23.08.17 Launceston gets ready to host the 2017 Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture

Launceston’s residents are busy working with bards of Gorsedh Kernow putting the finishing touches to this year’s Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture, being held in the border town of Launceston, Cornwall’s ancient capital and home to the famous 11th century castle.

Launceston Castle

Launceston Castle

The Esedhvos Festival starts on Wednesday 30th August and on Thursday 31st the programme includes a Book Festival with a new feature – “Meet the Authors” from Gorsedh Kernow’s Holyer an Gof Awards scheme.  Audience members will have a chance to listen to live interviews with prize winning authors including Judy Scrimshaw, Craig Green and Bernard Deacon. Gorsedh Kernow will also launch several new books at this event including “Cornish Bards of Launceston”, the collected biographies of living and deceased bards in the local area. The eighth in the series, this new book will document the substantial and significant contribution made by these loyal bards to Cornish heritage and culture.

Later that evening the Town Hall will host the Gorsedh Kernow Awards evening when winners will receive their Awen medals and certificates from the Grand Bard.  Displays and presentations of winners’ work will be on show from Thursday afternoon in the Otho Peter Suite of the Town Hall and all are welcome to come and look at the exhibition of work.

The one day Conference on Friday 1st September will once more tackle a thorny issue, and this year it will be exploring “Cornish Culture and Tourism – Friends or Foes?”

Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynor an Weryn

Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn

“We are constantly challenged by forces that seek to diminish our unique culture and it will be very interesting to see how our audience reacts to impressive range of speakers we have secured this year,” said Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, the opening speaker of what promises to be a very thought provoking day.

Among many other events in this year’s packed schedule is the much loved Troyl dance and the gala concert on the Saturday evening in Launceston Central Methodist Church with local performers and entertainers including Jane Nancarrow, Rob Strike and Launceston Town Band. On the Sunday there is a chance to try your hand at Cornish in the “Blas a Gernewek” taste of Cornish session, followed by a history walk around the town with local bard Rob Tremain, Cryor an Dre Lanstefan and a sung Evensong service in the Cornish language at St Mary Magdalene Church.

Launceston Town Band

Launceston Town Band

The centrepiece of the Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture will be the 2pm blue-robed bardic ceremony in the grounds of Launceston Castle on Saturday 2nd September where 9 new bards will be initiated in recognition of their outstanding work in serving Cornwall and her distinctive Celtic identity.  Entry is free and there will be plenty of space for the public to come and watch.  Stalls with Cornish themed goods will be open in the grounds from late morning and refreshments will be available all day.

Grand Bard, Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn with Deputy Grand Bard, Elizabeth Carne, Melennek

Grand Bard, Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn with Deputy Grand Bard, Elizabeth Carne, Melennek

















Acknowledging the enormous amount of local help received, Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, praised the efforts of all the volunteers on the Local Organising Committee.

“We are so pleased that they came forward to help us,” said Merv Davey, “everyone is so busy these days but members of the local committee understand Cornwall’s unique and distinctive culture and the importance of keeping it going.”

Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture, Launceston

Wednesday 30th August – Sunday 3rd September 2017 

Members of the public are very welcome to attend these events, all which are free unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday 30th August until Friday 1st September

Grand Bard's Chair

Grand Bard’s Chair


Grand Bard’s chair on display @ St Mary Magdalene Church, Church Street, Launceston, PL15 8AU.  Built before the Reformation in 1511 by Henry Trecarrell, its intricately carved granite exterior makes it one of the finest churches in Britain. It is open daily 10am – 4pm for visitors. Entry to the church free, but donations are welcome.

Thursday 31st August

11am – 3.00pm  Book Festival, Holyer an Gof “meet the authors” including Judy Scrimshaw, David Thorn, Rod Lyon and Bernard Deacon, plus book launches @ Launceston Town Hall, Western Road, Launceston PL15 7AR. Refreshments available, accessible for people with disabilities.  Free entry.

2.00pm onwards  Display of Gorsedh Kernow Young People’s Awards and Adults Awards & Competitions entries @ Launceston Town Hall, Otho Peter Suite.  Free entry.

 7.00pm  Presentation to winners of Young People’s Awards and Adults Awards & Competitions by Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, Grand Bard of Cornwall @ Launceston Town Hall. With guest appearance by Jim Causley. Evening hosted by Edward Rowe, Mab Tregarrek. Bar. Free entry.

Edward "Kernow King" Rowe who will be made a bard at the St Austell ceremony

Edward Rowe, Mab Tregarrek

Friday 1st September

9.30am – 4.30pm  Conference “Cornish Culture and Tourism – Friends or Foes?” @ Launceston Town Hall. With speakers Grand Bard Merv Davey; Malcolm Bell of Visit Cornwall; Ben Gilby, Institute of Cornish Studies; Fiona Wotton, Cornwall 365; Kim Conchie from Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and Merryn Davies-Deacon. Tickets £5 to include pasty lunch from Launceston TIC tel 01566 772321.  Advance booking essential. All welcome.

 7.30pm  Cornish Troyl/Ceilidh with Carmen Hunt & Scoot Lyskerrys Collective @ Launceston Town Hall. Bar. Free entry.

Saturday 2nd September

11am  Cornish stalls open @ Launceston Castle, PL15 7DR.

 1.30pm  Procession of bards from Central Methodist Church, Launceston via Church Street and High Street through The Square to Launceston Castle.

 2.00pm  Gorsedh Kernow bardic ceremony, led by Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn with Miss Sophie Hillman as Lady of Cornwall @ Launceston Castle. Procession of bards returns to Central Methodist Church via Castle North Gate and Castle Street. Ceremony @ St Mary Magdalene Church if wet. All welcome.

 7.00pm  Gala Concert  @ Central Methodist Church, Castle Street, Launceston, PL15 8BA. With Jane Nancarrow reading the poetry of Charles Causley, Rob Strike and students from Launceston College, Mike O’Connor & Barbara Griggs and Launceston Town Band. Compered by Bert Biscoe, Viajor Gans Geryow. Tickets £5 from Launceston TIC tel 01566 772321. Advance booking advised.

8.30pm  ‘Come All Ye’ Cornish music and song session @ The Bell Inn, Tower St, Launceston PL15 8BQ. Hosted by Rob Strike. All welcome. Free entry.

Sunday 3rd September

9.30 – 11.30am  ‘Blas a Gernewek – A Taste of Cornish’ session @ Launceston Town Hall. Refreshments available. Free entry.

11.00am  History Walk around Launceston with bard Rob Tremain, Cryor an Dre Lanstefan, starting @ Launceston Town Hall and finishing @ The Bell Inn. Free.

 3.00pm  Choral Evensong in Cornish @ St Mary Magdalene Church, Launceston.  Collection for church funds. All welcome.

Gorsedh  Kernow Esedhvos  Festival  of Cornish Culture is supported by Launceston Town Council, Launceston Central Methodist Church, St Mary Magdalene Church, Launceston Castle, Robinson Reed Layton, The Bell Inn and many local organisations and volunteers.

Meur ras! / Many thanks!

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.

For full information about the Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture please visit the website  www.esedhvos.org.uk  or follow the link on the Gorsedh Kernow website  www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk  or contact Pat Parkins, Much Chereor, Esedhvos Events Manager, email esedhvos@gorsedhkernow.org.uk  or tel 07762 169 733

For more general information about Gorsedh Kernow please contact Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Honorary Secretary, Gorsedh Kernow,

email  hon.secretary@gorsedhkernow.org.uk