Swan Upping

(redirected from Swan Upper)

Swan Upping

Third week in July
The tradition of marking newborn swans goes back six centuries, to a time when most of the swans on England's public waters were owned by the queen. Later the members of two livery companies (trade guilds), the Company of Dyers and the Company of Vintners, were given the right to keep swans on the Thames River between London and Henley.
Every year since 1363, the Queen's swan master and the swan wardens of the two livery companies row up the Thames, starting at Blackfriars in the center of London and continuing upstream to Abingdon, and "up" all the swan families into the boats, where they are marked with identification numbers. There are very specific rules governing how ownership is decided, and the six boats, each flying a large silk flag as they row up the river, form a procession that has changed little over the centuries.
CONTACTS:
The British Monarchy Official Web Site
Buckingham Palace
London, SW1A 1AA United Kingdom
44-20-7930-4832
www.royal.gov.uk
SOURCES:
BkHolWrld-1986, Jul 21
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 95
References in periodicals archive ?
"I'm also a swan upper. There are three groups of us, representing the Dyer's livery company (that includes me), the Vintners and the Queen.
When we see a mum and dad swan (pen and cob) with a brood of cygnets, we pick them up off the river - which is why we're called swan uppers - and ring their legs.
Other pubs in Cookham to check out are The White Oak, The Crown, The Old Swan Uppers, Bel and the Dragon and The Ferry.
Located in the heart of Eton, The Christopher is a perfect base to watch this beautiful event when The Queen's Swan Uppers use six traditional Thames rowing skiffs during their journey.
The 'Swan Uppers' take to the water in skiffs and row upstream from Sunbury on the Monday, ringing all unmarked swans in their path, finishing their task at Abingdon on the Friday As well as the Queen's traditionally attired lowers, two livery companies of the City of London--the Vintners' Company and the Dyers' Company--are also entitled by charter to participate in the census and ring their own share of any previously unmarked birds
Schoolchildren were accompanying the swan uppers as they carried out the swan count and health checks.
The Queen's Swan Marker, accompanied by the Swan Uppers of the livery companies, use six traditional Thames rowing skiffs.
Swan marker David Barber has been working with Swan Uppers from the Vintner and Dyer livery companies and the Queen's Swan Warden, Professor Christopher Perrins.