The 400-year-old ceremony of "Beating the Bounds" took place around the Tower of London - London's ancient fortress - May 26 - Ascension Day.
The 400-year-old ceremony of "Beating the Bounds" took place around the Tower of London - London's ancient fortress - May 26 - Ascension Day. Chief Warder at the Tower, Allan Griffin, - at the head of choirboys, children from the Tower, and Yeomen Warders - walked round each of the 31 boundary marks - at each stone he raised his mace above his head and made the traditional order to the choir-boys - "Whack it, boys, whack it!" Armed with 7-ft willow wands, the boys then beat the boundary stone.
After the last stone has been "beaten", the procession returns to the Tower for the customary singing of "God Save the Queen" on Tower Green. The earliest recorded ceremony at the Tower of London was in 1555. Its object was to instil into the younger generation the local boundaries which they whipped.
The Beating of the Bounds of the Tower is now observed, with full ceremony, every three years. Many of the boundary stones are small iron plates placed at the foot of the walls; others are sunk in roads round Tower Hill.