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The following notes were written in 1965 by Henry Lewcock who, with his brother Bill, was a chorister at St Clement Church in 1895 when this particular Beating of the Bounds took place. Given to the Society by Jim Lewcock for publication in The Ipswich Society Review 1981.
“The proceedings opened with a service attended by a congregation which included merchants, tradesmen, church servants, scholars and singing boys. The service was taken by the vicar, John Powell, known to the scholars and singing boys by the irreverent name of “Greasy Jack” due to the large quantities of Macassar oil which he placed on his hair to keep it in order and which stained not only his clerical collar but also his coat.
The Rev. Powell had two helpers in the performance of the Sacrament. They were Samuel Jones and Mr Scriber.
These Men of God prayed on behalf of the people assembled a long prayer called the Litany which, although possibly understood by the older merchants and tradesmen, certainly caused much fidgeting amongst the scholars and choristers. Even the Rev. Powell appeared to find the whole thing irksome because he took to fumbling about in his surplice causing one of the scholars to remark in a rather loud voice: “Gosh, I believe he's got a ferret in there”. This brought the service to a rapid close and we hastily set forth on our journey with the blessing of God.
All the men and children were given long willow wands, whilst two or three carried ladders for climbing over walls and fences and two of the more quiet and trustworthy elders carried a map and a paint pot for the purposes of refreshing the Boundary Stones to ensure that no man might say “This is our land”, except those who came from the congregation of St Clements. The first part of the journey had to be made on foot and we started along Church Lane westward onto Fore Street.
Among the characters I remember are:-
Alfred Sizer Church Warden
William Orvis Church Warden, Ship Builder and Repairer
James Widgery formerly a school master of the school belonging to the church and now Parish Clerk
Charlie Keel Vestry and Clerk to the Overseers
Joseph Turner Grocer
Edward B. Lewcock Ship Agent
Charles Hawk Grocer
George Jary Outfitter and Draper
Arthur Cook Baker
Walter Mills Clerk and Chorister
Henry Card Engineer and Chorister
Percy Hawk }
Edward W. Lewcock }Scholars of the Ipswich Middle School and sons of the aforementioned
Henry C. Lewcock }
Jack Fearns carried the paint pot and six singing boys from the choir the ladders. Having arrived in Fore Street we made our way along Salters Lane to the Jewish Cemetery which, being surrounded by a high wall demanded the services of a ladder, much to the joy of the lads carrying it. Having descended into the Lower Wash [Lower Orwell Street] the company proceeded northerly to the “Prince of Wales” which stood on the corner of Fore Street and on into the Upper Wash [Upper Orwell Street] to about 100 yards on the eastern side where there is a stone in the wall about 10 feet from the ground marked “St. C+B”. This stone was duly tapped three times by the company holding the wands, perhaps three in the name of the Trinity as this custom of Beating the Bounds goes back into the early ages. The stone is still in position.
From thence over the walls into the Rope Walk via the cold dung hills and I believe we went into the yard belonging to the prison which stood somewhere near where, in 1965, stands the Labour Exchange. Across Pottery Street and Hill Street, through Bennett's brickyard to Byles Park [Alexandra Park] where there is another stone upon which a bumping took place on the ground in what is now the eastern part of the park close to Grove Lane and above what is now Kings Avenue.
And so to Hill House [home of the Byles family which once stood on Hill House Road], through which the boundary ran, through one of the windows on the ground floor we had to climb with some difficulty. John, the Man of God, had not the agility to negotiate this window easily and was stuck and had to be helped by two maids from inside with the scholars and singing boys administering sundry smacks on the Reverend bottom from the outside.
This difficulty being overcome, Back Hamlet was reached and so on to Foxhall Road to the Asylum grounds through which the assembly went, to a spot near St Augustine's Gardens where there is another stone. I cannot remember whether we took in Warren House cottages or not. I think that they were described as extra-parochial and so perhaps we had no need to. We arrived at Felixstowe Road where the heath was somewhere opposite to where now stands the church of St Augustine. Here was another stone on which the local policeman, one Pyett, was well and truly bumped, much to the delight of the assembly and much to his loss of dignity. Thence across the heath to Gainsborough Lane and to the very end of the parish, Pond Hall Farm, which was a land flowing with milk and honey in the shape of refreshments. It was a gladsome sight as we had been going since before 8 and it was now past 1 o'clock.
The merchants, Church Wardens, Overseers and grown up members of the assembly partook of food and wine in the farmhouse, but the scholars and choristers were provided with sandwiches and other meats outside on the grass; because the weather was favourable it was most enjoyable. After a good rest for food and talk we launched a number of boats, as the farm is close to the river, and rowed out into the middle of the stream and then proceeded up midway between the banks to the cliff bite and the lock gates (new) which were opened and so up the middle of the dock to a wharf in front of the Wherry Inn. Here we disembarked to walk up a narrow passage [Wherry Lane] to the corner of Salthouse Street and Fore Street where we had started so many hours earlier.
The journey being ended a portion of the Rogation hymn To Thee O God We Fly for Mercy and Grace was sung and the blessing which begins “The Lord Bless Thee and Keep Thee” was given by John Powell, who was very fond of this particular one and always said it as if he meant it.
The parish of St Clements had various alterations and adjustments made when the parishes of Holy Trinity, St Bartholomew and St Augustine were formed and no doubt the boundaries were altered, but in 1895 these formed part of the parish of St Clement.
I believe that the boundary covered that day extended to seven miles.”