Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Pictures and video: Combe Martin hunts the Earl of Rone

20:55 26 May 2014

Scenes from Combe Martin

Scenes from Combe Martin's Earl of Rone festivities, Monday, May 26, 2014.


Processions take to the streets over the weekend to celebrate the village’s rather unique spring bank holiday tradition...

Adrian Worth leads the musicians in the procession.Adrian Worth leads the musicians in the procession.

WITH a skirl of music and a crash of drums Combe Martin’s annual Earl of Rone has taken to the streets once more.

Throughout the May spring bank holiday weekend there were several parades as colourful characters including the Hobby Horse, Fool and a company of ‘Grenadiers’ set off in search of the elusive ‘Earl’.

Accompanied by the sound of drums, flower ladies, dancers and musicians they hunted high and low, thither and yon, before parading their captive through the streets on Monday evening.

The hapless earl is periodically ‘shot’ by his grenadier escort, before being revived by the Hobby Horse and Fool to be marched onward.

Phyllis Ackland in her customary place at the head of the procession.Phyllis Ackland in her customary place at the head of the procession.

The procession reaches the beach at sunset, where amid a frenzy of drumming and dancing an effigy of the earl is cast into the sea.

An intriguing blend of folklore, myth and legend, the true origins of Combe Martin’s unique custom are unknown, but it was revived in 1974 after being banned in 1837.

Local legend says the ‘earl’ was Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, who was forced to flee from Ireland in 1607 and was shipwrecked on the coast.

Hiding in the woods and surviving only on ships’ biscuits, he was eventually captured by a party of Grenadiers sent from Barnstaple.

Scenes from Combe Martin's Earl of Rone festivities, Monday, May 26, 2014.Scenes from Combe Martin's Earl of Rone festivities, Monday, May 26, 2014.

There is no historical evidence to support this and how his story became mixed up in Combe Martin’s custom is unknown, but the village continues to celebrate its very unique tradition.

* CLICK HERE and HERE for more Combe Martin Earl of Rone 2014 pictures.

Other News Stories

Singer Ella Eyre is supporting the Dogs Trust campaign this Christmas

Dogs Trust reveals the shocking, lazy and farcical excuses used by people dumping their pets in the last 12 months

Read more
Traffic jam

Traffic is moving slowly through Barnstaple town centre this morning (Tuesday) following a crash at the TA centre roundabout between Eastern Avenue and Alexandra Road.

Read more
Bike Shed store manager Paul Belton and Smuggler organiser Marcus Chapman present the cheque to Emma Lowe of North Devon Hospice. Picture: Leo Cooper

Smuggler sportive organisers announce dates for next year’s pedal-pounding ride

Read more
Police will be testing motorists for drink driving over Christmas

Officers will be on patrol throughout December

Read more
Caroline Cree of Devon Air Ambulance Trust and Alex Bass of Vospers Mazda hand over the keys to car draw winner Tony White (centre). Picture: Submitted

Devon Air Ambulance Trust supporter Tony White of Combe Martin has picked up they keys to a brand new Mazda2.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:45
Lorraine Cleverdon and Chris Taylor from Highbullen Hotel (pictured with host Judi Spiers and Simon Crichton from sponsor Triodos Bank) pick up one of two awards on the night. Picture: Nick Williams

Gold, silver and bronze at glittering evening for local hotels, restaurants and attractions.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:52
An artist's impression of how the food and retail area at Anchorwood Bank will look

Developers have submitted a planning application for the food and retail area of the Anchorwood Bank development.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:25

Open evening at Appledore Fire Station on Thursday, December 3.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:21
Torridge MP Geoffrey Cox is joined by pupils from Holsworthy Community College and Shebbear College as he presents the first stage of his Parliamentary Petition on rural roads to 10 Downing Sreet. Picture: Submitted

Government urged to do more to improve the condition of rural roads

Read more
Yesterday, 10:11
Crowds will gather for the Bideford light switch on this Sunday

Don’t miss the big switch on this Sunday on the quay

Read more

Christmas in North Devon

Christmas in North Devon

Christmas Magazine

Click here for your ultimate guide to
Christmas in North Devon

Local Weather



max temp: 12°C

min temp: 10°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Search for a job in Devon

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications