“We must control our own destiny” said the outgoing Grand Bard of Cornwall to the assembled Bards and public at the Open Gorsedh in Newquay on Saturday 1st September, 2018
Gorsedh Kernow, celebrating its 90th anniversary year, was established in 1928 with the aim of celebrating and promoting Cornwall’s distinctive Celtic culture and the modern seaside destination of Newquay provided the setting for this year’s Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival and bardic ceremony.
“Newquay is a shining example of where Cornish history, heritage and contemporary community combine to create our distinctive modern Cornish identity”, said the proud Newquay born Grand Bard of Cornwall, Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, as he welcomed bards, dignitaries, guests, banner bearers and a large crowd of members of the public to Gorsedh Kernow’s annual bardic ceremony, held this year on the clifftops of the Barrowcliff in Newquay.
“These views reach way back to the Bronze Age and the harbour below echoes nineteenth century Cornish industrial ingenuity,” said the Grand Bard as he opened the bardic ceremony during the final few hours of his tenure.
Thanking members of the local organising committee for all their hard work over many months and the Mayor of Newquay Cllr Andy Hannan for such a warm welcome, the Grand Bard stood alongside delegates from the Welsh and Breton Gorseddau and reminded the crowds who had gathered in and around the bardic circle of the importance of recognising Cornwall as a distinct part of Great Britain.
“The culture of our modern Cornish community is born of the environment, the landscape and ocean around us, the movement of people and the history played out. It is a complex environment with many aspects that give rise to a distinct cultural identity.”
The Grand Bard highlighted that some national institutions such as the BBC exclude Cornwall unjustly by failing to recognise and support our distinctive cultural identity, which is also a challenge to Cornwall’s economic development and search for equality.
“Radio Cornwall is exemplary in its work for the Cornish community but once beyond the Tamar commitment to Cornwall tapers dramatically” he said, “and yet Cornwall creates such an attractive environment for businesses, nurturing and inspiring through confidence in our cultural life, while retaining and drawing in the talent and skills we need to build a vibrant economic community.”
“Our unique Cornish culture is an asset to be promoted and fostered and is an integral part of the very successful ‘Brand Kernow,’” said Dr Davey, taking his last opportunity to speak as Grand Bard before handing over the copper crown to his successor and fellow bard Elizabeth Carne, Melennek.
“I urge those organisations who are distant from Cornish aspiration and rooted in a centralist cultural narrative and yet control Cornwall’s cultural and heritage assets, to hand them over. We must control our own destiny and take responsibility for the assets that define our identity.”
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.
The Cornish place name of Newquay is Tewynblustri which is recorded as far back as 1308. It is seen sometimes as two words and, over the centuries, with variations in spelling, and although the precise meaning is still open to discussion by academics it includes “tewyn” meaning sand-dunes and “plustri” possibly meaning cove for boats.
Gorsedh Kernow invited Ken MacQuarrie, BBC Director of Nations & Regions to attend the Gorsedh Kernow Conference to speak on proposals to create a designated service for Cornwall, such as an i-player platform, as it does for the other UK nations, but no response was received.
The annual procession of bards and installation of the 16 new initiates took place on Saturday 1st September at the ceremony on the Barrowcliff in Newquay as part of the Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture. The procession was led by the Grand Bard of Cornwall Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, accompanied by the Mayor of Newquay Cllr Andy Hannan and local Newquay girl Cassandra Sheppard as the “Lady of Cornwall.” Their bardic names are listed further below.
For further information about the Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival including the Bardic Ceremony please contact Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Honorary Secretary, Gorsedh Kernow, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 01736 799305
For more general information about the work of Gorsedh Kernow please visit our website www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk
Bardic Names of new bards 2018
Nick Bartle, Wellington, New Zealand, for services to Cornish identity in New Zealand including work for the NZ Cornish Association. Bardic Name: Den An Soth meaning Man of the South. (Accepted by his representative Vanessa Moyle, Trevesiges).
