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Held at Queens Square in Moonta
on Yorke Peninsula in South Australia from 3.00 p.m. on Saturday, 17th May 2003
as part of the Kernewek Lowender 2003 (the Biennial Cornish Festival).

THE GORSEDD OF CORNWALL

The ancient Gorsedd (or Gathering of Bards) of Cornwall was revived at Boscawen an Un on 21st September 1928, at a ceremony conducted by the then Arch Druid Pedrog of Wales. Though completely independent, it is closely allied to the Gorsedd of Wales and of Brittany.

Its aims are to maintain the Celtic spirit of Cornwall, and to give expression to such spirit; to encourage the study of Cornish history, literature, language and culture; to foster Cornish art, music and writing; to strengthen links between Cornwall and other Celtic countries, and to promote a spirit of peace and co-operation among those who work for the honour of Cornwall.

The Gorsedd confers bardship in recognition of the manifestation of the Celtic spirit through some outstanding contribution to a specific aspect of Cornish culture, or by the successful completion of an exacting and intensive course in the Cornish language. Bardic ceremonies are conducted exclusively in the Cornish language, but this can be accompanied by an English translation.

Bards and the Bardic Ceremony

The Blue-robed Bards from Cornwall, other countries and all parts of Australia are special people who have worked for the glory of Cornwall in some outstanding way. In addition to the language Bards, in Australia we have a Bard who was the founder of Kernewek Lowender (the biennial Cornish Festival), another who has been responsible for the restoration of many of the local mining buildings, several who have given many years of loyal service to Cornish Associations in Australia and finally those who are historians and writers. Some were born in Cornwall while others are descendants of Cornish men and women.

The ceremony, conducted entirely in the Cornish language, is an abbreviated form of the event which is held annually in Cornwall for all Bards of the Cornish Gorsedd, marking the high point in the cultural and ceremonial life of the Cornish people and remembering those ancient ties with King Arthur and the Celtic inhabitants of Cornwall.

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The traditional music for the ceremony is supplied the the Harp. The Leader of the Bards wears the symbol of office, the copper plastron decorated with the Bardic Arwon and wreathed with wattle, Australia's national flower. The Bards, led in by the Standard Bearer and Banner Bearers from Cornish Associations in Australia, occupy the Circle with the Harpist. No other person may enter the Bardic Circle.

The Master of Ceremonies gives a brief explanation of procedures during the Ceremony. Members of the Furry Dance Troupe dance the simple Flower Dance.

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Small posies of flowers are carried by the dancers who form a guard of honour for the May Queen, in her role as the Lady of Australia's Little Cornwall. She in turn presents a ceremonial bouquet of flowers and grain to the Leader, speaking in the ancient Cornish language as she does so. The Grand Bard replies to her Offering, accepting thus mindful of His pledge to us, for the Bards of Cornwall in Australia.

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[Left]The May Queen enters with the ceremonial bouqet.
The flower girls curtsey to her.
[Right] She presents the bouquet to the Grand Bard and says (as translated):
Earth-grown Fruits, plants bearing seed,
God has granted for mankind
By His Grace on them we feed,
Bear we then a grateful mind:
As emblem of His bounty free,
Take the Offering from me,
As from the Hearth of Little Cornwall.

The Gathering sings He Shall Come Again, the Vice Herald commemorates Bards Deceased, new Bards are introduced to the Assembly, Bards from overseas are received, and the Leader reads his message to the Bards of Australia. The Oath of Loyalty is spoken and they sing Old Land of Our Fathers. The Assembly ends with The Cry of Peace and the Bards withdraw from the circle, led by the Marshall and Leader, and accompanied by members of Cornish Associations and local dignitaries.

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Led by the Banner Bearer of the Cornish Association of South Australia,
the Grand Bard John Bolitho withdraws from the circle
with the Standard Bearer Ros Paterson leading the Assembly of Bards.

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Governor of South Australia Marjorie Jackson-Nelson AO, CVO, MBE
poses with the Grand Bard
surrounded by the Bards and the Banner Bearers.
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The May Queens, present and past,
and the flower girls
pose with the Grand Bard and all Bards present.

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Cornish Association of New South Wales Bards,
Chris Dunkerley, Betty Bevins, Russell Cocks and Ruth Cocks
pose with Cornish Flag Bearer Eileen Lyon and CANSW Banner Bearer, President Eddie Lyon.


Return to Kernewek Lowender 2003
OR
Go on to A Cornish Mill, a chance meeting at Fer Kernwek.