The Peppercorn Ceremony which took place this morning [Apr.27] in St. George’s began in 1816 and is now one of Bermuda’s oldest and most colourful traditions.
Marked by pomp, circumstance and pageantry, the King’s Square ceremony requires the Governor to accept the annual peppercorn rent paid by Freemasons for use of the State House.
The State House was built in 1620 and is Bermuda’s oldest stone building. The landmark was used for the General Assembly of Bermuda until 1816, when the capital moved to Hamilton.
The Government of the day then rented the building for one peppercorn a year to Bermuda’s Masonic Lodge 200 of Scotland, an agreement which continues to this day.
Numerous MP’s attended, and various dignitaries arrived with great ceremony including US Consul Grace Shelton, Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva, Mayor of St. George’s Kenny Bascome, Acting Premier Michael Scott and Governor Sir Richard Gozney. As tradition dictates, the Governor travelled in a Bermuda style horse-drawn carriage.
As the dignitaries arrived, they were introduced to the large crowd of locals and visitors who had gathered for the event in the bellowing tones of the St. George’s Town Crier.
With a Bermuda Regiment guard of honour on hand as well as the Regiment band and members of the Bermuda Police Service, the symbolic peppercorn was presented to the Governor on a velvet cushion laid out on a silver platter. The annual 45-minute Peppercorn Cermemony always takes place in early to late-April.
Photos by Only the Best, click to enlarge: