Redruth Old Cornwall Society Museum
- Founded 1922 -
Registered charity no.: 1079433
Crying the Neck
Friday August 28th 2009.
To be held in the field marked on the map
It will begin at 7-0pm.
After the ceremony a service will be held in Carnkie Chapel
followed by a pasty supper.
In order to get directions click to bring up the larger map.
One of the highlights of the Cornish year is the ‘Crying the Neck’ ceremony when the last stand of the crop is cut in a simple ceremony, held aloft in triumph, and the sheaf or corn dolly is escorted to the Church or Chapel as a thanksgiving for the harvest.
These ceremonies originated in Pagan times (but thankfully there is nothing heathen about our ceremonies now), and probably started in Egypt at the beginnings of Agriculture about 7000 years ago. They spread to other parts of the Mediterranean and to the continent of Europe and thence to Britain. Fertility rites in these ceremonies originally required blood sacrifices to commemorate the death and resurrection of the Corn Spirit, and these varied from place to place. Often the victim was wrapped in sheaves, beheaded, and thrown in a river. At times the victim was a chosen person (perhaps a criminal), and at other places a passing stranger would be sacrificed. In some cases it would appear that the farmer would encourage a stranger to help with the harvest and then use him as a sacrifice. Later, animals were used, particularly hens.
With the coming of Christianity, blood sacrifices were abolished and the ceremonies were modified and adapted for use by the Church by giving thanks for a bountiful Harvest. There was much feasting and the consuming of vast amounts of cider and beer, accompanied by romps and kissing games, however, with an intensive Temperance campaign in Victorian times, the harvest concluded with hot pasties and tea.
With advanced mechanised farming, towards the end of the 19th century the ceremonies died out, but were revived in 1928 by the Old Cornwall Societies. The first O.C.S. was formed in St. Ives in 1920 and they revived the Crying the Neck ceremonies in 1928 along with the Midsummer’s Eve bonfires and some other Societies followed suit. The Redruth Society was founded in 1922 but we did not start our Crying the Neck ceremonies until 1997 although we had the Midsummer’s Eve bonfires from the early 1930’s.
This event is open to members and non-members alike and we cordially invite you to attend.
ORDER OF THE CEREMONY
Opening remarks by the Master of Ceremonies.
Roll Call of Old Cornwall Societies.
Hymn No.1 – We plough the fields and scatter…..
The history of the ceremony by the M.C.
Prayer of thanksgiving before cutting the last stand.
Pysadpow Gras Kens es Treghy an Pen Yar.
Cutting and Crying the Neck.
Repetition of the cutting and crying in Cornish
Hymn No.2 – Now thank we all our God.
Short service in the Chapel
PLEASE COME ALONG TO GIVE US YOUR SUPPORT AND HELP TO KEEP THESE CUSTOMS ALIVE.
MEMBERSHIP TO THE OLD CORNWALL SOCIETY IS OPEN TO ALL –SUBSCRIPTIONS ONLY £3 PER PERSON PER YEAR.
PLEASE ALSO SUPPORT OUR MUSEUM – (Volunteers wanted to man the Museum – 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1p.m. to 4 p.m.)
Ron Opie ( President R-O.C.S.)
Registered charity no.: 1079433