Church of England Diocese of Truro Crowan

Crowan Feast

14 Jan 2021, midnight

It's Crowan Feast this Sunday.

Traditionally Feast Sunday is the closest Sunday to Candlemas (2 February) when Christ was presented to the elders in the Temple.

Here in Crowan we celebrate the fearless St Crewenna, the church's founding Saint, who crossed the choppy seas between Ireland and Cornwall with other intrepid missionaries in around 600AD. Click here to listen to a snatch of a Feast Day hymn from our mini Male Voice Choir.

St Crewenna and her companions eventually became Saints, converting the heathen and giving their names to the churches around Cornwall - Breaca, Petroc, Euny, Piran, name a few. Not an easy task in the 'Dark Ages'.

A highly idealised St Crewenna is pictured in one of the stained glass windows, holding the church she founded. She looks very serene and well-groomed. It quite definitely wasn't possible to cut such a dash in the wild countryside of 7th century west Cornwall.

She remains a bit of a mystery. There are virtually no historical mentions of her. But over the past 1,500 years since her arrival, she has certainly been thought worth celebrating locally.

Not just the congregation at Crowan Church but the whole of the parish used to join in the festivities.

‘Until a late hour in certain parts of St Crewenna’s land, the vicinity resounded with singing and merriment,” reported the Cornishman in February 1913.

On Feast Day morning in flower-bedecked Crowan Church, the lord of the Manor, the Rev. St Aubyn Hender Molesworth St Aubyn, read the lessons. There was a children’s service in the afternoon and at Evensong the then Bishop of Truro paid his first visit to the church.

There were special services at Praze and Leedstown Methodist Chapels and at other chapels long since sadly closed – Releath, Black Rock and Horsedowns, where Four Lanes Male Voice Choir (still going strong 108 years on) gave a concert.

On Feast Monday there was a clay shooting match at Leedstown, a ‘a sale of work’ (church bazaar) and general disappointment that the Fourburrow Hunt was not able to meet as usual (no reason given).

Fast forward 35 years, through two World Wars, similar celebrations were taking place in 1948. Miss Marion Goldsworthy (remembered by many of us as Mrs Marion James) played the organ at Crowan. Services were held at Leedstown, Releath and Black Rock chapels and that year the Fourburrow Hunt did meet on Feast Monday, attracting a large following.

This year the pandemic meant that there could be no service at Crowan. But the wonders of the internet and Zoom brought members of the congregation together.

And those who could visited the church to light candles – burning brightly in this photo despite the torrential rain falling outside.