Celtic Culture & heritage

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.

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The first historical reference to the type of events held at Highland Games in Scotland was made during the time of King Malcolm III (Scottish Gaelic: Máel Coluim; c. 1031 – 13 November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.

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.

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.

Anna Maria Fox - Quaker, promoter of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society and the artistic and cultural development of Falmouth, philanthropist

Anna Maria Fox

Anna Maria Fox was born on 21st February 1816 the eldest child of Robert Were Fox FRS and Maria Barclay, his wife.

Her father was a member of the Quaker Fox family of Falmouth and maternal grandmother was a first cousin of Elizabeth Fry.

The family lived at Rosehill and Penjerrick.

Anna never married. With her sister, Caroline, she raised the four sons of her brother, Barclay, after the death of their parents.

Anna outlived her sister by sixteen years.

For several years between 1820 and 1860, the iron foundry of Perran was partly owned by members of the Fox family and the workmen of the foundry frequently, brought models of machines and other inventions to Anna's father for his advice and opinion.

Hannah Stacey - UK women's free-diving record holder, World Female Freediver of the Year 2004, movie stunt double

Hannah Stacey

Hannah was born in St Eval in Cornwall.

She learnt to swim in the ocean, spending much of her childhood at the beach bodysurfing. The love of the sea first inspired Hannah's interest in Freediving back in 2000.

Hannah has won two UK records, a UK title and competed in Nice, Ibiza, the Red Sea and Hawaii as a member of the UK team.

She was been named as the World's Best Female Freediver for 2004, beating off competition from national freediving champions from around the globe.

Hannah set a new national record in Cyprus for constant weight. She swam to a depth of 54 metres and back using just her own weight and a monofin.

Sir Humphry Davy - inventor of the miners safety lamp, founder of Regents Park Zoo, chemist

Humphry Davy

Humphry Davy was born on the 17th December 1778 in Penzance, the son of a woodcarver .

His interest in scientific things was fostered by his acquaintance with Robert Duncan, a Penzance saddler who made electrical and mechanical models.

He went to school first in Penzance, then to Truro Grammar School when he was 15.

His father, Robert Davy, died, in 1794 leaving a widow and five children without much money.

At 16 he became apprenticed to Dr John Borlase, a Penzance surgeon.

Here his work involved mixing potions in the laboratory.

He set about systematically to prepare himself for a career in medicine by reading widely. Beginning with metaphysics and ethics and passing on to mathematics, then chemistry at the end of 1797, and within a few months of reading Nicholsons and Lavoisiers treatises on chemistry had produced a new theory of light and heat.

Then a chance meeting with a Bristol scientist, Dr Beddoes, led to his being offered a job as assistant in the newly opened Pneumatic Institution in Bristol in 1798.

Within four years he had established himself as a scientist through his experiments with gasses.

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