19.06.17 Press release – Nominations announced for 2017 Holyer an Gof Awards

Gorsedh Kernow’s hard working band of loyal reader reviewers has been keeping the organising committee busy once more with over 200 reports submitted for the much anticipated annual Holyer an Gof Publishers’ Awards, now in its 21st year.

“Although the number of entries is slightly down again this year, probably because books are now entered in one class rather than multiple classes, the quality of writing, illustrating and publishing, especially in the young adults category, is better than ever,” said Holyer an Gof co-organiser Rael Harvey, Myrgh Mydroilyn.

“The Gorsedh Kernow Holyer an Gof Awards continue to attract entries from all round the publishing world.  We are particularly pleased to see entries coming in from the hard to reach self publishing sector.”

Holyer an Gof 2016 winners
Holyer an Gof 2016 winners

Promoted annually by Gorsedh Kernow for publications relating to Cornwall or the Cornish language, Holyer An Gof has become a model for Cornish awards and Gorsedh Kernow is very pleased to encourage all supporters of Cornish publishing.

“These Awards have become an important and much-anticipated annual event,” said Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, “and I am grateful to all the readers who give up their time to carefully review all the entries.”

“The range of nominees this year, announced today, reflects the immense interest in Cornwall’s unique culture, especially our history and creative arts and

we look forward immensely to announcing the winners and celebrating 21 years of the Holyer an Gof Awards at our prestigious ceremony in July at Waterstones of Truro.”

The nominations for the 2017 Gorsedh Kernow Holyer an Gof annual Awards are:

Class 1.0 – Cornish language books for teaching

A Learners’ Cornish Dictionary in the Standard Written Form, edited by Steve Harris, published by Ors Sempel & An Kylgh Kernewek.

Taves an Tir Resource Pack for Schools, edited by Pat Parry, published by Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek.

Class 1.1 – Cornish language books for children

There were no entries in this class.

Class 1.2 – Cornish language books for adults

An Kevreyth Howlek by Rod Lyon, published by Kesva an Taves Kernewek.

Tenkys by Rod Lyon, published by Kesva an Taves Kernewek.

Combined Classes 2.0 & 2.1 – Books for children of primary age and books for young adults

A Christmas in Cornwall  by Craig Green and Oliver Hurst, published by Mabecron Books.

The Fortune of the Seventh Stone by Petrus Ursem, self published by Gresham House Studios.

The Little Red Egg by Judy Scrimshaw, published by Granny Moff Books.

The Solstice Blade by Robert Beck, self published by Mandolin Press.

Class 3 – Adult Fiction

A Cord of Three Strands by S J Haxton, published by Boswell Book Publishing.

Broken Dove by L A Kent, published by WillowOrchard Publishing.

Buried in the Country by Carole Dunn, published by Little Brown Book Group; Constable imprint.

What Everybody is Saying by Carla Vermaat, published by Carmichael Publishers.

Combined Classes 4 – Poetry and 4.1 – Drama

There were no nominations in this class.

Class 5 – Non Fiction – History, Language and Creative Arts

A Fight for Life by Ingo Kuster, published by P & B Hawkey.

Cornish Solidarity : Using Culture to Strengthen Communities by Neil Kennedy, published by Evertype.

Cornwall’s First Golden Age by Bernard Deacon, published by Francis Boutle Publishers.

 

Marconi : The Man Who networked the World by Marc Raboy, published by Oxford University Press.

Scryfer : Robert Victor Walling 1895-1976 – Bard and Journalist by Ann Trevenen Jenkin and Stephen Gadd, published by Gorsedh Kernow and Kesva an Taves Kernewek.

The Cornish in Latin America by Dr S P Schwartz, published by Cornubian Press.

 Combined Classes 5.1 – Non Fiction – Marine, Industrial Heritage and Environment and Class 5.2 – Non Fiction in which illustrations predominate

Cornwall’s Fuse Works 1831-1961 by Diane Hodnett, published by The Trevithick Society.

Sea Journal by Lisa Woollett, published by Zart Books.

Thorn’s of Bude by David Thorn and Stuart Thorn, published by Halsgrove.

Tommy Morrissey : Fisherman Painter by Gill Scott, published by Spur Valerian Press.

