Cornish Heritage Organisations
Cornish Heritage Groups are listed in alphabetical order. We are happy to update information and add new links and organisations to this list. Please contact us. Extinct organisations [in italics] or those believed to be, will be included together with reference to any continuing organisation to provide as full directory as possible. Organisations who are members of a larger grouping may be listed on that groupings page. This is an ongoing project to list these organisations and is not exhaustive. Updates from organisations would be appreciated as would suggestion for addition to the list.
Listings for online groups are part of a new ongoing project and will be listed on another page.
Cornish Heritage Groups and organisations
Agan Tavas exists to promote the use and study of the Cornish language and of any traditional forms of Cornish speech and spelling which have developed naturally in Cornwall. Agan Tavas believes that the Cornish language is a vital cultural link from Cornwall's history and it has a strong future. The organisation publishes a range of books and translations in Cornish and runs Cornish language lessons.
An Daras ('The doorway' in Cornish), provides a portal to the distinctive traditions of Cornwall. It provides information and research on many aspects of Cornish culture including Cornish Bagpipes, Costume, Dance, Dialect, Songs, Feast Days and Customs.
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Cornishfolk/
Awen Productions. Awen is a film and media production company with a strong social agenda, using digital technology and storytelling to address social change and rural community participation. The main focus is empowering communities through the creative use of digital technology (video and photography) so ordinary people can tell their own stories. Awen was founded by three well-known Penwith based film and media creatives and was one of the first organisations in the country to register as a CIC.
- Facebook www.facebook.com/AwenProductions/
Bewnans Kernow is the partnership of Cornish cultural organisations. Each partner organisation has been established to develop different aspects of Cornish culture. Cornish culture is rich and vibrant and has many different forms including Cornish sport, Cornish music, the Cornish Language, Cornish mining, Cornish history, Cornish film and many other cultural fields. Bewnans Kernow was formed to support the partner groups and increase resources to the sector.
Celtic Congress - Cornwall Branch. The International Celtic Congress is the organisation that organises a major annual conference held in a different Celtic country each year and which promotes the knowledge, use and appreciation of the Celtic languages, heritage and cultures. The Celtic Congress Cornwall Branch hosted the 2019 Congress, with 70 international delegates spending a culture-filled week that focused on Celtic culture and young people.
The Celtic Link's primary aim is to build stronger links within the Celtic world both musically and culturally and to connect people and individuals alike from all corners of the globe. It has a strong Facebook group and soon to be launched magazine app. The Celtic Link is a truly global community working together to bring Celtic Culture to the forefront.
CERES is a not-for-profit organisation which provides cultural heritage links between Cornwall and the wider Europe. Cornwall possesses a vibrant cultural heritage stemming from Celtic origins; a heritage which has contributed significantly to the European mosaic. From the outset the policy of CERES was to establish links at working levels in the European Commission and Parliament, and similarly in the Council of Europe and with organisations such as the European Cultural Foundation. This policy has been maintained with success and the Secretariat's pioneering approaches laid foundations that led to a greater European awareness of Cornwall and to Cornish participation in a variety of heritage programmes and projects.
The China Clay History Society was formed in 2001 to stimulate interest in and study of the china clay industry in Cornwall and Devon and of industries related to it, and to collect and preserve relevant material. The Society is part of the China Clay Museum (the China Clay Country Park) at Wheal Martyn, near St Austell, and organises lectures, exhibitions and field trips, and issues a newsletter containing articles on aspects of china clay history, three times a year. The Society has assembled a substantial archive of material, which, together with the accredited archive at the China Clay Museum, comprises over 400 boxes of documents and some 100,000 photographs. This material is freely available for inspection or use by the public, on application to the Society.
- Facebook: www.wheal-martyn.com/china-clay-history-society/
The Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network (CASPN) is a local charitable partnership organisation that protects and conserves the ancient sites and monuments of Cornwall, so that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy and appreciate them forever.
CASPN representatives come from a wide range of organisations and community groups that share an interest in Cornwall’s ancient sites, including: the National Trust, Cornwall County Council’s Historic Environment Service, Cornwall Archaeological Society, English Heritage, (Sustainable Tourism and Community Regeneration), Penwith Access and Rights of Way, Madron Community Forum, Pagan Moot and Meyn Mamvro. The Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network works closely with local communities and official organisations to protect and promote our ancient heritage landscape through research, education and outreach activities.
The Cornish Federation of Male Voice Choirs is a central source of information about the Cornish male voice choirs. The Federation supports and encourages composers and organises concerts. Federation members work to encourage choral singing amongst younger members of the community and many choirs conduct workshops within Cornish schools. Over the years a bond of friendship has developed between individuals and their respective choirs which has enabled the Federation to produce many wonderful massed concerts, as well as providing choirs with a forum to discuss mutual problems and aspirations.
The Cornish Buildings Group encourages the protection and repair of historic buildings whether these are listed buildings or simply good examples of traditional building. The Group aims to encourage good architecture and to raise the general standard of building throughout Cornwall. The organisation hopes that our generation may leave behind it buildings which will be looked back on with that same pleasure and enjoyment that we experience when we look at the architecture of past ages. The Group is administered by up to 16 Council members who are elected annually. Current council members include architects, conservation officers, historic advisors, planning consultants, writers and lecturers on architecture and building.
- Website: www.sites.google.com/site/cornishbuildingsgroup/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/cornishbuildingsgroup/
The Cornish Dance Society is an umbrella organisation promoting Cornish dancing through workshops, festivals and teaching in schools and a focal point for anyone interested in becoming involved with Cornish Dance. The Society organises events, workshops and manages projects.
The Cornish Hedge Research and Education Group (CHREG) promotes the understanding of Cornish hedges in Cornwall. The Group supports the sharing and development of traditional skills and works with public and community sector organisations and professional hedgers to ensure the future of Cornish Hedges in the landscape.
The Cornish Language Partnership oversees the implementation of the Cornish Language Development Strategy. The Partnership includes language organisations, local authorities and a number of other organisations who have come together with the aim of promoting Cornish and developing it further in Cornish life. The programme of work it is undertaking is funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government and by Cornwall Council.
The Cornish Mining World Heritage Site (WHS) Office WHS status was granted due to the historic importance of the Cornish mining landscape, its impressive mine buildings, and the pioneering technology and scientific research it represents. The Cornish Mining World Heritage Site (WHS) Office wishes to promote cultural activities, both as an element of, and as a means for communicating, the nominated Site’s Outstanding Universal Value. Re-affirming Cornish Mining culture as distinctive, globally significant expression of an evolving industrial society is one of the key policy aims in the WHS Management Plan.
The Cornish Pilot Gig Association (or CPGA) is the body which governs the sport of Cornish pilot gig racing. There are well over 100 gigs on the CPGA register of gigs. The Associations sets the rules for races and championships and monitors all racing gigs during the construction phase. The Association's Standards Officer is responsible for measuring every gig at least three times during construction, to ensure that it conforms to the Standard set by the Association. All modern racing gigs are based on the "Treffry", built in 1838 by William Peters of St. Mawes, and still owned and raced by the Newquay Rowing Club.
Cornish Story is an initiative set up by the Institute of Cornish Studies with a vision to promote a greater knowledge of Cornwall and the Cornish Diaspora overseas. Stories and films that have been collected by the Cornish Audio Visual Archive are combined with articles relating to all aspects of Cornish culture in the past and present. By harnessing the multimedia power of oral history, music, film and photography the initiative seeks to create new opportunities for promoting a greater understanding of Cornwall’s distinctive culture and heritage. A key aim of the programme is to disseminate the rich resources of the Cornish Audio Visual Archive (CAVA) through themed website sections, an online magazine and related print publications. By acting as a catalyst for further research and community engagement Cornish Story is also initiating new cultural and historical programmes linked to the Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter at Tremough.
