HLF funds University of Exeter project to study Cornwall’s maritime churches

Cornish Maritime Churches/Eglosyow Morek Kernewek at the Institute of Cornish Studies – a partnership between the University of Exeter and Cornwall Council – has been awarded £40,000 by the Young Roots scheme of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

This new project seeks to explore the rich cultural heritage of a minimum of ten coastal churches from North Cornwall to the far west of the region through the study and use of written documents, film, photography and oral history.

Themes to be covered include Cornwall’s cultural identity, notably in relation to religion, work and the Kernewek language; the iconic importance of the sea and folklore for Cornwall; and communal stories of smuggling, piracy and wrecking. It focuses on the involvement of young people both at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus and elsewhere in Cornwall through a core partnership between the Institute and the FXU History and Celtic Cornish societies.

The funding will enable a small research team to be created under the supervision of Dr Garry Tregidga, with Victoria Jenner acting as digital and youth mentor for the project, and Dr Jo Esra  advising on research skills and maritime history. A lecture series for both students and the wider community will be established, involving key experts from such fields as archaeology, history and heritage studies. Findings will be disseminated through a variety of mediums, but with a particular focus on the creation of on online digital trail with the support of Digital Humanities at the University’s Streatham Campus.

The project is supported by a range of community and educational partners, including the Churches Conservation Trust, Cornwall Heritage Trust, Gorsedh Kernow and Truro College. It is envisaged that the project will lead to the creation of an annual Heritage conference for young people that can be eventually extended to other topics relating to Cornwall’s rich history and culture.