John Knill

Mayor and Collector of Customs at St Ives

29th March, 1811
Buried at:  
Knill Monument, outside St Ives

John Knill, an eccentric born in Callington in 1733, had a long association throughout his life with St Ives. He was Collector of Customs for the town for twenty years between 1762-82, and the town's Mayor in 1767.

In 1782 he erected a granite pyramid 50ft high, intending to be buried here, and he gave a bequest from his estate - earned from his profession as a lawyer - to the town hall to pay for five-yearly events to commemorate his life. John Knill, in fact attended the first event, held in 1801! These events still occur, though the funds are long-ago used-up; the next one is due in 2026.

At the end of his life, in a change of heart, John gave his body to science, and his remains are buried in Holborn, London - but his granite pyramid stands aloft in the local landscape and remains a wonderful reminder of a gifted inhabitant of the town.


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