Beating of the Bounds – Sunday 5th May!

Annual Community Procession around Leyton Marshes

Sunday 5th May 2013


Meet from 12.00 noon for lunch, with willow-stripping and dressing,

at the Hare & Hounds pub, 278 Lea Bridge Road, Leyton E10 7LD

(affordably-priced Sunday roasts, light meals & bar snacks are available.  Buses 48, 55, 56, 58.158)

or simply gather for the Community Procession at 2.15pm in the
Princess of Wales car park by Lea Bridge, 146 Lea Bridge Road E5 9RB.

Residents of Leyton, Walthamstow and Clapton will again be celebrating the ancient tradition of Beating the Bounds on Rogation Sunday, which in 2013 falls on 5th May.

Once a year, in many parts of Britain, local residents walk around defined areas of land to re-establish ancient rights of common or simply to mark significant boundaries, such as those of a Parish, Village Green or ancient Manor.  Before maps existed, this was done so that children and newcomers could have important local landmarks pointed out to them.

Often this custom takes place during Rogationtide, when prayers used to be offered for the fertility of the land and a good harvest.  Stripped willow sticks, sometimes bedecked with flowers and ribbons, are usually carried.  In some areas, girls have their fingers pricked and boys are beaten with sticks or thrown into hedges (we don’t do this!) or get turned upside-down to have their heads bumped on boundary markers – ‘to imprint the location on their minds’! (This is done, but only with the child’s and carer’s permission).

Modern maps show boundaries, but seldom mark the thousands of Common Lands in Britain which survive from the Middle Ages or before.  Even when they do, all too often our precious open spaces suffer encroachment or get built upon.  This is a growing threat in Outer London.  By carrying on this ancient tradition we hope to encourage people to become more aware of and to care for our ancient green spaces and Lammas Lands.

The perambulation in the afternoon will be along the southern boundary of the Leyton Lammas Lands as they were in 1837, when Queen Victoria came to the throne, before the railway line and the filter beds were built on the marshes.  Boundsmen will follow the River Lea, crossing the railway line to pick up the Dagenham Brook which marked the boundary of the original Leyton Levels.  The distance is about two miles and the route is not difficult, but does involve several sets of steps so it is unsuitable for heavy baby-buggies, the mobility-impaired or wheelchair users.

Fitter, intrepid and determined Boundsmen may also choose to continue along the more demanding route around the northern boundary of Leyton Marsh in the early evening, after a refreshment break at the Waterworks Visitors’ Centre or the Hare & Hounds.

Please wear stout, sensible footwear and suitable clothing.  Please bring water to drink if the weather is warm.  Children and well-behaved dogs are very welcome! (Please note that dogs, except  guide dogs by arrangement, are not allowed inside the Hare & Hounds as there are two pub cats!)

More information:

For information about the Beating the Bounds walk tel: 0790 415 9398



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