Welcome to Gorsedh Kernow!
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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The Cornish Gorsedd used Unified Cornish (UC) spelling for all its business until the June 2009 AGM when it adopted the Standard Written Form (SWF). All news items added since that date are therefore in the new spelling.
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Report of Gorsedh Kernow Council Meeting – October 25th 2014
A minute’s silence was held to remember Bill Phillips Mabwyn Whel Ros of Australia.
The low numbers attending the AGM was discussed and it was decided that further thought be put to this.
One nomination only has been received and this has been seconded therefore Elizabeth Carne Melennek is duly elected into the post of Deputy Grand Bard Elect. The election of Grand Bard and Council will follow in 2015.
Kannas Bardh Meur, Telynor an Weryn, although not present had distributed a report on the 2014 Torpoint Ceremony and it was generally thought that the day had been a great success.
Voting then followed on the proposals made in the report and these were approved as follows:
- That the possibility be looked into of putting a button on the front page of website for Ceremony details and booking forms.
- That a volunteer be sought from within the college of Bards with the necessary skills to film appropriate excerpts from the ceremony, edit and upload to social media networks reasonably quickly after the ceremony. If recruitment proves difficult then a non-bard volunteer should be sought and travel expenses covered.
- That Gorsedh Kernow underwrites the Esedhvos costs to a maximum of £500.
Dates for 2015 meeting were decided as follows:
- Saturday 7th February – morning meeting of Council at Lys Kernow, Truro.
- Saturday 11th April – Proclamation at St Austell AND AGM on same date – times and venues within St Austell to be arranged.
- Saturday 4th July – Awards sub-committee meeting at 11am followed by Council meeting at 1.30pm at Lys Kernow, Truro.
- Saturday 24th October – Council meeting at 1.30pm, Lys Kernow, Truro.
Reports from the Treasurer and sub-committees were presented and approved.
A resolution was made and accepted that a Working Party be formed to look at the Gorsedh website.
A resolution was made and accepted that research be done into how best to achieve publication of a facsimile edition book from important works handwritten in Cornish.
A resolution was made and accepted that the subject for the 2016 book be Bards of the Diaspora.
A venue for the 2015 Awen Ceremony was needed and a volunteer to organise this.
It was agreed that Carwynnen Quoit, Camborne would be ideal.
Deputy Grand Bard Elect
Gorsedh Kernow now has a Deputy Grand Bard Elect who will 'shadow' the current Deputy Telynor an Weryn over the coming months.
It is Newquay born Elizabeth Carne - Melennek, who received her Bardship in 1978 through examination in the Cornish Language. Liz as she is known to many, is a recently retired primary school teacher and a fluent speaker of both Cornish and French who has taught Cornish for many years in Newquay.
For nearly 20 years she has held the role of steward for the Dancers and the Lady of Cornwall at Gorsedh Kernow ceremonies and has been a member of Kesva An Tavas Kernewek/Cornish Language Board for over 25 years.
A member of Newquay Old Cornwall Society her many interests have included teaching French, Cornish and Music, and running after-school clubs for French conversation and Cornish Dancing. She is a member of Newquay Brass Band, the Newquay Trefoil Guild and a worker for the Newquay Ladies Lifeboat Guild.
Gorsedh Kernow 2014 Torpoint/Penntorr DVD
A DVD of the afternoon Gorsedh ceremony 2014 at Torpoint is now available.
The price is £6, plus £1.00 p&p in the UK, £3.20 p&p Europe, and £4.00 for the rest of the world.
It is European PAL format on a DVD-R, color printed disk.
It comes in a DVD Library case with color printed sleeve.
Order form here (PDF document)
Gorsedh Kernow Competitions 2015
The 2015 Gorsedh Kernow competitions are now under way. These competitions are open to all, adults and young people alike. There are classes in Cornish and English, poetry, prose, Cornish studies, music, art and photography.
Full details of all classes, rules for entry, and an entry form, are now available on this website. The closing date for adult classes is Monday 27th April 2015 and Children's (Under 18 years) Monday 8th June 2015 and the awards will be presented by the Grand Bard at the Open Gorsedh in St Austell on Saturday 5th September 2015.
For full details click here for adults, click here for young people.
Report of July 2014 Meeting of Konsel Gorsedh Kernow
A meeting with FOCS will go ahead as soon as possible when arranged with all parties involved. This is to discuss sales and marketing strategies.
A few updates from the sub-committees:
- Archives -The book launch date is fixed and order forms produced which will now go out to bards. Bryallen will be going on ‘legacy training’ to represent the Gorsedh on 22 July.
