Vellum maker is Royal choice

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A FAMILY business with 150 years history will be making the marriage certificate for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.

The Royal couple are set to tie the knot in April and Newport Pagnell based William Cowley will be playing a very special part.

Lee Mapley

Lee Mapley

The company, situated in Caldecote Street, has manufactured the vellum, an animal skin similar to parchment, that will be used for the marriage certificate.

It is not the first time the parchment maker, which usually caters for libraries and museums around the world, has been given the Royal seal of approval.

William Cowley also provided the marriage certificate for the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981 and has supplied the Royal household with parchment throughout its history.

William and Kate’s marriage certificate was made by worker Lee Mapley.

General manager Paul Wright said: “Documents and certificates that are of value will be on parchment and vellum because it lasts so long.

“The Doomsday Book is nearly a 1,000 years old. People will want to be looking at the marriage certificate for years to come.

“This is a huge, huge honour for us. The Royal wedding will be the biggest event of 2011.

“It is absolutely massive and will help put Newport Pagnell on the map.”

William Cowley was started in 1860 and formally established in 1870 by the grandfather of current senior partner Majorie Visscher. It is the only parchment maker in Britain and one of only three or four worldwide.

Mr Wright is proud to be part of the history of the company and of the town as a whole.

“It is all about history really,” he added.

“Newport Pagnell is an old market town. The thread of history goes from one bit to the next and to find yourself at a Royal wedding is almost beyond belief.”

Milton Keynes North MP Mark Lancaster, a long term supporter of the company, said Newport Pagnell’s association with the Royal wedding will be a massive boost for the town.

Mr Lancaster, whose father Reverend Ron Lancaster founded his own family business Kimbolton Fireworks, said: “It is fantastic for Newport Pagnell.

“I suppose I am proud because I devolve pleasure from my own background.

“It is so good to see a trade industry still used and so successful.”

The marriage certificate will be made of calf vellum, which is the most prestigious type available.

Parchments are usually made from sheep skin, while vellum can be made of goat or calf skin.

Mr Wright added: “This has always remained a family business.

“Most places get absorbed as they get bigger and then lose their identity.

“All of a sudden you have to take orders from head office and it loses its individuality.

“Newport Pagnell is best known for Aston Martin, but we were here before anyone even had a car.”