathered at Bangers Bar and Grill in The City to enjoy a fascinating illustrated talk from military historian and television presenter, Mike Loades, on the subject of 'The Crossbow'.

Our speaker immediately appealed to us to put aside any tribal dislike and snobbery towards the crossbow. His purpose was to change our minds, he said. He explained that the crossbow was much easier to use than the longbow, cheaper to produce and didn't require years of training. There had been two Papal interdictions banning their use against Christians but longbows and crossbows served completely different purposes in the medieval period - longbows for battle and crossbows for garrison defence and naval attack. Both had been successful in their objectives until overtaken by technology. They operated alongside each other in the medieval world and longbow men would have doubled up as crossbow men from time to time if the situation demanded it.

Read the full article

Bowyers Sailing 21 to 23 September

In a short gap between storms Ali and Bronagh, an inaugural Bowyers Sailing Club met for a weekend of sailing on the chartered Bavaria 36, ' No Optimist', in the Solent. Skipper Nigel Heilpern and crew David Laxton, Mark Elliott and Tony Marinos picked up the yacht at Haslar Marina in Gosport on Friday 21 September and with supplies loaded and other preparations complete adjourned to a local pub to make a plan for the following days sailing. Conditions on Saturday morning were reasonably good and with a drizzle which lifted and a light breeze blowing, the crew managed an excellent passage to Cowes. The return journey that afternoon proved to be a little more challenging with conditions worsening and the wind picking up to a very respectable force 6. Conditions the following morning hadn't really improved and so the crew remained in the relatively calmer waters of Portsmouth Harbour before preparing the boat for handback and spending a couple of fascinating hours in the Submarine Museum a short distance away from the marina. All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend with some very valuable sailing experience logged away. Plans for the next trip are already in the early stages.

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Bowyers Charitable Outreach

Tuesday 26th September was the Lord Mayor's 'City Giving Day', when businesses in the City showcase their charitable and volunteering efforts. Three Bowyers, David Laxton, Nigel Heilpern and Richard Martin visited Aon's building in Leadenhall Street to cheer on Suited and Booted with their 8 hour, fund raising, static cycle challenge. Suited and booted is a, Bowyers supported, charity, that provides business attire to over 100 job-seekers every month to help them look the part for job interviews. The Lord Mayor (pictured left) also visited the Aon building to lend his support.

The following day, Upper Warden David Laxton and Renter Warden Nigel Heilpern visited Treloars in Alton, Hants, together with other livery companies, including the Needlemakers and the Cooks. The school, with 170 severely disabled children, has very long standing livery connections. The Bowyers are one of a large number of livery companies to make charitable contributions to its excellent causes. The highlight of the tour, other than meeting the pupils, who were delightful and most engaging, was the brand new PSV bus, donated by the Chartered Surveyors company (at a cost of a mere £285,000….), fitted out specially for multiple wheelchair access. Nevertheless, the school really still does appreciate our slightly more modest charitable contributions.

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Poitiers Supper 2 October

Thirty Bowyers and their guests gathered at Bangers Bar and Grill in The City to enjoy a fascinating illustrated talk from military historian and television presenter, Mike Loades, on the subject of 'The Crossbow'.

Our speaker immediately appealed to us to put aside any tribal dislike and snobbery towards the crossbow. His purpose was to change our minds, he said. He explained that the crossbow was much easier to use than the longbow, cheaper to produce and didn't require years of training. There had been two Papal interdictions banning their use against Christians but longbows and crossbows served completely different purposes in the medieval period - longbows for battle and crossbows for garrison defence and naval attack. Both had been successful in their objectives until overtaken by technology. They operated alongside each other in the medieval world and longbow men would have doubled up as crossbow men from time to time if the situation demanded it.

Our speaker suggested that we had lost a sense of how important a weapon the crossbow was. He gave us a whistle stop tour from 200BC China, where the weapon was originally chariot-based before being mass produced for infantry, through its heyday between the 12th and 14th centuries, (before it was supplanted in battle by the longbow in England), to the 17th century where it had evolved into a prestige hunting weapon. We were reminded that Richard I was killed by a crossbow and Edward III's bodyguards were also thus armed. Indeed, the crossbow endured as it evolved into a hunting weapon lending itself to embellishment with the distinct advantage of not requiring immediate use.

We were treated to graphic illustrations of the range of draw mechanisms - from belt and claw, to windlass, gafle, cranequin and cord and pull. Geared mechanisms at their most powerful were capable of delivering an extraordinary 1500lbs draw weight, we were told. The sheer variety of crossbows was eye opening -from the assassin's one-handed version to the great siege crossbows.

And what of the potential Bowyer involvement? The speaker was adamant pleading with us to open our minds. And declaring: "Crossbows are your business Bowyers". The skills and tools required to make the wooden lathes was clearly bowyery in action, he said. Crossbow guilds exist to this day in Europe, a relic of their importance in the defence of walled towns where they were easy to use by the general populace. He believed it to be inconceivable that Bowyers could not have been involved in English production in spite of the lack of documentary evidence.

Mike Loades' evident passion for the subject was both stimulating and intoxicating as befits a gathering of Bowyers. He left us in no doubt of our involvement and the importance of yet undiscovered evidence. The accompanying illustrations only added to our understanding and spoke of his extensive research and downright dedication.

Mark Benstead

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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

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