St Keverne is an enterprising village with an attractive square surrounded by a beautiful Church, two pubs, one butchers’ shop, post office and village shop. In the summer there are plenty of entertainments provided by the St Keverne Band, the Male Voice Choir, a carnival, ox-roast, coffee mornings, gala evenings, gymkhana, flower festivals, painting and history exhibitions, etc. A Chapel, Parish Hall, Church Hall, Band club room, Health Centre and, of course, School complete a lively community.
One of the oldest and established traditions that takes place is on Good Friday when local inhabitants go ‘Trigging’ for cockles on the Helford River. This tradition dates back over generations and is a social gathering for families and friends.
The Cornish Rebellion 1497
The bronze statues on the roadside as you enter the village commemorate the single most important event in St Keverne’s history-the rebellious march to London lead by the village blacksmith, Michael Joseph An Gof, in May 1497.
Henry V11 had imposed steep taxes in order to raise money for a war in Scotland, which must have seemed a long way away to the Cornish- and Michael Joseph for one, wasn’t having any of it. Joining forces along the way with Thomas Flamank of Bodmin when he confronted the Royal army at Blackheath, his army was an estimated 40,000 strong. At first light however, the poorly armed Cornish rising was smashed and Flamank and Joseph were later hanged, drawn and quartered. Before dying, Joseph prophesied that he would have a name perpetual and immortal. He was right , in 1997, the story of this Cornish Braveheart inspired heady celebrations, including a march to London.
The Tithe Map
The tithe (or parish) map was drawn up in 1844 for, as its name indicates, the collection of the tithes for the Church. The Map which was repaired sometime ago, is framed in sections and now hangs in the Parish Hall.
The White Hart in the Square was the birth place of Charles Incledon in 1764. He became a superstar singer in London and was a favourite of King George 111 and a regular performer at Covent Garden.
The War Memorial
The War Memorial was erected in 1920and built on what at the time was considered to be the most prominent position in the Parish. The centre of St Keverne Square, following the removal of two cottages, two shoemakers shops and a cart-house. The War Memorial has recently been refurbished by grant aid from the Local Heritage Initiative and Cornwall County Council. A leaflet on ‘Life during the Two World Wars’ is available from local Tourist Information Centres, shops and libraries.
St Keverne Church
The present building was built in the l15h century and is one of the largest parish churches in Cornwall and can seat 850 people. From the tower battlements you can see Brown Willy, the highest point on Bodmin and on a very clear day High Willhays, 70 miles away, the highest point of Dartmoor. Inside, under its wagon roof, the church is full of stories-in the bench ends, in the mural of St Christopher, discovered under whitewash in 1839. In the pillars of grey, green and rose-coloured stone-none of which is local and may have come from Brittany, in the monuments and memorials, one to a victim of the Titanic disaster. The church pamphlets, which you’ll find on sale just inside the door, gives more details and tells many more stories. The first bell was installed in 1731 and during that century a further 3 were added. 1907 these bells were removed and 8 were then installed with provision for a further 2. The St Keverne Bells project was launched in 2001 and 2 more have now been added.
St Keverne Churchyard
The churchyard holds many notable graves including the stark granite cross which marks the mass graves of those lost on the Mohegan on the 14th October 1898 and also those from the ships Spryridian Vagliano, Primrose, Dispath, Clan Alpine, John and the Bay of Panama. The cannon from HMS Primrose was brought to the surface by divers in 1978 and now stands by the lych-gate.
The Ox Roast originated from the Coronation of George V1 in 1937. In 1953 when meat rationing was still in force and the Ministry of Food worried about the nation’s meat stock might disappear in one day, ruled that communities could only celebrate with a roasting if they could show they had cooked an ox for the late King.
In all the UK only 82 communities qualified with St Keverne being the only village in west Cornwall to do so and in June 1953 they held an Ox Roast to celebrate the Coronation of Elizabeth 11. The Ox Roast is now held in early August every year.
Every year the Parish Council produce the Summer Diary and a programme of events for the Feast Week which is held in November.
For information on walks in the Parish a booklet Five Walks around St Keverne can be purchased from local shops and the Helston Tourist Information Centre.