The Craft Guild was formed in 1987 by Mr Hugh Soar, Secretary at that time of the British Long-bow Society, who brought together a group of craftsmen capable of making longbows and arrows of high quality and superior performance to the criteria of the British Long-Bow.
Over the years the old skills had declined and almost vanished, as modern equipment replaced the traditional bows and there was little call either for longbows or those who made them.
However, in the mid 1980’s, with BLBS membership rising rapidly and an increase in folk who were once more starting both to use and to make longbows, Mr Soar perceived a need for those archers who shot in the traditional longbow to be able to source good products with confidence. Thus it was that he called together a number of craftsmen who formed the nucleus of what is now a thriving Guild.
The Craft Guild exists to…
- Provide a forum for the fraternal association of British craftsmen and women concerned with the manufacture of quality traditional archery equipment.
- Encourage, maintain, and improve the standard of bow and arrow making and other associated activity by British craftspeople.
- Establish and maintain fraternal links with crafts persons overseas engaged in traditional bow and arrow making.
- Maintain links with those ancient London Livery Companies which historically regulated the crafts overseen by the Craft Guild.
Whilst free to make whatever type of equipment they wish, to meet the requirements of individual archers, each member of the Guild is also approved as a bowyer, fletcher, stringer or arrow-smith capable of producing items which meet the criteria of the British Long-Bow Society.
The Guild has modelled itself – as far as modern circumstances allow – on the historic Craft Guilds which once oversaw the quality of the work produced by their members.[see history] It arranges for apprentices to learn their skills under the tutelage of more experienced members. New members are accepted as Masters only after their work has been judged by their peers.
The business of the Guild is overseen by a Court consisting of the Warden, the Under-Warden and five Court Assistants, served by the Clerk.
The Guild meets annually on a date as close to Michaelmas (29th Sept) as convenient, following the old traditions whereby Guilds met both then and on Lady Day. The Court meets annually - usually in April.
Although a modern Organisation, the Guild recognises the ancient origins of its purpose, and has established and maintained valued links with the Worshipful Company of Bowyers, and the Worshipful Company of Fletchers.