Ker­now Splann!

Merv Davey

Cornwall Life - - INSIDE -

This is my last col­umn as Grand Bard of Gorsedh Ker­now. At our Septem­ber cer­e­mony I pass the crown on to my suc­ces­sor El­iz­a­beth Carne. Grand Bards serve a three year term and what an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence it has been for me. Gorsedh Ker­now holds three cer­e­monies a year in lo­ca­tions that con­nect with Corn­wall’s his­tory and dis­tinct iden­tity. The Grand Bard leads th­ese cer­e­monies and I have found my­self of­fi­ci­at­ing at ex­otic lo­ca­tions like Launce­s­ton Cas­tle, Warb­stow Bury (in the pour­ing rain) and the haunt­ing Bal­lowall Bar­row, in west Pen­with. On 1 Septem­ber 2018 we will be hold­ing our cer­e­mony at the Bar­row­fields in Newquay with their panoramic view of the North Cor­nish Coast.

There is also a civic role for the Grand Bard in rep­re­sent­ing Corn­wall and Cor­nish tra­di­tion. When the Queen vis­ited Corn­wall I was in­vited to join her for lunch at St Michael’s Mount, def­i­nitely one of life’s ex­pe­ri­ences! This con­trasts with an in­vi­ta­tion to par­tic­i­pate in the Furry Dance through the town of Moonta in South Aus­tralia dur­ing Kernewek Lowen­der. This is a mas­sive, bi-an­nual, fes­ti­val held in the Cop­per tri­an­gle of Yorke Penin­sula which cel­e­brates the tra­di­tions brought to the area by the Cor­nish Min­ers in the early nine­teenth cen­tury. The Grand Bard also rep­re­sents Corn­wall each year at the Breton Gorsedh and at the Welsh Eist­ed­fodd.

The role of the Grand Bard is also a cam­paign­ing one to as­sert Corn­wall’s dis­tinct Celtic iden­tity and the im­pli­ca­tions of the recog­ni­tion of Cor­nish Na­tional Mi­nor­ity sta­tus in 2014. This has in­volved some in­ter­est­ing meet­ings with English Her­itage around the in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Cor­nish prop­er­ties it man­ages and a won­der­ful tour of the new ar­chae­o­log­i­cal ex­ca­va­tions at Tin­tagel. I also found my­self en­gaged with the bound­ary com­mis­sion and the on­go­ing de­bate about in­cor­po­rat­ing part of Corn­wall into Devon for the par­lia­men­tary con­stituen­cies.

My favourite mo­ments as Grand Bard are nev­er­the­less shar­ing the ex­cite­ment of the St Pi­ran’s day events with Chil­dren on 5 March each year when we cel­e­brate our pa­tron saint and the dis­tinc­tive Corn­wall he rep­re­sents. Of course this is some­thing that will not stop as I move on from the role of Grand Bard! I look for­ward to shar­ing sto­ries and in­for­ma­tion about Corn­wall in a dif­fer­ent per­sona in fu­ture Corn­wall Life col­umns but in the mean­time Ker­now Bys Vykken (Corn­wall For­ever)!

‘Grand Bards serve a three year term and what an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence it has been for me’

Merv Davey con­tin­ues his col­umn as Dr Folk in our Oc­to­ber is­sue. Folk­gorsedhk­er­now.org.uk @Gorsed­hKer­now

ABOVE:St Pi­ran vThe Queen? Cel­e­brat­ing the pa­tron saint re­mains one of Merv Davey’s favourite events

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