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Beating the Bounds ceremony will be a family affair

Brothers to take part in ancient tradition to mark Chester's boundaries

Thomas and Matthew McKenna

Young brothers from Ashton will take part in an ancient ceremony to mark the boundary of the city of Chester on Saturday (March 19).

Matthew McKenna, eight, and his younger brother Thomas, six, will be ‘bumped’ on boundary stones in Ashton and Mouldsworth during what is known as The Beating of the Bounds.

The ceremony will be carried out by the Lord Mayor of Chester, Hugo Deynem, and Sheriff of Chester Alex Black.

The boys’ mum Lucy said that the duo, who are pupils at Ashton Hayes Primary School, already know Mr Deynem but are particularly keen to meet the Sheriff.

She said: “My husband Tony and I have explained to them both about the ceremony and its ancient roots and one of them asked: “Will I get a sore bum?’”

The 'Beating the Bounds' ceremony in Christleton in 2010

The Beating of the Bounds was a device to set the boundaries of the city in the days when maps were virtually non existent

The tradition, once commonly celebrated throughout Europe, had important religious as well as practical implications, beseeching God’s blessing on the coming harvest.

The first recorded viewing of Chester’s boundaries was carried out by the Black Prince’s Officials in 1351/53 and a description of the boundaries is contained in the Charter which the Prince issued to the City on March 9, 1354.

This year's Beating of the Bounds will take place at 11:20am at the junction between Delamere Road and Ashton Road in Ashton and at 11:45am at Peckmill Brook, Chapel Lane in Mouldsworth.

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