Federation of Old Cornwall Societies

Facebook circle blue large

Padstow Old Cornwall Society




President:Mr John Buckingham   01841-532470.


Chairman: Mr Barry Cole  01841 532684


Secretary:Ms Daphne Hicks   01841-532202.


Membership Secretaries:  Sara Murt   01841 532214 and

Julie Crudace 01841-532848


Treasurer: Ms Julie Crudace    01841-532848.


Recorder: Derek Lindsey  01841 540505




Click to contact this Society




Due to the Corvid 19 situation the members of our society have reluctantly decided to cancel the 2020 - 2021 programme


Annual subscription:  Members  £10, Visitors £3.50 Juniors £1  


All are welcome so why not come and join us


We meet in the Social Club, Padstow at 7.30pm on the first Wednesday of each month unless otherwise stated.








Founded: Mid 1920s


Orange, Royal Blue & Black

Padstow Padstow Volunteer Artillery IMG_3669


CHARLIE BATE - a profile


Charlie was born in Padstow in 1919.  His father also Charlie was a merchant seaman who served on several vessels

including the Padstow registered ‘VIOLA’ a ‘Q’ ship in WW1.  Charlie was still at school when his mother died and he was

sent to live with relatives in St Merryn.  He was separated from his sister Cissie who returned to live in Padstow later on.  

During WW2 he served for just over 3 years in the Royal Engineers returning home to a job at St Merryn Camp.  He married

May who he met when she was a Land Army Girl in the district.  They had one son Alan.


Like his father before him Charlie played music and was a member of the Old Oss band on May Day. Young Charlie proved

to be quick to pick up any tune by ear and it was not long before he was getting a reputation as a singer of songs.  In those

days there were concerts to go to and frequent impromptu pub music sessions to feed the imagination of his natural talent.


He was a natural to front a 1953 film made on May Day that remains a unique record.  After this (or more likely before as he

seems to have been the “link” man with Peter Kennedy and Alan Lomax) he was taken under the wing of the EFDS

representing the South West in concerts and on Radio often with his good friend Bob Cann from Dartmoor.


From 1953 – 56 he supplied the music for Square and Community Dancing residential courses run by the Cornwall Youth

service under Mr Alan Foxworthy and Mrs Hannah.  He was also part of a Square Dance Band called the Padstow Melody



Charlie worked for a time at the Waterbeach Hotel, all the time making new friends and playing his music in the evenings in

the local pubs.


I first came to hear him in one of his haunts.  It would have been either the Cornish Arms at St Merryn or the Ring O Bells St

Issey.  Charlie’s ‘Old Oss’ mate Mervyn Vincent was often behind the organisation of these happenings for this was the mid

60’s and what was called ‘The Folk Revival’ was in full swing.  People from all over the place were coming down not only to

see ‘May Day’ but to hear Charlie Bate in person.  Some of us got to learn some of these ‘folk songs’ along with the old

favourites and were encouraged to join in.  Happy days.


The Wadebridge Folk Festival grew out of this enthusiasm for folk music. Here and elsewhere.  Charlie would appear on

several occasions but he was not so keen on these more formal appearances.  After Charlie’s death in 1977 at St Issey aged

58 they instituted a ‘Charlie Bate Award’ for services to local Folk Music.  It appears to have lapsed in recent years.  (The

Cornwall Folk Festival was cancelled for the first time this year 2007)


Eyes still light up when you mention his name.  Those of us who shared some of those musical moments do tend to view

them as through a glass brightly. Were they ever as special as our memories would have us believe.


Charlie can also be heard on :-


Folk Sound of Britain HMV CLP 1910  - Track 8 How Pleasant and Delightful

                                                         Track 9 The Padstow May Song


Folk Sound of Britain HMV 7EG 8911    - Side 2 The Sweet Nightingale


Proper Job- Bob Cann Veteran VT138CD – Charlie playing with Bob Cann


Sing Christmas – BBC 1957 – Alan Lomax Collection – Rounder K3719



Boscastle Breakdown and Padstow Wassail Song.


Folktrax -215 – May Day – from the soundtrack of the 1951 Film made by Peter Kennedy, Alan Lomax and George Pickow.


Maggie May, Cadgwith Anthem and How pleasant and delightful can also be heard sung by Tommy Morrissey and Charlie

Pitman on ‘Pass around the Grog’

Veteran VT122.


“NEW”  Film and DVD by John Bishop and Sabina Magliocco.  OSS TALES which includes the 1951 film.  Some armchair

pundits (groan !!!) and fantastic footage (cheers !!!).


By John Buckingham – any errors and opinions are mine.

Charlie Bate at Padstow OCS 1976

For details, please click here

For details,please click here