A group of nearly 30 people took part in this year’s Parish Boundary Walk, organised by the Rotary Club of Crewkerne District and led by Rotarian Martin Holley and Gail Coleshill. The walk began at Crewkerne Library and progressed through Orchard Lane to Easthams, which back in the 13th Century was a village in its own right with a church. Walkers then followed the boundary along Higher Easthams Lane to the A30 where they left it for a short distance before rejoining it at the Pill Box.
The group carried on down the green lanes of Black Mixen Lane and Longstrings Lane where the boundary became difficult to follow as it went along a stream in Stoopers Covert, so the group cut up Crow Castle Lane and picked up the parish boundary again at Shutteroaks toll house on the Hinton road. After proceeding along the road to Saunders Piece Lane, on the Chard road, they continued on Cathole Bridge Road and along the stream to Station Road. The parish boundary walk finished by taking the picturesque route down the valley to St Bartholomew’s Church before coming back into the town centre for refreshments.
Previously called Beating the Bounds, the parish walk goes back to a time before the production of maps. It was carried out to imprint the memory of the bounds of the parish into the minds of the local population. The ceremony used to entail beating boys at a few points, marked by boundary stones. The true origin of the ceremony is believed to date back even further to Roman times when it was known as Robigalia and carried out to implore Robigus, deity of agriculture disease, to protect the crops from wheat rust. Later on it became a religious event with a church choir, linked to Rogation Sunday in April.
Gail Coleshill said: “We don’t beat boys nowadays but have a very pleasant walk round the footpaths and green lanes which are closest to or on the boundary of Crewkerne Parish. Everyone said how much they enjoyed seeing and hearing about the Crewkerne boundary.”
A project to set up carved boundary stones on each of the roads into Crewkerne where they cross the parish boundary is being represented by Creative Crewkerne. Angie Blackmore of Creative Crewkerne said: “A group of enthusiasts from Crewkerne have decided to try and reinstate the boundary stones. The group has been meeting regularly to decide where to put them and how to engage with the community about what should be carved on to the stones.” The project is at the stage where applications for funding are being discussed and an estimate of £22,000 for completion has been suggested. Any businesses or organisations who would like to sponsor a Crewkerne Boundary Stone please contact Creative Crewkerne