Federation of Old Cornwall Societies

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Gorsedh Kernow


The Celtic spirit of Cornwall


St Piran’s Day Book Launch


A ground-breaking new book about bard of Gorsedh Kernow, Robert Victor Walling (1895-1976), soldier, poet, journalist and writer with a special interest in the Cornish language, is being published on St Piran’s Day, Saturday 5th March, 100 years after its original publication and exactly 121 years after the birth of the author.


“Scryfer – R.V.Walling”, has been researched and compiled by former Grand Bard Ann Trevenen Jenkin, Bryallen, the result of months of painstaking work by several bards of Gorsedh Kernow, including Stephen Gadd, Reskadinnick, who has translated Walling’s original words and designed and produced the layout.


Encouraged by his father Robert Alfred Walling, who was also a bard, the young R V Walling had been inspired by Henry Jenner’s Handbook of the Cornish Language, first published in 1904.  As he lay injured in a French military hospital during the First World War, R V Walling drew on this inspiration and turned his attention to a deeper study of Cornish and while recuperating from his injuries, he produced a magazine called “An Houlsedhas” (‘The West’), an illustrated manuscript in his own handwriting.  


“This important book is being published as a facsimilie of “An Houlsedhas” for the very first time,” said Mrs Jenkin, “and will add considerably to our broad study of the Cornish language written during the First World War.”


R V Walling was made a bard of Gorsedh Kernow in 1934 taking the bardic name Scryfer an Mor, Sea Writer.  The long awaited publication of his illustrated magazine, translated into English, has never been seen before by the general public.


“The original text has been translated by Stephen Gadd, from Camborne, a new bard living and working in London,” said Mrs Jenkin, “and he has worked extremely diligently on what has been a fascinating but sometimes difficult project.”


“This ground-breaking book is a valuable addition to other documents in the Cornish language,” said Grand Bard Merv Davey,“and Gorsedh Kernow, along with the Cornish Language Board, is very proud to support its publication.”


“Skryfer – R V Walling” will be launched by Jori Ansell, Caradok, past Grand Bardof Gorsedh Kernow and currentChairman ofthe recently launched Cornish Language Academy, at 6pm at Camborne Rugby Club, on St Piran’s Day, Saturday 5th March 2016.





Members of the press are welcome to attend the book launch in Camborne Rugby Club.  Kindly send your acceptance to Ann Trevenen Jenkin by email to pellgowser@btinternet.com  or tel 01736 850332  from whom you can also request further information about “Skryfer - R V Walling”.


“Scryfer - R.V.Walling,” A5 format, with some colour illustrations and black and white photographs, price £9.99 + postage. (Costs with postage: UK £11.50; Europe £15.00; rest of world £17.50.)  Copies of the book may be ordered and paid for in advance from Ann Trevenen Jenkin (see details above) or collected from the launch itself on 5th March or from other Gorsedh Kernow or Cornish language events during the year, where they will also be on sale.


R V Walling had a distinguished career as a journalist, interrupted by war service.  He was wounded at Passchendale and invalided out of the army.  In 1916-17, while recuperating from his injuries, he produced the magazine “An Houlsedhas” (‘The West’), an illustrated manuscript in his own handwriting.  There are three unfinished issues, each accompanied by his watercolour drawings.


There is a moving article in “Skryfer – R V Walling” by bard Tim Saunders, Bardh Gwerin, on his recollections of R V Walling, and a detailed biography by Ann Trevenen Jenkin,who compiled the book with the valuable help of Stephen Gadd, Mark Dungey, Donsyor Lanust and Esther Johns, Tamm Steren. There are several appendices, giving the flavour of Robert Walling’s writings, and the essence of his time.


R A J and R V Walling’s letters and correspondence, R V W's military handbooks, booklets on journalism, press cuttings books, newspapers, material relating to the First World War, Plymouth Corporation Grammar School Debating and Literary Society minutes and school magazines, Parliamentary elections pamphlets and reports, and miscellaneous items are all held for research at the Plymouth and West Devon Record Office.


For further information about Gorsedh Kernow please contact

Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Communications Officer, Gorsedh Kernow,

email  communications@gorsedhkernow.org.uk  or tel  01736 799305

or visit our website www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk





The Celtic spirit of Cornwall



“Step Into Cornwall’s Story” says the Grand Bard of Cornwall


“Lanson is the historic capital and gateway to Cornwall, a place where a traveller is welcomed in Cornish as they leave England.  Here they meet with a change in culture as Cornish language names appear on signs, maps and satnav,” said Grand Bard Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, in his address to fellow bards, visiting dignitaries and members of the public at Gorsedh Kernow’s annual bardic ceremony, held this year in the stunning grounds of Launceston Castle.


