John Speller's Web Pages Chiwidden

John Speller's Web Pages - Church Music - Cornish Carols
In Cornwall it was the custom to hold a festival on the Thursday which fell at least a full week before Christmas to celebrate the discovery of tin in the county. This was known as Chiwidden, Jew-whidn or White Thursday. The legend was that the Cornish saint, St. Pirran, had discovered tin in Cornwall and that the fictitious St.Chiwidden had discovered how to extract it from its ore. The tin miners held a celebration on White Thursday when they celebrated the "white metal" with feasting, including much consumption of mead and metheglin (spiced mead). Cornish Christmas carols were doubtless also sung at this celebration, and perhaps this "Miners' Litany" which is set here to a traditional Cornish tune.

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Tin mines at Redruth, Cornwall, ca. 1890. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
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