A curious ritual takes place every April in King's Square as one peppercorn, regally placed upon a velvet pillow, is presented to the mayor of St. George's amid much pomp and circumstance. The paltry peppercorn is the rent paid annually for the Old State House by the Masonic Lodge St. George No. 200 of the Grand Lodge of Scotland. This fraternal organization has occupied the building since Bermuda's Parliament—the third oldest in the world after Iceland's and England's—vacated it in 1815 when the capital moved to Hamilton. The Old State House was erected in 1620 in what Governor Nathaniel Butler believed was the Italian style, so it's one of the few structures in Bermuda to feature a flat roof. Builders used a mixture of turtle oil and lime as mortar, setting the style for future Bermudian buildings.
4 Princess St., St. George, Saint Georgeʼs Parish, GE 05, Bermuda