ATV Today: 12.10.1978: Alcester Ale Tasters


Tony Maycock meets the official ceremonial ale tasters of the Alcester Court Leet at work at the Royal Oak pub in the town.





Film type:

Colour / Sound



Master format:



Tony Maycock provides a voice over explaining proceedings about the ancient ceremony in which the Alcester Court Leet test beer sold in all the pubs in town to determine if it is up to standard.

A procession of officials led by the local constable and town crier all wearing ceremonial robes are seen approaching the Royal Oak pub.

The constable knocks on the door and explains that they are the Court Leet and their function.

The town crier rings his bell as a small crowd look on.

Next, inside the pub we see the ceremonial ale tasting and the High Bailiff who reads out the result.

Maycock interviews the unnamed constable who explains his role and then one of the ale tasters (Michael) who says that the practice started in around 1299 and that they have seventeen licences premises to visit.

The Landlord of the Royal Oak is then presented with a piece of ever-green to hang above his door to prove that the ale tasters have passed his beer as fit and the group, back outside, pay tribute to two licensed premises that have closed in recent times and in the final shot are seen walking back down the road towards the next pub.


No credits specified


The tradition on show here was apparently revived only from 1973.