Class 6 – Booklets

Changing Places : Porthcurno and the Roots of Modern Communication by Steve Bladon, Rosalyn Goulding and others, published by PK Trust.

Cornish Bards of Australia and New Zealand compiled by Gorsedh Kernow Archives and Publications, published by Gorsedh Kernow.

The Cornish History Notebook by Dee Harris, published by Ors Sempel & An Kylgh Kernewek.

End of Press Release

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For further information about the Gorsedh Kernow Holyer an Gof Publishers’ Awards please contact Rael Harvey, Myrgh Mydroilyn,

email  enquiries@holyerangofawards.org.uk

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

email  communications@gorsedhkernow.org.uk

The Holyer an Gof Publishers’ Awards are promoted annually by Gorsedh Kernow for publications relating to Cornwall or the Cornish Language 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.

The awards were established and organised by members of Gorsedh Kernow to raise the standard and profile of publishing in Cornwall.

The panel of reader reviewers mainly comprises members of the Gorsedh Kernow College of Bards and others with particular expertise.

Details of all the entries for 2017 can be found on the Holyer an Gof website www.holyerangofawards.org.uk

For photos of 2017 book covers see http://www.holyerangofawards.org.uk/publications_nominated_2017.html

Winning entries in each category will be announced and prizes awarded at a special Presentation evening at Waterstones in Truro. Each nominee will receive a Gorsedh Kernow certificate.  In addition there will be four Awards made during the presentation evening;

The Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek Cup – awarded for the best original work or translation into Cornish (Kernewek).

The Gorsedh Kernow Ann Trevenen Jenkin Cup – awarded for authorship in the class for children and young adults.

The Holyer an Gof Trophy, donated by the late Joan Truran, awarded to the publication which, in the judgement of the reader reviewers, is the most outstanding entry in the whole competition.

The Cornish Literary Guild Literary Salver, presented to an author of their choice. Nominations for this award are made by the panel of readers and a winner is chosen by members of the Cornish Literary Guild.

The winner of the Holyer an Gof Trophy will also receive a £100 donation to the Cornish charity of their choice.

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11.06.17 Grand Bard’s visit to Kernewek Lowender, South Australia, May 2017

The Grand Bard, Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, visited South Australia recently as the official representative of the College of Bards of Cornwall, to attend the bi-ennial Kernewek Lowender Festival which was held from 19th to 21st May.

During the Festival it was announced that the region had been awarded National Heritage status which places it well on the road to being recognised alongside Cornwall as a World Mining Heritage Site.

The Kernewek Lowender Festival is held in the “Copper Triangle” – Moonta, Wallaroo and Kadina in South Australia. During his stay the Grand Bard and his wife were invited to luncheon on Friday 26th May at Government House in Adelaide with the Governor of South Australia, Mr Hieu van Le.

Guests at the luncheon included those shown in the picture, from left: Noel Carthew, Map Caddy; Diana Hancock, Palores Tramor; Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, Bardh Meur Kernow; Margaret Johnson; Hieu van Le AC, Governor of South Australia; Lan Le; Alison Davey, Corolyores; Matt Curnow; Jan Lokan; Margaret Curnow; Liz Coole, Myrgh Moonta; Carlene Woolcock, Dyskadores; Lilian James, Ula Ruthvelen; Peter Woolcock.

Bardh Meur Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, with Governor of South Australia May 2017
Bardh Meur Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, with the Governor of South Australia May 2017

Following a subsequent newspaper report, bard Noel Carthew, Map Caddy, penned the following letter to the Yorke Peninsula Country Times.

The Editor, Yorke Peninsula Country Times

The Cornish Association of South Australia was well aware that in planning for Kernewek Lowender 2017 some ‘hard decisions had to be made’ along the way, and while we were concerned about some of those decisions and processes taken, we were pleased to participate once again, and join in the congratulations to President Lynn Spurling and the Kernewek Lowender committee, and to Executive Officer Tayla Daniels, for a job well done – and we look forward to involvement in Kernewek Lowender 2019 and beyond.

However, I was a little disturbed to read in the Country Tines editorial (16th May) “.. Gathering of the Bards is a very traditional ritual held entirely in the ancient Cornish language. While an event such as this is targeted specifically at Bards from around the world, there are plenty of other activities more suitable for the general population.” We need to remember that Kernewek Lowender is a Cornish festival – while at the same time reflecting just what we might mean by celebrating ‘Cornish heritage’! The ties between the Copper Coast and Cornwall are strong, and strengthened by the recent addition of the Moonta and Burra mining areas to the National Heritage List; the next step from there is inclusion (with the mining heritage sites in Cornwall) in the World Heritage List.

