Loveday Jenkin and Tony Philips from Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek are contracted as the Language and Culture Advisors, working with the Penwith Landscape Partnership team
Knowing and recording our past: Research into and communication of historic place and field-names.
Assistance with Cornish Language interpretation and application to all projects.
"Ottomma rekordys a’gan hendir, gans y gyngel a alsyow, y askern keyn a halow ha carn, y esyon kynsistorek, y hen grosyow, fentynnyow ha chapelyow, y velinyow dowr ha hwelyow-sten, hag y drevow keskarek gans aga fetronyow anrewlys a welyow kerdroya, h’aga roesweyth mellow a hynsyow ha henfordhow. Y’n henwyn gwelyow ma an istori kernewek a gews orthyn y’n lev a’y hen yeth."
“Here are records of our ancient lands, with its girdle of cliffs, its backbone of moors and carns, its prehistoric remains, its ancient crosses, wells and chapels, its watermills and tin works, and its scattered farmsteads with their irregular patterns of stone-walled fields, and their connecting network of paths and tracks. In these field names Cornwall’s past speaks to us in the voice of her ancient language.” from P.A.S. Pool, The Field-Names of West Penwith (Cornwall, 1990)
This is also vividly recorded by Katherine Lee Jenner in her poem The Old Names (view the full poem here):
"These names of our dead speech are music still
In our dear living land,
Which never can be void or desolate
While here on every hand
Is still the record of our fathers’ lives,
Though their old hopes and fears
Have passed away like sunlight on the hills
Down through the path of years."
A-dro dhe Henwyn-Tyller or Taking Names shared with the community information about the Cornish language - especially how it is reflected in our landscape to show how Cornish helps our understanding and sense of place. The project encouraged the Cornish language to be used more widely as a means to understand and appreciate the Penwith landscape through increased knowledge, particularly of field and place names.
The objectives of the project were:
To record the many stories, myths and legends passed down by word of mouth by families, and make them accessible to all before they are lost, including preserving their context and links to the landscape.
To reach out and share our knowledge and research of names in the landscape and what these mean with everyone, including making Cornish accessible to school children.
To gather oral histories from older members of the Penwith community, building on existing oral history projects that have taken place.
To work with identified and interested groups to discuss opportunities for sharing Cornish interpretation materials relating to the landscape, and to build on previous experiences.
The project has achieved many outputs, including:
- Holding Cornish sessions with local school children, focusing on stories and language in the landscape. Over 2000 children have attended these sessions, and work with Trythall School won two awards from Gorseth Kernow.
- Running taste of Cornish sessions, both in person and online, allowing individuals to try Cornish in an informal setting.
- Hold place name sessions both in person and online, and memory days with local families to record their stories
- Recording local stories in both Cornish and English
- Introducing Cornish terms in PLP volunteer sessions; including vegetation clearances and wildlife recording sessions.
- Running billingual walks in Penwith, and sharing stories from the landscape.
For more information on Cornish in the Penwith landscape click here.
Our Digital and Communications Officer managed this project, while the lead on this work was managed by Loveday Jenkin and Tony Phillips as our Para Kernewek (Cornish team). If you would like to contact them please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the Conversation - Would you like to learn more Cornish, or share information on Penwith place and field names, as well as local stories? Loveday and Tony have set up a Facebook group for this purpose. Click the button below to view the group and join the conversation
Cornish in the Penwith landscape
Cornish makes it's appearance known throughout the Penwith landscape, and is an important part of its heritage.
One example that really helps illustrate this is this wonderful sign post at Kitty Noys Corner -
- Gear (Ker) from 'an' (the) and 'ker' (fort, round, enclosed farmstead)
- Penzance (Pennsans) from 'penn' (head(land)) & 'sans' (holy, sacred)
- Trythall (Trewedhyel) from 'tre' (farm, settlement) and 'gwreydh' (roots) & 'yel' (place) – good place to grow crops?
- Ninnis (Enys) from 'an' (the) and 'enys' (island, isolated or remote place)
- Heamoor (An Hay ) from 'an' ( the ) & 'hay' ( the enclosure or holding ) - moor was Eng addition.
Other examples of the practical use of Kernewek include reacting to local residents! For example:
'An Diank Meur'. Bownder Krakkya-konna, Chinoy. Nyns o kosel!
'The Great Escape'. Break my Neck Lane, Newmill. It wasn't quiet!
From the Cornish:
Bownder …. lane
Krakkya …. break
konna …. neck
and, reflecting the English meaning of ‘break my neck’ as steeply sloping ground, which the lane and fields certainly do as they rise to Break My Neck Farm.
St Just Parish Folklore Trail
As part of our work we have created a StoryMap highlighting locations associated with folklore in St Just parish. Please view our Story Map below (or see it on the StoryMaps website here).
(Please note that depending on the speed of your internet connection the images in the StoryMap might take a few seconds to load.)