Did you know...
Ed Balls’ ancestors were Norwich Freemen between 1404 and 1913, but the succession has lapsed and he is no longer eligible.
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.
It’s an old tradition that freemen had the right to be hanged with a silk noose!
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.