Recent news

8th May 2017 : Lord Mayor's Parade!

The Lord Mayor's Parade took place once again on Sunday 7th May 2017 at St. Nicholas' Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne with Lord Mayor Councillor Hazel Stephenson and Chairman of the Stewards Committee, Sir Leonard Fenwick, as well as around twenty of the City's Freemen wearing their traditional blue gowns.

29th April 2017 : New cows!

The Freemen of Newcastle are once again exercising their right to directly graze the Town Moor.

The cattle were bought by the Stewards Committee of the Freemen of Newcastle at auction marts at Darlington, Northallerton and Hexham, which was overseen by Ricky Alder, Kevin Batey and Sir Leonard Fenwick.

We have a herd of 30 cattle which are a breed mix of Limousine and Aberdeen Angus, and they are being grazed on Hunters Moor.

25th April 2017 : Swearing in at the Guildhall

Fifteen new Freemen were admitted to the freelage today, 25th April 2017, in front of Lord Mayor, Councillor Hazel Stephenson and Chairman of the Stewards Committee, Sir Leonard Fenwick at the Guildhall, Newcastle upon Tyne.

25th April 2017 : The Hoppings returns in 2017!

Europe's Largest travelling Fun faire returns to Newcastle Town Moor once again 16th - 24th June 2017.

4th August 2016 : Position Statement in relation to the proposed highway works/traffic management scheme The Great North Road/Grandstand Road/Jesmond Dene Road interchange.

The Freemen of the City as statutory guardians of Newcastle Town Moors (the City lung) and all this entails shall respond to any proposals as to highway enhancement when formally consulted upon by Newcastle City Council.

Over the Centuries, partnership working with the City Council has been an integral factor in ensuring the necessary balance between ancient grazing rights as well as those of traditional rights of air and exercise and public safety including footpath/cycleway and highway considerations.

Compliance with the respective provisions of the Town Moor Act l988 are most understandably an overriding consideration.

30th July 2016 : Balloon Fiesta

Newcastle Fiesta is set to be a massive event on Tyneside this summer...

From Friday, August 5 to Sunday, August 7, you can enjoy the summer with all the family as the Fiesta celebrates 800 years of Mayoralty and Freemen at the Town Moor.

An array of hot air balloons will tether throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, with a variety of special shaped balloons.

There will also be a spectacular Glow Night on the Saturday evening, where all the hot air balloons light up in a choreographed musical display.

For more information, check this article on the event posted by Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

27th July 2016 : The Hoppings in 30 seconds...

Here is an interesting time lapse video of the Hoppings created by Kaleel Zibe of the BBC as part of their A year in the life of the Town Moor series.

18th July 2016 : Town Moor beef?

Newcastle MP Chi Onwurah shares her vision for city centre cattle.

Local MP Chi Onwurah took a break from the current stresses of politics to suggest a way to promote a city asset - and its grazers.

The Labour politician was keen to learn more about the prime green haven in the heart of the city centre and took up an invitation from the Freemen of Newcastle to have a guided tour.

She came straight from the Newcastle Pride parade to explore the unique resource while making the most of the sunny weather.

The MP for Newcastle Central, whose constituency includes the Town Moor, was interested in learning about the side of the public space that people rarely get to see.

For more information, check this article on the event posted by the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

14th July 2016 : Lord Mayor 800: Picnic in the Park

A free, family themed event for everyone to enjoy.

Get involved in a variety of fun activities; relax with some gentle Sunday music around the bandstand; and soak up the grandeur and tradition of the Lord Mayor's Parade with the ceremonial horse and carriage.

Activities include:

  • Climbing wall
  • Mini Golf
  • Football Inflatable
  • Ping! Table Tennis
  • Dance performances
  • Tennis
  • Family sports fun
  • Picnic area
  • Lord Mayor's Horse and Carriage Parade

Bring your own picnic or sample some of the tasty food on sale on the day.

For more information, visit

2nd July 2016 : Banners

The 800th Mayoralty and Freemen anniversary banners are now up in Northumberland Street, Grainger St and Percy St.

Look out for your companies coat of arms.

23rd October 2015 : A Year in the Life of the Town Moor

The Summer Programme in the A Year of the Life of the Town Moor series will be broadcast this Sunday, October 25th 2015 at 4:30 pm on BBC Radio Newcastle just after 1630.

The programme lasts around 20 minutes and will be available via BBC iPlayer for a month afterwards.

14th October 2015 : Town Moor Aerial View

In Autumn 2015, the Freemen of Newcastle commissioned MACAW Engineering to fly one of their drones over Newcastle's magnificent Town Moor.

This footage was filmed over the main Moor itself and you can see the other, smaller moors in the distance.

