65Objects

We are delighted to bring you a history of the Worshipful Company of Fletchers in 65 objects. (It's actually our 650th anniversary but that would have been a very large number of objects!) Each object reflects special moments in our history, from the fourteenth century to the present. We hope too that it gives you a flavour of the diverse and fascinating activities of Company and also of The Fletchers Trust. Join with us in celebrating our significant anniversary.

Our thanks to Liveryman Josie Gowler for coordinating and preparing these 65Objects with the assistance of our learned Clerk, Kate Pink.

Archers continued to be a vital part of the army in the 16th Century. Over 3,500 arrows were recovered from the wreck of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship which sunk in the Solent on 19 July 1545. The top image shows the arrows recovered from the wreck – although both the arrow heads and the feathers have deteriorated away,…
At a meeting on 29 November 1945, the Court discussed the question of admitting distinguished persons to the Freedom and Livery of the Company by Gift. The Court unanimously decided to offer Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC, DL) the Freedom and Livery of the Worshipful Company of Fletchers ‘as a token…
The Fletchers have been closely associated with 1921 (Lewisham) Squadron of the Air Training Corps since early 2008. Liverymen regularly attend many of the squadron’s events and, since 2014, the Master Fletcher has made an award of a silver prize arrow to the cadet who has best displayed the virtues of the Fletchers’ motto “True and Sure” throughout the year.…
The proposal that incoming Masters of the Worshipful Company of Fletchers should sign a declaration was made in 1938. Masters only began doing this from 1945, after a book was presented by Mr Vining on 11 May 1943. The declaration states that the Master will execute the office justly, faithfully, and diligently. The first such declaration was signed by Frederick…
Roger Ascham, 1500s archery expert and author of ‘Toxophilus: The Schole or Partitions of Shootinge’, had the following opinion on arrowheads: ‘Our English heads be better in war than either forked heads or broad arrowheads. For first, the end being lighter, they fly a great deal the faster, and, by the same reason, giveth a far sorer stripe [hit or…
Prize arrows made by Honorary Liveryman, Lindsay Head and her husband and Liverymen of the Bowyers’ Company, Richard, are put on display at Fletchers’ dinners, and are also given to various worthy recipients. The arrow in the picture – which measures nine inches overall – is made from poplar, a wood commonly used for arrows in the Medieval period. The…
The Worshipful Company of Fletchers’ coat of arms is ‘sable, a chevron gold, thee broad arrows of the same, garnished silver’. The crest shows an ‘angel proper’ on a wreath of gold and sable. She holds in both hands a bundle of arrows. The Fletchers’ motto – adopted on 25 November 1872 – is ‘True and Sure’ which refers to…
Until modern times, arrows were fletched with feathers. Due to preparations for the ongoing conflict with France, feather-collecting orders were made twice in the 1400s, in early 1417 and July 1426, along with the need to obtain wax, silk and timber for arrow production. Roger Ascham had a great deal to say about feathers in his book Toxophilus, published in…
The Fletchers have a long association with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, whose Regimental Headquarters at the Tower of London recognises a link with the Tower stretching back over 400 years. The affiliation was confirmed on 7 February 2001 with an exchange of gifts, and the picture above shows the formal affiliation document. During his or her time in office,…
These two punch bowls are painted with the arms of the Fletchers’ Company. Armorial porcelain became fashionable during the eighteenth century and it was quite common for those with a coat of arms, both individuals and corporations, to order items to be made for them. The Chinese factories maintained agents in London who showed customers their pattern books and took…
Also known as the Governor’s Trophy, the Boleyn box holds the results of the annual Joint Archery Shoot of the Fletchers and Bowyers and is given as the prize. It is a model of the arrow box which was used as a coffin for Anne Boleyn. Inside it is a painting based on the Luttrell Psalter. The Joint Shoot has…
The earliest-known reference to a Royal Fletcher in the Tower of London is 1329. King Henry V appointed the fletcher Nicholas Mynot to the role of Keeper of the King’s Arrows in the Tower in 1414; he was paid 6d per day, a large wage at the time, especially as he received a new livery (outfit) every year and lodgings…
The South African medal was awarded to the Worshipful Company of Fletchers on 30 August 1901 in recognition of its assistance in raising and equipping the City of London Imperial Volunteers during the South African War (1899-1902). Despite being the smallest and poorest of all the City Livery Companies at the time, the Fletchers managed to contribute £25 towards the…
Bernard Joseph “Joe” Brown CBE, JP, FRICS had a long and distinguished career of public service, including his role as High Sheriff of the City of London 1977-78. He was Master of the Worshipful Company of Fletchers in 1986-87. He was awarded the CBE in the 1982 New Years’ Honours. Mr Brown’s shrieval badge and armorial bearings are displayed at…
Fletchers often wear a lapel pin in the shape of the Fletchers’ shield to show that they are members of the livery, or they give them to their partners as a gift. Some of the Fletchers have even made them into cuff links to wear at events, as well.
This charming image of English archers being taught to shoot at a target is at the foot of one of the pages of the Luttrell Psalter and dates to 1320-1330. An order issued by King Edward III in 1363 required every man between 15 and 60 years old, on feast-days and in leisure time, to practice archery or risk imprisonment…
From 1767 to 1808 the quarterly Court meetings of the Worshipful Company of Fletchers were held at the George and Vulture Tavern, tucked away in Castle Court just off Cornhill in the City of London. The Fletchers’ own Hall at St. Mary Axe in the City was let out from 1747, eventually being sold in 1933. Since 1987 the Fletchers…
The Fletchers have been meeting for archery days at Noak Hill in Essex twice a year since 2008. After few practice rounds, a fun competition is held. This starts with target shooting followed by field archery in the afternoon, pitting the archers against strategically placed animal targets which makes for a very interesting afternoon in Noak Hill Archers’ extensive woodlands.…
The Worshipful Company of Fletchers rented a Hall in St Mary Axe from Holy Trinity Priory from at least the beginning of the sixteenth century. Following the Priory’s dissolution in 1531, the Company appears to have purchased the freehold of the Hall from the Crown’s successor in title Sir William Pykerynge sometime prior to 1547/47. The Hall was leased out…
Those wanting to become a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Fletchers must first apply for and be admitted to the Freedom of the City of London. The Declaration of a Freeman is as follows: “I {names in full} do solemnly declare that I will be good and true to our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth the Second; that I will…