League Step Up Campaign Over Glasney Commemoration

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

The Cornish branch is stepping up their campaign to ensure the Glasney commemoration is more relevant to the events it remembers and the people of Cornwall.

Detailed update from Mike Chappell below:

“Each year, a memorial service is held at the Glasney Stone, Penryn, Kernow in order to remember the events leading up to 1549 when not only was Glasney burned and destroyed but some 11% of the Cornish murdered by the forces of the English establishment. You can read about this oft forgotten Cornish history here:

https://www.cornwallinformation.co.uk/news/the-anglo-cornish-war-of-june-august-1549/

The Glasney stone is pictured on the left of the website above.

Last year, a group of Branch members attended the ceremony and were taken aback to see a military presence and the British Legion present. There are times and places for both things but our members and indeed others present felt that such a presence was highly inappropriate. The usual procession from the monument was then led by a British Legion Banner, again felt inappropriate by many including a Roman Catholic clergyman I was in discussion with that day about Cornish history. Many were murdered in the 1540s and it nearly brought about the end of Cornwall. Similarly, many poor souls from around the world have lost their lives in wars, many of them needless. But there is no connection between Glasney and 1549 and the British armed forces and British Legion. I sincerely feel we must stop the militarisation of a Cornish historical commemoration in a peaceful and dignified way.

I seek the assistance of all members, friends and followers in taking back possession of this event.

Accordingly, and bearing in mind that the P.A. system used was drowned out by the passing traffic, I have engaged with the Town Clerk at Penryn offering the following:

a. an address by a member of the Celtic League
b.our desire to lay a wreath of Cornish flowers
c.our offer of a better P.A. system in order that we can at least hear the words of the Grand Bard and others.

My offer of a speech was turned down.

I await confirmation of my desire to have a wreath laid and our offer of public address equipment.

Once the date for the Glasney Commemoration is confirmed, I encourage all Branch members and their family and friends to attend with their St Piran flags and League banners to take back ownership of this Cornish event.
We should be failing our ancestors and our Celtic history to walk away and do nothing.

I now list the correspondence between us, the Cornwall Branch and the Town Clerk at Penryn for your information. The Penryn Town Clerk has copied all correspondence to the Grand Bard and to the Mayor of Penryn.

My letter to Penryn TC:

Penryn Town Council
Ground Floor, Saracen House
Higher Market Street
Penryn
TR10 8HU
townclerk@penryntowncouncil.co.uk

19th January, 2015

Dear Town Clerk

GLASNEY MEMORIAL DAY 2015

We write regarding the memorial service held at the Glasney Stone which coincides with Penryn Fair Day.

A few of our members attended the ceremony during 2014 and felt that much more should be done to commemorate the loss of Glasney College and the subsequent mass murder of thousands of Cornish people at the hands of the English establishment.

Several other members of the public in attendance also voiced their concerns over the attendance of those bearing the symbols of England at the event which was thought unsatisfactory bearing in mind the events of 1549. Further, the loudspeaker arrangement was totally inadequate and speakers drowned out by the traffic.

Accordingly, we should like to arrange a larger presence at this years ceremony and to lay a wreath. The membership also feel that a speech by a Committee member of the Celtic League should be offered.

I write enquiring the date of the commemoration for 2015 and of who best to contact to arrange such.

Thank you in anticipation of your reply.

Yours sincerely

Michael J Chappell
Convener
Cornwall Branch of the Celtic League

Reply from Penryn TC:

Dear Michael

Thank you for your email of 19 January below. I apologise for the delay in responding, but we have been very busy here the last couple of weeks dealing with a number of very important matters.

We are delighted to hear that there will be a larger presence this year, but you should be aware that as far as the Town Council is concerned, whilst everyone who wishes to take part is very welcome, including the English, it is a memorial service and not a political rally.
The Grand Bard is invited to make a speech along with the Mayor and we have no plans to expand on this arrangement. If you would like to lay a wreath in commemoration, then I can discuss that with the Mayor in due course and get back to you.

I note your comments on the PA system and we will do our best to improve things this year, but we don’t have the funds to hire equipment when we have already invested in our own. If you would like to volunteer to provide a better PA system, then we should of course be very pleased to have use of it.

Oll an gwella

Miss Michelle Davey
Penryn Town Clerk

My response to Penryn TC:

7th February, 2014

Dear Miss Davey

Thank you very much indeed for your kind reply.

Although the Glasney Commemoration is not a political rally, many felt unhappy to see a military presence at the event including the Union flags and flags of St George. Even a clergyman attending the event by the stone felt this rather inappropriate bearing in mind the history of the affair which was one of terror and mass murder at the hands of the English Establishment and it’s Church. As he stated, a Roman Catholic Priest may have been rather more appropriate, although that is not necessarily my view or opinion.

Moving on, our Branch would very much like to lay a wreath made up of suitable Cornish flowers and we do have top quality P.A. equipment available to us. I have a Committee meeting this coming Wednesday 11th February and will speak with our man regarding the equipment and will be in touch with you further once I liaise with him.

Yours sincerely

Michael J Chappell
Convener
Cornwall Branch of the Celtic League

Reply by Penryn TC:

Dear Michael
Could you please elaborate as to who you are referring to as military presence?
Regards
Miss Michelle Davey
Penryn Town Clerk

My reply to Penryn TC:

9th February, 2014

Dear Miss Davey

Thank you for your enquiry.

It was noted by many that there were members of the armed forces in service dress uniform at the ceremony held at the Glasney Stone and that there was also a member of the British Legion in full regalia and bearing the British Legion Banner. The British Legion Banner then led the subsequent procession away from the stone.

Several members of the public left and said there was confusion about whether this was an event to remember the loss of our Cornish culture and indeed 11% of our population in the face of the tragedy of 1549 and the events leading up to it or a First World War commemoration. Some sadly said they would not attend again. I and many others present felt this a shame and attempted to convince them otherwise. Later, I was approached by a member of the Clergy who was similarly confused and explained to him a little of the history of Cornwall in the 1540s. I believe he was a Roman Catholic.

We do have a good P.A. system available and a professional sound man. I meet with him and others on Wednesday and will inform you of more details thereafter. He has already informed me that as a member of our NGO he would be delighted to make his services available and to set up the equipment in order that all may hear the words of the Grand Bard at the event above the traffic noise. We would cover the cost.

We also seek to lay a wreath of Cornish flowers at the stone.

Would you be so kind as to confirm the date for the 2015 Commemoration?

Yours sincerely

Michael J Chappell
Convener
Cornwall Branch of the Celtic League”

Related link at the Celtic News archive here:

https://www.celticleague.net/news/kernow-branch-seek-revamp-of-glasney-commemoration/

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information

09/02/15

(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)

ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.

The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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