What is referred to in the expression “ beating the bounds?

This custom still survives in some districts, when the choir boys accompanied by the parish clerk or clergyman,
make a procession round the village carrying sticks with which they beat the walls, fences, road, etc.They
climb over fence and stream in their course, and when they return to school they are regaled with buns and
milk. In olden times the boys were beaten round the parish bounds with sticks as a reminder of what would
happen if they attempted to leave the parish without permission. Only the rich were allowed that privilege in
those dark days.

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