These open grass areas are the green lungs of the city and give the city's residents free and open access to clean, fresh air. The moors are also working farms and Newcastle upon Tyne is one of the only cities in the United Kingdom where it is still possible to find cattle crazing in the midst of a densely populated area.

Newcastle Town Moor : Aerial View from FreemenOfNewcastle on Vimeo.

There is no sound on this video

13th October 2015 : Michelmas Swearing In

Twenty four new Freemen were admitted to the freelage today, 12th October 2015, in front of Lord Mayor, Councillor Ian Graham and Chairman of the Stewards Committee, Sir Leonard Fenwick at the Guildhall, Newcastle upon Tyne.

22nd May 2015 : Images from the Lord Mayor's Parade

A selection of images from the Lord Mayor's Parade, held Sunday 17th May 2015 at St. Nicholas' Cathedral, Newcastle upon Tyne with Lord Mayor Councillor George Pattison and Chairman of the Stewards Committee, Sir Leonard Fenwick.

Update : The Lord Mayor's Parade, Sunday 17th May 2015

The Lord Mayor's Parade will, once again, be held in the Cathedral Church of St. Nicholas on Sunday 17th May 2015 at 10 am, to which all Newcastle Freemen are welcome.

Robing will begin in the Cathedral Refectory at 9.30am. The parade into the Cathedral starts at 9.45a.m in the company of the Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne.

A small number of robes are available.

To assist on the day, parking will be available at Moor Bank Lodge, and transport at 9:00am to and from the Cathedral will be provided.

Last updated on 8th May 2015 by Admin

19th April 2015 : Easter Guild: Swearing in session

The Freemen of Newcastle have had a long association with the Quayside, and in particular the Guildhall; for many years the Quayside was the seat of Government for the City, and the Trades and Merchant Guilds have met on the site of the Guildhall since medieval times.

In recognition of this association and to inform the general public, the Stewards Committee of the Freemen of Newcstle upon Tyne have arranged for a plaque to be installed at the entrance to the Guildhall.

Prior to its installation on the exterior of the Guildhall the plaque was unveiled at the Easter Guild, held on 13th April 2015, by Sir Leonard Fenwick, Chairman of the Stewards Committee.

Sir Leonard said that he was very pleased to unveil the plaque and hoped that it would play a part in ongoing public awareness of the Freemen and their history.

19th April 2015 : Easter Guild: Swearing in session

On Monday April 13th 2015, twenty two new Freemen were admitted to the Freelage of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne in front of Lord Mayor Councillor George Pattison, pictured here with the City Mace Bearer and the Chairman of the Steward's Committee Sir Leonard Fenwick.

11th March 2015 : The Hoppings returns in 100 days...

Newcastle's iconic Hoppings event will be held once again on the Town Moor as it enters its 133rd year.

Rolling into town on Friday 19th June, children throughout the region should start saving their pocket money as the event returns for its 133rd year.

Preparations for Hoppings 2015 are well under way for when the first rides arrive in Newcastle.

David Wilson, Vice Chairman of the Freemen, said: "The success of Hoppings 2014 really showed us how much the people of the North East enjoy the fair. Last year record numbers turned out to experience the excitement and it was great to hear that some families and young people returned several times throughout the nine day period."

"We look forward this year to matching, if not improving upon this success and, hopefully, a repeat of the sunshine and good weather!"

Founded in 1882, the Hoppings is the largest travelling funfair in Europe and sees showmen from all over the UK and beyond travel to the North East for the nine-day event.

To read the full article, click here.

11th November 2014 : Remembrance Sunday Parade, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Freemen of Newcastle upon Tyne were represented at the Remembrance Parade, held at 11 am on Sunday 9th November 2014 at the War Memorial, Old Eldon Square, by members of the Steward's Committee, where David Wilson, Vice Chairman of the Steward's Committee, laid a wreath on behalf of all of The Freemen of the City.

1st September 2014 : Freemen's Magazine : Issue 16

Issue sixteen of the Freemen's Magazine is available to download from the Magazine section of the web page.

6th August 2014 : Town Moor Money Charity Trip to North Yorkshire

The Trustees of the Town Moor Money Charity organise a trip twice a year for recipients of the TMMC, and their friends and family. This year's trip took place on 6th August 2014 and travelled down to North Yorkshire, stopping at Northallerton, followed by lunch in Brompton and then Helmseley. Tea was later served at Coxwold before returning to Newcastle.

Thanks to Ian and Freda Miller for all of their hard work.

2nd August 2014 : Summer Event

This year's Summer Event will take place on Satuday August 2nd 2014 at Moor Bank Lodge.

