1. HISTORY. The
International Guild of Knot Tyers was established April 1982
and included a number of eminent and well-known knotting
experts such as Dr Harry Asher, Geoff Budworth, Eric Franklin,
Dr Edward Hunter, Desmond Mandeville, Frank Harris, Stuart
Grainger, Dennis Murphy, Des Pawson, Don Woods, Percy Blandford,
Ken Yalden and Brian Field. Membership is now approaching
1500 worldwide. A list of published books and booklets can
be produced if required and also a list of previous Presidents
and those with special responsibility.
The aims and objectives of the Guild are:
- To promote the art, craft and science
of knotting, its study and practice
- To undertake research into all aspects
- To establish an authoritative body for
A regular magazine was soon established called ‘Knotting
Matters’, of which there have now been 84 issues, with
contributions from knotting enthusiasts and experts from
around the world.
Formal meetings have been held bi-annually since the establishment
of the IGKT, at which short talks, demonstrations and workshops
enable interchange of ideas.
There are a number of branches in the various regions in
UK with international branches now established in many parts
of the world including Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, New
Zealand, Canada and Sweden. There are also several branches
In 1990 the IGKT became a UK registered charity, number
802153. A new constitution was approved and rules amended
April 1989. The amended rules included authorization for
- Undertake research into all aspects of
knotting and to publish useful results
- Establish an authoritative body for consultation
- Publish periodicals, papers and books
about knot craft and related subjects
- Maintain archives of the activities of
the Guild and its members.
- Maintain a library of books, papers, films,
photographs and other materials about knot crafts and related
subjects and to make information available to Guild members
and the general public.
- Form a collection of knots, knotting and
work in related crafts.
- Encourage the use of knot crafts in schools
and as a therapy among the physically and mentally handicapped.
2. FORENSIC ACTIVITY. The
first member to apply a forensic bias to knotting was Geoffrey
Budworth who, as a Metropolitan Police Inspector in the early
1980’s, began to focus the attention of criminal investigators
and trial lawyers upon the potential relevance of knotted
clues preserved at scenes of crime. Also Mr Budworth has
been prolific in the writing of books, initially for the
use of police forces and latterly for yachtsmen.
Another of the founder members was Robert Chisnall, whose
academic background in biology and educational psychology
equipped him well to interpret knots as artifacts of human
behaviour. Mr Chisnall of Canada is one of the foremost authorities
in the world on forensic knotting investigations and has
worked closely with the Canadian Metropolitan Toronto Police
and also the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Both the above forensic knotting experts have been past
presidents of IGKT, as also has Des Pawson who is a professional
knot and rope worker in his full time business. This has
provided useful background for involvement in a number of
Involved in this small but highly experienced group of professional
forensic knot investigators is Mike Lucas. With over 30
years experience working with knots and cordage in yachts
and boats, Mike has applied this knowledge to the analysis
of knots used for criminal purposes. This has led to involvement
in over 20 murder/suicide cases. Mike originally joined
the Guild of Knot Tyers nearly 20 years ago and makes periodic
contributions to the Guild Magazine.
3. OUTLINE OF PROMINENT MEMBERS. I have
identified four Guild Members who are
known to have been actively engaged in forensic work, so
as to indicate the breadth and
knowledge available within the Guild. There may well be others
of whom I am unaware.
However, these four individuals present an appropriate image
of the Guild activities in their
essential contributions to solving crime.
A brief summary of each individual as follows:
- Geoffrey Budworth -
Geoff’s awareness of the significance of knotting
characteristics to help in solving crime was developed
on the River Thames when he was a Metropolitan Police Inspector.
Utilizing this knowledge of knots and also recreational
knots used in climbing and sailing, has resulted in several
books being written, specifically for the purpose of training
and assisting police in forensic work. In 1982 the Metropolitan
Police Forensic Science laboratory in London published ‘Identification
of Knots’ by Geoffrey Budworth. His work was also
written up in the Journal of the Forensic Science Society
in 1982. A further book followed in 1985 being ‘Knots
and Crime’. A prolific writer of knotting books,
Geoff Budworth has subsequently written some of the best
books available, relating to practical tying of knots and
decorative rope work.
- Robert Chisnall BSc MEd PhD -
has over 20 years experience in the study of knots in recreational
activities. His formal training in biology and subsequent
work in educational psychology enabled him to develop skills
in qualitative and quantitive research, physical and social
science. This dual approach helped in developing an analytical
approach to forensic techniques, which resulted in the
production of probably the most advanced book written,
being ‘The Forensic Analysis of Knots and Ligatures’.
This has been widely used as a teaching aid and provides
a basis for future research. By 1999
Mr Chisnall had been involved in nearly 100 criminal cases,
involving knots and he testified as an Expert Witness in
some 15 of these. Many articles pertaining to forensic
knot investigation have been produced by Robert over the
years and a number of short articles have been written
pertaining to safety and climbing. Research interests include ‘handedness
of knot tyers’, forensic analysis and knot security.
- Mike Lucas BSc, Ceng -
Mike has been involved in over 20 criminal cases involving
knots and cordage. His exclusive work in the knotting field
has developed from over 30 years sailing and intensive
involvement in practical aspects of tying a variety of
knots in recreational activities, including native applications
in West Africa. An interest in teaching knot-tying skills
has led to a deep understanding of tying characteristics,
as exhibited by people from a variety of backgrounds. A
summary of Mike’s forensic work was written up in
Spotlight (Spring ’99), being the journal of the
National Crime Faculty.
- Des Pawson - has been
a practical knotter all his life and an experienced practitioner
in artistic rope work. Des earns a living through decorative
rope work and has been in the rope business most of his
adult life. He has written a handbook called ‘Des
Pawson’s Knot Craft’, popular among yachtsmen
and was involved for a period in forensic work.