The City is bound up with tradition and beating the bounds was certainly a new one for me.
Thanks to wikipedia I learnt that it is probably a Saxon ceremony whereby a parish reaffirms the boundary of the parish every year on ascension day.
All Hallows by the Tower conducts this ceremony every year with help from children from St Dunstan’s College, which was once based in the parish. The children beat the boundary of the parish with willow sticks.
The boundary includes one by the Tower of London and a second in the middle of the Thames. At each boundary a prayer is given and a hymn sung, which lead to a slightly incongruous situation of singing a hymn outside of Pret!
These traditions, carried out year in year out, make the City unique and given a sense of permanence to the place. Do join in next year!