Find a speaker is an aid to 'Old Cornwall' societies and other who may wish to engage a speaker for talks. We cannot express any recommendation beyond what may have been included within the information provided.

Frank Argall

An illustrated talk covering the local history, early photography and the Argall Series of early Cornish picture postcards, on the theme that "every picture tells a story". 

This is suitable for an audience of 10-50 people sitting theatre fashion facing a large projector screen. 

Contact by email at:

Hilary Coleman & Sally Burley

“We rolled from one song to the next and pints were clinked and clunked down with calls for more: it’s always an uproarious occasion.”

During 2012 Hilary Coleman and Sally Burley undertook a journey across the length and breadth of Cornwall, visiting pubs where they knew the tradition of Cornish harmony singing was taking place.

The idea behind this work of love was to take a snapshot of what was being sung and where. Twenty two visits later they have recorded their findings, and the result is a book and CD: Shout Kernow. This book has now been published and they are currently launching it at a number of venues across Cornwall.

Come and hear the tales of their adventures wonderfully illustrated with some of the songs sung how they belong to be by the Red River Singers. Song words will be available if you would like to join in!

Contact by email at:

DEW VARDH (Bert Biscoe & Pol Hodge) Vyajor Gans Geryow & Mab Stenak Vur (Bardic names)


Are Mermaids real? What really happened to Trevithick in South America? What is the most expensive hoover you can buy? What is turkey fricassee?

Pol Hodge and Bert Biscoe are two Bards. They have worked together as performers for the past 15 years and have entertained audiences throughout Cornwall and beyond with a mixture of poems, languages, songs, dialect, jokes and repartee. Their unique chemistry ripples with themes and images that leave a lasting impression.

Pol is one of Cornwall’s leading Cornish linguists – he writes with passion and eloquence. humour and history mingle with compassion and satire. He is an expert on Cornish place names and helps film makers and dramatists to include Kernewek in their productions. He was – unforgettably - the bearer of Excalibur in Gorsedh ceremonies. On one occasion, totally immersed in his role, he forgot to remove his mirror-shades – Howard Curnow’s sonorous whisper filled the Circle as Pol strode with sword in hand: ‘’Ah! Bardh Vader!”

Bert is a veteran of rock and roll and folk music. His bands toured extensively through the 1970s and 80s and won many fans at festivals and on the pub circuit. His songs are still known today. Poetry is his first love, and he has become a lyrical craftsman who writes of land, conflict, injustice – he portrays events and people and slides from surreal wit to deep emotion in the flash of an eye.

Dew Vardh love to perform for Old Cornwall Societies – they bring energy, fun, passion and surprises – and you can watch them three nights running without hearing the same thing twice!

Fees are negotiable. They like to bring a box of books and perform best when there’s a nice cup of tea to lubricate the throat.

Contact by email at: Telephone: 01872 242293

Sam Drake

Author of a number of papers and contributor to Royal Institute of Cornwall journal. In 2020 a joint winner of the Federation of Old Cornwall Holyer an Gof Cup at the Gorsedh Kernow Holyer an Gof awards – awarded to one of the winners in classes 5 and 6 for "Cornwall: Connectivity and Identity in the Fourteenth Century".

Samuel Drake’s research focuses on later medieval Cornwall, exploring subjects ranging from piracy and collective identity through to Cornish belief in King Arthur. His work gives special consideration to Cornwall’s connections with the wider realm, those links fostered by royal government, warfare, lordship, commerce, the law, the Church, and maritime interests. He would happily present papers on any one of these subjects, introducing characters as varied as gentleman-criminals and the Black Prince himself, all of whom helped to make medieval Cornwall strikingly distinctive.

Contact by email at:

Dean Evans

The Passmore Edwards Legacy

Dean Evans gives an illustrated talk on John Passmore Edwards; The Cornish Carnegie, Mr Greatheart, St Passmore, Blackwater Boy. Dean is the author of Funding the ladder - The Passmore Edwards Legacy; Holyer an Gof Award winner 2012.

Contact by email at: Mobile: 07588 711936

Dr Mike Haywood

It was the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower in 2020

I thought members of the Old Cornwall Society may be interested in my presentation entitled “The Voyage of the Mayflower in 1620, the Myth and the Reality”.

There is a Cornish connection to the earliest English settlers in North America. I have been giving this 45 minute talk for several years to interested groups here in the UK and in the USA. I live in Liskeard.

Contact by email:

Paul Holden

Paul Holden, FSA, is a freelance architectural historian, lecturer and writer. He was Chairman of the Cornish Buildings Group between 2010 and 2018 and editor of Celebrating Pevsner: the proceedings of the 2015 Cornish Buildings Group conference (2017). Other notable works include The Lanhydrock Atlas (2010) and The London Letters of Samuel Molyneux (2011). Paul is an editor for Architectural Historian, a member of the Faculty Advisory Group of Truro Cathedral, a Council member of the Cornish Buildings Group and reviewer for the Royal Society, the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain and the Society of Antiquaries of London.


