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Trail Stop No 16 - 2010s: Gorsedh Kernow
holds its annual bardic ceremony in St. Ives

Gorsedh Kernow – the Gorsedh of the Bards of Cornwall – exists to maintain the national Celtic spirit of Cornwall. The tradition of preserving Celtic history and culture through poetry, song, dance, music, art and spoken word stretches back to the story tellers – the Bards of ancient Celtic countries. Each year a Bardic Ceremony takes place and on Saturday 4th September the 2010 Gorsedd was held in St Ives.

Although the weather was overcast many lined the narrow streets to watch the short morning procession of Bards and local dignatories as they proceeded through the town to the Memorial gardens where a warm welcome was received from the Mayor Mrs Yvonne Watson.

In the afternoon the sun was shining when the main procession of more than 300 Bards left the Guildhall to process to the Island where the ceremony was to take place. Some Bards had travelled from Australia and the USA to attend.

The Gorsedh was opened with the customary cry of peace. Delegates were present from Wales and Brittany, and the Gorsedd's new sword was used in the ceremony for the joining of the sword, a symbol of the uniting of the three Celtic nations.


In his address the Grand Bard, St. Ives born Mick Paynter (Skogynn Pryv) stated:  'This place is important to the Gorsedh because the Modern Cornish Revival began here. Ninety years ago Henry Jenner and Robert Morton Nance created the first branch of the Old Cornwall Society to gather up the fragments of our Celtic culture so that nothing be lost. From that day it was a quick and constant progress for our movement until in 1928 Pedrog the Arch-Druid of Wales inaugurated Gorsedh Kernow at Boscawen Un with Jenner as the first Grand Bard and Nance his Deputy. After that is history'.

After the Flower Dance and the offering of the Fruits of the Earth by the Lady of Cornwall, the Deputy Grand Bard read out the names of the deceased Bards. As a symbol of continuity 16 new Bards were welcomed into the Gorsedh, following which awards and prizes were given out.

As the ceremony drew to a close The Grand Bard called all Bards to the Omborth to place a hand on the shoulder of the Bard in front, and when all were linked to the Swordbearer, the oath of loyalty was given and the song Bro Goth Agan Tasow "Old Land of our Fathers" was sung with passion in what was a memorable setting with the sea gently lapping the shore, after which the procession of bards returned to the Guildhall led by the band Bagas Porthia. In the evening a concert with Cornish music and songs was held in the Guildhall.

You can find out more about Gorsedh Kernow and see a display of items including a bardic robe at St. Ives Museum.

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