The St Agnes Bolster Festival and the legend of the Giant Bolster


Legend has it that the Giant Bolster could have one foot on St Agnes Beacon whilst the other firmly on Carn Brea.

As a husband, Bolster was pretty bad tempered and a bit of a bully, making his poor wife carry stones she'd collected in her apron and to carry them up to the top of the hill.

He also fell in love with St Agnes, following her around at all times and proclaiming his undying love. Despite Agnes being a lady of virtue, this was too much for her and so she resolved to be rid of this pest. She was helped by the Knight Sir Constantine and his local worthies who searched for giant to challenge him to a duel. But sadly each one was easily overcome and so Bolster still remained. And so Agnes thought again and pretended to be persuaded by the intensity of the giant’s love, telling him that she required yet one small proof of his love, asking him to fill a hole in the cliff at the base of the Chapel Porth valley with his blood. If he would do this for her, then she would return his love.

Bolster thought nothing of this challenge and stuck a knife in his vein to let some blood flow from his arm. The blood ran down into the hole, but what Bolster didn't realise was that he would stay there hour upon hour trying to fill the hole, getting weaker as time went on and eventually exhausting himself. He tried to rally himself, but couldn't staunch the flow and at last he died.

Every year the villagers of St Agnes re-enact the legend processing the Giant and all the characters from the story through St Agnes and over the cliff tops above Chapel Porth. You can come along to see the spectacle each May Day weekend. Find out more information on the village website