Berwick's ancient boundaries patrolled without horses after 500-year-old rideout cancelled due to Covid

Berwick’s Riding of the Bounds couldn’t take place as usual but the occasion was still marked.

By Ian Smith
Monday, 10th May 2021, 2:26 pm

Covid restrictions on mass gatherings meant the 500-year-old event, which sees up to 100 horses and riders taking part, could not be held.

However, members of Berwick Riders’ Association committee celebrated by walking the 17 mile route instead.

Chief Marshal Courtnay Grey and her Left and Right Hand Men met Mayor Anne Forbes and Sheriff Martin Warner, at the Guildhall steps and requested permission to check the town’s ancient boundaries.

Berwick's principals receive permission from Mayor Anne Forbes to walk rather than ride the town's ancient boundaries.

Permission was granted, the town flag was handed over and the toast was given before the ten-strong committee set off by foot and bus to cover the route.

They were joined by Shaun Eltringham, who was celebrating his ten year anniversary of being chief marshal.

The walk was completed without difficulty in lovely spring sunshine and following a very pleasant lunch stop hosted by New Mills and the ‘Tapping of the Bridge’, near New Water Haugh, the flag was returned to the Mayor along with the report that the town boundary remained secure for another year.

The first description of the Bounds is in a charter created by Robert Bruce after he took the town in 1318. Today’s border between England and Scotland was defined in a truce in 1438. However, it was not legally binding and in 1542, it was stated that the Bounds were ‘to be perambulated so often as to keep them well known’.

Berwick's principals with former chief marshal Shaun Eltringham at Berwick Barracks.

The committee is also looking for new applicants for next year’s principals positions. Details are at and on its Facebook page.

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