Cornish Quest is a registered charity which was formed to encourage the study of Cornish history, Cornish culture, Cornish law and Cornish language. As a charitable trust with a membership of supporters, its primary objectives are to provide educational resources to children and young people of secondary school age. It has distributed valuable 'Cornish History Reference Book Pack' to all Cornish secondary schools, organises courses and events, provides a bursary to students at the Institute of Cornish Studies and supports cultural leaders who seek to bring new developments in Cornish history or culture thinking into schools.
- Website: www.cornishquest.org/
The Cornish Maritime Trust promotes and preserves Cornish maritime heritage through ownership and restoration of historic Cornish working vessels. Members actively sail the boats, including to festivals in Brittany and around Cornwall, as well as supporting the preservation of Cornish maritime heritage through educational projects and social activities.
Cornish Wrestling Association. Along with hurling, Cornish Wrestling is the oldest sport indigenous to Cornwall. Very few western martial traditions have a verifiable unbroken line of practice from pre-medieval times. The Cornish Wrestling Association today has a busy programme of tournaments and demonstrations at shows in the summer months and works with schools and young people's organisations to teach the techniques, rules and skills of combat.
Cornwall Archaeological Society is the leading organisation for Cornwall's archaeologists, both amateur and professional. The Society gives opportunities for those interested in practical archaeology to participate in fieldwork and learn archaeological techniques from experts. The Society organises events, walks and lectures on archaeology. The Society's annual journal, Cornish Archaeology, is considered one of the best archaeological publications by a local society in the country.
The Cornwall Association of Local Historians (CALH) exists to bring together people who are interested in researching and uncovering Cornwall's history. CALH encourages its members to be actively involved in exploring local history through a number of activities and on-line and printed materials. The association holds an annual two-day residential conference every February which examines an eclectic mix of subjects specific to Cornwall.
Cornwall Brass Band Association was formed to look after the interests of the scores of town and village brass bands that exist in Cornwall. It acts as a hub and source of information. The Association also organises the annual Cornish Brass Band Championships.
Cornwall Buildings Preservation Trust was formed in 1973 as an enabling organisation, working with partners to save empty or derelict historic buildings whose future is at serious risk. One high profile building is the Old Duchy Palace in Lostwithiel now managed by the trust. The present focus is on significant industrial, commercial or institutional buildings that could be conserved and repurposed for long term business or community use. The Trust is actively looking for new projects.
The Cornwall Family History Society is a registered non-profit charity and has a great many active members. Since its beginning in 1976, the Society has aimed to become a ‘centre of excellence’ by encouraging Cornish family history research. This is being achieved by publishing a quarterly Journal, co-ordinating the transcription and indexing of over 5 million original records, maintaining a research library in Truro for members and the general public and offering a means of worldwide contact and exchange of information between members.
Cornwall Film Festival. is at the hub of Cornwall's thriving, innovative film industry. The Festival is an annual celebration of Cornish and international film-making. The Cornwall Film Festival also provides professional development workshops, lectures, networking and parties. In partnership with Carn to Cove the Cornwall Film Festival has launched C Fylm to bring the cinema experience to rural communities across Cornwall.
Cornwall Heritage Trust was founded to help preserve important sites in Cornwall and to protect and promote the Duchy’s rich heritage. The Trust owns or manages some of the most iconic and important historic places in Cornwall and encourages the public to visit the sites. It has a valuable education programme as well as providing bursaries to postgraduate students.
CMR (Cornwall Media Resource) CMR Gallery is an artist-led initiative, run on a voluntary basis by a community of artists, makers, curators, writers and thinkers. The overall aim of CMR is to provide an environment where artists can develop their practices co-operatively and engage the wider community in contemporary art. CMR aims to make a positive contribution to the socio-cultural ecology of Redruth and the surrounding area. CMR interacts with other projects and communities locally, nationally and internationally to reinvest, encourage and raise the profile of contemporary Cornish arts. It is a voluntary-run organisation and project and has achieved its growing success through work, commitment and belief in its ideals.
