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Gorsedh Kernow: Torpoint 2014
The Gorsedh ceremony will take place on Saturday 6th September at Torpoint - click here for details.
Public attendance is free and welcome.
The National Eisteddfod in Llanelli, Wales 2014
Padraig O Healai, Ivonne Owen, Maureen Fuller, Bernard Cousquer, Esyllt Nest, Merv Davey, Mona Cousquer
The Welsh Eisteddfod was held in Llanelli, South Wales and attended by the Grand Bard of Cornwall, Maureen Fuller Steren Mor and Deputy Grand Bard, Merv Davey Telynor an Weryn, as Cornish delegates. The site was superb, the best for many years with three tiers for separating different types of organisations and steps which formed an amphitheatre, where you could sit and listen to all sorts of music.
This year the Patagonian delegate Ivonne Owen, Leader of Gorsedd y Wladfa, made the greetings speech on behalf of the Celtic delegates. The main thrust of her speech reminded everyone that next year, the Welsh people in Gorsedd y Wladfa (The Gorsedd of the Colony) would be celebrating 150 years since their colony was started in Patagonia, Argentina. The Welsh at this time wanted to go to a place where they could speak Welsh and live a Welsh life without the influence of the English language.
They started colonies in Canada and the U.S.A., but each time the Welsh became subsumed within the local culture. Then Argentina offered parcels of land measuring 100 square miles along the Chubut River, in exchange for settling the still-unconquered land in Patagonia. Prof. Michael D. Jones, a Welsh nationalist, non-conformist preacher based in Bala saw this as the chance they had been awaiting.
The first people sailed to Patagonia in a tea clipper called the Mimosa on July 28th 1865 and now there are between 5,000 and 12,000 people who have Welsh as their first language with a further 25,000 speaking Welsh as a second language. The organisers of the event hope that as many Celts as possible will go to Patagonia to help them celebrate.
Flower girl - Bardh Meur Steren Mor and Archdruid of Wales Christine James - Lady of the Flowers
The Celtic delegates attended a Gorsedh on Monday morning, where the prize winners of the Eisteddfod competitions from the previous year were barded and in the afternoon, we saw the presentation of the Crown in the main pavilion to Guto Dafydd, one of the youngest crown winners at the age of 24. He wrote ten poems entitled ‘Growing’, which were about Wales including events from history up to the present year.
On Wednesday the Prose medal was presented to Lleucu Roberts, who had won the modern novel prize of £5,000 the day before. A dinner was held for all the Celtic delegates, organised by the Celtic Relations Officer, Mererid Hopwood and in the presence of the Archdruid, Christine James.
A happy time was enjoyed with our Celtic friends and reinforced our friendships for another year. We thank Mererid for all her hard work, for arranging our stay giving us a special time to share with our Celtic colleagues and to the Welsh Gorsedd for their hospitality.
New Bards 2014
Esedhvos Kernow 1st - 7th September 2014
Esedhvos Kernow promoted by Gorsedh Kernow is a festival of events to celebrate Cornwall's distinctive identity and Celtic heritage and it takes place in the week leading up to the annual Gorsedh ceremony which this year is in Torpoint.
Some of the weeks' events are listed below, further information on these and other events taking place can be found at www.esedhvos.co.uk
Report on Breton Gorsedh 2014
On 20th July at Arzano, Brittany, the Breton Gorsedd was held, led by the Grand Druid Per Vari Kerloc’h. The Cornish delgates were the Grand Bard Maureen Fuller Steren Mor and the Gorsedh Marshal Mike Millard, Gwythyas Melyn. After last year when it was the hottest day of the year in Brittany, it was a welcome surprise when it rained heavily in the middle of the ceremony. The special guests were Lena Louarn, the Vice-President of the Brittany Region Council, in charge of the Breton language and Mona Bras, a very active elected member of the Brittany Region Council.
