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Join the historic Beating the Bounds ceremony on Sunday 14 May

Publication date:

Everyone is welcome to join the ancient custom of Beating the Bounds with the Mayor of St Albans City and District on Sunday 14 May.

The Mayor, Councillor Geoff Harrison, will lead a vibrant procession along the boundaries of the City.

Residents and visitors of all ages are all invited to take part in the walk which starts at 2pm at the pudding stone 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 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 City’s boundaries lay and to exert their rights as citizens.

Prayers will be said along the route by the Mayor’s Chaplain, Father Richard Watson, and tour guide Stephen Potter will take on the role of Town Crier. The Mayor’s Macebearer, John Hills, will also be in attendance.

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

The Mayor said:

This is one of my favourite occasions of the year and I urge people to join me in Beating the Bounds.

In doing so, we 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. 

Picture: The Mayor, Councillor Geoff Harrison.

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