Ertach Kernow - Cornish Heritage in the News - Archive 2020

Cornish Heritage in the News shares news from Cornwall's heritage sector, our articles included in the Voice newspapers published for Bodmin, Liskeard, Camborne & Redruth, Newquay, Penzance, St Austell, Saltash and Truro

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Cornish Heritage in the News - Archive 2020 - Index

  • 23rd December 2020 - Support Cornish heritage at Christmas
  • 16th December 2020 - Christmas fun at Mid-Cornwall Museums
  • 9th December 2020 - Christmas fun at Mid-Cornwall Museums
  • 25th November 2020 - Cornish language online TV programme support needed.
  • 18th November 2020 - Open day goes virtual!
  • 11th November 2020 - All sorts of news
  • 4th November 2020 - Lowender Peran
  • 28th October 2020 - Cornwall Heritage Awards
  • 21st October 2020 - Looking forward to St Piran’s Day
  • 14th October 2020 - Cornwall Building Group - At Risk Project
  • 7th October 2020 - Trevithick Society
  • 30th September 2020 - Mid-Cornwall Museum Group
  • 23rd September 2020 - Harvest Celebrations
  • 16th September 2020 - Grand Bard welcomes all to Lys Kernow
  • 9th September 2020 - Royal Cornwall Museum welcomes back visitors
  • 2nd September 2020 - Cornwall Family History Society
  • 26th August 2020 - Cornwall Family History Society
  • 19th August 2020 - Celtic Congress Cornwall to visit Wales
  • 12th August 2020 - Cornish National Music Archive

23rd December 2020 - Support Cornish heritage at Christmas

I always look forward to receiving a journal or newsletter from one of the many Cornish organisations that help preserve and share knowledge about Cornwall and its range of historic and cultural heritage.

This past week I was pleased to have the annual journal from the Royal Institute of Cornwall arrive on my doorstep. Not only does membership of the RIC provide an informative journal, but also ongoing free entry to the Royal Cornwall Museum, which membership helps support.

Popping up on my computer this week was the latest newsletter from the Cornwall Archaeological Society, also available in paper format. Published three times a year it provides information about what’s happening around Cornwall’s many ancient sites and historic buildings. There’s a journal and a member’s area on their website.

For those interested in family history the Cornwall Family History Society send out a quarterly magazine with lots of stories relating to Cornish families, research tips and information. Again, membership also provides access to a member’s area on their website.

The Cornwall Heritage Trust carries out some great work supporting Cornwall’s heritage. One of the benefits of membership of the CHT is the free and reduced entry fees to many heritage sites around Cornwall. Family membership is available, great value if you enjoy visiting Cornish castles. There is a regular newsletter, annual review and other membership benefits.

Interested in engineering and industrial heritage? The Trevithick Society is worth supporting. Annual journals and quarterly newsletters with free entry to various mining museums is part of the membership package. Also included is free entry to lectures held in Liskeard and King Edward Mine, Camborne throughout the year. Various discounts on books and products are included for members.

As Publicity Officer for Kernow Goth – Federation of Old Cornwall Societies I must mention the 42 ‘Old Cornwall’ societies throughout Cornwall. These groups hold monthly talks with societies offering different benefits and activities. Society information can be found at www.kernow

Just a few of the many Cornish heritage societies. Stuck for a Christmas present for someone, how about a membership of a Cornish heritage organisation? The field is wide ranging and there are often benefits to use and lots to read throughout the year. There’s many more, as a guide there’s a list with website links on the Association for Cornish Heritage website at

16th December 2020 - ‘Mapping Methodism’ Cornish Project

A new Cornish heritage project has commenced that will draw together and add to the story of Methodism throughout Cornwall. Christianity and place have been closely connected in Cornwall since the middle decades of the eighteenth century through the rich heritage of Methodism. It is a connection that is still symbolised today by the physical presence of town and village chapels. ‘Cornish Story’ is now working in partnership with both the Methodist Church and the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies to create a series of profiles of both existing and former religious sites. Entitled ‘Mapping Methodism’, the project team led by Garry Tregidga and Tony Mansell would like to hear from volunteer researchers who would be interested in the study of chapels and other related sites (e.g. outdoor preaching pits) at the local level. The immediate task is to create a series of historical timelines on individual sites with relating information on any books, films or other media. A template is available along with advice on researching the subject. The aim would then be to disseminate this information through digital platforms and use this project as a catalyst for further research in relation to the Methodist heritage of Cornwall.

‘Old Cornwall’ known in the Cornish language as ‘Kernow Goth’ is fully behind this project and its 42 societies throughout Cornwall will be spearheading ‘Mapping Methodism’. The group partnership and those heading this project hope that many members of the general public will also engage with this. Methodist chapels have featured strongly within Cornish communities for over 200 years and this is an opportunity to share the story of those chapels within the context of Cornwall’s towns and villages.

Information and links can be found on the ‘Kernow Goth’ website, with links from the Home Page and from the Heritage Projects tab on the menu. With the reduction in Methodist chapel numbers it is increasingly important that the history of those buildings and social history of the Methodist movement in Cornwall is recorded and preserved. Both ‘Cornish Story’ and ‘Kernow Goth’ actively work on numerous projects preserving many aspects of Cornwall’s historic, cultural and also environmental heritage. This latest project also overlaps another by ‘Cornwall Buildings Group’ relating to locating and finding information about buildings at risk throughout Cornwall.

Find out more about these projects and lots more through the ‘Kernow Goth’ website at Templates and guidance for these projects are available and can be downloaded.

