St. Columb Major

St. Columb Major

Plew Golom

Mid Cornwall town famous for hurling


St. Columb Major Town Council


St. Columb Major is a small town located seven miles south-west of Wadebridge and six miles east of Newquay, which once on the A39 but is now by-passed. The designation Major distinguishes it from the smaller settlement and parish of St. Columb Minor on the coast. The population of the town was 4,587 at the 2011 census.

In 1333 Edward III granted a market in St. Columb Major to Sir John Arundell. In 1645 during the English Civil War, Sir Thomas Fairfax's troops were advancing from Bodmin towards Truro; on 7th March the army held a rendezvous, and halted one night, 4 miles beyond Bodmin. The King's forces were quartered at this time at Castle an Dinas, where a smart skirmish took place between the Prince's regiment and a detachment of the Parliamentary army under Colonel Rich, in which the latter was victorious. In the year 1676, the greatest part of the church of St. Columb was blown up with gunpowder by three youths of the town.

Royal visits have been made to St. Columb in 1909, 1977 and 1983. On 27th May 1983 the town was visited by the Prince and Princess of Wales (Charles and Diana). The visit was to commemorate the 650th anniversary of the signing of the town charter by Edward III. A plaque commemorates this visit outside the Conservative club in Union Square.

The A39 main road runs north to south through the parish. Until the late 1970's it went through the town but a by-pass now carries traffic east of St. Columb. The older part of the town follows a linear layout along Fair Street and Fore Street. Many houses on the narrow main street are slate hung. Cornish architect Silvanus Trevail designed Lloyds Bank and the school. In recent years there has been a surge of high quality new buildings on the edges of the town, including Jenner Parc and Arundell Parc.

The church is dedicated to St. Columba a local saint and her well is at Ruthvoes two miles away. For most of the Middle Ages the church belonged to the Arundell's of Lanherne and was lavishly endowed. Within the church were two chantry chapels served by six priests. The tower is a fine example of a 15th century building, consisting of four stages with battlements and pinnacles. It is 80 feet high and contains eight bells re-hung in 1950. In 1920 the chiming clock was added as a memorial to the men of St. Columb who died in the Great War. In 1860 plans were drawn up by William Butterfield, in the hope of St. Columb church becoming the cathedral of the future diocese of Cornwall, but the cathedral was built at Truro.

The town crest consists of a hand holding a silver hurling ball with the motto "Town and Country do your best". The design originally appeared on medals awarded to winners of the hurling game and were first awarded in the 1930's. Later the design was adopted by the town council as a symbol of civic pride. The emblem appears on the mayoral chains and it is used on the uniform of St. Columb School. Road-signs at each end of the town also bear the design.

Nearby is Trewan Hall family home of the Vivian family.

The town is still well served with shops, banks and many small businesses.

Notable Residents

Henry Jenner (1848-1934) Cornish cultural activist, and the chief originator of the Cornish language revival was born here.

John Edyvean (1740-1780) A Cornish engineer who invented the inclined plane system for the Bude Canal.

John Frederick Crapp (1912-1981) The first Cornishman to play cricket for England was born in the town.

James Polkinghorne (1788–1851) was the landlord of the King's Arms pub and then the landlord of the Red Lion pub both in the town. He was one of the most renowned champion Cornish wrestlers who had a number of famous contests against Devon fighters.

Richard Parkyn (1772-1855), is perhaps the most famous champion Cornish wrestler. He was from St. Columb Major and was known as "The Great Parkyn". He was dominant from 1795 through to 1811. He was so famous that the hamlet of Parkyn's Shop was named after him.

Edward Hamley (1764–1834) was an English clergyman and poet.

Lieutenant William Hicks (1788–1874) was a British Naval officer.

Stephen Robert Nockolds, FRS (1909–1990) was a geochemist, petrologist and winner of the Murchison Medal of the Geological Society of London.

Several generations of the Vivian family lived in nearby Trenoweth before the manor house was built in Trewan circa 1633. In 1697, only-child Mary Vivian, of Trewan Hall, married her distant cousin Sir Richard Vyvyan, 3rd Baronet of Colan. This united two branches of the family which had been separated for three centuries, and continued the family line under the spelling Vyvyan.

Art Galleries

Art Galleries in St. Columb Major


Potteries in St. Columb Major


Twice a year the town plays host to "a hurling match", a medieval game once common throughout Cornwall but now only played in St. Columb and St. Ives. It is played on Shrove Tuesday and then again on the Saturday eleven days later. The game involves two teams of several hundred people (the 'townsmen' and the 'countrymen') who endeavour to carry a silver ball made of apple wood to goals set two miles apart.

St. Columb Major Carnival Week - August.


Cafes in St. Columb Major


Pubs in St. Columb Major

Wadebridge       Newquay       The Japanese Garden & Bonsai Nursery       Castle an Dinas       Trewan Hall

Roche       Porth Reservoir       Cornish Birds of Prey Centre       Screech Owl Sanctuary       Lanherne House

Mawgan Porth       Springfields Fun Park       Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre