The wearing of veils and cloaks for the Service of Commemoration and the Procession through Abbots Bromley village date back to the earliest days of the School. Before 1876, the year when the first part of S Anne's Chapel started to be used for worship, the girls walked in procession through the village to the Parish Church for the Sunday Service.
In time past, it was customary for women to have their heads covered when in Church. It would, therefore, not have seemed strange for services to be attended with heads covered. Hoods were introduced by Miss Lacon, the first Headmistress (1875-1878).
S Anne's Day was always kept at the end of the Summer Term on 26th July. By 1879, the Commemoration Service was part of that festival. Hymns were sung in procession when the foundation stone of the Nave of the Chapel was laid in 1880. Two years later, in 1882, when S Mary’s was founded, the pupils processed through the village to the new school at Bromley House in Bagot Street, wearing their hoods. On this occasion the Choir wore white cloaks with blue borders.
The hymn "Jerusalem, my happy home" was introduced by the Lady Warden, Miss Coleridge. It was sung for the first time in 1887 but it was the hymn "Forward be our watchword" which was sung by the procession as they entered S Anne's Chapel.
S. Anne's Day in 1893 marked the opening and dedication of the S Mary’s building on its present site. The Commemoration Service was held in Chapel, the girls entering as usual singing "Forward be our watchword". After the Service, when they crossed the road to the new building, they sang "Jerusalem, my happy home".
There appears to be no specific reason for the marshalling of pupils by height for the procession. It was not an uncommon practice to do this at schools in the late Victorian period, so it was probably so ordinary as not to merit attention. The earliest photograph of the procession dates from 1905 and the pupils are certainly graded by height in it.
Now that the School is increasingly co-educational, there is a new element to the occasion. The boys are now part of the procession and the old traditions continue to be observed.