WCB conducts annual Boar’s Head Ceremony in London

WCB conducts annual Boar’s Head Ceremony in London

The annual Boar’s Head ceremony is conducted by the Worshipful Company of Butchers and follows a tradition that dates back to 1343, making it one of the oldest events held in The City of London.

The 2024 WCB Court posed for a photo outside of Butchers’ Hall in Smithfield, London.

The Worshipful Company of Butchers itself is one of the oldest of the 110 City of London Livery Companies, which can trace its roots back to 975 AD, and is ranked 24th in order of precedence.

Every year the Butchers Livery parades through The City streets to Mansion House to present The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of the City of London with a ‘boar’s head.’

This year’s procession was led by Master Chris Wood, who was elected to the role in September last year.

The annual tradition started back in the 14th century when the monks at Greyfriars Monastery complained to the City Authorities that butchers were throwing away “offal and ordure” in the public street.

So, in 1343 said Authorities gave the butchers a piece of land, next to the Fleet (Flete) river to clean their livestock’s entrails and granted them permission to dispose of the offal in the ‘Flete Ditch.’

By granting them this the butchers were required, in perpetuity, to repair and maintain a wharf and render a boar’s head, each year to the Lord Mayor of London at their own cost.

Needless to say the paraded head presented is a reproduction, but The Master of the Butchers still presents a real boar’s head to the Lord Mayor in Mansion House in a private ceremony as payment for a piece of land the Livery no longer uses or rents!

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