Beating the Bounds

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News release: 13 May 2019

Residents are invited to take part in the ancient custom of Beating the Bounds with the Mayor of St Albans District on Sunday 19 May.

Mayor Beating the Bounds
The traditional ceremony dates back 700 years to 1327 and involves walking along the 4.5 mile boundary of the City. Along the way, wands made out of willow will be used to beat the ground at significant locations.

In the past, the ceremony was used for people to pass on knowledge of where the boundary lay and to exert their rights as citizens.

This year’s procession will be led by Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Councillor Rosemary Farmer. 

Everyone is welcome to attend the walk which starts at 2pm at the pudding stone in front of Kingsbury Mill in St Michael’s Village, St Albans.

Prayers will be said along the route by the Mayor’s Chaplain, The Reverend Canon Dr Dennis Stamps, Rector at St Nicholas Church, Church Green, Harpenden. Tour guide Stephen Potter will take on the role of Town Crier.

The walk will take around two hours and end at Verulamium Museum with tea and biscuits. Everyone participating in the event will be given a special Beating the Bounds certificate.

The Mayor said: “I’d be delighted for residents to join me in Beating the Bounds on 19 May and help mark the boundary of historic St Albans. This traditional ceremony not only helps reminds us of our rights as citizens but is also a lot of fun.” 

The ceremony has its roots in a rebellion in medieval times against the authority of the established church. 
Following a riot by the townspeople against the Abbot, 24 citizens walked around the town in 1327 to lay down its boundaries. 
They declared their rights and freedoms within this area should be respected and their action has been celebrated since with the Beating the Bounds ceremony. 

Picture: The Mayor, Cllr Rosemary Farmer, prepares for Beating the Bounds

Contact for the Mayor’s office: 
Alison Orde, the Mayor’s Civic Officer 
Tel: 01727 819544 

Contact for the media:
John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, 
St Albans City and District Council. 
Tel: 01727-296130