Monday, 20th June, 1988Trinity College
8 p.m.
Accession Banquet

The President-elect, Secretary and four guests were conveyed by punts from Trinity to St. John's where they met up with the retiring President and Secretary, and other honoured guests. The assembled company posed for photographs in St. John's Third Court before processing along the Cam and down to the riverside opposite Trinity. They were then conveyed across the river to Trinity by punt, accompanied by suitably Elizabethan recorder-music, provided by musicians on the Trinity side of the Cam.

There followed a champagne reception for all guests in the cloisters of Nevile's Court, before Isabel Combes dress as Elizabeth I, led the guests into the Old Kitchens for the banquet. After a photograph of the entire company by Messrs. Eaden Lilley, there took place the solemn accession ceremony. Honorary Vice-Presidents Henry Paston-Bedingfeld, Rouge Croix Pursuivant of Arms, and Cecil Humphery-Smith officiated as David Babington-Smith was officially sworn in as new President, James Sergeant retiring after 2 years of valuable leadership. With the new President and guests of Honour seated at high table, the Banquet began in earnest.

To the accompaniment of recorder-music and madrigals provided by suituably-attired minstrels, guests tucked in heartily to a sumptuous repast, washed down with fine wines and mead. The Old Kitchens, with beamed roof decked with heraldic banners – made beautifully in a very short space of time by Messrs. Babington-Smith, Wilkinson and Little – provided the perfect mediaeval setting for the occasion. A decorated boar's head on high table added a further mediaeval touch. Following the loyal toast and a toast to Queen Elizabeth I, the Banquet itself ended at approximately 11 p.m.

After a short interlude, the new President, officers and 4 guests sampled the peaceful pleasures of Cambridge at night with a punt-ride on the moonlit Cam. The revelry continued until approximately 1.30 a.m., when those still present took their leave of each other, until Michaelmas Term 1988.


In all, a most memorable evening, and probably the finest Society event for years.

Special gratitude must be expressed to David Babington-Smith, without whom the Mediaeval Accession Banquet would not have been possible.

Toby A.H. Wilkinson

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