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.
45th John Knill Ceremony – Monday 26th July 2021
The John Knill Ceremony is held every 5 years and was first held in 1801. This year it will take place on Monday 26 July 2021. The local community have helped to preserve this old St Ives ceremony for over 200 years and so the Knill Trustees (The Mayor, Customs Officer and the Vicar) look forward to welcoming nominations for this years event.
The invitation to take part is extended to:-
1) Girls aged 10 years of age or under and local to St. Ives. The daughters of Seamen, Fishermen or Tinners will be given priority, but others are eligible. The chosen girls will dance and sing around the Knill Monument.
2) Widows of Seamen, Fishermen or Tinners of the Town, being 64 years old or upwards (if possible), who will attend the dancing and singing of the girls.
In accordance with the Will of John Knill, it is customary for a token payment to be made to participants.
Anyone interested in taking part is asked to apply to the Town Council, setting out how they meet the above criteria, either by emailing email@example.com or in writing to the Town Clerk, St. Ives Town Council, The Guildhall, St. Ives, TR26 2DS. All nominations must be received by 9th April 2021. The Knill Trustees will then decide on the most eligible candidates to take part.