In the 14th century Sir Robert Knollys built a footbridge to connect two properties he owned on either side of Seething Lane in the City of London. Building the bridge breached city regulations and he was fined. However, in recognition of his military service in France the fine imposed was undemanding. He, and his descendants, had to present a red rose from his garden to the lord mayor every Midsummer’s Day.
To this day, every 24 June churchwardens at All Hallows-by-the-Tower carry a red rose to the Mansion House on an altar cushion, where it is presented to the lord mayor together with a bouquet of roses for the lady mayoress.
Answered by: Nick Rennison