If you’re a Freeman (or freewoman) of the City of London, you can exercise your ancient right to take sheep across one of London’s bridges this coming September.

It’s both an ancient right of doubtful origins and a modern tradition of very clear heritage. Whatever the story’s origins that only Freeman could take sheep across London Bridge, the rule, such as it was, is no longer applicable, and the police will take a very dim view of anyone attempting it without permission.

However, the Worshipful Company of Woolmen have resurrected the ancient tradition, and for the past few years, around 600 Freemen have been able to take sheep across either London or Southwark Bridge.

This year, they will be herding sheep over Southwark Bridge.

Having done it before, it’s less herding sheep across the bridge than following the bleating bundles of wool while more experienced farmhands guide them for you. That said, it’s a ridiculously fun thing to do and it’s for charity, which always helps.

Tickets to take sheep across Southwark Bridge go on sale on Monday 20th May at 9am from here, and they tend to sell out very fast, thanks in part to Freemen being able to bring family and friends with them, so they can buy multiple tickets.

The sheep drive will take place on Sunday 29th September 2024.

Although only Freemen can participate, anyone can watch. For visitors, there will also be a livery fair next to the bridge showing off the trades of the ancient livery guilds in the City of London.


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