St Endellion Music Festival

‘St. Endellion! St. Endellion! The name is like a ring of bells’

From ‘The Collins Guide to the Parish Churches of England’ Edited by John Betjeman

John Betjeman said the four corners of St Endellion’s tower peep at you like a hare in a cornfield, and indeed they do, popping over the brow of the hill as you approach. When you get to it, St Endellion is the most feminine of churches. It has wonderfully carved wooden pew ends, a delicate frieze and a beautiful ceiling. However the loveliest thing to be seen there is the Saint herself depicted in a gorgeous modern icon holding a single barley straw in blessing. St Endellion (or Endellienta as she is sometimes called) is also depicted in the wonderful choir stalls of St Hilary's Church in West Cornwall.

There could be no more delightful setting for a Music Festival and one is held here twice yearly. The St Endellion Music Festival is now over fifty years old, making it a more established festival in North Cornwall than many of the so called traditional but actually resurrected festivals. The summer festival starts at the end of this month.

The special atmosphere of St Endellion’s Church has made both it and the festival a magnet and a refuge for musicians from all over the world. What began as a few friends coming down to restore the ancient rectory and put on a few ad hoc concerts has become a significant date in the musical calendar. There are now exciting plans to turn the buildings around the church into a centre for Music and Spirituality. John Betjeman, who loved the church and is buried at nearby St Enodoc, would surely have approved.

St Endellion is also the name of a soft brie like cheese from Trevarrian near Newquay. Made from Cornish milk and with the addition of double cream, it is rich and completely delicious. Naming a cheese after this particular Saint is highly appropriate as she is reputed to have lived only on milk!

We know about St Endellion from the work of Nicholas Roscarrock a famous Catholic recusant of the sixteenth century who wrote a book on the lives of the Saints, including more than a hundred from Devon and Cornwall. Roscarrock was born at a farm in St Endellion’s Parish and no doubt this saintly dairy maid held a special significance for him.

Roscarrock says that St Endellion was one of the children on the Welsh King Brychan and that she was born about AD470. Her claim to fame as a Saint is that she restored to life the man who killed her cow – and the cow as well. When she was dying she directed her followers to place her body on a sled to be pulled by two unguided bullocks, and where they halted so would she. They pulled her to the top of a hill and the church was built on their resting place.

I don’t want to mess about with something as lovely as St Endellion Cheese, but it might be nice to have something delicious to go with it.

Spiced Cherries

Cherries – I used two punnets

300ml of white wine vinegar

450g sugar

1 bay leaf and 1 sprig of thyme for every jar.

I teaspoon of sea salt

Spices to taste – I used 2 blades of mace, 1 tablespoon of coriander seed and 2 sticks of cinnamon. You could also use star anise, allspice or cloves, but don’t over do it.

Make the syrup by heating the vinegar in a stainless steel pan, bringing it to the boil and dissolving the sugar in it. Then add the spices and simmer for 10 minutes. Leave until completely cold – preferably overnight. Wash and dry the cherries leaving the stalks on and discarding any blemished ones.

Pack the cherries into sterilized jars adding thyme and bay to each jar. Top up with the syrup and seal. You might have some syrup left – it depends on the size of your jars. Leave for a week before eating. Keep in a cool dark place and eat within a couple of months.

The friendly cow, all red and white,

I love with all my heart;

She gives me cream with all her might,

To eat with apple-tart.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)


A Trifle Rushed said...

Spiced cherries... They sound very exciting! The festival sounds fab too.

Gerry Snape said...

brilliant post Liz. I love all of the pics you have put up..sadly the birds got most of our cherries this year so no cherry brandy for me!

Eat Hackney said...

Sounds delic! I was just in Cornwall, gazing at these fluttering flags...

Choclette said...

Liz, you've shamed e yet again. The times we have walked past that church, but never once have we gone in it! I'm a big fan of the St E cheese, so good to know why it was so named And your cherries sound really good, did you actually eat them with the cheese?

Liz said...

Helena!! - you should have let me know!! I'd have given you then insiders view of PZ. Chocolette - yes We did eat them with the cheese - a wonderful sharp and fruity contrast with its delicious creaminess..

Mary Beth said...


Your "header" illustrations always thrill me. Even though I tend to miss the familiarity of each previous picture, the replacements you choose are always as good if not better.
This new photo is a stunner! Those particular shades of blue and the waving flags take me right to the Jubilee Pool every time I visit your site. I can hear the water lapping and I take a deep breath of the seaside air. Virtual vacation moment every time.

Would you be able to reference these illustration/photo sources for us and have them available as an archive? I find that I always want to know more about the artists/subjects of the paintings and I'd love to know where this photo was taken as well. Then I could revisit these gorgeous works of art which add as much to the appeal of your site as the history, literature, lore, and recipes.

Keep up the stellar work. With so much vitriol on the internet, having the beautiful haven of Feasts and Festivals to visit blesses all of us. God bless you in return!

Liz said...

Thank you Mary Beth, thank you so much, your comments always make me feel really appreciated. I love the idea of an archive of my header pics - gives me an excuse to go back and find them all. I took this photograph about 2 weeks ago on the seafront about 300 yards from where I live. The pool was inaugurated in 1935 and has its own website ( The flags are part of Penzance's Midsummer Celebrations ( that's Golowan - see the blog for June 2010). Every year the flags are made to a new design and they fly on the promenade ( with lots of others) much more 'green' than electric lights...more soon.xxLiz