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Holsworthy's Pretty Maid Ceremony

A young girl wins the title of Pretty Maid

News 1977 1 mins Silent

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Logo for South West Film and Television Archive

Overview

Holsworthy in Devon crown a Pretty Maid. The tradition dates back to the 1840s and is held around the feast of St Peter on 29 June. Holsworthy’s St Peter’s Fair Week is usually held in July. At the time, to be eligible for the title required a woman to be under the age of thirty and single, handsome, deserving, quiet and to have good attendance at church. 

The tradition of the Pretty Maid came about after the death of Reverend Thomas Meyrick of Carta Martha in 1841. In his will he stated three pounds and ten shillings was to be paid to the churchwarden of Holsworthy but that it should be split between two pounds and ten shillings for a single woman under the age of 30 with one pound going to a spinster over the age of 60 with the same qualities!