Vintners' Procession

Vintners' Procession

Thursday after July 4
The Worshipful Company of Vintners (Winemakers) of the city of London holds its annual procession on the Thursday following July 4, the Feast of the Translation of St. Martin. Starting at 5:30 p.m., they walk from the Vintners' Hall in Upper Thames Street to the church of St. James, Garlickhythe. Two wine porters, dressed in top hats and white smocks and carrying birch brooms, lead the procession, sweeping the road of any "foulness" so that Company officials don't slip or soil their fur and velvet robes—the type of event that occurred more often in 1205, when a court order decreed that the roads be swept first and that the Master, Wardens, and Brethren be provided with herbal nosegays to sniff so they wouldn't be offended by any "noxious flavours or other ill vapours."
The Company of Vintners was once one of the wealthiest and most influential of London's ancient guilds or livery companies. Today it has the right to export and import all spirits from and to the Port of London, or anywhere within a three-mile limit.
CONTACTS:
Worshipful Company of Vintners
Vintners' Hall, Upper Thames St.
London, EC4V 3BG United Kingdom
44-20-7236-1863; fax: 44-20-7236-8177
www.vintnershall.co.uk
SOURCES:
EngCustUse-1941, p. 115
FolkCal-1930, p. 151
YrbookEngFest-1954, p. 94
YrFest-1972, p. 150
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