The Cornish Culture Association has launced the first of a series of 'doing' guides to Cornish culture.
Guise Dancing - A Cornish Culture Association Guide.
Guise Dancing is one of the most important traditions in Cornish Culture. Guise dancing was originally performed at Christmas time, feast days and other special occasions throughout Cornwall and is enjoying a revival in 21st Century Cornwall. This guide is intended to provide information about the tradition and encourage people new to the practice to engage with this unique and vibrant tradition.
Read the guide
Gorsedh Kernow Conference - "Brand Kernow"
Torpoint Council Chambers.
A one day conference exploring “Brand Kernow” and Cornish culture, Cornish identity at Falmouth University, Social Media with Kernow King, promoting “Brand Kernow” in modern Cornwall and looking at brand values from a business performance perspective.
Torpoint Council Chambers, corner of Buller Road/York Road, Torpoint, PL11 2LD. Free entry. All welcome.
9.45am Arrival and Coffee
10.15am Geryow dalethow gans Bardh Meur a Gernow Steren Mor /
Opening words by the Grand Bard of Cornwall Maureen Fuller.
10.30am “Does Cornwall have a Brand?”
Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor - Communications Officer, Gorsedh Kernow.
A former Public Relations Officer for a nationalised industry, specializing in information for the general public and promoting women in the industry. She is also a musician and a Cornish language speaker.
11.15am “Brand Cornwall - The development of the Cornish Identity at Tremough.”
Tom Fidler – Chair, Association of Celtic Students Ireland and Britain.
Student Engagement Officer for the Institute of Cornish Studies with research interests in the social history of Cornwall, particularly in the 20th and 21st centuries, and Cornwall in its wider Celtic context.
12.00 noon “Social Media with the Kernow King.”
Ed Rowe, The Kernow King.
With almost 37,000 Facebook likes and over 14,000 Twitter followers he should know what he is talking about. As Kernow King would say “Geddon My Birds!”
12.45pm Lunch (please bring own lunch)
2pm “Leveraging the Cornish in Promoting the Cornish Brand”
Amy Hale, co-editor of New Directions in Celtic Studies.
Amy Hale, PhD is an anthropologist who has been researching and writing about topics relevant to modern Cornwall for 20 years. We will be watching and listening to Amy via SKYPE.
2.45pm “Adding Value through your Values: Strengthening your Brand via Cornish Characteristics”
Anna Pascoe, Business Performance Manager, Cornish Orchards.
Anna heads up the export and website divisions and staff development and business relations. She is also a director of 4Elementz social enterprise, which assists hard-to-reach young people in gaining skills and work experience.
15.30 Closing session
15.45 End of Conference
- See more at: http://www.whatsoncornwall.co.uk/more/gorsedh-kernow-conference#sthash.oWp0LToG.dpuf
WEA Cornwall Branch
Writers and Literature of Cornwall
Enjoy a feast of Cornish literature, from our earliest texts to the present day, as we explore poetry, drama and fiction through the ages. We will discuss key writers including Jack Clemo, Daphne du Maurier and many more during this lively course.
The course will cover a chronological overview of the literature of Cornwall – A timeline, followed by sessions on the importance of theatre, the short story, insider/outsider fiction, themes/ concerns of poetry, the female voice, literature for children and ending with a consideration of literature from the Cornish diaspora and aims to explore the following topics:
Please note: First and last sessions (6 Oct & 17 Nov) will finish 1pm
Season Autumn, Day Courses, Multi Week Courses
VenueThe Red Store, Lerryn
Course Starts Monday 06/10/2014
Course Ends Monday 17/11/2014
Notes Fees £50 (free to those receiving means tested benefits).
Six Monday Meetings 10.30am-12.30pm
Source: The Western Morning News
"It’s a safe bet that, if asked to list Cornwall’s most celebrated sons or daughters, most Cornish people would place Sir Humphry Davy and Richard Trevithick at the top of theirs... though not necessarily in that order.
And while both stand tall in our history, the latter is perhaps the taller of the two.
Born in Illogan in 1771, if ever a man led “a two pasty life” – as he describes it in a letter to his daughter Elizabeth during the last year of his life – it was Richard Trevithick.
