Doing his homework, whilst travelling backwards on a tractor…

Here is a brilliant digital story, made from a recording between Rex Hosking and artist Louise McClary, who both live and work in St.Martin. In this short story Rex share some of his memories of farming in St.Martin, Cornwall. These include memories of using a haypole, childhood on a farm, a tractor that could plough a field on its own! We have been trying to track down the archive photograph that Rex talks about in this but so far have had no luck, if anyone has any ideas about where this may be, please do get in touch.

39ThisLandThis film was exhibited at, ‘This Land‘ at Kestle Barton (above), along with other digital stories, photographs, portraits, objects and maps.

Crying the neck, Cornish feasts & corn dolly’s at Gunwen

What a brilliant 3 days we had over our recent event at Gunwen Chapel in Luxulyan.

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The event kicked off with a crying the neck ceremony with the 3 local primary schools, Luxulyan, Lanivet and Lanlivery, followed by corn dolly making with Kath Strang. The same evening, another crying the neck ceremony was led by Mark Hawken, with a service from the Reverent Malcolm Bowers (I am currently putting together a film of this, so watch this space). This was followed by a traditional Gunwen feast (not to be missed!) and a Cornish sing along led by Keith and Clarinder Truscott.

Following an afternoon of film screenings on the Friday, we continued the celebrations on Saturday with singing, dancing, a range of musicians, and of course some more delicious food, courtesy of Gunwen Chapel.

The whole event was set against a backdrop of local photographs, films, maps, objects and artwork, brought together over the last year through the projects work with a local group of volunteers and primary schools. Ivan also managed to get hold of a cow for hand milking and a fergy T20.

A HUGE thank you to all that enabled this to happen, and contributed their time, photographs, stories and musical talents. A particular thank you to Ivan, Margaret, Hilary & Rob. It was such a pleasure being involved in this close-knit community, and i’m sure the work started during this project will continue.

A brilliant month of celebrations

As ‘Tallys an Tir’ is coming towards it’s final stages we have had a great month, enjoying a series of celebratory events that brought together material collected and produced during the project for all to see.


Watching films at RoseHip Barn

The past 2 weekends we were at RoseHip Barn on Trefranck Farm in St.Clether and then Gunwen Chapel in the Luxulyan area.


Thursday evening at Gunwen

You never go hungry at at Gunwen!

You never go hungry at at Gunwen!

Each event has been very different, depending on the project work that has been going on in the area, and each has been packed with stories, food, fun and plenty to see. It has been an absolute pleasure working within each community, and good to know that the work started will continue.

Over the next few blog posts I will be putting up some more photos from each event. I will then continue to post some of the films, recordings, photographs and other material that has been collected over the project.

Wheat needed for corn dolly making!

Len Teatime at BlackhayCalling all farmers who have fields of wheat that is yet to be combined… we need wheat for making corn dollies later this Summer! This is for our event at Gunwen, part of which will involve inviting local Schools to join us for a crying the neck ceremony, followed by some traditional corn dolly making.

If you can help us, and are in Cornwall, please do get in touch! Call me (Sarah) on 07767382552 or 01326 569485.


The Cornish Tradition of ‘Crying the Neck’

Here is another digital story, made as part of ‘Tallys an Tir,‘ that brings together old cine film footage with the voice of farmer John Bennallick from St.Wenn. The ‘Crying the Neck‘ ceremony is really interesting when thinking about our relationship with the landscape and old traditions that have, in this case, been revived. Linking up with Luxulyan Old Cornwall Society, we will be ‘Crying the Neck‘ as part of our celebratory event at Gunwen Chapel on Thursday 19th September 2013 and welcome people to join us.

Thanks again to John for giving his time.

Man, Machine and Nature… Combining by Brindley Hosken

Here’s another of Brindley’s tales of farming near Manaccan.

One August day some thirty summers ago, I was chosen to drive the combine for the day. I filled it up with diesel and drove out to the Griddle where a lovely crop of barley was waiting for me. I set the combine up and then dropped my eight foot six inch header into the crop and started combining. I was THE MAN. Soon I had combined several rounds of the field and started back and forth across the field, leaving a golden rank of straw to mark my progress. As the morning wore on, the baler turned up and started baling the straw.

