The City of London, being very ancient has many traditions and ceremonies, and as many of us still like dressing up in livery finery, many of them still happen today.

Many of the ceremonies take place in private and aren’t open to the public, but as they involve processions from Halls to Churches, that can be observed.

So it’s no surprise to be wandering around the City sometimes and run into a group of people wearing furs and lace, carrying something special to a ceremony.

Much better to know when they happen – so herewith, a calendar of ceremonies.

Event Venue Usual Date Confirmed Date
Admiral Phillips commemorative service St Mary le Bow January 21/01/19
Trial of the Pyx Goldsmiths’ Hall 2nd Thursday in February 29/01/19
Sir John Cass service St Botolph Aldgate In January or February
Cakes and ale ceremony Stationers’ Hall Shrove Tuesday 25/02/20
Spital sermon St Lawrence Jewery In March or April 05/03/20
Bridewell service St Bride Fleet Street 2nd Tuesday in March
United Guilds’ service St Paul’s Cathedral March 27/03/20
Stow commemoration service St Andrew Underchaft On or near 5th April every 3rd year 2020
Butterworth charity St Bartholomew the Great Good Friday 19/04/19
Gift of fish to the Mayor of Tower Hamlets Billingsgate Market April
Firefighters Memorial Service City Church to “blitz” Sunday in May 05/05/19
View day by the Lord Mayor St Barts Hospital 2nd Wednesday in May 08/05/19
Festival of the Sons of the Clergy St Paul’s Cathedral May 12/05/20
Pepys commemorative service St Olave Hart Street On or near 26th May 24/05/19
Beating the bounds Various churches Ascension Day, May 30/05/19
Bubble Sermon St Bride Fleet Street 1st Tuesday in June 04/06/19
Trinitytide procession and service Trinity House to St Olave Hart Street Week after Whitsun
Fishmongers procession Fishmongers Hall to St Magnus the Martyr Usually in June
Knollys Rose ceremony Seething Lane to Mansion House On or near 22nd June 17/06/19
Skinners procession Skinners Hall to St James Garlickhythe Corpus Christi Day, June 20/06/19
Election of Sheriffs Guildhall Midsummers Day, June 24/06/19
Jailed and Bailed Central Criminal Courts New ceremony 01/07/19
Vintners’ procession Vintners Hall to St James Garlickhythe Usually 2nd Wed in June 10/07/19
Swan Upping River Thames 3rd week in July 15/07/19
Cart marking ceremony Guildhall Yard On or near 19th July 17/07/19
Doggett’s coat and badge race River Thames In July or August 04/09/19
Christ’s Hospital School procession City church to Guildhall St Matthew’s Day, September 20/09/19
Admission of Sheriffs Guildhall Last Friday in September 27/09/19
Costermonger’s Harvest Festival Guildhall to St Mary le Bow Sunday in September 29/09/19
Sheep Drive across London Bridge London Bridge Late September 29/09/19
Harvest of the sea service St Mary at Hill Sunday in October
Quit Rents ceremony Royal Courts of Justice October
Election of the Lord Mayor Guildhall On or as close to 29th September 02/10/19
Lion sermon St Katharine Cree 16th October 16/10/19
Painters-Stainers procession Painters Hall to St James Garlickhythe St Luke’s Day, October 18/10/19
Presentation of fruit to Lord Mayor by the Fruiterers Mansion House Last week in October
Submariners parade and service Submariners Memorial, Embankment Sunday before Remembrance Sunday 03/11/19
The planting of the crosses St Paul’s Cathedral Usually first Mon in November preceding Remembrance Sunday 04/11/19
Admission ceremony of the Lord Mayor (Silent Ceremony) Guildhall Friday before the 2nd Sat in November 08/11/19
Lord Mayor’s Show Mansion House to the Law Courts Second Sat in November 09/11/19
Service/Wreath laying/HAC march past St Paul’s Cathedral/Royal Exchange Remembrance Sunday 10/11/19
Wreath laying by Royal Fusiliers St Sepulchre Church Remembrance Sunday 10/11/19
Presentation of hat to Lord Mayor by Feltmakers Mansion House November 12/11/19
Presentation of boars head to Lord Mayor by Butchers Mansion House On or near 6th December
City’s New Year sermon St Michael’s Cornhill January 10/01/20
Challenge at the Tower of London All Hallows Church Ascension Day, every 3rd year 30/05/20

This is based on a document given to me by the former Chamberlain of the City of London some years back, and then lost in paperwork until found again last month.

Hording has its advantages!

If you have some more dates to add, or fill in gaps, let me know below:

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2 comments on “A calendar of the City of London traditional ceremonies
  1. george says:

    Grandma took little me to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower. It may be nightly?
    WHO GOES THERE?
    The Keys
    WHO’S KEYS?
    Queen Elizabeth’s keys!

  2. Monthly, the Court of Common Council is held, to which the public may attend; effectively it’s a local council meeting. The’s quite a bit of formality, robes and ornaments, and general flummery. Details are at http://democracy.cityoflondon.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=223

    Separately, each City ward holds an annual Wardmote, usually in March. There’s a bit of ceremony around these two. I think they’re only open to residents (and presumably workers in the business wards), but I doubt anyone checks.

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