Cornwall’s Festivals – Giant Bolster Pageant at St Agnes

Several people hold a Bolster Pageant banner wearing traditional Cornish hat wear.

Cornwall is a land rich in folklore and legend, and there are some incredible festivals and traditions celebrated around the Duchy, marking the coming of Spring, the harvest, famous people, local traditions and fairy stories.

Many have been celebrated for hundreds of years and are still going strong, supported by locals and visitors alike.

I am ticking them off gradually and trying to learn about the history of each one and its local importance.

Each early May Bank Bank Holiday weekend the Bolster Festival Pageant takes place in St Agnes. It tells the tale of the Giant Bolster (one of many Cornish Giants) who ravaged the area and terrified the locals.

The story goes like this….

Bolster had a long-suffering wife who he made carry rocks in her apron to the top of the cliffs at Chapel Porth.
Bolster was in love with St Agnes and pursued her constantly, she didn’t reciprocate and hatched a plan to be rid of him.

In the meantime, knight Sir Constantine and local dignitaries try to defend her and met a swift end in a showdown at Chapel Porth near St Agnes village.

Clever St Agnes then set Bolster a test of his love – to fill a hole in the bottom of the cliffs with his blood. He cut a vein and was overcome as the hole could not be filled. It was bottomless and opened out to the sea below!

We visited on Sunday afternoon to watch the pageant which reenacts this story, process over the cliffs from St Agnes.

Giant Bolster, his wife, St Agnes and Sir Constantine reenact the story to the waiting crowds on the other side of the cliffs accompanied by dancers and music.

It was a great spectacle and my grandchildren loved it, so what to choose next?

Helston’s Flora Day, Padstow’s ‘Obby Oss’ festival both happen in May. There is also Lafrowda at St Just or, in the winter, Montol in Penzance and Tom Bawcock’s Eve at Mousehole. I can’t wait to see and learn more about these traditional festivals.

Enjoy a break in Cornwall
If you would like to enjoy a break in Cornwall and reconnect with nature and enjoy all the fun events and festivals around Cornwall we’d love to see you. We’ve got a range of cottages which sleep 4-12 people and we’ve won many awards because we are passionate about sustainability – find out more and check availability.
Have you got any suggestions for fascinating historical sites around Cornwall that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you on our Facebook page, Instagram or tweet @Bosinver

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