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Eating: Swans

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MatC
146922.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:45 am Reply with quote

The last swan-keeper to raise birds for the table was Dick Dalley, now in his 70s. He was principle swanherd at Abbotsbury, where he was in charge of “the world’s only herd of managed wild swans.”

He says that he and his colleagues would prepare about six swans a year for the Earl of Ilchester’s dinner table. “They were eaten when they were about five or six months old.” The “top weight for an eating bird was 44lbs.”

Source: Western Daily Press, 1 Sep 06.

 
Flash
146952.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:06 am Reply with quote

In a rather Gormenghast-y tradition the Fox-Strangways family (the Earls of Ilchester) always place their babies in swans' nests, apparently:
http://www.thisistravel.co.uk/travel/children/The-fine-art-ofswanupmanship-article.html?in_article_id=39849

 
Flash
146957.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:15 am Reply with quote

The Queen owns all the swans except in the Orkneys:

Quote:
SWAN meat was a gourmet dish often seen as the magnificent centrepiece for a medieval banquet.

But since those times, when all swans were assigned royal status, it is a dish almost exclusively enjoyed by royals.

The mute swan has been a royal bird since at least 1186 and was formally assigned royal status in the Act of Swans in 1482.

Under the act, any other owners of swans were required to mark their property by way of a succession of nicks in the birds’ beaks.

It was the duty of the Royal Swanmaster to organise the annual swan-upping on the Thames, when the cygnets are rounded up and marked, which survives in symbolic form to this day.

With their royal rank, it became a status symbol to eat swan. It was a tasty ceremonial dish, until superseded by turkey early last century.

Today, the Queen still has ownership of all swans in the UK except in one small corner of the British Isles - the Orkney Isles.

Under Udal Law, the ancient Norse system of inheritance and law, which the Viking settlers brought to Orkney, the swan is the property of the people, rather than the Crown.

The case was proven in 1910 by a Kirkwall lawyer who, accompanied by his friend, the Procurator-Fiscal, went out to Harray Loch and shot a swan. The case went to the High Court and the Crown lost.

Nowadays, Orcadians do not shoot swans, but the principles of the old Norse Udal Law still stand.

The swan is protected across the entire Great Britain by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=296172005

 
Flash
146959.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:18 am Reply with quote

This should get Mat going:

Quote:
A major investigation has been launched by Scotland Yard into claims that the Queen's swans are being stolen in their hundreds by gangs of asylum-seekers who are cooking and eating them.

from the Evening Standard. Huge great url which I can't be bothered with.

And it's not just the asylum-seekers; the Muslims are at it, too:

Quote:
A Muslim man slaughtered a wild swan and tried to eat it because he was hungry during the fasting festival of Ramadan, a court heard.

Shamshu Miah stabbed the bird and bit its neck at a boating lake in a popular tourist resort.

Police found the 52-year-old with blood on his clothes and feathers in his beard when they were called to the West Shore boating pool in the seaside town of Llandudno, North Wales. ...

One of the officers told Miah it was illegal to kill a swan because it was the property of the Queen, to which Miah replied: "I hate the Queen, I hate this country."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=418000&in_page_id=1770

The asylum-seeker story appears to be a myth; detailed rebuttal at www.mediawise.org.uk/files/uploaded/Making%20a%20meal%20of%20a%20myth.doc, which also contains the following:
Quote:
... within days of its Swan Bake story, under the headline ‘Now they’re after our fish!” The Sun claimed that fish stocks in lakes and rivers are down because ‘asylum seekers’ were poaching them. ...

And on 31 August the Daily Star ran a front-page story that would be the subject of further complaints to the PCC. ‘Asylum seekers eat our donkeys’ ran the headline, ‘Police hunt rustlers after 9 are snatched’. ... The story claimed:

Quote:
Asylum seekers have stolen nine donkeys – and police believe they’ve killed and eaten them… The pets – which gave kids rides at a Royal Park – are said to have been stolen by East Africans who see their meat as a delicacy… Officers investigating the rustling believe the donkeys… have been chopped up and eaten… “One of our main lines of inquiry is that they may have been taken by immigrants who like eating donkey meat as a delicacy.


