‘No person should exercise the art of gunmaking within the geographical limits (of London or the suburbs or within ten miles radius) who had not served seven years apprenticeship in the Art and first wrought his proof piece and produced the same to the Master and Wardens of the Company, and been approved as an able workman in the Art’.
An extract from the Company’s Royal Charter of 1637
Albeit updated, the system of submitting a workpiece, crafted unaided by the candidate to to a panel of accredited Master Gunmakers for review is still in place today. Candidates must have accrued a minimum of four years working at the bench developing and honing their skills in the specific gunmaking craft in which they wish to be accredited, including for example barrelmaker, actioner, lockmaker, stocker, finisher, engraver.
The purpose of the Gunmakers’ Certification is to support the art and craft of gunmaking by recognising the skill and insight of craftsmen in the trade. Once an individual has completed their training or apprenticeship (at least four years) they are eligible to apply. The submission will include a portfolio of evidence, including photographs of previous work and accompanying narrative, letters of reference and details of the training undertaken. At interview, this portfolio, together with a physical workpiece must satisfy the panel of Master Gunmakers that the candidate has aquired a high level of craftsmanship and can work unsupervised, before they are awarded Gunmakers’ Certification.
A succesful candidate receives the award of Gunmakers’ Certification. which is a certificate presented by the Master of the Company. A craftsman will never stop learning, but this marks the end of his or her apprenticeship, and the start of the journeyman’s time. This is the point where the individual will continue to work, now unsupervised, to bring real value to his or her company, or perhaps move on to work for another gunmaker to broaden or indeed set up his or her own business.
The Certification Panel additionally recognises Master Craftsmen who have dedicated many years to the art and mystery of gunmaking, perfecting their craft and passing on their knowledge and skills to a new generation. In such cases, the panel would normally expect to see 20 years of experience within the specific craft and those with the appropriate skill and time served can apply to the Certification Panel for the award. As well as showing a masterpiece and a portfolio of their work, they will face a rigorous peer group assessment of their career and ability. Once approved by the Panel, the successful candidate can use the post nominals ‘MAsR.G’ as recognised by the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers.
McMillan Trophy for excellence in gunmaking
The panel will look to identify a piece of work, submitted for the award of Gunmakers’ Certification, which demonstrates exceptional skill on the part of the candidate. At the discretion of the Panel, the candidate will be nominated for the McMillan Trophy, which was donated by the late Past Master Emeritus Count Andrew McMillan, Baron of Cleghorn, to recognise exceptional skill in gunmaking. Assuming there is a piece of work that meets the exacting standard, the sterling silver and gilt lined trophy is presented by the Master to the winner at the Company’s annual Nomination Dinner, together with the Comapny’s Silver Medal and a certificate. The Trophy returns to the Proof House where it remains on permanent display.
Contact the Clerk to the Company at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details, including the fee, and an application form. Applications must be received at least six weeks ahead of a scheduled meeting of the panel, which meets at the Proof House. The next meetings are planned for:
- Wednesday 21 June 2023
- Wednesday 4 October 2023