First Ordinances 1403

The Worshipful Company of Fletchers issued its first Ordnances on 16th June 1403, an extract from which is shown above.

The Ordinances were issued by John Walcote, Mayor, and the Aldermen of the City.  The Ordinances laid down that, every year on the Feast of the Translation of St Edward the King (13th October), the Fletchers should elect two Wardens, who had power to survey and search into all types of arrowheads and quarrels made by citizens and foreigners (i.e. those who lived outside the City boundary), to seize defective work, and present it to the Mayor and Aldermen, who would have it destroyed.  Those responsible for defective work were, at the discretion of the Mayor and Aldermen, to be punished and fined, half the fine going to the Chamber of the City, half to the trade.

Nobody was to sell in the City arrows and quarrels until they had been assayed by the Wardens, under pain of forfeiture and payment of a fine; the Wardens were to be ready at all reasonable times to carry out these tests, on pain of fine.

The Wardens were also to see that all arrows and quarrels were made of good dry wood and had hard heads, and none was to be made at night, so that good workmanship was assured.  Nevertheless, both foreigners and freemen of the City were allowed to sell broad arrows and crossbow bolts, without any restrictions.  A last article forbade Fletchers to sell their wares to aliens, unless the King granted special leave, and it was quite certain that such a sale was not to the prejudice of the King or Realm.


From The Fletchers and Longbowstringmakers of London by James E Oxley, 1968

Image reproduced by kind permission of the London Metropolitan Archives, ref: Letter Book I, fol. 24v.  Copyright rests with the Corporation.