What Is The Ceremony Of The Constable's Dues?

What Is The Ceremony Of The Constable's Dues?

Ever heard of the Ceremony of the Constable's Dues? It's held on an occasional basis at the Tower of London. It originated in the 14th century when, under Richard II, it was decided that any large Navy vessel which travelled upstream to the Tower must pay a levy to the Constable.

This takes the form of a barrel of rum and is one of a raft of lucrative privileges enjoyed by the Tower’s constables for use of the Thames or London Bridge, the underlying principle being that the Tower provides protection to visitors.

Commander Higham addresses the reception party.

In April 2015, it was the turn of HMS Defender — a Class 45 Destroyer — to pay the Dues. Led by Commander Stephen Higham and supported by the band of the Royal Marines, the sailors delivered the barrel to the current Constable, the Lord Dannatt, formerly commander in chief of the British Army.

The Band of the Royal Marines

Visitors to the Tower were clearly delighted at this unexpected treat. Find out more on the Constable’s Dues.

This article originally appeared on London Historians. You can become a London Historians member here.

Constable of the Tower, the Lord Dannatt, speaking to the media.

Last Updated 24 August 2017