Swan Upping


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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 ?
David Barber said the number of cygnets on the river were down on last year as he and his team began the annual week-long survey of their numbers, an ancient ceremony known as Swan Upping.
It means that representatives of the Crown still take part in the strange tradition of swan upping on the Thames along with the two livery companies of the City of London.
"Although I am familiar with the annual swan upping, I've seen no evidence of the royals dining on swans.
Discovering Britain More4, 9pm Maureen Lipman helps tag, weigh and give swans their annual health check as she joins the royal pageant of Swan Upping on the River Thames.
Elsewhere on his travels, Martin meets a snake charmer in Nepal, sees how the bulbul song birds are used in gambling, and back in Blighty tries out the 500-year-old activity of swan upping.
SWAN UPPING Montero celebrates with Shelvey and Jack Cork (right) after heading Swansea in front
And why was Spencer determined to live through the hell of the Balkans in order only to finish his painting Swan Upping at Cookham?
The annual ceremony known as swan upping involves teams of boatmen coralling, catching and marking the birds along a stretch of the river between Eton and Abingdon every July.
Still, there is one event that it would be worth being Queen for - the ancient ritual of swan upping that is taking place this week.
A Royal Charter established in the 15th century enacted the ceremony of Swan Upping to mark the beak all the Crown's swans residing on the Thames.
The five-day census, known as Swan Upping, discovered that the number of cygnets was lower than encountered in previous years.
Upholding a tradition dating back to the 12th century, a flotilla of traditional rowing skiffs took to the waters at Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, to begin the five-day pageant of 'Swan Upping'.