Medieval row remembered in Olympic celebration event

Ger Gustard with fellow residents of Dalton-le-Dale, Seaham, who are organising a Beating of the Bounds to mark the Olympic Games.
Ger Gustard with fellow residents of Dalton-le-Dale, Seaham, who are organising a Beating of the Bounds to mark the Olympic Games.
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VILLAGERS will retrace the footsteps of their founding fathers during a ceremony to bring families together.

As part of the Cultural Olympiad held to coincide with the London 2012 Games, areas across the country have been asked to come up with ideas to mark the historic event.

Dalton-le-Dale has chosen to stage Beat the Bounds which will see people walking the village’s boundaries.

The event has been inspired by the walking of the bounds held in 1155, when a dispute broke out between the church and the Escolland family, who took over the manor with the arrival of William the Conqueror.

Prior Absalom and the monks of St Cuthbert met Helios Escolland, his son Geoffrey and their supporters to agree the exact boundary of the parish.

The areas were settled by Lord Bishop Hugh of Durham, who then ordered the deed to be preserved.

While organisers cannot be sure of the exact boundary paths established in the deal, they have researched its history and will follow some of the paths the men would have walked.

The walk, which will cover nine miles and take three hours to complete, has been broken down into sections so that people can join and leave if they wish, with around 70 already planning to get involved.

Ger Gustard, one of the leaders of the event, said: “We’ve had lots of interest.

“People have looked at how long it will be and might not be able to manage it all, which is why we’ve broken it into stages, but they are really pleased to see it and looking forward to taking part.”

The walk will begin at the boundary stone at the east end of Dene Road in Dalton-le-Dale, which takes its name from homestead or ‘village in the dale’, at 1pm on Saturday, July 28.

The second stage will start at 2.15pm at the Times Inn and the last part at the petrol station at the top of The Avenue at 3.30pm. Organisers ask all children are accompanied by an adult.

It is hoped Houghton man Mark Turnbull, who ran through Sunderland with the Olympic torch, will join the event.

The day will be rounded off by a hog roast and karaoke night in the parish hall from 6pm, with tickets £3.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham