Keep Calm and Carrion | God's World News
Keep Calm and Carrion
Time Machine
Posted: May 01, 2024
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    Barney Chandler is the new ravenmaster at the Tower of London. (AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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    The ravenmaster oversees his ravens. (AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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    Mr. Chandler feeds a raven at the Tower of London. (AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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    The number of ravens at the Tower of London must not drop below six. (AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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    Mr. Chandler’s uniform bears the ravenmaster’s badge. (AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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Michael “Barney” Chandler’s new job is for the birds. Literally.

This 56-year-old former Royal Marine inherited an important post. Some say the fate of the United Kingdom rests on his shoulders. He’s the official ravenmaster for the Tower of London.

In the 17th Century, King Charles II heard a supposed prophecy. The warning said that there must always be six ravens at the Tower of London. Any fewer, and the Tower would crumble. England itself would be (quoth the raven) nevermore.

“We don’t know if it’s true or not, because we’ve never let the number drop below six,” says Mr. Chandler. “And it’s not going to happen while I’m here.”

Seem a bit silly? Maybe. But it’s tradition. And while ravens live at the tower, they need a caretaker. That’s Mr. Chandler’s job.

Mr. Chandler leads a team of four other guards. They look after the seven ravens on site. (That’s six to make sure England doesn’t fall apart and one spare, just in case.) The birds have names: Jubilee, Harris, Poppy, Georgie, Edgar, Branwen, and Rex.

“You never know what they’re going to do,” Chandler says. “They’re all totally different, personality-wise.”

By day, the birds roam freely around the Tower grounds. At night, they sleep in cages. They eat raw meat. For a treat, they sometimes get a hardboiled egg or a blood-soaked biscuit. (Ew!) The ravens have their feathers trimmed to keep them from flying away. But that didn’t stop one raven, Grog, from escaping in 1981. He was last spotted outside a pub in London’s East End.

God calls humanity to take care of His creatures. For the ravenmaster, that’s a full-time job. How can you help care for creation?

Why? Traditions, even odd ones, can teach us about a place’s history and culture.