We are not immune, though, from the current political situation in Britain. The Westminster government in London has made a few attempts over the last 20 years or so to change county boundaries in Britain, part of which would form a new county of ‘Devonwall’ (though the current push for that reform is ‘on hold’ during the current election campaigning.) This seems contradictory to the official recognition of Cornwall as having minority status, similar to the other Celtic nations of Scotland and Wales, and it would surely be rather odd to celebrate the heritage of Cornwall if that entity no longer officially existed – but it remains part of the UK Government’s plans.

One of the strongest voices for Cornwall in this and other debates is that of the Grand Bard, speaking on behalf of the Bards of Cornwall; bardship is bestowed in recognition of service to Cornwall and to Cornish culture and heritage (not just in Cornwall; there are something like 30 Australians who are Bards of Cornwall). It was a little disappointing that the recent visit to Kernewek Lowender of the current Grand Bard, Dr Merv Davey, didn’t seem to attract much publicity – though he & his wife both thoroughly enjoyed their visit and are looking forward to learning more of the Cornish heritage in Australia on future visits.

In other words, while some aspects of Cornish culture and heritage might seem rather removed from our everyday life, the Northern Yorke Peninsula is perhaps ‘more Cornish than Cornwall’ and we have a part to play in making the rest of the world know that our heritage is important to us, and that this heritage is worth preserving.

Long may Kernewek Lowender continue!

Noel Carthew, Secretary, Cornish Association of South Australia.

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Gorsedh Kernow Proclamation, Launceston 22nd April 2017 – Grand Bard’s speech / Gwarnyans Gorsedh Kernow, Lannstevan 22sa mis Ebrel 2017- Areth Bardh Meur

“Launceston has a proud place in Cornwall’s story. It is the historic capital of Cornwall and the castle was built by Brian of Brittany, the Breton knight who became the first Earl of Cornwall following the Norman Conquest. The creation of this earldom recognised Cornwall’s historic integrity and laid the foundations for the constitutional differences that make modern Cornwall distinct from England.

Bardh Meur, Gorsedh Kernow Proclamation 2017 Launceston
Bardh Meur, Gorsedh Kernow Proclamation 2017 Launceston

“Modern Cornwall is distinct for many more reasons than those laid down constitutionally. We have our musical culture, our folk traditions, Cornish dialect, our sports, our moors, coastline and our Cornish cuisine. The flagship for our identity is our Cornish language together with our membership of the community of Celtic nations that lies along the western seaboard of Europe, all of which is embodied in the recognition of the Cornish as a National Minority. Our landscape has a distinctive geology and history which embraces our world famous mining heritage.  Cornwall is unquestionably recognised as a World Heritage Site and this goes hand in hand with our global perspective through the Cornish Diaspora. Such a fantastic heritage resonates with people of all ages and sets the scene for a contemporary Cornwall.

Bardh Meur at Gorsedh Kernow  Proclamation 2017 Launceston
Bardh Meur at Gorsedh Kernow Proclamation 2017 Launceston

“Launceston has played a part in every aspect of our distinctive Cornish culture from the carvings that immortalise the music of the Minstrels of St Marys on the East wall of the church to Charles Causley, Morvarth, fellow bard of Gorsedh Kernow and poet laureate of our own time. It has also made its mark on the Cornish Diaspora and we must not forget Phillip Gidley King, the Launceston boy who became the Governor of New South Wales and had a settlement in Tasmania, Launceston, named in his honour.

“Launceston is a bastion of Cornishness on the banks of the Tamar, our border with England and its predecessors and has been for more than a millennium. A border that may come under threat again in the future despite rumours of the Boundary Commission consultation on proposals for a Devonwall constituency being kicked in to the long grass.

“However, despite this possible climbdown in the face of such fierce opposition there are still forces at large today that would deny us our Celtic, global identity and demote Cornwall to a provincial existence on the periphery of a so-called south west region. The Council of Europe was certainly critical in its report on the UK Government’s progress with Cornish National Minority status. We must not let these issues that are dear to our hearts be totally lost in the clamour of electioneering. The Council of Europe is quite different from the European Union, it was set up after the Second World War to protect minority cultures.

