Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Ceremony of the Boar's Head

The Boar's Head emerges from the Livery Hall
Accompanied by the Royal Logistics Corp (Defense Services School)

On the 4th December the Worshipful Company of Butchers delivered to the new Lord Mayor, Fiona Woolf, a boar’s head. An ancient ritual of thanks.

The butchers are recorded in the annals of history as early as 975AD, by 1540 they were granted a Coat of Arms.

The Master of the Company, Ian Kelly told us that the hall currently situated in Smithfield is their eighth, not through carelessness he hastens to add but because of cataclysmic events.  The original Hall in Smithfield was destroyed in the Great Fire in 1666, the Company moved to Pudding Lane where they remained from 1668 to 1884. That hall land was acquired by an Act of Parliament and they returned to Smithfield. Both World Wars saw extensive damage to the premises and the current building dates from 1960s, however, it houses many treasures and artefacts within from days gone by. 

The Arms of The Company were granted in 1540, the motto being - 'Omnia Subjecisti Sub Pedibus, Oves et Boves'- Thou hast put all things under his feet, all Sheep and Oxen. The Charter of Incorporation was granted by James I in 1605.

English: Photo taken on 23rd of August 2007
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The boar’s head was originally a gift to a past Lord Mayor who granted the butchers’ land near the Fleet River for butchering their cattle; as with many ceremonial elements of the City, this ‘gift’ continues today. Due to the ever present Health & Safety Regs the ‘real’ boar’s head is taken to the Mansion House earlier in the day and the paper machè version paraded through the streets.

The Beadle, Neil Hunt

The Master and his Court come out in all their finery, led by the Beadle and followed by family, friends and hangers on, including a jolly contingent of City of London Guides qualified and in training. It was lovely to parade down Cheapside with a police escort, by cycle, motorbike and horses to the rear, with the British Imperial Military Band to the fore playing a lively march.

The Master is the gentleman in the fine chain

We parade down Cheapside

Crossing Poultry to Mansion House

The arrival at the Mansion House was greeted by a lovely smile from the Lord Mayor, who said ‘I heard you coming!’  Lots of photographs and then the party moved into the Mansion House; one lady asked me to go first, thinking I was invited, for a moment the idea to gate-crash something I would dearly love to experience crossed my mind, however, I declined and had a group photo with my fellow Guides instead.
Lord Mayor is pleased to see us!

Introductions all round

Posing for the cameras

More information about the Butchers' Company connections with Monarchy, Fishmongers & Poulterers as well as their charitable works can be found on their web site. 

British Imperial Military Band
made up of ex-servicemen bandsmen

The happy group of Guides!

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