- Awards - Mentenor a’n Ertach reported that all awardees have replied and are delighted.
- Competitions - A new group has been formed and this is now under way.
- Language - SWF dictionary is on track for launch before the start of new school year.
- Communications - Myrghwyn Melynor reported that Facebook postings and followers are growing steadily. The topic of ‘How to use social media’ will be addressed at the conference.
- The Treasurer’s report was accepted with thanks.
- Holyer an Gof - The awards evening is coming up this Tuesday at Waterstones. The book fair at Lys Kernow went well with 14 stalls but the next one may be organised for October or November to coincide with the start of the HaG year.
- Merchandise - Kaswydh reported on sales of £80 at the AGM and £68 at FOCS. Hoping to break even soon.
Some effort had been put into making the AGM more attractive to bards but this had not been successful. This will be discussed further and put on agenda for October meeting.
Arrangements for the Torpoint ceremony are progressing well.
Council members were invited to look at the timetable for election of Deputy Grand Bard and speak now if anything needs changing. David Holman Rifelwas has accepted the role of Returning Officer.
The Standing Orders have been revised and will be sent out to all bards.
Kannas Bardh Meur put it to Council that a budget should be allowed for arranging future Esedhvos events to go towards possible cost of venues and printing of programmes. This was approved.
A letter was received from Ian Saltern of St Piran Trust asking Bardh Meur to write a supporting letter for their bid for funding. This she will do.
Kernow Bys Vykken Book Website – a reply was received from Michael Galsworthy thanking the Gorsedh for the pledge of £500 over two years.
The Council showed appreciation for the inspiring speech made by Bardh Meur at this year’s An Gof Commemoration in St Keverne.
Gwythyades an Log gave a short update on excavation work at St Piran’s Oratory.
Bryallen had attended the prestigious opening of Charles Causley House and suggested Bardh Meur write to them to express support.
Cummow reminded Council of the upcoming Eucharist in Cornish being held at Truro Cathedral.
Esther Johns Tamm Steren, Secretary to Gorsedh Council
Sad news from Australia
William Robinson (Bill) Phillips - Mapwyn Whel Ros has died suddenly. He was the father figure of the Cornish Association of Victoria and in more recent years had been Patron of CAV.
Over the years Bill and his wife Gwen - Ertach Penwyth welcomed many visitors from Cornwall, including Bardh Meur just a few months ago.
Bill was a very active member of the Cornish community in Australia, loved Cornwall and was very proud of his Cornish heritage.
In 1993 he received a Bardship for services to the Cornish Community in Australia. Bill and Gwen's son Rod is also a Bard -Tresoryer.
Our condolences go out to his family at their sudden loss. Our thoughts are also with CAV and their loss of a valued member and friend.
For tribute from Gorsedh Kernow please click here, and from Rev E.A.(Ted) Curnow please click here.
Bill Phillips 1930 -2014
Award Ceremony for Successful Candidates in
Cornish Language Examinations 2014
Successful candidates in this year’s Cornish Language examinations gathered with their families and teachers at Lys Kernow for the presentation of their certificates by the Grand Bard.
First grade (L to R) - Sarah Broome, Philip Hurley, Duane Glasby, Claire Murphy, Mark Elton, Alice Holland,
Bardh Meur, Marrick Taylor, Hilary Payne, Kevin Phillips, Ben Doney, Jamie Purves, Matt Sharp, Beth Carey, Rebecca Sharp.
Second grade (L to R) - Shaun Toft, Colin Short, Ann Short, Bardh Meur, Denise Hunt, John (Ken) Cocks.
Third grade (L to R)- Jacqueline Love (Jakki Kerensa), Bardh Meur, Brian Pocock on behalf of James Daniel.
Fourth grade (L to R)- Peter Harwood, Pamela Cox, Ruth Webb, Kathryn Jones, Bardh Meur,
Bramwell Hayes, Penelope Melmoth, Tony Burt.
The annual gathering of the Bards of Gorsedh Kernow is held on the first Saturday in September. This year the event took place at Torpoint and included several Bards and initiates who had travelled thousands of miles from both the USA and the Southern Hemisphere.
The day dawned clear and at 13.30 with the Bards, official guests and initiate Bards assembled outside Torpoint Community College, the procession set off for the circle, following the Gorsedh piper and Gorsedh banner with the Awen symbol representing love, justice and truth.
After a welcome speech from the Mayor of Torpoint Cllr Mike Pearn MBE, the Grand Bard thanked him and Torpoint Town Council and in her speech reminded everyone of the sacrifice made by Cornishmen and women who fought on foreign fields so that we might live in peace.