Circle of bards Proclamation 2017 Launceston
Circle of bards Proclamation 2017 Launceston

“In some parts of the media this was framed slightly mockingly as the UK Government’s oppression of Cornwall. Had those parts of the media joined us for our recent St Piran’s Tide celebrations they would have concluded that we are far too confident in our identity and energetically engaged with our culture to feel oppressed. We celebrated the largest number of events and enjoyed the biggest turnout to date. The lack of coverage on BBC TV’s Spotlight was fairly marked but we view this as distance and indifference, not oppression.

“Indeed it is indifference and negative stereotypes that plague us both with the BBC and the wider media. Such negativity encourages those who think it’s OK to express views online in terms that are intolerant and, quite frankly in some cases, border on racism. We must all be active in challenging negative perceptions of Cornwall and of those who love and respect Cornwall.  When the press or the BBC get it wrong or unreasonably omit coverage of Cornwall, as did Spotlight with St Piran’s Day, then we must use our recourse to the Press Complaints Council.

Gorsedh Kernow Proclamation 2017 Launceston
Gorsedh Kernow Proclamation 2017 Launceston

“Being positive about our culture and sharing it is equally and perhaps even more important.  Whether Cornish born or Cornish of heart we should all be out there embracing and enjoying what Cornwall has to offer. It is not just St Piran’s Tide, we have a calendar full of Cornish cultural activity. Our Proclamation today is to accept the kind invitation of the Mayor and townspeople of Launceston for the Gorsedh Kernow bardic ceremony to be held here in September and there will be a warm welcome for one and all at the events of the Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture leading up to this as well as the ceremony itself.  In the immediate future of course we shall be celebrating the arrival of May the length and breadth of Cornwall.  Kernow, ha Kala Me , Bys Vykken.”

Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn

Bardh Meur Kernow / Grand Bard of Cornwall

22.4.17 Press Release – Don’t deny us our global Celtic identity says Grand Bard of Cornwall

“Launceston has a proud place in Cornwall’s story. It is the historic capital of Cornwall and the castle was built by Brian of Brittany, the Breton knight who became the first Earl of Cornwall following the Norman Conquest. The creation of this earldom recognised Cornwall’s historic integrity and laid the foundations for the constitutional differences that make modern Cornwall distinct from England.”

With these spirited words Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, Grand Bard of Cornwall and passionate Cornishman, began his Proclamation speech on behalf of the bards of Gorsedh Kernow who had gathered in the town Square on Saturday 22nd April.

“Today it is our culture and heritage which is under threat” said the Grand Bard, “and despite a potential climbdown on the much-maligned Devonwall issue there are still forces at large today that would deny us our Celtic, global identity and demote Cornwall to a provincial existence on the periphery of a so-called south west region.”

Bardh Meur Merv Davey (Telynyor an Weryn)
Bardh Meur Merv Davey (Telynyor an Weryn)

Criticising the lack of TV and radio coverage of recent St Piran’s Day celebrations, the Grand Bard warned against indifference and negative stereotyping by the media which sometimes led to expressions of intolerance and racism towards Cornish people.

“We do, however, have the use of some powerful democratic tools,” said the Grand Bard, “including recognition of the Cornish language, Kernewek, National Minority Status and the Devolution Deal which gives a clear commitment to cherish and promote our precious Cornish culture.”

Proudly representing the town, the Mayor of Launceston, Cllr Brian Hogan, warmly welcomed Gorsedh Kernow and formally invited the gathering of blue robed bards to hold their bardic ceremony and Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture in Launceston later in the year.

The Mayor of Launceston, Cllr Brian Hogan, welcomes the bards of Cornwall.
The Mayor of Launceston, Cllr Brian Hogan, welcomes the bards of Cornwall.

“Launceston is and has been a bastion of Cornishness on the banks of the Tamar, our border with England, and its predecessors, for more than a millennium,” said Merv Davey, “and on behalf of all my fellow bards I am delighted to accept this kind invitation from the Mayor and townspeople of Launceston.”

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

Further notes for editors

Gorsedh Kernow exists to maintain and promote 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 Gorsedh Kernow Proclamation ceremony will take place at 11am on Saturday 22nd April 2017 in Launceston town Square.  The procession of bards will leave Launceston Town Hall at 10.45am.