The gates will be open from 1300 hrs.

We have a whole host of different talents on show for your entertainment, from the brilliant Heart Beat performing a wide range of 60's and 70's music, a Marching Band, Police Drug Sniffer Dog demonstration and Plant Sale, Birds of Prey and a collection of unusual small animals, and refreshments.

1st May 2014 : Swearing in Ceremony, 28th April 2014

On 28th April 2014, the following were sworn in as Freemen of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne in front of Lord Mayor Margaret Wood.

Paul William Anderson, son of Paul Anderson, Bricklayer

Joanne Louise Jackson, daughter of Christopher Robinson, Collier

George Winter, son of Ernest Victor Winter, Cooper

Jennifer Kathryn Arthur, daughter of Nigel Mark Arthur, Cooper

Antony Mark Arthur, son of Nigel Mark Arthur, Cooper

David Madin, son of Patricia Madin, Cooper

Samuel Newman, son of Amanda Newman, House Carpenter

David Elder, son of Leonard Elder, Smith

Helen Newton, daughter of Pauline Lavery Smith

Michael Lavery, son of Pauline Lavery, Smith

Rachel Prior, daughter of Pauline Lavery, Smith

Charlotte Marie Robinson, daughter of Ian Robinson, Taylor

6th March 2014 : Freemen's Magazine Issue 15

Issue Number Fifteen of the Freemen's Magazine is now available for download. Click on the thumbnail on the left or visit the Magazines page to download.

February 25th 2014 : News Flash

We are delighted to announce that Europe's Largest Travelling Fairground, the Newcastle Town Moor Hoppings will be back with a bang in 2014.

The dates have been confirmed as follows:

Fair opens: Friday 20th June 2014 at 1.30pm.

Fair closes: Saturday 28th June 2014 at 11 pm.

Also with the support of the Showmen's Guild nationally, the event will celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain.

January 30th 2014 : Swearing in of Freemen, Christmas Guild

On Monday January 20th 2014, thirteen new Freemen were admitted to the Freelage of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne in front of Lord Mayor Councillor Margaret Wood, pictured here with the City Mace Bearer and the Chairmen of the Steward's Committee Sir Leonard Fenwick.

December 18th 2013 : Moor Bank Gardens

The Moor Bank Gardens were returned to the Freemen of the City on 1st December 2013.

The declared commitment is under way to progress with a site survey with specific attention to inherent dilapidation and options surrounding future use. Where called for the necessary environmental conditions to sustain the remaining species are for the time being assured. All associated revenue costs are being met by the Freemen of the City and essential health and safety works are being actively addressed.

An update will be published in early 2014.

October 29th 2013 : Future of the Moor Bank Gardens

The Freemen of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne are in effect the guardians of the Town Moor and environs. This is brought about via the provisions and responsibility encompassed within the Town Moor Act 1988.

An issue of public interest has arisen since the University of Newcastle upon Tyne determined to relinquish an already time expired lease (refresh outstanding since 2000) and not opted for a more modern commitment that would by necessity require significant capital and revenue investments to sustain an acceptable safe environment in this day and age. This is perhaps understandable as the University no longer has a need to sustain the botanical science element of this particular infrastructure.

A reality check from a good governance and public interest perspective has been undertaken by the Stewards Committee and the future options for the site addressed by the Court of Guild, which is comprised of all Stewards of the Incorporated Companies of the Freemen of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Issues of sustainability are fully understood as well as the wish of volunteer groups to in effect inherit the legacy of this site.

On 30th November 2013, the University shall vacate the site having made a commitment to methodically ensure any plants of scientific interest and rarity are catalogued and safely relocated to other University facilities such as Cockle Park Farm, Ulgham, Morpeth. In addition matters of lifecycle assessment, dilapidations, backlog maintenance as well as health & safety shall be firmed up and more comprehensively understood from a legacy consideration following an occupation that dates back to 1923.

The site on vacation will be made secure with ongoing care and maintenance exercised by the Freemen of the City as an integral part of the overall Moor Bank infrastructure which includes the Lodge, agricultural yard and buildings together with associated paddock/protected zone for infirm cattle.

It does need to be said that ensuring a safe, hazard free environment shall in the first instance be our overriding priority.

In addition, an assurance can be given that all remaining plant species shall be cared for by the Town Moor staff with guidance sought, where called for.

Beyond this, we shall in partnership with Newcastle City Council, continue to work towards securing purposeful objectives.

September 16th 2013 : Summer Event 2013

As summer slowly slides into memory, we've assembled a small collection of photographs snapped at the recent Summer Event, held at Moor Bank Lodge in August when the Sun was shining and the rain clouds stayed away!

