Edinburgh Bowers and Golf Club Makers 1564 - 1700
Half of all the bowers (and probable golf-club makers) of the 17th century in Edinburgh can be traced back to William Mayne, the royal bower of King James VI/I.
Between 1564 and 1700, there are over 70 bowers and apprentice bowers recorded in the burgess registers in Edinburgh. Over 90% of these can be connected directly, or indirectly, to known clubmakers. More than half can be traced back to William Mayne, who was his Majesty's bower and clubmaker, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, John Mayne, who was noted supplier to King James IV, one hundred years earlier.
There are now 7 confirmed golf-club makers in the 17th century detailed in Two New Golf Club Makers in 17th Century. Four of these, William Mayne, George Gibson, Donald Bayne and Patrick Fyfe appear in the Roll of Burgesses and Guild-Brethren of Edinburgh 1486-1700.
The table below shows the 72 recorded bowers and apprentice bowers in Edinburgh 1564 to 1700 and their relationships to known club makers and relatives. There will be others who were not burgesses, but they would have traded outside the city.
Known club makers are shown in bold. They are 6% of all bowers in this period.
Bowers who have direct training links to known club makers are shown in red. They are 65% of all bowers in this period. Most of these can be traced back to William Mayne.
Bowers with indirect family training links are shown in italics. They are 20% of all bowers in this period. There is also evidence of connections between bower families, such as when Gilbert Home, son of Robert Home, who had been trained by William Mayne, was apprenticed to Gilbert Duncan, trained by Thomas and Alexander Gibson. This mirrors the close connections between golf industry families in the following century, such as between the McEwan and Gourlay families at Bruntsfield and the Park and Dunn families at Musselburgh.
Bowers with no noted relationship to known club makers are less than 10% of all bowers or their apprentices in Edinburgh in the 17th century.
|Name||Trained by||Indenture date||Burgess date|
|John Gibson (Younger)||1564|
|George Gibson||(?) John Gibson (Younger) father||1579|
|William Mayne||(?) George Mayne father||1588|
|George White||William Mayne||NK||1601|
|Alexander Gibson||(?) Thomas Gibson father||1601|
|Henry Murray||George Gibson||1587|
|Robert Hill||William Mayne||1588||1601|
|Robert Home||William Mayne||1590|
|Robert Brown||George Gibson||1592||1599|
|Alexander Newlands||George Gibson||1594|
|John Fairlie||James Fergusson||1594|
|Donald Duncanson||William Mayne||1595||1616?|
Thomas Gibson &
Alexander Gibson (son)
|George Ramsay||George Gibson||1597|
|John Mayne||William Mayne||1598|
|Thomas Kneland||William Mayne||1601|
|John Craik||William Mayne||1605||1619|
|John Home||George Gibson||1606|
|David Sharp||Alexander Gibson||1606||1614|
|Donald Bayne||William Mayne||1595?||1616|
|John Forrest||William Mayne||1608||1620|
|William Cockburn||George Gibson||1608|
|William Moncrieff||George Whyte||1608||1615|
|William Arnot||Alexander Gibson||1614|
|Hew Ross||William Moncrieff||1616||1624|
|William Douglas||Donald Bayne||1617|
|Thomas Trustie||Alexander Gibson||1618||1629|
|Robert Neilson||David Sharp||1620|
|Patrick Dickson||Donald Bayne||1621|
|George Jameson||John Craik||1621|
|Alexander Walker||John Forrest||1622|
|Robert Mayne||(?) William Moncrieff stepfather||1630|
|Alexander Dunbar||Donald Bayne||1627||1635|
|Gilbert Home||Gilbert Duncan||1627|
|John Hendry (Henry)||John Forrest||1630||1640|
|John Kerr||Robert Mayne||1631 Cancelled|
|Richard Schaune||Donald Bayne||1631|
|Alexander Hay||Robert Mayne||1633||1640|
|John Scougall||Donald Bayne||1636|
|George Hantoun||Robert Mayne||1640|
|Adam Watson||Thomas Trustrie||1641|
|John Tullock||Donald Bayne||1642|
|John Rollock||Alexander Hay||1643|
|Thomas Paterson||Robert Mayne||1644|
|Archibald Manderston||John Henry||1644|
|Hugh Munro||Alexander Hay||1647||1656|
|Nicoll Wallace||John Henrie (Henry)||1648|
|Andrew Forrester||Alexander Hay||1652||1661|
|Robert Dunbar||Alexander Hay||1656||1665|
|William Corsneip||John Laury||1656|
|William Wilkieson||Hew (Hugh) Munro||1658|
|Alexander McLey||Alexander Hay||1661|
|Andrew McKenyie||Alexander Hay||1668|
|John Munro||Hew (Hugh) Munro||1669|
|James Hay||Alexander Hay||1673|
|George Murray||Hew (Hugh) Munro||1673|
|George Fairlie||Andrew Forrester||1673||1688|
|Patrick Douchell||Andrew Forrester||1675|
|John Esplin||Robert Dunbar||1678|
|John Merstoun||Andrew Forrester||1679|
|Robert Munro||Son of late Hugh Munro||1692|
|Henry Eizack||Robert Munro||1694|
Bow-makers to the Stuart Kings and the Royal Company of Archers
William Mayne was appointed official bow-maker to King James VI/I in 1603. William died in 1612 and it is not clear who, if anyone, was appointed in his stead. Based on the number of apprentices that he took on, it could have been Donald Bayne. During the English Civil War and the Commonwealth, it is likely that there was no official royal bow-maker, but afterwards, at some point following the Restoration of King Charles II, Alexander Hay was appointed 'his Majesty's bower'. When Alexander died in 1677, Andrew Forrester acquired the title, though when or for how long has not been established.
In 1677, the Royal Company of Archers, formed in 1676, felt that there were no suitable bow-makers and paid for Robert Munro to go to London to be trained as a bower. Quite why they did this is not certain. Robert was probably already a club-maker, as he later trained George Neilson who became not only the Royal Company's official bower in 1720, but also a golf-club maker and started the club-making industry at Bruntsfield Links, which lasted for over 200 years as outlined in Right Royal Company - the archers and the golfers.
Not all the bower trainees above would have gone on to trade in their own right, but at least 30 bowers were recorded as burgesses or took on apprentices in Edinburgh over the 17th century. The number implies that there were on average at least half a dozen potential golf-club makers in Edinburgh at any given time during this period. While St Andrews and Leith were known for making golf balls, they only had occasional golf-club makers until the beginning of the 19th century. Edinburgh was a much more important centre for golf-club making than generally recognised.