Previous News 2011
Gorsedd Conference 2011
This year the annual conference took place at the Shire Hall, Bodmin and the theme was the Gorsedd and Youth with an emphasis on the future.
After the opening by the Grand Bard - Skogynn Pryv, Bert Biscoe –Vyajor gans Geryow spoke of the continuation of our culture and identity into a new generation. He said that he hoped that the day would be an important one both for the Gorsedd and our culture. The Hall was full of Bards , Youth Workers and Young People. The conference had been advertised as a Collision but there was lively and serious discussion leading to the Gorsedd later deciding to work with Young People to strengthen the persistence of the Cornish Identity.
After a pasty lunch the afternoon continued with music and dance from the Young People.
A truly memorable conference, with special thanks to Bert and to Ann Trewhella for organising it, and to everyone who took part.
Summary Report of the Gorsedh Council Meeting held 22nd October 2011
A review of the Competitions has been started and will continue with possible changes being implemented for 2013.
Certain items such as commemorate plates belonging to The Gorsedh will be given a new home on display in the Long Gallery, Lys Kernow, Truro, thanks to Cornwall Council Chairperson Pat Harvey.
Deputy Grand Bard spoke about this year’s Open Gorsedh Ceremony at Helston with the vast majority of bards and local people giving favourable reports. Plans for 2012 at Camelford and the following year at Penryn are progressing well.
The Conference at Bodmin entitled ‘Collision’ had been an eye-opener for many bards and there are plans to continue to explore ways of engaging with the youth of Cornwall. Next year’s conference will have the title ‘Diaspora’ but it was agreed to look not only at the past but also more recent and current examples of this.
Reports from the sub-committees were presented and accepted. These included news about progress on the Book of Bards for the Camelford area, how the recipients of Awards were all delighted, and plans for a new website and logo for Holyer an Gof.
Dates for meetings next year were agreed and will be published on the website.
Holyer an Gof Awards 2012
Closing date for entries 15th February 2012.
The Award Evening will be held in July 2012.
Full entry details are available by clicking on this link
This little known book was written by the Rev. William Borlase, Rector of Ludgvan F.R.S. in 1748. P.A.S. Pool has a footnote reference to it in his book "The Death of Cornish" which reads "Memorandums Relating to the Cornish Tongue 1749 (Enys MSS, County Record Office, Truro), described by H Jenner, 'The Borlase MS' JRIC XIX 2 (1913), p.162"
It was bought by John Davies Enys in 1895 and is now held in Cornwall Records Office No. EN2000, and forms part of the Enys Family Archive. The book consists of an Introduction and Parts I and II. It includes work collected from Lhuyd, Hals, Tonkin, Boson, Scawen, Gwavas, Ustick and the Cotton Vocabulary. In his Introduction, Borlase considers that the task of recording a 'dying' Language is "Very imperfect, Very difficult, Laborious and Disagreeable – because likely to be so imperfect & unsuccessfull, of some use" (sic). He goes on to write "If I do not merit thanks for what I have done, I may possibly be excus’d for not having done as much as I could" (sic)
As a Language Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd (albeit not a fluent one) I was excited at the prospect of just seeing and reading this book but to actually be transcribing it is a privilege. While doing this work I have realised that there is also a sense of connecting with a person from the Past who until now has just been a name and one who was more or less discounted for not collecting as much as he probably could have done.
In transcribing his work, while I would not presume to say that I know what sort of man he was, I think it has become obvious that he was aware of his own shortcomings and although he knew how thankless a task it was going to be, he still thought it a worthwhile, and possibly a necessary, one.
I think he realised that a People’s Language is part of their Identity and should not be lost, in spite of how few people speak it or how fluently.Maggie Hinch - Cares Lyen
The 2012 Gorsedh Kernow competitions are now under way. There are classes for both adults and young people in poetry, prose, Cornish studies, music (in English or Cornish).
Full details of the classes and rules for entry are now available on this site. The closing date is the 17th April 2012 and the awards will be presented by the Grand Bard at the Open Gorsedh in Camelford on Saturday 1st September 2012.
