Beating the bounds in North Mymms parish

Marking the parish boundary


Photograph of Beating The Bounds in August 1950 - Pauline Speary, June Chuck, Dorothy Speary. Image from D Denchfield digitally enhanced by Mike Allen
Beating the bounds in August 1950 - Pauline Speary, June Chuck, Dorothy Speary.
Image from D Denchfield, part of the Images of North Mymms collection


A centuries-old tradition


The ancient tradition of "beating the bounds", has been taking place in North Mymms for centuries. It involves a 17.5 mile walk along the parish boundary to visit, and ceremonially claim on behalf of the parish, various landmarks.

The following images show the beating the bounds in the '30s, '50s and '90s, and are from a collection of local images recording the history of North Mymms, which have been collected, enhanced and digitised by local resident, photographer and historian Mike Allen, who has shared them with this site.

At the bottom of the page you will see two examples of 'bumping' during beating the bounds, where a member of the party was symbolically 'bumped' against the boundary.

This is a gentler, more modern version of the tradition of boys being violently bumped against a boundary marker in an effort to make them remember the boundary of the parish.

Nowadays, accurate maps delineate parish boundaries, obviating the perceived need for violence.

Was the '90s the last time it took place in North Mymms? And will it ever happen again? Please feel free to share your thoughts and memories in the comment box below.

Photograph of North Mymms Parish Council beating the bounds near Hawkshead Bridge in 1930. Bert Shadbolt, Mr Tilbury, James Crawford, Bert Groom, Tom Nott, George Rix. Image by G Knott courtesy of the former North Mymms Local History Society, digitally enhanced  by Mike Allen.
North Mymms Parish Council beating the bounds near Hawkshead Bridge in 1930
Bert Shadbolt, Mr Tilbury, James Crawford, Bert Groom, Tom Nott, George Rix
Image from A Nott, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
Photograph of Beating The Bounds at Marshmoor in 1953, Image by D Colville digitally enhanced  by Mike Allen
Beating the bounds at Marshmoor in 1953
Image from D Colville, part of the Images of North Mymms collection
Photograph of Beating The Bounds at Marshmoor in 1953, Image by D Colville digitally enhanced  by Mike Allen
Beating the bounds at Marshmoor in 1953
Image from D Colville, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of Beating The Bounds in the '90s with Bill Storey outside the Cock O' The North  image by Ron Kingdon digitally enhanced  by Mike Allen
Beating the bounds in the '90s with Bill Storey outside the Cock O' The North
Image from Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of Beating The Bounds in the '90s with Bill Storey outside the Cock O' The North  image by Ron Kingdon digitally enhanced  by Mike Allen
Beating the bounds in the '90s with Bill Storey outside the Cock O' The North
Image from Ron Kingdon, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

photograph of Beating The Bounds in August 1950Richard Papworth, Kenneth Geeky with pole, Dorothy Speary, Ruth Pinder, Delia Denchfield, Pauline Franklin, June Chuck, Reg Pettifer, Jack ShadboltImage by D Denchfield digitally enhanced by Mike Allen
Beating the bounds in August 1950
Richard Papworth, Kenneth Geeky with pole, Dorothy Speary, Ruth Pinder
Delia Denchfield, Pauline Franklin, June Chuck, Reg Pettifer, Jack Shadbolt
Image from D Denchfield, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of Beating The Bounds at Colney Heath in August 1950Image by D Denchfield digitally enhanced by Mike Allen
Beating the bounds at Colney Heath in August 1950
Image from D Denchfield, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Scan of Beating The Bounds report Image courtesy of local historian Peter Miller
Beating The Bounds report
Image part of the Peter Miller collection
Scanned photograph of Beating The Bounds report from the parish magazine 2013 PDF courtesy of local historian Mike Allen
Beating the bounds report from the parish magazine 2013
Image part of the Images of North Mymms collection
Photograph of Bumping during Beating The Bounds 1953 Image by D Colville, digitally enhanced by local historian Mike Allen
Bumping during beating the bounds 1953
Image from D Colville, part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Photograph of George Underdown being bumped at the junction of Dixons Hill Road and the Great North Road during Beating The Bounds 1953Image courtesy of the former North Mymms Local History Society, digitally enhanced by local historian Mike Allen
George Underdown being bumped during beating the bounds 1953
Image from the former North Mymms Local History Society
Digitally part of the Images of North Mymms collection

Scan of a news release about Beating The Bounds 1953 Cutting courtesy of local historian Peter Miller
A news release about beating the bounds 1953
Cutting from the Peter Miller collection

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