• The origin of Week St. Mary Village Revel Celebrations
The origins of the popular annual Week St. Mary Revel are lost in the
mists of time although we recall again John Wesley's comment in his journal for 15th September 1746; "A guide, meeting us at Camelford, conducted us to St. Mary Week…. It was the time of the yearly revel , which obliged me to speak very plain".
The Harvest Queen is a
fairly new innovation. When Week St. Mary Carnival ceased to be held there was a lapse of some years before the Harvest Queen was crowned in Revel Week to take the place of the former Carnival Queen.
High up on the west face of the church which was built in 1643 are three
bands of carvings depicting two hounds in full cry after a hare. This could well indicate a connection with the Revel celebrations which have always featured a hunt which met in the square early in the morning of Revel Monday. This was followed by sports, dancing to a band and fun for the old and younger, including a public tea and a service with a visiting preacher in the evening.
At one time there was a Revel King who was drawn in a farm cart sitting on a
pumpkin. This old custom was revived for one year in 1937 when Jack Colwill, sitting on a pumpkin, was crowned 'King' by Rev Hambrook. The King's identity was kept strictly secret until the last moment, adding spice to the occasion.
In former days, celebrations were confined to the Sunday and Monday
following the feast day of the patron saint, St. Mary the Virgin. Revel is remembered with great affection by the older inhabitants of the village, not least because Revel Monday meant a day off school. It was a day when any absent member of a family would make a special effort to come home.
The Harvest Queen was crowned as part of the celebrations and her crown, made of corn, was constructed for each Harvest Queen by Mr. Norman Wilton and treasured as a keepsake by the wearer. Many of the old traditions remain though now festivities last a fullweek, providing entertainment to suit everyone.