Born Dorothy Ann Trevenen 14 April 1930, Barnet Herts. Cornish father, mother from Somerset.
Education: Library School, Redruth; Truro high School, University College of the SW, Exeter; Institute of Education, London University.
Teaching experience: Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Evesham, Worcs; Camborne Grammar School; Camborne Comprehensive School.
In Camborne, she was a teacher of English and Librarian. Taught “Cornish for Fun”, and CSE Cornish in her own time. Helped to establish “Cornish Studies for Schools” with the LEA, and managed it for some years. Helped to run several Cornwall Children’s Book Fairs. Re-established Cornwall School Library Association and was its first new chair. Became national vice chair SLA and then Chair for three years of the British committee.
Family: 9.8.56. Married Richard Garfield Jenkin (1925-2002) at St. Euny, Redruth. Four children - Morwenna, Loveday, Gawen and Conan, and seven grandchildren – Trystan, Riwanna, Mark, Talwyn, Trifina, Elowenn and Kelyn.
Richard Garfield Jenkin of Leedstown, Hayle, Cornwall, was a seminal figure in the revival of Cornish consciousness, culture and language.
Born in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, where his father from Mousehole, Cornwall, was training for the Church ministry, he grew up with a strong knowledge of Cornwall and the small Cornish communities from which his ancestors came. Reinforced by the chance discovery of Cornish language books in Manchester City Library, when he was in his teens, he realised that his innate love for Cornwall, and sense of belonging, was based on reality, not dreams of a Celtic twilight. He set out to study his own language.
At Oxford University, he and others formed a Cornish society, and he began to meet and be influenced by others at Oxford at that time, Nina Mabey, (Nina Bawden, the novelist), A.L.Rowse, then a Fellow at All Souls, Oxford, and David Balhatchet and John Legonna, students within the Cornish society.
In Cornwall, with family links still strong, Richard returned to meet many active Cornishmen and women of the time when his father was given a living, first at St. Gennys, Bude, and finally at St. Mewan. He came back to Cornwall for teaching practice at Penzance Grammar School, and then started teaching full time at Prince Henry’s Grammar School, Totnes, near enough for many visits to Cornwall.
While in Totnes, he married Ann Trevenen from Redruth, a member of an old Cornish family, and together for several years, they edited and wrote much of the material for “New Cornwall” a duplicated magazine, the first of its kind, crystallising their hopes and aspirations for Cornwall. Radical for its time, in that the magazine looked to the present and the future, more than to the past, it stressed the identity and character of Cornwall. Cornwall and Cornish people has been demoralised by 150 years of emigration and the leeching away of its young people to wealthier areas through lack of employment for many. The magazine also recognised Cornwall as a Celtic country, with a need for its own institutions, and not merely as another English county.
To strengthen this involvement, Richard became involved with other Celtic aspirations, particularly in Wales where he taught for a short time, and started to learn Welsh, but he also visited all other Celtic lands, often speaking about Cornwall, but assimilating their cultural and political struggles to keep their identity. He became secretary of the International Celtic Congress and later President . He also became one of only a few Honorary Life Vice-Presidents . His last visit was in 2002, when he attended the annual gathering in Carmarthen to celebrate the theme of the revival of the Celtic Languages, a subject dear to his heart. Active in the Cornish Branch for over fifty years, he has held many leading positions, and at his death was the Honorary President.
Through study of the culture and language of Cornwall and reading its history, Richard became involved in politics, and again met many leading figures. In 1951, with others he became a founder member of Mebyon Kernow (Sons of Cornwall), a movement looking for self-government over Cornish affairs among other aims. He had realised that without some independent political voice for Cornwall, there was no chance of it becoming the vital and vibrant community of the future that he visualised. Secretary, chair, and at his death Honorary Life President for his services, he fought continually in the press and publicly to gain recognition for Cornwall, politically, economically, socially, linguistically and culturally.
In 1970 and 1983, he stood as an MK candidate in parliamentary elections and in 1979, he stood for the European Parliamentary Constituency, on a platform of a Cornwall only seat, rather than a SW seat with Devon. Because of the strength of feeling at the time, he polled a staggering ten thousand plus votes, on a growing popular wave of public feeling for Cornwall and its special identity.
Earlier, he supported the Celtic League and met many leading political figures from Plaid Cymru , including Gwynfor Evans from Wales and Per Denez from Brittany. Never narrow in his views, he appreciated the importance of minorities throughout the world. He later became a strong supporter of the Cornish Constitutional Convention, fighting for a Cornwall only region within Britain, instead of an amorphous seven county region. Again in a popular tide of over fifty thousand declarations, the people of Cornwall are pressing ahead for a referendum on the position of Cornwall today.
Never bitter, violent or aggressive, he always believed in peaceful persuasion, through strongly emotive language. At the fiftieth celebration of MK, as one of three founder members still alive, he said that he would come back and haunt the assembled company, if they did not get devolution in the next fifty years!
His other strong claims to be remembered are again cultural. He is a Past President of the Federation of Old Cornwall Societies, and an Honorary Life Member of Esethvos Kernow/the Eisteddfod of Cornwall, through which he established the St. Piran’s Day march through Truro, which has now become an annual event. He has had a lifetime of service to Gorseth Kernow/the Cornish Gorsedd. A cultural organisation safeguarding the culture, language, history, identity and nationhood of Cornwall, he brought a breadth of knowledge to his service there. A council member of many years, secretary, Herald Bard, Deputy Grand Bard and finally Grand Bard, he led wisely and well. As Grand Bard, he was invited back for a second term and was the second longest serving officer as Grand Bard, after Robert Morton Nance. When his wife, Ann Trevenen Jenkin, became Grand Bard, the first woman in Wales, Cornwall or Brittany to hold that office, he strongly supported her in her term of office. Writing in Cornish and English, and in poetry and prose, over a period of about forty years, he won more prizes probably than any other bard. His writings have greatly extended the body of modern Cornish literature, the credibility of writing in Cornish and the importance of Gorseth Kernow.
Publications, lectures, speeches and research on Cornwall filled his life, but he still found time to instil in his family his own love of Cornwall. All four children, in differing ways have supported his aims and ideals, one lecturing and teaching in Brittany and writing on Welsh, Cornish and Breton, one an authority on geology, particularly in Cornwall, the other two both active politically and culturally through Mebyon Kernow and other organisations. Both have stood for parliament, representing MK.
RGJs inspiration and leadership will long be remembered and his influence on Cornish cultural perspective and political identity not forgotten.
Ann Trevenen Jenkin. 31st. October 2002.
Many other articles, poems, lectures, prose writings in Cornish and English in numerous journals, both in Cornwall and other countries..