Montol Festival – Thursday 21st December, Penzance
Described by the Daily Telegraph as the UK’s No.2 winter festival in 2016, Montol is a traditional Cornish festival celebrating the turn of the year with fire, greenery, astonishing costumes and Guise dancing. Amongst the Cornish carols, fire, and anarchic celebrations, are the numerous “Guise Guilds,” whose rivalry will be challenged, this year, by a new guise guild from Penryn.
“The Ancient Guild of the Illuminated Sprout,” featuring Penryn’s Mock Mayor in Red, will, for the first time, travel to Penzance. Armed with their ancient Stocks to be used as punishment to any Guise Guild members not behaving themselves or not showing suitable respect to Penryn’s Mock Mayor.
“The Montol Guise Guild rivalry is a main feature of Montol,” said “The Chancellor of the Cabbage,” of the Ancient Order of the Corn-Market Revellers, “The ‘Ryners guild is a bit of an unknown quantity at the moment. You know where you are with the Glorious Company of the Egyptian House, wheeling out their full size Sarcophagus, again. You know where you are with the Splendid League of the Physicians, dressed with plague masks and handing out sick notes to all. You know where you are with the Peccadilloes, the fire guild and all the other guilds taking part this year. But the ‘Ryners guild seem very well organised, and bringing their famous Stocks along to punish misbehaviour, is a whole new level !”
The sheer spectacle that is Montol is best seen at the 4pm and 6pm processions through Chapel Street and Causewayhead. The Cornish Culture Association (CCA) who organise Montol have reserved a place of honour from Penryn’s Mock Mayor in Red, in these processions.
“We are delighted to welcome the Ancient Guild of the Illuminated Sprout coming to Penzance from Penryn, this year,” said Councillor Simon Reed of the CCA. “I just hope they know what they have let themselves in for.”
Official Guilds taking part in Montol 2017
The Splendid League of the Physicians
The Glorious Company of the Egyptian House
The Ancient Order of the Corn-Market Revellers
The Society of the Illuminated Ancient Sprout
The Raggle Taggle Shanty Crew
The Melodious Company of the Peccadilloes
The Crowders Guild
The Chancellor’s Brassicas
The Boar’s Head Guild
The Supreme Guild of Misrule
The Stickler’s Guild
The Fire Guild
Penzance town Council said”Everyone is welcome to join in with the celebration as usual by dressing in guise costume and masks, or by just watching the processions. As part of the festival we will be holding a market in Penzance town centre. After listening to feedback this year the market will be centred around the market house”
The schedule is as follows
Midday to 8pm St Thomas’ Market with entertainment.
4pm Sundown procession
6pm Main procession
7pm the Guise Guilds
10pm late night procession and chalking of the mock
Much more will actually be happening on the day!
Simon Reed of Cornish Cultural Association described the guilds
“Many people have asked about joining a guild at Montol. The Montol Guilds are groups that process around the town in the spirit of Misrule. Guilds are open to anyone and anyone can join a guild or even make their own. Each have a starting place and time between 7pm and 8pm and there own themes. The Corn Market Revellers wear white gloves and have mock leaders. The Egyptians have a Egyptian theme and carry flaming torches. The peccadiloes sing Cornish Carols and carry a Wassail bowl. The Physicians dress as plague doctors and hand out cures to the public.
The Guild of Crowders are members of Cornish music group Bagas Crowd and the Society of the Illuminated Ancient Sprout are supporters of the Mock Mayor of Penryn .
Please get in touch with the festival if you want to join or create a guild
Some of the stewards will be forming a guild of sticklers whose job it will be to dress in guise costume, help manage the crowd, protect the processions from traffic and keep public safe. Each member of the sticklers will carry a staff and receive a burger and a pint to say thank you”