The tradition of preserving a history and culture of a Celtic people through poetry, song, dance, music, art and spoken word stretches back to the story tellers – Bards of ancient Celtic countries. The revival of the Gorsedh Kernow began in 1928 with the initiation by the Welsh, ‘Archdruid’, (not to be confused with the all together different practise of Druidism), of 12 Bards and Cornwall’s first Grand Bard, Henry Jenner, (1848 – 1934).
Recognised for his commitment to the revival of the Cornish language and the preservation of the Cornish culture, Jenner was invited to become a Bard. One of Jenner’s famous last quotes before his passing in May 1934 encapsulates the ethos of the Gorsedh Kernow’s work, ‘”The whole object of my life has been to inculcate into Cornish people a sense of their Cornishness.”
Through groups, societies, events, competitions and ceremonies the Gorsedh offer non-profit making support and education that uphold’s the Cornish Celtic culture and history. Strong links with other Celtic countries such as Wales and Brittany are maintained as is the link to Cornish Australian citizens where some of the current 496 Bards reside.
There are many misconceptions of the Gorsedh including their links to Paganism and Druidism which are entirely inaccurate in fact, as a group they aren’t even affiliated to a religion nor influenced by any political stand point. It is also a myth that you need to be both a Cornish native and Cornish speaking in order to become a Bard. Bardism, (I do appologise if I just made that word up), is by invitation only for recognition of your commitment to the preservation of the, ‘National Celtic Spirit of Cornwall’.
On Saturday April 13th Penryn will become the venue for the, ‘Proclamation’, ceremony that announces the coming of the Gorsedh later in the year. A procession of some fifty plus bards will proceed through the town to the Memorial Gardens where the ceremony, conducted by the Grand Bard, will take place. During the ceremony the Grand Bard will be accompanied by the, ‘Lady of the Flowers’, the honour of this role falls to Penryn’s own, Jessica George.
10.45am – Procession Through Penryn Town
11am – Proclamation in the Memorial Gardens