On 17 June, we again marked St Botolph’s Day by "Beating the Bounds" of Aldersgate Ward.
After assembling at the Watts' Memorial in Postman's Park, we entered our Ward Church of St Botolph’s-without-Aldersgate where we were greeted by Rev’d Philip Brentford, who welcomed us with a short address. We then proceeded back outside to Postman’s Park, where everyone was issued with a willow wand, ready for the first ‘Beat’.
Led by The Master, we all chanted the historic warning to apprentices – “Cursed be he who removeth his brother’s landmark” – as we beat the ground to mark the Boundary of the Ward.
Traditionally, after each Beat, any child who 'volunteers' is tossed three times in a fireman's blanket! In previous years we have had the good fortune to be joined by a class of pupils from the Prior Weston School in Whitecross Street (just outside the Ward), but sadly on this occasion they were not available. However, two grand-children of a Past Master were in attendance and found themselves being loaded into the blanket and ceremonially 'tossed' to mark this part of the Ward Boundary.
On our subsequent tour around other parts of the Ward Boundary, we stopped seven more times to 'Beat' at significant places (click here to see the 'Beat Map'). These included the Ironmongers’ Hall and the Pewterers’ Hall, at both of which we were invited inside for refreshments and received a brief insight from their Clerks into the history and traditions of these honourable companies. We were especially fortunate at Ironmongers to have an extended guided tour of some of their artworks and also the upper Drawing Room to see their William Morris wallcoverings which are apparently of world significance.
The Beat finished as usual on the terrace outside the Barbican Estate Office, where further refreshments were served, before we adjourned to the nearby Haz restaurant for a well-earned lunch.
A good time was had by all and we look forward to next year!