Chalking the Mock and Ghost Stories for Old Christmas

OLD CHRISTMAS – when by Act of Parliament the Calendar changed from the Old Julian to the New Gregorian in 1752, Cornish men and women were rather annoyed that 11 precious days went missing overnight!  Ever independent of mind, they decided to ignore Britannia and her Colonies, and kept the date of Old Christmas alive.  Now for the first time, an event to mark the date of ‘Old Christmas’ will take place in Boscastle on Friday, January 6 2017.

Visit the Museum from 12pm til 5pm (last entry 4.30pm), or chase those post-New Year blues away in the many fine hotels and hostelries in the village and then…

From 5pm, Circle of Spears Productions will perform Traditional Ghost Stories from different cultures from around the world, with music.  This is a ticketed event, lasting about 90 mins, and it is essential that you book your tickets in advance – seating is limited, get yours now at . Tickets are £10 each and is suitable for all ages.  Traditional Ghost Stories will take place in National Trust Cafe adjacent to the Museum of Witchcraft & Magic where drinks (including mulled cider) will be available for sale.  (See below for more info)*   

Ghost stories are customary for Old Christmas time.  As early as the 17th century the writer on witchcraft, Joseph Glanvill, referred to stories about ghosts and spirits as ‘Winter Tales, or Old Wives Fables’.  And who can forget Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale?, where the young prince tells us that “A sad tale’s best for winter: I have one of sprites and goblins…”  


Ghost stories at Christmas

After this, at 6.30pm, the folks who bring you the famous guizing processions at the Penzance Montol festival will visit Boscastle.  The fantastic ‘Guize Beasts’ will make an appearance and there will be masked merry-making, traditional Cornish guising, music and processions followed by the spectacular folk-custom of ‘Chalking the Mock’ = an ‘oss will choose someone from the crowd to draw a “stick man” onto the Boscastle Yule log.  Symbolising the end of the old and the beginning of the new, the ‘Mock’ or log will then be burnt in the Harbour outside the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.  More songs and mulled wine!  This event is free to attend, no booking is required just wrap up warm!


‘Chalking the Mock’, Montol, Penzance.  A flavour of the fesitivites to come in Boscastle on January 6th 2017

After visiting the Cobweb pub and then on to the Wellington Hotel, the guisers will end the evening with a traditional performance of the famous ‘Boscastle Breakdown’ (on top of a barrel!).  Festivities will carry on to around 10pm.  

*Circle of Spears are proud to present a performance of Traditional Ghost Stories as part of the Chalking the Mock ceremony in Boscastle, Cornwall at Old Christmas – January 6th 2017. Taking place in the National Trust Café adjacent to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic from 5pm, this is a 90 minute entertainment. Traditional Christmas Ghost Stories from different cultures around the world will be read, against a musical backdrop, as well as information on the different Yule celebrations of these cultures and other Yule folklore. Tickets are £10 and audience members are invited to enjoy a glass of mulled wine after the show whilst awaiting the arrival of the procession and Chalking the Mock ceremony directly outside the venue. Seating is limited to 60 so early booking is advised.

For more information contact the Museum at or 01840 250 111.