On Sunday 1st October, we celebrated our Harvest Festival with non-perishable food items placed in front of the altar, afterwards these items were donated to the foodbank. Joining our Mass of celebration was deacons from Devon & Cornwall including our own deacon, Peter Skoyles. Our ploughman’s lunch after Mass collected £110:00 for St Petrocs to help keep them in their work, caring for the homeless in Cornwall.
Continuing with our harvest theme, on Saturday 28th October Fr. Gilmour joined Brian Oldham and the Liskeard Old Cornwall Society in Liskeard Cattle Market for ‘Crying the Neck’ This is the Cornish Festival – a pagan religious celebration to welcome the Harvest at the end of summer recalling the last cutting of the sheaf and honouring the harvest so next years crop will be a good one. The neck is never held aloft to the West as this might bring a poor harvest next year.
Crying the Neck has its roots as the Celtic Festival of ‘Samhain’ welcoming the harvest at the end of summer, when people would light bonfires and wear costume to ward off ghosts.
The Introduction was given by Brian Oldham; Opening Prayer in Cornish by Rod Sheaff; Opening Prayer in English by Fr. Gilmour; Reading in English by Fr. Gilmour; The neck is then raised aloft to the North, East and the South; The Lord’s Prayer in Cornish by Rod Sheaff; The Lord’s Prayer in English by all present; Blessing by Fr. Gilmour; and all sing ‘Trelawny’.
The Cornish Anthem ‘Trelawny’ is nowhere near as ancient and refers to the Cornish Bishop Trelawny who spoke out against James II and was imprisoned during the time of the ‘Great Political Unrest’ in 1688. Bishop Jonathan Trelawny is buried in the small church in Pelynt between Looe and Polperro – not far from Sclerder Abbey – in fact it was Trelawny’s descendants that built Sclerder Abbey. Bishop Trelawny’s Crosier hangs above his tomb in the church at Pelynt.