It is that time of year and what has now become a biennial event will take place on Sunday 26th May when Shermanbury Parish Council and the Friends of St Giles will join forces to repeat the extremely successful and popular event of Beating the Bounds.

It is a popular event because of the fabulous cakes and teas prepared and served by the Friends of St Giles who are joined once again by Rick Lawson-Cruttenden with his freshly prepared ‘Indian Street Food’. It will be half term so it is hoped Mums and Dads will bring their children and to encourage them face painting will be available for children of all ages!

This year is Horsham’s Year of Culture and ‘heritage’ is the theme so the ancient tradition. of Beating the Bounds, which goes back to Anglo-Saxon times, held in the honour of Terminus, the God of Landmarks, is a very appropriate reminder of the heritage of the parish. In former times when maps were rare it was the custom to make a formal perambulation of the Parish boundaries on Ascension Day or during Rogation week. Knowledge of the limits of each parish needed to be handed down so that such matters as liability to contribute to the repair of the church, and the right to be buried within the churchyard were not disputed. The locals led by the Rector walked the boundary of the parish checking that boundary tones or markers were in the right place and ensuring that knowledge was passed on from generation to generation. During the procession the boundary markers were beaten with sticks and it is believed the youngsters of the parish were taught where the boundaries were by being held upside down with their heads in contact with the boundary markers to ensure they remembered where they were. It was a way of strengthening the community and gave it a sense of place, something the people of Shermanbury said was important to them during the neighbourhood planning process a couple of years ago. To strengthen this aim the Parish Council will be inviting their neighbours in West Grinstead, Cowfold and Henfield Parishes to join us to learn a bit about the heritage of the area.

Come and join us! Our Rector, Revd Paul Doick, will lead the walk on a shortened route (the Parish boundary is some 12 miles). We will start at St Giles next to Shermanbury Place and walk the one mile round trip along “The Grove”, the bridle path to the cemetery in Frylands Lane. For those who prefer to walk one way only there will be transport back to St Giles for teas.

The Grade ll* Saxon St Giles’ church will be open on the day with a 10 minute talk on a thousand years of history! Bring the family and dogs. You may come with sticks and boughs to beat the bounds. Boys are assured there will be no banging of heads on stones! Enjoy a carefree walk with close views of the River Adur and all the delights of the Sussex countryside.

Be at St Giles by 2.00 p.m. where car parking will be available. Less able members of the family can come too and stay in the proximity of the tea tent (tables and chairs provided) while the younger members do the beating!

Photo: Pamela Chaston