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Tower of London recruits pupils from Central Foundation Girls School to beat the bounds

PUBLISHED: 11:33 26 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:44 01 June 2017

So that's where The Tower of London boundary is... marked out by pupils from Bow's Central Fondation. Picture: RICHARD LEA-HAIR

So that's where The Tower of London boundary is... marked out by pupils from Bow's Central Fondation. Picture: RICHARD LEA-HAIR

Royal Palaces

Beefeaters were out on the march around the ancient Tower of London last night to mark out the boundary of their historic royal palace grounds.

Beefeaters head the procession through Trinity Square at Tower Hill. Picture: CHRIS WESTBeefeaters head the procession through Trinity Square at Tower Hill. Picture: CHRIS WEST

But they needed help, so they recruited pupils from Central Foundation Girls School in Bow to thrash the boundary with tall canes.

The young students shouted “mark” as they were led in a procession around The Tower and along Tower Hill.

The tradition goes back at least four centuries where parish folk mark out their borders on Ascension Day.

Thrashing it out... girls from Bow's Central Fondation School mark out boundary of The Tower. Picture: RICHARD LEA-HAIRThrashing it out... girls from Bow's Central Fondation School mark out boundary of The Tower. Picture: RICHARD LEA-HAIR

But The Tower does it just every three years, because it can be a bit of a traffic stopper.

And that’s what happened last night as Chief Yeoman Warder Chris Morton headed the procession round the ancient castle, causing traffic along Tower Hill to halt.

“They seemed to love every minute of it,” local historian Chris West observed.

Tower author Chris West (right) taking part in 'Beating the Bounds' parade. Picture: RICHARD LEA-HAIRTower author Chris West (right) taking part in 'Beating the Bounds' parade. Picture: RICHARD LEA-HAIR

“It was electric—so many passers-by and tourists watched this unique procession to see the colour and joy of the yeomen warders and the people who live in The Tower. We really need tradition like this, living in London today.”

Retired school-teacher Chris, who lives at St Katharine’s within walking distance, has written about the lives of people living at the royal palace in his book Poppies, Pomp and People, A Year at The Tower.

Last night’s ceremony began with an Ascension service at The Chapel Royal conducted by Canon Roger Haul, with a choir performing hymns and anthems, which was followed by the procession.

Returning to The Tower after Beating the Bounds at Tower Hill. Picture: CHRIS WESTReturning to The Tower after Beating the Bounds at Tower Hill. Picture: CHRIS WEST

The Governor of The Tower traditionally asks the vicar of nearby All Hallows for permission to “pass through the parish in peace” to mark out the boundary.

The two processions, a royal palaces spokesman explained, meet up every three years for a ‘face off’ with each other. It’s tradition, apparently.


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