The Grand Bard’s full speech may be viewed after the Proclamation on the Gorsedh Kernow website at  http://gorsedhkernow.org.uk/news.html

The Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture, which includes the Saturday bardic ceremony, will be held in Launceston from Wednesday 30th August until Sunday 3rd September 2017.

For more general information about Gorsedh Kernow please contact

Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Communications Officer,

email  communications@gorsedhkernow.org.uk

or visit the website  www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk

or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

30.01.17 Press Release – Holyer an Gof Publishers Awards 2017

Organisers of Gorsedh Kernow’s Holyer an Gof Publishers’ Awards are once again actively seeking books published between 1st January and 31st December 2016 either in Cornish or about Cornwall to enter in the 2017 competition.

“We are looking for the very best books about Cornwall or in Cornish” said Grand Bard of Cornwall Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn “and we are very grateful for the support we receive from all the publishers who submit entries each year.”

“Although the 2016 Awards attracted a slightly smaller number of entries than the previous year we were delighted with the wide range of subjects and specialisms,” said Holyer an Gof co-organiser Rael Harvey, Myrgh Mydroilyn.

Holyer an Gof 2016 winners
Holyer an Gof 2016 winners

The range of books for primary age children and young adults particularly impressed the panel of reader reviewers and the winning entry in these categories, ‘Captured’, the incredible story of 11 year old Thomas Pellow who set sail from Falmouth harbour to deliver Cornish fish to Italy, was judged a very worthy winner.

“I am utterly delighted that ‘Captured’ was awarded a Holyer an Gof award” said 2016 winning writer Craig Green, “and if that wasn’t enough, it was also awarded the Gorsedh Kernow Ann Trevenen Jenkin cup, a trophy awarded to the outstanding children’s book of the year.”

Craig Green receives Ann Trevenen Jenkin Cup
Craig Green receives Ann Trevenen Jenkin Cup

“I was flabbergasted,” said Craig Green, accepting the award for himself and illustrator Oliver Hurst, “such a brilliant evening!”

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 2016 are eligible.

The closing date for entries is Tuesday 28th February 2017.

End of Press Release ********************************

For further information about Gorsedh Kernow please contact Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Communications Officer, Gorsedh Kernow,  email  communications@gorsedhkernow.org.uk

For further information about the Holyer an Gof Publishers’ Awards please contact Peter Harvey, Godhonyth an Nor, email enquiries@holyerangofawards.org.uk

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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 between 1st January and 31st December 2016 are eligible for entry into the 2017 Awards.  The closing date for entries is Tuesday 28th February 2017.

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.

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 http://www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk/holyerangof.html

You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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22.01.17 Bards of Gorsedh Kernow attend the Maldon Twilight Dinner

The Cornish Associations of Bendigo and Ballarat joined together to represent the Cornish at the recent Maldon Twilight Dinner. This is an annual event held in the very history town of Maldon, situated between Bendigo and Ballarat.

Maldon Twilight Dinner 2017
Maldon Twilight Dinner 2017

This year the organising committee wanted to recognise the ethnic groups which first settled this area and an invitation to attend was given to us.

 

Leanne & Robert Lloyd
Leanne & Robert Lloyd

It was decided to share the opportunity between Bendigo and Ballarat to recognise both major Cornish settlement cities so we came together on the 14th January to show our Cornish pride and to promote all things Cornish to those gathered for the event.

There were over 1,500 people seated in the main street of this historic township and it was with pride that our small group marched down the street, proudly holding the St Piran flag.

Wendy Benoit and partner David
Wendy Benoit and partner David

Of important note is the fact that out of the ten allocated places given to our Cornish groups, six of those in attendance were bards of Gorsedh Kernow. A remarkable statement in itself.

Tom & Libby Luke
Tom & Libby Luke

They were:

Leanne Lloyd, Nanscarow a Bendygo and Robert Lloyd, Gwas Bendygo
Tom Luke, Colon hag Enef Yn Bendygo and Libby Luke, Rosen Wyn Bendygo
Wendy Benoit, Gweresores Dhe Lies
Joy Menhennet, Benneth Lowen

It was a lovely night, the weather was warm and clear and presented us with another opportunity to showcase our Cornish heritage and history to all present.

