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Treading softly

Words by Rosie Cattrell

Making use of a centuries-old tradition to cast a little light on our home interiors and connect us once more to the natural world around us.

The flickering warmth of candlelight has been with us for thousands of years, and in many ways has kept with it a charming nostalgia that went before days of electric convenience and comfort – a light to be guided by on a dark winter evening, a comforting presence during times of sadness, a spiritual symbol lit in memory of a loved one, a gesture of romance in a moment for two. However, today the candle brings a little something new to our homes, and St. Eval have found a way to help put us in touch with our senses, our wellbeing and the joys of nature by treading softly on the path of tradition and sustainability.

Begun over 28 years ago around the family farmhouse table, St. Eval was created by Sarah Young-Jamieson and her late husband Tim. While looking for a way to diversify their farm they struck upon candles, and so a dream to make the best quality candles in a traditional way was born. “We began making candles for local churches and the general public, dreaming them up over the kitchen table and artfully crafting them on the family farm,” explains Sarah. “We use centuries-old traditions to keep the artisan craft skills of the candle-maker alive whilst making the best use of sustainable packaging, with a focus on cardboard and paper materials.”

After a few years of focusing on classic church candles, Sarah and Tim naturally gravitated towards their first fragranced version, on which Sarah fondly reflects: “Tranquillity was the first fragrance we ever created. It remains one of our most popular fragrances to date and is still available in many of our different collections. Tim and I created this fragrance and ‘followed our noses’, so to speak, despite scented candles not being very popular at this point – certainly not like they are today. I’m happy that Tim was with us to see this product and fragrance come to life and bring joy to so many people.”

Sadly, Tim passed away four years into the business. Later the same year, Ian Greaves joined St. Eval to help Sarah run the company, and has remained an integral part of the business ever since, managing the business for two decades before Sarah’s son Harry joined in 2017. Between the two of them, they have found new, innovative ways of creating the perfect candle, whilst remaining true to the traditional and ethical St. Eval roots. From the classic church pillar candles, dinner candles, tin candles and pots, to reed diffusers, hand wash and lotions, everything created at St. Eval is made with the utmost care, each fragrance hand-picked from the natural world. From the rolling Atlantic waves to the bright gorse bushes along the coastal paths and meadows of wildflowers bursting with colour, the wild elemental nature of north Cornwall is deeply rooted within the St. Eval product ranges, drawing scents from sea, coast and wild moorland. “My goal has always been to create fragrances which are evocative of being immersed in nature,” says Sarah. “I love the simplicity of herbal fragrances in no fuss pots, such as our Victorian Herb range and fragrances which transport me to a time and place – when I smell Wild Gorse, for example, it takes me back to winding Cornish lanes adorned with this inviting aroma and joyful bright colours.”

So, what exactly is it about a scented candle that has so many of us bringing them into our homes today? “Smell is a strong sense,” says Sarah, “powerfully acting on the limbic part of our brain which controls emotions, memories, and stimulation. When we surround ourselves with beautiful scents from nature we can evoke wonderful feelings, helping to improve both wellbeing and happiness. We work hard to create collections and fragrances to help create special moments and spark happy memories – that is the essence of a St. Eval candle.”

“Filling your home with beautiful fragrances inspired by nature can have a huge impact, conjuring different moods in your space and evoking wonderful emotive feelings. Choosing the perfect aroma to scent your space is important because through wonderful emotive scents we can craft the perfect atmosphere to meet our needs. Scented candles are a magnificent addition to the home, pairing the power of fragrance with the warm glow of candlelight to transform ordinary rooms into sanctuaries of mindfulness and relaxation.”

Believing strongly in the role that candles can play in improving our health and wellbeing, creating candle experiences that enhance and improve moods lies at the forefront of St. Eval. The Meditation candle and the wider Retreat range that it belongs to were developed for yoga and meditative practises, with mindfulness and intention-setting at their centre, inspiring relaxation and inner reflection.

“Our customers comment on the evocative power of our fragrances, for example our Sea Salt scent is often said to transport customers to the Cornish coastline, evoking beloved memories of time spent at the beach with loved ones. One collection in particular that I’m so excited about is our new Nature’s Garden. This special collection is a celebration of our affinity to the natural world and is linked closely to our efforts on site to increase biodiversity here at St. Eval.”

“Often the popularity of our fragrances tends to vary seasonally. During the spring and summertime our fresh and uplifting floral fragrances are popular for brightening spaces and inviting the joy of season inside the home, while in the autumn and winter, as the weather becomes cooler, our herbal and woody scents grow in popularity as they’re perfect for creating a warm and comforting ambience while people enjoy time spent cosy inside.”

Born from a love of nature and passion to ‘tread softly on the Earth’, St. Eval create unique fragrances and candle collections, seeking inspiration from our natural surroundings – the Cornish coast and countryside. “Cornwall is home to so many captivating landscapes, it’s impossible not to feel inspired. Each fragrance we create has a story and a connection to nature. From Bay & Rosemary, inspired by flowers and herbs found in an English Country Garden, to Sea Salt evoking the sensation of walks by the coast.”

By treading softly on the earth around them, Sarah, Ian, Harry and the rest of the team have found heart in tradition and the natural world, the product of which is of the highest quality and is ever increasing in popularity as we seek sustainable and mindful influences to shed a warm glow on our homes and sanctuaries. “Our passion for sustainability lies at the heart of all we do and is important to all of us here at St. Eval,” Sarah concludes. “Our products are made with an emphasis on sustainability and in recognition of this we were honoured with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021.” Having received the first-ever Queen’s Award for a candle manufacturer, representing the highest accolade for business success and sustainability, and after being one of only ten businesses in the country to be invited to No 10 Downing Street for a Spring Showcase in May of this year, it’s clear that St. Eval are leading the way by candlelight.


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