4.9.16 Keep Kernow Whole says the Grand Bard of Cornwall

Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn, receives the "Fruits of the Earth" from Lady of Cornwall Bethany Lyne of St Keverne.
Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn, receives the “Fruits of the Earth” from Lady of Cornwall Bethany Lyne of St Keverne.

“This is the parish that holds the spirit of Cornwall” said Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn, in his address to fellow bards, visiting dignitaries and members of the public at Gorsedh Kernow’s annual bardic ceremony, held this year in a rain soaked St Keverne.

“It was from this parish some 500 years ago that Michael Joseph the Smith led the Cornish host to London in protest at the destruction of our way of life. Throughout the centuries the people of Cornwall have asserted their distinct identity and heritage.”

Thanking members of the local organising committee for all their hard work over many months and the Chairman of St Keverne Parish Council David Lambrick for such a warm welcome, Mr Davey stood alongside delegates from the Welsh and Breton Gorseddau and reminded the crowds who had managed to squeeze into St Keverne church of the importance of retaining the border between Cornwall and the rest of Britain.

“The spirit of Michael Joseph and St Keverne are seen in our success with the recognition of the Cornish Language, our National Minority Status and the Devolution Deal for Cornwall Council” said the Grand Bard, “but the time has come now to campaign to keep our land whole.”

Dancers in procession through St Keverne Church during the bardic ceremony.
Dancers in procession through St Keverne Church during the bardic ceremony.

Urging his audience to recognise Cornwall as a place apart with its own political history and cultural heritage the Grand Bard  insisted that to place parts of Cornwall into Devon for the purpose of Parliamentary Constituencies would be a serious denial of history.  He feared for the success of any Devolution Deal and called on Cornwall’s MPs to support Gorsedh Kernow’s call to ‘Keep Cornwall Whole.’

“Any recommendation that parts of Cornwall are placed within Devon constituencies would be a disaster for Cornish democracy, heritage, culture and our national identity.”

End of press release *************************************

Further notes for Editors

Gorsedh Kernow exists to maintain the national Celtic Spirit of Cornwall and to give expression to such spirit, to encourage the study of Cornish history and literature, the Cornish language, to foster Cornish art, music, dance and sport and to link with other Celtic countries.

Gorsedh Kernow was established in 1928 with the aim of celebrating and promoting Cornwall’s distinctive Celtic culture and the village of St Keverne, home to Cornwall’s celebrated statue of Cornish martyrs, St Keverne blacksmith Michael an Gof and Bodmin lawyer Thomas Flamank, provided the setting for this year’s Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival.

The annual procession of bards and installation of the 19 new initiates took place on Saturday 3rd September at the ceremony in St Keverne Church (torrential rain forced a change of venue) as part of the Esedhvos Festival. The procession was led by Grand Bard of Cornwall Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn, accompanied by the Chairman of St Keverne Parish Council David Lambrick and local St Keverne girl Bethany Lyne as the “Lady of Cornwall.”

For further information about the Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival including the Bardic Ceremony please contact Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Communications Officer, Gorsedh Kernow,  email communications@gorsedhkernow.org.uk

23.4.16 Grand Bard condemns UK Government’s indifference to Cornish culture

GORSEDH KERNOW – The Celtic Spirit of Cornwall
Press release for immediate use issued Saturday 23rd April 2016
issued by Delia Brotherton, Gorsedh Kernow Communications Officer.

Gorsedh Kernow is appalled at the UK Government’s decision not to support the Cornish language.

Railing against the recent withdrawal of funding in support of one of Cornwall’s unique cultural assets the Grand Bard of Cornwall, Dr Merv Davey, spoke of the anger and disgust being expressed by people all across Cornwall, from fellow Celtic countries and from countless Cornish cousins overseas.

“A promise was made to the people of Cornwall and that promise has been broken,” said the Grand Bard.

“Compared to the money approved and spent on our behalf by the Government on cultural ‘trips and activities’ for the boys and girls in power at Westminster the £150K we are asking for is a comparative drop in the ocean.”

“Let’s be blunt about this. This is an ideological decision based on indifference and not a financial one based on fiscal responsibility.”

James Wharton MP, the Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse at the Department for Communities and Local Government, who rubber stamped the withdrawal of the promised funding, stated in his letter to the Leader of Cornwall Council, Cllr John Pollard that ‘As Cornwall continues to implement its Devolution Deal, I look forward to hearing more about the great progress that has been made and encourage you to work closely with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ensure the continued recognition of Cornish culture.’
“The Minister obviously felt he wanted to rub a bit more salt into the wound,” said the Grand Bard, “which is particularly cruel and dismissive to Cornish people. When it comes to making such statements it seems that he is just not prepared to deliver on promises made.”

“Ironically, some of Cornwall’s representatives even took their parliamentary oaths in Cornish, but have failed to fight for the language.”

“The Cornish language is a great source of pride for Cornwall and is part of what makes Cornwall and the Cornish unique”, said fellow bard Julian German, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture.

“Over the last five years use of the language has increased and this is reflected in street names, signage and on mainstream and social media. Just as importantly, it supports our local and visitor economy as the increase in the use of the language in marketing and tourism has proved.“

The decision has also angered Malcolm Bell, Head of Visit Cornwall, who said “The Cornish language is an essential part of the Cornwall brand”.
End of press release*****************

Further notes for editors

Gorsedh Kernow exists to maintain the national Celtic Spirit of Cornwall and to give expression to such spirit, to encourage the study of Cornish history and literature, the Cornish language, to foster Cornish art, music, dance and sport and to link with other Celtic countries.

The Cornish language, Kernewek, was formally recognised by European Charter in 2002; the Cornish were given National Minority Status under the European Framework Convention in 2014; and the Devolution Deal of 2015 includes a clear commitment to cherish and promote Cornish Heritage.

For further information about Cornwall Council’s support of the Cornish language please contact Julian German, Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture on 07737 183690.

For more information about the Cornwall Devolution Deal please visit
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/447419/20150715_Cornwall_Devolution_Deal_-_FINAL_-_reformatted.pdf

For further information about Cornwall Council and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities please see
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cornish-granted-minority-status-within-the-uk

and https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/community-and-living/equality-and-diversity/cornish-minority-status/

For more general information about Gorsedh Kernow please contact
Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Communications Officer, Gorsedh Kernow,
email communications@gorsedhkernow.org.uk
or visit the website  www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk

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16.4.16 Grand Bard of Cornwall: Historic site protection unfit for purpose

Grand Bard, Merv Davey, Telynor an  Weryn with Deputy Grand Bard, Elizabeth Carne, MelennekGrand Bard of Cornwall: Historic site protection unfit for purpose

“A little over 500 years ago Michael Joseph of St Keverne lead a Cornish host against one of the most powerful institutions in Europe, the English Crown. His was a protest against the poor treatment of the Cornish and this memory continues to fuel the Cornish Spirit to the present day.”

Thus began the spirited words of Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn, Grand Bard of Cornwall and passionate Cornishman, as he delivered his Proclamation speech on behalf of the bards of Gorsedh Kernow gathered in St Keverne in front of the iconic statue of Thomas Flamank and Michael “An Gof” Joseph. 

“Today it is our culture and heritage which is under threat but unlike Michael Joseph we have the use of some powerful democratic tools” said the Grand Bard.

“We now have recognition of the Cornish language, Kernewek, in 2002, National Minority Status in 2014 and the Devolution Deal of 2015 which includes a clear commitment to cherish and promote our precious Cornish heritage.”

Standing alongside the celebrated statue of Flamank and An Gof the Chairman of St Keverne Parish Council, Cllr David Lambrick, warmly welcomed the gathering of blue robed bards and formally invited Gorsedh Kernow to hold their bardic ceremony and Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture in the town later in the year.

Continuing his address, the Grand Bard cited recent debate around the commercialisation of Tintagel and expressed his increasing dismay at the story unfolding in the press and on social media.

“Under these recognitions and agreements Government departments and public bodies are required to take Cornwall’s views into account when making decisions about our heritage.”

“However, unlike Cornwall Council’s planning system, we find that these commitments have not been translated into action and, worse still, that the process to grant consent for developments took place behind closed doors,” said the Grand Bard.

“The views of Cornish people and institutions were not sought and the processes by which these consents are given for the development of heritage sites are undemocratic and unfit for purpose. We cannot ease back and allow these committments to fall by the wayside, we must hold Government departments and public bodies to account.”

Commending English Heritage for their use of the Cornish language and some of the archaeological interpretations at the Tintagel site, the Grand Bard was nevertheless fearful that crass commercialism might become the driving force.

“Cornish identity is not on the agenda of English Heritage and I fear that when interpretation is translated into promotion it will be commercially driven by Disney type images of knights and wizards. We will not be seeing much of the Cornish language, ancient Cornish Kingdoms or any recognition as a Celtic Nation.” 

Welcoming the establishment of the Heritage Kernow Board as set out by the Cornwall Devolution Deal the Grand Bard called for the new Board to be representative of Cornish organisations across the entire range of heritage and to work towards Cornwall’s full ownership of her heritage assets. 

“Gorsedh Kernow calls on the Government to transfer ownership of these iconic sites and the Consents that protect them to Cornwall when the franchise is due for renewal in 2023.”

**** End of press release*********

Further notes for editors

Gorsedh Kernow exists to maintain the national Celtic Spirit of Cornwall and to give expression to such spirit, to encourage the study of Cornish history and literature, the Cornish language, to foster Cornish art, music, dance and sport and to link with other Celtic countries.

The Cornish language, Kernewek, was formally recognised by European Charter in 2002; the Cornish were given National Minority Status under the European Framework Convention in 2014; and the Devolution Deal of 2015 includes a clear commitment to cherish and promote Cornish Heritage.

The cliffs of Tintagel have protected status and are designated as “Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGS)”  and the geology of Tintagel is designated as a “Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)”, a designation as strong as Scheduled Ancient Monument status.

As part of the Cornwall Devolution Deal, published July 2015, Cornwall Council and Historic England will jointly produce a study of the cultural distinctiveness of Cornwall’s historic environment. This will inform the work of the new Cornish Historic Environment Forum and the development of the Framework Convention for National Minorities (FCNM). Local partners have already set up a new body – Heritage Kernow – to promote and manage the culture and heritage of Cornwall.

For more information about the Cornwall Devolution Deal please visit

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/447419/20150715_Cornwall_Devolution_Deal_-_FINAL_-_reformatted.pdf

For information about the statutory SSSI network please visit https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/

For information about SSSIs in Cornwall please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Sites_of_Special_Scientific_Interest_in_Cornwall

For information about Cornwall’s historic buildings, sites and monuments record please visit

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/environment-and-planning/historic-environment/cornwall-and-scilly-historic-environment-record/historic-buildings-sites-and-monuments-record/

For further information about Scheduled Monument Status please visit  https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/what-is-designation/scheduled-monuments/

For further information about Cornwall Council and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities please see

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cornish-granted-minority-status-within-the-uk

and https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/community-and-living/equality-and-diversity/cornish-minority-status/

For more general information about Gorsedh Kernow please contact

Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Communications Officer, Gorsedh Kernow,

email  communications@gorsedhkernow.org.uk

or visit the website  www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk 

8.3.16 St Piran’s Day Book Launch

Ann Jenkin, Stephen Gadd & Jori Ansell
Ann Jenkin, Stephen Gadd & Jori Ansell

Among the many St Piran’s Day celebrations a new book ‘Scryfer: Robert Victor Walling, Bard and Journalist 1895-1976’ was launched at Camborne Rugby Club by past Grand Bard Jori Ansell (Caradoc) in the presence of lead authors, past Grand Bard Ann Trevenen Jenkin (Bryallen) and Dr Stephen Gadd (Reskadinnick), originally from Camborne and educated at Redruth School.

The book is sponsored by Gorsedh Kernow and Kesva an Taves Kernewek.

R V Walling had been injured in France in the First World War and lay in hospital studying and writing in the Cornish language. This resulted in a magazine An Houlsedhas, published as a facsimile in the book for the first time, with an English translation together with his biography. It has never before been seen by the general public.

Gareth Parry (Mab Meliner Gwlan), Chair of Gorsedh Kernow Archives and Publications Committee commented “This it is a superb publication. The content is fascinating. There is so much material in it that I, and I am sure many others, was totally unaware of.  I’m delighted that it will now be accessible to so many other Cornish speakers and to Celtic scholars world-wide. This is, without doubt, a publication that both Gorsedh Kernow and Kesva an Taves Kernewek will be immensely proud of”.

5.3.16. “Handle Cornwall With Care” says Grand Bard of Gorsedh Kernow

Bardh Meur Telynor an Weryn
Bardh Meur Telynor an Weryn

“The Cornish are an open-hearted people, but we will not be taken for granted,” said the Grand Bard of Cornwall, Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn, as he addressed a substantial, flag waving crowd at Truro’s High Cross today.

Celebrating St Piran’s Day, the patron saint of tinners, the Grand Bard was inspired by the noisy crowd of enthusiastic schoolchildren, who with teachers and parents had joined the annual St Piran’s procession alongside countless Cornish supporters as they snaked their way through the town.

“It’s now almost two years since we gained recognition of our National Minority status and we must continue to consolidate and assert this identity.” said Merv Davey.

“We must learn to rise above petty definitions of Cornishness and encourage and support  all those who feel that indefinable sense of place and longing to embrace our Celtic culture and play a full part.”

“We have a long history of welcoming people into our culture and we applaud all those who cherish Cornish and Celtic culture as we do, but to those who are not so bothered about our heritage we say loud and clear, ‘Handle Cornwall With Care’.”

Swelled by ranks of attentive onlookers the sizeable crowd was urged to take inspiration from the Cornish men and women, some famous and many not at all famous, who have helped make Cornwall great.

“Let’s be inspired by our beautiful Cornish language, still very relevant and still present, for example, as place names in our communities,” said the Grand Bard, “and perhaps we may in turn inspire others to learn a few words and phrases as a unique badge of identity.”

Referring to plans for a National Library and Archive in Cornwall, which was also a key point of reference for the Deputy Grand Bard Elizabeth Carne, Melennek, in her address to the townspeople, the Grand Bard expressed a growing sense of pride with developments in Redruth.

“I am so proud to be Grand Bard at such an exciting time in Redruth’s history. We must be even more ambitious for Cornwall and ensure that we show how proud we are with our towns and communities who have helped make things like Kresen Kernow – the new Centre for Cornwall – happen.”

24.2.16. Press release: Gorsedh Kernow launches new awards scheme.

To Editors and News Desks

Gorsedh Kernow press release for immediate use, also attached in WORD and PDF formats.

GORSEDH KERNOW

The Celtic spirit of Cornwall

Press release for immediate use issued Wednesday 24th February 2016

by Delia Brotherton, Gorsedh Kernow Communications Officer

GORSEDH KERNOW LAUNCHES NEW AWARDS SCHEME

The Council of Gorsedh Kernow has agreed a new format for their annual Awards which will take an even greater account of Cornish culture.

Announcing the new scheme, Grand Bard of Cornwall Merv Davey expressed his delight at the support the new scheme was already receiving.

“Bards of Gorsedh Kernow are as keen as anyone to move forward and embrace new media,” said the Grand Bard, “and we wanted to help make it easy for people to show their love for Cornish culture and help us maintain the Celtic spirit of Cornwall.”

The new scheme merges the former childrens and adults competitions with the long established Gorsedh Kernow Council awards, creating a new range of Awards for adults and a separate range for young people under 18 years of age. The new Awards are more flexible and less prescriptive and allow for entrants to demonstrate creativity in a variety of ways, including the use of digital media.

“Awards will be given to entries that express the Celtic spirit of Cornwall and demonstrate exceptional endeavour or quality of work,” said Merv Davey, “and this work might be in the arts, sports, Cornish studies or community service.”

“We actively encourage everyone, whatever their age and background, to express their creativity and interest in Cornish culture in whatever form they feel most comfortable with.”

“Awards for young people will be considered in one of three age groups and there are plenty of examples on the Awards information leaflet to get them started.”

The new Gorsedh Kernow Awards will be presented at a special event during the Esedhvos week prior to the Gorsedh Ceremony at St Keverne in September. Award-winners’ work will be shown and displayed during the event, together with selected performances.

End of press release

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Further notes for editors

The new Gorsedh Kernow Awards scheme is now open for entries. There is no restriction on who may submit an entry.

The Gorsedh Kernow Awards 2016 replaces the old awards and competitions.  The change to a more flexible system will enable Gorsedh Kernow to recognise and celebrate a much greater range of Cornish cultural activity alongside the more traditional arts and literary entries. It will also open the doors to new media technologies.

Information leaflets about the new Awards scheme can be downloaded from the Gorsedh Kernow website www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk/awards.html and may be circulated to anyone who may be interested.

Entries may be submitted in a variety of ways including paper submission, text, image and audio files as email attachments, shared link, dvd or memory stick.

For further information about the new Gorsedh Kernow Awards please contact the Awards Secretary, email awards@gorsedhkernow.org.uk

For further information about Gorsedh Kernow please contact Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Communications Officer, Gorsedh Kernow,

email communications@gorsedhkernow.org.uk

or visit our website www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk

************************
Delia Brotherton
Myrghwyn Melynor
Communications Officer
GORSEDH KERNOW

16.2.16. St. Piran’s Day Book Launch

A ground-breaking new book about bard of Gorsedh Kernow, Robert Victor Walling (1895-1976), soldier, poet, journalist and writer with a special interest in the Cornish language, is being published on St Piran’s Day, Saturday 5th March, 100 years after its original publication and exactly 121 years after the birth of the author.

“Scryfer – R.V.Walling”, has been researched and compiled by former Grand Bard Ann Trevenen Jenkin, Bryallen, the result of months of painstaking work by several bards of Gorsedh Kernow, including Stephen Gadd, Reskadinnick, who has translated Walling’s original words and designed and produced the layout.

Encouraged by his father Robert Alfred Walling, who was also a bard, the young R V Walling had been inspired by Henry Jenner’s Handbook of the Cornish Language, first published in 1904. As he lay injured in a British military hospital during the First World War, R V Walling drew on this inspiration and turned his attention to a deeper study of Cornish and while recuperating from his injuries, he produced a magazine called “An Houlsedhas” (‘The West’), an illustrated manuscript in his own handwriting.

“This important book is being published as a facsimile of “An Houlsedhas” for the very first time,” said Mrs Jenkin, “and will add considerably to our broad study of the Cornish language written during the First World War.”

R V Walling was made a bard of Gorsedh Kernow in 1934 taking the bardic name Scryfer an Mor, Sea Writer. The long awaited publication of his illustrated magazine, translated into English, has never been seen before by the general public.

“The original text has been translated by Stephen Gadd, from Camborne, a new bard living and working in London,” said Mrs Jenkin, “and he has worked extremely diligently on what has been a fascinating but sometimes difficult project.”

“This ground-breaking book is a valuable addition to other documents in the Cornish language,” said Grand Bard Merv Davey,“and Gorsedh Kernow, along with the Cornish Language Board, is very proud to support its publication.”

 Skryfer – R V Walling” will be launched by Jori Ansell, Caradok, past Grand Bard of Gorsedh Kernow and current Chairman of the recently launched Cornish Language Academy, at 6pm at Camborne Rugby Club, on St Piran’s Day, Saturday 5th March 2016.

5.2.16. Holyer an Gof Publishers’ Awards 2016

2015 winners
2015 winners

Organisers of Gorsedh Kernow’s Holyer an Gof Publishers’ Awards are once again actively seeking recently published books about Cornwall to enter in the 2016 competition.

Among the many winners from last year was a group of year 7 students from Redruth School who took part and were awarded a top prize for a series of six books ‘An A-Z of Cornwall – What We Love About Cornwall’.

The students produced the series of books as part of Redruth School’s participation in REAL Projects – a new kind of project based learning that connects deep subject content with real world problem solving and enables all students to engage in learning at school and create extraordinary work that matters.

“Redruth School’s entry through REAL Projects demonstrates how hard many of today’s children are working to connect with the real world,” said Holyer an Gof co-organiser Rael Harvey, “ and we will do all we can to encourage schools to think about publishing their own book about Cornwall and the Cornish language.”

Redruth School students were asked to take on various roles and create a book within six weeks of arriving at the school – a tight deadline.

“I helped with the improvement and punctuation,” said Sam, one of the editors.

“My letter was R so I did ‘Redruth’,” said Jenna, who wrote a page in the book.

Students were interviewed at the Holyer an Gof Awards ceremony by Tiffany Truscott of BBC Radio Cornwall and spoke of their delight at being shortlisted, and of winning an award.

