Royal Ceremonies and Civil Celebrations

28-30 October 1701   Yesterday the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and City Companies went as usual to Westminster in their barges, and his Lordship being sworn before the Barons of the Exchequer, they return’d and landed at Blackfriars Stairs, and proceeded with the usual solemnity thro’ the City to Guildhall, where there was a splendid entertainment as customary, the Lord Chief Justice and other Judges, &c. being present. There was three pageants, one representing a Maiden Queen drawn in a triumphal chariot by 9 Flanders horses three a brest, adorn’d with plumes of feathers, and each of them a rider carrying flaggs. The gentlewoman in the chariot was richly dressed, and is to have a considerable sum from the Mercers Company as usual on such occasions; when the Lord Mayor is of that Society, the second pageant represented a Temple, and the third a Rock. [Flying Post]

5-7 May 1702   Nottingham, April 23. This day being the solemnity of her Majesty’s Coronation, was celebrated here with great magnificence, the Mayor and Corporation being met about 9 in the morning at the Guild-hall of the said town, proceeded in manner following. 1. Two persons on horseback, appointed as directors of the cavalcade, through all the principal streets of the town. 2. A man with a flaming sword. 3. Hercules represented by a person walking 10 foot high. 4. 10 Officers of the Woods and Meadows, with green wands. 5. Drums. 6. 20 Halberdeers. 7. The Town-waits in scarlet cloaks. 8. 31 Constables with their staves. 9. Trumpets. 10.The Common Serjeant. 11. The 2 Chamberlains, with white wands. 12. The Common Council of 24 in their gowns. 13. The Town-Clerk and Steward. 14. 2 Standard bearers, carrying the ensigns of her Majesty, and the Corporation. 15. The Sheriffs Serjeants with their maces. 16. The Sheriffs. 17. The Coroners. 18. The Aldermen in scarlet gowns. 19. The Mace-bearer. 20. The Mayor, followed by the Gentlemen, Clergy and several hundreds of the principal inhabitants, all in order on horseback. The cavalcade, lasting for about 2 hours, they returned in like manner to the Guild-hall, where the company were entertained with wine, drinking her Majesty’s and Prince George’s health with loud acclamations, which being performed, then went to their several arbours erected in the streets for that solemnity, with great variety of greens and other ornaments, to the number of 60 or more, some whereof containing near 50 yards in length, in which the inhabitants splendidly dined with their respective Neighbourhoods. The rumour of the preparations intended for this day, drew a mighty concourse of people from all parts of the country adjacent, who were extreamly satisfied with their entertainment, being generously treated by the said inhabitants in their respective booths. The day concluded with bonfires, illuminations, ringing of bells, and all other publick demonstrations of joy, an universal chearfulness appeared in all faces, and all mouths were filled with expressions of dutiful affection and loyalty to her Majesty, and hearty wishes for her long and prosperous reign. [Post Man]

23-26 October 1702   The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor, has published an Order against throwing dirt, filth, &c. on the Lord Mayors Day, promising 10l. reward, for seizing any offender. And that no coaches nor carts shall stand in the streets, to hinder the procession on that day. [English Post]







28-30 October 1702   Yesterday being the Lord Mayor’s Day, Her Majesty was pleased to Honour His Lordship with Her presence at dinner; when Her Majesty came to the west-end of St. Pauls, a great number of children of both sexes, belonging to the work house in Bishopsgate-street appeared there, & a youth made an handsome speech to Her Majesty. At the east-end of St. Pauls, one of the children of Christ-Church Hospital made a speech likewise, with both which Her Majesty seemed very well pleased; Her Majesty was pleased to stand in Cheapside to see the procession pass, and then went to Guild-Hall, where Her Majesty was entertained with the greatest joy and magnificence that it was possible for loyal subjects to shew to their most Gracious Sovereign.

It was much doubted in the morning, whether Her Majesty would come, by reason of the indisposition of his Royal Highness, the Prince of Denmark, but His Highness being relieved by bleeding, Her Majesty was unwilling to disappoint the expectations of so many of her loving people. [English Post]

4-6 November 1702   Yesterday, being Gunpowder Treason [i.e. Guy Fawkes Day], the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, with the several Companies, went to St. Paul’s, where an excellent sermon was preached before them: And in the evening were illuminations, bonfires, and all other demonstrations of joy, usual upon that day. [English Post]

5-8 February 1703   Last Saturday being the birth-day of our Most Gracious Sovereign, most of the nobility waited upon Her Majesty at the Pallace [sic] of St. James’s, and an ingenious ode, proper upon that occasion was sung, together with vocal and instrumental musick; At noon all the Tower guns were discharged. In the evening a fine firework was lighted in the Artillery-Ground, representing the letters A. R. and P. G. and likewise VIVAT REGINA, and a percullis, being the arms of the Artillery Company, with a great bonfire of pitch barrels; the Granadiers of that Company being in arms. The streets of London and Westminster were illuminated, and there appeared all other demonstrations of publick joy, that a loyal people could shew to a Gracious Princess. [English Post]

19 June 1725   Thursday the ceremony was perform’d of installing the Knights of the Bath Order, with very great magnificence. The procession was made from the Prince’s Chamber to the Abbey-Church of Westminster, with drums, trumpets, &c. After which, a sumptuous entertainment was provided for them; the Knights dined in the Court of Requests, their Squires in the Painted Chamber, and the Heralds in the Court of Wards. It is said all this finery cost upwards of 30,000l. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

12 March 1726   They write from Deal of March 2, That the day before being the Princess’s Birthday, Mr. Carr, Collector of the Customs at that Port, made an handsome entertainment for the Gentlemen there; and in the evening he caus’d several tar-barrels and combustible matters to be fix’d in a boat, and launch’d a small distance from the shore, and then set on fire: Such a bonfire having never been seen here before, occasion’d abundance of spectators; and during the time of its burning, which was several hours, abundance of loyal healths went round, and a volley of shot at each health, drums beating and musick playing all the while. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

13 July 1732   Saturday, July 8. The Danish dwarf, so much admir’d at Court, is taken into the service of his R. Highness the Prince, who has put him in the dress of a Polander. DP. (Grub-street Journal)

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Royal Ceremonies and Civic Celebrations", 20 November 2001, updated 4 April 2007 <>

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