12.11.16 Press Release – Grand Bard leads the call for Boundary Commission to protect Cornwall’s identity

“I appreciate that our English neighbours are sometimes unfamiliar with Cornish cultural tradition” said Grand Bard Merv Davey, “so a quick explanation may be necessary.”

Beginning his presentation in Lys Kernow to the Boundary Commission’s two day public consultation, Dr Davey expressed deep concern for the proposed changes to parliamentary constituencies in Cornwall.

“The aim of Gorsedh Kernow is to celebrate and promote Cornwall as a Celtic nation in a civic and cultural capacity. We are very concerned that the proposed Devonwall constituency devalues this identity and submit that Cornwall’s integrity should be maintained by having a coterminous border with the Parliamentary constituency boundaries.”

Pointing out obvious discrepancies in Government policy he maintained that the case for Cornwall to be treated as a discrete entity is based on history, cultural identity and modern democracy.

“Our case is strongly supported by recognition of the Cornish under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities endorsed by the UK Government in 2014 which, I would strongly argue, supercedes the status of the Parliamentary and Voting System and Constituencies Act of 2011.”

Leading the call for 5 Cornish MPs, the Grand Bard insisted that Cornwall was being arbitrarily and unnecessarily dismembered in order to balance the numbers.

“There are no cross-border boundaries recommended for Wales or Scotland,” said Dr Davey, “even though the European Framework Convention affords us the same status as the UK’s other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.”

The Grand Bard went on to express dismay at the response received on the same day from HM Government following the recent petition to restore funding for the Cornish language.

“The Government is in breach of its responsibilities under these international treaties and Gorsedh Kernow urges Cornwall Council to make representations to Government to right this wrong against an ancient nation of the British Isles.”

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

Further notes for editors

To read the Grand Bard’s full presentation to the Boundary Commission please see  http://gorsedhkernow.org.uk/wp/?p=488

The initial countrywide Boundary Commission consultation takes place for 12 weeks between 13th September and 6th December 2016.  Initial findings will be published early in 2017 followed by a further 4 week public consultation. The Boundary Commission will review information from the first and second consultations to revise their proposals.  In late 2017/early 2018 a third period of public consultation will take place for 8 weeks for comment on the revised proposals. The final report will be presented to Parliament in September 2018.

The Cornish language community urges the Westminster government to recognise its responsibilities in respect of Cornish under Parts 1 and 2 of the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages 2002 and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities 2014.

Discussions with local (Cornish) MPs have emphasised that respect and recognition for and promotion of the Cornish language is a UK State responsibility which has not been devolved to Cornwall Council in its entirety. Unless and until it is devolved to a Cornwall wide governing body with sufficient powers to cover the relevant agencies to ensure respect and promotion of the language at all levels of government the Cornish language community considers that the Government is in breach of their responsibilities under these international treaties.

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

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10.11.16 News release – Grand Bard’s presentation to the Boundary Commission

The Grand Bard of Cornwall, Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn, delivered the following presentation to the Boundary Commission Consultation on Thursday 10th November 2016 in the Council Chamber, Lys Kernow, Truro.

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“Myttin da ha dynarghow dhe Gernow dh’agan gwestoryon a Dhesedhek an Oryon Pow Saws. – Good morning and welcome to Cornwall to our guests from the Boundary Commission for England.

I appreciate that our English neighbours are sometimes unfamiliar with Cornish cultural tradition so a quick explanation.  Gorsedh Kernow, the Cornish Gorsedd, is a civic and cultural organisation with a college of some 500 Bards. These Cornish Bards represent scholars, writers and creative artists from a wide range of disciplines in Cornwall, as well as sport and community service.[i] Gorsedh Kernow is a sister organisation to the Welsh and Breton Gorsedds and has cultural links to Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. The aim of Gorsedh Kernow is to celebrate and promote Cornwall as a Celtic Nation in a civic and cultural capacity. We are concerned that the proposed Devonwall Constituency devalues this identity and submit that Cornwall’s integrity should be maintained by having a coterminous border with the Parliamentary Constituency boundaries.