“It was a really good idea because we all knew quite a bit about Cornwall and it’s good to do a book about the place where we live. It’s really exciting to be at an awards ceremony.”

“It was really great to help us get to know each other and the school, and it was really fun.”

“We are very proud of the Holyer an Gof competition and I am continually amazed by the support we receive from all the publishers who submit entries each year.” said Grand Bard of Cornwall Merv Davey.

There is still time to submit entries and all books about Cornwall or the Cornish language and people published between 1st January and 31st December 2015 are eligible.

The closing date for entries is Friday 26th February 2016.

Further notes

The Holyer an Gof Publishers’ Awards are promoted annually by Gorsedh Kernow for publications relating to Cornwall or the Cornish language and her people and were launched in 1996 in memory of Redruth Publisher and Bard of the Cornish Gorsedh, Leonard Truran, whose bardic name was Holyer an Gof – Follower of The Smith.

Books published etween 1st January and 31st December 2015 are eligible for entry into the 2016 Awards. The closing date for entries is Friday 26th February 2016.

These prestigious awards are becoming a must-have for publishers and were established and organised by members of Gorsedh Kernow to raise the standard and profile of publishing in Cornwall.

An extensive panel of readers, drawn mainly from the Gorsedh Kernow College of Bards and others with particular expertise, review carefully all the books submitted each year by publishers and last year’s entries exceeded 100 volumes.

Winning entries in each one of 12 categories are announced and prizes awarded at a special Presentation evening at Waterstones in Truro, with each category winner receiving a certificate from Gorsedh Kernow.

The Holyer an Gof Trophy, given by and presented on behalf of the late Joan Truran, is perpetual and awarded for the most outstanding entry in the competition.

Nominees and winners of all the Holyer an Gof Publishers Awards will be publicised through a press release and Gorsedh Kernow’s website www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk and Facebook page.  Further details at www.holyerangofawards.org.uk

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Delia Brotherton
Myrghwyn Melynor
Communications Officer
GORSEDH KERNOW

6.1.16. Gorsedh Kernow challenges ‘gre an maters’ – the status quo

Gorsedh Kernow has entered the new year with a renewed sense of confidence and enthusiasm as it looks to challenge “gre an maters yn Kernow” – the current state of affairs in Cornwall.

“The College of Bards has enjoyed a very fruitful year with our “Do Something for Cornwall” challenge, launched last year on St Piran’s Day to complement our long established ceremonial events for which we are best known and loved,” said Grand Bard of Cornwall Merv Davey.

Bards and supporters of Gorsedh Kernow were involved in all sorts of events, some of which grabbed the headlines alongside more modest endeavours, with music, song, dance, art and theatre as a constant cultural presence. Increasingly however, individuals and organisations are looking to Gorsedh Kernow for support and are responding to positive action by bards to help maintain and grow all aspects of precious Cornish culture.

“Stability is a very desirable thing” said Grand Bard Merv Davey, “but we don’t want to be preserved in aspic or closed to new ideas.”

“Since achieving Minority Status there has been a growing sense of urgency to get things going and see tangible results from our efforts, not only among my fellow bards but among friends and supporters of Gorsedh Kernow and all those who love Cornwall.”

Such a result was achieved recently when Bude-based bard Jonathan Ball MBE, co-founder of the Eden Project, architect and now internationally elected Councillor for the Royal Institute of British Architects received confirmation that RIBA had revised its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy to recognise Cornish ethnicity.

“There was no mention of Cornwall on RIBA’s equality, ethnicity & diversity form despite there being mention of all the other Celtic nations,” said Jonathan Ball, “but I am delighted to confirm that the new President and Board of RIBA have reconsidered and agreed to include Cornwall as a Celtic nation in all their policy documents, with immediate effect.”

Frank discussions are being encouraged with cultural organisations such as English Heritage who are seeking to establish better relations with bards and draw on the vast treasure trove of knowledge and expertise for which Gorsedh Kernow is justifiably proud.

There is also a growing awareness of the need to make fuller use of social media and for much more local mainstream media coverage.

“Just recently one of our bards, Denzil Monk, a professional film maker, has launched a campaign to persuade the BBC to add a new channel, BBC Kernow, to their proposed new charter,” said the Grand Bard, “and the Council and membership of Gorsedh Kernow is delighted to lend support to this exciting prosposal and urges others to do so. We think it would sit very well alongside our friends at BBC Radio Cornwall and the excellent Radyo an Gernewegva online Cornish language radio programme.”

