Monday, 8 November 2010


External view of the Hall; a great survivor from the middle ages.  Picture taken from the Merchant Adventurers' website
Despite the opportunity to celebrate Guy Fawkes, one of York's sons,  the Merchant Adventurers of York went ahead and celebrated their annual Venison Feast on Friday.  Incidentally this was yet another oportunity to repeat the old saying that Guy Fawkes was the only man ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions.

The Venison Feast is held in their magnificent medieval hall in the city that has been in continuous use by the Company since its construction in the 1360s.  For more details go to

I was one of the London Masters, led by the Master Mercer, Sir David Clementi, attending.  The dinner took its traditional form including a sample of the venison being brought before the Governor, the equivalent title of Master, for his approval.  The Governor, Richard Haynes, gave his unqualified agreement and the venison was the centrepiece of an excellent meal.

David Clementi, as is custom for the Master Mercer, was also admitted as an honorary member of the Merchant Adventurers as the company was principally one of mercers five hundred years ago.  In livery company historical terms this is a mere eyeblink away.

The response to the Governor and the Company was given by Professor David Wormesley, Thomas Warton Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford.  I was pleased to note that in his wide-ranging and amusing speech he mentioned he had been a Drapers' Company Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1981.

At the end of the meal we reurned to the undercroft where excellent Yorkshire Bitter was on offer.

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