Beating the Bounds

Author(s): Julia King

Year: 2013


"Beating the bounds" was a typically local but highly symbolic and even quasi-religious ritual or custom originating in medieval England that served to mark the territorial limits of the village or parish.  This paper uses material culture, including landscape, to examine how Charles Calvert, the third Lord Baltimore, used everyday travel in Maryland as a colonial form of beating the bounds. Calvert’s travel was driven in part because of the heavy investment his family had made in the colony, and it was no doubt further inflected by the proprietor’s experience as a recusant Catholic in England. Both contributed to Calvert’s politically charged attitude toward space.  Historians have generally dismissed Charles as a bumbling leader, but this analysis suggests that Calvert carefully manipulated space and its perception in large part through physical travel.

Cite this Record

Beating the Bounds. Julia King. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428265)


Politics Travel

Geographic Keywords
North America United States of America

Temporal Keywords
17th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 329