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Welcoming our newest Ovate

It gives us great pleasure to announce the initiation of our first ovate Zoe Price at today’s Tor Fairfield Tree Circle ceremony. Thalia Brown and Lydia Lyte were also formally invested, joining Tim Hawthorn as Druids of Ynys Witrin.
Since 2005 we have initiated 102 Bards, of which 14 are elders (having held the bardic chair for a year and a day). About a third of this number regularly participate in community events.
A smaller group meets every month for study, discussion, mutual support and to plan further events.

2015 Finals – 10th Bard of Ynys Witrin

A new Bard has been appointed in Glastonbury following the town’s annual contest for the ‘Bardic Chair’ on Tuesday 19th May 2015. Wes White – one of the local Library Assistants – won out after a contest featuring five finalists in total. To win the title, contestants are required to impress a panel of judges with a performance of their own original written work. The theme for the contest is chosen by the outgoing Bard, and this year that was Therèse Liddy, who chose the theme ‘Twilight of the Gods’. She was assisted in hosting the night by Glastonbury’s first Chaired Bard, Tim Hawthorn.

Several other awards are traditionally made by the town’s Bardic College on the same night. The ‘Crown’ is the runners-up award and this year went to Lisa Ceneri. A ‘Fool’s Hat’ is awarded to the most ‘foolish’ performance, foolishness being a much-valued quality amongst the bards. For the fourth year running it went to local artist and poet Richard JG Field for a typically madcap and entertaining act. Who will ever be foolish enough to beat him?

In a double-whammy for the Library, Wes’s fellow Library Assistant, Steve Leighton, was awarded the Tim Sebastian Memorial Trophy on the same night. This trophy is awarded by the judges to a member of the community nominated by audience members for ‘elevation of the word’. Steve is a prize winner in multiple short story competitions and his latest short story collection, ‘The Heart of the Sun’, is available now.

The other finalists who captivated the Assembly Rooms were Annabelle Markwick and Lin Hennessy. The contest was judged by performer and actor Nick White; filmmaker Kevin Redpath; local businessman and Hemp crusader Free Cannabis; and by two former winners of the Chair (known as ‘Elder Bards’), Tony Atkinson and Gerry Barnett.

At the end of the evening, the assembly was joined by a contingent from the Town Hall as Glastonbury’s newly inaugurated Mayor and Deputy Mayor arrived, and an honorary bardship was awarded to the Reverend Sister Diana Greenfield.

Wes’ winning piece can be found on his own blog at His primary duty is to ensure a similar event takes place for his succession next year, and the theme for next year’s contest will be announced in March. For more details of the Bardic College and past events follow @BardOfAvalon on Twitter for ongoing updates.

Hail the Bard!


Pictured left-to-right:<br />
New 'Chaired Bard' of Glastonbury Wes White;<br />
New Deputy Mayor of Glastonbury Jon Cousins;<br />
New Mayor of Glastonbury Denise Michell (also one of the founders of the Bardic College);<br />
Winner of the Tim Sebastian Memorial Trophy, Steve LeightonPictured left-to-right: New ‘Chaired Bard’ of Glastonbury Wes White; New Deputy Mayor of Glastonbury Jon Cousins; New Mayor of Glastonbury Denise Michell (also one of the founders of the Bardic College); Winner of the Tim Sebastian Memorial Trophy, Steve Leighton

Open Gorsedh 2014

2014’s contest for the Bardic Chair of Ynys Witrin on the theme ‘The Waters of Avalon’ was won by Therese Liddy and the Crown was awarded to Stephen Cole, whilst Richard Field won the fool’s prize for the third year running! The Tim Sebastian Memorial Trophy was awarded to Tim Hawthorn.

Thanks to our 2014 judges, Su Real, Paradox, Danu Forest, David Reakes and David Williams who did a fine job of judging the competition and to the wonderful bards, poets and musicians who shared their inspiration with us on the night.

The Gorsedh ceremony on Sunday was a beautiful afternoon with Clare representing ‘The Lady of Avalon’. I (Lisa Goodwin) graduated to Elder Bard and initiated six new Bards. We welcome Stephen Cole, Jack Goodwin, Therese Liddy, David, Jim Killeen and Louise Stewart-Daisy,  as new members of the college.

Gratitude to Tim Hawthorn, Lydia Lyte, Dreow Bennett, Shamus Joy and Denise Michell for holding a wonderful ceremony.


Lisa Goodwin

Taliesin’s Tale

Nature applauds us with cheers of thunder,
And cascades of rain. Every moment under,
Her grasp, so tenacious, she threatens to take me.
To devour and love me, yet forsake me.
Gwion am I who took from her cauldron,
The three blessed drops of pure inspiration.

Oh, she is not happy, she’s making a fuss.
She will tear me apart, I know that I must,
Flee the Enchantress, so crooked, yet fair.
There beats in my chest, the heart of a hare.
I dart over the earth with a bitch on my heel.
The start of a quest to discover what’s real.
And so I embark on my fateful folly;
Seeking to find I am not my body!

Rain claps the river and cold water beckons,
My sense of self just another obsession,
I dive in the water, my heart skips a beat,
As my salmon body leaps into the deep.
Transformed into otter, she threatens to eat me,
Still, I am determined she won’t defeat me,
So I sweep through the rivers and scale the oceans;
Seeking to find I am not my emotions!

Now cold blue lightning lashes the water,
And I know that the otter bitch will not falter.
So fins turn to wings and I take to the air,
Hearing the birds sing of freedom up there,
Her hawk eye is on me. She’s still on my back,
Clipping my feathers and poised to attack!
I look to the wind, ask how I’m defined.
Only seeking to find I am not my mind!

And now as my body descends from the flight,
The clouds reveal a crescendo of light,
And riding it’s rays, I blaze into the corn,
I await the goddess, I will be reborn.
Surrendered, devoured, I am not beaten,
As by the holy Ceridwen I am eaten.
I look to my mother to ask what I got,
Only seeking to find, I am not, I am not, I am not.

I grow in her belly, a year and a day,
I am birthed and re-birthed, and then cast away.
Swaddled in crane skin, thrown in the sea,
There I come to All knowing, or it comes to me.
And there stops my seeking and wishing to be,
For what I am seeking is resting in me.
And as you can tell by the fire in my head,
I am the Bard Taliesin; Thrice blessed.

Lisa Goodwin – Chaired Bard of Ynys Witrin – April 2014