Gorseth Kernow

The Gorseth of Cornwall

Saturday 2nd September 2006
at Redruth School, Tolgus Vean

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Redruth / Murdoch House
[L] Redruth Clock Tower             [R] Murdoch House

Redruth is a town of significant Victorian architecture, reflecting its former importance as a busy market-town in the heart of a rich mining area. Copper and tin dominated, with the stream which flowed red with iron-oxide on its valley floor giving it its Cornish name Ridruth (1259), rid /res = ford, ruth = red, so Red Ford.

Tregellas Tapestry: Mining
Tregellas Tapestry: Mining

The whole economy of the area was based on mining and its associated industries, in which often all members of a family were engaged. It attracted giants of the Industrial Revolution to reside in the town whilst supervising the numerous steam powered mine-engines. Richard Trevithick, James Watt and William Murdoch were all once familiar figures walking the streets. Murdoch pioneered gas-lighting at Murdoch House in 1792 and built a simple, small, working model of a steam road engine there in 1784, which appears not to have progressed further.

Tregellas Tapestry: Richard Trevithick
Tregellas Tapestry: Richard Trevithick

With the decline of mining, and during periods of depression, Redruth miners joined other Cornishmen and women taking their unsurpassable skills of hard-rock mining to all parts of the Globe. Today, the surviving relics of this industry form a major part in the attempt for World Heritage status.

Redruth has provided the favourite venue for Cornish Rugby matches; it is also becoming recognised as the centre of Cornish Culture in the presence of the Cornish Centre, the Cornish-American and Cornish Worldwide study base, and hopefully, in the future, the site of the Cornwall Record Office.

As always the Gorseth Council is most grateful to Redruth Town Council Members, who have helped so much with the preparations, Redruth Old Cornwall Society, the Minister & Congregation of Redruth Methodist Church and other local organisations and volunteers for welcoming us so enthusiastically and giving us so much practical help.

Morning Procession in the Town Centre: It is hoped to have a procession of Bards and Civic Dignitaries down Fore Street at 11.00 a.m. to celebrate the occasion of the Gorseth being held in Redruth.

In ancient Celtic times Bards were honoured for their scholarship in poetry, literature, art, music, history and folklore. In them rested the traditions and history of the people. The creation of the Gorseth, or gathering, of the Bards of Cornwall, followed the 18th century revival of the Bardic tradition in Wales. Cornwall’s ceremony and organisation are similar to, but on a smaller scale than those in Wales, where the Gorseth is linked to the National Eisteddfod. The Gorseth is non-political, has no religious affiliation and is non-profit-making. It exists solely to uphold the Celtic traditions of Cornwall and to honour men and women who have made outstanding contributions to Cornwall and its ancient culture, history and language.

Tregellas Tapestry: Gorseth Kernow
Tregellas Tapestry: Gorseth Kernow

Public Attendance is free and welcomed and it is hoped that visitors will regard the ceremony as a mark of the unique difference between Cornwall and the shire counties of England, a difference as marked as that between England and the larger Celtic countries of Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The ceremony will be conducted by the Grand Bard, Mr Rodney Trevelyan Lyon,Tewennow, assisted by the Gorseth Officers.

Site: on the Sports Fields, Redruth School

Redruth School
Redruth School

Route: All areas:- See Map. The way to the site will be marked by black and yellow Gorseth Kernow signs.

Location Map
Town Plan courtesy of Estate Publications

Public Refreshments: There are a number of Cafés and Pubs in the town.

Exhibition: During the two weeks from August 26th there will be a display of some of the winning entries in the Gorseth’s annual competitions at the Kresenn Kernow/Cornwall Centre, Alma Place. Do make a point of touring this unique exhibition. From Wednesday 30th August to Sunday 3rd September there will also be exhibitions and events on behalf of Esethvos Kernow around Redruth. Redruth Town Band will play at the school on the day.

Cornwall Centre
Kresenn Kernow/Cornwall Centre

Wet Weather Alternative. The Gorseth will adjourn to the Sports Hall.

Ceremony Booklet. By tradition the ceremony is conducted mainly in Cornish but a booklet with proceedings in English and Cornish is available at a small cost.

Photography. Photographers are not allowed inside the Circle during the ceremony, but are encouraged to use cameras from outside the circle.

Chairs at the Circle are placed for the use of Bards during the ceremony and should not be removed by the public.

1405 The Bardic Procession leaves for the Circle, headed by the Marshal and the Piper and followed by the bare-headed initiates, the Bards of Cornwall, the Banner of St Piran, Gorseth Council members, the Esethvos (Eisteddfod) Banner, the Mistress of Robes and  Herald Bard, the Chanter and Chaplain; the Horner followed by the Dancers. The Lady of Cornwall with her Attendants; Past Grand and Deputy Grand Bards; Secretary and Treasurer; Delegates from the Gorseth of Brittany preceded by a Page carrying the Breton Banner, Delegates from the Gorseth of Wales preceded by a Page carrying the Welsh Banner. Then comes the Deputy Grand Bard, Mrs Vanessa Beeman and the Sword bearer preceding the Grand Bard, Rodney Trevelyan Lyon. The Junior Marshal and Senior Stewards follow, the procession ending with the Banners of Old Cornwall Societies.
1430 The Gorseth will be welcomed to the town by The Mayor, and the ceremony begins. It includes the commemoration of Bards deceased in the past year, as well as the initiation of new Bards, the Presentation of the Flowers by the Lady of Cornwall, the Flower Dance by Cornish children, the presentation of major Awards and Prizes, the swearing of loyalty to Cornwall on the ceremonial Sword of King Arthur and concludes with the singing of Bro Goth Agan Tasow (Old Land of our Fathers). This year, the ceremony will include the triennial installation of a new Grand Bard and Deputy Grand Bard.
1615 Approx. The Procession returns to the School buildings
1915 to 2115 Public Concert in Redruth Methodist Church

Sunday 3rd September
1500 Ecumenical service in Cornish at Redruth Methodist Church Wesley St., by kind invitation of The Minister & Congregation. All welcome whether Cornish speakers or not. The collection will be for the Church.

Murdoch Flyer and William Murdoch
[L] Murdoch Flyer               [R] William Murdoch

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