St Ives Hurling of the Silver Ball 2024 (St Ives Feast Day 2024)

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In Brief

Name: St Ives Hurling of the Silver Ball 2024 (or St Ives Feast Day 2024)
Date: Monday 5 February 2024
Time: Procession and holy well blessing is around 9.30am and the hurling of the silver ball is 10.30am. Other times below
Type: Traditional sporting and family-friendly events extravaganza
Suitable for: All ages who want to keep traditions going
Location: St Ia’s Parish Church Wall, 15 St Andrew’s St, St Ives
Price: Free


Way back in 1434, a church was built near the seafront of the north Cornwall town of St Ives. And this building is still standing today. This church is the Parish Church of St Ia or traditionally St Eia, who is the patron saint of the town and its consecration back then is still being celebrated almost 700 years later.

But how is it celebrated exactly? Well, every year there’s a rugby-like game that takes place on the beach next to one of its church walls. Welcome to the ‘hurling of the silver ball’.

This ancient tradition is surrounded by all sorts of activities throughout the day, so the entire event is officially called the St Ives Feast Day 2024. But the part with the rugby game is known as the St Ives Hurling the Silver Ball. And that begins from St Ia’s Parish Church Wall in St Andrew’s Street near Porthmeor Beach in the morning.

The St Ives Hurling of the Silver Ball 2024 sees the special silver ball thrown from the wall at precisely 10.30am on Monday 5 February 2024. It is lobbed at (well, towards…) a mass of children and teenagers down on the beach. And then? Let the rugby-like chaos ensue not just on the sands but around the town too…

This scrum with the silver ball at its centre may actually date back at least 1,000 years but St Ia Parish Church got involved when it was built almost 700 years ago. It’s a marvellous sight to see the ‘players’ pile in not too rough these days, of course! and it’s also a great sight to see so many spectators taking in the tradition and therefore keeping it alive for the modern age. Anyone is invited to watch.

Other events on the day include a range of family-friendly activities, stalls and happenings at the nearby St Ives Guildhall once the 2024 hurling of the silver ball in St Ives has finished.

In fact, here is a rundown of the events during and surrounding the 2024 St Ives Feast in Cornwall:

Sunday 28 January 2024, 11am: Service and refreshments at St Uny Church in Lelant

Sunday 4 February 2024, 11.15am: Mayor’s parade and a service at St Ia Church

Monday 5 February 2024, 9.15am: A procession leaves from St Ives Guildhall at 9.15am, arriving at St Ia’s Holy Well (or Venton Ia) on Porthmeor Hill around 9.30am for a blessing ceremony.

Monday 5 February 2024, 10.30am: The silver ball is hurled from the wall at St Ia Church and the fun begins. At 12 midday, the ball is returned to the Mayor and there are events at the Guildhall from 11am.

Monday 5 February 2024, 7pm: Rugby match at St Ives Rugby Ground in Alexandra Road. TBC, though, so find out on the day. Could be St Ives RFC v Cornwall Fire and Rescue.

Yes, from 7pm, there could be a real rugby game taking place in honour of the St Ives Feast 2024. At the 2022 event, St Ives RFC took on the Cornwall Fire and Rescue St Ives team in Alexandra Road. It could happen again.

By the way, the silver ball is returned by whichever youngster is still holding it to the town mayor at 12 midday and that’s become a traditional highlight in its own right over the years, not least because the winning youth can then claim their prize…

There’s loads more tradition to this special day in the St Ives calendar, including the civic procession in the morning with kids and musicians wearing ivy in their hair which represents St Ia, plus the sterling silver ball itself (pictured), which is blessed by the parish priest before it is thrown into the crowd of players.

But you should really see it and learn about it all for yourself. St Ives: a place of fun, openness and tradition. Nay, Cornwall: a place of fun, openness and tradition. With a little bit of rough ‘n’ tumble thrown in.