Payment of Quit Rent

Payment of Quit Rent

September 29
One of London's oldest and most unusual events, the annual Payment of Quit Rent, takes place at the Royal Courts of Justice on Michaelmas, September 29. The ceremony symbolizes the city of London's payment to the Crown for two parcels of land: the first, known as The Forge, is thought to have been the old tournament ground for the Knights of the Templars, who rented it in 1235 for an annual payment of horseshoes and nails. The second, a piece of land in Shropshire known as The Moors, came into the city's possession during the reign of Henry VIII and was rented from the Crown for an annual payment of a bill-hook and a hatchet.
During the first part of the ceremony, the City Solicitor counts out six huge horseshoes from Flemish war horses and 61 nails. He gives them to the Queen's Remembrancer, who keeps them in his office until the following year. During the second part, the City Solicitor demonstrates how sharp the blades of the bill-hook and hatchet are by cutting up a bundle of twigs. These, too, are presented to the Queen's Remembrancer, who is dressed in his wig and ceremonial robes.
CONTACTS:
Visit Britain
551 Fifth Ave., Ste. 701
New York, NY 10176
800-462-2748 or 212-850-0330; fax: 212-986-1188
www.visitbritain.com/us
SOURCES:
YrbookEngFest-1954, p. 137