Past Grand Bards of Gorsedh Kernow and the Herald Bard

Cornish collection of Bards and all things Kernowek

Cornish sea words such as scoggan (mackerel’s head) or widdy-waddy which means to paddle in shallow water are a few of the phrases that form part of a new collection of material that reflect the Cornish identity.

The The Gorsedh Kernow Bardic Collection will be held in the library on the Penryn Campus which is shared and jointly managed by the University of Exeter and Falmouth University.

It brings together for the first time literature by, and about, Cornish Bards.

The Collection currently consists of over 200 titles, many relating to Cornish language, poetry, music, performance, politics and history. Literature such as ‘The Dog Who Walked to London’ which tells the story of the commemorative march from Cornwall to London, celebrating the Cornish Rebellion of 1497, through the eyes of a collie dog form part of the special collection. Within this varied Collection there is a cookery book which has a recipe for Figgie Hobbin and a drink called Mahogany (a mix of gin and treacle) drunk by fishermen and the story of the life of a St Ives based painter, Peter Lanyon who was also a Bard, and whose Bardic name was Marghak an Gwyns – Rider of the Wind.

The material has been donated by Bards, their families and friends, and is a joint venture between the Gorsedh of Bards and the library staff on the Penryn Campus.

Dr Garry Tregidga, senior lecturer in Cornish Studies at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus, said: 'The Gorsedh Kernow Bardic Collection is a very valuable resource for anybody interested in the study of Cornwall's past and present. This is a great example of community engagement on the part of the archivists and librarians at the campus and I am delighted to be invited to speak at the event on behalf of the Institute of Cornish Studies.’

He added: ‘It is appropriate that the collection should be officially launched just a few days before this year's bardic ceremony at Penryn on the historic site of Glasney College, which was the centre of Cornish culture and learning in the Middle Ages'.’

The Gorsedh Kernow Bardic Collection is fully catalogued and available to members of the public, it is stored in the new Reading Room on the upper level of Penryn library and all items are available for reference use.

To celebrate the launch of The Gorsedh Kernow Bardic Collection on Wednesday 4 September in the ground floor of The Exchange building on the Penryn Campus between 5pm – 7pm there will be a harpist, a fiddler and a short recital of English and Cornish poetry.  In addition, there will be a speech by Dr Tregidga about the collection and the Grand Bard will also welcome this initiative and launch the Gorsedh Kernow Special Collection.

On Thursday 5 September from 11am in Penryn Town Hall, there will be an opportunity to buy new books produced by several Cornish publishers, and at 12 noon the book Cornish Bards from the Penryn-Falmouth Area /Berdh Kernow Penrynn-Aberfala will be launched.

There is also the 2013 Bardic Conference at Penryn Town Hall on Friday 6 September. The theme is 'Engaging the Diaspora'. The conference  is designed to look at the Cornish who live away from Cornwall and the diaspora, both in its historical context as well as in  the modern world.  The main activity which forms part of the Bardic events includes a ceremony of the Cornish Gorsedh on Saturday 7 September, at 2pm in the College Field, Penryn. On Sunday 8 September, between 10am and 1pm there is a Cornish language event providing the opportunity to listen and to try speaking Cornish. This will be followed by A Cornish language service at 3pm.

Date: 29 August 2013

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