The guest speaker at the October meeting was David Berwick who gave a most interesting and informative talk entitled ‘Beating the Bounds’. Undertaken every three years this ritual procession dates back many hundreds of years and would involve members of the parish, the clergy and local officials walking with sticks to beat and define the parish boundary.
For further information on Diss U3A please visit the website or telephone 01379 642674.
The next meeting will take place on 1st November at Diss United Reformed Church at 10.30am
At times the progress was sometimes impeded but never defeated by obstacles such as hedges, ponds and buildings, all needing to be travelled through to establish the boundary.
The relevance of knowing to which parish one belonged was an important factor for those in the 17th Century and beyond affecting as it could the right to be baptised, married, obtain poor relief and be buried in the churchyard, depending upon which parish you belonged to. In order to determine the boundary lead plates were affixed to buildings denoting the parish boundary and the year, the position of these marker plates were closely contested and often set side by side only inches apart. Norwich is fortunate that many of these markers, not to be confused with fire plates, still exist on many of the old buildings throughout the city. One of the best examples is a group of five dating from 1710 to 1854 which can be found on the wall of The Coach and Horses in Bethel Street.
David Berwick illustrated his talk with photographs he had taken whilst researching the subject for a book highlighting these fascinating pieces of social history the significance of which is probably never appreciated by those of us who pass them by on a daily basis.