The Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen will swap the Yorkshire Dales for the big city when she leads the annual City of London Sheep Drive.
The ancient tradition of herding sheep over the Thames and into the City will take place on Sunday September 26, and for the 2021 edition will support the Worshipful Company of Woolmen’s Charitable Trust and Lord Mayor’s Appeal.
Author of four books and star of Channel 5’s Our Yorkshire Farm, Owen will accompany the Lord Mayor of London, The Right Honourable William Russell, and hundreds of the City’s Freemen, becoming river shepherds for the day to invoke a centuries-old right to drive sheep over into the Square Mile.
Now into its ninth year, City of London Sheep Drive will unfold on Southwark Bridge, which will be traffic-free for the day. Past editions have been held over London Bridge, but this year there’s a fresh field for sheep to frolic in.
The accompanying Livery Fair will include many of the City’s Liveries demonstrating their skills from trades, ancient and modern, alongside a range of wool related stalls selling products that showcase the enduring relevance of wool as a sustainable and versatile material.
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Alderman Sir David Wootton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Woolmen, said: “We are delighted to welcome Amanda Owen to shepherd our sheep expertly over Southwark Bridge. As we re-enact this ancient tradition, amidst Livery Fair displays, I’m sure the Livery’s long-standing contribution to the fabric of the City and wider community through trade and philanthropy will resonate with us all.
“Wool, with its the enduring and sustainable qualities, being just one of those trades, is as relevant to our needs today as it was centuries ago.”
Owen is equally enthusiastic about the significance of the latest City of London Sheep Drive.
She added: “When the Sheep Drive & Livery Fair invited me to be their guest, saying yes was an easy decision to make. This event is so prestigious to be involved in, one which carries years of history and I’m so proud to be able to lead the first drive of sheep across Southwark Bridge. Sheep are central to my life and this celebration of them will be a day to remember.”
Cover image: Yorkshire Agricultural Society