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Join the historic Beating the Bounds ceremony on Sunday 12 May

Publication date:

Everyone is welcome to take part in the ancient custom of Beating the Bounds with the Mayor of St Albans City and District on Sunday 12 May.

The Mayor, Councillor Anthony Rowlands, will lead a vibrant procession perambulating along the historic boundaries of the City.

Residents and visitors of all ages are all invited to take part in the leisurely walk which starts at 2pm at the puddingstone in front of Kingsbury Mill in St Michael’s Village.

The traditional ceremony dates back almost 700 years to 1327 and involves walking along the 4.5-mile boundary of the City. 

During the event, wands made 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 City’s boundaries lay and assert their rights as citizens.

The Mayoress, Annie Stevenson, will join the walk along with the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Josie Madoc and her husband Rhys.

Tour guide Elizabeth Eastwood will take on the role of Town Crier and the Mayor’s Macebearer John Hills will also be there.

The walk will take around two hours and everyone who completes it will be given a special Beating the Bounds certificate.

The Mayor said:

I have been looking forward to this occasion since becoming Mayor a year ago. It will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of my civic year which has had All Ages Together as its theme.

Beating the Bounds is a wonderful, inclusive event, open to all the generations and I would urge people to join us.

In doing so, they will be keeping alive a St Albans tradition that dates back centuries. Not only will we be connecting with our past, but we will also have a lot of fun along the way.

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.

Pictures: The Mayor, Cllr Anthony Rowlands, with the Mayoress, Annie Stevenson, at the puddingstone.

Contact for the media: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, 01727-819533,