Cornwall Songwriters gives mutual support to songwriters working in Cornwall, mainly in a traditional or folk genre. Cornwall Songwriters produces high profile dramas based on Cornwall's heritage as well as staging concerts and workshops as well as teaches and encourages newcomers to songwriting and performance. The organisation also offers material to producers of plays, radio, TV and film, music and storytelling concerts, and community arts events.
Cornwall Museum Partnership develop and manage collaborative programmes of work which are designed to help museums raise standards, engage with more people and to be sustainable and resilient. We help museums to do the things that some find difficult to do on their own including advocacy, audience development, fundraising and workforce development.
Cornwall Wildlife Trust is the leading charity working to protect and enhance Cornwall’s wildlife and wild places. The organisation is passionate about all aspects of nature conservation and works only in Cornwall. CWT wants to see Cornwall richer in wildlife, cared for and appreciated by one and all. The Trust is guided by its mission to rebuild biodiversity and engage everyone with the natural environment.
Cussel an Tavas Kernuak (the Cornish Language Council) continues the work of those who attempted to save the language in its last days in the 1700s, re-forging the links with the historic language. Over the past 30 years our knowledge of the more modern phase of Cornish has grown by leaps and bounds. Cussel an Tavas Kernuak supports the Cornish of the last native speakers, a period of the language known as modern Cornish. The CLC encourages research into the Cornish of all periods but supports the teaching and dissemination of Modern rather than medieval Cornish.
Federation of Old Cornwall Societies. Since the formation of the first society, Old Cornwall societies have made a very significant contribution to Cornish life and to the local history research of Cornwall. The aims of founder members were to make sure that all recordings of local history were clearly related to grass-roots level. The great interest in local history is often due to the work of the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies. Old Cornwall is open to all who are interested in Cornwall, including groups who want to start their own affiliated society.
Gorsedh Kernow. The Gorsedh is an important and distinctive institution in Cornish cultural and civic life. The Gorsedh acts as a form of honours system within the Cornish world. Its objectives are to promote all branches of Cornish culture and heritage including the Cornish language, to promote the study of Cornish literature, art, music and history and to nurture links with other Celtic cultures. The Annual Gorsedh Kernow Esedhvos Festival is one of Cornwall's biggest ceremonial events and it is held in a different town each year. There are around 500 Bards, led by the Grand Bard, who have individual bardic names in Cornish and swear their loyalty to Cornwall.
The Institute of Cornish Studies (ICS) exists to support and foster academic research on Cornwall and to undertake research on Cornwall and its past. Housed in the Peter Lanyon Building at Penryn Campus, the ICS works closely with History, also part of the new College of Humanities, and offers Cornish-related modules on undergraduate History and Combined Honours degrees. The Institute publishes an annual journal entitled Cornish Studies and is home to two high-profile research programmes Cornwall Audio Visual Archive, and the Cornish Communities Programme.
- Website: www.humanities.exeter.ac.uk/history/research/centres/ics/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/cornishstory
Kesva an Taves Kernewek, the Cornish Language Board, provides reliable information on all aspects of the revival of the Cornish language, organises teaching, conducts examinations and publishes educational materials such as course books, grammars, dictionaries and other reference works as well as scholarly editions of the classical texts. It is an elected Board, the electorate being the members of Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek, with official representatives from Cornwall Council and the two founding organisations of Gorsedh Kernow and the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies
- Website: www.kesva.org/
Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek is a registered charity which promotes the Cornish language through a wide range of publications, classes and events. For many people the highlight of the year is a fully residential weekend, the Pennseythun Gernewek. Cornish speakers of any ability, including complete beginners are very welcome. The Kowethas offers a free advice and information service to any individual or organisation on any aspect of language including history, study, family and place names, naming children, streets, houses, boats or pets in Cornish, translation and the use of Cornish in business names and advertising. The Kowethas are also happy to run taster days for other organisations.
