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The planting of the flag "ad Montem" at Salt Hill, near Eton

The planting of the flag

Artist: Grimm, Samuel Hieronymus

Medium: Ink wash on paper

Date: 1793

Shelfmark: Additional MS 15537

Item number: f.24

Genre: Manuscript

This extract from Magna Britannia [1806] describes the Eton tradition of the "Ad Montem" procession, "This procession is made every third year on Whit-Tuesday, to a tumulus near the Bath road, which has acquired the name of Salt-hill, by which also the neighbouring inns have been long known. The chief object of the celebrity is to collect money for salt, as the phrase is, from all persons present, and it is exacted even from passengers travelling the road. The scholars who collect the money are called salt-bearers, and are dressed in rich silk habits. Tickets inscribed with some motto, by way of pass-word, are given to such persons as have already paid for salt, as a security from any further demands".

The procession was led by the flag-bearer who would plant the school's ensign on the top of Windmill Hill. The money collected was passed to Eton's senior scholar to assist him financially whilst at Cambridge University.

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