Based on a bundle of 25 “lost letters” (apparently stumbled upon by a certain Dr Eric Charles in the back room of a book shop in downtown Tokyo in the 1950s), Horses Stood Still – a new book and CD – gives voice to this Cornish giant. they were all written from . Through the device of imagining Trevithick’s last days at the Bull Inn in Dartford in 1833, author Simon Parker presents us with an absorbing account, straight from the horse’s mouth as it were, of Cap’n Dick’s many adventures.
Brilliant as he was at most things, Trevithick was not formally educated beyond the village school and found written English difficult, particularly spelling. Parker, to his credit, has resisted the temptation to correct the letters and wisely allows them to appear as “written”. It is a fact which adds to their apparent authenticity and for the first time enables us to “hear” the voice of this great Cornish inventor and engineer in both book and double CD format.
The double CD has been recorded as a drama, with none other than Ben Luxon CBE playing Cap’n Dick – a stroke of genius this – with Dorothy Bricknell as Lizzie and Steve Jacobs as Dr Charles.
Married in 1797 to Jane Harvey, who became mother of their six children – Elizabeth, Francis, Little Dick, Annie, Jack and Fred, – although he was to describe his marriage as “a union of equals: mee and Jane against thee world”, Trevithick’s behaviour was, to say the least, reprehensible. Away from home for long periods, apart from the frequent journeys he made to various places in this country it was the 11 years he spent in South America that seem unforgivable.
Just what his wife thought about it all we shall never know but, as Trevithick writes to Lizzie regarding his return: “Then I saw your mother. She had no expression I cod name. ‘Well, Richard?’ she says. ‘What treasures have you brought us?’ Your mother’s look mocked mee. ‘What abt my dress – fit for the Queen of Peru, you said.’ I hadn’t a word of defence. Eleven years away and this was my prize: a watch, a compass, a pair of spurs and a sour welcome.”
Rather like Humphry Davy, Trevithick was no business man. Wealth eluded him and he was to die and be buried a long way from his native Cornwall. But, as these letters remind us, from his “puffing devil” that caused the horses to stand still while “goin’ up Camborne Hill” to all that he achieved in the mining industry, Richard Trevithick was, in every sense, a Cornish giant.
With regard to the letters in Horses Stood Still, one must agree with his daughter who, in writing about them from her home at Hayle in 1869, had this to say: “I urge you to read them and be amazed.”
A Cornish Mining World Heritage and Blue Puma Music production, it was recorded in Cornwall and America by Martin Turner and John Sellew, with incidental music by Simon Dobson.
Excellent value, the book and double CD are pure Cornish gold.
Horses Stood Still by Simon Parker is published by Scryfa at £5 (including p&p). Both book and CD are available, separately or together, from Scryfa, Halwinnick Cottage, Linkinhorne, Callington. PL17 7NS or via scryfa.co.uk
Read more at http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Ben-Luxon-gives-voice-Trevithick-8217-s-8216-lost/story-22803960-detail/story.html#96Mi4jwfxXRBrUP3.99
Source: The Western Morning News
Musical traditions linking parts of Africa, America and Australia to Cornwall is to be the subject of a comprehensive research project by a Cornish musician and academic.
Kate Neale, from Porthcothan in North Cornwall, has been awarded a three-year scholarship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to complete a PhD examining Cornish music in overseas communities.
Her work will take her to Grass Valley, California, and Australia’s Copper Triangle centred on Kadina, Moonta and Wallaroo, as well as into the towns and villages of her native Cornwall. Although Cornish musical traditions and the Cornish Diaspora have attracted scholarly attention over the years, Kate believes she is one of the first people to look specifically into the musical legacy of early emigrants.
“Growing up at Porthcothan Bay, I feel very lucky as an ethnomusicologist to have vibrant and intriguing musical traditions almost on my doorstep,” she said. “During my bachelors and masters degrees at Cardiff University, my work focused on Padstow’s May Day and Christmas carolling traditions. The research into Cornish Christmas carols led me back 150 years and all over the world.”
She explained that during the 19th and early 20th centuries, countless Cornish families left these shores to work in British colonies, taking with them their distinctive food, sport, religion, dialect and music.
“I became fascinated with the idea that Cornish people thousands of miles away from their birthplaces were performing the music they had brought with them from home, and even more so when I found that some of these communities have maintained Cornish musical traditions to the present day,” she said.
