Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
At this time Sandwich is Master of the King's Swans and Bailiff of Whittlesea Mere.
"By 1378 the office of 'Keeper of the King's Swans' was in existence and in a document entitled "The Lawes, Orders and Customs for Swans", dated 1482/3, the first law states that all swans owned by those who pay less than 5 marks a year Freehold were forefeit to the King. To own swans was, therefore, a status symbol and also provided a tasty ceremonial dish until superseded by the turkey early this century."
For swan upping on the Thames see...
And in this day and age...
"Police have swooped on a group of East Europeans -- and caught them red-handed about to cook a pair of Royal swans. The asylum seekers were barbecuing a duck in a park in Beckton, East London. But two dead swans were also found -- concealed in bags and ready to be roasted.
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