What do you do in your ‘spare’ time?
Last Sunday, 26th September, some, like the intrepid W. Bro. Lionel Frewin of Queen’s College Lodge 6988, Taunton, mix with the great and the good and dress in disguise to drive sheep across a London Bridge.
This year, it was Southwark Bridge that was closed to traffic for the day!
In Medieval times, sheep farmers drove their sheep across London Bridge into the City of London to sell at market. In recognition of their status as local traders, Freemen of the City were excused the bridge toll which had to be paid by others.
Each year, the Worshipful Company of Woolmen uphold the tradition of Freemen’s rights, organising an Official Sheep Drive for Freemen of the City, who come as their guests (still regarded a great privilege!), from among the other 110 City Liveries – W.Bro Lionel, (far right in photo) also being a member of the Worshipful Company of the Makers of Playing Cards, donned appropriate attire and was joined by five others from his Livery, including their Master, resplendent in his scarlet fur-lined robe and chain of office.
RW. Bro. Sir David Wootton, a previous Lord Mayor, and our current Assistant Grand Master, was also spotted in one of the livestock pens!
The whole event has become a great family day out in support of two charities – all proceeds from the Drive and Livery Fair go to the Woolmen’s Charitable Trust and the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Can anyone please help with the breed of sheep being ‘driven’ – because the ‘shepherd’ doesn’t apparently know!
Answers on a postcard please……….
Article by W. Bro Richard Baker. LCO. Queen’s College Lodge 6988
Posted by Andy Baird. PGLS ACO SW.