Honorary Freemen of Gateshead

One of the oldest traditional ceremonies still in existence today is the granting of the freedom of the borough of Gateshead.

The honour dates back to the laws of ancient Rome. Back then it was a capital offence for legions to enter the city in formation, or with weapons, without permission.

This was meant to ensure that ambitious generals did not mount a military coup against the Senate. Similar laws were passed by cities throughout the medieval era, also to protect civic security and rights, even against their own King's troops.

Today, martial freedom of the city is a ceremonial honour.

Those holding the title are:

  • Sister Winifred Laver BEM, 30 June 1978
  • Reverend Father Bernard Aloysius Strong, 30 June 1978
  • Jonathan Edwards MBE, 24 November 2000
  • George Gill CBE, 21 June 2002
  • Brendan Foster CBE, 20 November 2004
  • Mike Neville MBE,12 October 2006
  • Rt Hon Baroness Quin of Gateshead, 12 October 2006
  • Lord Burlison of Rowlands Gill, 12 October 2006
  • Mayor Toru Nishimura, 20 June 2008
  • Bob Moncur, 22 January 2009
  • David Almond, 10 February 2011
  • David Clelland, 10 February 2011
  • Sir John Hall, 10 February 2011
  • Lady Hall, 10 February 2011
  • Ezriel Salomon, 10 February 2011
  • 72 Engineer Regiment, 9 July 2011
  • Professor Paul Younger, 8 November 2011
  • Antony Gormley OBE, 24 July 2012
  • Sune Nordgren, 24 July 2012
  • Alan J Smith OBE, DL 24 July 2012
  • Stephen Miller, 25 June 2013
  • Jill Halfpenny, 7 November 2013
  • Lord David Puttnam, 26 March 2015
  • Anthony Sargent, 26 March 2015
  • Royal Northern Sinfonia, 26 March 2015

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