The Parish Council celebrate Rogation Sunday in April every few years and it is a well-attended family event.
In medieval England Rogation Days were observed with processions that began at the local church and proceeded to outline the boundaries of the parish, pausing occasionally for the recitation of prayers. The custom of prayerful perimeter walking dates back to the Roman times when the Romans paced the perimeter of their fields asking for the gods to bless them with fertility. Those who participated in Rogation Day works were expected to treat the event as a sober religious event rather than a holiday in the countryside. Nevertheless, people tended to turn the event into an expression of pride in their parish. On occasions, an excess of high spirits resulted in some parish groups attacking others that they encountered.
The processions served as an important social function by teaching the youths the parish boundaries in a time then maps were not commonplace. Youngsters were often bumped against stone boundary markers, tossed into streams or forced to climb walls or hedges that crossed the boundary lines. This may well be where the term “beating the bounds” derived from.
Today the event takes no a less aggressive tone and is restricted to walking the perimeter of the Common. Children have, however, been known to be gently bounced on their heads to keep the tradition alive!
There is a practical side to this event as it provides the opportunity to check the perimeter of the Common for encroachment. It is also a good opportunity to introduce people to parts of the Common they may not have explored.