Celtic Culture & heritage

Susan Penhaligon – stage, TV and movie actress, author, proudly and outspokenly Cornish

Susan Penhaligon

Susan Penhaligon was born on 3 July 1949 and is a Cornish actress probably best known for her appearances in the controversial 1976 drama Bouquet of Barbed Wire and for playing Judi Dench's sister in the 1981 sitcom A Fine Romance. She also played a British military officer in Paul Verhoeven's Soldier of Orange.

Although born in Manila, both her parents were Cornish and there can be little doubt of her being Cornish with a fine Cornish surname like Penhaligon! She returned with her family to Cornwall, aged 6. She spent her formative years living in St. Ives and Falmouth.

Aged 11 she was sent to boarding school in Bristol where her acting ambitions were encouraged. She has two brothers and a sister in the U.S.A. After her parents divorced, her father went to live in San Francisco and worked as a private detective.

She is a cousin of the late David Penhaligon MP, a former Liberal member of parliament in Cornwall.

While training at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art,Penhaligon shared a flat with soon-to-be rock star Peter Hammill. Tagged the 'British Bardot' in the 1970s, Clive Aslet in The Daily Telegraph wrote that Penhaligon ‘was the face of the decade’.

Christopher "Chris" Morris - professional footballer who played for Scotland’s Celtic, played for the Republic of Ireland against England, now a businessman in Cornwall’s pasty industry

Chris Morris

Christopher "Chris" Morris was born 24 December 1963 in Newquay, Cornwall.

He is a former professional footballer who made his name as a defender with Celtic in Scotland and Sheffield Wednesday & Middlesbrough in England, among others. Chris also had a successful playing career with the Republic of Ireland national side during the Jack Charlton era.

Chris first began his career in 1982, signing for Wednesday under ex-England international, Jack Charlton, in the old Division Two. He won promotion to the First Division with Wednesday in 1984. He made seventy-four appearances between 1983 and 1987, scoring one goal along the way. He then moved north of the border to Celtic, signing for £125,000 on 10 August 1987.

He made his debut in the 4-0 win over Morton, at age 23. Between 1987 and 1992, He was the regular right-back for the Bhoys, with 160 appearances and 8 goals to his name. He then moved on to Middlesbrough on 14 August 1992, where he remained for several seasons as a first team regular without ever becoming a crowd favourite. Troubled by an anterior cruciate ligament injury, he retired at the end of the 1996-97 season, when Boro were runners-up in the FA Cup and Football League Cup, but a 3-point deduction for postponing a match at short notice had caused them to be relegated from the Premier League.

St Piran's Day in Redruth - Saturday 5th March, 2016

St Piran's Day

Redruth in Kernow has published the programme brochure for one of the biggest celebrations of Cornish culture and identity with organisers promising that this year's St Piran's Festival will be better than ever!

Saint Piran has been widely accepted now as Cornwall's National Saint and his black flag with its white cross is flown as the flag of Cornwall outside public buildings and other places across the Duchy.

Such is the popularity of the Redruth event, that it was mentioned in a submission by the Westminster Government to the Council of Europe as an example of Cornish difference and National Identity.

Emily Hobhouse - the Cornishwoman who took on the British Empire over their concentration camps in South Africa where starvation and cruelty was the norm

Emily Hobhouse

Not many realise that it was the British who invented the concentration camp system. Emily Hobhouse, referred to by the British Establishment as 'that bloody woman' did and set out to do something about the evil. Regarded as a traitor by the British, she is honoured in South Africa.

Emily Hobhouse was born in St Ive near Liskeard, Cornwall on 9th April 1860, the daughter of Reginald Hobhouse and Caroline Trelawny.  She was the sister of Leonard Hobhouse 1864-1929, the social philosopher and both were active members of the Adult Suffrage Society.  She was educated at home and lived with her parents until she was 35.  In 1895 she travelled to Minnesota to work amongst Cornish miners and their families who had migrated to America and fallen on hard times

Like many liberals, she was opposed to the Boer War and she denounced the government's actions in going to war.

Towards the end of 1900 she received information on how women and children were being treated by the British Army.  She wrote "poor women who were being driven from pillar to post, needed protection and organized assistance.  And from that moment I was determined to go to South Africa in order to render assistance to them".  In October 1900, she formed the Relief Fund for South African Women and Children.  The aim of the organisation was to "To feed, clothe, harbour and save women and children - Boer, British and other - who were left destitute and ragged as a result of the destruction of property, the eviction of families or other incidents resulting from the military operations".  She struggled to raise funds for her new organisation.

Kristin Scott Thomas - Actress

Kristin Scott Thomas

Kristin Scott Thomas was born in Redruth, Cornwall on 24 May 1960.

She was chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (Number 50).

She was also chosen by "People" magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.

She speaks French fluently and dubbed herself in French in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994).

She was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to drama.

She was nominated for a 2004 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actress of 2003 for her performance in "Three Sisters" at the Playhouse.

She was awarded Legion d'Honneur, France's highest civilian award, in the January 2005 honors list.

