If you’re a Freeman (or freewoman), then you can exercise your ancient right to take sheep across a London bridge this coming September.
It’s both an ancient right of doubtful origins and a modern tradition of very clear heritage.
Whatever the origins of the story that only Freeman could take sheep across London Bridge, the rule such as it was is no longer applicable, and the police will take a very dim view of anyone attempting it without permission.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 London Bridge.
Last year was cancelled due to you know what and was going to be on Southwark Bridge as London Bridge was being refurbished. As there’s more space on Southwark Bridge, they’re sticking with it this year. The entire bridge will be closed to traffic for the day with designated public access.
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. It’s a ridiculously fun thing to do.
Freemen can book tickets to participate here.
There are also plans for a livery and wool fair on the bridge, with details to be confirmed later this year.