16th December 2020 - Christmas fun at Mid-Cornwall Museums

Mid-Cornwall Museum Group members met on Zoom for the last time before Christmas last week. With deployment of the COVID vaccine they look forward hopefully to all the community museums reopening by mid-2021. Many volunteers are retired, some are aged up into their eighties falling within the vulnerable age bracket, so the smaller volunteer run community museums would benefit from new younger volunteers able to undertake heritage projects. With the ending of lockdown, the three larger museum members of the group have now reopened and available to visit.

Wheal Martyn has a fun family Christmas activity with woodland crafted reindeer hiding in their woodlands ready for visitors to come and find them. The reindeer hunt will be available until the 23rd December, so book your visit and get ready to explore! There is also the Elves and Rein-dog weekend on 12th – 13th December. Don your best festive outfit along with your dogs and children, and enter the photo competition on site to win a portrait of your furry friend by Liselle-Fae Wildlife Art.

Charlestown Shipwreck Treasure Museum’s highly popular Tunnel of Lights Christmas event returns in a socially-distanced format for 2020 running from 3rd December to 10th January 2021. Building on the huge success of creating the UK’s longest underground tunnel of festive lights in 2019, this year promises to be even bigger, bolder and brighter.  More than five kilometres of cable and over 50,000 lights are being used to transform the subterranean passageways into a festive wonderland.

The Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro will be open for the festive season until 23rd December. There are some Christmas trails for families and any child visiting wearing a Christmas jumper or decoration can collect a free Take and Make activity bag containing everything you need to make a Christmas craft. Online bookings are encouraged, but spaces are saved for weary Christmas shoppers wanting a moment of peace. Visit the ‘After the Storm’ exhibition of seascapes, where you can listen to therapeutic sounds of waves and breath in the scent of sea air. Perhaps something more energising, there’s a colourful exhibition of Cornish artists’ work from the Cornwall Council Schools’ Art Collection. You can explore Cornish History in the main gallery, discover the wonderful array of minerals from around the world and step back in time to the Ancient Histories of Egypt, Roman and Greek empires. Free admission.

More information and links on Facebook – Mid-Cornwall Museum Group

9th December 2020 - Christmas fun at Mid-Cornwall Museums

Mid-Cornwall Museum Group members met on Zoom for the last time before Christmas last week. With deployment of the COVID vaccine they look forward hopefully to all the community museums reopening by mid-2021. Many volunteers are retired, some are aged up into their eighties falling within the vulnerable age bracket, so the smaller volunteer run community museums would benefit from new younger volunteers able to undertake heritage projects. With the ending of lockdown, the three larger museum members of the group have now reopened and available to visit.

Wheal Martyn has a fun family Christmas activity with woodland crafted reindeer hiding in their woodlands ready for visitors to come and find them. The reindeer hunt will be available until the 23rd December, so book your visit and get ready to explore! There is also the Elves and Rein-dog weekend on 12th – 13th December. Don your best festive outfit along with your dogs and children, and enter the photo competition on site to win a portrait of your furry friend by Liselle-Fae Wildlife Art.

Charlestown Shipwreck Treasure Museum’s highly popular Tunnel of Lights Christmas event returns in a socially-distanced format for 2020 running from 3rd December to 10th January 2021. Building on the huge success of creating the UK’s longest underground tunnel of festive lights in 2019, this year promises to be even bigger, bolder and brighter.  More than five kilometres of cable and over 50,000 lights are being used to transform the subterranean passageways into a festive wonderland.

The Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro will be open for the festive season until 23rd December. There are some Christmas trails for families and any child visiting wearing a Christmas jumper or decoration can collect a free Take and Make activity bag containing everything you need to make a Christmas craft. Online bookings are encouraged, but spaces are saved for weary Christmas shoppers wanting a moment of peace. Visit the ‘After the Storm’ exhibition of seascapes, where you can listen to therapeutic sounds of waves and breath in the scent of sea air. Perhaps something more energising, there’s a colourful exhibition of Cornish artists’ work from the Cornwall Council Schools’ Art Collection. You can explore Cornish History in the main gallery, discover the wonderful array of minerals from around the world and step back in time to the Ancient Histories of Egypt, Roman and Greek empires. Free admission.

More information and links on Facebook – Mid-Cornwall Museum Group

25th November 2020 - Cornish language online TV programme support needed.

Kernewek the Cornish language is a unique part of Cornwall’s cultural heritage. As one of the six extant Celtic languages, Kernewek, has seen a revival from almost total extinction and today enjoys an increasing number of people from all age groups learning and speaking it. However, it is important not to be complacent and it remains in danger. Without organisations and people working hard including ‘Kowethas An Yeth Kernewek’, or in English the Cornish Language Fellowship, the increased use of Kernewek would not be maintained.

Kowethas An Yeth Kernewek is a charity which promotes Kernewek, through a wide range of publications, classes and events. The objectives of Kowethas An Yeth Kernewek are to advance the education of the public in Kernewek, by promoting and encouraging its use especially through everyday use.

Every month the society publishes a Cornish language magazine for members called ‘An Gannas’ which consists of articles, stories, news, comment and crossword puzzles. There is also a leaflet in English - Klew! - which is sent four times a year to members.

Kowethas An Yeth Kernewek has a shop at Heartlands near Camborne called ‘Kowsva, The Cornish Place’. It’s not only a drop-in centre for people interested in Cornish language and culture, but also a meeting-place for groups of all sorts. Here you can buy all sorts of Kernewek based books that includes those for learning, dictionaries, fiction including children’s books, DVD’s and much more. Not open at the moment due to the COVID crisis they can be bought online.

