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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Dunham Massey

This morning Jo made a packed lunch and we went and spent most of the day at Dunham Massey, photographing the deer, squirrels, coots, yellow dippers and little grebe. We sat by one of the large ponds and had our lunch. We stopped off at the Swan with Two Nicks for a pleasant ½ of Bombardier each. When we got back to the boat I discovered I had not put my memory card in my camera, hence the lack of photographs!

The Origins of the name "Swan with Two Nicks"

Swan Upping From the 12th century, the monarch has retained the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, but in practice only exercised ownership on certain stretches of the Thames. At that time swans were a common food source for royalty.

Swan upping became the means of establishing a swan census. Under a 15th century Royal Charter, the Vintners' Company and the Dyers' Company, two Livery Companies of the City of London, are entitled to share in the Sovereign's ownership and it is they who conduct the census through a process of ringing the swans' feet.

The annual swan upping takes place 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 are ringed. Those caught by the Dyers and Vintners are identified as theirs by means of a further ring on the other leg. Today, only swans with cygnets are caught and ringed. This gives a yearly snapshot as to how well Thames swans are breeding.

Originally, the two companies made their own marks on the birds’ beaks: one nick for a dyers’ bird and two for a vintners’; today the two Companies use their own rings. This practice provided the name of our pub "The Swan with Two Nicks". This was a 16th century pun, the word "nick" also meaning "neck". Humour wasn't quite what it is today... So we also find a lot of pubs called The Swan with Two Necks.


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