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Two New Bowyers Publications

As fellow Bowyers will be aware this year, 2021, marks the 400th Anniversary of the Charter of 25th May 1621 granted By King James the First to the Master, Wardens and Society of the Mystery of Bowyers of the City of London, although the company was already ancient at that time with records dating back to 1363. To mark the occasion, the Bowyers have published not one commemorative publication, but two! The Bowyers: A New History by Past Master Tony Kench tells the story of how the company survived the Great Fire of 1666 and evolved over the centuries to become what it is today. Central to the story is the bequest of James Wood of 1629 by which the company inherited an estate at Isley Walton in Leicestershire, the income from which was to be used to fund education at England’s two universities and other charitable giving. The management of the estate over a period of 260 years and of the charities gave the Bowyers a purpose and direction without which they may not have survived into modern times. Court Assistant Simon Leach took a different approach with the New Red Book. The name was taken from a book of documents, known as the Red Book, published in 1901. By reference to original charters, grants, ordinances and estate records (being 64 documents in total) the book plots the key events in the life of the Company over seven centuries. The author was obliged to decipher medieval secretary hand, the flamboyant script of the Restoration period and the formal copperplate handwriting of the Victorians.

All members of the Company have either been presented in person with a Copy of the The Bowyers: A New History at the recent Agincourt Banquet, or (if UK based) should have hopefully received one by now. Sadly, overseas post may take a little longer to arrive.

Should you wish to order an additional copy of The Bowyers: A New History (169 pages) or purchase a copy of The New Red Book (304 pages) details are available on the website members area (shop) or they are available to purchase, via the Clerk. The New Red book is £50 and The New History is £25 – both hardback with dust jackets and inclusive of postage.

With thanks to both authors, the 1621 Committee and sponsors involved in the oversight of these two new Bowyers’ publications.

David Laxton
Master

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