With the number of people, not just in Cornwall but worldwide, learning Kernewek the work Kowethas An Yeth Kernewek does is invaluable. They also support the monthly online Kernewek TV news programme ‘An Mis’. This programme provides an opportunity for people including students and existing Cornish speakers hear news from Cornwall and see Kernewek being used. This is a hugely important part of encouraging the use of Kernewek in daily life. However, ‘An Mis’ needs your help, funding is running out and donations are being sought to keep it running.

Association for Cornish Heritage helps support ‘An Mis’ by sharing it across our social media platforms and website also including it on our YouTube channel playlists. If you love Cornwall for its unique heritage, please support this appeal for ‘An Mis’ helping share our language.

18th November 2020 - Open day goes virtual!

The Truro College Open Day went on-line this month for the first time ever and was a great success!  Students were virtually able to tour the 3D campus as well as chat on-line to teaching staff to discuss study options.  The teaching team of the Foundation Degree in History, Heritage and Culture embraced this new approach as their modules investigate digital literacy in the context of the heritage sector, as well as customer engagement and curatorship, focusing on skills necessary for employment within the industry today.

As well as two live talks introducing the course given by Programme Lead Marilla Walker, students were invited to put forward questions and were able to book follow up one to ones to find out more about this exciting degree.  The course offers the unique opportunity to study History combined with Heritage and Culture, whether as a broad foundation for further specialism, or as a qualification in its own right.

The recent on-line event therefore gave potential university students in the region the opportunity to find about life as a student at one of the best colleges in the country. Truro College's blend of modern, spacious facilities combined with a community atmosphere and historic landscape creates the perfect environment for study. In addition, the rich historical resources in Cornwall, combined with the region’s growing cultural heritage, offer the perfect opportunity to combine academic study while developing key employability skills.

Further live events are planned throughout the year but if you missed Saturday’s Open Day there are also subject spotlights on both the History, Heritage and Culture course and the FdSc and BSc Archaeology degrees on the college’s website to get an overview of what you can study here in Truro in partnership with the University of Plymouth to help you plan for a fresh start in September 2021.

With over 83% satisfaction with Truro College’s teaching, learning opportunities, assessments and feedback, the college’s university students say they enjoy the smaller class sizes, more personal support and the ability to fit life around their lectures through a condensed timetable. The college’s fantastic university study opportunities were awarded the highest possible rating of Gold for teaching and learning by the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework.

The foundation degree encourages strong relations between students and regional employers and developing employability skills. Year one involves placements completing a survey for one of our local museum partners. Year two work placements are with attractions of the students own choosing from our established employer links. Cornwall’s heritage industry offers particularly varied employment prospects, this course helps increase access to those opportunities.

11th November 2020 - All sorts of news

After a summer of cancelled events we again enter a period of lockdown. Many organisations who are holding events well into 2021 are proactively planning online virtual festivals. The recent online Lowender Peran Celtic Festival was certainly successful and varied and spread over four days had a lot to offer folk from the comfort of their homes. Although not a patch on the real thing it helped keep the spirit of the festival alive and was most interesting and entertaining.

Celtic Congress Cornwall have been advised that the International Celtic Congress, planned for Aberystwyth Wales this year, and carried forward to 2021 will now be a virtual festival. It was last held in its physical form at the Hotel Bristol, Newquay and again, all being well, in the real world in Ireland in 2022.

Newquay’s St Piran’s Festival, usually a weeklong extravaganza now being organised as an online festival next year. Following the past years successful festival formula this will include a wide variety of events. Although planning is in its early stages a number of organisation are lined up to bring something to the party. As mentioned in this column just a few weeks ago time is short, and it’s hoped that organisations throughout Cornwall will come together to make St Piran’s 2021 a Cornish and worldwide online success.

Cornwall’s museums just as they were gearing up following the earlier lockdown have to close again. Most of Cornwall’s smaller museums have been unable to open this summer, but larger ones such as the Royal Cornwall Museum, Wheal Martyn, National Maritime Museum Cornwall and Porthcurno Telegraph Museum and others did with good visitor numbers. Recent additional funding assures the ongoing survival of most of Cornwall’s larger heritage organisations, but no doubt there will be casualties.

Musicians throughout Cornwall have been proactively working online throughout the earlier lockdown and beyond. Doubtless this latest period of incarceration will see the expansion once again of creative ideas and online cooperation. Entertainment is being shared online from a range of Cornish Celtic themed musicians and groups like The Rowan Tree, The Stowes, Davy & Dyer, Daniel Woodfield with the Kernow Bedroom Choir and Richard Trethewey to name just a few. Explore online through Facebook and YouTube the vast range of our Celtic themed Cornish musicians and singers, who are putting Cornwall firmly on the map in this music genre.

If you fancy a bit of dialect have a listen to Trevor Smitheram from Hayle Old Cornwall Society on Facebook with his Cornish tales. Trevor along with Kernow Goth’s Paul Phillips work hard helping keep our Cornish dialect alive.

4th November 2020 - Lowender Peran

Lowender Peran is a festival held at the end of October each year which celebrates Cornwall’s distinct identity and links to the other Celtic nations.  It takes place at the Hotel Bristol in Newquay which is transformed into the perfect indoor festival site with a main stage for concerts, a dance venue, and a number of smaller event rooms.  Traditional dance and music provide the core of the festival, but it engages with all aspects of Cornish culture and heritage.

