A Christmas Carol


Not many people know the story of Charles Dickens’ connections with Cornwall and the special significance of ‘A Christmas Carol’ for Padstow.

On returning from a visit to Cornwall & Padstow, Dickens dined with his friend, Dr Miles Marley, in London. They agreed that Marley was an unusual name & Dickens said, “Before the New Year, your name will be a household word!” He then used the name ‘Jacob Marley’ for Scrooge’s partner in ‘A Christmas Carol’, which was finished at the beginning of December 1843 & sold 6,000 copies by Christmas Eve, a record in those days.

Miles’ son, Dr Henry Frederick Marley, born 1831, lived at The Nook (now the Dower House) by Prideaux Place in Padstow & practised there for about 50 years. There is a plaque in St Petroc’s Church commemorating the family. Kernow Players’ late founder, Margaret Brenton put pressure on, until Pam Finlay adapted Dickens’ traditional story to highlight Cornish & particularly Padstow connections & wrote a Prologue set in the home of the Padstow Marley family. (This was in 1996).

Dr Marley’s eight daughters are authentically named & of the ages they would have been in 1883, when the play is set. Adela married Dr Frank Harvey & died in Padstow as recently as 1973. Dickens had one of the Spirits take Scrooge to a Cornish Tinner’s cottage & to a lighthouse, which might have been Trevose.

Fifteen years on Kernow Players are repeating this very special play, with 7 of the original company. It’s a magical story, made even more fascinating by the inclusion of a Padstow Carol; handbells; the White Rose & beautiful music all of which was in existence in 1843; some breathtaking choreography from Trish Daley & Zoe Reskelly; a dazzling array of Victorian costumes; a stunning set & some truly ghostly ghosts.

Kernow Players give three very different & wonderful presentations of their own ‘A Christmas Carol’. An unforgettable one-off at Prideaux Place; everything to maximum effect on the Little Theatre stage, for which it was designed, & finally, in the fabulously re-furbished St Petroc’s Church.