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We invite you to explore our site. Here you can learn about the history and origins of the Gorsedh, the purpose and significance of the ceremonies, our annual competitions, events, our links to organisations and our place in contemporary Cornish society. The site is continually updated to include the latest news. Gorsedh Kernow is also on Facebook.
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To commemorate the 2014 Gorsedh taking place at Thanckes Park, Torpoint, Gorsedh Kernow have put together a publication which details the lives and works of 33 deceased bards who lived and worked, at least for part of their lives on both sides of the River Tamar.
Also included are details of 38 living bards and the work they are now doing for Cornwall.
This is the fifth book in a planned series covering the area in which the annual Gorsedh is held.
For further details and order form please click here.
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.
On 15th July the annual Holyer an Gof Awards ceremony was held in Watersones, Truro. The Grand Bard of Gorsedh Kernow Maureen Fuller presented the awards and in a speech to those assembled said "We are very proud of the Holyer an Gof competition and we are delighted by the support we receive from all the publishers who submit entries each year.”
This year's winner of the major overall award of the Holyer an Gof Trophy was publisher Twelveheads Press for Cornish Milestones by Ian Thompson.
These literary awards were set up by Gorsedh Kernow in memory of Redruth publisher Leonard Truran. The Holyer an Gof trophy presented by the late Joan Truran, is perpetual and awarded for the most outstanding entry in the whole competition.
Details of the winners can be found here
The Cornish rebellion of 1497 began in response to taxes being levied on the Cornish people by Henry VII to finance a war against the Scots, their fellow Celts. The rebellion was led by Michael Joseph An Gof, a blacksmith from St. Keverne and Thomas Flamank a Bodmin lawyer who with many other Cornish marched to London to protest. The uprising ended with the Battle of Blackheath, and the subsequent execution for treason of these two brave Cornishmen at Tyburn on 27 June 1497.
In 1997 to mark the 500th anniversary a commemorative walk, Keskerdh Kernow 500 traced the original route of the rebels from St. Keverne to Blackheath, where a Delabole slate plaque was placed on Blackheath Common by the London Cornish Association and Gorsedh Kernow.
Every year on June 27th An Gof, Flamank and their compatriots are remembered in a ceremony at St Keverne which begins at the statue.This year the honour of laying flowers at the foot of the the statue fell to Ruby Lambrick and Isaac Richards from the local school. Afterwards a long procession with flags flying followed the An Gof Band down the hill to the Church where a wreath was placed on the commemorative plaque by the church gate.
This year's commemoration was well attended and the Grand Bard gave an inspiring speech which can be read here. The ceremony ended with the singing of Trelawny.
Always a moving occasion, and as it states on the plaque 'they shall have a name perpetual and a fame permanent and immortal'
Kernow Bys Vyken
Each midsummer the Awen ceremony is held at a significant cultural site in Kernow. On Sunday 22nd June it took place at Perran Round, where 40 bards gathered in glorious sunshine. This Mediaeval playing place which is now in the care of the St Piran Trust was also the setting for the 1992 Gorsedh.
The Bards followed the piper and Banners into the Round where they formed a circle. During the short ceremony two older members of the Parish gave the Lyver Bewnans, Book of Life, to the Grand Bard who paraded it around the circle for all to see. This book made of Cornish yew and representing their knowledge was then handed to two younger members of the local community.
The ceremony culminated with the singing of 'Bro Goth' - Land of our Fathers and the cry of 'Kernow bys vykken' - Cornwall for ever.
Thank you Eileen Carter Gwythyades an Log for arranging the event.
The elders were Danke Flamank a descendant of Thomas Flamank, joint leader with Michael An Gof of the Cornish Rebellion of 1497 and Joan Juleff. The two children were Elinor Payne and Piran Dunbar.
The Bishop’s Group is delighted to announce another significant step in the advancement of the Cornish language – by kind invitation of Truro Cathedral we are going to be celebrating the Eucharist in Cornish there for the first time ever. Although services in Cornish have been held in the Cathedral in the past, there has never been a Eucharist. This is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate that Cornish is a vital part of our national identity and culture, for it’s placing the language right at the heart of Christian worship in Cornwall. The Cathedral and we are very excited about this, and we hope that both of the planned services will be well supported.
Following the Cathedral’s already established practice of celebrating the feasts of major Cornish saints, the first service is a said Eucharist for the Feast of St Samson, on Monday 28th July at 1 pm, in St Mary’s Aisle; the second on Wednesday 1st October at 5.30 pm, a solemn sung Eucharist for the Feast of St German, with mass setting sung by the Cathedral Choir. They will be singing a Latin setting, and the rest of the service and the hymns will be in Cornish, so there will be no word at all of English spoken! We thought that would be very fitting, as before the Reformation, when some Cornish was used in church services, all the rest would have been in Latin.
There will, however, be no excuse for non-Cornish speakers’ not coming, because, as with all our services, the service books will be bilingual! So do come if you can, and prove that this new venture is one that will deserve to be continued.
Gorsedh Chaplain - Rev. Jane Kneebone Colum Wyn
The gathering of the bards of Cornwall this year is to take place in Torpoint.
Public attendance is free and welcomed.
Details of the ceremony and supporting events can be seen by clicking on the following link. Click here.
After almost 25 years of writing and presenting ‘An Nowodhow’ on BBC Radio Cornwall, Rod Lyon has retired. Grand Bard Maureen Fuller - Steren Mor presented a special certificate to him from Gorsedh Kernow, marking the event.
You can listen to ‘An Nowodhow’ on BBC Radio Cornwall at 5pm every Sunday.
The April meeting took place in the afternoon of the day of the Gorsedh Proclamation at Torpoint and the Local Organising Committee there kindly gave us the use of their Town Council Chambers.
Reports from the sub-committees were presented and accepted by Council.
The Admissions Secretary reported that all 23 prospective new bards have now accepted and their bardic names are now going through approval.
The review of children’s competitions was discussed and a proposal made that changes be made as laid out in the report by Kannas Bardh Meur with the addition of assurance that it will be self-funding and make use of full supporting technology. This will be put to the College of Bards at the AGM in June.
An Alhwedhor distributed detailed accounts. These are now being audited and will be finished by end of April in order to be presented at the AGM.
The need for a marketing strategy for book sales and a website sales facility was discussed and it was agreed that Bardh Meur and An Alhwedhor approach the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies with a suggestion to work together to create a marketing strategy.
It was agreed that the Gorsedh would create a new award entitled Tyr Gwyr Gwerin, in the memory of Jim Pengelly (Den Lodenek) and details of this will be discussed further.
A few suggestions have been put forward for persons suitable to be the next Kannas Bardh Meur. These were discussed and it was agreed to keep this confidential as the Grand Bard at the AGM has to call on the members of the Gorsedh to put forward suitable names and spell out the timetable for the election process.
Myrghwyn Melynor in her role as Communications Co-Ordinator made an appeal for all information to be sent to her and it also applies to the Archives.
A speaker has been agreed for the AGM – this will be Sarah Jane and the subject will be the Charles Woolf Collection of photographs.
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 email@example.com find the project on Facebook at ‘Kresen Kernow’ or contact Tamsin Mallett at Cornwall Record Office, on 01872 323127 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
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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.