Helston 2015 Photos

Here are the photos from the Cornish Wrestling at Helston September 2015 taken by Ashley Cawley.

Helston 2015

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Rescheduled Events

As you may be aware a number of events have had to be postponed recently due to poor weather, below are the new dates and times for those events.


Saturday 26th St Just in the Plain an Gwarry starting at 3pm.
Categories for all age groups, an Open Competition, the Featherweight Championship ( weight limit 11 stones ) and the Lightheavyweight Championship ( weight limit 15 stones ).
This tournament is being sponsored by St.Austell Brewery


Saturday 3rd Truro on the Cathedral Green starting at 11am
Please register by 10.30am. Categories for all age groups, a Novice Class and the Heavyweight Championship.
This tournament is being organised by the Truro Old Cornwall Society and sponsored by Roach Fine Foods ( cash prizes ).

Results from St Mawgan Tournament 2015

Under 10’s Competition

1st – Jake Hannaford
2nd – George Riley-Flinder
3rd – Olwyn Champliand Tal-e-dot

Under 12’s Competition

1st – Carrie-Anne Allan
2nd -Lily Atrinson
3rd – Jake Hannaford
4th  – Corey Keelan

Under 14’s Competition

1st – Dougie Allan
2nd – Jamie Pyne
3rd – Bennath Webster

Under 16’s Competition

1st – Rob Doughty
2nd – Toby Garner
3rd – Joe Cawley
4th  – Luke Hannaford
5th – Jamie Hannaford

Under 18’s Competition

1st – Joe Cawley
2nd – Rob Doughty
3rd – Luke Hannaford

Novice Competition

1st – Tim Nicholas
2nd – Steve Nicholas
3rd – Tim Rickard
4th  – Clive Mitchell
5th – Phil Riley

Middleweight Open Competition

1st – Toby Garner
2nd – Jamie Hannaford

Men’s Open Competition

1st – Ashley Cawley
2nd – Dougie Allan

2015 Fixture List


4 – 6th               Royal Cornwall Show.
Twice daily demonstrations.

Sat 27th           Tournament at St.Merryn Rally  2pm
Cornish Lightweight Championship.
Men’s Open Competition
Under 14 Championship
Junior Classes: under 10; under 12; under 16; and under 18.


Sat 4th             Bodmin Tournament. Priory Park. 5pm.
Bodmin Helliers’ Championship.
Open Class
Junior Classes: under 10; under 12; under 14; under 16 and under 18.

Sun 12th           Lostwithiel Tournament. King George V Playing Field. 2pm
Featherweight Championship
Open Class.
Lightweight ( Lostwithiel Regatta Cup ).
Junior Classes; under 10; under 12; under 14; under 16; under 18.

JULY ctd

Sat 18th           St.Mawgan Tournament. 2pm
Men’s Open
Junior Classes: under 10; under 12; under 14; under 16 and under 18.
Plus local St.Mawgan cups.

Sun 19th           Belle-Isle-en-Terre, Brittany. Annual wrestling tournament.

Sat 25th            St.Just Tournament. Plain-an-Gwary. 2pm
This event has now been postponed to the 30th of August 2015


Sat 1st             Penzance Tournament. Trereife Park, Penzance. 2pm
Men’s Open Competition.
Under 12 Championship.
Under 10 Championship.
Junior Classes: under 14; under 16 and under 18.

Wed 5th           St. Columb Tournament.7pm.
Cornish Under 18 Championship.
Men’s Open Class.
Junior Classes: under 10; under 12; under 14; under 16.

Sun 9th              Tregony Heavy Horse Show

Sat 15 th           Lorient Festival, Brittany
Interceltic Tournament

Sun 23rd                 Guingamp, Brittany. Festival of St.Loup.

Sun 30th           St.Merryn. Celtic Wrestling Festival

Postponed until later in Sept !Sun 30th – St.Just Tournament. Plain-an-Gwary. 2pm
Cornish Lightheavyweight Championship.
Men’s Open Competition.
Junior Classes: under 10; under 12; under 14; under 16; under 18;


Sat 5th              Cornish Gorsedh. St.Austell

Sun 6th             Helston Tournament. Sunken Garden. 2pm.
Cornish Middleweight Championship.
Cornish Under 16 Championship.
Men’s Open Class.
Junior Classes: under 10; under 12; under 14 and under 18.


Postponed until further notice due to poor weather – Sun 13th         Truro Tournament. Boscawen Park – 2pm
Cornish Heavyweight Championship.

Novice Class.
Junior Classes: under 10; under 12; under 14; under 16 and under 18.

Saturday 26th – St.Just Tournament. Plain-an-Gwary. 3pm
Cornish Lightheavyweight Championship.
Men’s Open Competition.
Junior Classes: under 10; under 12; under 14; under 16; under 18;


Sat 17th

Sun 18th           Lowender Perran, Newquay




Fri 6th             Annual General Meeting. St.Austell Royal British Legion. 8.15pm

Sat 21st           Annual Dinner. Venue to be arranged.

St Mawgan Tournament 2014 DVD

Cornish Wrestling St Mawgan Tournament DVD Film

Action packed traditional Cornish sport, containing some of the best Cornish Wrestling action of the season.

Recorded in high-quality with slow-motion replays for ‘backs’ and other great throws.

A great learning tool for those interested in the sport.

£5.99 (for UK delivery)

Wordwide shipping is available for an additional £2,  if you require international shipping please use the Buy Now button below.

£7.99 (for worldwide delivery)

Please note that international orders may be processed using slimmer packaging and may not contain a standard DVD case as shown above.

Cornish Wrestling – A Living Tradition

Wrestling is a distinct Cornish tradition that survives to the present day.

