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St Ives Feast and hurling the silver ball

Taking place each year on the first Sunday after the 3rd of February, the St Ives Feast Day is an ancient tradition that celebrates the consecration of the parish church St Eia in 1434 AD. This offers you a chance to watch the rare game of hurling the silver ball which is one of Cornwall’s oldest customs dating back at least 1000 years! Our elderly neighbour has fond memories chasing the silver ball through the cobbled streets of St Ives, hoping to win and catch some pennies along the way. Although its origin is unknown the game involves much physical rough and tumble as each side as traditionally the ‘countrymen’ and ‘townsmen’ of a particular parish tries to keep possession of a cricket ball-sized ball made of apple wood coated in silver. These days, Cornish Hurling has all but disappeared, but it is still played once a year in St Ives and St Columb Major, near Newquay.