Lowender Peran champions the use of the Cornish language both for the fluent speaker and for those who enjoy trying out a few phrases or joining the chorus of a Cornish sea shanty. The festival has a long-standing relationship with the Cornish Wrestling Association which connects to a Cornish sporting tradition going back thousands of years. Brass bands are an integral part of Cornish musical heritage and there have been a series of projects which combine their music with other aspects of Cornish traditions such as step dancing.

Story-telling and dialect reading are two traditional Cornish arts that have found a natural home at Lowender Peran from the outset. Close association with the Old Cornwall Societies has ensured that festival goers have an opportunity to explore and understand local history through “Talk and Walk” sessions.  Cornish singing tradition is a thread that weaves throughout the festival with both formal concerts and the Lowender Peran “Shout” which is now hosted at the Newquay Rowing Club.

The time of year is significant in that it is the Celtic New year, “Kallen Gwav” in Cornish meaning winter’s eve, a tradition that went out to the states and returned as “Halloween” and a modern excuse for dressing up and party time. In Cornwall it is a time when the Guize Dancers appear with their masks and bizarre costume accompanied by drums, dancing, and strange hobby horses. All of which is a good excuse to welcome the darkening nights with a bit of fun, some exciting music and the opportunity to join in a few dances or a singing session if it takes your fancy.

This year despite the inability to hold the traditional Lowender Peran due to the pandemic, a virtual festival was held with a number of events successfully transferring to an online platform. However, this cannot hope to duplicate the vibrant energy and excitement of this festival and all those involved, including the hundreds of musicians and dancers that come from all the Celtic nations look forward to being at the Hotel Bristol in Newquay again next year.

Information at -

28th October 2020 - Cornwall Heritage Awards

The Cornwall Heritage Awards 2020, postponed from March, were held online last Wednesday with nearly 100 attendees from all over Cornwall and Isles of Scilly representing 44 heritage organisations, partners and projects.

There are more than 70 museums of great variety, individuality and size throughout Cornwall whose diverse heritage organisations offer something unique and special, who provide fantastic services for their communities. Cornwall Museums Partnership and SW Museum Development recognise the excellence within these organisations setting up the annual Heritage Awards to reward this work and to share their achievements, alongside our sponsors and supporters Arts Council England, BBC Radio Cornwall, Cornwall Council, PH Media and Tevi.

The event was introduced by Emmie Kell, CEO of Cornwall Museums Partnership, and Cllr Tim Dwelly, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Economy and Planning. Event host Daphne Skinnard of BBC Radio Cornwall then presented 11 awards from a very competitive field of highly commended nominees.

Mevagissey and District Museum won the Innovation Award for their conservation themed Septimus ‘Some Seal’ exhibition and programme. PK Porthcurno and The Castle Heritage Centre, Bude, both won the Greener Initiatives Award. Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum and Saltash Heritage won the Wellbeing Awards. The Best Festival, Event or Exhibition went to the Tamar Protections Society for their Tudor Afternoon at Mary Newman’s Cottage. The Isles of Scilly Five Islands School Pop Up Museum won best Community Initiative.

The One to Watch Award was won by William Emmett of Newquay Heritage Archive and Museum. This award says a big thank you to a young volunteer who has made an outstanding contribution to their heritage organisation. Will has used his IT expertise across a range of digital projects to enable the museum to be far more radical in its digital and media thinking than was possible before.

Jack, Josh and members of the Geevor Mucker and Loco Restoration Team won the Heritage Heroes award. Their commitment to the project shone through, as well as their knowledge of and enthusiasm for Cornwall’s industrial heritage. Winner of the hotly contested Object of the Year, decided this year by over 2500 public votes, was Padstow Museum’s 15th century Mounted Horsemen roof tiles.

Finally, Newquay Heritage Archive and Museum was awarded the Judges’ Special Award, recognising their continued commitment and passion for Cornish Heritage across a range of projects and new initiatives.

Even though the Awards ceremony took place online, there was a terrific atmosphere of celebration and camaraderie. Many congratulations to all the inspirational winners, nominees and entrants who continue to work so hard to preserve, share and celebrate Cornwall’s heritage.

21st October 2020 - Looking forward to St Piran’s Day

We are now reaching beyond the end of the summer and into autumn of what many will remember as one of the most difficult years of their lives. For those that are active in their involvement in the entertainment industry especially with festivals it has been sad almost beyond measure. This not just reflects the professional festivals but also the smaller community and niche interest festivals, especially for us those taking place here in Cornwall.

Cornwall’s heritage sector involves a huge range of historic, cultural and environmental themes with numerous festivals of all types throughout the year. Almost all include music to some level if not entirely, conferences and presentations sharing knowledge, exhibitions and the markets that form part of these festivals. Loss of these has affected many small heritage related businesses, and people selling books and heritage-based goods.

However not all has been lost and certainly the Cornish have always been at the forefront of innovation throughout the ages. Ordinary folk have found applications such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to communicate with friends and family far and wide as have many of our small businesses and heritage organisations. Our Cornish festival organisers and artists within the vibrant heritage sector have harnessed the internet and digital technology like never before to bring us online entertainment, knowledge and fun.

One of the last great events here just before lockdown was Cornwall’s National Day. Celebrated throughout Cornish towns and communities, many held their own St Piran’s Day festivals along with those in the worldwide Cornish Diaspora. It is looking increasingly likely that the pandemic will continue for many months longer. Fortunately, there are people in Cornwall proactively looking at using the skills and experiences learned over the past months to bring Cornwall’s National Day and St Piran’s celebrations digitally to Cornish folk and a far wider worldwide audiences through online festivals.

