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Our Christmas Card

Another tradiion is for the children to sing the ancient carol "I saw three ships" which some say is based on this Cornish Legend.....................

The Carol is sung here in Cornish and below you will find the words in English.

The Legend

The great uncle of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea was  a "noble decurion"  in charge of mines and metal-trading who traded for metal around the known world. He owned several ships and following the stoning of Stephen he brought together a small band of his friends which included Martha, the three Mary's, Salome, Lazarus, Zachaeus, the twelve disciples and his family and servants. It was agreed that the time had come to leave Judea. They made their preparations and cast off from shore,  sailing along the coast of the Mediterranean until they came to Marseilles. Here Lazarus chose to remain and was its first missionary and later, Bishop; his name is perpetuated in one of the churches there. Mary said that she wanted to go onto the land of her mother with Joseph and so the party moved on towards Brittany   Their journey took them along the Rhone valley, the trade route familiar to Joseph, his party dwindling as one and then another chose a town or village where they would live as missionaries. The last to break off was Zachaeus who stopped at Rocamadour and took up his residence on the slopes of its rocky height because, it is said, the place reminded him of a loved spot in the homeland of Palestine. Joseph and his household continued on their way to Morlaix in Brittany, there to wait for suitable weather conditions to cross to Britain—four days’ sail away. Their  arrival point in Cornwall was on the holy island of Lammana close to the town of East Looe where Joseph and his party landed from three ships and were welcomed by the tinners and after a few days they crossed over to the north coast to the Camel estuary where they drank water from the Well which is still known today as the Jesus Well before continuing their journey to Glastonbury. 

1. As I sat on a sunny bank,
    A sunny bank, a sunny bank,
As I sat on a sunny bank
    On Christmas Day in the morning.

2. I saw three ships come sailing in, (etc)

3. And who do you think was in them then
But Joseph and his fair lady!

4. O he did whistle and she did sing, (etc)

5. And all the bells on earth did ring, (etc)

6. And all the angels in heaven did sing (etc)

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