Celtic Culture & heritage

Ralph Allen - Cornish founder of the modern postal service, creator of Georgian Bath, Mayor of Bath and philanthropist

Ralph Allen

Ralph Allen was baptised in Cornwall in 1693 and at the age of 14 became a clerk at the Post Office at St. Columb Major, Cornwall.

Ralph Allen's grandmother ran the Post Office at St. Colomb Major. When he was 14 her health deteriorated and he ran the Post Office on her behalf. At this time St. Colomb Major was a more important town than Truro.

It is thought that Quash, a Postal Surveyor, would have called at this Post Office and met the efficient young Allen.

It was probably as a result of this meeting that the young Allen was and later given the exalted position of Postmaster of Bath as a young man of 19.

At the age of 27 Allen took control of the Cross and Bye Posts under a seven year contract to the Post Office agreeing to pay £6,000 per annum, about half a million pounds today.

At the end of period he had not made a profit as he only broke even but he had the courage to continue. He reformed the postal service, creating a network of postal roads that did not pass through London. It is estimated that he saved the Post Office £1,500,000. Ralph Allen continued to sign contracts, paying £6,000 per annum every 7 years until his death.

Fanny Moody – diva, opera singer, businesswoman, ‘the Cornish Nightingale’

Fanny Moody

Fanny Moody was born in Fore Street, Redruth (where the post office now is) in 1866, one of 13 children of a Redruth photographer, James Moody.

While she was still at school Mrs Basset of Tehidy recognised her talent and paid for her to go to London to learn to sing properly.

Her first break came in 1887 when she sang for the Carl Rosa Opera Company's opera ‘The Bohemian Girl’. Whilst singing for them, she met and married Charles Manners who was of Irish parentage and later formed this Moody-Manners Opera Company.

She became known as ‘the Cornish Nightingale’ and was presented with a tiara with the Cornish coat of arms picked out in diamonds.

She sang under Augustus Harris at Covent Garden and Drury Lane (1890-94). Her roles included Eileen in 'The Lily of Killarney', Micaela in 'Carmen", Marguerite in 'Faust', as well as leading roles in 'La Juive', 'I Puritani' and several Wagner operas.

She travelled extensively abroad and sang the songs from home to the Cornish exiles and for the miners in South Africa in 1896.

Admiral Sir John Forster ‘Sandy’ Woodward GBE KCB - Admiral who commanded the British Naval Task Force 317.8 in the South Atlantic during the Falklands War.

Admiral Woodward

Woodward was born on 1 May 1932 at Penzance, Cornwall, to a local bank clerk and his Cornish family.

Having graduated from the Royal Naval College Dartmouth, Woodward joined the Royal Navy in 1946.

He became a submariner in 1954, and was promoted to lieutenant that May.

In 1960 he passed the Royal Navy's rigorous Submarine Command Course known as The Perisher, and received his first command, the T Class submarine HMS Tireless.

Promoted to lieutenant-commander in May 1962, he then commanded HMS Grampus before becoming the second in command of the nuclear fleet submarine HMS Valiant.

Cassandra Lily Patten - Olympic champion freestyle swimmer and coach

Cassie Patten

Cassandra was born on 1st January 1987 in Cardinham, Cornwall.

Her first swimming lesson took place with coach Phil Goldman at Lakeview Country Club in Bodmin when she was just five years old!

Phil later took her to Bodmin Swimming Club where he was head coach. Over the next 8 years he took her to National age group finalist in the 200m butterfly.

At the British Championships in 2006 she won a bronze in the 400 m and a silver in the 800 m.

History of the Highland Games

Highland Games Canmore Canada

All around the world people participate or are spectators at Scottish Highland Games. Seen as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture it is one of Scotland’s biggest cultural exports. Features of the Games include competitions in piping and drumming, dancing, heavy athletics, as well all kinds entertainment and exhibits related to many aspects of Scottish and Gaelic culture.

Malcolm 3 of Scotland

The first historical reference to the type of events held at Highland Games in Scotland was made during the time of King Malcolm III (Scottish Gaelic: Máel Coluim; c. 1031 – 13 November 1093) when he summoned men to race up Craig Choinnich overlooking Braemar with the aim of finding the fastest runner in Scotland to be his royal messenger. They were also thought to have originally been events where the strongest and bravest soldiers in Scotland would be tested. These gatherings were not only about trials of strength. Musicians and dancers were encouraged to reveal their skill and talents and so be a great credit to the clan that they represented.

