The City of London Ward Beadles
(a) To associate the Ward Beadles of The City of London for consideration of matters concerning their duties and responsibilities.
(b) To promote, enhance and protect the office of Ward Beadles.
Apart from the ‘Ward Mote’ the Beadles attend on the Aldermen at the seven great ceremonial occasions of the Civic Calendar.
1. The United Guilds Service at St Paul’s
This is the most recent ceremony dating from the period of our nation’s greatest peril during the Second World War; all of the Livery Companies and their Livery men attend this in mid-March. The address is always given by a senior Bishop, recently the Cardinal of England.
2. The Spital Sermon
This is a short Service, held sometime between April and May, in the Guildhall Church of St Lawrence, Jewry for the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and Aldermen only. It was instituted by the boy-king Edward VI in 1543 and marks the foundation of two ‘hospitals’:- Bridewell and Christ’s Hospital which are in fact schools. The Head Boy or Girl reads one of the Lessons.
3. Midsummer 'Common Hall' at Guildhall
This is for the Livery to Elect the two Sheriffs, on Mid Summers Day, effectively the Lord Mayor’s assistants. The Sheriffs live in the Old Bailey for their year of office with the senior judges and entertain them and deputise for the Mayor within the City at social functions.
4. The Admission of the Sheriffs
This is held in Guildhall on the day before the election of the new Lord Mayor; it is attended oly by the Aldermen and Lord Mayor and current Sheriifs to watch the swearing-in of their replacements who had been elected some months before
5. Michaelmas 'Common Hall' at Guildhall
On the 29th September the Livery Elect two persons who have served as Sheriff and are Aldermen, one of whom is then chosen by the Aldermen, in private, to become Lord Mayor. He is then presented to the assembled Livery in Guildhall.
6. The 'Silent Ceremony' at Guildhall
This is the ceremony of admission of the new Lord Mayor. The symbols of office are withdrawn from the previous incumbent and presented to the new one. The ceremony is very complicated and is done in complete silence, before the Aldermen and invited persons. It takes place the day before the Lord Mayor’s Show
7. The Lord Mayor's Show
This is officially called the ‘Presentation of the Lord Mayor and Procession to the Royal Courts of Justice’. Although the general public think this is done for their entertainment, in fact what it is for, since the time of King John when the citizens first chose their own Mayor, is to present him to the Queen’s representatives so that she can be told who he is. These are the Lord Chief Justice and the senior judge at the Royal Courts who is called the Queen’s Remembrancer. Originally, this was done in state barges on the river, they rowed to Westminster Hall, which was the original royal courts. When the present building opened at the end of The Strand in 1868 the procession moved to the street, but the celebratory groups and tableaux are still said to be carried on ‘floats’.
The Beadles Calendar and the Ceremonies of the City of London
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The City of London Ward Beadles (founded 1895)