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Swan Upping

The Vintners' Company's ownership of swans and the annual 'swan upping' takes place on the River Thames in July each year. The Company's right to own swans is generally said to be 'by prescription'. This specific legal expression implies that the right has been exercised for so long that it has never been challenged. In theory it stretches as far back as 'legal memory' itself, fixed by statute as starting from the accession of Richard I in 1189.

The Vintners have therefore owned swans since 'time immemorial', in the correct legal sense of that common phrase. Read more at

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