Among the many customs of great interest in the Town of Richmond, the Septennial Boundary Riding is perhaps the one of greatest interest. This custom takes the form of a “perambulation” as the appearance of those who have afterwards been permitted to sign the Roll (as having completed the walk) testifies.
The custom goes back to the Royal Charter given to the town by Elizabeth I in 1576 and is also confirmed under the Charter of Charles II 1668 that the Mayor, as Lord of the Manor, accompanied by his Councillors, Officers and townspeople should beat the bounds of the town every seven years. The date however now usually occurs on the last Wednesday of August to allow schoolchildren to take part during their summer holidays.
The length of the town boundary is approximately 15 miles. At some points along the route proclamations are made by the Bellman 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 occasionally!).
Having proceeded along the boundary to Sandford House where an out building straddles the boundary, the Mayor in time honoured tradition casts a stone over the roof to donate the boundary runs through the building.
On arrival at Olliver Ducket refreshments are served and a short break taken and then on again to Deepdale, arriving early afternoon. Here at Deepdale there is a break where lunch can be taken, either from your own packed lunch or from the catering vans in the lunch field. After lunch, foot races are held with prize money donated by local organisations or individuals. A race for Councillors being one of the highlights.
During the walk at five points along the route the Mayor throws freshly minted new pennies to the children. At the completion of the walk the Town Clerk enters the names in the roll of all who completed the full distance of the boundary and who may if they wish receive a certificate signed by the Mayor to that effect. Any donation for the certificate goes to the Mayoral Charities.