Beating the Bounds Walk: Saturday 25th May

A walk round the boundaries of the Village/ Parish of Chaldon.

Beating the Bounds – Chaldon History Group & Friends of Chaldon Church supported by Chaldon Village Council and Caterham Festival.

This took place on Saturday 25th May 2019. Once again we had arranged to establish our territory with Caterham Hill Parishioners as we met with them on our boundary at Green Lane.

The walk started from Chaldon Church with a rest at the Harrow at around 1pm for lunch and finished at the church for tea.

See below for a brief history of the custom in Chaldon.

Beating the Bounds is an ancient tradition and probably originated when maps were rare and there was a need to identify the boundaries of ecclesiastical parishes. The event traditionally took place on Ascension Day or during Rogation Week. The bounds of the parish were beaten with sticks or “wands” and it is said that choir boys were turned upside down so that their heads tapped on the boundary markers. The purpose was to pass knowledge of the land onto the next generation (with the notion that pain aided memory). An interesting article is available in the Bourne Society LHR Vol. IV 1965.

Over the years “Beating the Bounds” in Chaldon has become the Bounds Walk, taking place in June. It certainly took place in 1920-1923 while the footpaths of Chaldon were being negotiated and officially registered with the Commons & Footpaths Preservation Society.

Here is an item used for publication in 1990

“The Chaldon Bounds Walk will take place on ????, starting at 10.00 a.m. from the Welcome Tea Rooms on Farthing Down. The walk of approximately five hours duration, will trace the old Parish Boundary of the Village using existing footpaths, bridleways and roads. A lunch break at The Harrow will be included.”

A successful attempt to continue this tradition appears to have been undertaken in 2006, and in 2012 the Chaldon Footpaths Committee held a successful event following the ancient boundaries. In 2014 the modern boundaries were followed and a meeting took place with Caterham-on-the-Hill along Green Lane where our boundaries meet. This plan will be followed on our walk this year.

Extracts from news articles on Beating the Bounds in Caterham & Chaldon can be found here on the page Beating the Bounds.