Part of the drawing at the head of the document, showing church and civic dignitaries in formal dress on a small boat on the river. Show image info

Part of the coloured drawing at the head of the document.

Beating the Bounds in Bathwick

​‘Beating the bounds’ of a parish is a custom dating back to medieval times.

The people of the parish walked the length of the parish boundaries, beating or stopping at the boundary stones or other significant markers. The purpose was to ensure that parishioners were familiar with the parish boundaries.

We have received a document which gives a unique picture of the Beating of the Bounds ceremony held in Bathwick in 1832. The 'Regulations for Beating The Bounds of Bathwick parish' describes the route for the procession of local worthies, who stopped at fixed locations along the boundary for refreshments and the firing of cannon. As part of the boundary of Bathwick parish is along the River Avon, some of the procession took place in boats - and the Regulations are headed by a fascinating coloured drawing of these boats laden with passengers and a band of musicians.

With a 21-gun salute at every stop, and refreshments no doubt being in liquid form, the noise from this procession must have been heard for miles!

Read a transcript of the Regulations