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Stithians (Cornish: Stedhyans), also known as St Stythians, is a village and civil parish in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It lies in the middle of the triangle bounded by Redruth, Helston and Falmouth. Its population (2001) is 2,004.
The parish is mainly agricultural, lying south of the Gwennap mining area and north of the quarrying areas of Rame and Longdowns. The River Kennall runs through the parish: in the 19th century, this river worked a flour mill and a number of gunpowder mills, machinery at a foundry, and a paper mill.
The parish church is dedicated to St Stythian, but it is hard to identify this saint. References to the parish in 13th and 14th century records show various spellings: Stethyana, Stediana, Stedyan, Stediane, and Stidianus. Rev Sabine Baring-Gould's "Cornish Dedications" (1906) makes a connection with St Etaine of Tumna in Ireland, while Rev Michael Warner (Vicar of Stithians 1983-1993) suggests St Stephen . The saint's feast day is the Sunday nearest 10 July, and Stithians Show is held on the Monday following Feast Sunday.
There has been a church on the site since the 6th century, but the oldest part of the current church is 14th century; and the imposing tower was added in the 15th century. The former ecclesiastical parish of Carnmenellis is now merged with Stithians parish.
John Wesley visited Stithians in 1744-50 and brought Methodism to the parish. The Hendra Wesleyan Chapel was built in 1815 and after a division among the members, the Penmennor United Methodist Free Church was built in 1866 just a few yards away (Hendra Chapel closed in 1976).
Stithians Show is one of the largest one-day agricultural shows in the UK: the show is held annually in July and the attendance is in excess of 20,000. Established in 1834, it has been held continuously since then (except for three years during World War I, and five years during World War II; and there was no show in 2001 due to the nationwide outbreak of foot and mouth disease). Up until 1992, the Show was sited on fields in the centre of the village. Then the threat of rental increases as well as the show's increasing size encouraged the Agricultural Association to purchase its own land at Kennall Farm and establish a site there.
Music has always played a large part in village life. St Stythians Band (formerly St Stythians Silver Band) was founded in 1928 and became very successful in competitions in the 1960s and 1970s; during the summer months it gives weekly concerts at the Gyllyngdune Gardens in Falmouth. St Stythians Male Voice Choir was formed in 1919, only to be closed in 1926; but it was reformed in 1947 and since then has thrived, performing concerts throughout Cornwall and further afield. Stithians Ladies Choir was formed in 1966 and quickly established a high reputation. The band and choirs have made a number of successful recordings.
Philanthropy and recreation
Albert Collins (1859–1937) from Stithians travelled to South Africa in 1880 with his friend William Mountstephens from Falmouth; there their building business prospered and they contributed to many charitable institutions. In 1934, Albert Collins paid for the Playing Field, opposite the school in the centre of the village, which is still enjoyed by the children of Stithians today. The men also set up a Trust Fund under the control of the Methodist Church in South Africa, which was used to build a school in Johannesburg; the school, known as St Stithians College, opened in 1953.
Stithians Dam was completed in 1964 to create a 270-acre (1.1 km2) reservoir to the west of the village, which supplies water to a large part of the west of Cornwall. It is a place for bird-watching, fishing and water sports. Stithians has a rugby football club (founded in 1890) and a football club running two teams in the Trelawny League.
- Place-names in the Standard Written Form (SWF) : List of place-names agreed by the MAGA Signage Panel. Cornish Language Partnership.
- Cornish Church Guide (1925). Truro: Blackford, p. 13
- Pearce, Susan, ed. (1980) Always Something Interesting: aspects of history in Stithians; compiled by members of Stithians Local History Group. [Truro]: Stithians Local History Group
- Pearce, Susan, ed. (1982) Always Something Iteresting: more aspects of history in Stithians; compiled by members of Stithians Local History Group. [Truro]: Stithians Local History Group
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