Death of First Female Grand Bard, Ann Trevenen Jenkin, Bryallen

Ann Trevenen Jenkin passed away on 8th April 2024 at her home in Leedstown. Born on 14th April 1930 in Barnet, Hertfordshire to John Arnold Trevenen and Dorothy Goldsmith, the family moved to Redruth in 1932.

After school in Redruth and at Truro High School, she gained an English degree from Exeter University and, after obtaining her teaching qualification, became an English teacher. It was during this time that she met Richard Jenkin, himself a prominent member of many Cornish organisations, and they married in 1956 and had 4 children.

She will be remembered as an exceptional Cornish woman and a trail-blazer in many fields. She became a bard of the Cornish Gorsedh in 1956, taking the bardic name Bryallen, and in 1997 she was appointed the first ever female Grand Bard, a great honour for someone who had devoted her life to so many Cornish Associations. She was an exceptional organiser and a catalyst for many projects in the Cornish cultural sector. As Grand Bard she set up the Gorsedh Archives and organised the first Dewhelans/Homecoming for the Cornish Diaspora.

A founder member of Mebyon Kernow, she became Life President. She was also Life President of the Celtic Congress and, as well as attending many congresses in other Celtic Countries, she organised many successful ones in Cornwall. She was a trustee of the Cornish Heritage Trust, a member of Helston Old Cornwall Society, a volunteer at Helston Museum, a Guide Leader and District Commissioner, an active member in Leedstown WI and Leedstown Village Hall Committee, a school governor and much more.
One of her greatest achievements was the organisation of Keskerdh Kernow, the March to London in 1997 to commemorate the Cornish Rising of 1497. She walked all the way, with her faithful dog, Brengy, organised much of the route and wrote a children’s book about it afterwards.

Ann Trevenen Jenkin inspired many as a teacher and educator too. She taught English at Camborne Grammar School and Camborne School, introduced Cornish lessons and became the Librarian, rising to be national chairperson of The Schools’ Library Association. She was in her element writing, editing and publishing. She published books of her own poems, books for children, and edited and wrote many articles about Cornwall.

As well as working tirelessly for Cornwall she also had time for her family, she researched the Trevenen family history, travelling to the Baltic and St Petersburg in the footsteps of her ancestor James Trevenen, visited relatives in Canada and Hawai’i and organised several family reunions. She was a wonderful mother and grandmother, always supportive and encouraging. She will be greatly missed by her 4 children, Morwenna, Loveday, Gawen and Conan and her 10 grandchildren.

The funeral service will be held at Crowan Parish Church on Tuesday 30th April at 2pm followed by a celebration of her life at Leedstown Village Hall.