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Beating the bounds of Chawton

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In former times when maps were rare, it was usual to make a formal tour of the parish boundaries. The priest of the parish with the churchwardens and the parochial officials, headed a crowd of boys who, armed with green boughs, usually birch or willow, beat the parish boundary markers with them. Sometimes the boys were themselves whipped, or even violently bumped on the boundary stones to make them remember. The object of taking boys is supposed to ensure that witnesses to the boundaries, should survive as long as possible.

The ceremony had an important practical purpose. Checking the boundaries was a way of preventing encroachment by neighbours; sometimes boundary markers would be moved, or lines obscured and a folk memory of the true extent of the parish, was necessary to maintain integrity of borders.

In England the custom is as old as Anglo-Saxon days, as it is mentioned in the laws of Alfred the Great and Aethelstan, however it could go back as far as the Vikings, or even the Romans who had a festival – Terminalia – in honour of Terminus, the god of landmarks.

It is some time since we ‘beat the bounds’ of Chawton, so this coming October, on Saturday 2nd, we will be doing what Chawtonians have been doing for centuries.
We will start mid morning from the entrance to Chawton House drive, with lunch at the Greyfriar before the second half of our 11 mile walk.

It is a fun day out, good exercise too, and a chance to meet your fellow villagers.

Nearer the date I will confirm the exact time of departure.

Tony Day
01420 561484

 
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Upcoming Events

  • Children's Gardening Workshop (ages 5-11) - Chawton House Library
    April 12, 2017 (10:00 - 12:00)

    Children's gardening workshop at Chawton House Library. As part of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) National Gardening Week, we invite children (ages 5-11) to take part in gardening activities, including planting a small pot to take away. Price...

  • Chawton WI - Working with Chocolate
    April 12, 2017 (19:30 - 21:30)

    Chawton WI are holding a working with chocolate session.

    Come along to a delicious edible demonstration at Chawton Village Hall

  • Easter Children’s Orienteering Trail - Chawton House Library
    April 16, 2017 (All Day)

    Enjoy the Easter weekend at Chawton House Library with a special orienteering trail. Explore our Wilderness to find the 10 animal markers using the map. Write down what animal silhouettes you find. If your child gets all 10, you can treat them to free...

  • Garden Tour - Chawton House Library
    April 23, 2017 (14:00 - 15:00)

    Join Garden Manager Andrew Bentley for a guided tour of the gardens.  Hear about the history of the grounds, including period features, such as the 'wilderness' and 'ha-ha', along with the walled kitchen garden built by Jan Austen's brother Edward.  The...

  • Estate Rambles - Chawton House Library
    May 07, 2017 (08:30 - 10:00)

    Explore the Chawton House Library estate in the company of our Garden Manager, Andrew Bentley. Find out more about the fascinating history of the grounds, including the ‘wilderness’, the ‘ha-ha’ and the additions made by Jane Austen’s brother, Edward...

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