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Beating of the old Borough Bounds

Monday 3rd May 2010

On a sunny May bank holiday, a large group of people took part in the traditional beating of the bounds, following the old boundary of the Lostwithiel parish as it was in 1685.

Meeting at the Duchy Palace, the group started from the first boundary stone which was at the east end of the medieval bridge. John Pegg lead the walk and gave a historical background to the old parish boundaries. At each boundary stone (or boundary stone site), the Mayor Vic May and Mayoress Angie presented each walker with a penny, according to tradition.

Walkers at Duchy Palace
Meeting outside the Duchy Palace
On the medieval bridge
On the medieval bridge, site of boundary stone 1
Pill boundary stone
Another boundary stone marked with 'Pill'
Bosavon boundary stone
Boundary stone 2 marked with 'B'
Up hill overlooking Lostwithiel
Walking up a steep hill overlooking the town
Group looking at Cowbridge boundary stone
Examining the newly uncovered boundary stone 3 at Cowbridge

Uncovering the old Boundary stones

Lostwithiel's boundaries were altered in 1935 and so the last time these stones were inspected by the townspeople was in 1926. Since that time there have been road widening and other disruptions subsequently causing some of the eight stones to become mislaid. Others that remained became overgrown in hedgerows.

Locating some of the missing 1685 boundary stones required a bit of detective work by John Pegg, who found and uncovered the boundary stones at Hillhead and Cowbridge.

Cowbridge boundary stone before being uncovered
Cowbridge boundary stone before...
Cowbridge boundary stone after being uncovered
... and after being uncovered
Hillhead boundary stone before being uncovered
Hillhead boundary stone before...
Hillhead boundary stone after being uncovered
... and after being uncovered


Below is a list of all the 1685 boundary stones:

  1. Stone No 1 was at the eastern end of the medieval bridge (whereabouts now unknown)
  2. Stone No 2 is located on the edge of the railway embankment behind Pill farm cottages and lime kiln
  3. Stone No 3 is located in the hedge on the lane that connects Lostwithiel to Castle, near the entrance to Cowbridge)
  4. Stone No 4 is located on the lane from Lostwithiel to Nomansland (near the entrance to Pelyn)
  5. Stone No 5 was situated on the A390 from Lostwithiel to St Blazey, (whereabouts now unknown - probably lost upon road widening in the 1950s)
  6. Stone No 6 was situated at Penknight House (whereabouts now unknown - probably re-used as part of a wall when the house was completely demolished in the 1940s)
  7. Stone No 7 is situated at the side of the green lane known as Huntingdon lane, from Poldew woods, Tanhouse road towards Lanlivery, this path eventually connecting to the Saints Way.
  8. Stone No 8 is situated at Hillhead on the road from Lostwithiel towards Sweetshouse

History of the old Borough Bounds, 1685 - 1935

After the turmoil of the then recent civil war, Parliament decreed that there was to be some re-alignment of borough boundaries in England (Lostwithiel had two MPs elected from the borough to sit in parliament).

In 1685 or thereabouts granite stones were placed at prominent places on thoroughfares and crossing points at the periphery of the Lostwithiel borough boundary. Each stone was approximately one yard in length, one foot wide and eight inches in depth. All inscribed with the letter 'B' (for Borough or Boundary, possibly).

Below is an ordnance survey map from 1831 showing the old borough boundary:

1831 map of Lostwithiel borough boundary