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Worshipful Company of Bowyers

Worshipful Company of Bowyers
Company associationLongbow-makers
Order of precedence38th
Master of companyJohn Hayton
MottoCrecy, Poitiers, Agincourt
Websitebowyers.com

The Worshipful Company of Bowyers is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London.

Originally, bowyers (longbow-makers) and fletchers (arrow-makers) comprised one organisation. However, in 1371, the fletchers petitioned the Lord Mayor to divide into their own company, the Worshipful Company of Fletchers. Demarcation disputes arose between the two over supervision until 1429, when a City ordinance defined their respective spheres. It was not until the late 1480s that the bowyers acquired a coat of arms and a set of coherent written ordinances.

The actual trade of the bowyers still survives. Although originally made for use in war and hunting, there is now some demand for longbows used in target archery. There are several practising bowyers in the membership of the Company and it maintains a great interest in the craft. The bowyers are also involved in the sport of archery and give awards and medals each year at the Royal Toxophilite Society and school competitions.

The Bowyers' Company mostly exists as a charitable institution, as do a majority of the 110 Livery Companies, with a focus on the disabled. HMS Northumberland is affiliated to it. The bowyers rank 38th in the order of precedence of the Companies, immediately above the fletchers. Uniquely, among all the City's Livery Companies, Companies without Livery and Guilds, it is the only one that does not admit women.[citation needed]

The Company motto is Crecy, Poitiers, Agincourt, a reference to the Battle of Crécy, the Battle of Poitiers, and the Battle of Agincourt, all battles between medieval England and France in the Hundred Years' War in which longbows and English longbows were used to great effect by English and Welsh archers, before artillery took over towards the end of the war.

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