An ancient ceremony to remind youngsters of the importance of Portland's boundary has taken place.

The symbolic Beating the Bounds ritual took place at a remote spot on Chesil Beach where the boundary of the Royal Manor of Portland is marked by a stone on the crest of the beach.

It is believed that this traditional event has taken place there on Ascension Day every seven years since medieval times; the first written record was in 1750.

Chesil Beach south of the bound stone is registered common land in the ownership of the Crown Estate and the commoners’ rights are administered by the Portland Court Leet. The beach to the north of the stone is owned by Ilchester Estates and falls within the parish of Chickerell.

The Beating of the Bounds traditionally involves two members of Portland’s 'rising generation' being ceremoniously 'beaten' with the Portland Reeve staff over the bound stone so as to imprint upon their minds the importance of knowing and respecting the location of the island’s boundary with the rest of Dorset.

No-one is hurt in the ceremony it is stressed - the young people are only light tapped with the Reeve staff - although this may have been different long ago.

This year the ceremonial 'beating' was carried out by Pam Homer - standing in for Mike Reeves who was unable to attend - and the Rector of Portland, the Rev Tim Gomm.

The 'rising generation' was represented by Isabelle Bowring and Grace Hawkins who were specially nominated by their peers from the newly-formed Portland Youth Council.

Organisers said they and 'graciously accepted their role in this historic and symbolic ritual' (pictured below).

Dorset Echo:

This year’s event was attended by the Court Leet and guests included representatives from The Crown Estate, Ilchester Estates, Weymouth & Portland Marine Litter Project and town mayors of both Portland and Chickerell. Several members of the public were also present.

The event was organised by the Portland Court Leet with an introduction provided by the Crown Local Agent and Bailiff Jane White.

The Ascension Day Lesson was read by the Foreman of the Court Leet Andrew Harvey and the Ascension Day address and prayers were delivered by Rev Gomm.

The position of the boundary stone was formally verified by local surveyor Colin Graham, who carefully checked the compass bearings with well-known local landmarks documented on the official chart.

The year 2023 was then inscribed on the stone by Danny Hilton of Albion Stone Restoration, who remembers being 'beaten' at the stone himself when he was head boy at the former Royal Manor School several years ago.