" A name perpetual and a fame permanent and immortal” - St Keverne gets ready for the An Gof Commemoration on June 27th
From Simon Parker in the WMN
Such is the legendary heroic status of rebel leader Michael Joseph that Cornish patriots continue to honour his memory more than 500 years after he was executed for treason by an English king.
Known to all simply as An Gof, the blacksmith who raised an army of protest to march on London in 1497 remains a symbol of Cornish distinctiveness and individualism – as well as a byword for resistance.
Next week – 517 years after his death – the An Gof Committee is organising its annual community commemoration in St Keverne, where Michael Joseph lived until he set off for London. The event starts at 7pm on Friday June 27 with a short service at the An Gof statue at the entrance to the village, followed by a procession to the square.
The occasion will continue entertainment in the parish hall from 8pm. Local school children will sing a song to start the evening and The An Gof Players plan a performance of a new play based on the life and work of artist John Opie – The Cornish Wonder. There will also be a pasty supper and community singing.
An Gof Committee secretary Francesca Martin said: “The event is always a success, but this year we are trying really hard to spread the word, raise awareness and involve more people from further afield.”
Michael Joseph An Gof, along with Bodmin lawyer Thomas Flamank, led the Cornish Rebellion of 1497. The rebel army marched on London to protest against Henry VII’s levy of a tax to pay for his invasion of Scotland.
Arriving at Blackheath, the Cornish army was beaten by forces loyal to the king at the Battle of Deptford Bridge on 17 June 1497. An Gof fled to Greenwich after the battle, but was captured and sent to the Tower of London. He and Flamank were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn Hill on 27 June 1497, their heads displayed on pike-staffs on London Bridge.
On the 500th anniversary of the rebellion – a defining moment in Cornish history – a commemorative march called Keskerdh Kernow 500 retraced their march from St Keverne to Blackheath.
Before his execution, An Gof is recorded to have said that he would have “a name perpetual and a fame permanent and immortal” – and next week’s commemoration would certainly seem to bear this out.
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