As the knife cut through the crop and it fell on the sacrificial alter of the combine bed and was transported away to Armageddon the dust rose up and with the heat of the sun on the back of my neck, I could feel the sweat trickling down my neck and creating white rivulets in my blackened face. Man, machine and nature as one.

I finished another strip and then weaved my way between the bales. Swinging the combine around to begin another strip I heard an almighty BANG. I looked to my left where the unloading auger should have been but it was not there, it was flopping against the combine side with a piece of cast iron dangling from it. I had caught it on a tree in the hedge. As Craig Grevil Horwood might have put it, “disaaaaster, darling”.

I drove into the yard to give my uncles the good news, where my worth as a member of the human race was called into question. Eventually we got hold of our local blacksmith, John Pearce, and he came out and after a struggle managed to weld the cast iron back in place. I often wonder if the character assassination he heard that day was what drove him to change his vocation and come back as the Rev John Pearce.

As for myself, I cannot remember if I was allowed back on the combine or was banished to shovel grain for the rest of the day as penance. I suspect it was the second option.

‘PELAGGO’ field

Following on from the last blog post here is some more text and some beautiful sketches  by artist Louise McClary-

On the other side of the road, not on the riverside, is “PELAGGO ” field. It seems this field used to be two fields, ‘Pelaggo’ and ‘Bens Pelaggo’…

‘Palaggo field’ before harvest

I have been walking this field for 17 years, through the seasons of cabbages then in daffodils for three years, back to cabbages, now wheat. The combine came and I watched the wheat being chomped up, five buzzards circled and pounced on poor unsuspecting mice.

The dust and noise from the combine was incredible. Andrew Hosking said “imagine without a cab…”and told me his uncle would come home black after a day in the combine harvester.

These little sketches are of the day the combine harvester came on September the 13th.

Louise has also been doing some research using tythe maps. These are great as they show old field names, revealing more about the past of land. Here is what Louise has discovered-

“I have discovered the name of the field that is next to” Pelaggo,” which is a huge field backed with a wood, Andrew has always called this field ‘Trecoose’ field, simply because it is next to Trecoose (a collection of houses where Mr.Bean and large family have their fish shop and fishing enterprise). Looking at the map it looks like it was two fields.. so the first bit is Henna, then Great field, as you walk towards the village of St.Martin as it were. I have always thought the field’s odd as its broken up oddly with very stony ground somewhere between henna and great field.”

Here is a photograph of ‘Pelaggo’ field taken by Louise in early November. After the combine has come the field is rewduced to stubble, as mentioned in this extract of John Clare’s poem


NATURE now spreads around, in dreary hue,
A pall to cover all that summer knew;
Yet, in the poet’s solitary way,
Some pleasing objects for his praise delay;
Something that makes him pause and turn again,
As every trifle will his eye detain:
The free horse rustling through the stubble field;
And cows at lair in rushes, half conceal’d;
With groups of restless sheep who feed their fill,
O’er clear’d fields rambling wheresoe’er they will;
The hedger stopping gaps, amid the leaves,
Which time, o’er-head, in every colour weaves;
The milkmaid pausing with a timid look,
From stone to stone, across the brimming brook;

The cotter journeying with his noisy swine,
Along the wood-side where the brambles twine,
Shaking from mossy oaks the acorns brown,
Or from the hedges red haws dashing down;

Some more sketches by Louise- “the stubble corn now has much more green in it, with  some amazing almost purple hues in stripes, lots of black rooks circling and cutting shapes across the naples yellow stubble corn ..just beautiful ..”

Harvest festivities at Gunwen Chapel

On Monday evening we were at Gunwen chapel for some traditional harvest singing, a delicious feast and a lively auction. The evening was filmed and gives us some lovely photographs and footage for future community films. Thank you everyone for being so welcoming!

Singing at Gunwen Chapel

A bright spread of food and flowers

Feast time

2 pheasants anyone? Let the bidding begin!