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Have You Been Sworn?

Have You Been Sworn?

3 September 2011

The Wrestlers Pub, 98 North Rd, Highgate, N6 4AA 


Artist Laura Eldret stages a Swearing on the Horns ceremony as part of a residency at Camden Arts Centre researching the social landscape of the Camden area and its folkloric histories.

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This is a farcical ceremony that became popular with travellers stopping in the many inns of Highgate during 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. It involves an oath confirming one's commitment to debauchery, and the saluting of animal horns, resulting in participants being awarded the title of "Freemen of Highgate".

The Penny Magazine in April 1832 talked of the Swearing on the Horns ceremonies as "mummeries of a past age, when boisterous merriment was mistaken for happiness".

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