This weekend I was witness to an ancient ceremony that involved a man with a sword, an oath about getting buxom with a Mayor and a lot of chicken drumsticks. And it was all to watch my boyfriend and his family become Freemen of the City of Norwich.
And what on earth is that I hear you ask? Well dear readers- it is an ancient tradition that dates back to medieval times , whereby those granted the honour of being a Freeman were entitled to trading rights not permitted to ordinary residents. Back in the ‘olden days’ the Freemen were the governing body of Norwich, but today their privileges are mostly redundant. Despite this however, the tradition still exists.
We Brits do love a bit of tradition don’t we?
The honour of becoming a Freeman of Norwich is strictly hereditary and until only two years ago was applicable only to male family members. And so it was I found myself in the Norwich Council Chamber on Friday watching my boyfriend and his Sister, Aunt and Mum all get bestowed with the honour of becoming Freemen of Norwich, a honour that has been passed down from Tom’s Grandfather, Philip Armes.
The ceremony involved a number of people dressed in ridiculous outfits, including the town crier who had forgotten his glasses and messed up the opening speech! The Sheriff of Norwich was also there, along with the Mayor and his wife.
All in all the day was a good one, and although it has somewhat lost it’s meaning, it was nice to see a tradition like this still going, and that it has adapted to the modern day by allowing women to apply. Plus, the buffet lunch was cracking. Alan Partridge would have been proud.