“Launceston has a proud place in Cornwall’s story. It is the historic capital of Cornwall and the castle was built by Brian of Brittany, the Breton knight who became the first Earl of Cornwall following the Norman Conquest. The creation of this earldom recognised Cornwall’s historic integrity and laid the foundations for the constitutional differences that make modern Cornwall distinct from England.”
With these spirited words Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, Grand Bard of Cornwall and passionate Cornishman, began his Proclamation speech on behalf of the bards of Gorsedh Kernow who had gathered in the town Square on Saturday 22nd April.
“Today it is our culture and heritage which is under threat” said the Grand Bard, “and despite a potential climbdown on the much-maligned Devonwall issue there are still forces at large today that would deny us our Celtic, global identity and demote Cornwall to a provincial existence on the periphery of a so-called south west region.”
Bardh Meur Merv Davey (Telynyor an Weryn)
Criticising the lack of TV and radio coverage of recent St Piran’s Day celebrations, the Grand Bard warned against indifference and negative stereotyping by the media which sometimes led to expressions of intolerance and racism towards Cornish people.
“We do, however, have the use of some powerful democratic tools,” said the Grand Bard, “including recognition of the Cornish language, Kernewek, National Minority Status and the Devolution Deal which gives a clear commitment to cherish and promote our precious Cornish culture.”
“Modern Cornwall is distinct for many more reasons than those laid down constitutionally. We have our musical culture, our folk traditions, Cornish dialect, our sports, our moors, coastline and our Cornish cuisine. The flagship for our identity is our Cornish language together with our membership of the community of Celtic nations that lies along the western seaboard of Europe, all of which is embodied in the recognition of the Cornish as a National Minority. Our landscape has a distinctive geology and history which embraces our world famous mining heritage. Cornwall is unquestionably recognised as a World Heritage Site and this goes hand in hand with our global perspective through the Cornish Diaspora. Such a fantastic heritage resonates with people of all ages and sets the scene for a contemporary Cornwall”
Proudly representing the town, the Mayor of Launceston, Cllr Brian Hogan, warmly welcomed Gorsedh Kernow and formally invited the gathering of blue robed bards to hold their bardic ceremony and Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture in Launceston later in the year.
The Mayor of Launceston, Cllr Brian Hogan, welcomed the Bards of Cornwall
“Launceston is and has been a bastion of Cornishness on the banks of the Tamar, our border with England, and its predecessors, for more than a millennium,” said Merv Davey, “and on behalf of all my fellow bards I am delighted to accept this kind invitation from the Mayor and townspeople of Launceston.”
Gorsedh Kernow exists to maintain and promote 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.
The Cornish language, Kernewek, was formally recognised by European Charter in 2002; the Cornish were given National Minority Status under the European Framework Convention in 2014; and the Devolution Deal of 2015 includes a clear commitment to cherish and promote Cornish Heritage.
The Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture, which includes the Saturday bardic ceremony, will be held in Launceston from Wednesday 30th August until Sunday 3rd September 2017.