For dates of Gorsedh Council Meetings 2012 click here.
Spectators lined the streets of Helston as the Bards assembled outside the Wesley Church. The skies looked heavy as the procession set off down Coinagehall Street passing the Grylls monument now resplendent with a banner welcoming the Gorsedh to the town. Light drizzle began to fall but Bardic spirits were high as the piper Merv Davey - Telynor an Weryn, led the procession to the Ceremony site. As the Grand Bard entered the circle the recently found music ‘Fanfare for the Bards’ was played by trumpeters from the Helston Youth Orchestra.
The Mayor welcomed everyone to the town, and after a speech from the Grand Bard the Horner Hazel Bennet - Knowwedhen, sounded the horn to the four parts of Cornwall, the Bardic prayer was sung and the customary cry of Peace rang out across the circle, after which the Gorsedh was declared open. This was followed by the 'Joining of the Sword' as a symbol of Celtic unity. A group of young dancers in pale green dresses with flowers in their hair and carrying posies danced, and the Lady of Cornwall brought the 'Fruits of the Earth' to the Grand Bard. The Deputy Grand Bard read the list of deceased bards, and 15 new Bards were welcomed into the Gorsedh. After presentations to Competition and Award winners the assembled Bards moved towards the Omborth to sing 'Bro Goth Agan Tasow' and declare loyalty to Cornwall with the customary shout of 'Kernow Bys Vykken'.
As the procession left the circle the rain was beginning to ease.
A traditional tea of pasties, saffron buns, hevva cake and jam and cream splits was enjoyed, old friendships were renewed and new ones made.
Later in the evening a concert was held, and on the Sunday a Cornish language service was held in St Michael's Parish Church.
For Gorsedh Kernow Council Awards 2011 please click here.
This year the Breton Gorsedd was again held at Arzano amidst the meadows and green trees of Bro Gwened. Tears were flowing from the sun, the eye of the day, but in spite of dark clouds and many showers the ceremony passed off well led by the Grand Druid of Brittany Per Vari Kerloc’h in fine fettle. The Grand Bard Mick Paynter and Deputy Grand Bard Maureen Fuller travelled from Cornwall as delegates of the Gorsedd with Christine and Wyn James the Welsh delegates from the Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle of Britain. Our Bard Phil Rendle attended standing with the Breton Bards.
There were many men and women there to support the event. New members were initiated and the two half swords were joined as a sign that the three nations were one people. In the middle of the ceremony Per Vari sang the song Divroans by Mick Paynter displaying his book to the audience. This was the first time Cornish has been sung in the middle of the circle of the Breton Gorsedd.
The Delegates were accommodated by the Bretons in Hotel an Ajoncs d’Or where the Artist Paul Gauguin lived in his day. The three of us were very happy to be there again.
Per Vari made a fine speech in Breton about the difficulties had with the French Government. For the first time this year there was a guest from the Regional Government of Brittany , the Vice President Lena Louarn who gave support to the Gorsedd. The ceremony was well organised this year with excellent music, it was great to see the young people initiated there There was a splendid meal prepared after the ceremony for ourselves and the large number of Gorsedd supporters, as usual the kindness and the fellowship were peerless. In the evening we met the other delegates again in a fine restaurant in Pont Aven. As always a brilliant day, thank you Per Vari and all our friends.
For a list of new Bards at the Helston Gorsedd please click here.
Results for the Adult and Childrens classes can be seen by clicking on the following link, winners 2011.
Good morning Wales. In the first place I should say how happy I am to be here in Wales again for the Eisteddfod. As Grand Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd l am particularly happy because the Gorsedd of Bards here in Wales have played a very important role in the resurrection of our language and culture and in supporting the wish of our people to develop and enhance our special identity.
The language is now recognised under the European Charter, we have a small language office in Truro. The work done in that office is hugely effective and we hope to be able to develop further the work done in Schools.
