About Gorsedh Kernow

What is Gorsedh Kernow?

Preserving the history and culture of a Celtic people through poetry, song, dance, music, art, sport and spoken word stretches back to the story tellers – Bards of ancient Celtic countries. 

Gorsedh Kernow, which means Cornish Gorsedh, exists to maintain and give expression to the national spirit of Cornwall as a Celtic country and in particular:


  • to foster good relations between Cornwall and other Celtic countries;
  • to promote co-operation and goodwill between those who work for the honour of Cornwall;
  • to encourage study and use of the Cornish language;
  • to encourage the study of Cornish history, literature, art, music, sport and related subjects, and the publication of works on such subjects;
  • to support the holding of the Cornish Eisteddfod, known in Cornwall as the Esedhvos;
  • to hold an annual Gorsedh Kernow Bardic ceremony.

What is a Bard ?

Bards are elected by the Gorsedh Council and the honour of Bardship is awarded to people who have given exceptional service to Cornwall by a manifestation of the Celtic spirit or by service to Cornwall, to people who qualify by a high degree of proficiency in the Cornish language and people of distinction who, in the opinion of the Gorsedh Council, should be received as Bards of Honour.


What do Bards do ?

Bards of Gorsedh Kernow are involved in many projects, such as

teaching the Cornish language  at evening classes and in schools; arranging the annual Holyer an Gof Publishers Awards;
maintaining extensive archive material for future research;
liaising with other Cornish cultural organisations, historical and modern, to foster renewed interest in Cornwall.

The revival of Gorsedh Kernow began in 1928 with the initiation of 12 Bards together with Cornwall’s first Grand Bard, Henry Jenner, (1848 – 1934). Strong links are maintained with other Celtic countries like Wales and Brittany and with Cornish Australians and citizens from other parts of the Diaspora, where some of the current 496 Bards reside.

At Gorsedh Kernow Bardic ceremonies you may see the Awen symbol meaning inspiration. It represents the attributes of Wisdom, Truth and Love.

Through groups, societies, events, competitions and ceremonies Gorsedh Kernow offers non-profit making support and education that upholds Cornish Celtic culture and history.

For more information about Gorsedh Kernow please visit the rest of this website or see our contact details below.