You are hereRogation Day

Rogation Day


23 May - Rogation Day is a rare festival from the Christian calender.  Rogation Day is one of the three days prior to Ascension Day and would see processions going around parish boundaries blessing their crops.  This was known as 'beating the bounds'.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
User offline. Last seen 1 day 2 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 22 Jul 2008
Re: Rogation Day

Also known as Gang Day in Lancashire, the following is quoted from 'Lancashire Folk-lore and Customs' by Harland and Wilkinson 1867.

These days are so named from the Litanies or Processions of the Church, before Holy Thursday or Ascension Day. It was a general custom in country parishes to "gang " or go round the boundaries and limits of the parish, on one of the three days before Holy Thursday, or the Feast of our Lord's Ascension -, when the minister, accompanied by his churchwardens and parishioners, was wont to deprecate the vengeance of God, beg a blessing on the fruits of the earth, and preserve the rights and properties of the parish. In some parishes this perambulation took place on Ascension Day itself. In a parochial account-book, entitled ‘A Record of the Acts and Doings of the thirty men of the parish of Kirkham,’ Lancashire, is the following entry under the year 1665: ‘Spent on going perambulations on Ascension Day, is. 6d.’

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
User offline. Last seen 1 day 2 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 22 Jul 2008
Re: Rogation Day

According to Survey of London: volume 17 by Author Percy Lovell 1936

On 23rd May, 1503, the Vicar of St. Pancras and his parishioners were beating the bounds when they came into conflict with "Thomas Walterkyn, heremyte of St. Michel besides Highgate, in the parisshe of Harnesey," possibly owing to some uncertainty, real or pretended, as to the parish boundary. According to the hermit, when he was in the garden with his servant they came into his house, broke down the paling of his orchard and garden, hit him over the arm with a bill, and would have murdered him if he had not escaped to the steeple of the hermitage, where he remained until they had gone. He also alleged that they stole two altar cloths, a surplice and "grayle," i.e. a book of antiphons. The Vicar replied that they were going in procession as usual about their parish when the hermit would not allow them to pass, although courteously asked to do so. The hermit was in his garden, armed with a great club, and having with him two others also armed with clubs, they suddenly struck at William Chadwick, of St. Pancras, yeoman, over the pale. They broke some of the pales and then the St. Pancras people pulled down some more to make room to pass and so departed peaceably. The Vicar then went on to say that so far from the "grayle" having been stolen by them, the hermit, who was a man of ill conversation and rule, had pawned the book and other stuff to one John Phelippe, who was ready to testify the same. The hermit rejoined that the Vicar and his parishioners were guilty of the riot, that the hermitage was in Hornsey and not in St. Pancras, although divers persons had been accustomed to enter the chapel to hear divine service at convenient times. He denied the Vicar's allegation of being a man of misrule or that he had pledged any stuff belonging to the hermitage. It is likely that the Vicar had a grudge against the hermit because his Highgate parishioners found it more convenient to attend mass at the chapel and make their offerings there than to travel all the way to old St. Pancras Church. There is no record of the verdict of the Court of Star Chamber (who tried the case), and it is hardly possible to determine the rights and wrongs of the matter, but the St. Pancras people must have been wrong in going through the hermitage, since that lay entirely in Hornsey.

Red Don's picture
Red Don
User offline. Last seen 1 year 12 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 19 Oct 2008
Re: Rogation Day

I came across an old copy of 3rd Stone Magazine recently and found a review that decribed Beating the Bounds as a harmless English eccentricity, involving other harmless old practices like whipping children, bashing them against stones, and forcing them through ditches. 

This made me chuckle.



Share/Save

Navigation

Recent comments

Featured Site