The Boundaries of Rye
Beating the bounds is an ancient custom which has been observed in Rye on occasion over the years. The custom started in times when there were few maps. Sometimes the events were known as name Gangdays, and participants would be going a-ganging. Records of Gangdays date prior to the Norman Conquest.
Rye follows the traditional pattern of old and young members of the community walking the the boundaries of the parish.
These pictures can be enlarged
The term ‘Beating the Boundaries comes from the times when the Parish Priest would lead the way followed by a crowd of boys who used branches from birch trees to beat the boundary markers. The idea of taking young people in the group was to make sure the younger members of the community would know where the boundary markers were and would pass the message down over the years.
According to custom Parish officers have the right to enter private property in carrying it out and also use the rates to cover expenses properly incurred (including refreshments, but not music, etc.). There must be at least a three year interval between ceremonies. In Rye’s case there have been less than half a dozen occasions in the last 100 years when the custom has been observed.
The 1982 Boundary Beating at Rye was carried out on 2 May. Jo Kirkham was the Mayor of Rye and this film, made by Rye & District Movie Society members is a fine record of what was a long tiring day for participants which they all seemed to enjoy.
From the “Rye’s Own” Film Archive – Released 10 Oct 2015
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