Leigh Hatts  

Ascension Day 2019

The Verger with staves leads the beating the bounds procession on Tower Hill

Thursday 30 May is Ascension Day which means tower top singing and beating the bounds in many places.

The special events come forty days after Easter when, according to St Luke, Jesus ascended to heaven by disappearing in a cloud. This was the last Resurrection appearance.

The best place for tower top singing is Oxford where several colleges keep the tradition going.

Southwark Cathedral will have prayer and singing at the top of its Tudor tower at 7.30am. At St Peter’s Church in Bournemouth the 6.30am service will be followed by singing from the base of the spire.

All Hallows-by-the-Tower in London is well-known for its Ascension Day beating the bounds because the boundary runs down the middle of the Thames. The party sets out at 4.15pm to beat each boundary mark with sticks and pray for protection and blessings. At Tower Pier several people board a vessel to reach the invisible boundary . Visitors are welcome to join the congregation on the tour.

St Bartholomew the Great in London’s Smithfield, which has a new policy of keeping feast days on the actual day (rather than the nearest Sunday), is restoring its custom of beating the bounds on Ascension Day.

After the 7pm Choral Eucharist on Thursday the churchwardens, choir, congregation and children will follow the short parish boundary and call at the pubs.