Friday, September 17, 2010

Beating of the Bounds.

The Beating of the Bounds.
I have mentioned the Maidenhead Boundary Markers two years ago when BM#1 was recovered from Widbrook stream. I have also read recently that there is to be a charity walk of these boundary markers, which I think is an excellent way to illustrate to the residents the extent of the Maidenhead boundary.
At one time the parish of Cookham extended from the now old Roman A4 London to Bath road and to the east and north by the river Thames. At one time Cookham was known as a market town. With the coming of Brunnel and the Great Western Railway, Maidenhead began to expand and grow. Then in 1934 it expropriated the land north from the Bath Road to Widbrook and the Widbrook stream. Water courses have long been boundaries, which of course the Thames between Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire use to be.
Beating of the bounds a double purpose. One to remind the parishoners of the parish boarders and also that the parish priest could bless the land and pray for a fruitful harvest. This exercise still is observed in various parts of Britain today. Two I know of quite well is held in the Scottish Boarders. In the west it is The Riding of the Marches in Annan, a short distance from Gretna Green, where the event is carried out on horseback, lead by the Cornet and his Lass. The other noteable one is held in Kelso, and here the princepals are The Kelso Laddie and his Lass.
If you compare with the map I have plotted at the top, with the one produced by the organisers of the event, you will see that they have missed out BM#3. Why I do not know. I realise that in some areas that boundaries will have been swallowed up in devlopement so that an alternate route has to be found, but in this case the boundary is still on farm land.

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