When: 1st June 2016 at 10.45am
Where: City of London
£: Free. The public are welcome to watch the cutting of the rose and follow the procession through the City.
What is it?
The Knollys Rose Ceremony is one of those quirky British traditions which has always fascinated Contrary Life. The ceremony is held annually in June and begins with a rose being plucked from a garden in Seething Lane, in the City of London. The rose is then placed on an altar cushion and taken to Mansion House, where it is presented to the Mayor.
But why you ask? The Knollys Rose Ceremony commemorates an ancient City judgement which dates back to 1381 when the wife of Sir Robert Knollys bought a property opposite their house and turned it into a rose garden.
Sir Robert’s wife built a bridge across Seething Lane to avoid the muddy conditions when she visited her garden. Unfortunately she didn’t have the correct planning permission. So, as a penalty she had to pay with a rose from her garden each year, which was presented to the then Mayor. As Sir Robert was a respected man, the rose was merely a token payment.
The bridge has long since disappeared but the ceremony still takes place today.
Today the ceremony begins at the City’s oldest church, All Hallows by the Tower, where the Knollys family, the Mayor, and the Company of Watermen and Lightermen begin a procession through the City. A single rose is plucked and placed on an altar cushion to be taken to Mansion House, where it is presented to the Mayor.
This year the Knollys Rose Ceremony will take place on Wednesday 1st June.
Entry to the presentation at Mansion House is by invitation only, but the public are welcome to watch the cutting of the rose and follow the procession through the City.
The procession is well worth watching to see the wonderfully dressed Company of Watermen and Lightermen.
Below is a video of this unique tradition, showing the plucking of the rose and the colourful procession.