This custom goes back to the Royal Charter given to the town by Elizabeth I in 1576 and states that the Mayor – accompanied by councillors, officers and townspeople – should beat the bounds of the town every seven years.
In modern times, this takes the form of a 15-mile walk around the perimeter of the town. It usually takes place on the last Wednesday of August, allowing children to join in during their summer holiday. The next Boundary Riding is scheduled to take place in 2025.
Accompanying the walk is a procession that includes:
The Pinder, carrying as Pioneer, the Axe for the removal of any obstruction to the progress of the Riding.
The Banner Bearer, with the Town Banner. He is followed by an ATC cadet carrying the Freedom Sword presented to the Town by the RAF Regiment when they were given the Freedom of the Town
Two Halberdiers carrying their halberds and wearing their cloaks
Two Macebearers carrying the Great Mace and the Restoration Mace
The Mayor carrying the Mayor's Silver Mace in civic robes, accompanied by the Town Clerk
At some points along the route, proclamations are made against the adjoining parishes and Lords of the Manor.
Oyez Oyez Oyez. I do in the name of the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the Borough of Richmond, Lords of the Manor and Borough of Richmond in the County of York hereby proclaim and declare this to be the ancient and undoubted boundary of the said Manor and Borough against the Manors or Lordships of:
Hipswell/Hudswell, Easby, Aske, Hipswell/Hudswell
God Save the Queen and the Lords of the Manors.
At two points along the route the Mayor is carried on the back of the Waterwader to the centre of the River Swale as the boundary at these points runs along the centre of the river. It is not unusual for the Mayor to get wet at these stages!
Having proceeded along the boundary to Sandford House where an outbuilding straddles the boundary, the Mayor casts a stone over the roof to denote that the boundary runs through the building.
At the completion of the walk, the Town Clerk records the names of all who completed the full distance of the boundary and they receive a certificate.