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Knill Monument, St Ives, Cornwall. About 1920

Knill Monument, St Ives, Cornwall. About 1920


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Royal Cornwall Museum

Royal Cornwall Museum Photo Prints and Wall Art

Knill Monument, St Ives, Cornwall. About 1920

The " Knill Ceremony", showing little girls standing at the base of the monument together with an old lady. John Knill was born in Callington on 1st January 1733 and worked as a collector of Customs in St Ives between 1762 and 1782, where he also became mayor in 1767. He was regarded as being slightly eccentric. In that same year, 1767, he decided to build a 50 foot, three sided, pyramid style granite structure on Worvas Hill just to the south of St Ives, to be known as Knills Steeple. It was erected as his intended burial place. The monument bears on one side the painted coat of arms of Knill, with the Latin " Resurgam" (I shall arise) and, in English, " I know that my redeemer liveth". In his will he left detailed instructions for ceremonies to be carried out in his memory every five years on St James Day, July 25th at the Steeple, including dancing for fifteen minutes to the tune of " All people that on earth due dwell" by ten young girls under the age of 10, and who traditionally have to be daughters of either fishermen, tinners or seamen. They are accompanied by two widows, the Mayor, the Customs Officer and a Master of Ceremonies. In his will John left money for the upkeep of the monument and for celebrations to take place. The first ceremony, in which John Knill participated, took place in 1801. He died in his chambers on 29th July 1811 in Grays Inn Square London and is buried in St Andrews Church, Holborn. Photographer: Arthur William Jordan

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TRURI : IVSkn.13

Media ID 12070700

© From the collection of the RIC

Dresses Hats Suits Women


FEATURES IN THESE COLLECTIONS

> Arts > Artists > D > William Day

> Arts > Artists > H > John Hillers

> Arts > Artists > H > John Hills

> Arts > Artists > J > William James

> Arts > Artists > S > John Steeple

> Arts > Artists > Y > John Young

> Arts > Dance

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > Callington

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > Related Images

> Europe > United Kingdom > England > Cornwall > South Hill

> Royal Cornwall Museum > Places > St Ives


EDITORS COMMENTS
This print captures the Knill Monument in St Ives, Cornwall, around 1920 during the renowned "Knill Ceremony". The image showcases a group of little girls standing at the base of the monument alongside an elderly lady. John Knill, a peculiar figure born in Callington on January 1st, 1733, served as a Customs collector and mayor of St Ives between 1762 and 1782. In his eccentricity, Knill decided to construct a remarkable granite structure called Knills Steeple on Worvas Hill. Standing at an impressive height of 50 feet with three sides resembling a pyramid, this monument was intended to be his final resting place. Adorned with his coat of arms and inscribed with Latin words meaning "I shall arise" and English words stating "I know that my redeemer liveth" it stands as a testament to his unique character. In his will, John outlined detailed instructions for ceremonies held every five years on July 25th – St James Day – at the Steeple. These ceremonies included young girls under ten years old dancing for fifteen minutes to the tune of "All people that on earth due dwell". These girls traditionally had familial ties to fishermen, tinners or seamen. Accompanied by two widows, the Mayor, Customs Officer, and Master of Ceremonies; they celebrated John's memory according to his wishes. John Knill passed away in London on July 29th, 1811 but left funds for maintaining the monument and ensuring these celebrations continued. This photograph serves as both documentation and tribute to this unique tradition established by an extraordinary man.

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