Monday, August 1, 2016

Memorandum Monday Riding the Marches

Waving to you all on a sunny Monday.  This weekend I watched several events that only happen every 21 years - local riding of the marches to mark out the boundaries.  The ceremonies are first mentioned in historic records in 1682 but are thought to be much older.

In the main event on Friday evening the turfcutter goes to 12 boundary points, cuts a piece of turn and shouts "it's a' oor ain!" - this is all ours.  The turfcutter is accompanied by a champion and various assistants - all in historic costume

and followed by other local dignitaries - using carriages for those not comfortable on horseback

Then on Saturday there is a big civic procession - again led by the principals in historic costume
followed by many of the Honest Lads and Lassies - in the years in between these big ridings there is an annual week of celebration led by the Honest Lad and the Honest Lass - the oldest I spotted was from 1965 and all of the recent ones were in attendance - all looking smart in riding whites

then other riders, including some children keen to take part in this local tradition as early as possible to build up credentials that help in being elected Honest Lad or Lass when they are old enough

and of course after all those horses, some road sweeping is needed
then come lots of other local groups - I was pleased to see this boat because some of the jellyfish that I made for the yarn bombing were being used in the decorations

The final event was a production beside the river with songs depicting local history and the highlight a giant lit lantern depicting the champion which walked down the middle of the river (very little water in it this time of year)

and of course fireworks to end

now the town returns to normal until 2037 when it will all happen again - the idea was to mark out the boundaries once in each generation to ensure that the knowledge of their position would be maintained.  With urbanisation most of the turf cutting stations are beside a pavement or shop carpark but the council maintains them all with plaques and provides a box of grass to be cut by the turf cutter.

Wishing you all a good week


Sian said...

Oh, wow! This looks absolutely fascinating. I've seen posters for the city centre ceremony but haven't been in the right place at the right time to see it. But I think it's every year? Or every couple? A once every 21 years ceremony sounds even more special.

Have a good week!

debs14 said...

I love hearing about these long held traditional ceremonies, how fascinating.

Lady Ella said...

V interesting! Around here we "beat the bounds" - at least the tradition is just about clinging on. It involves walking around the parish boundary each spring - to reaffirm where you belong, and/or pray for blessings/protection.

Anonymous said...

I love British traditions!

Karen said...

What a fascinating story! Thanks for all the photos as well.

Maggie said...

Well that is certainly something I knew nothing about. Very interesting. I wonder why every 21 years , it seems an odd number. Have a good week Helena.

Louisette said...

Interesting , lovely photos greeting from Belgium

Patio Postcards said...

Oh what a fantastic & very interesting tradition. So glad there is a committee keeping this alive. Like the Honest Lass & Lad custom. Now this is a parade I could participate in. Jellyfish for yarn bombing, oh we do need to see these.

Melissa said...

What FUN weekend festivities! Thanks for sharing - I've learned something new today!

Miriam said...

What a fantastic tradition and you were there to photograph it for us! It looks absolutely wonderful Helena. Waving rather late in the week, but waving none the less. x