St Agnes Bolster Festival

A celebration of overcoming one of Cornwall’s greatest and most vicious of giants, the Bolster Festival is a two day event beginning with a lantern procession and ending with a dramatic re-enactment of the final confrontation between the giant and the heroine, Agnes.

It’s a well known fact that Cornwall was once overrun with giants, making life for everyday folk very difficult as the giants had a tendency to eat them. Bolster was a particularly nasty character, living near the cliffs of St Agnes and feasting off of children and innocent passers-by. Eventually the locals, having had enough, sent a knight and other nobles to fight Bolster which ended in great bloodshed.


It just so happened that Bolster was in love with a local lass named Agnes. This particularly clever girl took advantage of this to overcome the troublesome giant. She asked him to fill a nearby hole in the clifftops with his blood to prove his love for her, knowing that there was a crack in it which lead to the sea. Keen to prove his love, the amorous Bolster did as she asked and died of blood loss.

The festival is a celebration of Bolster’s demise, with the festivities starting with a lantern procession, bonfire and barbeque in the village of St Agnes. The next day, a parade including the doomed knight (Sir Constantine) and accompanying drummers parade the streets in search of Bolster which ends in a re-enactment of his demise on the cliffs above Chapel Porth Beach.

This is one of Cornwall’s oldest legends and the village puts on a great display with masses of huge effigies and puppets including Bolster and Sir Constantine. Taking place at the beginning of May, it’s worth a visit if you’re around to witness a tradition in action.

Want to see a giant for yourself? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Cornwall here.

Ssshhh... don't tell anyone

We can let you know about our newest retreats, exclusive offers, featured luxury properties and what's on. Just let us know your email address and we’ll keep you in the loop.