The crew of HMS Richmond left her mooring in West India Docks to take part in a 700-year-old ceremony at the Tower of London .

The tradition of the Constable’s Dues dates back to the 14th century, when the monarchy would insist on taking tolls or taxes from ships entering London. Every ship would have to pay their dues in order to proceed past the Tower, with offerings including barrels of rum or wine, or even oysters, cockles or mussels.

The ceremony, which began at 12pm on Monday, May 15, involved HMS Richmond ’s crew travelling to the gates of the Tower Of London from Canary Wharf, where they were challenged for entry by the axe-carrying Yeoman Gaoler.

The crew were marched through the Tower Of London accompanied by a group of Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters) and the band from HM Royal Marines Lympstone, before the Commanding Officer of HMS Richmond, Commander Antony Crabb, offered up a barrel of wine to the Lieutenant of the Tower, Lt Gen Simon Mayall.

As well as providing a colourful spectacle for visitors at the Tower, all participants in the ceremony then headed to the Queen’s House to sample the contents of the barrel.

HMS Richmond is a type 23 frigate, and the seventh Royal Navy ship to bear the name. She has been docked opposite the South Quay DLR station after sailing from Portsmouth on Friday, May 12.

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