With only 19 weeks to go before St Piran’s day, no real time to be out of the current crisis, we hope that many of our larger heritage organisations will work together to help encourage production of online festivals or produce material that can be shared. That smaller towns and communities will be able to produce digital content that can be included in larger festivals or as a standalone celebration. Cornwall has so much to share let’s make the most of it for St Piran’s 2021, online.

We at Association for Cornish Heritage are very keen to encourage and promote this and would be pleased to hear from groups and organisations that are proactively considering digital celebration of our St Piran’s Cornish National Day.

14th October 2020 - Cornwall Building Group - At Risk Project

The Cornwall Buildings Group may not be an organisation within Cornwall’s heritage sector that many people have heard about. Since 1969 the aims of the Cornish Buildings Group has been to stimulate interest, appreciation and knowledge of good building in Cornwall, and to encourage the erection, protection, repair and recording of such buildings. They encourage the protection and repair of historic buildings whether these are listed buildings or simply good examples of traditional building as well as promoting use of good architecture and try to raise the general standard of building throughout Cornwall. Cornwall Buildings Group hope that our generations may leave behind 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.

Like all other groups the Cornwall Buildings Group has had to put many of their activities on hold during the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, they are now leading a three-year Historic England / Cornwall Heritage Trust grant funded project to identify and campaign for Cornish buildings at risk. The Group has maintained a register for buildings at risk since 2014, but this has been done with volunteer support only. This funding will support a case officer who will have dedicated time to champion buildings at risk throughout Cornwall.

The Cornwall Buildings Group are looking for volunteers to support the project by reporting historic buildings or valued heritage assets which are either derelict or not being properly looked after. By identifying buildings, the aims of this project is to monitor buildings at risk and seek solutions for those neglected, redundant or derelict listed buildings.

The criteria which makes a building at risk includes; The roof not being weather tight, windows are boarded up or broken, gutters and rainwater goods are not functioning properly, significant outbreaks of dry or wet rot, the building is unoccupied or out of use, inappropriate alterations and proposals for the building and inappropriate use is proposed for the building.

There are a number of buildings on the current list throughout Cornwall, some high profile some relatively unknown. Unsurprisingly a number are churches with interesting architectural features including Church of St Paul, Tregolls Road, Truro which the Cornwall Buildings Group hope will be saved. Charlestown Wesleyan Chapel and Church of St Peter, Mithian although both sold remain on the list to ensure they are correctly preserved. Many other buildings of various types are also on the list.

Please consider contributing, forms and guidance are available to report buildings to the Cornwall Buildings Group and links to download these can be found at

7th October 2020 - Trevithick Society

One of Cornwall’s most proactive organisations working to preserve Cornwall’s industrial heritage is the Trevithick Society. With its origins in 1935 The Cornish Engines Preservation Committee was formed with the remit of preserving the Levant Mine whim and also surveying and recording other engines and buildings at risk. The Cornish Engines Preservation Society was formed in 1944 worked with the aims of acquiring engines for preservation using the survey. A number of engines and sites were preserved. In 1967 the society’s engines at Levant, South Crofty, East Pool and Trevithick’s Cottage at Penponds were handed to the National Trust who were considered the best organisation at the time for preserving Cornwall’s important industrial legacy. Merging with the Cornish Waterwheel Preservation Society in 1969 the Trevithick Society was formed. Named after Cornwall’s greatest engineer, Richard Trevithick scores of his legacies can be seen throughout Cornwall in the chimneys of Cornwall’s mining engine houses.

The work of preservation continues, this week’s column is prompted by the release of the latest newsletter with news of the Trevithick Society’s activities. Many people especially in the Camborne area will be acquainted with “The Puffing Devil” replica built by the Trevithick Society and the photo on the front of the newsletter is one captured during filming for the Channel 4 documentary series, Devon & Cornwall. Channel 4 contacted Henwood Engineering at Summercourt wanting to feature his engineering works. Was there anything interesting to film they asked, yes “The Puffing Devil” was the reply. So, in due course we will see on Channel 4 work carried out on this wonderful replica of Richard Trevithick’s first steam engine. The original was first trialled in 1801 by Trevithick starting off by going up Camborne Hill. This was the inspiration for the well-known Cornish song ‘Going up Camborne Hill coming down’. Besides images and information regarding “The Puffing Devil” there are many other articles and news items including about the Levant Mine and other sites across the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.

We also learn from the newsletter that there is a 5% lager brewed in the Czech Republic called “Cornish Steam Lager” and it has an image of Richard Trevithick’s 1808 “Catch Me Who Can” the worlds first passenger locomotive as its logo. Something to check out when next visiting the Czech Republic.

For those readers who may be interested in aspects of Cornwall’s industrial heritage why not have a look at the Trevithick Society website at A society that carries out important work for Cornish heritage, membership from £28 per annum, which includes many presentations, an annual journal and regular newsletters with abundant photos and information.

30th September 2020 - Mid-Cornwall Museum Group

The Mid-Cornwall Museum Group had one of its regular Zoom meetings this past week. For those that may not of heard about this museum group it consists of 15 museums spread across central Cornwall ranging from larger museums such as the Royal Cornwall Museum and Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum to smaller community museums at Wadebridge, Padstow, Lostwithiel, Fowey, Mevagissey, Bodmin, Perranporth and Newquay. It also takes in heritage centres at Grampound and those with niche interests like the Charlestown Shipwreck Treasure Museum and the Dairyland Farm World heritage museum.

