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Agincourt Banquet 17 October


There is probably no more appropriate a hall in the City for the Company to celebrate the Battle of Agincourt than Armourers', as the battle was a decisive encounter between the longbow and the armour of the French Knights. As a matter of courtesy it is probably best said that it was French armour - if made in England perhaps the outcome might have been different. As befits an evening celebrating the six hundred and third anniversary, the Agincourt Banquet seems a timeless event, but with every year made memorable by differences that will be recalled by those who were there. Sadly this year our Master was the one who was abed - we wish him a speedy recovery - but he was extremely well represented by the Upper Warden who stepped up for a dry run for his forthcoming Mastership. As was often said on the night, it is a benefit of our two-year mastership that we will have the Master back for the next Agincourt Banquet.

The reception was admirably dotted with familiar and new faces, including our two new Freemen Mr Benjamin Allen and Mr Clifton Lombard, plus a smattering of the mess dress of various Mercian Officers, particularly our honoured guest Major General Ian Cave, the Colonel of the Mercian Regiment. It is always heartening to see how the bond between us and the regiment continues to strengthen. We were also very pleased to welcome a Master from another warrior company , Mr Christopher Weston-Simons, the Master Armourer and Brasier.

The Beadle and bell summoned us to what is definitely the visual highlight of the evening, as the Hall is a masterpiece of candlelight glistening off the armour that hangs on all four walls. On this occasion the Upper Warden carried the Company longbow and the Renter Warden also came armed with a longbow that he had crafted with his own hands. A very convivial dinner followed, the conversation only occasionally interrupted by each course. My abiding memory of Bowyers dinners is the quality of companionship reflected in the level of noise that is generated by people having a good time. As ever, time flew and very soon the loving cup had been taken, the toasts proffered and we came to the more difficult part for the Bowyers - the singing of the Bowyers song. However, this year we were ably introduced to the tune by the guest baritone who led the assembly in the most stirring of renditions.

It only remained for us to be entertained and informed about our honoured guests by Renter Warden Mark Elliott and for Major General Ian Cave to reply in kind.

All too soon it was time to be abed, to remember another glorious evening.

Myles Archibald

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