Canon Diggens ArchiveThe St. Keverne Feast
This ancient institution carries our thoughts back to the day when King Solomon "having builded a house", for the Worship of Jehovah, kept the never forgotten Dedication Feast.
Later, when the temple had been restored, it was rededicated, and the feast was annually kept in memory of that great service.
Our Lord Himself, we are told (John 10.22.25) was at Jerusalem at this feast.
Christians in this twentieth Century do not travel like the Jesus of old to one Holy City, nevertheless the same spirit of common brotherhood prevails.
Carew writes "The Saint's Feast is kept upon Dedication Day by every householder of the parish within his own doors each entertaining such foreign acquaintence as will not rayle to requite them... with the like kindness".
But Borlase says "That, it being inconvenient especially in harvest time to keep Feasts on Saint's Day, the Bishop transferred them to the following Sunday. Charles 1st removed the prohibition,
Previously however Henry 8, 1556, issued Statutes and canons whereby every Feast of Dedication should be held on the first Sunday in October. (This Act is now disregarded says the writer).
During the period of want and distress, which reigned in the 18th and part of the 19th Centuries, St. Keverne Feast was like a gleam of sunshine on a wintry morning. Then the Poor tasted meat which had been denied them for twelve months. Then the Annual Market was held. This was a great affair and took place in the Market House under the School in the Village Square. It was at the Feast that the poor folk with the Dorcas Club tickets were able to obtain the articles of food and clothing they so sorely needed.
In an old record dated June 1st 1256 we read that Thomas de Prideas and Sibil la his wife were ordered by the itinerant justices to pay to Orceus, the Abbot of Beaulieu and Parson of the Church of St. Keverne, one pound of wax yearly at the Feast of St. Keverne. Evidently, therefore, St. Keverne Feast was a well known festival even in those early days. Probably it dates back to the period before the Norman Conquest when St. Keverne was a Collegiate Church with Deans and Canons.
Then the people came together at the original date (shortly before Advent) to celebrate their own Feast. The Church and parish have under gone many changes since that time but still the birthday of the Sacred edifice is kept and the Sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving is offered up to Him who has blessed St Keverne with nature's richest gifts.
A Century or two ago vast congregations of the parishioners gathered round the Lord's Table to partake of the Feast He provides.
The old church accounts give some idea of what our foreparents regarded as the essential duty of every professing Christian, and the "Act of Remberance" preceded the joyous gatherings in the homes of St. Keverne.