It has been a hard time for all our 70 plus museums here in Cornwall during the pandemic, but although the museums haven’t been open there has been lots of work done mainly by volunteers behind the scenes and at home. Happily, some museums are now opening albeit with restrictions on numbers and application of COVID rules such as masks and social distancing. Reports from those that have opened are good and subject to those restrictions they are being well supported with people happy to get out and visit. The museums within the Mid-Cornwall Museum Group that are open are the Royal Cornwall Museum, Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum and the Charlestown Shipwreck Treasure Museum.

These regular Zoom meetings have been very useful for sharing information and besides the Mid-Cornwall Museum Group regular meetings are organised by the ground-breaking Cornwall Museum Partnership for museums throughout Cornwall to meet up online. There has been a lot of work by the CMP in encouraging engagement in museums by young people. There are five young people working as interns working within Cornish museums as Trainee Curators and the CMP has released four new podcasts entitled ‘Talking Intern’.

These can be found at -

Many of our local museums are putting plans into their reopening as well as continuing to collect images, documents and artefacts to enhance their collections. There are community museums such as Newquay Heritage Archive & Museum who hope to open within the next few weeks albeit on a limited basis. However, Newquay has been working on a number of online projects as well as future physical displays. There will be a new website with lots of new information to share with links to other Cornish groups with whom the museum has carried out projects. They have been working on videocasts and podcasts and there will be a member’s section with accumulated newspaper articles submitted by members.

Although It has been difficult our Cornish museums have stood up to these challenging times and will come out of this period stronger and with more to offer both local people and visitors.

23rd September 2020 - Harvest Celebrations

Along with many events cancelled this summer have been some traditional Cornish events that were carried out for hundreds of years and revived by ‘Old Cornwall’ societies during the earlier parts of the 20th century. One is the Cornish tradition known as ‘Crying the Neck’

Around this time of year when the harvest has been collected many communities hold harvest festivals. Often held within the local church or chapel or more recently social clubs where people gather, and money is often raised by raffle or auction for worthwhile local causes.

Anglo-Saxon Britain held a harvest event known as Lammas, from the Old English hlaf, 'loaf' and mæsse, 'mass'. This was held on 1st August the origins are somewhat obscure but possibly from earlier pagan times. In the Anglo-Saxon Christian kingdom of Wessex bread was made from the new crop and brought to church to be blessed. The Lammas loaf as it was known was then broken into four pieces and placed in the corners of a barn serving as a symbol of protection over the harvested grain. Lammas seems to have died out in the 16th century following the Reformation and Henry VIII’s break with Rome and with the coming of Protestantism.

Harvest festivals as we know them now, originally in in church, began in Cornwall in 1843 started by Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker, vicar of Morwenstow. He is best known especially in Cornwall for writing the words of the poem ‘Song of the Western Men’ that later became the song now known as ‘Trelawny’.

Today’s Cornish tradition of ‘Crying the Neck’ is held in a crop field with a group attending and joining in. Much of the ceremony is now carried out in the Cornish language as it would have been in Cornwall centuries ago. It is explained here by Cornish historian K Hamilton Jenkin writing in the 1930’s.

"In those days, the whole of the reaping had to be done either with the hook or scythe. The harvest, in consequence, often lasted for many weeks. When the time came to cut the last handful of standing corn, one of the reapers would lift up the bunch high above his head and call out in a loud voice.....,

"I 'ave 'un! I 'ave 'un! I 'ave 'un!"

The rest would then shout,

"What 'ave 'ee? What 'ave 'ee? What 'ave 'ee?"

and the reply would be:

"A neck! A neck! A neck!"

Everyone then joined in shouting:

"Hurrah! Hurrah for the neck! Hurrah for Mr. So-and-So"

(calling the farmer by name.)"

Congratulations to groups at Rillaton and by Liskeard Old Cornwall Society who have carried out ‘Crying the Neck’ ceremonies this autumn.

16th September 2020 - Grand Bard welcomes all to Lys Kernow

Gorsedh Kernow, Grand Bard Elizabeth Carne welcoming speech at the Bardic Ceremony at Lys Kernow, Truro

“Welcome to our special Bardic ceremony today. This is an unusual year and an unusual ceremony, with such a small number of Bards present. We are sorry that because of COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing the majority of our Bards are unable to be with us today and we hope they are joining us through the Live-stream. A special welcome to all of those near and far who are watching online.

This year should have seen us in Bude-Stratton for our Esedhvos and Bardic ceremony. Unfortunately, that has not been possible, but we very much look forward to being there in 2021. Gorsedh Kernow has held a ceremony every year since 1928, even during the War years, so it was important for us to be able to continue that tradition. We meet today to welcome our new Bards for 2020 and to remember those Bards who have left us this year, and we have lost some very special Bards since our 2019 ceremony, including Gwenenen, former Grand Bard, who is greatly missed.

2020 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first Old Cornwall Society and there were to have been great celebrations during the year. We are pleased therefore to welcome as our special guest today the President of the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, Mrs Karin Easton. We hope that this recognition of the strong bond between Gorsedh Kernow and the Federation in some way makes up for the missed events.

In these unusual times we need to keep working for Cornwall. So many of our traditions and events have had to be cancelled, but we are still working to promote Cornish heritage and culture as well as the Cornish language. Our Awards and Holyer an Gof winners have been celebrated online this year but we shall be back in 2021.”

