Gorsedh Kernow

The Cornish Gorsedd 1928 - 2013

Dy' Sadorn 7ves mis Gwynngala 2013.
Saturday 7th September 2013.

This year’s ceremony will be held on the field site of the historic ecclesiastical centre Glasney College, College Field, Penryn.

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A Brief History of Penryn

Penryn is one of Cornwall’s oldest towns, having received its first charter in 1236. Medieval Penryn owed its existence to the harbour as its promontory site sits between two river channels on a branch of a tidal estuary. It was a planted town designed to stimulate economic activity and was already a thriving port, with lively markets and fairs in the main square, by the late 16th century while neighbouring Falmouth was only beginning to develop.

There have been a number of versions of the name ‘Penryn’ over the years including Perryn, Perin and Permarin. The word can be interpreted as 'head/top of the slope', 'end of the point' and 'on the side of the hill'.

Over the centuries Penryn has been described as a town full of gardens and running water. Peter Mundy, a well-known 17th century traveller from Penryn described his home town as: "surrounded by orchards of fruitful trees, and a wholesome supply of water runs through the middle descending by chutes and a brook at the end of every orchard". Older locals now talk about many residents selling garden produce from their front room windows and the granite channels carrying rainwater down through the town have only recently been covered over.

What really boosted Penryn’s reputation further afield in Europe was the building of Glasney College in 1265, an ecclesiastical learning centre built on the southern reaches of the town where the Antron River enters the Penryn). Unfortunately, this impressive and fortified building became a victim of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1548 and the only thing remaining of the actual college building today is a small three-cornered arch at College Field, Glasney, the site for the Gorsedh Kernow ceremony.

In 1327, half of Penryn’s population were foreigners, mostly Bretons. It must have been a cosmopolitan place with many different languages being spoken including, of course, Cornish. In 1547 the Borough of Penryn was established enough to send two MPs to Parliament. By the 1600s the port was thriving with the trade in Cornish tin and copper and by the 18th century there was a large commercial centre along the river, with quays for coal yards and quarried granite, warehouses for merchants and chandlers’ shops.

In 1085 there were only 34 families living in Penryn. In 1377 the population was 273 and by 1801 this had risen to 2,325. Today there are about 7,000 people living in this historic town.

Sources: Penryn Town Guide, revised April 2013
Penryn Town Council website

St Thomas' Camelford
Glasney College Field

Car parking for bards: Penryn College, Kernick Road, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 8PZ
(Please note this is Penryn College not the University Campus)
There will be a free park and ride from the College into the centre of the town

Public Attendance: This is a free public event and we extend a warm welcome to visitors. Our ceremony celebrates Cornwall’s distinct and separate identity alongside the other Celtic Nations. The ceremony will be conducted by the Grand Bard, Mrs. Maureen Fuller, Steren Mor, assisted by the Gorsedh Officers.

Accommodation: Accommodation is available for those who wish to stay - Booking form for accommodation at Glasney Village - for further enquiries, or to pay over the phone, please contact the C&E team on 01326 370428.

The Gorsedh Site: The route from the main roads will be marked by black and yellow Gorsedh Kernow signs. The ceremony will be held on the site of the historic Glasney College, College Field, Penryn.

Robing: There will be no morning civic procession as the Gorsedh is being held in the centre of Penryn in the afternoon. Therefore, robing is from 12 noon onwards in the Sunday School, behind the Methodist Church in the Centre of Penryn (TR10 8RW). Bards are advised to arrive early for robing. Changing rooms are as follows: Ladies - Downstairs, Men – upstairs, Initiates – on stage to rear of men’s changing room upstairs. Bards with a disability – the back room of the church as described below.

Seating: Chairs are provided for Bards forming the circle, the Dignitaries and the Old Cornwall Society Standard Bearers. Visitors can view the ceremony from the outside of the circle of Bardic chairs but are asked not to intrude into the Bardic circle.

Bards with a disability: Robing for Bards with a disability will be the room at the back of the Methodist Church. This can be accessed via a gentle slope which runs around to a door at the back of the church.

Wheel chair Users: There will be a limited number of spaces at the Saracen Car Park adjacent to the Methodist church. Please be sure to indicate on your booking form that you wish to use this service so that we can send you a car pass.

People with mobility difficulties: The procession to the Bardic Circle will take about 20 minutes. The route goes down, and back up quite a steep hill! If this will cause you difficulty then we can arrange for you to be transported by minibus and there will be stewards to help you with this. The minibus will leave before the procession starts. Again it is essential to indicate on the form that you would like to use this service.

Please advise the Senior Marshal as to any other special requirements for the day in advance.

Wet Weather: In the event of wet weather, the Gorsedh will take place in the Methodist Church.

Photography: No photographers will be allowed in the circle during the ceremony.

