Gorseth Kernow is one of the most important institutions in Cornish Culture.
The Gorseth is non-political, not affiliated to any religion, non-profit-making and, chas no connection with Druidism or any pagan practices. It exists solely to uphold the Celtic traditions of Cornwall and to honour men and women who have made outstanding contributions to Cornwall and its ancient culture, history and language.
An important part of the open Gorseth is the awarding of bardships to individuals for meritorious work for Cornish culture. Thus the Gorseth acts in many ways as a form of “honours system”. Bardships are awarded for study in the language, services to Cornish music, encouraging the arts (especially amongst children) amongst other things. Initiate Bards are given bardic names by the Grand Bard who welcomes them into the College of Bards. These names are in Cornish and will often refer somehow to the reason for their bardship.
The first ceremony took place at Boscawen Un (stone circle) in 1928. It was inaugurated in 1928 by Arch Druid Pedrog of Wales at the request of a small group of Cornish scholars including Henry Jenner and Robert Morton-Nance on the pattern of the Welsh Gorsedd. Henry Jenner was the first Grand Bard.