If Cornwall is treated as a discrete entity it comfortably meets the electoral criteria laid down in the Parliamentary and Voting System and Constituencies Act of 2011 for 5 constituencies[ii]. Dropped into a South West melting pot together with the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall is arbitrarily and unnecessarily dismembered in order to balance the numbers.  Our case for Cornwall to be treated as a discrete entity is based on history, cultural identity and modern democracy. This case is strongly supported by recognition of the Cornish under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities endorsed by the UK Government in 2014 and I quote:

“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.” [iii]

I note that there are no cross-border boundaries recommended for Wales or Scotland.

From a historical perspective, Cornwall was territorially well established by the end of the first millennium and an agreed border with the formative England.[iv] Cornwall’s distinct national identity was recognised and preserved by successive administrations as it became first an Earldom and then a Duchy with its own constitutional status.  This constitutional status is quite different from other Duchies within the UK, it remains on the statute books and continues to impact upon a number of governance issues.[v] Examples range from foreshore and waterway ownership to civic responsibilities such as the appointment of a High Sheriff.  In Cornwall the “absolute ownership of the soil”,   within the meaning of a constitutional monarchy, is vested in the Duchy whereas for the rest of the UK this is vested in the crown. To combine part of Cornwall with England in a cross border Parliamentary Constituency would be a serious denial of this history and the British constitution.

Grand Bard Merv Davey speaks to the crowds gathered at the Polson Bridge protest against "Devonwall" -  Sunday 30th October 2016
Grand Bard Merv Davey speaks to the crowds gathered at the Polson Bridge protest against “Devonwall” – Sunday 30th October 2016

The Cornish people have a strong sense of a distinct cultural identity. This is reflected in a wide range of traditions from the celebration of our own patron saint and an historically recognised national flag; to the use of the Cornish language in personal names, place names and the spoken word. The Cornish language belongs to the family of Celtic languages and is protected under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The 2011 Act undertakes to respect cultural issues in the assignment of constituency boundaries where possible. This is clearly possible in the case of Cornwall and we ask the Boundary Commission to put both spirit and letter of the act into practice by creating coterminous Parliamentary Constituency boundaries with our historic border.

The stated purpose of the 2011 Act is to improve democracy as was the ethos behind the 2014 Devolution Deal between the UK Government and Cornwall Council. To muddy the waters with a cross border constituency devalues this democracy and risks dividing the MPs loyalties. One obvious area of loyalty conflict is within the tourist industry. This is an extremely competitive market and Cornwall Council is active in promoting a distinctive Cornish brand in order to encourage people to drive the extra distance into Cornwall rather than stopping off in Somerset or Devon. It is difficult to see how a cross border MP would feel comfortable in actively supporting a Cornwall wide branding when this competed with the interests of the Devon half of their constituency.

Gorsedh Kernow invites the Boundary Commission and the UK Government to put the ethos of democracy that underpins the 2011 Act into practice. To listen to the people of Cornwall and make the necessary arrangements to enable parliamentary representation of five constituencies which fall within the border of Cornwall and are coterminous with that border.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to make this case.

Dr Merv Davey, Bardh Meur Kernow/ Grand Bard of Cornwall

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[i] See www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk

[ii]Professor Gareth Parry, Open letter to Chris Skidmore MP, 11th October 2016

[iii] Press release: “Cornish granted minority status within the UK”, HM Treasury, Department for Communities and Local Government, The Rt Hon Danny Alexander and Stephen Williams .First published: 24 April 2014 Part of: Community integration

[iv] Dr Bernard Deacon, “Cornwall’s First Golden Age”, (London. Francis Boutle, 2016)

[v] Dr John Kirkhope, Visiting Research Fellow – Plymouth University, “Cornwall – a category of its own?”,  Academia, June 2015, stable url: https://www.academia.edu/13446781/Cornwall_-_A_Category_of_its_Own

26.9.16 Press Release – Gorsedh Kernow announces host town for 2017

Gorsedh Kernow – The Celtic spirit of Cornwall  

Joint Press Release  for immediate use issued Monday 26th September 2016 on behalf of Gorsedh Kernow and Launceston Town Council by Delia Brotherton, Gorsedh Kernow Communications Officer.

Gorsedh Kernow announces host town for 2017

Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn
Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn

“In years gone by this was the furthest into Cornwall that officers of the crown felt safe to venture,” said the Grand Bard of Cornwall, Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn  “and since that time this splendid town has continued to live up to its motto of loyalty.”

