ROYAL SWAN UPPING

ROYAL SWAN UPPING

Swan Upping occurs during the third week of July each year when 'mute swans' on the River Thames are rounded up, caught, marked, and then released.  The event commences in Sunbury on Thames and ends at Abingdon Bridge in Oxfordshire. 

 

Traditionally, the British Monarch retains the right to ownership of all unmarked mute swans in open water, but only exercises ownership on certain stretches of theRiver Thames and its surrounding tributaries. This tradition was formalised with a Royal Charter of Edward IV passed in 1482, establishing "How much land he must have which shall have a mark or game of swans", preventing the claim of ownership of swans by "yeomen and husbandmen, and other persons of little reputation".

 

Swan Upping is a means of establishing a swan census through a process of ringing the swan's feet and today also serves to check the health of swans.  During the ceremony, the Queen's, 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 unmarked, except for a ring linked to the database of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

 

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.

 

Check the internet and the local press for details ...