A former pupil of Penrice School, Kate’s musical education began early, learning piano from the age of four and progressing to become an accomplished viola player with Cornwall Youth Orchestra and the Cardiff University Orchestra.
“Mum had us playing music when were little, and my grandfather was an amazing boogie-woogie pianist, so it was always a very important part of home life,” she said.
It was while studying for a combined English, Music and Philosophy degree at Cardiff that she first became interested in ethnomusicology.
“I did a module in my first year and it blew me away,” she said. “I became fascinated at looking at cultures and why they do the things they do – it’s a kind of music anthropology.”
Concentrating on the unique traditions of Obby Oss for her final degree project, Kate followed this with a masters degree in ethnomusicology. A developing fascination with the music of the Cornish Diaspora led to her being awarded the scholarship which begins next month.
“I am very interested in the music that went out with Cornish people during the 19th century,” she said. “You can’t tell where the research will take you and what you will uncover on the way, but I am already in touch with Cornish societies abroad and have come across a number of carol composers who originated in Cornwall.”
Kate is now hoping that Western Morning News readers will be able to assist her research by getting in touch with information about lesser-known carols, composers, and traditions that may have been taken to other parts of the world.
“When we talk about Cornish music, I’m not entirely sure what most people think of,” she said. “Certainly there’s the current folk scene, which has its different strands, old and new, the choirs, brass bands, carols and pub singing. But that isn’t the whole picture.
“What is most interesting is that this music was so culturally important to those families emigrating from Cornwall that they needed to take it with them and thereby establish a new Cornish heritage in places like Grass Valley and Moonta. It is that which I am hoping to uncover – and fortunately the period I am looking at is in the age of paper documentation, so I’m very hopeful of discovering some long-lost gems of Cornish music.”
Anyone with information they think might be relevant to the research, including documents, music, recordings, letters and images, can contact Kate by writing to Penlan, Porthcothan Bay, Padstow, PL28 8LP, calling 07814885038 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Falmouth University
Falmouth University is delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2014 Nick Darke Award.
The winner will be announced at an award ceremony at Falmouth University on Saturday 18 October, 2014.
About the Nick Darke Award
Funded by Falmouth University, the Nick Darke Award commemorates the playwright Nick Darke, and was conceived following his death by his wife, the artist and film-maker Jane Darke, with the support of his family. Nick Darke wrote in many forms but earned his living in the world of theatre, screen and radio. The award is therefore presented each year to a writer for work that peruses an environmental theme within one of the following disciplines:
The £6,000 prize money is intended to help provide the time for writers to be able to write that financial support facilitates.
Keiran Lynn, winner of the 2012 Nick Darke Award, said: “Almost all of the writers I know have other jobs, so are only able to write after a day job has drained their energy and best efforts. The Nick Darke Award enabled me to dedicate more of my time, more of my energy and more of myself to writing: and I will be grateful of the opportunity for the rest of my career.”
The first submission stage involves outlining the idea in the form of a 25 word or less pitch, followed by an outline for the story idea in 750 words, suggesting character, plot and structure. Applicants are asked to also submit 20 pages that represent their writing, either in the form of a new or existing piece.
Once received, the script proposals are passed on to a panel of readers who select eight submissions for the shortlist. The winner is selected from the shortlist by a panel of judges that are internationally recognised for their achievements in writing for film, television, radio and theatre.
The deadline for submissions was Monday 14 April 2014.
Find out more at: falmouth.ac.uk/writing
Contact usThe Nick Darke Award, Falmouth University
Penryn Campus, Cornwall TR10 9FE
"Jane Stanley is an extremely talented archaeological reconstruction artist, based out of Cornwall. Castle-an-Dinas is an Iron Age fort in the middle of that county, a six-acre site second only, in terms of its natural charisma, to South Cadbury in Somerset. Put Jane and Castle-an-Dinas together and you get some of the best historical fiction around, though historical fiction by brush stroke.
