I’m a rambler, I’m a rambler; from North London way


For those unfamiliar with Ewan MacColl’s great song, it was written to commemorate the Kinder Scout Trespass of 1934, when around 600 ramblers walked from Hayfield in Derbyshire to Kinder Scout, drawing attention to the domination of the Derbyshire Peaks by a small number of landowners who had no use for the land other thangrouse-shooting. (Those were the days, when the super-powerful were visible and identifiable rich men and women, unlike today, when the enemy has been abstracted into brands, corporations etc…).

The latest message from Save Leyton Marsh has something of the spirit of 1934 about it …

“Once each year, sometimes on a legally designated or customary date, people still walk around local areas of land to re-establish rights of common or mark significant boundaries, such as of a Parish, Manor or an area of Common Land or public open space. This often takes place during Rogationtide, in springtime, when prayers were once offered asking for the fertility of the land. Willow sticks decorated with flowers and ribbons are traditionally carried and important boundary markers hit with them. Younger children are turned upside-down to have their heads bumped three times at significant points ‘to imprint the location on their minds!’ – boys might also be hung over bridges, and girls were “pricked” with pins. This year Rogation Sunday falls on the 13th May and there are three Beating the Bounds walks to choose from!”

“Beating the Bounds of St. Saviour’s and St. Barnabas Parish in the Parish of Walthamstow. This is an Anglican procession setting off from St. Saviour’s Church in Markhouse Road, E17 at approximately 10.45am after Mass. It is a religious occasion and those participating might wish to attend Sunday Mass at 9.00am beforehand. The walk will end at approximately 3.45pm. Quite a long walk, not suitable for wheelchair users.”

“Beating the Bounds of Leyton Marshes in the Parish of Leyton. This perambulation will follow the route of the Community Procession, revived about
17 years ago, around the former Lammas Lands of Leyton Marshes. Meet from 1.30pm at the Lee Valley Ice Centre car-park on Lea Bridge Road beside the bridge. Setting off at 2.00pm. About 4 miles, not suitable for wheelchair users, ending at the Hare & Hounds pub, Lea Bridge Road, approximately 4.30pm.”

“Beating the Bounds of Walthamstow Marshes. This walk is organised by the New Lammas Lands Defence Committee and will be led by John Gilbert of the Walthamstow Historical Association. Meet from 1.30pm at the Lee Valley Ice Centre car-park on Lea Bridge Road. A 2½ mile walk suitable for all.”

Finally, for those interested in following up the story of the original mass trespass, can I recommend Fay Sampson’s children’s novel A Free Man on Sunday. There’s also coverage of last month’s 80th anniversary celebrations here.

UPDATE: photographs of the walks here.


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