st ives

St Ives John Knill Day

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st ives About John Knill Born 1733, died 29th March 1811. Appointed Collector of Customs for St Ives, Cornwall in 1762, a post he held for over 20 years. He was a man with a with a keen legal brain and well respected by anyone that met him. So much so he was elected Mayor of the town in 1767.

 In 1782, he constructed what is now known as the Knill Steeple , high on a hill a mile from the town- intended to be his mausoleum but never used. The steeple is in fact a a three sided obelisk of local granite some 50 foot high. Wrote an indenture in 1797 requesting this delightful ceremony to be held every five years on 25th July, Feast of St James the Apostle.

The Participants
10 girls- the daughters of fishermen, tinners, or seaman, or belonging to such families.
2 Widows.
Fiddler.
The three trustees- The mayor, Customs Officer, and Vicar.
Accompanied by the Mace bearer, and Master of Ceremonies.

 Opening the chest
Opening the chest outside the Guildhall.
Process to the Steeple Sing the Old 100th Psalm to the Tune of 200 years ago..." All people that on earth do dwell ..." Dance around it three times, to the satisfaction of the trustees. Vicar says the blessing and the ceremony over for another 5 years. Leaving refreshments to be partaken by all the participants back in St Ives town. Remininescent of Simpler times. John Knill Day St Ives a quaint Cornish Custom

cornish-custom fiddler

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