HMS Richmond crew offers wine in centuries-old tradition at Tower of London

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A NAVAL crew offered a barrel of fine wine to the Lieutenant of the Tower of London yesterday as part of a 700-year-old ceremony.

The crew from HMS Richmond left her mooring in the West India Docks in London to take part in the tradition which dates back to the 14th century.

At the time, the monarchy would insist on taking tolls or taxes from ships entering London and every ship would have to pay their dues in order to proceed past the Tower of London.

A ship would have to provide offerings, such as barrels of wine or even oysters.

During the midday ceremony, the crew travelled to the gates of the tower before they were challenged for entry by the Yeomen Gaoler, who carried an axe.

They marched through the tower accompanied by a group of Yeoman Warders and the band from HM Royal Marines Lympstone before commanding officer Commander Antony Crabb offered a barrel of wine to Lt Gen Simon Mayall, the Lieutenant of the Tower.

The crew of the type 23 frigate has been docked opposite the South Quay District line station since sailing from Portsmouth on Friday.