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Agincourt Banquet, Armourers' Hall 26 October

Once again the Bowyers gathered in the familiar and fitting surroundings of Armourers' Hall to celebrate the Company's flagship event, the Agincourt Banquet. The Company marks Henry V heroic victory and celebrates our origins in the 14th Century.

65 Bowyers and guests assembled for a reception followed by a delicious four course dinner and wines. Notwithstanding the excellent food and wine there were many other highlights. We were honoured to welcome Air Marshal Phil Osborn CBE who responded to our own Assistant Major General Dr Andrew Sharpe's toast to the guests (an excerpt of which, by popular request, is provided below) as well as the current Master of the Armourers and Brasiers, Mrs Nicky Davies, the Master Gunmaker, Mr Daryl Greatrex and the Gunmakers' Clerk, Lt Cdr Adrian Mundin MVO.

As is normal at this event, dinner was rounded off with some singing including a rousing rendition of the Bowyers' Song and, this year, some Gilbert and Sullivan, led by an excellent pianist and baritone from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. A final mention should go to Freeman Mr Bill Terry, who joined us for his first Bowyers' dinner as a member of the Company having been admitted at the Court meeting ahead of the dinner.

In his own speech, the Master was delighted to show those in attendance The New Red Book and The New History, by Assistant Simon Leach and Past Master Tony Kench respectively. Thanks were passed to Assistant Myles Archibald and both authors for their hard work on this project. The Master explained that copies of The New History were given to each Company member at the dinner and that complimentary copies will be sent to all other Company members over the next few weeks.

Sarah Pearce

The Bowyers' Henry V – by Andrew Sharpe

What's she that wishes more of our Company had attended tonight?
My cousin, Pearce? No, Gallant Clerk;
If we are mark'd to dine, we are enough
To do our dinner proud; and if to eat and drink,
The fewer men, the greater share of dinner.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I do not care who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men white or black tie wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet a good claret,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, Sarah, wish not for one man more.
Rather proclaim it, Gallant and Learned Clerk, through our host,
That he which hath no stomach for their pudding,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for a cab put into his purse;
We would not dine in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to dine with us.

This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He here that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly, on the vigil, feast his neighbours,
And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian."
Then will he strip his port-stained sleeve
And show last year's menu card,
And say "This meal I had on Crispin's day."
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What a feast he had that day.

Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words—v Laxton the Master, Baldry and Elliott,
Walton and Archibald (and Archibald), Kench and Preece,
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.

This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd —
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that eats his pudding with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their Liveryhood cheap whiles any speaks
That dined with us upon this Saint Crispin's day.

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