Kernow - the sub tropical land

Walkways

A glance at the photographs might mislead many into believing they were taken in some sub tropical clime. In fact they are views of Trebah, in Cornish 'Tre Worabo' meaning Gorabo's farm. Yes, our language is all about us!

Correctly Trebah should be pronounced 'TREBB-a'.

Trebah is a 26-acre sub-tropical garden situated near Glendurgan Garden and above the Helford River in the parish of Mawnan, Cornwall.

The gardens are set within an area of the same name, which includes the small medieval settlements of Trebah Wartha and Trebah Woolas.

Nova Scotia: The Edge of the Celtic World

To celebrate Gaelic Awareness Month 2016 in Nova Scotia, we are re-featuring this article originally published on September 11, 2013.

In the 1800s the Scots Gaelic community of Nova Scotia is estimated to have exceeded 100,000 Gaelic speakers.

Flah of Nova Scotia

The 18th century witnessed upheaval in the centuries old way of life in the Scottish Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The events following the Scottish rebellion against the British Crown in 1745 caused a disruption in the long standing relationship between the residents and the owners of the Land. The complex history of land ownership in the Highlands and Islands saw landlords, heirs to ancient Clan Chieftainships and in many cases newly ennobled by the British Crown, gradually become estranged from the residents of the land. Economic advantage was to be gained from the removal of the residents so as to facilitate modern farming techniques. Tragic scenes of displacement and eviction followed and led to the betrayed Gaelic speaking residents becoming homeless refugees in their ancestral homeland.

These events led to emigration from Scotland to the new worlds. One of the destinations of the refugees was the Maritime of Canada. Cape Breton, in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia was a primary destination:

Between 1817 and 1838 alone, the population in Cape Breton grew from approximately 7,000 people to 38,000 people. Almost all these people were Gaelic speaking Scots from the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

Ann Glanville – Champion female rower of the world

Ann Glanville

Ann was born in Saltash, Cornwall in 1796 as Ann Warren.

She married John Glanville, a waterman. They had fourteen children and when John fell ill, Ann continued her husband's trade to support the family.

Ann formed a crew of four female rowers who took part in local regattas.

She was noted for her large stature and for her crew who dressed in white caps and dresses.

Their success led to competitions all over the country. One event at Fleetwood was watched by Queen Victoria, who congratulated Ann when they won by beating an all-male crew. The most famous competition was in 1833 when they visited Le Havre and beat the best ten French male crews by 100 yards; this led the press to call her the champion female rower of the world.

Ann continued competitive rowing until she was in her sixties. Into her old age, she was given to circling the warships anchored in the Hamoaze on the Tamar exchanging banter with their crews.

Andrew Pears – inventor of Pears Soap

Pears soap

Andrew Pears was a farmer's son from Cornwall, born around 1770, who invented transparent soap.

His creation of transparent soap came in 1787.

After much trial and error he found a way of removing the impurities and refining the base soap before adding the delicate perfume of garden flowers. His product was a high quality soap, and had the additional benefit of being transparent. Soap refined in this way is transparent and makes longer lasting bubbles. The transparency was the unique product plus that established the image of Pears soap. His method of mellowing and ageing each long-lasting Pears Bar, for over two months, is still used today where natural oils and pure glycerine are combined with the delicate fragrance of rosemary, cedar and thyme.

He eventually moved to London from his home in Mevagissey, Cornwall, where he had trained as a barber.

Elizabeth Catherine Thomas Carne - Cornish geologist, philanthropist, conchologist, financier, banker, natural philosopher and mineral collector

Elizabeth Carne

Elizabeth Catherine Thomas Carne  was the fifth daughter of eight children born to Joseph Carne, F.R.S., and his wife Mary Thomas Carne.

Elizabeth was born at Rivière House, in the parish of Phillack, near Hayle, Cornwall and baptised in Phillack church on 15 May 1820.

At Riviere House the cellars were fitted out as laboratories where smelting processes of copper and tin were tested and minerals and rocks studied for their constituents. To that laboratory had come, before she was born, people such as Davies Gilbert, bringing with him the young  Humphry Davy to view the workings of a scientific environment.

Born into a wealthy and influential Methodist family of mine owners and merchants, Elizabeth was acutely aware throughout her life of the poverty and deprivation in surrounding mining areas and the dire need for education and social support for those less fortunate.

She read widely, studied mathematics and the classics, and learned several languages.

Pages

Subscribe to Celtic Culture & heritage