The Grand Druid had two themes in this Gorsedd. The first was to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Brittany from ‘the Nazi yoke’. In welcoming the Cornish and Welsh delegates, he expressed his thanks to Wales and Cornwall for helping Brittany during the war. His words of thanks to Kernow are as follows: “I wish to thank Gorsedh Berdh Kernow for the warm-hearted welcome to the Breton exiles during the war. Under the patronage of “The Friends of Brittany” with Mr. George Hunter Doble, Gwas Gwendron, as Chairperson, they came to the aid of widows and orphans of Bretons killed by Germans.
Fraternity between both our countries was splendidly celebrated on the 5th September 1942 at Penzance by the Breton Cornish Committee with Mr. Scobel-Armstrong as Chairman. We also know of the tremendous work of Gwas Gwendron on the Cornish language and culture and his staunch friendship with Brittany and Bretons. Many thanks in the name of the Breton people to the Cornish people and to Gorsedh Berdh Kernow! Meur ras dhe’n bobel ha dhe’n Orsedh Berdh Kernow!”
His second theme was the reunification of Nantes back into Brittany. He reminded us the reasons why Nantes was incorporated into the area of Angers. It was because the German Wehrmacht had a command post there and it was easier for repression. He said these were very strange reasons that had nothing to do with the values of the French Republic. He said, “The Gorsedd demands that the people’s opinion in Loire Atlantique and in the other departments of Brittany be canvassed in a referendum.”
In her speech, the Grand Bard commented on the people who had helped the Bretons which included Jean Louis le Breton, a member of the French Resistance who lived in Newlyn. He was decorated with a medal after the war. When Charles de Gaulle gave the call from London, many Bretons got in their boats and came to Newlyn and Falmouth, on their way to London. The Grand Bard mentioned Kernow being recognised as a nation this year and hoped that Brittany would be recognised in the same way soon. She mentioned the petition entitled “The French Government: Give Brittany, a Celtic Nation, its Freedom!” and urged all Cornish bards to sign it as a mark of solidarity with our Breton brothers in their hour of need.
Grand Bard would like to thank the Grand Druid Per Vari Kerloc’h, Mona and Bernard Cousquer for their wonderful hospitality and friendship. We look forward to welcoming Per Vari to our Gorsedh in Penntorr, when we can reciprocate their kindness.
Gorsedh Announces Competition Results for 2014
Cornish Bards of the Tamar Valley/Berdh Kernow Nans an Tamar
Calendars for 2015
A high quality Cornish, 13 month, calendar is available to Bards with dates of key annual Cornish events, festivals and celebrations including Gorsedh Kernow activities and dates. Days and months are in Cornish and English. Also available is a Newlyn Artists Calendar and a Desk Diary.
Holyer An Gof Awards 2014
An epic day, 24th April 2014, the day when Kernow was recognised as a national minority under the Framework convention of the Council of Europe.
It is hard to grasp that this has actually happened after all these years of campaigning.
I thank all those involved and especially state that many bards of Gorsedh Kernow have been at the heart of this campaign in the past and the present.
We salute you all, a job well done.
(Photo: Grand Bard Maureen Fuller outside Bodmin Town Hall with Treasury Minister Danny Alexander and Dan Rogerson, MP for North Cornwall.)
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, today announced that the proud history, unique culture, and distinctive language of Cornwall will be fully recognised under European rules for the protection of national minorities.
The decision to recognise the unique identity of the Cornish, now affords them the same status under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities as the UK’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish. For the first time the government has recognised the distinctive culture and history of the Cornish.
The annual Proclamation has taken place at Torpoint. The Bards along with council officials and guests processed through the town to recently refurbished Rendel Park on the banks of the river Tamar.
The Mayor of Torpoint Cllr Mike Pearn MBE, welcomed the Gorsedh to the town. The short ceremony in Cornish commenced with the sounding of the horn and the customary call of peace. Local girl Rosie Hortop dressed in spring coloured robes presented flowers symbolising the 'fruits of the earth' to the Grand Bard Steren Mor. Rosie was chosen as this year’s “Lady of the Flowers” so will also take part at the main ceremony in September.
The Grand Bard thanked the Mayor and local organising committee for the assistance given to the Gorsedh and presented the town with a gift of an original framed poem about Torpoint, written in Cornish, as a memento of the occasion.
