Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Beating of the Bounds

For several reasons, I've had real estate on my mind lately.  Spanking though is almost always on my mind.  What happens when you combine real estate and spanking?  The Beating of The Bounds.  

The story told to me long ago was that way back when, on the American frontier, when many folks couldn't read, to finalize a land purchase they would ceremoniously walk around the boundary and spank a child at each boundary, or border of the land.  Supposedly the thought, ahem... behind this was that the young person would remember the boundary best if they had a memorable beating there, and they should pick a child because presumably the child would remember it well after the old men who had completed the transaction had passed away. The frontier was a dangerous place- Bears, Comanche Indians, outlaws, untreated venereal diseases, etc... meant you didn't have to worry about skin cancer after a lifetime in the sun, much less heart disease after a lifetime of eating eggs and bacon!

This was the story I heard long ago, and even though I've said in the past that my enthusiasm for spanking was solidified when I read some stories in Penthouse Variations magazines, the fact that I remember this story from early childhood, and had a vivid imagination about the story pegs me as a lifetime spanko.  I have never seen it in any spanking stories or literature though, and wondered if it was completely made up to scare me way back when my parents were buying a new house.  The name "The Beating of the Bounds" always stuck with me, though I'd never looked it up on the internet to find out if it was true until just now..  

Turns out, the "Beating of the Bounds" has very little in common with the story I was told, but there IS a grain of truth to it.  In reality, it seems, if anything, even more bizarre. Not frontier America, but jolly England.  It was not to commemorate a single real estate transaction, but instead apparently a festival of sorts to solidify the church's claim on the land.  The wikipedia entry mentions that "the parochial officials headed a crowd of boys who, armed with green boughs, usually birch or willow, beat the parish boundary markers with them. Sometimes the boys were themselves whipped or even violently bumped on the boundary-stones to make them remember. The object of taking boys along is supposed to ensure that witnesses to the boundaries should survive as long as possible."   So the part about beating young people so they'd remember was accurate, but "violently bumped on the boundary-stones"... yikes!

I prefer the fantasy that to commemorate a single real estate transaction, a young attractive lady was marched out into the woods, and given a switching at each corner of the property to help her remember where the homestead ended. (And these captions will only be amusing to folks that have actually read real property legal descriptions, and to those folks, I apologize because I'm sure I've messed something up.)
"From an iron pin marking the SW corner of the of the NE quadrant of the Davis subdivision of Hazzard County, thence 60 degrees SSE to the banks of the Blue Moose River...
...from the banks of the Blue Moose River, hence 350 feet East to an iron pin...
...hence 30 degrees, 45 minutes NNE for 420 feet...
...hence 375 feet generally west following the meandering path of the Chalk Fork of the Blue Moose River to the point of origin.
Less and except a conveyance of the 3/16ths mineral interest retained by the Coltrane Family Trust, recorded in Book 1864, pages 233-241 of the Hazzard County deed records."

P.S. I'm excited that I actually get to use the "other cultures" tag again!


  1. I haven't thought about beating the bounds for many years. I was told your second version by a clergyman who actually performed the ritual with family, parishioners and his three year old grandson. What happened was, at each of the four corners, he picked up the boy, turned him upside down, and bounced him on his head (gently). I'm sure that lad, now a grown man, vividly remembers where those boundaries are.


  2. Until I read Hermione's comment I was sure you had made this up, references and all (you're capable of it) because you like to spank girls in the woods.

    Now that I saw that...nah, you just like to spank girls in the woods.

    Did I ever mention that my backyard borders on... And then there's a lake down the hill?

  3. Enjoyed reading your comments but not being from USA am not familar with your traditions. However i can comment on spankings and if i was the person to take the first lady in your pictures to the boundry points and switch her bottom . Then i dont know about her remembering the boundry lines , i certainly would after dealing with a superb bottom like hers its certainly something to remember.

    Correction Man.

  4. Hermione- That gave me a good chuckle... thank you. And thank you for proving to Emen that I wasn't making it up, either!

    Speaking of which, Emen, when was the last time you surveyed this property? I'm betting it was far too long ago, and the shoreline of the lake probably shifts every year with droughts and rainy periods... Maybe you should have someone help you remember just where the shoreline is at least once a season!

    Thank you Correction Man, and welcome to the blog. I'd say that most people (even those living in the UK and the USA) are not familiar with this tradition, I just happened to remember hearing about it vividly because even at an early age I was fascinated with spanking. (And agreed, that lady in the 1st pic has quite a memorable body- wish I knew where that pic was from- just found it on google images.)

  5. And thank you in return for the friendly welcome to your excellent blog, which i shall now continue to follow with much interest. Correction Man.