Cornwall Council commissioned Jane to do a series of paintings of Castle-an-Dinas. What makes this series (to the best of my knowledge) unique is that they are not just different aspects of the site (a deer kill, a burial, a hosting…) They are the site over perhaps twenty five centuries. We put them up here with a link to Jane’s facebook page, hoping that neither she nor Cornwall Council will send a cease and desist order: they are available in a pdf online; also given the quality of Jane’s work we take pleasure in pointing out a recent book, A Brush with the Past. Beach’s credit card has presently maxed out but as soon as everything is back up and functioning… The image at the head of the post shows the creation of the two bronze age tombs at the head of Dinas: the second picture immediately below shows, instead, the Iron Age fort that followed on. As is typical of these sites the Iron Age was all too happy to leave the Bronze Age in place. The stronghold was crowned by two tombs from centuries before.
So far this is the normal fare of archeaeological art (albeit it at the best end of the market). Now though we turn to more recent times. In the first days of March 1645 a mauled Royalist army camped out in old Iron Age vallum. Cornwall was an overwhelmingly Royalist area, but here the decision was made to surrender. The fight was impossible by this date and two days later the Royal Standard was given up to the Parliamentarians at Bodmin: a black day. Britain would labour under the ‘Protector’ for fifteen wasted years.
The next picture is a curiosity. Cornwall is mining country, but it was not until Britain’s straitened circumstances in the First World War that the decision was made to sink a shaft here in search of Wolfram of all things. Love the combination of Edwardian industrial might and Iron Age landscape.
Then my favourite picture of them all. In the 1960s a Pennsylvanian archaeologist, Bernard Wailes carried out a multi-year professional dig at the site. Bizarrely, though this sometimes happens in archaeology, he never got his act together to actually publish the findings. There were two brief notes in a Cornish journal. Castle-An-Dinas waits another archaeological hero, preferably one though that has time to dig and write.
Here are the pictures that Jane missed or that Cornwall Council did not commission. First, there are Arthurian rumours about the fort: a bit of desperate Romano-British sheltering might have been fun. Second, the fort was used by smugglers in the modern period: barrels being rolled out of the way of excise? Third, there are reports of great furze fires in the modern period at night. By all accounts the whole countryside could see Castle-an-Dinas in flames for miles around."
A successful funding bid by Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek will enable communities to learn of their Cornish language heritage
Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek has received £28,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a new project, Taves an Tir (The Tongue of the Land), to be carried out in Lanivet, Heamoor and the Tolgus area of Redruth. Led by volunteers from the local community this project will focus on Cornish language heritage found in field and settlement names, and traditional family surnames.
The project starts in Lanivet with a ‘Kernow Kwiz’ pub quiz evening at The Lanivet Inn on Tuesday 19 August, starting at 7.30pm. This event will be led by quizmasters Pol Hodge and Cornish Oaf Luke Stevens, and pasties will be provided courtesy of The Lanivet Inn free of charge on a first come, first served basis. Everyone from the local community is invited to take part.
The project will move on to Heamoor in November and then to Redruth in April 2015, engaging local schools and communities during the three months spent in each location. By the finish of the project in May 2016, a booklet, CD and 3D maps will have been produced for each of the three areas, as well as educational resource packs for schools and other community groups. The project will conclude with an exhibition touring Cornish museums. Finally, the completed work will find a permanent home in the new Kresen Kernow archive building in Redruth.
Through schools’ events, schoolchildren can join in the fun, exploring the history of place names and family names; such as those beginning ‘Tre‘, meaning ‘homestead’ or ‘farm’, and ‘Goon’ meaning ‘downland’ or ‘Lann’ meaning a holy enclosure. Following formal training with the Cornwall Records Centre and the Historic Environment Service in Truro, including an exclusive tour of the record vaults, volunteers will work with Cornish language speakers to use their new skills alongside their expert local knowledge to help us chart changes to place names on the map and collect new information about Cornish language in the landscape. This project aims to enhance perceptions of belonging and community, support feelings of identity and sense of place, and will make stories of the past accessible to modern adults and children alike.
Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek is a registered charity, working with adults and children both within and outside Cornwall to advance the Cornish language through promoting, encouraging and fostering its use. Through community teamwork and the development of data interrogation skills, the Taves an Tir project will enable up to 50 adults to become directly involved, with many more – including children from local schools – joining in for the journey. Working with archaeologists and archivists from Cornwall Records Centre and the Historic Environment Service, Maga, Bards and other experts from the Cornish language community, participants will gain a deeper insight into the history of their local area and an enhanced understanding of Cornish language elements in their local landscape and in many Cornish surnames.
