Guvnors Assembly ride into Exmouth for Beating the Bounds

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By TrubblnStrife | Wednesday, September 05, 2012, 11:51

THE GUVNORS ASSEMBLY, a group of vintage inspired cyclists, will be riding into Exmouth on Saturday 8 September to lend their special brand of 'polish, style and gravitas' to Exmouth's special Jubilee Beating the Bounds day.

These dapper chaps, who are travelling down from London for the Velo Vintage event in the Strand Gardens on Sunday 9 September, will be joining a group of local dignitaries and townsfolk to observe the ancient custom of Beating the Bounds.

The tradition of Beating the Bounds originated in Anglo-Saxon times, when maps were rare and few people could read or write. Its purpose was to make sure that everyone in the community knew and remembered the parish boundaries. This was important to avoid disputes in matters such as who was responsible for the upkeep of the parish church, and who had the right to be buried in the churchyard. It was also a way of preventing encroachment by neighbours – sometimes boundary markers would be moved, or property lines obscured, so a regular inspection was necessary to maintain the integrity of the boundaries.

For this reason, it became the custom to make a formal perambulation of the parish boundaries every few years, when the parish priest, churchwardens and parochial officials, would lead a group of boys around the parish boundary. (Boys were chosen to ensure that witnesses to the boundaries would survive as long as possible.) The boys carried green boughs, which they used to beat the parish boundary markers – sometimes the boys themselves were beaten to make them remember where they were! At each boundary stone, the priest would pray for the land's protection, and sometimes psalms would be recited and hymns sung.

Exmouth's Jubilee Beating the Bounds will be an altogether gentler affair, aiming to bring townspeople together by walking the bounds of the town wards. It will be led by the Town Crier, who will ring his bell at the boundary markers and ask for protection and blessings for the land. All are invited to join the Town Crier, Councillors and The Guvnors Assembly to celebrate Exmouth's heritage with a sociable stroll around the town's beautiful boundaries.

The procession will leave the Town Hall at 10.00am and return around 5.30pm. The route will follow the boundaries of the Littleham, Brixington, Halsdon and Town wards, and you are welcome to join and leave at any point. Details of the route and timings are available from the Tourist Information Centre at Travelworld on Rolle Street.

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