Swan Upping


Swan Upping

Swan Upping is an annual ceremonial and practical activity in England in which mute swans on the River Thames are rounded up, caught, marked, and then released.

Traditionally, the Monarch of the United Kingdom owns all unmarked mute swans on the River Thames. This dates from the 12th century, during which swans were a common food source for royalty. Swan upping is a means of establishing a swan census. Under a Royal Charter of the 15th century, the Vintners' Company and the Dyers' Company, two Livery Companies of the City of London, are entitled to share in the Sovereign's ownership. They conduct the census through a process of ringing the swan's feet, but the swans are no longer eaten.

Swan upping occurs annually during the third week of July. During the ceremony, the Queen's, the Vintners', and the Dyers' Swan Uppers row up the river in skiffs. Swans caught by the Queen's Swan Uppers under the direction of the Swan Marker remain unmarked, those caught by the Dyers' are ringed on one leg, and those caught by the Vintners are ringed on both legs. Originally, rather than being ringed, the swans would be marked on the bill — a practice commemorated in the pub name "The Swan with Two Necks", a corruption of the term "The Swan with Two Nicks".

ee also

*Royal fish

External links

* [http://www.thamesweb.co.uk/windsor/windsor1999/upping.html The Royal Windsor website]
* [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page4952.asp The official British Monarchy website]
* [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20050719/ai_n14780001 Wardens get down to the task of swan-upping]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Swan-upping — Swan up ping, n. A yearly expedition on the Thames to take up young swans and mark them, as by Companies of Dyers and Vintners; called also {swan hopping}. [Eng.] Encyc. Brit. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • swan-upping — [swän′up΄iŋ, swôn′up΄iŋ] n. [< SWAN1 + UP1, v.] the practice in England of marking young swans with a notch in the upper beak as a sign of ownership …   English World dictionary

  • swan-upping — /ˈswɒn ʌpɪŋ/ (say swon uping) noun British the taking up of young swans to mark them with nicks on the beak as a sign of being owned by the Crown or some corporation. {swan + upping, from up (verb) …   Australian English dictionary

  • swan-upping — piŋ noun ( s) 1. : the practice or process of marking young swans for the owners 2. : an annual expedition for the purpose of the swan upping on the English Thames …   Useful english dictionary

  • swan-upping — /swon up ing/, n. Brit. 1. the taking up of young swans to mark them with nicks on the beak for identification. 2. an annual expedition for this purpose on the Thames. [1800 10; SWAN1 + upping (UP + ING1)] * * * …   Universalium

  • swan upping — noun An annual swan census in Britain in which mute swans on the River Thames are rounded up, caught, marked, and released. See Also: swan upper …   Wiktionary

  • swan-upping — noun the annual practice of catching swans on the River Thames and marking them to indicate ownership by the Crown or a corporation …   English new terms dictionary

  • swan-hop|ping — «SWON HOP ihng, SWN », noun. = swan upping. (Cf. ↑swan upping) …   Useful english dictionary

  • Swan-hopping — Swan hop ping, n. A corruption of {Swan upping}. [Eng.] Encyc. Brit. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • swan-hopping — Swan upping Swan up ping, n. A yearly expedition on the Thames to take up young swans and mark them, as by Companies of Dyers and Vintners; called also {swan hopping}. [Eng.] Encyc. Brit. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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