Did you know...
The key privileges of the Freemen, the right to vote in elections and trading rights, were swept away by the Reform Acts of 1832 and 1835. The Norwich Freemen still kept Town Close Estate – which is now a charity that gives grants to local organisations.
The freemen paid to build the city walls in the early 14th century. The idea was to defend the city from attack, but it was much more useful for collecting tolls.
New freemen have to swear an oath to be ‘buxom’ to the mayor. This is a medieval way of declaring obedience and loyalty to the mayor.
The annual freemen’s outing is a popular event which now attracts hundreds, including freemen from overseas. Visits are often to properties which have received substantial grants from the freemen’s charity.