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Knill ceremony, Knills Monument, St Ives, Cornwall. 25th July 1981

Knill ceremony, Knills Monument, St Ives, Cornwall. 25th July 1981


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Knill ceremony, Knills Monument, St Ives, Cornwall. 25th July 1981

The Mayor at the Knill ceremony with spectators in the foreground. John Knill was born in Callington on 1st January 1733 and worked as a collector of Customs in St Ives between 1762 and 1782, where he also became mayor in 1767. He was regarded as being slightly eccentric. In that same year, 1767, he decided to build a 50 foot, three sided, pyramid style granite structure on Worvas Hill just to the south of St Ives, to be known as Knills Steeple. It was erected as his intended burial place. The monument bears on one side the painted coat of arms of Knill, with the Latin " Resurgam" (I shall arise) and, in English, " I know that my redeemer liveth". He left detailed instructions in his will for ceremonies to be carried out in his memory every five years on St James Day, July 25th, at the Steeple. This included dancing for fifteen minutes to the tune of " All people that on earth due dwell" by ten young girls under the age of 10, dressed in white and who traditionally have to be daughters of either fishermen, tinners or seamen. They are accompanied by two widows, the Mayor, the Customs Officer and a Master of Ceremonies. In his will, Knill left money for the upkeep of the monument and for celebrations to take place. The first ceremony, in which Knill participated, took place in 1801. He died in his chambers on 29th July 1811 in Grays Inn Square London and is buried in St Andrews Church, Holborn. Photographer: Charles Woolf

TRURI : IVSkn.16a

Media ID 14753181

© RIC, photographer Charles Woolf

Crowd Joyce Greenham


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