Tradition and Tragedy

The revival in 1924 of the tradition of Beating the Bounds of the parish, not held for thirteen years, attracted a large number of people eager to take part.   Men, women and children gathered in their best clothes for a happy day out.  Yet very soon tragedy struck.  As a punt loaded with children and adults crossed the river Evenlode, it overturned and in the subsequent melee three children were drowned.  While others carried on walking oblivious to what had happened, others were dragging the river for victims of the disaster.  More would have drowned but for the quick action of onlookers.  Two of the scouts who dived into the river to help were subsequently given gallantry awards for their efforts.  The funerals of the victims drew large crowds of townspeople and a memorial was erected in the cemetery by the town, while an inquest was heldin the White Hart inn.  Our exhibition features some of the many photographs taken that day, and explores the tradition of beating the bounds, which now happens each year in Charlbury on Rogation Sunday.