This year, the British naval ship HMS Westminster will take part in the traditional Constable’s Dues ceremony at the Tower of London. Conventionally, every ship that came upstream to the City of London had to unload a portion of its cargo (usually a barrel of rum) for the Constable and thus enjoy the protection of the Tower guns. This custom can be traced back to the fourteenth century and today, the tradition of the Ceremony of the Constables Dues is still upheld annually.
Commander Tim Green will be at the helm of the destroyer which will moor at Tower Wharf. From there the ancient ritual will begin when the commander of the ship will lead his crew to the Tower’s West Gate, where they will be challenged for entry to the Tower by the Yeoman Gaoler armed with his infamous axe. The captain and his shore party will then march through the Tower of London to Tower Green, accompanied by Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters) in red and gold State Dress and a Corps of Drums, to deliver the keg (representing the “Dues”) to the Tower’s Constable, Lord General Richard Dannatt.
Afterwards, the participants will retire to the Queen's House, one of the few original timber framed buildings remaining in the City following the Great Fire, to sample the contents.
Tower visitors will be able to delight in the colour, noise and spectacle of this unique and long-standing ceremony.