Friday, 25 May 2012

Admission of Freemen and Freewomen of the City: Invitation



The Court of Admission 2011
Lancaster City Council is delighted that 2012 will introduce a major change to one of its most long standing traditions, when women can be admitted as Freewomen in all four categories of application.

Each year Lancaster City Council continues the longstanding custom of admitting new Freemen of the city.

Traditionally the honour of becoming a Freeman carried a number of privileges including the right to ‘pasture a limited number of beasts’ on the Marsh, to enter the city free from the payment of tolls and also to bring goods through toll gates for sale at the Lancaster Market.
Nowadays the role carries few rights, but remains popular amongst those who are proud of their heritage.

Changes in inheritance legislation saw the admission of women as daughters of Freemen in 2011, and work was undertaken to confirm a change to the rules to allow women to be admitted into the remaining three categories (see previous story).

In order to mark this historic event, the Mayor hopes to welcome 60 new Freemen and Freewomen at a ceremony in Lancaster Town Hall - a number which is significant this year to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Why is this relevant? Admission involves swearing an oath of loyalty to the head of state and the chain of command down to City Council. There is also a rider requirement to report secret gatherings of insurrectionists if they should come across any. Of course in Lancaster they mostly advertise nowadays.

The four categories of admission are as follows:

To be the son or daughter of a Freeman or Freewoman.
To have served an apprenticeship to a Freeman or Freewoman of the City for a period of seven years.
To have been born within the old city boundaries.
To have lived within the old city boundaries for a period of 7 consecutive years.
In each case, the applicant has to be at least 16 years of age.

Anyone interested in becoming a Freeman or Freewoman should contact the Mayor’s Office, Town Hall, Lancaster, LA1 1PJ for an application form, by telephoning (01524) 582070 or by sending an email to  lvines@lancaster.gov.uk, who, incidentally, was one of Lancaster's first Freewomen, admitted as the daughter of a Freeman in 2011.

Applications should be submitted by the end of June.

The Court for the Admission of Freemen and Freewomen will take place at 10am on Saturday July 14 at Lancaster Town Hall.

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