Exhibition to reveal the history of St Ives most colourful characters

PUZZLING PEOPLE: The stories behind some of St Ives more colourful characters will be told at a special exhibition at the town s Norris Museum. The exhibition forms another part of the celebrations to mark the town s 900th anniversary of the granting of

PUZZLING PEOPLE: The stories behind some of St Ives' more colourful characters will be told at a special exhibition at the town's Norris Museum.

The exhibition forms another part of the celebrations to mark the town's 900th anniversary of the granting of its charter.

Oliver Cromwell is mentioned, of course, as is his "pact with the Devil". But other notable characters include Jane Hawkins, the "wittye and craftie baggage" who got the vicar of St Ives sacked in 1630, and Parson Swallow, noted for his skill at dancing, drinking and wrestling.

Rev Swallow is actually a fictional character who appears in a novel, but the museum will display evidence to show that he was based on a real 18th-century vicar of St Ives.


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There's no doubting the reality of Rev Abraham Greenwood, a non-conformist minister with strong views on the "filthy hypocrites or injurious persons" who crossed him. Not to mention Samuel Jackson Pratt, the St Ives-born best-selling author of the early 19th century, and George Game Day the politician and shady lawyer.

INFORMATION: The exhibition runs until the end of July. The museum is open Mondays to Saturdays from 10am to 5pm and on Sundays between 2pm and 5pm. Admission is free.

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?The drawing shows Jane Hawkins and Rev Job Tookey. In 1629, the bishop of Lincoln was so worried about what these two were up to that he went to St Ives in disguise to check up on them. The letter he wrote about his discoveries still survives and forms part of the exhibition.

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