#Sandfelds Pumping Station, page 42 of the page 42 of the Lichfield Bower Programme
The Bower is well known in Lichfield, England and nearby areas. It is a festival held each spring on a bank holiday. It is about 800 years old. A statute of Henry II of England (1134-1159) ordered that all men capable of bearing arms should be inspected by the magistrates. Since there was no standing army, this was a way to find out how many men could fight in a war. The men would then march through the streets and retire at a “Bower House” for roast beef and spirits. This ensured a good turn-out.
The Origins of the bower go back many centuries to the time of Henry II (1145-1189). At that time England had no standing army and when the King needed troops to defend the realm he had to raise them by mustering all the able bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 throughout the kingdom.
To enable him to do this Henry set up a Commission of Arraye (an early example of quango) which had every year to submit to the king, a return of all the men-at-arms available throughout the kingdom. To do this they ordered every city and town to hold a muster of fighting men on one day in the year and to send the figures in to the Commission of Arraye. These musters were known as the Courtes of Arraye, and in Lichfield the Courte if Arraye was always held on Whit Monday.