The modern tradition: a new concept of history

At the request of several blog readers, here is a revised, re-post of the article submitted earlier as part of the former Dere Street Barristers Blog.

 Photo by

 In 1385 by Royal Ordinance, York acquired its very first legal counsel, the ‘Recorder of York’ – a gentleman “with knowledge of the law and of good reputation”.

In the intervening 627 years this fact has been obscured by the passage of time and memory.

In 2012, York gained its first national grouping of barristers-at-law, with over 100 resident gentlemen and ladies with knowledge and practice of the law.

What better reason than to start a new tradition:

the ‘ Barristers’ Annual Procession’.

About the Idea

Inspired by C J Sansom’s Sovereign, recalling King Henry V111’s 1541 progress from London to York, the Barristers’ Annual Procession is proposed as a secular celebratory event to mark the important and cherished relationship between the City, the Bar and the Judiciary of York.

On a selected Saturday morning annually, robed barristers, lead possibly by the York Waits, would conduct an annual procession from Toft Green (formerly Kings Toft) and Bar Lane to Micklegate Bar, to ascend the city walls. Travelling west, they descend at Skeldergate, crossing Terry Avenue (reminding us of our late colleague Robert Terry) on Bishopsgate Bridge, turning north into Tower Street to cross over to the Eye of York.

On the steps of the Crown Court would be the current incumbent of the Ordinance – the Recorder of York, flanked by the Sheriff of York, Under Sheriff and Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police. The senior barrister present would present their respects to the Recorder of York together with a white rose, marking the preservation and protection of the rule of law for York for the coming year.

Following the ceremony, the Recorder, Sheriff, Under Sheriff & Chief Constable would be invited as guests to luncheon at the Merchant Adventurers Hall, Fossgate.

Members of the Bar should see this idea as an opportunity to build and maintain professional relationships – with the city, with each other, and with personal guests.

Guests for the luncheon could include chosen solicitors, spouses or partners, seated by ‘Inns of Court tradition’, in messes of four.

Whilst the luncheon would be a private affair, the procession and ceremony at the Eye of York should be a very public event. Local press and outside broadcasting would be invited to capture the occasion, and the City of York Council encouraged to publicise it as a York annual event in their calendar. Departure from Toft Green may be collaborative with York Brewery, marking the importance of the merchants of York to the historic peace-keeping role.

Such an event would afford members of the bar an opportunity to show thanks to their solicitors for their support over the previous year, and to maintain both civic and social bonds that are so essential for the future of the Bar.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s