Monthly Archives: May 2018

1300 Years of Faith on Tower Hill

All Hallows by the Tower is the oldest church in the City of London, founded 300 years before the Tower of London by the Abbey of Barking in A.D. 675. Due to its proximity to the tower, it had handled (as one might suspect) many temporary burials for those beheaded at Tower Hill in bygone days. It survived the Great Fire of 1666 and extensive bombing during World War II and witnessed happier occasions like the marriage of U.S. President John Quincy Adams. Later this month on Ascension Day the parish will participate in Beating the Bounds, an ancient custom still observed in many English parishes wherein they reaffirm their boundaries by processing round them at Rogationtide, stopping to beat each boundary mark with wands and to pray for protection and blessings for the land. Every third year the ceremony includes a “battle” with the Governor and Yeomen Warders of HM Tower of London at the boundary mark shared by the Tower and the church. The next (friendly) battle will be in 2020.

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