Beating the bounds is an ancient custom, still observed in parts of the country, in which the clergy lead their parishioners on a walk around the boundary of their parish to instil in them the knowledge of its reach. St Martin’s has records from as early as the 1500’s describing the annual beating the bounds procession here, led by the clergy, with the children of the parish in tow. The tradition died out in the twentieth century but with London now easing out of lockdown, beating the bounds of St Martin’s is a great way to re explore this most central and historic part of London. The app guides the walker on a tour of the parish boundary, stopping at key points to listen to some of the stories of the parish as well as some of the music inspired by this most central part of London.
The walk will take you about an hour and a half, starting and finishing at St Martin’s. It leads you along the Embankment, through St James’s Park and Green Park, past Buckingham Palace and St James’s Palace as well as the site of the old Palace of Whitehall and guides you through areas as contrasting as Covent Garden and St James’s.
When you get back to St Martin’s you can pop into the foyer to see a new map of the parish, created by the artist Adam Dant to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding stone being laid for the current church building. It starts and finishes at St Martin’s, where Adam’s “Novel Map of the Parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields” forms the centre piece of an exhibition of his drawings and original prints celebrating Central London with all its quirks and foibles.
Open today: 09:00 - 17:00
monday - tuesday: 09:00 - 17:00
wednesday: 12:00 - 19:30
thursday - sunday: 09:00 - 17:00
Shop at St Martin’s
Open today: 11:00 - 17:00
monday - saturday: 10:00 - 17:00
sunday: 11:00 - 17:00
This project is funded by the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage. The Culture Recovery Fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England, using funds provided by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.