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Henry Jenner, Grand Bard, Author and Cornish Revivalist

This collection contains autograph manuscripts and proofs of many of Henry Jenner's publications including the seminal Handbook of the Cornish Language, published in 1905. It also contains sections of his unpublished memoirs in which he recalls his life up until the age of 19. There is also a selection of papers pertaining to his father, Henry Lascelles Jenner and, in particular to his failed appointment to the Bishopric of Dunedin in New Zealand. The collection also contains several biographies written by Jenner which he generally wrote for either the Dictionary of National Biography or The Royalist Magazine.

Research notes, publications and papers within the collection represent Henry Jenner's diverse interests in addition to the Cornish language; including other Celtic languages and cultures, Jacobites (Jenner was a Legitimist), Cornish drama and the liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Jenner's wife Kitty, herself a noted author, is well represented in the collection, as is their daughter Ysolt (later Sister Mary Beatrix Jenner of the order of the Visitation). One of the highlights is the correspondence written both between the Jenner family members and to them from their wide range of friends and associates, which documents their life, work and interests in exhaustive detail.

Those referenced in the collection include:

Henry Jenner (1848 - 1934) Henry Jenner was one of the most prominent figures of the Celtic Revival in Cornwall and in the wider Celtic community. He came to be regarded as the principal authority on Cornwall and its history, becoming an iconic figure in the Cornish movement. Significantly, he compiled and published the Handbook of the Cornish Language (a living Celtic language being crucial to admission into the Celtic Congress) as well as presiding over the first Celtic Congress to be held in Cornwall. He became president of numerous societies including the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society in 1916, the Royal Institution of Cornwall in 1922 and the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies in 1924. He also resurrected the Cornish Gorsedh in 1928 and was initiated as its first Grand Bard as well as establishing 'Song of the Men of The West' (better known as 'Trelawny') as an anthem. Above all, he was dedicated to instilling in the Cornish people a sense of their own nationhood and identity that he felt had been lost. This archive reflects this, but also the range of Henry Jenner's intellectual interests beyond his role in the Cornish-Celtic Revival.

Kitty Jenner, wife of Henry Jenner (nee Kathleen Rawlings Lee) (1853 -1936). Born on 12 September 1853 at Hayle Foundry, Cornwall, Kitty became a painter, poet and novelist, publishing 6 novels in her lifetime. She began a correspondence with Henry Jenner in 1873 before the pair finally married in July 1877. The letters between the two in this collection demonstrate the depth of their commitment to each other; particularly when apart (see X1141/6). Kitty shared Henry's passion for Celtic culture and became a bard of the Welsh Gorsedd in 1904, her bardic name being Morvoren. Unlike Henry she converted to Catholicism early in adult life. She passed away in 1936 having outlived her husband by two years.

Ysolt/Ysolte Jenner (both spellings are used) (Also known as Sister Mary Beatrice/Beatrix after she became a nun) Daughter of Henry and Kitty Jenner, she spent much of her adult life at the Convent of the Visitation in Harrow-on-the-Hill. This collection contains a large and regular correspondence between Ysolt and her parents as well as letters between Ysolt and her friends and other nuns.

Henry Lascelles Jenner, father of Henry Jenner (1820 - 1898) Consecrated as Bishop of Dunedin in New Zealand, he was rejected by the diocese. Many of the papers here are related to this incident.

L.C.R. Duncombe-Jewell (also known as Ludovic Cameron)(1866 - 1947) He was prominent in the Cornish-Celtic Revival, forming Cowethas Kelto-Kernuak (Celtic-Cornish Society) in 1901, with Jenner as Vice-president.

And, like Jenner, he was a Legitimist and member of the OWR (Order of the White Rose) and was involved in the Firefly Plot with Jenner. Friend and correspondent of the Jenner family.

'Jack' - pseudonym of Walter Gibson, formerly involved with Kitty Jenner prior to her meeting Henry Jenner.

Henry Jenner, Grand Bard, Author and Cornish Revivalist
Reference numberX1141
Date19th-20th century
Extent6 boxes
Access statusOpen
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