Dave Brotherton, St. Ives, for services to Cornish music including writing and performing Cornish folk music as co-founder of Tir ha Tavas, Bagas Porthia and the revived St Ives Guisers. Bardic Name: Ilewydh Porthia meaning Musician of St.Ives.
Jean Charman, Camborne, for services to Camborne’s heritage and the Cornish in Mexico including twinning with the Cornish in Mexico and, as a Camborne councillor the protection and re-use of historic buildings in her home town. Bardic Name: Myrgh Godhyan meaning Daughter of Gwithian.
Dick Cole, Fraddon, Truro, for campaigning for Cornwall’s cultural and geographical integrity. Bardic Name: Gwythyas an Tir meaning Guardian of the Land.
Jane Darke, Porthcothan Bay, Padstow, for services to Cornish film making and writing, her archival and educational work and the promotion of films and other work by her late husband Nick Darke. Bardic Name: Morva meaning Seashore.
Mark Elton, Twickenham, London, by examination in the Cornish language and continuing work for Cornwall. He also helps organise Kernow in the City to celebrate St Piran each year in London. Bardic Name: Gwas An Wrekkoryon meaning Servant of Wreckers.
Malcolm Gould, Luxulyan, for services to Cornish industrial history including talks on China Clay and work for the China Clay museum. Bardic Name: Map Pry Gwyn meaning Son of China Clay.
Darren Hawken, Tideford, Saltash, for services to Cornish music. Bardic Name: Hembrenkyas Ilow meaning Conductor of Music.
Margaret Johnson, Morphett Vale, South Australia, for services to Cornish identity in South Australia. Sings with and leads the choir at Australian bardic gatherings and is a popular mc and public speaker at bardic events in Australia including Kernewek Lowender. Bardic Name: Kanores Keur meaning Choir Singer.
Jan Lokan, McLaren Vale, South Australia, for services to Cornish identity in South Australia. A hardworking member of the Kernewek Lowender organising committee. Bardic Name: Myrgh Golsery meaning Daughter of Goldsworthy.
Peter Meanwell, Washaway, Bodmin, for services to Cornish music including researching old Cornish music for performance by his own choir the Washaway Gallery Choir. Bardic Name: Hwilor Ilow meaning Seeker of Music. (Accepted by his representative Mike O’Connor, Crowder).
Jane Nancarrow, St.Stephens, Launceston, for services to Cornish literature. A pupil and disciple of Charles Causley who works hard for the Charles Causley Festival and is one of the finest readers of Causley’s poetry. She is also well remembered for her performance as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’ and had a leading role in Edward Woodward’s last film ‘A Congregation of Ghosts’. Bardic Name: Skrifores Nans Karow meaning Writer of the Valley of the Deer.
Jonny Nance, Cullompton, Devon, for services to Cornish maritime culture. Builds traditional boats for St. Ives, which resulted in the formation of the Jumbo Association, named after the design of the boat, and the reappearance of unique Cornish luggers in St.Ives harbour. Grandson of Robert Morton Nance, Mordon and Bernard Leach, Resor an Nor. Bardic Name: Gwythor Scathow meaning Builder and Guardian of Boats.
Richard Damian Nance, Stratford, Connecticut, U.S.A., for services to Cornish identity in the U.S.A. A geologist with a particular interest in the geology of Cornwall, especially the Lizard. He has also directed attention, with a view to increasing public access, to the only known surviving Cornish engine house in the U.S.A. which housed a massive Cornish engine known as ‘The President’. Grandson of Robert Morton Nance, Mordon and Bernard Leach, Resor an Nor. Bardic Name: Karrek meaning Rock.
Glen Ridnour, Mineral Point, Wisconsin, U.S.A., for services to Cornish identity in the U.S.A. Bardic Name: Kren Pilen meaning Shake Rag.
Carole Roberts, North Vancouver, Canada, for services to Cornish identity in Canada. Bardic Name: Myrgh Tavernor meaning Innkeeper’s Daughter.