Did you know...
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.
Under the freemen’s governance, Norwich grew to become England’s second city after London for 200 years – 1525 to 1725.
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.
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.