When local woman Emily Ansell Elfer was invited to London’s Guildhall to receive a historic honour last month, it was a double special occasion
That’s because her grandad, Abbots Langley resident James Woods, had the same honour presented to him more than five decades previously.
Emily Ansell Elfer received the Freedom of the City of London earlier this month after being nominated for the privilege by the Worshipful Company of Butchers.
The Freedom of The City is one of the oldest surviving traditional ceremonies, dating back to 1237. Freemen hold a number of traditional rights – including the right to drive sheep over London Bridge; to carry a naked sword in public; or that if the City of London Police finds a Freeman drunk and incapable, they will find them a taxi home rather than throw them into a cell. These privileges are now effectively symbolic.
Emily, an editor of food magazines, received the Freedom at the Chamberlain’s Court within London’s Guildhall. She was asked to state the ‘Declaration of a Freeman’ to the courtroom and to sign the Freeman’s Declaration Book. She was then presented with a parchment copy of the Freedom inscribed by a calligrapher, together with a copy of the Rules for the Conduct of Life.
Emily said: “I feel honoured to have received the Freedom of the City of London and am very proud to play a small part in continuing the traditions of the City. I was nominated by The Worshipful Company of Butchers through my work as a food editor.
“The event was a most enjoyable occasion and was particularly special as my grandfather, who also has the Freedom, attended. I felt very proud to continue the family tradition and to celebrate the day with my grandad, parents, husband and sister.”
James (known locally as Eddie), who received the Freedom back on 15th March 1965 during a successful career in the City, added: “I was very proud to see Emily receive the Freedom. It was a day for the whole family to remember and I have captioned the photo of us together as ‘Old Freeman and Young Freeman’!”