NEW BOOK: Cornwall, My Country (By Howard Curnow)

NEW BOOK: Cornwall, My Country / Kernow, Ow Bro

A Remarkable story of ‘Cornwall’s Finest Ambassador to the World’ told in his own words

The extraordinary life of the man dubbed ‘Cornwall’s finest ambassador to the world’ is portrayed in a new book, launched in September, 2021, at an event attended by Colonel Edward Bolitho, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Pol Hodge, the new Grand Bard, and Nick Tregenza and Carolyn Cadman, President and Chief Executive respectively of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

Cornwall, My Country’ is the story of Howard Curnow, the son of a St Hilary farmer, who not only travelled the globe re-establishing contact between the far-flung Cornish diaspora and their homeland but also inspired a revival of interest in Cornish history and culture in what he still called his country.

Howard sadly passed away in June, aged 84, having completed the book, but before it could be published. However, Howard’s wife, Elizabeth, and his many friends have ensured that his last wish has been carried out.

In recent decades, nobody worked harder than Howard Curnow in the cause of preserving and championing Cornish identity and culture; from organizing and hosting the ‘Grand Curnow Homecoming’ of 1990 at the family farm, attended by 350 visitors from all over the world, to creating and leading a ‘walk’ to London on the 500th anniversary of the Cornish protest march on London in 1497; from reviving and constantly promoting Cornish traditions such as St Piran’s Day celebrations (now enjoyed all over Cornwall on 5th March every year) and championing the St Piran’s cross as the Cornish people flag – to persuading Cornwall Council to fly the Cornish flag rather than the UK over offices. In his ‘spare time’ he built his own house on the family farm!

In his own words, Howard tells the story of his extraordinary life from his birth and upbringing as one of seven children on his father’s dairy farm, through countless adventures in the USA, Canada, Australia, NZ and elsewhere, to his organising and execution of a hugely successful expedition by Cornish schoolchildren to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

Howard’s tireless efforts on behalf of Cornwall were recognised in 1990 with his induction as a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedh and, speaking at the launch of ‘Cornwall, My Country’, Grand Bard Mab Stenak Vur (Pol Hodge), said:

I am delighted to see all those things where I had had contact with Howard and have worked with him mentioned in the book. Great to have the book, but it would have been better if we could have held on to Howard a bit longer, especially in the Gorsedh council.’

Howard was also chairman of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust for twelve years – he was a member for more than half a century – and Nick Tregenza, paid tribute:

Howard Curnow was the most creative man I ever knew, and his huge resourcefulness came with a great sense of humour and an ability to engage people in so many ways in Cornwall, Europe, America and more. He is a piece of the Cornish history he so often celebrated.’

The book launch was described by Lord Lieutenant, Colonel Edward Bolitho, as ‘a very fine occasion and one I was privileged to attend; I am much looking forward to reading the book’.

With a foreword by BBC tv and radio broadcaster Petroc Trelawny, a pupil of Howard’s during his career as a teacher at Helston School, this new book ‘Cornwall, My Country’ priced £15, plus relevant postage, is now available from:

‘The Cornish Store’, Falmouth –

Howard Curnow, Penryn, Cornish Martyrs Commemoration, September, 2009