The history of Cornish Wrestling goes back so far it is lost in the midst of time. The first mention of Celtic Wrestling appears in the ancient book of Leinster, referring to the sport being included in the Tailteann Games which date back to at least 1829 BC. We know Wrestling was established in Cornwall before the Roman invasion and that the Cornish meetings on Halvager Moor were held during the dark-ages.
The Cornish contingent with Henry V at Agincourt (1415) marched under a banner depicting two Wrestlers “in a hitch”. The banner needed no words; the pictures of the wrestlers was enough to let anyone know the men of Cornwall were behind it.
During the famous meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I of France (on the Field of the Cloth of Gold) a team of wrestlers representing the English king defeated the champions of France. This contingent, which humbled the French team, consisted entirely of men from Cornwall. Godolphin the chief wrestler had received the Royal command direct to bring his men to uphold the king’s honour at Calais.
Wrestling is our national sport in Cornwall, a direct living link with our ancestors handed down through an un-broken chain, from father to son, brother to brother and friend to friend for over 3,000 years.

Many times, Cornish Wrestlers have displayed their prowess before a royal audience. King Charles II believed that the Cornish were “masters in the art of wrestling” after attending a tournament at Bodmin while on his way to the Isles of Silly. It was during his reign that Tomas Hawken of Cubert threw Lyttleton Weynorth, who claimed to be the champion wrestler of “all England”.

Richard Carew, famous for his survey of Cornwall (1602) said that at about 1590 even their Breton neighbours did not match the Cornish in the art of Wrestling. Men from all walks of life took part in the sport. One of the best known wrestlers of the 17th century was Richard Stevens, the head master of Truro Grammar school; inventor Richard Trevithick was another. In the 18th and 19th centuries for which information is more readily available, we see records of tournaments that ran for a week to find the standing men to contest the semi-finals and finals on the Saturday and Sunday. With crowds of upwards of 10,000 for such finals or big name challenge matches, large sums of money often changed hands

Royal Cornwall Show 2014

Here are the photos taken by Ashley Cawley at the Royal Cornwall Show 2014.

Cornish Wrestlers perform demonstrations at the Royal Cornwall Show twice a day for all three days of the event down in the Country Side area.

Wrestling Between Devon and Cornwall – 1826

One of the most famous encounters between wrestlers of Cornwall and Devon must surely be the great wrestling bout of 1826. Any match between Devon and Cornwall was most certainly hotly disputed, and always bore a pridely grudge, and this was no exception.

James Polkinghorne was to meet Abraham Cann. James Polkinghorne although born at St Kevern, is usually associated with St Columb for it was there he was landlord of the Red Lion Hotel and from there that he set forth to uphold the honour of Cornish Wrestling against Cann the challenger.

The match was to find the champion of the West of England and took place at Tamar-Green, Devonport on the 23rd of October 1826. The ultimate result of which has never really been agreed and has remained a matter of great controversy ever since.

It was from St Stephens he set off in his gig on the long trip with his brother to Tamar-Green, Morrice Town, Devonport.

From such information as is still available it seems that controversy surrounding the very outset is to be found. In an article in wrestling it’s heyday and decline, especially written in July 1960 for the 150th Anniversary supplement of the West-Briton who had incorporated the royal Cornwall Gazette, the late reverent Leslie Jolly a recognised authority on wrestling, even wondered if Polkinghorne was infact the proper person to meet the rather impudent challenging Cann.

Mr Jolly who’s grandfather of Penscawen, St Enader, was a renowned wrestler during the early part of the nineteenth century, made a case for Parkyn of St Columb Minor who’s reputation had remained unquestioned for 20 years, to have accepted Cann’s challenge and been Cornwall’s representative, even though then Parkyn was 52 and Polkinghorne a mere 38. Parkyn’s claims were upheld by many followers of the sport, even by some at St Columb but never the less it was Polkinghorne who eventually went across the Tamar.

During a long period of negotiations that followed the challenge that, according to the reverent Mr Jolly, Polkinghorne had made his first mistake by consenting to a kind of contest more likely to favour Cann than himself.

Polkinghorne should have insisted on a meeting where each man would have to win through to the final pair in open contest, similar to the way in which Parkyn had defeated Stiffy of St Just the mystery man of wrestling in 1809 in Falmouth.

By this means Polkinghorne, who was a man of great strength but did not have a lot of stamina for the protracted wrestling required by the conditions, would have met lesser men on his way up to the final, or as was perfectly permissible, at that time engaged substitutes to secure his placing.

West Briton’s account of the match, published on October 27th 1826 reported that, Quote “When Cann entered the ring, he went up to Polkinghorne and the competitors immediately shook hands, when they retired to equip themselves for the contest.

To be continued!…


Invitation – 26th March 1847

Devon and Cornwall wrestling without shoes, will take place at Mr H.Brodings, Royal Standard Pleasure Grounds, Shepards Walk, City Road. On Easter Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Mr G.Rooke, of the Pied Horse Tavern, Chiswell Street, Manager, Begs to return his sincere thanks to lovers of this manly and athletic exercise, for all past favours and hopes to be favoured with their kind support on the present occasion. The central and commanding position of the ground surpassed every other place in London for amusements as it is surrounded with a gallery boxes, alcoves, and the venius of the mount entna, Veus and other distinguished mountains and views, the whole forming quiet an amphitheatre. £25 are already subscribed and more is expected, which will be devided into prizes and contested for at the above grounds.

Source: To be confirmed.

Fair play to all.

NB. Should any young men from Devon or Cornwall feel disposed to come to London for the purpose of wrestling they will be accommodated at the Pied Horse free of expenses during the wrestling.