Last edited by Flash on Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:45 am; edited 2 times in total

 
Flash
146960.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:23 am Reply with quote

Quote:
Two livery companies have been granted a special dispensation to own swans, hence the annual 'swan-upping' sessions. During these, representatives of the two companies are allowed one day to catch swans and mark them with either one or two notches on their beaks. Any unmarked birds remain the property of the monarch.


Quote:
The Swan Upping ceremony which takes place every July takes a head-count of all the mute swans on the Thames and marks them for ownership either by the Crown or by the Vintners' and Dyers' Livery Companies, which were granted their rights of ownership by the Crown in the fifteenth century. Technically, the Crown owns all unmarked mute swans in open water, and the Queen only exercises her ownership rights on some stretches of the Thames and its tributaries. Other varieties of swan (Bewick's, Whooper etc.) aren't included in this.


Quote:
If you are invited to a feast at St John's College Cambridge you may be served swan by the same royal favour that allows the choristers to wear scarlet.


Quote:
Unfortunately all the answers have been incorrect.The Crown i.e the Queen has the rights on certain sections of the Thames. In addition two City of London Companies Vintners and Dyers have rights but most of the swans visiting Britain have no claimants of ownership.


Unchecked assertions found at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-21273,00.html

 
Flash
146966.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:49 am Reply with quote

Just in case we do a question on the Queen eating swans I think we should have a supplementary on the lines of:

Quote:
What's a Royal Peculiar?


The answer is nothing to do with swans, but I bet it'd set them off and I can't think how else to introduce it.

 
MatC
146971.  Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:54 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
This should get Mat going:

Quote:
A major investigation has been launched by Scotland Yard into claims that the Queen's swans are being stolen in their hundreds by gangs of asylum-seekers who are cooking and eating them.

from the Evening Standard. Huge great url which I can't be bothered with.

And it's not just the asylum-seekers; the Muslims are at it, too:

Quote:
A Muslim man slaughtered a wild swan and tried to eat it because he was hungry during the fasting festival of Ramadan, a court heard.

Shamshu Miah stabbed the bird and bit its neck at a boating lake in a popular tourist resort.

Police found the 52-year-old with blood on his clothes and feathers in his beard when they were called to the West Shore boating pool in the seaside town of Llandudno, North Wales. ...

One of the officers told Miah it was illegal to kill a swan because it was the property of the Queen, to which Miah replied: "I hate the Queen, I hate this country."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=418000&in_page_id=1770

The asylum-seeker story appears to be a myth; detailed rebuttal at www.mediawise.org.uk/files/uploaded/Making%20a%20meal%20of%20a%20myth.doc, which also contains the following:
Quote:
... within days of its Swan Bake story, under the headline ‘Now they’re after our fish!” The Sun claimed that fish stocks in lakes and rivers are down because ‘asylum seekers’ were poaching them. ...

And on 31 August the Daily Star ran a front-page story that would be the subject of further complaints to the PCC. ‘Asylum seekers eat our donkeys’ ran the headline, ‘Police hunt rustlers after 9 are snatched’. ... The story claimed:

Quote:
Asylum seekers have stolen nine donkeys – and police believe they’ve killed and eaten them… The pets – which gave kids rides at a Royal Park – are said to have been stolen by East Africans who see their meat as a delicacy… Officers investigating the rustling believe the donkeys… have been chopped up and eaten… “One of our main lines of inquiry is that they may have been taken by immigrants who like eating donkey meat as a delicacy.


Yes, a very old folk fable - I did a Mythcon on it a few years back - which I suspect (though have never been able to prove) goes back centuries. The police fall for it every time ... as they do with LSD blotting paper, Bogus Social Workers, satanic child abuse and so on ...

Of course, quite often the story is simply and purely invented at the newspaper; the Standard, did you say? Hmmm ... there's a shock ...

 

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