We need your input!
Updated: Sep 1, 2018
As you know, this year saw a break in the Riding & Heritage festivities, but we are a new committee (you can meet some of us here!), and we've come together to revive the celebrations, and to give Bodmin the festival it deserves in 2019!
But - we need your help!
We want to know what your favourite parts of the festival are, what you would like to see revived, and what you wouldn’t miss in 2019. We are also looking to hear your memories of Riding and Heritage days gone by, and we'd love to see your photographs.
If you don't know already, Bodmin Riding & Heritage is a Cornish festival which takes place each year on the first weekend of July (You can find out more on the About page). The festival itself is an ancient one, first recorded 550 years ago, in 1469 – that’s even before Padstow’s Mayday was mentioned! It's rooted in Bodmin’s unique history, community and Cornish identity, and celebrates the rich traditions of Cornish heritage.
Over the many years of Bodmin Riding’s long history, traditions have changed and evolved. 550 years ago, the festival celebrated the restoration of St Petroc’s bones, after they had been stolen and taken to Brittany, and returned in 1177. Did you know, the casket which held St Petroc’s bones after their return is still on display in St Petroc’s Church? In 1469 this casket may have been paraded through the town during the festival - although these days it’s probably best left it where it is! The festival then included a civic dinner, a mock court, sports (and horseracing!) at Halgavor, and the Riding Ale and Riding dance. In the 1700’s and 1800’s the main focus was sports, including Cornish wrestling, and featured a grand ball. The 1820’s saw an end to the Riding traditions, which weren’t revived until 1974.
In 1986 the popular yet controversial addition ‘The Hanging of the Mayor’ was introduced, a commemoration of Nicholas Bowyer, Mayor of Bodmin, who was hanged for his part in the Prayer Book Rebellion 1549. These days health and safety and high insurances would make the event difficult to recreate, but some still remember it with great humour. It was replaced with ‘The Trial of the Beast’ during the 2000’s, where the Helliers and the Ragadaziou (elders of the town) try the Beast on Mount Folly Square. Of all the traditions, ancient and modern, some are very much loved. Many people remember with great affection how the town was full of people in Tudor or medieval dress on the first Saturday in July.
With all this in mind, there’s nothing to say that we can't create a tradition of our very own for 2019!
So, if you have any ideas, any special memories of previous Bodmin Riding & Heritage festivals, or photographs to share, please get in touch! You can even pop a note (making sure to include your contact details) in to the Bodmin Visitor Centre, who have kindly agreed to pass them on to us.
We're really looking forward to hearing from you!