After the announcement that the 2014 Gorsedh would be held in Torpoint on Saturday September 6th, the ceremony ended with the singing of ''Bro Goth agan Tasow'' (Land of our Fathers), followed by the customary cry of ''Kernow bys vykken'' (Cornwall for ever) before the ceremony closed.
Thank you Torpoint for your very warm welcome!
To read the Grand Bard's Australian report please click here.
For more pictures please click here.
There is a prize for a play with a Cornish theme. Closing date for the competition is the 31st July. For full details www.sterts.co.uk.
The Festival at Eaglehawk (Bendigo, Victoria) was attended by 23 Bards of Gorsedh Kernow, and was led by Bardh Meur Maureen Fuller - Steren Mor. The ceremony took place in the delightful Canterbury Gardens.
At 6p.m. on St. Piran’s Day, Cornish folk gathered in Launceston Castle, at the base of the Norman keep, for the annual lowering of St. Piran’s flag at dusk. As the light dimmed, all eyes focussed on the keep as the strains of Trelawny came from the bagpipe and the flag was lowered slowly and reverently. The scene was evocative and moving. It was the perfect end to a day spent celebrating the life of our patron saint. Well done Launceston!
Master of Ceremonies was Cllr. Rob Tremain, Cryor an Dre Lanstefan and Piper was Rob Strike.
On March 2nd in spite of driving rain and strong winds, there was still a crowd of hardy souls who made the annual trek across the dunes following the St Piran play to the Celtic cross and the Oratory where they were able to see the progress of excavation work being carried out on this important historical site as it emerges from the sands.
Bill Curnow - Towednack tells us how he recently had the opportunity to meet Natasha Trethewey, Poet Laureate of the USA and of the state of Mississippi. Bill was delighted to hear she is fully aware of her Cornish heritage on her father's side and how she hopes one day to visit Cornwall, a journey her father who lives in Canada has previously made.
Presently in her second term as U.S. Poet Laureate, she was initially appointed by the Librarian of Congress in 2012 as the nation's 19th holder of that very distinguished honorary office. A past recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry she has received prizes and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment of the Arts, all organizations supporting the arts and cultural affairs.
Natasha is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University in Atlanta and has had four collections of her poetry as well as a non-fiction book published.
On parting Bill gave her his Cornish American lapel pin with the Stars & Stripes and St Piran flags side by side, and told her "We're very proud of you, Cousin Jenny"
Pol Hodge Mab Stenak Vur was invited to speak on the subject of Gorsedh Competitions and gave his opinions as a judge of children’s classes and how to better engage with Cornish schools. It was decided that this be followed up by a smaller group.
Pat Parkins has been appointed as Events Organiser for Esedhvos.
The Awen ceremony will be at Perran Round on 22nd June 2014.
It was decided that a PayPal facility would be created on the Gorsedh website to enable bards to book their places online. Postal copies to bards without e-mail will continue to be sent in the usual way as well.
The Gorsedh Conference 2014 will be entitled 'Putting the Modern Cornish and Cornish perspective at the heart of Brand Kernow'.
Reports from the sub-committees followed.
Admissions reported that 23 people have been invited to become bards this year.
Bardh Meur will write to bards from Milwaukee, USA to grant permission for their gathering. Kernow and Vyajor Gans Geryow are planning to go and are hoping that the American poet laureate Natasha Trethewey will be there.
A new leaflet has been printed to hand out to anyone seeking information about Gorsedh Kernow and the revised Constitution has also been produced in booklet form.
The final wording for the Standing Orders was also approved by Council and this will now be produced and distributed to bards.
The Torpoint Gorsedh Proclamation will be held on Saturday April 12th at Torpoint. Robing will be in the Scout H Q from 10.00a.m. and all Bards to be robed by 10.45a.m. The Ceremony will follow at 11.00a.m. at Rendel Park, Ferry Street, Torpoint.
Refreshments available afterwards in St James Church Hall, St James Road, Torpoint.