When they are worn out English signs are being replaced by bilingual signs, this is without cost and the language is daily more visible. Cornwall Council is very supportive of Cornish Culture, who knows one day perhaps we will be able to hold a Festival like this brilliant party, the Eisteddfod. There is talk now in that Council of getting a National library for Cornwall. This is an exciting idea and more so because it is being promoted officially. We hope eventually that those classics of our literature held elsewhere will be repatriated to Cornwall. At least two works of our traditional literature have been discovered in private collections in Wales and l would like to take advantage of this opportunity to ask Wales, as a dear sister to see if more pieces cannot be found, we are sure they exist. So you Welsh scholars please take some time to uncover our traditional literature. Perhaps a year for Cornish?
The Council discussed some on-going items such as Tourist Signage and St Piran’s Day events.
There was an update on the Youth Conference which will now be on October 8th in Bodmin.
Vanessa Moyle stepped down from her position as Competitions Secretary and was given thanks for all her hard work over the years.
The Awen ceremony had taken place on June 26th for the first time this year and this was deemed to have been a great success. Thanks to all the organising committee of this and especially to Howard Curnow for having the Book of Life produced by a woodcarver and donating it to the Gorsedh.
An update on progress for the Gorsedh ceremony in Helston was given including confirmation of award winners. The ‘Fanfare for the Bards’ music has been found and will be performed at the ceremony by trumpeters from Helston Youth Orchestra.
42 bards were present and apologies received from 47.
The address from Bardh Meur reported that the main work of the year had been to work on the development of the role of Bewnans Kernow, the existence of which has enhanced the status of Cornish Culture. This is especially important as far as the young, who are the future, are concerned. Bardh Meur called upon Bert Biscoe for a report on progress of the Youth Conference. This is planned for October 8th 2011 in The Shire House Suite, Bodmin. We need a very good attendance of bards to make this a productive day.
The demand for the presence of Gorsedd officers at cultural events in Cornwall continues to grow as does the interest in our culture and language outside Cornwall. In Penzance recently the Grand Bard was part of the reception for the Queen. The number of Pirantide events is expanding so rapidly that officers may soon need support in attending these events as none should ever be turned down.
The St lves Gorsedd went very well and we were well received in the town. We are looking forward to September in Helston.
Following the support from The Welsh Gorsedd we have developed the Awen Ceremony. This celebrates the continuity of Cornish Identity from earliest times.
The Treasurer’s Report was given by David Lindo who also asked for it to be noted that he will have to consider resigning due to other commitments and asked for a successor to be sought. Thanks were given to him for his many years of service.
Fifteen people have been invited to become bards at this year’s ceremony.
Copies of The Cornish National Identity Report is now available for bards. Congratulations on getting this produced were given.
Tamar Footpath Campaign. A short presentation was given and bards were asked for endorsement which was given by a unanimous show of hands.
These publishers’ awards are given annually in memory of the late Leonard Truran of Redruth, a Cornish publisher, whose bardic name was Holyer an Gof – the follower of An Gof.
For details of the awards please click here.
This year there were seven sections and two overall awards for prestigious publications on Cornwall or Cornish themes. The awards were presented by the Grand Bard, Mr. Mick Paynter/Skogynn Pryv.
Goff Richards, who died at his home on 25th June aged 66, following a long illness, was a major presence in the brass band movement all over world, providing a seemingly unending stream of accessible music in an unmistakable style, for over forty years. He also composed and arranged extensively for choirs and orchestras as well as being an inspirational teacher and travelling world wide as an adjudicator and band leader.
Godfrey Richards was born into a musical family on 18th August 1944 in the North Cornwall village of St Minver where he spent his early years. The family had lived in the village for several generations and had always been involved in music in the days when it played a more important part in local life and was one of the few ways of providing entertainment.
He was made a Bard of The Cornish Gorsedd at Hayle in 1976, taking the Bardic name in Cornish of Gwas Mynver, Servant of St Minver. Goff was always proud of his Cornish ancestry and brought lustre to Cornwall as one of its most prominent and talented musical sons. He recalled how many years ago he was advised, “to always keep in touch with young people” and believed that that had played a great part in his success along with his deep love of music. Allied to a natural Celtic talent for melody and a penchant for hard work, his music has challenged, stimulated and entertained us for so many years.
