Sacred music in Cornwall comes in a variety of guises. Churches and chapels dot the landscape just as regularly as engine houses. Although many have been repurposed, they stand as a continuing testament to the historic importance of religion in Cornish community life, and many religious pieces of music continue to be performed both in sacred and secular contexts.
Perhaps the most well known and loved element of sacred music is the Methodist hymns that sometimes are passed down as family favourites.
Christmas carols are also another important element of religious music in Cornwall. From the ballad carols collected in the early 18th century collections of Davies Gilbert and William Sandys, through the well known and loved classics by Thomas Merritt, to contemporary compositions – carolling traditions continue to be an important part of many communities around Cornwall and beyond.
Wassailing traditions and the May carols give offer an interesting intersection of Christian and pagan undertones – Padstow’s Mayday festival is an interesting example of this.
Sacred music vocal – although plenty of songs have been arranged for brass bands and other groups for instance.
And of course, Christian music is not the only type of religious music played and heard in Cornwall, and we encourage and welcome contributions that recognise and explore the music of other religions and faiths. If you think you can contribute, please create an account here!