The Grand Bard’s words were spoken as a joint declaration with town mayor Cllr Brian Hogan that the North Cornwall town of Launceston would host the 2017 Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture and bardic ceremony.

“We are delighted that the bards of the Cornish Gorsedd have accepted our invitation to hold their celebrations here next year,” said Cllr Hogan, “especially in the 100th anniversary year of the birth of bard Charles Causley, Morvarth, teacher, writer, revered poet and son of Launceston.”

Accepting the invitation on behalf of fellow bards, Dr Davey expressed a wish for openness and decisiveness among Cornish people as they grapple with the issues facing a modern Cornwall.

“We are faced with an ever increasing threat to our precious Cornish culture,” said the Grand Bard, “and we face one of our toughest challenges persuading the government to Keep Kernow Whole by agreeing to the smallest of changes to legislation.”

Pointing out the obvious contradiction by Government of Cornwall’s official recognition in 2014 of the Cornish as a National Minority alongside Wales and Scotland, the mayor of Launceston made his views plain.

“The people of Cornwall have fought long and hard to preserve their sense of identity. They are not keen on centuries of history being pushed aside because of Government red tape. There’s a lot of anger around here. Cornwall is passionate about its own identity” said mayor Cllr Brian Hogan.

Launceston
Launceston

“Launceston has always worn its Cornishness with pride,” he continued, “and as a town at the very edge of these potentially catastrophic changes to our 1000 year old border with England we wholeheartedly echo the words of the Grand Bard.”

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

Further notes

Gorsedh Kernow exists to maintain the national Celtic Spirit of Cornwall and to give expression to such spirit, and 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’s Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture, which includes the bardic ceremony where new bards are initiated, will be held in and around Launceston from Wednesday 30th August (opening date to be confirmed) and conclude on Sunday 3rd September 2017.

Charles Stanley Causley, CBE and FRSL – Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature – (24th  August 1917 – 4th November 2003), and bard of Gorsedh Kernow whose bardic name is Morvarth (Sea Bard), was a Cornish poet, schoolmaster and writer. His work is noted for its simplicity and directness and for its associations with folklore, especially when linked to his native Cornwall.

For further information about Launceston please visit the Town Council website http://www.launceston-tc.gov.uk/default.aspx

or telephone 01566 773693

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

email communications@gorsedhkernow.org.uk

or visit the website www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk

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13.9.16 Grand Bard publishes open letter to Chris Skidmore MP re proposed boundary changes

Open Letter to Chris Skidmore MP, Minister for the Constitution, Cabinet Office, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AS.

13th September 2016

Dear Chris Skidmore MP

Re Boundary Commission and proposed Bideford, Bude and Launceston Constituency

I write to express my deep concern that the Boundary Commission has proposed a cross border, Devon/Cornwall Parliamentary Constituency. This proposal completely undermines the democracy enshrined in Cornwall Council’s Devolution Deal agreed only recently with HM Government, it ignores Cornwall’s history, culture, distinct constitutional status and 1000 year old border. Importantly, it also contradicts the Government’s official recognition in 2014 of the Cornish as a National Minority alongside Wales  and Scotland.

I understand that the Boundary Commission is bound by legislation to work within the constraints of the maximum/minimum electorates prescribed for each constituency by the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011.  The size of the electorate in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is just fractionally larger than the maximum prescribed for 5 MPs.

I believe it would be relatively simple for central government to change this legislation. Only a few months ago, the Government agreed “emergency” legislation to extend the deadline for people seeking to register to vote in the referendum on the European Union following the failure of it’s registration website. The Government could deliver a simple amendment to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, to respect the Framework Convention for National Minorities and “Keep Kernow Whole.”

I therefore request an urgent amendment to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 that will allow the Boundary Commission to recognise Cornwall as a discrete entity thereby taking into account wider social, economic, geographic and cultural issues. This will make the legislation consistent with the Government’s recognition of the Cornish under the 2014 European Framework Convention for National Minorities and still be within the spirit of the act.

Furthermore, given an amendment to the act I would request that the Boundary Commission reconsiders its proposal for a cross border constituency and agrees that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly could and should be represented by 5 seats.

Yours Sincerely

Dr Merv Davey, Bardh Meur Kernow/Grand Bard of Cornwall

CC Cornish MPs and Boundary Commission