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The Crown owns all mute swans (the most common of three local species) found on open water in the U.K. as part of a tradition dating back to the 12th century.
There is a legend that the mute swan was introduced to Britain by Richard I in the 12th century, who brought them back from his campaigns during the Crusades.
The guilds are some of the richest and most powerful organizations in London, and since at least the 15th century have been granted the right to own mute swans on the Thames.
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