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Celtic Revival

Celtic Revival

Questions being explored include:

  • What accounts for the revival of interest in Cornwall’s culture and heritage in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?
  • How does Cornwall compare to the experience of the other Celtic nations?
  • What was the legacy of this period for subsequent developments in Cornwall’s cultural and political history?


Cornwall's Celtic Revival is currently being investigated through the use of newspapers, written documents and oral histories. The first stage of the project in 2017 saw the Institute supporting the work of the Cornish Language Office and Kresen Kernow in a study of the Cornish language revival in the twentieth century. Dasserghi Kernewek (or ‘Reviving Cornish’) was awarded £34,000 from the former Heritage Lottery Fund to explore and share untold stories of this phenomenon. A particular focus was cataloguing archives including the papers of Henry Jenner, whose book “Handbook of the Cornish Language” published in 1904 is seen as the start of the modern Cornish language revival. As well as Jenner’s papers, other archives were explored to share the stories of other figures in the revival.

This initiative is now being developed in regards to the Cornish language by a postgraduate studentship based at the Institute with financial support from the Cornwall Heritage Trust. Kensa Broadhurst, the current postgraduate researcher, is currently studying the history of the language from its supposed demise in the late eighteenth century to the revival of the early twentieth century. Research findings will be disseminated through her postgraduate research and related community engagement. In addition, wider aspects of the proto-Revival of the nineteenth century are being investigated by the Institute. This includes events like the campaign for a separate Cornish diocese, the neglected dimension of musical representations such as the rise to prominence of the ‘Trelawny’ anthem and links with the other Celtic nations.

»Find out more on the Celtic Revival website