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St Columb Major

A brief insight into this historical Market Town



This area of Cornwall has been populated for well over two thousand years. In the 2nd Century B.C. the Dumnonia Tribe built their major hill-fort 'Castle-an-Dinas' as the tribal citadel for the whole of Devon and Cornwall. It was in the late Roman era of the 5th Century that the descendants of the Dumnonia moved from the hill-forts and founded present day St. Columb.


Market Town

St. Columb was granted Market Town status by Royal Charter in 1333 after Sir John Arundell supported Edward III in his battles against the Scots. The town reached its peak in both prosperity and power in the mid 19th Century, when it was so serious a contender to become Cornwall's Cathedral City that the Bishops Palace was constructed in 1850 known locally as The Old Rectory, which is now a private residence.


Unique Buildings

As well as the 15th century church, (housing the finest church brasses in Cornwall), St. Columb has many notable buildings demonstrating various styles of architecture. Buildings worth viewing include the 'spired' red brick former Barclays Bank, the old Bank House in Market Square and the Old Rectory, built to house the Bishops of Cornwall, these are but a few.



A more recent addition is the highly popular Carnival held on the first week in August. This is when the townsfolk of St. Columb come out in all their splendour, from the smallest children to the oldest inhabitants and join in with gusto, every shop playing its part - the whole town goes back in time. A whole weeks worth of entertainment, culminating with Saturday evening's Carnival, when all the inhabitants spontaneously participate in the Carnival parade and entertainment.



Sun, surf and sand on the exceptional beaches of North Cornwall, adventure parks or peaceful walks through stunning countryside and the mystical aura of ancient Bronze Age hill-forts. Whatever your pleasure, everything is within a stone's throw of our unique town. Carnivals, Music recitals, Flower Festivals; join in the hustle and bustle of Cornish country life or sit back, enjoy the atmosphere and relax.


Visit St. Columb Major

We'll look forward to seeing you, and you can rest assured of a warm and friendly welcome in the heart of Cornwall.


A long and ancient tradition still being played in St Columb


Aerial Rugby

Described as 'aerial rugby', hurling almost certainly began as a pagan fertility rite, heralding the coming of Spring by the casting up of a silver ball in honour of the sun.

With the coming of Christianity it became a game and the St. Columb Green Book, (parish records) contains the following entry of great historical significance, '1594 John Menheere owith for a silver ball dd to Tobye at his instance and upon his word xs' (ten shillings!).


Fast and Exciting

Hurling is fast, exciting and seemingly rather rough.

The town's streets and alleyways and the surrounding countryside are all places where the ball can be carried on the afternoon of Shrove Tuesday (starting at 4.30) with a second game at the same time on the following Saturday week.


Unique Year

2001 was an unique year as it saw the first ever postponement of the hurling on the Shrove Tuesday, when town and country folk alike came to an agreement not to stage the hurl due to the Foot-and-Mouth epidemic.

Come to St. Columb at Shrovetide and see this ancient game for yourselves and drink 'silver beer' afterwards in all the town's pubs!


Hurling Balls

At the present time new silver hurling balls are given by those who have a desire to retain the 'old' ball as a memento of a personal or family triumph.

Hurling balls are still made locally by Colin Rescorla, a local craftsman, using a time-honoured practice, handed down from previous generations, rivetting a band and outer casing of sterling silver to an applewood core. The finished missile weighs 16 ounces (0.4536 kg).


24 Fore Street
St. Columb
Cornwall TR9 6RH


T: 01637 880347

Opening Times

Mon-Thu: 8.30-1.00 & 2.00-5.00
Fri: 8.30-1.00
Sat & Sun: CLOSED