PUBS across York will be put to the test tomorrow when an ancient tradition is performed in the city once again.

Thirteen pubs will be put through their paces throughout the afternoon when the Sheriff of York leads a medieval-style testing of the local drink known as the Assize of Ale.

Members of The Guild Of Scriveners, an organisation founded in 1487 to regulate lawyers and scribes, will be employed on the day as the inspectors, or sergeants.

The Assize of Ale is an event that dates back to the 13th century when a law regulated the price, weight and quality beer in York. The Sheriff’s sergeants toured the city’s pubs testing ales and landlords who failed to turn up were liable to a fine or the pillory, which was similar to the stocks.

The tradition is carried on with fun and fundraising replacing punishments for poor-quality ale and the Guild of Scriveners with their family and friends acting as serjeants.

The sergeants will march from Guildhall to the steps of the Mansion House before sampling the ale in two groups led by the Sheriff, Coun Richard Watson and the Lord Mayor, Coun Sue Galloway.

The first pint will be pulled at 2.15pm at Harkers in Saint Helen’s Square and the Hansom Cab pub on Market Street before the groups reconvene at the Golden Slipper on Goodramgate at 5.15pm.

A Middle Ages-themed feast will then take place at 7pm after the Assize of the Ale where guests will wear medieval costumes to the event at Bedern Hall, Bartle Garth.

Sheriff Richard Watson said: “The Sergeants will test the ale for quality and should it pass, I will present the landlord with a certificate.

Those that don’t meet the strict standards of the tasters will be asked to give a donation to charity along with punters who are encouraged to give all they can.

“We are very confident that we will raise a lot of money for some very good causes.”

All the proceeds made during the festivities will go to charities selected by the Lord Mayor, Sheriff Watson and the Master for The Guild of Scriveners of the City of York, Graeme Robertson.

This year the British Heart Foundation, York and District News for the Blind, Help For Heroes and mental health charity Our Celebration will benefit from all money raised.

Graeme Robertson, Master of the Guild of Scriveners is encouraging as many people to get involved in the event as possible.

He said: “It’s going to be good fun. We will be in medieval costumes and generally making fools of ourselves.”