A merry plaas you may believe
woz Mowsel pon Tom Bawcock's Eve.
To be theer then oo wudn wesh
To sup o sibm soorts o fesh!
Wen morgee brath ad cleard tha path
Comed lances for a fry,
An then us had a bet o scad
an starry gazee py.
Nex cumd fermaads, braa thustee jaads
As maad ar oozles dry,
An ling an haak, enough to maak
a raunen shark to sy!
A aech wed clunk as ealth wer drunk
En bumpers bremmen y,
An wen up caam Tom Bawcock's naam
We praesed un to tha sky.
Robert Morton Nance, Old Cornwall, 1927
Tom Bawcock is a legendary character from the village of Mousehole, Cornwall, England. He appears to have been a local fisherman in the 16th century. According to the legend, one winter had been particularly stormy, meaning that none of the fishing boats had been able to leave the harbour. As Christmas approached, the villagers, who relied on fish as their primary source of food, were facing starvation.
The legend passed down states that Tom Bawcock decided to brave the storms and went out in his fishing boat. Despite the stormy weather and the difficult seas, he managed to catch enough fish to feed the entire village. The entire catch (including seven types of fish) was baked into a pie, which had the fish heads poking through to prove that there were fish inside. Since the 1950s, the Tom Bawcock's Eve festival has been an annual event held on 23 December in Mousehole. The celebration and memorial to the efforts of Tom Bawcock sees the villagers parading a large stargazy pie during the evening with a procession of handmade lanterns, before eating the pie itself.
An older feast, held by the fishermen towards the end of December, included a pie cooked with different fish to represent the variety of catches the men hoped to achieve in the coming year. It is probable that Tom Bawcock's Eve is an evolution of this festival.Since 1963, the festival has been run against the backdrop of the Mousehole village illuminations, where the entire harbour is lit up, along with many other displays. One set of lights even represents the pie itself, showing fish heads and tails protruding from a pie dish underneath six stars.
No record exists of the ceremony before the 1950s. The landlord of The Ship Inn came up with the idea to celebrate the legend as part of the Mousehole Christmas celebrations.However, there is a brief record by Morton Nance, an author on the Cornish language, in 1927 in the magazine Old Cornwall. His description was regarding the festivities prior to 1900, though he doubted the reality of Tom Bawcock, suggesting it was in fact "Beau Coc". He also had a theory that the origins of a festival dated back to pre-Christian times, though it is unclear at what time the stargazy pie became part of the festivities. Morton Nance wrote the (now) traditional song sung on Tom Bawcock's Eve, played to the local tune "wedding March".
The Legend of Tom Bawcock is a Christmas cantata written by composer and arranger Matt Jelf and actor Bernadette Moran. The cantata lasts twenty minutes and is scored for children's choir, narrator and piano. The work was due to be premiered at Chichester Cathedral in December 2020 but was cancelled. The work was premiered in December 2021.
Cornwall is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations and is the homeland of the Cornish people. The county is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, Devon to the east, and the English Channel to the south. The largest settlement is Falmouth, and the county town is Truro.
A pasty is a British baked pastry, a traditional variety of which is particularly associated with Cornwall, South West England, but has spread all over the British Isles. It is made by placing an uncooked filling, typically meat and vegetables, in the middle of a flat shortcrust pastry circle, bringing the edges together in the middle, and crimping over the top to form a seal before baking.
Stargazy pie is a Cornish dish made of baked pilchards (sardines), along with eggs and potatoes, covered with a pastry crust. Although there are a few variations using other types of fish, the unique feature of stargazy pie is fish heads protruding through the crust, so that they appear to be gazing to the stars.
Mousehole is a village and fishing port in Cornwall, England, UK. It is approximately 2.5 miles (4 km) south of Penzance on the shore of Mount's Bay. The village is in the civil parish of Penzance. An islet called St Clement's Isle lies about 350 metres (380 yd) offshore from the harbour entrance.
Golowan is the Cornish language word for the Midsummer celebrations in Cornwall, UK; widespread prior to the late 19th century and most popular in the Penwith area and in particular Penzance and Newlyn. The celebrations were centred on the lighting of bonfires and fireworks and the performance of associated rituals. The midsummer bonfire ceremonies were revived at St Ives in 1929 by the Old Cornwall Society and since then spread to other societies across Cornwall, as far as Kit Hill near Callington. Since 1991 the Golowan festival in Penzance has revived many of these ancient customs and has grown to become a major arts and culture festival; its central event Mazey Day now attracts tens of thousands of people to the Penzance area in late June.
