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Stonemasons revive tradition of Beating the Bounds

PUBLISHED: 16:34 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:34 10 May 2018

Ancient beating of the bounds ceremony by the stonemasons in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

Ancient beating of the bounds ceremony by the stonemasons in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

An ancient tradition has been revived on the streets of Norwich as the city stonemasons took a procession around their old parish boundary.

Ancient beating of the bounds ceremony by the stonemasons in Norwich. Picture: Ian BurtAncient beating of the bounds ceremony by the stonemasons in Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

The Stonemason’s Guild of St Stephen and St George, based at St Clement’s Church, Colegate, in Norwich has been actively re-enacting street processions and dramatic performances in recent years.

And yesterday they brought back the ancient custom of Beating the Bounds, wearing their traditional aprons and unique white box hats thanks to a good deal of research by their clerk Colin Howey and historian and author David Berwick.

They surveyed the local atrea and realised the historic boundary could be traced and followed.

Mr Berwick said: “These public ceremonies were very necessary to regularly sort out the prevailing jumble of parishes which were so characteristic of Georgian Norwich. There were more than 40 parishes and none had a simple definable border – it was a nightmare to easily sort one area from another.”


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