29.12.15 NEWS RELEASE – GORSEDH KERNOW ROUND UP OF THE YEAR 2015

New Grand Bard, Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn leaves the Bardic Circle with Deputy Grand Bard, Elizabeth Carne, Melennek and Past Grand Bard, Maureen Fuller, Steren Mor.
New Grand Bard, Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn leaves the Bardic Circle with Deputy Grand Bard, Elizabeth Carne, Melennek and Past Grand Bard, Maureen Fuller, Steren Mor.

Celebrations come and go and some stay constant with each passing year, and Gorsedh Kernow has seen out another twelve months with a healthy mix of both. We enjoyed our quiet time during the dark days of winter although event planning was already underway for what would turn out to be a year to remember.

The people of St Austell played the part of host for 2015 with great enthusiasm, respect and efficiency, not only for the Proclamation in April, but also for the main Esedhvos Festival and Bardic ceremony in September. Their support was essential for the smooth running of these important events in the Gorsedh calendar. Our Awen ceremony, still in its comparative infancy, was truly at home at the newly restored Carwynnen Quoit, near Troon, magnificent in its splendid isolation. Bards supported their local Old Cornwall Societies midsummer bonfires, Crying the Neck ceremonies and the summer and winter Festivals.

 

The Grand Bard Maureen Fuller, Steren Mor, strengthened overseas friendships with a visit to the Copper Triangle in Australia and with other Celtic nations by attending the Breton and Welsh Gorseddau. She stood down in September and we welcomed our new Deputy Grand Bard Elizabeth Carne, Melennek and Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn, who picked up and positively ran with the new challenge of office. The Cornish language demanded our attention from the start of the year with new proposals and the uncertainty of a prospective new national Government. On recommendation of the Welsh Language Board, the Grand Bard was to become Chair of the new Cornish Language Forum. Eucharist services in Cornish were introduced for the first time in Truro Cathedral. Gorsedh Kernow was represented at commemorations and celebrations throughout Cornwall.

 

Further challenges were faced with advertising campaigns laying dubious claims to Cornish history and the prospect of historic granite bridges swept away by floods and wear being replaced by potentially unsuitable structures.

The “Gorsedh Kernow ‘Do Something for Cornwall’ Challenge 2015” was launched by Grand Bard Maureen Fuller, Steren Mor, on St Piran’s Day 5th March to encourage all comers to promote our distinctive Cornish culture. We had stories about processions, gatherings with words, music, song and dance, flag raising and lowering, flag waving, face painting, mini plays and countless cries of Oggy! Oggy! Oggy! Launceston probably stole the show with the lowering of the Cornish flag on Launceston Castle to the singing of Trelawny – a “lump in the throat”moment.

Early April heralded the start of year long celebrations for the Cornwall Youth Brass Band, marking their 60th Diamond Anniversary year with a four day course, exhibition, reunion and Open Day as well as the commissioning of a major new piece of music, “The Mermaid of Zennor”. Secretary and bard Phillip Hunt, Lef a Vrest, kept us informed.

The first anniversary of the granting of Minority Status – Dydh Aswonnans or Recognition Day 24th April – was marked the length and breadth of Cornwall. Members of An Kylgh Kernewek – The Cornish Circle, including bards Vanessa Beeman, Gwenenen, Peter Harvey, Godhonyth an Nor, Rael Harvey, Myrgh Mydroilyn, Roger Tackley, Baner Du, Esme Tackley, Davasyk Ell, Pat Parry, Gwylan Gernow and Gareth Parry, Mab Meliner Gwlan held a special yeth an werin at the New Inn in Mabe, while The St Ives Twinning Association held a Cornish & Breton evening at the St Ives Arts Club with food and wine, art displays, short films, Cornish and Breton music and dance with Tir ha Tavas and the Dancing Baguettes including bard Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor.   Sarah Tresidder, Palores Tavosek delivered a spirited address in the Cornish language to open a well attended meeting in her village about protecting the local area.

