Members of St Paul's Church, Holgate, York, helped revive the ancient tradition of ‘Beating the Bounds’ on this year’s Spring Bank Holiday as local residents celebrated the lifting of a threat to the Community Garden tucked at the end of two Victorian terraced streets.

The garden provides an amenity to an area where many houses have only an enclosed yard, but its existence was threatened by a planned access road to a new bridge over the railway as part of the 'York Central' development proposals.

The tradition of ‘Beating the Bounds’ originates in the Church festival of Rogation (derived from the Latin word for ‘asking’) in which clergy and parishioners would ‘beat the bounds’ or walk around the boundaries of the parish while praying for its prosperity and protection from evil.

In 2017, Vicar John Lee was invited to lead the ‘Beating the Bounds’ procession, marking the boundary of this valued space and adding prayers to the community campaign to have the access road located away from this closely-populated area.

Campaigner and local resident Andy Richardson said, “That was quite an emotionally-charged occasion. However, with our campaign having been successful, this year’s event had a more relaxed, celebratory feel.

“We have been well-supported through this time by St Paul’s Church, and this year the Curate, Hannah Shingler, led the procession, and featured in a short performance by the Holgate Gospel Choir she has been involved in setting up.

“Our MP Rachael Maskell has attended both years, too.”

Pictured top: the Revd Hannah Shingler (centre, in sunglasses) with the Holgate Gospel Choir.
Lower: the 'Beating the Bounds' procession around the Holgate Community Garden.