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Friday, 14 May 2010

Beating the Bounds

Another of those quirky English customs took place yesterday. Beating the bounds is an ancient custom observed by Parishes in medieval times and still practised by many.
In the days when maps were a rarity the local priest, wardens and a group of boys armed with birch or willow boughs would literally beat the ground marking the boundaries of their Parish. The boys would often be at the receiving end of these boughs. The object being to ensure that the boundaries would continue to be protected.

The city of London boundary extends to the middle of the Thames. This involves the party piling into a boat and beating the water.

NB: No boys were beaten in the marking process in 2010.

7 comments:

Ania said...

The quirkiest for me are the straight forward names of those customs. Instead of some St. patron day or whatever it is what it says - Beating the bounds.
;)

B SQUARED said...

Now this is a strange custom.

Anna said...

I love how the old traditions are still carried out today even if they no longer make sense.

Sharon said...

Phew...so glad to hear that last line. I love how these old traditions have been preserved even if they are obsolete.

Teresa said...

I love quirky old English traditions and how they hold onto them so dearly.

T. Becque said...

That's interesting. I stumbled upon something last May when I was in St. Jame's Park near the guard's museum. A bunch of guards came out (dressed in red) followed by a large group of men wearing black suits and hats, and carrying canes. They had medals pinned on their chests. Never did find out what it was, but I assumed perhaps some sort of veteran's parade?

Leif Hagen said...

It's wonderful to see those old traditions and the fancy, red outfits which those fellows wear!

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