30 May 2019
Beating the Bounds
All Hallows By The Tower beat the bounds of their parish every year on Ascension Day, and this year's ceremony took place on Thursday 30 May. The Master, Clerk, Liveryman Alderman Nicholas Lyons, other Livery Company representatives and various distinguished dignitaries were present and joined the Beating Party on the day.
Beating the Bounds is an ancient custom still observed in many English parishes. Its roots go back to medieval 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.
Along with the aforementioned Livery representatives, the Beating Party was made up of students from St Dunstan's College, Catford, who returned to their roots in the parish of St Dunstan-in-the-East to take part in the proceedings, together with the clergy. The south boundary of the parish is mid-stream of the Thames and the Beating Party boarded a boat which took them out onto the river to beat that boundary mark. They then returned to shore and the procession moved around the parish, stopping at various points to allow the beating party to mark the boundaries with canes as they go. The ceremony was followed by a service of Festal Evensong for Ascension Day at All Hallows.
The assortment of images below were taken on the day.