Notice of Retirement from FEW Executive at the Forthcoming AGM

Bedern Hall York, 18 March 2023

Report to the FEW Executive and to the Court Meeting by the VP/DP

FEW business and internal activities have continued to be quiet and are virtually at a standstill with the exception of a few specific enquiries. Gilds/Guilds have been regathering and indicate a restored interest in their activities.

Following an area warden’s concerns regarding the legitimacy of Freedom – for clarification, I have circulated the Area Wardens with two ‘Guidance, Aide Memoires’ to explain ‘Entitlement to Freedom and to describe legitimate ‘Freedoms and Liberties’.

The Working Group, under the supervision of Stephen Healy has formulated (for future Court appraisal) a number of principal changes that may revise and repurpose the current activities of FEW. Clearly, the general lack of enthusiasm within FEW membership indicates that changes are essential.

We, on the Working Group, do not overlook the general expectations of our membership but recognise that considerable changes are necessary if the Association is to survive. In this respect, the Executive may also benefit from fresh input by some younger and brighter intelligence.

At the age of 83 and in poor health, I feel I should now step down from the Executive and I give notice of my intention to retire at the forthcoming AGM. I joined the Association 45 years ago in 1977, at the instigation by letter from Harry Ward our founder. For more than 20 years I have devoted my time on the Executive and feel I should give way to a younger mind. I remain passionately committed to the Freedom and to the future of FEW.

For the time being I have agreed to continue assisting the Working Group until the project is completed. I will continue with my interests about the Freedom and with my considerable archive will continue to be available to any freeman seeking straightforward advice. In this capacity I shall also continue as the Gild Representative for the Sudbury Freemen where I am a Trustee. I also remain as a Conservator of Gloucestershire Common Lands and their Representative on the Gloucestershire Local Access Forum.

My door, telephone, and website ( will always be open to genuine enquiries into rights and customs of Freedom.

My best wishes and kindest regards to all,

Alan Shelley DP/ VP.

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