9th September 2020 - Royal Cornwall Museum welcomes back visitors

Following a 12 months closure for essential maintenance work, the Royal Cornwall Museum will once again open its doors and from the 12th September and for 6 months everyone can visit for free.

Following a year of changes and challenges for us all we are pleased to announce the reopening of Truro’s Museum.  We want to put the museum back, where it should be, at the heart of the community. We have taken the step of making tickets free for everyone until the end of March. We want our local and wider community to use the museum as a space to escape the day to day trials and pop in for 10 minutes or an hour to come and explore, have fun and see our collections. The Museum is a fantastic local resource, and we hope that people will take the opportunity to either revisit us or come and see us for the first time.

Whilst we are free, we are asking visitors to make a donation to help ensure the Royal Cornwall Museum can continue to provide exciting and rewarding experiences for all for another 200 years.  We would also love to have your ideas and feedback so we can create an exciting and inspiring museum that everyone can enjoy. Whilst the world is constantly changing right now, your museum is planning some changes as well. During your visit we would love to know what you found interesting, fascinating and fun and what you might like to be different in the future.

Jonathan Morton, Chief Executive Officer, says “We are all so excited to be able to welcome the public into the museum again. We would have liked to have achieved so much more during the closure, but we are just happy to be able to see visitors back, enjoying the Museum. We hope to have created a relaxed space for everyone to connect, learn, explore and have some fun. We want to see many visitors enjoying the museum again including the new mask trails and exhibitions. We would also like to see more volunteers supporting the work we do and ensuring everyone has a safe and enjoyable visit. If you interested in joining our friendly team, please get in touch”

The museum has taken numerous steps to comply with COVID-safe guidelines and has the ‘Good to Go’ seal of approval from Visit Britain. Whilst we will have the capacity to welcome walk up visitors, we do ask that people book tickets online before they visit. You can book online at

2nd September 2020 - Cornwall Family History Society

For thousands of people normally visiting Cornwall each year looking for information about their Cornish ancestors, Cornwall has much to offer. There are 42 Old Cornwall Societies throughout Cornwall, very willing to assist family history tourists, many having their own facilities and records. Besides these there are over 70 museums mostly smaller community organisations run by knowledgeable volunteers who also have records and images to share with visitors. Also, over 40 community archives again with volunteers able to access information about their particular area of Cornwall. Some have microfiche facilities showing original parish records for that parish and surrounding parishes. The largest collection of Cornish documentary history in the world is held at the new Kresen Kernow facility in Redruth, which on completion amalgamated the Cornwall Studies Library and the Cornwall Record Office.

The Cornwall Family History Society is as far as Cornish family history is concerned, a jewel in the crown for researchers. Originating in 1976 they moved from just off Victoria Square in Truro to the current premises at 18 Lemon Street several years ago. Here they have a large reference library and volunteers able to answer questions and point family history researchers in the right direction. Offering one to one sessions especially when researchers hit that well known family history “brick wall”. CFHS have a data base within excess of six million entries that includes births, marriages and burials together with entries for monumental headstones, occupational records and a multitude of other types of pieces of useful information allowing stories to be added to family trees. The CFHS will also help with non-Cornish family research.

With over 27,000 members, huge numbers who are part of the worldwide Cornish Diaspora. Ian Bell, chairman of the Cornwall Family History Society, said that “People researching their genealogy – particularly those from America and Australia – are very excited when they discover they have Cornish blood, more so than any other part of the country. I think it’s because Cornwall has played a prominent role in history, from Elizabethan times, through its unique Stannary Parliament to its importance in mining and the Industrial Revolution. The Cornish diaspora in places like Mexico also causes a lot of interest.”

During lockdown, the CFHS volunteers have been busy researching, adding to their databases especially around the Truro area. This includes burials at Chacewater and Kenwyn and upgrades of information and images to burial grounds in Constantine, Piperspool and Polborder.

Along with many organisations with physical facilities closed Cornwall Family History Society have a very useful website and for general enquiries can be contacted by email at and research enquiries at

26th August 2020 - Cornwall Family History Society

The latest edition of “From Your Own Correspondent” the Cornwall Archaeological Society [CAS] newsletter is out and as usual full of interesting news from their representatives around Cornwall. Established in 1961 out of the West Cornwall Field Club, CAS carries out a great deal of work throughout Cornwall supporting Cornwall’s archaeological heritage. Lots of activities with talks, walks, research and fieldwork projects, as well as publishing its journals and newsletters.

This edition reports on a number of topics including issues relating to the chantry chapel of St Thomas Becket in the churchyard of St Petroc’s Church Bodmin. This is a 14th century Grade II* Listed Building and Scheduled Monument. Ann Preston-Jones, Historic England Projects Officer has been working to protect and conserve this important building and her efforts are paying off. Ann enlisted the help of Bodmin Town Council and the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, and received funding from Historic England for work carried out by Heritage Cornwall. This included a survey of the building, removal of invasive ivy and other plants, and structural repairs. The current schedule of work is now complete and the building stabilised with better security.

However, further work will be required in the future relating to the crypt and other crumbling stonework. Now much more viewable, hopefully with greater vigilance from public and the authorities damage to the structure through misuse can be minimalised.

Cornwall has large numbers of stones situated to the side of roads, besides our Cornish stone hedges, consisting of historic milestones, lettered parish stones and others. The Cornish Milestone Society’s work includes cataloguing and organising the restoration of damaged stones, but also research into newly discovered carved stones. In this edition a query regarding a stone with A & E on opposing sides had Ian Thompson busy researching this particular stone in St Ewe Parish. Using old maps and records of the area Ian determined that the ‘A’ stood for Arundel and the ‘E’ for Edgcumbe and this was a boundary stone marking the edge of both historic family’s land.