Thanking members of the local organising committee for all their hard work over many months and the Mayor of Launceston Cllr Margaret Young 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.


“Launceston has a proud place in Cornwall’s story,” said Merv Davey, “with its castle built by Brian of Brittany, the Breton knight who became the first Earl of Cornwall following the Norman Conquest. Throughout the centuries the people of Cornwall have asserted their unique identity and heritage, and it is this distinctive culture that won us international recognition as a legally protected National Minority.”


Speaking of the huge effect tourism has had on Cornwall the Grand Bard emphasised that much depended on the way Cornish culture is portrayed and the way that assets such as the language and folk tradition are used or abused. He insisted that Cornwall and the Cornish must be the author of their cultural destiny and not outside commercial interests.


“We applaud their use of the Cornish language Kernewek at some of Cornwall’s heritage sites,” said the Grand Bard “but Gorsedh Kernow calls upon English Heritage to reject the fairytale that is paraded as “England’s story” and instead, show real enlightenment and tell Cornwall’s true story.”




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.


Gorsedh Kernow was established in 1928 with the aim of celebrating and promoting Cornwall’s distinctive Celtic culture and the ancient border town of Launcestonprovided the setting for this year’s Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival and bardic ceremony.


The Cornish place name of Launceston, Lannstevan, means the “church or holy enclosure of St Stephen” and is derived from the former monastery at St Stephen’s, a mile and half north-west of the town and the common Brittonic place name element “Lan”.


The annual procession of bards and installation of the 9 new initiates took place on Saturday 2nd September at the ceremony in the grounds of Launceston Castle as part of the Esedhvos Festival. The procession was led by Grand Bard of Cornwall Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, accompanied by the Mayor of Launceston Cllr Margaret Young and local Launceston girl Sophie Hillman as the “Lady of Cornwall.”


For further information about the Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival including the Bardic Ceremony please contact Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor, Honorary Secretary, Gorsedh Kernow,  email hon.secretary@gorsedhkernow.org.uk


For more general information about the work of Gorsedh Kernow please visit our website  www.gorsedhkernow.org.uk


Bardh Meur Launceston 2017 (1) Lady of Cornwall with Flower Girls, Launceston 2017 by Ivor Corkell

Bardh Meur Launceston 2017

Bards and banners Launceston 2017 by Jackie Gainey

Lady of Cornwall with Flower Girls, Launceston 2017 by Ivor Corkell

ME9A4685 ME9A4705 (1) ME9A4686 ME9A4828 ME9A4830

Unless stated otherwise, photographs by Ivor Corkell

Bards and banners Launceston 2017 by Jackie Gainey


The Celtic spirit of Cornwall

Joint Press Release by Gorsedh Kernow and Newquay Town Council


Gorsedh Kernow announces host town for 2018


“Newquay is now a very popular holiday destination in the UK but it had a long history before tourism,” said the Grand Bard of Cornwall, Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, “and with the remains of prehistoric burial grounds on both the Barrowfields and Trevelgue Head, plus evidence of Bronze Age and Iron Age dwellings, we know that people have lived and worked here for thousands of years.”


The Grand Bard’s words were spoken as a joint declaration with town mayor Cllr Margaret North that Newquay, on Cornwall’s Atlantic coast, would host the 2018 Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture and bardic ceremony.


“We are delighted that the bards of the Cornish Gorsedd have accepted our invitation to hold their celebrations here next year,” said Cllr North, “and we are proud that history shows that our town was an important hub for Cornwall’s then main industries of mining, fishing and agriculture.”


Accepting the invitation on behalf of fellow bards, Dr Daveyexpressed a wish for openness and inclusiveness among Cornish people as they grapple with the issues facing a modern Cornwall whilst at the same time celebrating their distinct cultural identity.


“I come from an old Newquay family who have always been proud of both Newquay’s heritage and ability to embrace the new” said the Grand Bard.


“My Grandfather was a keen local historian and a strong supporter of Gorsedh Kernow and would be delighted to see the ceremony being held at Newquay.”


“These days Newquay is firmly established in the world of top class surfing with our famous Fistral and Watergate beaches,” said mayor Cllr Margaret North, “and we are also a contender for obtaining a licence to operate as a Spaceport, but we are immensely proud of our Cornish roots and look forward to welcoming members of the College of Bards to our town.”