It’s a grand old tradition that for those people who are lucky enough to be honoured in Cornish society by being invited to become a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedh get to choose a ‘Bardic name’.
You’ll often see next to people’s names some Cornish words eg Merv Davey (TELYNYOR AN WERYN) – this means they have been barded and it’s their Bardic Name. Merv’s Bardic Name means ‘Folk Harper’ in Cornish as The Grand Bard is also a world renowned player of Cornish Pipes and has produced a substantial amount of work to record and revive Cornish Folk Music.
Bards choose a bardic name in Cornish, which is generally relevant to their place of birth, their particular vocation or the work which has led them to be invited into the Gorsedh Kernow circle at their annual ceremony, held this year in the grounds of Launceston Castle.
Kernow King Ed Rowe, barded in 2015, is MAB TREGARREK (Son of Roche); Dickie Evans who has funded the rise of the Cornish Pirates chose MORLADER PENSANS (Penzance Pirate), whilst in 1952 celebrated Cornish poet Charles Causeley was MORVARTH (Sea Bard). Legendary politician David Penhaligon simply chose a Cornish version of his family name PENHELYGEN (Willow End – Family Name).
There may have been raised eyebrows in 2004, when Man Engine creator Will Coleman went with PEDNITHAN (Furze-head).
But this year one name stands out from the list of nine new Bardic names just announced. It was a name that sent sniggers around the blue-robed community.
For Martine Knight, from Helston and barded for promoting the Cornish language and identity in a wide field across the community, has chosen Mammwyn Ifarn (Grandmother from Hell).
It’s understood that Martine chose it herself, with the blessing of the Gorsedh Kernow Admissions sub-committee.
A person who is considered worthy of bardship must be proposed by an existing bard, who is required to submit a citation to the Gorsedh in support of his or her candidate. Citations must be presented without the knowledge of the person being nominated. Each nominee is in turn considered by the Gorsedh Council and, if found satisfactory, she or he is duly invited to become a bard.
The bardic names for Gorsedh Kernow’s nine new bards are:
Dren Rudh (Red Thorn) – Clive Boutle, London for publishing services to Cornish culture and promotion of European minority languages.
Spiser Jowan (Grocer John) – John Buckingham, Padstow for promoting Cornish identity and culture through the history of Padstow and the wider environs.
Lev Enev an Tir (Voice of the Spirit and the Land) – Jon Cleave, Port Isaac for promoting Cornish identity through song.
Maghteth an Mor (Servant of the Sea) – Dee Harris, Porkellis, Helston. By examination in the Cornish language and continuing service to Cornwall.
Mammwyn Ifarn (Grandmother from Hell) – Martine Knight, Helston for promoting the Cornish language and identity in a wide field across the community.
Fyllores Duw (God’s Fiddler) – Jakki Love, Ludgvan Churchtown, Penzance. By examination in the Cornish language and continuing service to Cornwall.
Karrek Rudh (Red Rock) – Russell Pearce III, Orinda, California for promoting Cornish identity in the U.S.A.
Nedhores Restir (Spinner of Retire) – Wendy Simpson, Retire, Nr. Withiel, Bodmin. By examination in the Cornish language and continuing service to Cornwall.
Mab-Wynn Trengov (Trengove’s Grandson) – Shaun Toft, Falmouth. By examination in the Cornish language and continuing service to Cornwall.
What would your Bardic Name be? Or think of one for your friends
List of bards November 2016 (by family name)
Featured pic – still from creepy film ‘Just Grandma and me’
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