Don’t deny us our global Celtic identity

Don’t deny us our global Celtic identity says Grand Bard of Cornwall

“Launceston has a proud place in Cornwall’s story. It is the historic capital of Cornwall and the castle was built by Brian of Brittany, the Breton knight who became the first Earl of Cornwall following the Norman Conquest. The creation of this earldom recognised Cornwall’s historic integrity and laid the foundations for the constitutional differences that make modern Cornwall distinct from England.”

With these spirited words Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, Grand Bard of Cornwall and passionate Cornishman, began his Proclamation speech on behalf of the bards of Gorsedh Kernow who had gathered in the town Square.

“Today it is our culture and heritage which is under threat” said the Grand Bard, “and despite a potential climbdown on the much-maligned Devonwall issue there are still forces at large today that would deny us our Celtic, global identity and demote Cornwall to a provincial existence on the periphery of a so-called south west region.”

Criticising the lack of TV and radio coverage of this year’s St Piran’s Day celebrations, the Grand Bard warned against indifference and negative stereotyping by the media which sometimes led to expressions of intolerance and racism towards Cornish people.

“We do, however, have the use of some powerful democratic tools,” said the Grand Bard, “including recognition of the Cornish language, Kernewek, National Minority Status and the Devolution Deal which gives a clear commitment to cherish and promote our precious Cornish culture.”

The Grand Bard was speaking on the occasion of the Proclamation Gorsedh in Launceston on 22nd April, 2107.

Proudly representing the town, the Mayor of Launceston, Cllr Brian Hogan, warmly welcomed Gorsedh Kernow and formally invited the gathering of blue robed bards to hold their bardic ceremony and Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture in Launceston later in the year.

“Launceston is and has been a bastion of Cornishness on the banks of the Tamar, our border with England, and its predecessors, for more than a millennium,” said Merv Davey, “and on behalf of all my fellow bards I am delighted to accept this kind invitation from the Mayor and townspeople of Launceston.”

Gorsedh Kernow exists to maintain and promote 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.

The Cornish language, Kernewek, was formally recognised by European Charter in 2002; the Cornish were given National Minority Status under the European Framework Convention in 2014; and the Devolution Deal of 2015 includes a clear commitment to cherish and promote Cornish Heritage.

The Gorsedh Kernow Proclamation ceremony will take place at 11am on Saturday 22nd April 2017 in Launceston town Square.  The procession of bards will leave Launceston Town Hall at 10.45am.

The Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture, which includes the Saturday bardic ceremony, will also  be held in Launceston from Wednesday 30th August until Sunday 3rd September 2017.

For more general information about Gorsedh Kernow please visit the website  and or follow on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Image credit: Gareth Parry