Candles On The Hill 2021

This event on St Catherine’s Hill, Abbotsbury will take place on 21st November 2021.

Click image to enlarge

Do join us to celebrate St Catherine of Alexandria’s Day!

You can buy a paper candle-bag and decorate it with a picture or some words, to form part of the circle of light symbolising St Catherine’s wheel.

On the day we provide sand to anchor the bag, and a LED tea-light to stay alight all night.

This year, as part of the event, we are donating 150 bags to young children and their teachers at two local Primary schools and our own Abbotsbury pre-school.

These will be decorated as whole school projects during the autumn term, and will light the path to the Chapel.

Bags @ £2 each are available in advance from shops in Abbotsbury from July onwards.

There will also be a workshop from 11 a.m. till 2.30 p.m. during the day of 21st November at Strangways Hall in West Street Abbotsbury, where you can buy and decorate bags to be included in the circle. Pens and paint will be provided.

There will be a short service in the Chapel at 3.30 p.m. to coincide with this event on St Catherine’s Hill, Abbotsbury.

If you would like to sponsor this event or the gift of bags to local schoolchildren, please email Barbara at: to discuss your offer, which would be very gratefully accepted!

Creating the circle

Creating the circle

Filling bags

Filling bags

Putting candles in

Putting candles in

Just before lighting

Just before lighting

Here are some of the candle bags decorated by Thorners School prior to their inclusion at the Candles on the Hill event.

A candle bag design by Kaiden, year 5 at Portesham School.

Above are some of the candle bags decorated by Portesham School.

Candles on the Hill is an annual event, initiated and managed by Abbotsbury Tourism and Traders Association in 2018 to celebrate the Saint Day of St Catherine of Alexandria, 25th November. It takes place on the nearest Sunday, and there is normally a service that afternoon, inside the Chapel, conducted by the Vicar of St Nicholas Church, Abbotsbury.

A large circle of light is created to represent the wheel on which, according to legend, St Catherine was tortured for refusing to renounce her Christian religion. The path from the village towards the Chapel is also lit.

The community is invited to decorate paper candle bags in advance to form the lighting.

Inspiration for this project came from three local events which happened in the past:

  • Many years ago, one winter evening, brown paper bags with candles in jam jars were placed alongside the path, leading to an Abbotsbury Music concert in the Chapel.
  • Several years later, during the summer Abbotsbury Arts Weeks, an annual event using lanterns along the path was organised by Friends of St Nicholas. When they discontinued the event the lanterns were donated to The Sub-Tropical Gardens.
  • Finally Abbotsbury Music funded an art installation by Robbie Colman. He placed a glowing sixty foot diameter circle of blue neon tube on the hill. This was likened by the press to a landed space ship! It was spectacular and created a great deal of interest nationally.

In 2020 the Candles on the Hill event during lockdown, on St Catherine’s Hill, Abbotsbury, was managed by a separate entity. ATTA takes no responsibility for the activity in Abbotsbury on that day in 2020. ATTA has no interest or responsibility regarding complaints or actions arising out of the way this event was staged, sponsored or marketed.