“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 Davey expressed 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.”
Gorsedh Kernow’s Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture, which includes the bardic ceremony where new bards are initiated, will be held in and around Newquay from Wednesday 29th August and conclude on Sunday 2nd September 2018.
By medieval times a small fishing village had sprung up around the sheltered bay we now know as Newquay harbour and this harbour is also the key to the town’s current name. The town’s Cornish language name is ‘Tewynblustri’ (possibly meaning ‘dune with working boats’) but in the mid 1400’s Edmund Lacey, Bishop of Exeter sourced the funds to build a ‘new quay’, although there was only a scattering of cottages until the late 18th century.