This year Ascension Day falls on Thursday 30 May. As is tradition, the ‘beating of the bounds’ will take place in the morning and will see a group of clergy and parishioners define the boundaries of the parishes of St Michael in Northgate and St Mary the Virgin on the High Street, culminating at Lincoln College. On their way, each surviving parish boundary stone will be marked with chalk and struck by willow rods.
At midday, the connecting door between Brasenose and Lincoln College will be opened – the only day of the year that this door is used – and Brasenose students will be invited in for a complimentary glass of beer. It is customary for Lincoln to taint the beer with ground ivy to discourage Brasenose students from taking too great an advantage of their hospitality! There are many theories for this tradition, with the two most popular being the following:
- A Brasenose man was chased by a town mob and was then murdered at the gates of Lincoln because the Lincoln students refused to aid him by opening them.
- In a duel, a Lincoln man killed a Brasenose man.
Another Ascension Day tradition will take place at 12.25pm, as members of the JCR committee throw pennies from the top of Lincoln tower onto the grass of front quad for children from Combe Primary School to collect. In the past, the pennies had been heated up to teach children about the dangers of greed, but thankfully that is no longer the case! Once all of the pennies have been thrown, the College Choir will sing madrigals from the top of the tower.