Celtic Culture & heritage

“Truly the eight bravest men I’ve ever seen.”

Penlee

Trevelyan Richards (56) – coxswain, James Stephen Madron (35) – 2nd coxswain/mechanic, Nigel Brockman (43) – asst. mechanic & fisherman, John Blewett (43) – emergency mechanic & telephone engineer, Charles Greenhaugh – landlord of the Ship Inn, Mousehole, Barrie Torrie (33) - fisherman, Kevin Smith (23), Gary Wallis (23).

On the night of the 19th December 1981, in horrendous storm conditions, the mini-bulk carrier ‘Union Star’ suffered engine failure east of the Wolf Rock. Refusing tug assistance, the ship found itself being swept towards the coast at Boscawen Point, west of the Tater-du lighthouse. The Penlee lifeboat launched from Mousehole in total darkness, 100 mph winds and waves cresting to 60 feet.

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.

Joshua Lewis Matavesi - International Rugby Player, Fly-half, Wing, Centre, Fullback

Joshua Lewis Matavesi

'I identify as 'Cornish Fijian' and I feel Cornish, not English.' (Josh Matavesi)

Josh was born on 5th October 1990 in Camborne, Kernow to a Cornish mother and Fijian father.

His father, Sireli Matavesi, who is from Vanua Balavu, Lau Islands, Fiji, toured Britain as a Fiji Barbarian in 1987 where he met his wife, Karen, a Cornish maid.

Josh went to Camborne Science and Community College and then Truro College

He played for Mounts Bay RFC in the National Division Two. He also played for Truro College and has also made a handful of appearances for Exeter United.

Shakespeare, The Ghost of Eleanor Duchess of Gloucester and a Magnificent Haunted Manx Castle

William Shakespeare

Recently celebrations have taken place to mark 400 years after the death of Shakespeare on May 3, 1616. In Shakespeare’s play Henry VI.part 2 act 2.scene 3 reference is made to the imprisonment in the Manx fortress of Peel Castle (Manx: Cashtal Purt ny h-Inshey ) of Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester (c.1400 – 7 July 1452):

Stand forth, Dame Eleanor Cobham, Gloucester's wife:
In sight of God and us, your guilt is great:
Receive the sentence of the law for sins
Such as by God's book are adjudged to death.
You four, from hence to prison back again;
From thence unto the place of execution:
The witch in Smithfield shall be burn'd to ashes,
And you three shall be strangled on the gallows.
You, madam, for you are more nobly born,
Despoiled of your honour in your life,
Shall, after three days' open penance done,
Live in your country here in banishment,
With Sir John Stanley, in the Isle of Man.

William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act 2, Scene 3.

John Carter, the 'King of Prussia', freetrader, staunch Methodist

Carter Cove

Born 1770 at Breage near Helston, John Carter matured to become one of the biggest rogues on the coast, the self styled King of Prussia.

John Carter, the eldest of the Carter brothers, named the cove Prussia Cove, because of his deep admiration for Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. John Carter himself became known as the King of Prussia, as he engaged in ever more daring encounters with the revenue.

Carter was a mixture of hard working fisherman, honest merchant and out and out rogue. He operated out of Bessies Cove, a rocky inlet near Perranuthnoe in Mount's Bay. It was an area notorious for lawless gangs of wreckers and smugglers. But it was a time when few local people thought smuggling to be a crime. John and his brother Henry were well known along the French coast, but during the French Wars they were arrested and imprisoned in St Malo for a year on one occasion.

The wars that Britain was fighting were costing the country a lot of money. This had to be raised by taxation, particularly on imported goods. Owners of small, fast boats could to evade the high taxes if they could evade customs officials enforcing their collection. High duties had been imposed on luxury items such as wine, spirits and tobacco.

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.

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.

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.

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