Phillip Hunt.- Lef a Vrest
Just as the first Gorsedh Kernow was held at Boscawen Un in 1928, so was held the first Ceremony of the Awen here on Sunday 26th of June 2011.
After a misty start to the day, by the time this new ceremony had started, the sun had burst through, and we saw that there was a chance of a summer this year.
Around fifty Bards came to the ceremony – some of them from the eastern part of Cornwall. The background for the occasion – the circle of stones at Boscawen Un – was perfect, and gave the feeling to everyone that the place was something special.
Amongst those who were not Bards, there was Mr. and Mrs. Bolitho, from Trengwainten, owners of the land and who gave permission to hold the ceremony in the circle.
The ceremony itself was very short – no more than a quarter of an hour – and was centred around the symbol of the Awen and the passing of the Book of Life between two elders and two youth of the community.
After the ceremony, pasties were available at St. Buryan Village Hall.
This new ceremony was considered by all to be a success, and already there are plans in mind for the second one next year in the eastern part of Cornwall.
Click here for pictures.
The gathering of the bards of Cornwall this year is to take place in Helston. Public attendance is free and welcomed. Details of the ceremony and supporting events can be seen by clicking on the following link. Click here.
To commemorate the 2011 Gorsedd taking place in Helston, Gorsedh Kernow has put together a publication which details the lives of forty deceased bards who lived and worked in the Helston and Lizard area, and also thirty living Bards. This is the second in a planned series of publications covering the area in which the annual Gorsedh Kernow is held.
For further details and how to order a copy please click here.
A high quality Cornish, 13 month, calendar 2012 is available to Bards with dates of key annual Cornish events, festivals and celebrations including Gorsedh Kernow activities and dates. Days and months are in Cornish and English.
|The Christmas cards are in packs of 5 assorted Cornish scenes, with a seasonal greeting in the Cornish language.|
Also available is a selection of 5 assorted general notecards with a greeting in Cornish, designed and printed in Cornwall for Gorsedh Kernow.
Order form here.
In early June the Cornish National minority Report 2 was presented to Mr Andrew Stunell, Minister of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), by Andrew George MP for the West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives. Both Cornwall Council and Gorsedh Kernow supported its production financially.
You can read the report here (large PDF).
On Thursday the 12th May the Grand Bard, Mick Paynter delivered a speech on the historic continuity of our language. This was part of a week's events organised by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) about endangered languages. There were several other presentations about languages in difficulty.
The Grand Bard spoke for about half an hour both in Cornish and in English about the history of our language and its revival in the 20th century. (click here)
A good number of London based Cornish speakers attended and the academics there were able to hear Cornish spoken in a natural way.
After his speech the Grand Bard launched his new book, A Worm's Folly, a collection of poems in Cornish with parallel English translation. (click here)
Kernewek Lowender, the Cornish festival is held biennially in Australia's Little Cornwall, on the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia' in the towns Moonta, Kadina and Wallaroo. As part of the cultural program there is a 'gathering of the Bards'.
Nominations for the next Deputy Grand Bard are under way.
Changes to the Gorsedd Awards had been discussed last September and this review was accepted by Council.
Several items of correspondence had been received including a grant request from Movyans Skolyow Meythrin, recognition for the Cornish in New Zealand, a special presentation for Richard Williams of the Mexico Cornish Society and a possible award to represent excellence in the field of industry.
Permission was granted for an Assembly of Bards in Australia in May 2012.
Full information about the Awen ceremony in June will be distributed to all bards by end of May.
The procedure to follow on death of bards and funeral arrangements was discussed. An Skrifenyades agreed to take on this role and will arrange for a letter to be sent and for a representative to attend funerals where possible.
Kannas Bardh Meur presented a report on progress for the 2011 ceremony. Organisation of events for the Esedhvos was also progressing well. Final details will be completed by May 31st for publication on the website.
