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Sunday, 24 December 2017 16:56

Beating the boundary

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Many years a go there used to be 3 big traditions in the Uk, we had the Winter Beltane solstice on December 21st - the shortest day,. There was December the 25th aka Christ Mass, and then there was January 1st where beating the bounds took place.

Other names for this were walking the bounds, perambulation (where the word prams springs from ?) but my favourite is Beating of the bounds, traditionally done with willow sticks to drive the spirits out, while showing locals where boundaries were - especially young boys who were bumped at the main locations .  Clearly a pagan tradition that then got "integrated" into christianity where the parish boundaries would be walked.

Locally a group that aims to protect a disused railway from Chichester to Midhurst (Centurian Way) that has been converted into a very popular walking, biking and perambulating route, wish to recreate this tradition to establish rights alonga stretch marked for diversion so that a new housing estate can be built.

This action by the Friends of Centurian way, caused me to consider if this was a bounday on not and if any boundary stones exist.
The area is marked as "West of Chichester" so should be considered outside, with the railway running up the division. It could never have run along an established footpath as that would breach many anicent and modern laws.

Chichester has many boundary stones, the ones marked SO stand for St Olaves around 1765 and a few examples can be found in Whyke Alley by the market behind the Eastgate pub and along the Baffins incorporated  into the pillar of a door way .

Others from the 1181 survey, marked strangely 1882 on the stones. There are a few stones surviving as can be seen oin the images below.  The one on westgate by Bishop Luffa school is the boundary on the old footpath that ran up the current course of Sherbourne way





Read 3259 times Last modified on Tuesday, 23 January 2018 18:58
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