Highgate pub drinkers swear on the horns to kiss a pretty maiden or kick a pig out a ditch

A kiss from the prettiest maiden in the pub or the chance to kick a pig out of a ditch to get a bed for the night - these were the two privileges granted to paying pub goers at a historic ceremony.

Dozens took part in the 600-year-old Highgate Village tradition of swearing on the horns on Friday at The Bull pub in North Hill, where drinkers could pay a fine to be granted the freedom of Highgate.

For 50 years, the ancient custom of swearing an oath on stag horns has raised money for the London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy, with Friday’s event raising £148 for the Muswell Hill charity.

The 17th century tradition states that fine-payers will receive a kiss from the prettiest lady in the pub - but if there are none to be found, they will have to settle for less.

Hornsey Round Table society member John Martin, the chairman of trustees who served as a judge on the night, said: “It’s lovely to keep something so old going. It’s great fun and it’s for a very, very good cause.”


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