Conisbrough & Denaby Main
Heritage Group

From and old Newspaper

                                                                                                             BEATING THE BOUNDS
                                                                                                     (AN OLD ROGATION CUSTOM)


Rogationtide is here and with it memories of the ancient custom of beating the bounds. This is now kept up in very few parishes.  More common is the custom of blessing the crops at Rogationtide.  

An interesting description of beating the bounds was recently found by the Vicar of Conisboro the Rev. W J T Pascoe among old papers connected with the Conisboro Parish Church.  It refers to a perambulation of that parish in May 1816 and is as follows:

Memorandum of a perambulation taken on the 23rd May 1816 by the following persons: James Whitaker, Thomas Waterhouse, Churchwardens, John Smith, James Pattison, William Wasteneys, Thomas Haywood, William Bower, Abraham Moorhouse, Gervas Goodlad, Nicholas Crummack, George Hague, John Millward, Francis Armitage Smith, John Hague.

Beginning at the Park Fence at a certain style at the bottom of Christopher Travis Close, following the direction of the said fence to a certain cross upon Cockhill, made some remarks at that place by setting some boys upon their heads upon the said cross and then proceeded in a direction up a certain lane called Peartree Lane to the five lane ends commonly called the White Cross.  Making some remarks by digging up a sod and getting a refreshment of bread and ale from thence we came to the Far Carr Gate following the Edlington Lane to a certain piece of ground called the How Bucks and still keeping by the Edlington Fence to the Martin Wells and from thence up Mr Walkers ground to the Doncaster Road and to Warmsworth to Samuel Alcocks house and likewise to Widow Hardys and sung four verses of the eighteenth psalm at each house being both of them in the Parish of Conisbrough.  

Then we came back to the same road to the top of Warmsworth Fields and there made a full stop and got refreshments of bread and cheese and ale.  From that place we marched on the inside of Mr Walkers Close by the side of Warmsworth Field to the River side following the course of the River up to a certain place called the Strafford Sands making the same remarks as we did at the White Cross.  Then following the Denaby Fence up to North Cliff Field and from thence to Mr John Smiths where there was a dinner and plenty of ale which we all partook on.  So ended the first years perambulation.

The Vicar at that time was Rev Henry Walker who was also rector of Barnburgh and a prebendary of Southwell and of York.  He is commemorated in the Conisborough Parish Church by a tablet.  Mr Walker appointed his son as curate of Barnburgh and comparison between registers of that period and the description suggest that Mr Walkers son was his first effort as leader in beating the bounds.  Of those mentioned in the description descendants still live in the parish of Conisborough.