The Traditional Knill Ceremony was observed for the 43rd time on 25 July 2011
The ceremony was first held in 1801, overseen by John Knill himself and follows the form set out in his Will of 1797. Knill appointed three Trustees (the Customs Officer, Vicar and Mayor) to ensure that the memorial ceremony be carried out every 5 years. The Will calls for a fiddler to lead dancing around the Knill Steeple, a landmark in St Ives, with the dancers to be 10 girls, all under 10 years and the daughters of fishermen, seamen or tinners. The girls are always accompanied by two widows, the widows of fishermen, seamen or tinners. The Trustees fulfilled their duty in ensuring that the ceremony took place, organised on behalf of the Trustees by St Ives Town Council.
Participants in the Ceremony were: Trustees: Mayor (Ron Tulley, Vicar of St Ives (Rev. Andrew Gough) and The Customs Officer (Trevor Bookes).
The Fiddler – John Care (his eleventh Knill Ceremony, having taken over the role from his grandfather.
The Ten Little Girls – Emily Wedge, Molly Cross, Freya Perkin, Piper Quick, Lamorna Pascoe, Bridget Wells, Felicity Wells, Courtney Wood, Lucy Rushton, Lulu Godfrey. Supporting the ten girls were reserve dancers Rebekah Couch and Lois Murt.
The Two Widows – Mrs L Wedge and Mrs Amy Matthews.
The Trustees were keen to express their thanks to all who helped with the success of the Ceremony and the days events, including Oates Travel, the parents of the dancers, Bagas Porthia for entertaining the waiting crowd at the Steeple, the Steeple Woodland Group for clearing the area around the Steeple, the Headteachers and staff of St Ives Infant School for co-ordinating the dancing and the St John Ambulance for attending on the day.
To find out more about the background of this ceremony and this year’s event, souvenir programmes are available from the Visit St Ives Information Centre.