45 choirs, of which 9 were from overseas, descended on Cornwall in late April to a warm welcome from the 25 Cornish choirs taking part in the Cornwall International Male Voice Choral Festival, the biggest of its kind in Europe, announced bard David Peters, Broder yn Can, Vice President of the Festival, alongside more than 16 fellow bards, many of whom are themselves leaders of choirs.

 

At the end of April more than 300 pupils from different Cornish schools filled the Plen an Gwari in St Just to take part in an hour-long performance of live theatre. The event, watched by teachers, parents, supporters and intrigued onlookers was the climax of an educational programme led by bard Will Coleman, Pednithan, who had been researching Cornish Plenys an Gwari, or playing places, to celebrate Cornwall’s theatrical heritage.

 

In May Mark Dungey, Donsyor Lanust, told us about an exciting collaboration between Cornish dance group Ros Keltek and the London based Dream Team Theatre Company who wanted to use authentic Cornish dances in their London production of Origo Mundi, one of three miracle plays of the Ordinalia Cycle which was written at Glasney College, Penryn.

 

Later that month came “Glasney Visions” – a series of events for Penryn Arts Week designed to awaken the 750 years old iconic invisible building of Glasney College which lay tantalisingly beneath the green grass of Glasney College Field. Several bards of Gorsedh Kernow –Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Vanessa Beeman, Gwenenen, Shelagh Garrard, Cares Jyndwyros and Esme Davasyk Ell and Roger An Baner Du Tackley – took part with others in a special “relay reading” on Glasney College Field by reading aloud, in Cornish and English, from Origo Mundi.

 

In July a new exhibition, at Falmouth Art Gallery, gave bard Esme Tackley, Davasyk Ell, a further opportunity to highlight the Cornish language. An amazing wall mounted automaton featuring Dolly Pentreath was surrounded by things associated with Cornwall – mines, fishing, lighthouses and small boats and Esme provided the voice-over for Dolly who spoke as the handle on the automaton was turned!

 

Late July saw the climax of months of work by bards and supporters of the Holyer an Gof Publishers Awards, which attracted a record number of entries for the honour of being presented with a prize at the Awards ceremony at Waterstones in Truro.

 

In early August Eve Coomber and a group of community minded locals decided to “Do Something for Cornwall” and mark the retirement of the vicar of St Cleer, the Rev Keith Lanyon-Jones by holding a Cornish evening in the vicarage’s Pilgrimage Gardens, raising much needed funds for St Cleer Church.

 

Songs sung partly in the Cornish language by Ladock and Probus church choirs were a highight of Ladock Church Flower Festival, also held in August, with guidance from bards Hilary Keam, Degar Hwarth and Valerie Willcox, Ylewyth Trevorva, who also conducted the joint choir.

 

In September bard Pat Tremain, Gevelles Lyskerrys, an enthusiastic member of the British Caving Association, recently explored far underneath Hunters’ Lodge Inn Sink near Priddy in the Mendips in order to display a St Piran’s flag after a long, low, narrow crawl that clearly demonstrated the lengths some people will go to in order to “Do Something for Cornwall”!

 

The Eden Project’s “My Tree, My Community” initiative, which ran during November and into early December, gave schoolchildren, teachers and workshop leaders at eight local schools the chance to meet and work alongside five bards of Gorsedh Kernow – Jo Tagney Donsyores Derow, Clarinda Canores Porthysak and Keith Caner Plu Golom Truscott, Alison Corolyores and Merv Telynor an Weryn Davey. They engaged with over 400 schoolchildren and shared a little bit of Cornish language, dance, song and storytelling to help inspire the creation of eight lit and decorated Christmas trees which were on display at the Eden Project for the Christmas season.

 

We rounded off our “Do Something” year in a very special way with Cornwall Youth Brass Band celebrating the end of their 60th Diamond Anniversary year with a Christmas course and Open Day. The 60 young musicians of the CYBB spent four days of their Christmas holidays, from Saturday 27th to Wednesday 30th December, rehearsing and studying under the baton of a guest conductor. Secretary and bard Phillip Hunt, Lef a Vrest, says that they repeated the successful open rehearsal and audition on the Sunday and that the Band gave a Gala Concert at St Michael’s Church in Newquay on the final Wednesday.

 

… and 2016 is just round the corner. Bledhen Nowydh Da dhewgh hwi Oll – A Happy New Year to you All! Here’s to a good one.