Master presents Beer Money 2021
22 July 2021
On the last day of term, students at Dame Alice Owen’s School experienced one of the more unusual sides of their school’s close relationship with the Brewers’ Company when they lined up in silence and, one by one, received their “Beer Money” from the Master Brewer.
Actually, the Master, Richard Fuller, presided over two separate ceremonies on Friday 16 July. The first, for Year 7 students, helps to introduce new students to the unique bond between the Brewers’ Company and the School which has existed since Dame Alice Owen herself entrusted the governance of the school to her “friends the Brewers” in 1613. The Deputy Clerk spoke to students about what the Brewers’ Company is, who Dame Alice Owen was and about the long association between the Company and the School. The Master then presented a commemorative £5 coin to each student, in a ceremony whose origins date back to the time when the Brewers’ Company was responsible for ensuring the wellbeing of students at the School by providing them beer to drink – much safer than the dirty water available at the time.
After the ceremony for Year 7 students, the rest of the school also received their Beer Money, although in a much simpler ceremony! Students in Year 8 began by receiving £1 each, Year 9 students were then given £2, Year 10 students £3, Year 11 students £4, Year 12 students £5 and Year 13 students £6. The Head Girl and Head Boy each received £10. This symbolic gesture from the Master to every student at the School has much the same meaning as the gift of beer did historically: “The Brewers’ Company cares about your wellbeing and will support you in your education”.