Bards were an important part of ancient Celtic
society and culture from very early times. The
Bards were the keepers of tradition and
histories of the tribes and were proficient in
poetry and music. After the defeat by the
Saxons in the 10th century, the Celtic Bards
were less and less a feature of life in the
seats of power.
The 17th and 18th centuries saw an awakening of
the Celtic spirit and the Welsh Gorsedh was
revived in 1792 but the Cornish Gorsedh was not
revived until 1928.
Prior to this some Cornish folk were made Welsh
Bards in the early 1900s.
The aims of the Gorsedh Kernow are to maintain
the Celtic spirit of Cornwall - to give
expression to that spirit, to encourage the
study of Cornish history, language, literature
and culture; to foster Cornish art, music and
writing; to strengthen the links between other
Celtic countries and to promote peace and
cooperation among those who work for Cornwall.
Bards are nominated by two Bards on the basis of
exhibiting a Cornish and Celtic spirit and for
some outstanding and lasting achievement or
contribution to Cornish culture or
identity. Many have achieved excellence in
the Cornish language.
There are now some 40 Bards resident in
Australia but are considered Cornish Bards. The
Gorsedh is held annually in Cornwall and
Assemblies of Bards are held regularly here in
The ceremony is essentially Christian, spoken
entirely in the old Celtic Cornish language and
has connection with the Druids. It is a
celebration of peace and harmony. An
English translation is made available for the
spectators. The Bards wore flowing blue robes
The ceremony begins with a call for peace, A
ceremony of offering symbolic gifts of God to
mankind, follows the presentation being made by
a lady who acts on behalf of the women and
children. A delightful dance is performed
by young girls who accompany the “Queen” who
make the presentation. The ceremony
proceeds with the introduction to newly created
Bards, and reference to the history of Cornwall
in song and word.
Gorsedh Kernow in Victoria
To be created a Bard of Gorsedh Kernow is the
highest honour Cornwall can bestow.
It is given today to those folk who have made a
significant contribution to preserving the
Cornish heritage and culture.
Members of the CAV who have been admitted as
Bards either recognising their proficiency in
the Cornish language or for their services to
the CAV, are:
By examination in the Cornish Language: Stephen
Amos was barded 1986; Stephen Morey 1997; Peter
Trevorah 2001; Betty Johns in 2008.
For their work for Cornwall in Victoria:
Betty Eggleton (dec.) 1988; Bill Whitford 1991;
Lesley Morton and Bill Phillips (dec.) 1993;
Ruth Hopkins 1995; George Ellis 1995; Edna Ellis
(dec.) 1997; Alison Stephen 1998; June Parrott
1999; Richard Snedden 1999; Janet Woolhouse
2001; Joy Menhennet 2002; Thomas Luke 2003;
Gweneth Phillips 2003; Monica Donaldson (dec.)
2004; Leanne Lloyd 2004; Colin Roberts 2007;
Elizabeth Luke 2008; Roderick Phillips 2009;
Neil Thomas 2011; Peter Munday 2012; June
Whiffin 2013; Wendy Benoit 2014; Robert Lloyd
2014; Derek Trewarne 2014; Robyn Coates 2015;
Lenice Stuchbery 2015.