Maria Branwell - mother of the Brontës

Maria Branwell

Maria Branwell was born in 15 April 1783 in Penzance, Cornwall. She was the mother of writers Emily Brontë, Anne Brontë and Charlotte Brontë and of their brother, Branwell Brontë, who was a poet and painter.

Maria Branwell was the eighth child of twelve born to Thomas Branwell and Anne Carne in Penzance, Cornwall, although only five daughters and one son grew to adulthood. Thomas Branwell was a successful merchant and owned many properties throughout Penzance. The men of the Branwell family took part in the town's local public life, several serving as Mayor in the 19th century and also in other civic offices. The family were prominent Methodists, Thomas's sister and two of his daughters marrying clergymen of Wesleyan leanings. With the Carne family and others, they initiated and developed the first Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Penzance.

John Couch Adams - discovered the planet Neptune, astronomer, mathematical genius

John Couch Adams

John Counch Adams was born in Laneast, near Launceston, Cornwall on June 5, 1819, and died in Cambridge, England on Jan. 21, 1892 . The Cornish name Couch is pronounced 'cooch'.

His parents were were Tabitha Knill Grylls and Thomas Adams.

The family was a poor one with Thomas being a tenant farmer while Tabitha also came from a farming family. Thomas and Tabitha farmed near Launceston, Cornwall, and it was on Lidcott farm that John, the eldest of his parents seven children, was born. John Couch Adams was named after his mother's uncle, John Couch. It is particularly fitting that this should be the case since John Couch provided some education for Tabitha who inherited his library which included several astronomy books. It was this library, particularly the astronomy books in it, which fired John's interest as he grew up.

Young Adams was educated in local schools before being sent to Cambridge University; this being paid for by inheritance money.

Cyril Richard ‘Rick’ Rescorla - 9/11 hero

Rick Rescorla

Cyril Richard ‘Rick’ Rescorla BA MA LLB holder of ‘The White Cross of Cornwall’, US Silver Star, US Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, US Purple Heart, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, British General Service Medal ‘Hard Core’ ‘The Cornish Hawk’ - saved 2,687 lives on September 11, 2001 whilst singing Cornish songs, academic, Cornish patriot, hero supreme, the man who predicted 9/11.

Rick Rescorla was born on 27th May, 1939 in Hayle in Cornwall. He grew up there with his grandparents and his mother, who worked as a housekeeper and companion to the elderly. In 1943, his hometown of Hayle served as headquarters for the 175th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. 29th Infantry Division, largely composed of American soldiers from Maryland and Virginia preparing for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Young Rick idolized the American soldiers and wanted to become a soldier because of them.

Rescorla was a natural sportsman, setting a school record in the shot put, and was an avid boxer. When a professional boxing match was scheduled between a British boxer and an American heavyweight contender named Tami Mauriello, his friends backed the Cornishman. Rescorla stated, ‘I'm for Tammy’ [sic] and after Mauriello won the fight everyone in Hayle knew him as ‘Tammy’.

William Bligh - Captain of HMS Bounty, magnificent seaman

William Bligh

William Bligh was born on 9 September 1754 at St Tudy, Cornwall.

Bligh first went to sea in 1762 – at the tender age of 7, as a Captain’s personal servant on board HMS Monmouth. He joined the Royal Navy in 1770 where he served on HMS Hunter and became a Midshipman in 1771 serving on HMS Crescent and HMS Ranger. He was an intelligent man, well-versed in science and mathematics and was also a talented writer and illustrator. He became Sailing Master on the Resolution, commanded by Captain James Cook, quite an achievement as he was only 22 years of age. This voyage ended with the death of Cook on February 14th 1779 in Hawaii (known at that time as the Sandwich Islands).

In 1787 aged 33, he was given command of ‘The Bounty’, a three year old merchant ship, his mission was to transport breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies. Various books and films have portrayed him as a villain, a violent and unpleasant man – but is this the truth? Commanding a ship required a man of strong character, his crew would have comprised of mostly illiterate men, probably recruited by the press-gangs and he was most likely no better or worse than any other commander of his time.

Henry Trengrouse - inventor of rocket powered ‘Bosun’s Chair’ rescue system and self righting lifeboat, savers of 1000s of lives

Henry Trengrouse

Henry Trengrouse - inventor of rocket powered ‘Bosun’s Chair’ rescue system which has saved 1000s of lives to this day, inventor of the self righting lifeboat, recognised in Cornwall and Russia but not by the British Government

Henry Trengrouse was born in Helston, Cornwall on 18 March 1772

He was educated at Helston Grammar School and became a cabinet maker.

On 24 December 1807 he witnessed the wreck of the Anson frigate off the Loe Bar, Cornwall, when over a hundred lives were lost and this disaster led him to devote his life to the discovery of some means for saving lives at shipwrecks. He spent much labour in attempting to devise a lifeboat, but produced no satisfactory results and turned his attention to the ‘Rocket’ life-saving apparatus, an early form of the Breeches buoy.

In addition to this, Trengrouse was dismayed at the then common practice of burying victims of shipwrecks in common graves in unconsecrated ground near the site of the wreck, having seen the dead from the Anson buried in the dunes at Loe Bar. He persuaded his local MP to work for a change in the law and from 1808 the practice was abolished.

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