Commenting on the award, Loveday Jenkin, chair of the Kowethas said,
“We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for this project to explore the Cornish language around us. This award will enable local people to build upon the recent recognition of the Cornish as a unique and distinct people and help them rediscover their Cornish language heritage. This exciting project will be a journey of discovery for each community and will give them an even greater sense of pride in our land, ancient heritage and language.”
Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek is a Cornish registered charity (no:1065527) which promotes the Cornish language through a wide range of publications, classes and events including the Pennseythun Gernewek, the largest annual gathering of Cornish speakers.
Source - including more pictures: The Western Morning News
By Simon Parker
That was the West that was - Bal Maidens
The story of the men who toiled deep underground in Cornwall’s mines has been much told. But what of the women, the bal maidens, who laboured “at grass” on the surface? During Victorian times particularly, mining women were employed in great numbers. They prepared tin and copper ore for smelting, worked at domestic jobs in the count-houses, and attended to mine animals.
“Bal” is the Cornish word for a mine and the maidens usually began their working lives at around ten years of age. During the mid-1800s one of their biggest employers was Camborne’s vast Dolcoath mine, but the Consols and United Mines in the Gwennap area, and Fowey Consolidated also took hundreds of women.
The women’s jobs were repetitive, often dirty and wet, their hours long. Breaking up the ore for smelting was exhausting work, using heavy hammers to smash the stone into small pieces, often with little shelter from the weather. Compared with the men, wages were poor, around 4d (2p) per day for younger girls, rising to perhaps 1 shilling (5p), and if the women couldn’t work they weren’t paid.
Despite the unenlightened times though, some women escaped their numbing manual toil. Recently, a Victorian photograph has emerged of a mysterious well-dressed woman who came to prominence at Wheal Peevor, a mine near Redruth. Grim and austere, her image glares out at us – but who was she?
Lynne Mayers, a published authority on bal maidens who has examined the old photo, said: “If the ascription’s correct, this rather fearsome-looking lady was named Grace Polkinghorne. My guess is that she was either the widow of one of the mine agents or the count-house woman who stayed on at Peevor after its closure in 1889. We may never know for sure who she was – but she certainly looks a force to be reckoned with.”
More mysteries are preserved at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro. Two anonymous paintings, probably 19th century, show Cornish mining scenes. Each includes bal maidens, some wearing the distinctive white “gook”, a stiff protective bonnet. But how true-to-life are the pictures in portraying the women’s real jobs and appearance?
The paintings aren’t on general view, but Lynne Mayers has visited the museum’s store to study them. She said: “In the first painting, women are helping to weigh the ore, as well as shovelling and hand-barrowing the material. It seems the mine is preparing for sampling day. Ore was laid out in exact-sized heaps, or doles, and subjected to careful analysis of mineral content, ready for sale. The second painting shows maidens sorting the ore at tables, and one is sieving the material. Other women seem to be cobbing, breaking the ore into small pieces, with slightly de-curved cobbing hammers. This suggests a copper or, possibly, a lead mine.”
Similarity of subject, broadly comparable colour pallets and style of brush strokes suggest the two paintings may well be by the same artist. But what sources did he or she consult for the women’s portrayal?
“Possibly the maidens have been modelled on those shown in Thomas Allom’s 1831 print of Dolcoath mine, or an engraving in the 1842 book Itinerary of Cornwall by Cyrus Redding,” suggested Lynne.
The paintings’ depictions are certainly close to the old images, and consistent with descriptions of the women’s work which have come down to us. That said, soft colours and a sense of cheerful bustle serve to play down the reality of gruelling daily grind.
Lynne has also uncovered stories of a few women who became mine managers, which was most unusual in Victorian times.
“Several senior mining women had been left widows, and took over their late husbands’ businesses,” she said. “Lydia Taylor ran Wheal Lovell in Wendron and it seems she was also involved in South Wheal Towan copper mine – also, unsurprisingly, known as Wheal Lydia. But another woman, a Mrs Gully, made a less than positive name for herself. In 1841 a complaint was brought against her for selling shares in Wheal Trevenson – a non-existent mine.”
For more on Cornish mining women, visit Lynne Mayers’ website, balmaiden.co.uk
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