Gorsedh Kernow – The Proclamation 2013

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).


Henry Jenner
Cornwall’s first grand Bard

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

Posted in Things To Do In & Around Penryn and tagged , , , , , , , .


  1. I left Penryn about 13 years ago and was always keen to discover more about the Cornish way of life. Your story is fascinating. However I do have one question for you. Why is Mr Jenner dressed as if he is from North Africa? Never in these Islands did we dress in such clothes unless you were a priest and most definitely not in white. From your report I understand these Bards to be story tellers or poets…why is he dressed like Jesus then and I am guessing that the parade through Penryn today will also contain Bards dressed in the same manner? As the revival was only in 1928 is any reason given why they have to dress this way…like Druids or KKK members and not in the clothes of 1928 or later?? Thought I would ask.

    • Hi Janet, interesting question and one I am afraid I can not answer. I can only assume that it is a traditional uniform that stems back to the Gorsedh’s ancient past. May I point you in this direction > http://www.gorsethkernow.org.uk/english/ceremony.htm this may be able to answer your question. I am glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 Do you ever return on holiday?

    • Brilliant info thanks Pat! Really enjoyed researching the Gorsedh and we are really looking forward to September!

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