The Royal Courts of Justice in London is home to a special ceremony in October of each year, with the city representative solemnly handing over to the Queen’s Memorial Guard (an existing post in the English Royal Court, currently a lady named Barbara Janet Fontaine) knife, an ax, six horseshoes, and 61 angles. The latter examines the blade and knife edge; the former must be sharp, the latter must be dull, tested by cutting a peanut butter. If it’s with the ax and no knife, then it’s okay. “good service,” according to the centuries-old tradition, says the queen’s representative, then counts the “good number”, meaning a good number, and he has been able to rent two enigmatic properties for a year.
The weird ceremony is the payment of the annual rent for a piece of land and a forge, which has been renting the city of London since 1211, ie more than 800 years ago. The rent is governed by the contract then concluded until today, and will continue until the monarchy exists. The bizarre tradition is further enhanced by the fact that for centuries nobody knows where these two real estates are, so of course, no one really owns and who uses them. But this tradition is still alive, and the English are not famous for being caught up in small things that a tradition has no practical meaning.
One of the hired areas is that it is called “moors”, that is, it is called swampland in the Middle Ages, but its exact location is not specified. As the nearby mires have been dug up and built long ago, the name itself does not help much. To know more about the other rent, it is a forge that served the knights ‘tournaments of the royal court in the 13th century, where the knights’ armor was hunted and they hunted their horses. The exact location here is unknown, but according to contemporary descriptions, it was close to the Thames, roughly in the triangle defined by Covent Garden, St. Paul Cathedral and Waterloo Bridge.
There is also a third, almost old royal estate in London, which is less blurry with a hairline, but equally weird: it is no other than the former city of Southwark, traditionally owned by the Queen. Southwark is today a central district of London right on the south bank of the River Thames with attractions such as the London and Tower Bridge, the Shard Skyscraper, the Tate Gallery, or the former theater of Shakespeare, the Globe. Since 1327, London has been paying a symbolic 11 pounds a year for rent to the Queen for 1327, actually for her own downtown.