Stalls: There will be a number of stalls on the Gorsedh field selling Cornish language books, Cornish memorabilia, craft and other goods with a Cornish theme. Displays are also welcome if they relate to Cornish cultural life. Details and application forms are available from Keskerdh Kernow, 3, Park Road, REDRUTH TR15 2JD or call Jenefer Lowe tel. 07533 723 539.

Dress and Decorum: Please ensure that your robe is immaculately ironed and groomed, and no jeans, shorts or trainers to be worn under robes. As it is important that the ceremony is orderly and impressive, please retain ranks throughout processions.

Ceremony Booklet: By tradition the ceremony is conducted mainly in Cornish and the booklet with proceedings in English and Cornish will be available at a cost of £1.

Public concert: This will be held in the Methodist Church and will commence at 19.00. Tickets via the booking form price £6.00.

Formal Tea: For Bards and specially invited guests. This will be in the Temperance Hall (opposite Town Hall and Near Methodist Church). Space is limited in the Temperance Hall – first come first served – so there will be additional seating in the Town Hall. The cost will be £5.50 Please be there by 17.00 for Grace in Cornish. We are indebted to the work of the Local Organising Committee and their band of volunteers here. Please make their job easier by returning the booking form on time!

Commemorative Mugs: Attractive mugs are being produced as a souvenir in fine bone china, at a cost of £6.50; these should be ordered through the booking form. These will be available for collection from 10.30 onwards.

Booking for Saturday Tea & Concert: Bards and Initiates must book tea tickets in advance, as early as possible, and by 27th July at the latest. It is imperative that this date be adhered to, so that efficient catering arrangements can be made.

Celtic Delegates: The Gorsedh welcomes the Breton and the Welsh representatives. We hope they have a memorable time.

The Gorsedh Council is very grateful to the Penryn Local Organising Committee, who have worked tirelessly to give us a memorable day, the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, the members of the Methodist and Parish Churches and to all the local organisations and volunteers for their welcome and for the help given, without whose assistance our ceremony could not be staged.

Gorsedh Kernow – Penryn, Saturday 7th September 2013

    12:00 Robing in designated rooms in Methodist Sunday School.
    12:50 Initiates to be robed before a briefing at this time by the Initiates Stewards. Before you arrive please ensure that your hood fits, making any adjustment to the elastic, as necessary.
    13.05 All Bards to be robed and in the Methodist Church. The Marshal will brief the Bards, guests, initiates, Lady of Cornwall and dancers with the specific instructions.
    13.30 Bards line up for procession.
    14.00 The Gorsedh Ceremony will begin.
    17:00 Prompt! Bardic Tea in the Temperance Hall and Town Hall for the Council’s special guests and bards who have pre-booked.
    19:00-21:00 Public Concert in the Methodist Church.
To facilitate the work of the Marshals and Stewards in forming the procession, it is requested that Bards and guests acquaint themselves with the linear order of the procession, which is as follows:-
    Marshal, Piper, Gorsedh Banner, Initiates, Bards, St. Piran’s Banner, Council Members, Esedhvos Banner, Mistress of Robes and Herald, Chanter and Chaplain, Horner, Dancers, Lady and Attendants, Past Deputy Grand Bards, Past Grand Bards, Secretary and Treasurer, Breton Banner, Breton Reps., Welsh Banner, Welsh Reps., Deputy Grand Bard, Sword Bearer, Grand Bard, Junior Marshal, Deputy Senior Steward, O.C.S. Banners.

Sunday 8th September
    15:00 Ecumenical Service in Cornish in St Gluvias Parish Church, Penryn. The collection is for the Church, and all are welcome whether Cornish speakers or not.

Esedhvos Penryn: Outline Programme 3rd - 8th September 2013

Tuesday 3rd:
Evening - opening event - Town Hall

Wednesday 4th:
19.30: "Return to Lyonesse" Mike O Connor and Barbara Griggs - Town Hall £6.00

Thursday 5th:
10.30: Cornish Books Market - Town Hall
12.00: Launch of Book of Local Bards - Town Hall
20.00: "Echoes of Glasney", Bombard et Orgue/Cornish and Breton music, Methodist Church tickets £6.00

Friday 6th:
10.30 - 16.30: Gorsedh Conference - "The Cornish Diaspora" - Town Hall - Bards £3.00 non Bards £5.00
20.00: Cornish Dance Society Ceili/Troyl Venue tbc

Saturday 7th:
14.00: Ceremony of the Cornish Gorsedh - College Field, Penryn
19.00: Gorsedh Concert, Penryn Methodist Church £6.00

Sunday 8th:
10.00 - 13.00: Cornish Language Event - the opportunity to listen to and to try speaking Cornish. Town Hall.
15.00: Gorsedh Church Service, St Gluvias Parish Church


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