Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday 13 March 2024

The Constable’s Dues

Tomorrow, March 14th, the Tower of London will once again see the custom of the Constable’s Dues enacted. This apparently originated, or was codified, in the reign of King Richard II. Originally these rights were extensive and included live animals that fell into the Thames as well as the Constable of The Tower being entitled to a share of cargoes on all vessels entering the Pool of London in recognition of his position as the man responsible for the defence of both the Tower and the City. His customary right was limited to a handful of the cargo or what a hand could carry. These rights have in recent centuries ceased except for the tradition of visits once or twice a year as operational commitments permit by the vessels of the Royal Navy, and, on occasion, by ships of allied navies. On these occasions the ship presents a small barrel of wine or spirits after marching it ceremonially into The Tower and delivering it to the Constable in a ceremony on Tower Green. 

ianVisits reports on the story of this week’s ceremony at A helicopter and boats to perform a rare ceremony at the Tower of London

Wikipedia has an article about the office of Constable and sets out the variety of the traditional dues that were payable at Constable of the Tower

The Internet has a number of illustrated online articles about the ceremony of the Constable’s Dues, each of which seems to add extra facts or detail.

ianVisits has a description of the 2012 ceremony at Attending the Ceremony of the Constable’s Dues

Historic Royal Palaces, who manage the opening of The Tower to the public, describe the ceremony in The Constable's Dues

Hidden-London writes about the event at Constable's Dues

The Forces.net website reports on the 2019 ceremony at The Royal Naval Tradition Of Paying The Constables Dues

The Crown Chronicles has an account at Tell me about... the Constable's Dues at the Tower of London

The Londonist has an article from 2017 at What Is The Ceremony Of The Constable's Dues? 
The London Historians Blog wrote about the ceremony in The Ceremony of the Constable’s Dues

The Daily Express reported on the presence of the Princess Royal and the Secretary for Defence at the 2021 ceremony in Princess Anne attends historic ceremony from middle ages - 'Never become just a symbol'

The Spitalfields News has a piece from 2011 about the Dues at Constable’s Dues at the Tower of London and the East London Advertiser has one from 2019 at Commander of HMS Enterprise rolls out the rum to pay his ‘dues’ at the Tower of London

No comments: