Beefeaters led the colourful ceremony. Picture: Tower of London.

Upminster Students secure Tower of London territory in ancient ceremony

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
9.20 AM

School students have marked the territory of an historic castle by “beating the bounds” in an ancient ceremony in London.

The pupils kept the centuries old tradition alive at the tower. Picture: Tower of London.The pupils kept the centuries old tradition alive at the tower. Picture: Tower of London.

The Tower of London invited Year 7 students from the Coopers’ Company and Coborn School in Upminster to join yeoman warders - more commonly known as Beefeaters - in a traditional procession, which takes place on the 40th day of Easter, or Ascension Day.

The pupils were taken around the borders of the tower where they had to beat border-marking iron plaques with willow wands.

The tradition originates from land disputes with the tower’s neighbours from as early as the 12th century, who claimed to own land that belonged to the castle.

Chief yeoman warder, Alan Kingshott, said: “It’s very important that we maintain these customs and traditions.” He added: “It’s something they [the students] will take away with them and they will one day remember.”

Pupils beat the plaques that mark the tower's borders with willow wands. Picture: Tower of London.Pupils beat the plaques that mark the tower's borders with willow wands. Picture: Tower of London.

The pupils were involved in a symbolic confrontation with the All Hallows Parish on the historically disputed land outside of the castle walls as part of the ceremony, which Mr Kingshott said was “all good fun.”

Coopers’ Company and Coborn School assistant head teacher, Karen Pack, said: “It was a fantastic evening - the students were greatly honoured to be there.”

Mr Kingshott, who is a member of the Coopers’ Company, invited the students to take part.

The Coopers’ Company is a historic trade association that formed in the 15th century, which now acts as a charity, supporting schools such as the one in Upminster.

A yeoman warder in state uniform. Picture: Tower of London.A yeoman warder in state uniform. Picture: Tower of London.

The school is now working with Mr Kingshott to bring further history classes for students and maintain a link with the Tower of London.
The colourful ceremony takes place every three years and Ms Pack said she hopes the school will take part again.