Kresen Kernow (‘Cornwall Centre’) is home to the world’s largest collection of documents, books, maps and photographs related to Cornwall’s history. Everyone is welcome to visit and explore these amazing collections. Kresen Kernow is a state-of-the-art new archive centre built in the shell of the former Redruth Brewery. As well as 14 miles of shelving to store over 1.5 million of Cornwall’s treasured archives, the centre has exhibition spaces, learning rooms and a digitisation suite. Visitors can carry out research, pop in and browse, or take part in varied activity programmes featuring workshops, courses and fun family events.
Golden Tree Productions, formerly Caliban uses innovative and entertaining methods, including music, dance and storytelling to engage school children, or entire communities with Cornish history and Cornish traditions and develop and deliver cultural projects that uncover and celebrate Cornwall’s distinctiveness and diversity.
Lowender Peran is the annual cultural festival that celebrates Cornwall's distinctive heritage of traditional music, songs, dance and storytelling and strengthens our links with Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Mann and Brittany. Lowender Peran is a registered Charity and it was set up to encourage recognition of Cornwall`s heritage and Celtic links as a vibrant, living tradition that people of all ages and backgrounds can participate in and enjoy. It is currently held at Newquay after 36 years at Perranporth.
The Mid-Cornwall Museum Group is an informal group of 14 museums that operate across the centre of Cornwall and are mostly run entirely by volunteers many being registered charities. These are just some of the approximate 70 museums across Cornwall.
- Website: N/a
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/midcornwallmuseums/
Penwith Landscape Partnership
River Fowey Heritage Society - Fowey harbour, which includes the communities of Fowey, Bodinnick and Polruan, has been a significant international trading port since the medieval period and is still a working port today, exporting china clay. The society's aim is to encourage you to explore the area and find out more about the places and people that have contributed to its heritage.
- Website: www.foweyharbourheritage.org.uk/
The Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association are the organisers of the Royal Cornwall Show. The aims of the association are to promote high standards in agriculture, to support Cornwall's impressive agricultural industries and to stimulate development through demonstrations of good practice and new ideas. The main way in which the Association achieve this is through the Royal Cornwall Show, which is now well into its third century. The Royal Cornwall Agricultural Association is registered as a charity and is governed by a body known as the Council. The Council consists of all past presidents of the Association, known as Vice-Presidents, various officers, and a total of 48 elected members.
The Royal Institution of Cornwall is the organisation that owns and manages the Royal Cornwall Museum and Courtney Library. Learning is at the heart of the Royal Institution of Cornwall. The Royal Cornwall Museum's work includes collecting, exhibitions, education, publishing and outreach programmes while the Courtney Library has 40,000 and around 25,000 original documents.
The St Piran Trust is dedicated to uncovering and preserving the ancient, 1500 year old Chapel of St Piran, Cornwall's patron saint. The Trust wants to use the site, reputed to be the oldest four-walled Christian edifice on mainland Britain, to bring St Piran's story to life and highlight Cornwall's ancient history.
St Tudy History Group - Its intention is to discover, preserve and disseminate the history of the Parish of St Tudy while also fostering an interest in Cornish and wider history. They usually meet in the Village Hall at 7:30pm on the last Monday of each month (except August and December). There are a variety of external speakers with occasional visits to places of interest. Members are encouraged to share the results of their own studies during Members’ Interest meetings.
- Website: www.sttudyhistorygroup.co.uk/
Scryfa was established to celebrate and promote contemporary Cornish writing. Scryfa is open to all and welcomes work from new and unpublished writers as well as established authors. A review of contemporary Cornish work to showcase new writing is produced twice-yearly.
The Trevithick Society. is one of the oldest industrial preservation societies in the UK. Membership of the Society is open to anyone anywhere in the World. The Society supports and encourages interest in Cornish industrial archaeology as well as the preservation of engine houses and other industrial buildings of worth as a significant part of Cornwall's heritage.