|St Columb Major|
|Cornish: Sen Kolomm Veur|
|The crest of St. Columb with town motto|
St Columb Major shown within Cornwall
|Population||3,984 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference||SW912633|
|Civil parish||St Columb|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||ST. COLUMB|
|Police||Devon and Cornwall|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||St Austell and Newquay|
St Columb Major (Cornish: Plew Golom) is a civil parish and town in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. Often referred to locally as St Columb, it is situated approximately seven miles (11 km) southwest of Wadebridge and six miles (10 km) east of Newquay. The designation Major distinguishes it from the smaller settlement and parish of St Columb Minor on the coast. Twice a year the town plays host to “hurling“, a medieval game once common throughout Cornwall but now only played in St Columb and St Ives. It is played on Shrove Tuesday and then again on the Saturday eleven days later. The game involves two teams of several hundred people (the ‘townsmen’ and the ‘countrymen’) who endeavour to carry a silver ball made of apple wood to goals set two miles (3 km) apart, making the parish, around 25 square miles in area, the de facto largest sports ground in the world.
History and antiquities
Bronze and Iron Ages
Monuments that date from this period include: Castle an Dinas, an Iron Age hillfort.; the Nine Maidens stone row, the largest row of standing stones in Cornwall; the Devil’s Quoit (sometimes recorded as King Arthur‘s Quoit); and King Arthur’s Stone (this long lost stone is said to be not far from the Devil’s Quoit near St. Columb, on the edge of the Goss moor). It was a large stone with four deeply impressed horseshoe marks. Legend has it that the marks were made by the horse upon which Arthur rode when he resided at Castle An Dinas and hunted on the moors.
Middle Ages and early modern period
In 1333 Edward III granted a market in St Columb Major to Sir John Arundell. This was as a reward for supplying troops to fight the Scottish at the Battle of Halidon Hill near Berwick-on-Tweed. Following the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549, William Mayow the Mayor of St. Columb was hanged by Provost Marshal, Anthony Kingston outside a tavern in St Columb as a punishment leading an uprising in Cornwall. The link between the Cornish language and Catholicism was also exhibited in the activities of John Kennall, at St Columb, where he was still holding Mass as late as 1590.
In 1645 during the English Civil War, Sir Thomas Fairfax‘s troops were advancing from Bodmin towards Truro; on 7 March the army held a rendezvous, and halted one night, four miles (6 km) beyond Bodmin. The King’s forces were quartered at this time near St. Columb, where a smart skirmish took place between the Prince’s regiment and a detachment of the Parliamentary army under Colonel Rich, in which the latter was victorious.
In the year 1676, the greatest part of the church of St Columb was blown up with gunpowder by three youths of the town.
Royal visits were made to St Columb in 1909, 1977 and 1983. On 9 June 1909 the town was visited by the Prince of Wales (George V) and his wife, the Princess of Wales (Mary of Teck). The visit was to open the Royal Cornwall Agricultural Show. The Prince gave 2 silver cups: one for the best bull and another for the best horse. In August 1977 The Queen and Prince Philip visited the town during their Silver Jubilee tour of Cornwall. On 27 May 1983: The town was visited by the Prince and Princess of Wales (Charles and Diana). The visit was to commemorate the 650th anniversary of the signing of the town charter by Edward III. A plaque commemorates this visit outside the Conservative club in Union Square.
St Columb is situated in mid-Cornwall, about 5 miles (8 km) inland from the north coast. The parish covers an area of 12,884 acres (52.14 km2) or 20.1 square miles (52 km2). Its highest point, at 709 ft (216 m), is Castle an Dinas, the site of an iron-age hill fort about 2 miles (3.2 km) east of St Columb. Much of the land in the parish is used for farming (both arable and pastoral), with small areas of woodland. There is also some moorland in the generally slightly higher northern and eastern parts of the parish, notably part of the Goss Moor in the southeast, Castle Downs below Castle an Dinas (east) and an area of moorland adjoining Rosenannon Downs (northeast). The Vale of Lanherne, the valley of the River Menalhyl (see below) is famed for its beauty and occupies the area to the west of the town, connecting St Columb and St Mawgan churchtown.
St Columb occupies a plateau at about 300 ft (90 m) elevation. The north part of the town (known as ‘Bridge’) descends into the Vale of Lanherne, having a minimum elevation of approximately 165 ft (50 m). It was originally a linear settlement built on the main road running north-east to south-west, but modern estates have since been built, extending the town to the south and east. In the older part of the settlement there is much high-density housing with relatively narrow streets, and a number of retail outlets and public houses; the more modern estates have housing which is generally lower in density. To the south there is an industrial estate.
Besides the town, there are numerous villages and hamlets in the parish, including Talskiddy and Gluvian in the north, Ruthvoes (southeast), Trebudannon (south), Tregaswith (southwest), Tregatillian (east) and a large number of smaller farming settlements and isolated dwellings. There are also Halloon, Lanhizey, Rosedinnick, Tregamere, Trekenning, Trevarron, Trevolgas and Trugo.
A number of small rivers and streams flow through St Columb parish, most rising in the eastern part and flowing west. One of the sources of the River Fal lies just within the boundary on the Goss Moor; this flows southwest to the South Coast. The River Menalhyl, which flows through the north part of St Columb (Bridge), has three branches with a confluence at Gilbert’s Water, just to the east of the town. The longest of these rises next to the Nine Maidens standing stones in the north part of the parish. The Menalhyl was historically important in the area, powering a number of mills along its course. A smaller river rises near Winnard’s Perch (north of Talskiddy), later joining the Menalhyl near its mouth at Mawgan Porth. The other main river of the parish is the unnamed one (often called the River Porth) that rises to the east of Ruthvoes, and that in its latter course fills the Porth Reservoir and enters the sea at St Columb Porth. This is the river that, according to legend, was begun by the blood of the murdered Saint Columba running down the valley.
The A39 main road runs north to south through the parish. Until the late 1970s it went through the town but a bypass now carries traffic east of St Columb. The A30 dual carriageway also runs through the southeastern part of the parish north of Goss Moor. The Par-Newquay railway line does not enter St Columb parish but forms part of its southern boundary. A small part of the parish is occupied by a corner of Newquay Airport, which is Cornwall’s principal civil airport.