Celtic Culture & heritage

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.

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.

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’.

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.

Michael Adams - Chess Grand Master

Michael Adams

Michael Adams was born in Truro, Cornwall on 17 November 1971.

In 1981, aged nine, he entered the Cornwall Under-9 Championship and won it. At the same event, he won the Under-13, Under-15 and Under-18 Championships. For one day, the latter two contests clashed and he had to play the simultaneously, commuting cautiously between different rooms, some thirty metres apart.

He became a Grandmaster at the age of 17 and has been a professional chess player for over 20 years. His highest ranking is world No. 4.

In 2006 he began writing a chess column in the Saturday London Telegraph Weekend section.

William Wallace - The Great Scottish Patriot

Depiction of William Wallace

William Wallace (Scottish Gaelic: Uilleam Uallas; c.1270 - died 23 August 1305) was a Scottish knight, patriot and national hero. He was one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Leading the Scottish rebellion against Edward I and along with Andrew Murray inflicted a famous defeat on the English army at Stirling Bridge.

William Wallace was born in the 1270s in Elderslie in Renfrewshire into a family of gentry, although there are also claims that he was born in Ellerslie in Ayrshire. Little is known about his family history of which there are no reliable sources. His early life was recounted in the The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace, more commonly known as The Wallace written around 1477 by wandering minstrel Blind Harry (c. 1440 – 1492).

Following the death in 1286 of Alexander III, King of Scotland his only surviving relative, his three-year-old granddaughter, Margaret, the Maid of Norway was Scotland's Queen-in-waiting. Margaret died en route to Scotland from Norway in 1290. John Balliol was named as the new King of Scotland in 1292. However, Edward I of England undermined his reign and viewed Scotland as a vassal state. John Balliol's weak response to this angered the Scottish who grew tired of him and in 1295 appointed a council of twelve to rule instead. The newly-formed council negotiated a defensive alliance with King Edward of England's enemy, France. Scotland's treaty with France was known as the Auld Alliance.

The Celtic Festival as a Cultural Experience - An inside Look at the Tide that has Lifted Celtic Music

A sign of the resurgence of Celtic Identity in North America is the Celtic Festival. A phenomenon best shown by the annual increases in attendance figures and the number of festivals established within the past 20 years.

A major force in the growth of Celtic Festivals in North America is Celtic Heritage Productions, a firm that organizes dozens of Festivals and concerts primarily in Florida and North Carolina. The festivals provide an opportunity for Celtic bands to gain experience and build a fan base, making them an invaluable resource for aspiring Celtic bands. The firm's Mission Statement is:

Celtic Heritage Productions strives to educate individuals and groups about the heritage, history, culture and tradition of the Celtic lands through the medium of music, providing entertaining productions with broad appeal to a wide range of audiences.

Estimates vary on the number of American’s claiming descent from immigrants to North America from the modern Celtic Nations. More elusive still is identifying the number of American’s descended from Celtic immigrants who enjoy a “Celtic Identity”.  An analysis of the American 2010 Census data proffered in an August 2013 article in “Business Insider” estimates the number of descendants of Celtic immigrants to North America to be in the vicinity of 50 million, comprised primarily of Irish, Scottish and Welsh in that order and inclusive of 5 million Americans who claim Scots-Irish ancestry.  Manx, Cornish and Breton identity is more difficult to measure as it has generally been subsumed within the census data into either English or French categories.

Shenn Laa Nollick ec Cabbal Pherick (Old Manx Christmas Day at Patrick’s Chapel) - A Manx Ghost Story

Glen Mooar

He had to clear his head. His brain still felt addled. When did the round of pre-Christmas drinks and celebrations start? One minute it was Hop tu Naa (Manx Halloween) and then bang! Along came an invite to this and an invite to that. Building and building and then there it was 25th December. Did it stop there? Certainly not; New Year was the grand finale. Seemed like a solid month of unbroken over indulgence. Jamys felt weak from the whole celebration thing. It was only now that he felt that he was returning to any kind of normality.

A light breakfast; all part of the recovery process and then he would walk from his home in Kirk Michael to Glen Mooar. January 6th 2013 was a cold, clear Sunday morning. It had been raining for the last couple of days but last night the skies had cleared and now a thick white frost covered the ground. As he stepped out of his house the cold air entering his body made him gasp. The village street was deserted and he walked quickly toward the road that led towards Glen Wyllen, Glen Mooar and then on to the town of Peel (Purt ny h-Inshey). He crossed the road as he neared the village pub, giving it a nervous glance as he passed. The site of many overzealous drinking sessions over the last few weeks and now taking on the guise of Dracula’s Castle; a place to be avoided at all costs.

Ailsa Craig - Natures Granite Masterpiece

Ailsa Craig

Ailsa Craig (Scottish Gaelic: Creag Ealasaid or Aillse Creag) rises out of the seas of the outer Firth of Clyde like a magnificent monster emerging from the deep. Climbing to a height of 1,109 ft (338 m) it lies nine miles offshore from the coast of South Ayrshire (Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir a Deas) in the west of Scotland. Ailsa Craig geologically is all that remains of a volcanic plug from an extinct volcano and is 2.5 miles (4 km) in circumference.

It lies approximately halfway between Glasgow (Scottish Gaelic: Glaschu) and Belfast (Irish: Béal Feirste). This rock stood as an important milestone for those Irish who emigrated to Scotland in the nineteenth century looking for work. Ailsa Craig is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Protection Area because it supports 73,000 breeding seabirds and is now a bird sanctuary, leased by the RSPB until 2050. Now offering a home and protection to birds, in the past it had also acted as a haven for Roman Catholics during the Scottish Reformation in the sixteenth century.

Celebrating Scotland's Patron Saint On St Andrews Day Monday 30 November 2015

St Andrew

St. Andrew's Day (Scottish Gaelic: Là Naomh Aindrea) is Scotland's official national day. Who was St Andrew and why is he Scotland's Patron Saint?

St Andrew has been the patron saint of Scotland from at least the mid tenth century and legend says long before. He was born in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee in the early 1st century and is the brother of St Peter. According to the Gospel of St John, Andrew was a follower of the preacher John the Baptist and then became a disciple of Jesus who he recognised as the Messiah. A messiah is associated with Abrahamic religions which originate in the Middle East. Christianity is one of these religions and Jesus Christ in that religion is seen as the son of god. Andrew was one of the twelve apostles who was present at the Last Supper. Interestingly his name, Andrew, is not Hebrew in origin as might be expected, but Greek. St Andrew is thought to have died in the mid to late 1st century and was said to have been crucified on a diagonal or X-shaped cross which is now known as St Andrew’s cross.

The spread of Christianity to Scotland mainly came from Ireland in the fifth century. The national flag of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Bratach na h-Alba) is a white cross against a blue background. It is known as the Saltire and legend dates its origins back to King  Óengus mac Fergusa (Óengus II) who defeated a force of invading Angles in the ninth century. The legend is that in 832 AD the Scottish King prayed to St Andrew for help to defeat the English.  Against the blue sky the diagonal white cross appeared and it was on such a cross that St Andrew had been martyred.  The English were beaten and honouring his promise prior to the great victory Óengus made St Andrew the patron saint of Scotland. The association of St Andrew with Scotland goes back further than the reign of King Óengus II to Óengus I who was King from 732 to 761 AD. Legend also says that relics of St Andrew were brought from Constantinople in about the middle of the tenth century to the place where the town of St Andrew’s (Scottish Gaelic: Cill Rìmhinn) now stands.

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