This type of information once discovered is included in the online Historic Environment Record and as this was not already included it will now be added.

A further news item related to the two Goss Moor Iron Age hillforts at Castle an Dinas and St Dennis hillfort and church provides huge amounts of information. These two historic hillforts facing each other across a broad valley of scrubland now has the A30 running between them.

More information at

19th August 2020 - Celtic Congress Cornwall to visit Wales

In 2019 Cornwall hosted the International Celtic Congress in Newquay attended by delegates from all of the Celtic nations. Brittany, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales in Newquay. Celtic Congress is an organisation established in 1901 with Cornwall joining in 1904. It looks “to perpetuate the culture, ideals, and languages of the Celtic peoples, and to maintain an intellectual contact and close cooperation between the respective Celtic communities”.

This week good news that the International Celtic Congress will be held in Aberystwyth, Wales in 2021. Sadly, along with thousands of other events this year, the ICC to have been held there was cancelled. Ireland’s event in turn now postponed to 2022.

Celtic Congress Cornwall is one of the larger groups within the six-nation organisation, proactively supporting Cornwall’s cultural heritage including language, music and dance. As we move out of lockdown and restrictions are lifted new ideas and plans are being put in place. These include working with and supporting established Cornish organisations as well as those in the Celtic music arena such as Urban Kelt, now established in Newquay.

International Celtic Congress events create opportunities for the Cornwall branch to showcase Cornish activities in the field of culture and its organisations. This year the Cornish delegate representing Cornwall’s music was to have been a young musician Daniel Woodfield. Throughout this crisis Daniel has been proactive in using the power of the internet to share Cornish music. A prime mover with the Kernow Bedroom Choir, encouraging musicians such as recently barded Richard Trethewey of The Rowan Tree and members of the public to sing well known Cornish songs, shared online as a choir. Celtic Congress Cornwall hope that Daniel will join them in 2021 in Aberystwyth.

Each year the International Celtic Congress has a theme and this years was to have been “How to be Successfully Celtic in the Modern Business World” this will carry forward to 2021. Jeremy Gilbert of St Justin will hopefully speak about his business and this will be an opportunity for Cornwall to showcase one of its most successful businesses that embraces Celtic themes. The recipients of the recent Gorsedh Kernow Awards for promoting the Celtic spirit of Cornwall through creative or community work will have received a beautiful Awen medal produced by St Justin.

Celtic Congress Cornwall hope that many young people with a love of the Cornish language, music and dance will join delegates in representing Cornwall in Aberystwyth next year, helping show how vibrant Cornwall’s cultural heritage is.

Enquiries regarding Celtic Congress Cornwall to Vice Chair, Len Sheppard at Len will be pleased to field your initial enquiry.

12th August 2020 - Cornish National Music Archive

The Cornish National Music Archive collaborative effort, documents, celebrates and shares the music of Cornwall.

It is an online resource about music in Cornwall, featuring all kinds of music - from brass bands to choirs, pub songs to rock bands, and orchestral to pop. 

Funded by the Cornwall Heritage TrustGorsedh Kernow, Lowender Peran and the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, the collaborative project is the work of Cornish musicians and researchers Tony Mansell, Merv Davey, Kate Neale and Garry Tregidga, who have made the website during lockdown. 

The project stems from an archive of sheet music and old manuscripts collected by the former Cornish Music Guild, which had been housed in the Cornish Studies Library until it was rediscovered by the group and handed to Kresen Kernow. 

Merv Davey, director of Lowender Peran, said “Rediscovering the Guild’s archive was the spark that got us thinking that there ought to be somewhere that brings all types of Cornish music - and music in Cornwall - together.’

The website is freely available online for people to search and explore, and also has a section where visitors can create a profile and log in to write their own articles for publication. The creators encourage contributions on all aspects of music in Cornwall - with categories for individuals, performing groups, songs, tunes, and many more. 

What qualifies for inclusion in an archive of Cornish music? Tony Mansell, projects co-ordinator, explained ‘We’ve put our heads together and decided that the archive should be broad and diverse, rather than narrow and prescriptive. It includes music that is, or has been, popular in and special to Cornwall, impactful in Cornwall, written in Cornwall, written about Cornwall, inspired by Cornwall – covering individuals, traditions and compositions that express, reflect and celebrate Cornwall and our distinctive identity.’ He continued “For example, my specialism is brass bands, so many of my articles focus the history of these hugely important groups for communities across Cornwall.’

Kate Neale, project lead, said “We’re hopeful that people will not only enjoy exploring what’s already there, but also contribute their own entries. You could add a biography of a composer you’ve a particular interest in, write up a memory about the best gigs you’ve seen in a particular venue in Cornwall - or give an account of a musical experience, whether as an audience member or as a performer - or something else. Really, we’re hoping that the archive will be a resource for music lovers of every type, spark ideas and discussions, and record important information for posterity’. 

Garry Tregidga, co-director of the Institute for Cornish Studies at the University of Exeter, added ‘This is a wonderful opportunity to build on the fantastic work of the former Cornish Music Guild, and we hope that the archive will be useful for both amateur and professional researchers who are interested in Cornwall’s rich and diverse musical culture.’ 

The website is available at and its data will eventually be handed to Kresen Kernow for safekeeping.