Cambridge 2000: Mill Lane

Description: Mill Lane: Rogation Sunday, Beating the Bounds
Mill Lane map for Mill Lane
Date photograph taken: 05 May 2013 (Alternative map: Google map)

The fifth Sunday after Easter is known as Rogation Sunday, and in a very old ceremony, called Beating the Bounds, the members of Little St Mary's walk around the parish boundary, which fortunately is not that long. As part of this they chant and occasionally stop and say a few words. All the while incense is burnt, leaving a nice smell in the atmosphere, especially back in the church itself, where the walk starts. This ceremony was originally carried out to ensure that nobody was moving parish boundaries, but dressed up in a religious ceremony converts it from a base materialistic operation into something more ethereal. Cambridge often seems like it is stuck in the 18th century, and this ceremony moves it back in time much further than that.

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