Allantide, also known as Saint Allan's Day or the Feast of Saint Allan, is a Cornish festival that was traditionally celebrated on the night of 31 October, as well as the following day time, and known elsewhere as Allhallowtide. The festival in Cornwall is the liturgical feast day of St Allan, who was the bishop of Quimper in the sixth century. As such, Allantide is also known as Allan Night and Allan Day. The origins of the name Allantide also probably stem from the same sources as Hollantide and Hallowe'en itself.
Tom Bawcock's Eve is an annual festival, held on 23 December, in Mousehole, Cornwall.
Guise dancing is a form of community mumming practiced during the twelve days of Christmastide, that is, between Christmas Day and Twelfth Night in West Cornwall, England, UK. Today, guise dancing has been appropriated for feast days at other times of the year.
Picrous Day was a festival celebrated by the tin miners of Cornwall on the First Thursday before Christmas. This is believed to be the feast of the discovery of tin by a man named Picrous whom miners in the East of Cornwall celebrated as the founder of their industry instead of St Piran.
Chewidden Thursday was a festival celebrated by the tin miners of West Cornwall on the last clear Thursday before Christmas. The festival celebrated the discovery of 'white tin' or smelted tin by St Chiwidden, a little-known Cornish saint who in legend was an associate of St Piran.
Nickanan Night is a Cornish feast, traditionally held during Shrovetide, specifically on the Monday before Lent.
Cornish mythology is the folk tradition and mythology of the Cornish people. It consists partly of folk traditions developed in Cornwall and partly of traditions developed by Britons elsewhere before the end of the first millennium, often shared with those of the Breton and Welsh peoples. Some of this contains remnants of the mythology of pre-Christian Britain.
The Montol Festival is an annual festival in Penzance, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, which has been held on 21 December each year since 2007. The festival is a revival or reinterpretation of many of the traditional Cornish midwinter customs & Christmas traditions formerly practiced in and around the Penzance area and common to much of Cornwall at one point. The festival spans several days, but the main events are held on the traditional date of the feast of St Thomas the Apostle, usually 21 December, which always coincides with the winter solstice.
Fishing in Cornwall, England, UK, has traditionally been one of the main elements of the economy of the county. Pilchard fishing and processing was a thriving industry in Cornwall from around 1750 to around 1880, after which it went into an almost terminal decline. During the 20th century the varieties of fish taken became much more diverse and crustaceans such as crab and lobster are now significant. Much of the catch is exported to France due to the higher prices obtainable there. Though fishing has been significantly damaged by overfishing, the Southwest Handline Fishermen's Association has started to revive the fishing industry. As of 2007, stocks were improving. The Cornwall Sea Fisheries Committee is one of 12 committees responsible for managing the corresponding Sea Fisheries District. The Isles of Scilly Sea Fisheries Committee is responsible for the Scilly district.
Cornish cuisine encompasses the cooking styles, traditions and recipes associated with Cornwall and the Cornish people. It has been heavily influenced by the geography of the county as well as its social history.
The Mousehole Cat is a children's book written by Antonia Barber and illustrated by Nicola Bayley. Based on the legend of Cornish fisherman Tom Bawcock and the stargazy pie, it tells the tale of a cat who goes with its owner on a fishing expedition in rough and stormy seas. The book has won awards, including the 1998 British Book Award for Illustrated Children's Book of the Month. It has since been adapted into a 1994 animated film, a puppet show and is being adapted as a stage musical.
Identifying the last native speaker of the Cornish language was a subject of academic interest in the 18th and 19th centuries, and continues to be a subject of interest today. The traditional view that Dolly Pentreath (1692–1777) was the last native speaker of the language has been challenged by records of other candidates for the last native speaker, and additionally there are records of others who had knowledge of the language at a later date, while not being native speakers.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Cornwall: Cornwall – ceremonial county and unitary authority area of England within the United Kingdom. Cornwall is a peninsula bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall is also a royal duchy of the United Kingdom. It has an estimated population of half a million and it has its own distinctive history and culture.
Presented below is an alphabetical index of articles related to Cornwall: