Why the London Government Pays the Queen An Axe, a Knife, 6 Horseshoes and 61 Nails Every Year



Every October at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, a bizarre ritual is carried out. That’s when an axe, a knife, six horseshoes and precisely 61 nails are given to the Queen’s treasurer as taxes on two pieces of property that came into the crown’s possession in 1211 and 1235. The two parcels have been part of the crown’s holdings for so long that no one knows exactly where they are. The tax rate on them, however, hasn’t changed for centuries. One piece of property, known simply as The Moors, is quite far from London in Shropshire, England. Rent for this is a knife and an axe. The second piece of property is near the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The rent on this property was and still is six horseshoes and 61 nails. The yearly ceremony is rarely reported upon and not heavily attended by the public. Still, it's a centuries-old ceremony that has been in place for English monarchs.