Gorsedh Kernow names 9 new Bards for 2017

A deep feeling of pride in being honoured with Cornish bardship will be plain to see this year as 9 proud initiates, 2 of whom are from outside Cornwall, wait to take their place among the 500 or so existing members of the College of Bards of Gorsedh Kernow.

Gorsedh Kernow was established in 1928 with the aim of celebrating and promoting Cornwall’s distinctive Celtic culture and the border town of Launceston, Cornwall’s ancient capital and home to the famous 11th century castle, provides the setting for this year’s Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival which includes the main bardic ceremony on Saturday 2nd September.


Launceston Castle will be the setting for this year’s Gorsedh ceremony.

The high point of the ceremony, which starts at 2pm in the grounds of Launceston Castle, will be the inauguration of the 9 new bards in recognition of their outstanding work in serving Cornwall and her distinctive Celtic identity.

“Being awarded a bardship is a great honour,” said Grand Bard of Cornwall Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn “especially as the ceremony is conducted in front of all the other blue robed bards, alongside representatives of our sister Celtic nations of Wales and Brittany, other Cornish organisations and friends and families that support Gorsedh Kernow and come together on this special occasion to celebrate our precious Cornish culture.”

Grand Bard, Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn with Deputy Grand Bard, Elizabeth Carne, Melennek

Interest in and activity around the Cornish language, Kernewek is reflected once again in the number of people recognised this year for their work in this area. The important world of publishing is also recognised as is the important work done for Cornwall by people overseas.

The new bards for 2017 are

Clive Boutle, London for publishing services to Cornish culture and promotion of European minority languages.

John Buckingham, Padstow for promoting Cornish identity and culture through the history of Padstow and the wider environs.

Jon Cleave, Port Isaac, for promoting Cornish identity through song.

Dee Harris, Porkellis, Helston. By examination in the Cornish language and continuing service to Cornwall.

Martine Knight, Helston, for promoting the Cornish language and identity in a wide field across the community.

Jakki Love, Ludgvan Churchtown, Penzance. By examination in the Cornish language and continuing service to Cornwall.

Russell Pearce III, Orinda, California for promoting Cornish identity in the U.S.A.

Wendy Simpson, Retire, Nr. Withiel, Bodmin. By examination in the Cornish language and continuing service to Cornwall.

Shaun Toft, Falmouth. By examination in the Cornish language and continuing service to Cornwall.


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.

The annual procession of bards and installation of the 9 new initiates into the College of Bards will take place on Saturday 2nd September at the 2pm ceremony in the grounds of Launceston Castle as part of the Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture. The procession will be led at 1.30pm from Launceston Central Methodist Church by Grand Bard of Cornwall Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, accompanied by the Mayor of Launceston Cllr Margaret Young and local girl Sophie Hillman as the “Lady of Cornwall.”

The bardic names of the 9 new bards will be made known at this ceremony, which will be conducted in the Cornish language although it can be easily followed with the English translation. All are welcome to attend the ceremony and there is no charge for this event.

The Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture runs from Wednesday 30th August to Sunday 3rd September and, as well as the main bardic ceremony, has a variety of events including a book festival, a one-day conference – “Cornish Culture & Tourism – Friends or Foes?” with guest speakers including Malcolm Bell, Fiona Wotton and Kim Conchie, the ever popular Cornish ceilidh, a gala concert, Cornish language taster morning, a “Lanson” history walk and sung evensong in Cornish. Most events are free of charge and all are welcome to attend.