Apologies if the selection of images available is biased heavily towards the Monkseaton Morrismen and The Coopers Company. Both of our cameras failed on the day and the pictures presented here are from the limited collection we were able to salvage from various SIM cards! If you have any images that you would be willing to share then please mail them to the admin address on the contact page or post them to the Freemen's Facebook page.

July 1st 2013 : Summer Event 2013

This year's event will take place on August 3rd at Moor Bank Lodge. Gates will be open from 13.30 hrs.

We have a whole host of different talents on show for your entertainment, from the brilliant Heatwave performing a wide range of 60's and 70's music, to Mr Tommy Craggs, the talented wood carver.

There will be a display of Morris Dancing by the Monkseaton Morrismen, also Falconry.

This year, the well known North East Celebrity Chef and Freeman (member of the Ropemakers Company) Mr Kenny Atkinson will be demonstrating his skills in preparing and cooking locally sourced game. Born and bred in Newcastle, Kenny left school at 16 and fell in love with cooking after a stint working with his Uncle in the kitchens of a local hotel. Once he'd qualified as a chef, Kenny went to cook in Greece, then worked his way up the ranks in kitchens around the UK. He quickly proved his worth winning Michelin stars soon after joining restaurants in the Scilly lsles and County Durham. Kenny's heart is firmly rooted in the north-east: his classical British food with a modern twist champions locally sourced produce.

Sunday May 12th 2013 : Annual Church Parade

The Lord Mayor's Parade took place on Sunday 12th May 2013 in St. Nicholas' Cathedral, Newcastle. The attendance was an improvement on recent years with around thirty of the city's Freemen accompanying the Lord Mayor Councillor Jackie Slezenger into the cathedral.

More photographs are available over on our Facebook page.

Sunday May 12th 2013 : Annual Church Parade

Robing begins in the Cathedral Library

Preparing to parade...

Tanners Company

Freemen and the Lord Mayor in procession

The annual Freemen's Church service will take place in St. Nicholas' Cathedral on May 12th. This event as not been well supported in previous years even though this is the only occasion in the calendar when the Freemen and the Lord Mayor appear fully robed in public.

It is hoped this year that the Freemen of Newcastle upon Tyne will respond positively and support the Lord Mayor on this special occasion.

To assist on the day, parking will be provided at Moor Bank Lodge, with transport leaving at 9.15 am. The return journey will commence after coffee and biscuits in the Cathedral.

Robing will take place in the Cathedral Refectory at 9.30 with the parade into the Cathedral at 9.45.

All Newcastle Freemen are welcome.

Should you need to borrow a robe there will be a small quantity available on the day.

Hoping to see you there on the 12th May 2013.

19th March 2013: Swing Bridge Visit, 8th April 2013

From John Oxnard Junior Steward Coopers Company.

I ask all Freemen who were contacted some weeks ago regarding the trip on Monday 8th April (Easter Guild Day) to the Power Room of the Swing Bridge to note the following:

Two groups are attending, the first at 2:15 pm, the second at 3:00 pm. I will make an announcement either at the end of the closed Guild or at the lunch.

Will all those who would like to attend please speak to me at the lunch so that we can make up the two groups, and then arrange when and where to meet.

It would help me greatly if you would confirm by email or telephone at the earliest convenience, to either, or telephone 0191 2363442.

Please note that this visit is operating on a first-come, first-served basis, and we only have 7 or 8 places left to fill.

The visit should prove of great interest to all, whether male or female, and especially to anyone with an engineering background.

13th March 2013: Freemen play their part in saving part of Newcastle's Heritage

From Sky News, Tyne and Wear

Newcastle's 19th century Lord Mayor's Coach will remain in the city and continue to be used for state occasions after it was sold off for 50,000 as part council budget cuts.

Businessman and former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd joined forces with the Freemen of Newcastle to bid for the historic vehicle, which has been in use for around 200 years.

It's expected the horse-drawn carriage will be displayed in the former Military Vehicle Museum in Newcastle's Exhibition Park. The Shepherd family bought the museum building from council and are in the process of renovating it to display their collection of coaches and vintage cars.

Built in 1898 and insured for 80,000, the carriage was previously kept at the Lord Mayor's official residence, the Mansion House in Jesmond. It has not been used since 2006 when the Lord Mayor travelled across the Tyne Bridge for a parade, after which it was put on display at council headquarters.

Sir Leonard Fenwick, Chairman of the Freemen of the City of Newcastle said: "I think every little helps. If the Freemen can do their job in this area then we are happy to do so."

7th January 2013 : Photographs from recent swearing-in sessions, December 2012

Old news...

For news from previous years, please click here