Vyajor Gans Geryow reported on progress of plans for the Youth Conference. Positive progress is being made towards the organising of this conference ‘Cornish Cultural Identity’ on October 15th in Bodmin followed by a music concert.
More volunteers are required for the Royal Cornwall Show.
There was concern voiced over the news that English Heritage are planning to close the Tintagel Castle site during weekdays in the winter months and what impact this would have on the local community. Bardh Meur will write to them.
The next meeting will be the pre-AGM meeting to be held in the Grenville Room. Lys Kernow on Saturday 18th June 2011, followed by the Gorsedh AGM in The Council Chambers, Lys Kernow, Truro.
More than 50 Bards attended the Proclamation ceremony in Helston. At about 10.50am the procession left the Guildhall led by the Gorsedd piper Merv Davey - Telynor an Weryn, followed by the Mayor and Mayoress of Helston, Mr John and Mrs Nicola Boase, who were accompanied by the Mace Bearers. The route down Coinage Hall Street, passed under the arch of the Grylls Monument, and around the path of the Bowling green to the open space along side.
Events to celebrate St Piran have taken place in Cornwall and around the world.
There were dinners, fetes, live music, flag raising events, and processions taking place in many towns, including Bodmin, Launceston, Penzance, Truro and Redruth. At Perranporth 'St Piran' was brought ashore by a team of surf lifesavers.
With support from the Cornish Federation of Male Voice Choirs, and the Cornish Association of Bendigo & District, a memorial to the bushfires of 7th February 2009 has been erected as a token of solidarity between Cornwall and the people of the St Just Point area of Long Gully.
The Gorsedd Proclamation will be held at Helston 16th April 2011. The ceremony beyond the Grylls Monument, to the right of the Bowling Green will start at at 11a.m. Bards can robe from 10a.m in the upper room of the Guildhall.
To commemorate the 2011 Gorsedd taking place in Helston, Gorsedh Kernow is putting together a publication which details the lives of deceased bards who lived and worked in the Helston area. Those researching them would, therefore, welcome any information. If you feel you can help in any way, then please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the second in a planned series of publications covering the area in which the annual Gorsedh Kernow is held. This booklet will be launched during the week leading up to the Gorsedd.
Progress is being made on organisation of St Piran’s Day Events.
Work is in hand and a grant has been received towards the preparation of a Report on National Minorities. The Council also agreed to give a small grant towards this.
Reports from the sub-committees were given and accepted.
There is a need for another judge for the dialect categories of competition. A return to the use of pseudonyms or allocation of competition numbers was also discussed in order to ensure that judging remains objective.
New members of the Holyer an Gof committee were welcomed: Penny Norman, Peter Harvey and Rael Harvey.
The subject of Gorsedh Chaplain was discussed and it was decided to keep things as they are for now and a suitable candidate was nominated to take over from the present chaplain.
The Council agreed to undertake a review of Gorsedh Kernow with young people and youth organisations to consider how it can respond to the needs of younger people.
Wording and arrangements for the Awen Ceremony were agreed by The Council and future venues discussed.
Arrangements with the LOC for the Gorsedh Ceremony in Helston are well under way. Although it was noted that Helston Town Council had voted not to be involved, other representatives of Helston had been most friendly and helpful.
The next Gorsedh Council meeting will be on Saturday 30th April 2011.
A DVD of the afternoon Gorsedd ceremony 2010 at St Ives is now available.
The price is £5, plus £1 p & p in the UK, £2 p & p Europe, and £3 for the rest of the world. It is European PAL format on a DVD-R, color printed disk. It comes in a DVD Library case with color printed sleeve.
On January 1st Mrs Esther Johns took up her post as the new secretary to Gorsedd Council.
Esther was born in Porthleven and spent a lot of her early childhood in America, attended school in Helston, then Art College before moving to London to work as a graphic designer in the 1980's.
After returning to Cornwall in 1993 she now lives with her husband at The Lizard.
In 2007 Esther received a Bardship through examination and continuing work in the language, taking Tamm Steren as her bardic name, and now helps with a Cornish language class at Mullion.
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