St Columb Major, Cornwall

st coulomb cornwall towns

St Columb Major, the name comes from St Columba, a Christian martyr. The town of St Columb Major has a medieval feel with tall slate hung buildings, narrow wynds and connecting alleyways.

The St Columb Major church building has a cathedral-like appearance; it was erected in about the 12th century. And in fact the church was considered as the site for Cornwall's cathedral, but lost out to Truro. The tower of the church has a through arch. The church is , a fine Grade 1 listed building, and stands at the head of the fertile Vale of Lanherne. In 1920 the chiming clock was added as a memorial to the men of the town who died in the Great War.

The St Columb Major Union workhouse was built in about 1840 on a site at the north of St Columb Major. It was designed by George Gilbert Scott and his partner William Bonython Moffatt who were also the architects for other Cornish workhouses in Liskeard, Redruth, St Austell, and Penzance. Intended to accommodate 150 inmates, the Poor Law Commissioners authorised the sum of £5,150 on its construction. In 1933, the workhouse was turned into a home for "mental defectives" and various alterations were made, with S Pool as architect. Accommodating 111 inmates, it opened in its new role in January 1935 and was known as The Retreat. In 2000-1, the former workhouse was converted for use as housing

James Polkinghorne, a champion Cornish wrestler, was a former landlord of the Red Lion. Polkinghorne's great match on 23rd October 1826 against Abraham Cann, champion of Devon. The match took place at Devonport and ten thousand people are said to have attended. The result appears inconclusive, though the Devon style which was used allowed Cann to wear heavy boots soaked in bullock's blood.

And another St Columb Major inn, the Silver Ball, is named after the Shrove Tuesday game of hurling, played with a silver ball over a two mile street pitch. this game used to be played all over Cornwall, but is now confined to this town and St Ives.

There are several ancient monuments of note in the Parish, the most famous being Castle An Dinas, an Iron Age hillfort. This site is still used for annual Midsummer bonfires.This Iron Age Celtic Hill Fort dates from about the 2nd or 3rd Century BC. It consists of three concentric circles, of ditch and rampart, 850 feet above sea level. It is one of the most important hillforts in the southwest of England. Legend says that it was the place where Cador, Duke of Cornwall and husband of King Arthur's mother, met his untimely death.

Nine Maidens stone row is the largest and best example (possibly the only) of a row of standing stones in Cornwall.

St Columb Major has a monument known locally as The Devil's Quoit, although some records show it as King Arthur's Quoit. This is the capstone of a burial chamber. It was destroyed in 1870. The capstone was preserved by Old Cornwall Society.

St Columb Major, Cornwall, genealogical information at Genuki


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