The Tower Joint Shoot - 2017

Tuesday 20th June 2017

Nestroque!  Nock! Draw! Loose!  Nock! Draw! Loose!  Nock! Draw! Loose!

Well the steady rhythm may not have been there, nor the regular pattern, but the actions certainly were as, what I was told was a considerably weakened Fletchers' Team took on that of the Bowyers in the east moat of Her Majesty's Tower of London on a balmy Tuesday evening in June. We were taking part in the annual archery competition between the Fletchers and the Bowyers for the Governor's Trophy which we were told had first been presented in 1901.  More importantly we had lost it to the Bowyers last year and had been exalted to try and retake it for the honour of the Company.

Targets were set up, shooting stations organised and instruction was provided by a most efficient team of volunteers from The London Archers – they even recovered the arrows and collated the scores; not that any company member wouldn't have been delighted to annotate the score cards...  The evening was enhanced by several of the Yeomen Warders who brought their self-crafted bows into the moat and demonstrated their own skill as well as allowing anyone who wished to try their luck drawing 60 – 90 lbs bare bows (no sights, no fancy shaping etc.) and loosing as many arrows as they wished or indeed could. 

Soon arrows were flying along the moat and most were hitting the distant targets but to our horror we learnt that there were 'professionals' in the Bowyers' ranks and one of their chaps actually taught archery!  Moreover, whilst enjoying a refreshing glass of Pimms I was told that although never having shot in a competition before I really ought to 'have a go' as we were so desperately short of people, and that anyone with even a modicum of willingness to shoot really should do so.  I duly did but my accuracy was far from impressive.  However there were some talented Fletcher archers, and Jane’s son, Nicholas Gilbert ran up an excellent score to win him the outstanding guest archer of the evening award  with a score of 27.


Having written so often about the archers at Agincourt I was expecting a similar score from Anne Curry but somehow the spirit of Sir Thomas Erpingham eluded her that day – it wasn't Crispin Crispianus.


However it was the taking part that really counted. I regret that how the adjudicators arrived at the final scores is a mystery to me but amid much cheering the announcement came at the end of the Joint Shoot Dinner in the Royal Fusiliers Officers Mess.  Bowyers: 166.  Fletchers 170.  We had actually won, and a grateful Master was most happy to take charge of the trophy once again.


The most memorable event ended with our two companies having the VIP post to watch the centuries-old ceremony of the keys before wending our way out of the Tower beneath Byward. Our grateful thanks to all those who helped make this occasion so enjoyable.  I apologise but I did not catch the names of those who ran the moat bar or indeed organised the activities apart from our esteemed Clerk Kate who was her usual busy self.  Our most grateful thanks must go to the Constable and Governor of the Tower for permitting the event to take place in this historic venue and to the Royal Fusiliers who were our hosts for the evening and royally entertained us in their mess. We look forward to defending the trophy next year, so if you can shoot without embarrassing yourself too much please join us.



Photos Pamela Golding

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 May 2018 21:08
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