The full text of her rousing and emotional speech can be read here.
The guest delegates were Per-Vari Kerloc'h, Grand Druid of Brittany, and Aled Davies for the Archdruid of Wales.
During the traditional ceremony the Deputy Grand Bard read out the names of the deceased Bards after which as a symbol of continuity 23 new Bards were welcomed into the Gorsedh. The Gorsedh Council awards and prizes in the Gorsedh competitions were then distributed.
Just before the end of the ceremony all Bards moved to the centre of the circle for the customary singing of 'Bro goth Agan Tasow' (Land of our Fathers) and the shout of 'Kernow bys Vykken' Cornwall for ever!
On the following day the Bishop of Truro Tim Thornton attended Evensong in Cornish, in Cornerstone Methodist/United Reform Church along with the Rev Steve Wild who delivered the sermon.
The 2015 Gorsedh ceremony will be held at St Austell on Saturday September 5th.
Gorsedh Kernow hosts annual Conference
David Holman (Rifelwas), Kernow King, Merv Davey (Kannas Barth Meur)
Popular Cornish comedian Kernow King and Anna Pascoe, Business Performance Manager, Cornish Orchards were among the speakers sharing their professional expertise at the 2014 Gorsedh Kernow annual Conference focussing on 'Brand Kernow', which was free of charge and open once again to the general public.
The conference theme was chosen by Deputy Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn, with a view to drawing on the experiences and views of people from the world of culture, entertainment, education and business and to share their expertise with their audience.
Following a warm welcome from Grand Bard Maureen Fuller, Steren Mor and a presentation by Communications Officer Dee Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, on the subject of 'Does Cornwall have a Brand', special guest Ed Rowe, Kernow King, spoke about building up audiences using social media, citing his 37,000 Facebook and 15,000 Twitter followers and 1 million YouTube viewers.
Dee Brotherton (Myrghwyn Melynor), Anna Pascoe, Bardh Meur, Tom Fidler
Tom Fidler, Chair of the Celtic Students Association then spoke about Cornish identity at Tremough, and that although Gorsedh Kernow did not, according to the current University prospectus, feature in 'Cornwall’s Cultural Top 10', Cornish identity was growing among young people and that support for St Pirans Day had been strong in Penryn following the Gorsedh Kernow ceremony there.
Amy Hale via SKYPE from California, shared some fascinating results from recent academic research into 'nation branding', highlighting some of the real and perceived challenges with asserting Cornish identity.
She was followed by Anna Pascoe, Business Performance Manager of Cornish Orchards, with a strong presentation about the serious business of producing, marketing and selling a product effectively, honestly and commercially.
A closing plenary session led by Deputy Grand Bard Merv Davey drew many helpful comments from the audience who encouraged Gorsedh Kernow to continue to recognise the importance of its own brand and to embrace enthusiastically new media to maintain and strengthen Cornish, Celtic and worldwide links.
Dee Brotherton Myrghwyn Melynor
Book Launch at Torpoint
Sir John Richard Carew Pole, Bardh Meur Maureen Fuller Steren Mor, Torpoint Mayor Mike Pearn MBE,
Ann Trevenen Jenkin Bryallen, Mrs Val Pearn and Dr Ken George Profus an Mortyd
The Thursday preceding the Torpoint Gorsedh saw the publication of two books. The launch of the book on Cornish Bards of the Tamar Valley by the Grand Bard Maureen Fuller Steren Mor, and 'Placenames of the Tamar Valley' by Dr Ken George Profus an Mortyd.
Both events were held in the Torpoint Council Chambers.
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
For a list of new Bards at the Torpoint Gorsedh please click here.
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
- Thursday 4th September
10.30am – 3pm Cornish Book Fair and Photo Displays
12 noon - Book Launch 'Bards of the Tamar Valley' and 'Placenames of the Tamar Valley' both events will be in the Torpoint Council Chambers
- Friday 5th September
9.45am – 3.45pm Gorsedh Conference 'Brand Kernow' with special guest speaker The Kernow King in Torpoint Council Chambers
- Saturday 6th September
2pm Gorsedh Ceremony at Thanckes Park/The Lawn
7pm Gorsedh Kernow Gala Concert in St James' Church
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
For Gorsedh Kernow Council Awards 2014 please click here. For Competition results 2014 please click here.
Cornish Bards of the Tamar Valley/Berdh Kernow Nans an Tamar
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.
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.
Order form here.
Holyer An Gof Awards 2014
(for books published in 2013)
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
Commemoration at St Keverne
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