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Annual Guildmote of the Craft Guild: 1 October, somewhere near Hereford

The Craft Guild of Traditional Bowyers & Fletchers was formed in 1986 by a group of longbow craftsmen committed to keeping alive a high standard of quality in the making of traditional longbows (and arrows). This is in direct line from what the Bowyers' Company was doing in medieval times, and we are delighted to have a close affiliation with the Craft Guild today. Applicants for membership of the Guild must first present a sample of their work, a 'masterpiece', for intense scrutiny and approval by the Guild Masters; longbow-makers who pass the test also receive an Award for Craftsmanship from the Bowyers' Company.

And so it was that the Master of the Bowyers' Company was invited to the annual Guildmote of the Craft Guild, on Saturday 1 October somewhere in the countryside outside Hereford, accompanied by our Archery Committee Chairman David Laxton. The Craft Guild's current Warden is Mark Stretton, also a Bowyer Freeman. We brought Bronze Awards to present to two longbow-makers who had passed scrutiny: Graham Anderson and David Moss, who are now entitled to be known as master bowyers. (The Master of the Bowyers' Company has to be very careful what form of title he uses when visiting this august body).

Four longbows were being presented that day to be pored over by the Guild. In the first photo above, David Moss (left) and Graham Anderson (right) join Jeremy Spencer in scrutinising one that failed. Warbows presented for approval additionally have to pass a practical test, to shoot a standard steel-tipped war arrow at least 200 yards with accuracy - hence the second photo, out in a nearby muddy field. This one passed - with an impressive draw weight of 106lbs.

The Bowyers' Company is immensely proud of its affiliation with the Craft Guild.

Tony Kench

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