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Royal Swan Upping

Royal Swan Upping


Swan UppingThe mute swan appears to have been given Royal status in the 12th century and by 1378 there was a ‘Keeper of the King’s Swan.  The first law in 1482/83 ‘The Lawes, Orders and Customs for Swans stated that any swans owned by those who pay less than 5 marks a year Freehold were forefeit to the King. The Dyers and the Vintners Companies are now the only owners of private swans on the Thames.

The first documentary reference to the Vintners owning swans comes from 1509, when the Company's "Under-Swanherd", named James, was paid 4 shillings at the time of the 'great frost' for 'upping the Master's swans', plus a further 4 pence for boat hire at the same time. The Company's right to own swans is generally said to be 'by prescription'.

This specific legal expression implies that the right has been exercised for so long that it has never been challenged. In theory it stretches as far back as 'legal memory' itself, fixed by statute as starting from the accession of Richard I in 1189. The Vintners have therefore owned swans since 'time immemorial', in the correct legal sense of that common phrase.

What is Swan Upping?

Swan Upping plays an important role in the conservation of the mute swan and involves The Queen’s Swan Warden collecting data, assessing the health of young cygnets and examining them for any injuries. Cygnets are extremely vulnerable at this early stage in their development and Swan Upping affords an opportunity to help both adults and cygnets that might otherwise go untreated.

The Royal Swan Uppers, who wear the scarlet uniform of Her Majesty The Queen, travel in traditional rowing skiffs together with Swan Uppers from the Vintners’ and Dyers’ livery companies over 5 days. Swan Upping takes place on the Thames between Sunbury and Abingdon, between 14 and 18 July.

Monday 17th July 2017

Sunbury 09:00
Shepperton Lock 10:45
Penton Hook Lock 12:30
Romney Lock 17:30
Tuesday 18th July 2017

Eton Bridge 08:45
Boveney Lock 09:45
Boulters Lock 13:00
Cookham Bridge 14:00
Marlow Lock 17:30
Wednesday 19th July 2017

Marlow Bridge 09:00
Hurley Lock 10:30
Hambleden Lock 12:00
Henley Town 13:30
Marsh Lock 15:30
Shiplake Lock 17:00
Sonning Bridge 18:00
Thursday 20th July 2017

Sonning-on-Thames 09:00
Caversham Lock 10:15
Mapledurham Lock 12:15
Goring Lock 17:00
Moulsford 18:00
Friday 21st July 2017

Moulsford 09:00
Benson Lock 10:15
Clifton Hampden Bridge 13:00
Culham Lock 16:15
Abingdon Bridge 17:00

Swan Upping

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