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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

  • Chawton House Library NGS open garden
    May 28, 2017 (All Day)

    Chawton House Library has recently joined the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) and will be part of the NGS Festival Weekend & 90th anniversary. This inspiring programme organises the opening of outstanding gardens around the country to raise funds for...

  • Estate Rambles - Chawton House Library
    June 02, 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...

  • Chawton Open Gardens
    June 11, 2017 (13:00 - 17:00)

    Open Gardens

    Weekend event with various gardens in the village ope to the public

  • Chawton WI - Air Ambulance
    June 14, 2017 (19:30 - 21:30)

    Chawton WI are hosting Hampshire Air Ambulance at Chawton Village Hall.

    The Air Ambulance will be providing a talk on this vital service.

  • Garden Tour and Cream Tea - Chawton House Library
    June 18, 2017 (14:30 - 16:30)

    As part of Regency Week Garden Manager Andrew Bentley will be giving a guided tour of the garden. Cream Tea included in the ticket price.

    The Library, House and Gardens will be open as usual Monday to Friday 12pm to 4.30pm and on Sunday 11am to 5pm...

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