LONDON: Stately beating

01 June 2010

by Margaret Duggan

IT IS more often choirboys with willow wands who are let loose to mark the boundaries of a parish with a whacking. But the Duchy of Lancaster has revived the Beating of the Bounds around the Savoy Estate, in central London, in an altogether more stately manner.

In a procession led by the Chief Executive of the Duchy of Lancaster, Paul Clarke (above), and the Verger of the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy and Beadle, Phillip Chancellor, was a cohort of distinguished names and titles: Lord Shuttleworth, Chairman of the Duchy Council; Sir David Brewer, Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London; Duncan Sandys, Lord Mayor of Westminster; and Lady Juliet Townsend, Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire. There were also the Revd Professor Peter Galloway, Chaplain to the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, and a number of choristers and invited guests.

The Savoy Estate is part of the portfolio of land, assets, and property across England and Wales held in trust for the Queen in her position as Duke of Lancaster. The procession followed a route covered by 12 boundary markers spread along the Strand, through the Middle Temple, and along the Embankment. As Steward, Mr Clarke carried out the traditional “beating” of each landmark along the way.

“The walk provided us all with a highly visual reminder of the scope of our Manor,” he said. It would also have provided the tourists in London with another quaint and unexplained English custom of the sort so often seen in the capital’s streets.

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