Beating the Bounds is an ancient custom still observed in many English parishes. Its roots go back to mediaeval times when parishes reaffirmed their boundaries by processing round them at Rogationtide, stopping to beat each boundary mark with wands and to pray for protection and blessings for the land. At All Hallows we beat the bounds of our parish every year on Ascension Day, and this year's ceremony will took place on Thursday 9 May.
The Beating Party is made up of students from St Dunstan's College, Catford, who return to their roots in the parish of St Dunstan-in-the-East to take part in the proceedings. The south boundary of the parish is mid-stream of the Thames and the Beating Party, together with the clergy and the Masters of our associated Livery Companies, board a boat which takes them out onto the river to beat that boundary mark. They then return to shore and the procession moves around the parish, stopping at various points for the beating party to mark the boundaries with canes as they go. The ceremony is followed by a service of Festal Evensong at All Hallows.
To see pictures of the event, go to the Beating of the Bounds photo gallery.
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