I’m editing this page on Rogation Sunday, which according to some sources was the original day Beating of the Parish Bounds took place. The observance of this ancient custom was lost in 2020 as a consequence of Covid-19. However today, members of my family wandered along Hilldrop Lane and crossed the parish boundary by way of a token gesture.
It’s interesting to note that the early May Bank Holiday is a recent public holiday in these parts. It has happened in Scotland since 1871, but was only adopted by the rest of the UK in 1978. The early May Bank Holiday was moved in 1995 to link with events on or around the 50th anniversary of VE Day. Beating the Bounds in Aldbourne moved with the holiday on that occasion, taking place on the second Monday in May 1995.
For 2020 the early May Bank Holiday moved to Friday 8 May #VEDay75. If not for Covid-19 Beating the Bounds would have been on Sunday 10 May 2020.
I’ve taken a moment today to explore the revival of the perambulation, including a chapter by Commander J.D.R Davies in the booklet Aldbourne it’s history and people which was produced for the village Festival in 1970. This is just one chapter from a great snap-shot of Aldbourne, just prior to the publication of Heart of a Village by Ida Gandy (1975).
Aldbourne it’s history and people : with thanks to the Library & Archive, Wiltshire Museum, Devizes (2011)