There is a new website for the 2014 Esedhvos at www.an-daras.com/esedhvos2014
Gorsedh Kernow Bard Jonathan Ball - Tregarthen has curated this exhibition which celebrates Bude through many aspects. It will be held in the Willoughby Gallery, the Wharf, Bude Castle from Monday 24th March until Friday 12th April.
There will be an event in the Willoughby Gallery especially for Bards of Gorsedh Kernow, Old Cornwall Societies, and local dignatories on Tuesday 8th April at 6.30pm which Bardh Meur will be attending.
After 15 years of hard work by the St. Pirans’s trust, Eileen Carter Gwythyades an Log finally made the first dig in the sand dune covering St.Piran’s Oratory to begin its excavation.
In 1980, the building had been covered to conserve the remaining ruins with the hope that in the future it would be uncovered again and conserved in a building where everyone could visit it. The excavation is the first step on this journey and many people arrived to help dig on this historic day.
Many bards were in attendance and included Maureen Fuller Steren Mor Grand Bard and Cllr.Julian German, Ago Marghogyon, Portfolio Holder for Culture. The St.Piran’s March will be on Sunday 2nd March at 2p.m., when we hope to see progress in the excavation.
Bardh Meur and instrumentalist Phil Beer at the fundraising event in aid of Gorsedh Kernow in St Ives.
There were more than 100 people at the event held at St Ives in February.
A merry band of people and children, wearing the traditional ivy, joined the civic procession to St. Ia’s well at Porthmeor, where the vicar blessed the spring and all the children and watching people were doused with holy water.
The procession then made its way to the church graveyard and the Mayor threw the hurling ball towards the waiting young people on the beach.
The chase started and resulted with the winner returning the silver ball to the Mayor outside the Guildhall at 12 noon.
This was followed by a pasty lunch accompanied by music from Bagas Porthia and ended with a speech of thanks from the Mayor. A very happy time was had by all.
Cornish Bards – a photographic exhibition is being held in the Spring Gallery at the Poly Arts Centre, 24 Church Street, Falmouth until Saturday 8th February 2014 from 10am until 5pm, except Sundays.
Visitors to the exhibition, which is open to the public, will be able to talk to Bards of Gorsedh Kernow about the Gorsedh and Bards' work on the two Saturdays of the 1st and 8th February.
The photographer is Julia Nottingham, a third year Falmouth University student studying BA Press and Editorial Photography at the Penryn Campus.
After many years campaigning permission has finally been granted to uncover St Piran's
Oratory on Gear Sands. This ancient site so important to Cornish culture has been buried in the
sand since 1980.
Every year hundreds of people process across the dunes with scenes from the St Piran play re-enacted during the walk. At the end everyone sings Trelawney and daffodils are laid at St Piran's cross.
This year's walk is on the 2nd March.
There is now Stage 1 funding to develop a new home for Cornwall Record Office, the Cornish Studies Library and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Historic Environment Record, combining these three fascinating collections and services.
The new building will bring together primary, printed and electronic sources into one centre at the Old Brewery site in Redruth. Here the collections can be stored, accessed and preserved and the extraordinary stories that they tell can be used to engage old and new audiences with the heritage of Cornwall.
A county-wide programme of consultation about the proposed new centre will take place during March and April 2014. Initially the consultation will cover the facilities and services users, potential users, partners and stakeholders would like to see in the new building. It will be starting out in the old Boots shop in Redruth on the 1st March, and at Stuart House, Liskeard on the 8th March, further dates will appear on their website. These will be followed by focus group sessions with various audiences and partners.
To find out more about the project and consultation programme, or keep up to date with the news, see the web pages at http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/kresenkernow sign up to their e-newsletter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org find the project on Facebook at ‘Kresen Kernow’ or contact Tamsin Mallett at Cornwall Record Office, on 01872 323127 or via email@example.com
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Previous news and reports, past competition results, annual list of new bards, grand bards gallery,
notable bards, etc can be found through the index on the archives page.
All content © The Gorsedh of Cornwall unless otherwise attributed.