  • Lanhydrock House and the Robartes family.
  • The National Trust in Cornwall
  • The Life and Work of Richard Coad, Architect.
  • The Work of the Cornish Buildings Group
  • The Cornish Country House
  • The Lanhydrock Atlas (1696)
  • The London Letters of Samuel Molyneux (1712/13)
  • The Classical Cornish House
  • 20 years at Lanhydrock: a personal reflection
  • ‘Celebrating Pevsner’ a lay person's guide to Cornish buildings
  • Damp cellars, Dusty Attics and a chesty Cough: researching the Cornish Country House
  • The Life and Career of the Hon. Captain Tommy Agar-Robartes (1880-1915)
  • Treasures of Lanhydrock
  • Architectural Quiz of Cornish Buildings

Other talks can be arranged.

I charge £60 including travel for a 1 hour illustrated talk.

Contact by email at: Direct line: 01208 265963

Philip M Hosken Marak Resruth (Bardic name)

H.T.P. Hosken, Trevithick, Polkinhorn & Co Ltd

There is a substantial, unique part of Cornwall’s commercial history that is now being told. From 1890, H.T.P. was a conglomerate of several companies that included milling, shipping, baking, wool treatment and motor transport; it was a part of everyone’s life in Cornwall and beyond. 

The company was created from four famous Cornish families and the book, ‘H.T.P. The Great Cornish Conglomerate’* covers the period from 1852 to 1936  It will be followed by another covering the 40 years of Farm Industries Ltd.  The lecture depicts a period of considerable change in agriculture, business methods, technology and attitudes during a hundred and twenty years, including two World Wars.  From a wealth of company ledgers, papers and newspaper reports, it explains how the directors tried, and generally failed, to shake off their feudal backgrounds and operate a multimillion pound company over a large area. It contains a lot of names, inter-family relationships and community history in addition to that of the company.

A Power Point lecture on this significant part of Cornwall’s history is available from:

Philip Hosken

Former Chairman Trevithick Society, 13 years

Author books on Trevithick

Editor, Cornish World, 6 years

Contact by email at:

Sue Kittow

My latest book, Walks In The Footsteps Of Daphne Du Maurier has been published and I wondered if you would be interested in a talk about how Cornwall inspires my books (and hers!), how I came to be published, accompanied by photographs taken on my walks.

For other books and more information, visit -

Contact by email at: Telephone: 01326 312356 Mobile: 07896 359048

Andrew G Langdon Dyffresyas Crowsow (Bardic name)

General Talks on Cornish crosses

'An Introduction to Cornish crosses' – This is a general talk on Cornish crosses, which looks at their distribution, age, design and reasons for being set up. 50 mins to 1 hour. (reduced version available).

‘Discovery, repair and restoration of Cornish crosses’ – This talk is all about the practical work which takes place.  Many of the photographs show people repairing or restoring these monuments. 50mins to 1 hour.

Several, more detailed talks about Cornish crosses are available, such as:

Boundaries and Boundary crosses

Lantern crosses, their biblical figure sculpture and symbolism

Stone Crosses in the north Cornwall area.

Other talks available

‘Wade-Bridge: The history of the 15th century bridge at Wadebridge’ - In this talk I discuss the building of the bridge and widening schemes, the legend of the bridge on wool, building accounts, historical events, and the social history. 50mins to 1 hour.

The Wadebridge Institution’ – This talk is all about the development of a Gentleman’s institution, school and reading room and includes discussion about the building, the organisation, lecturers and the discovery of Phrenology plaster heads in the 1960s. 40 to 50mins (Local interest only).

‘Deluge and Destruction: The Great North Cornwall Flood of 1847’ – This talk is about a great flood which devastated the river valley of the river Camel and Inny, damaging or destroying many bridges.  Read as a lecture with powerpoint photographs. 50mins. (North Cornwall interest only).

Contact by email at: Telephone: 01872 271382

Charlotte MacKenzie

I am happy to be invited to speak on:

  • Merchants and smugglers in eighteenth century Cornwall
  • Women in eighteenth century Cornwall
  • The Cornish mariner Joseph Banfield
  • The Ellis breweries at Helston and Hayle

I have written and published history since 1983. Sole author of five books, the four recent books on Cornish history, joint author and editor of two others. Contributor to an eighth book and several journals including the Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall and Troze the journal of the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Overall winner of the Cardew-Rendle prize 2016. My current research is on women in eighteenth century Cornwall.

Checkout information of the new book. Click link - Women writers and Georgian Cornwall

All of the Cornish history books are here

Contact by email at:

Tony Mansell Scrifer Istori (Bardic name)

Easy Listening & Cornish History 

Informative and entertaining PowerPoint Presentation talks

Tony is a contributor to the Federation website Cornish Communities & People.

He is a well respected author having written several books on Cornwall and Cornish subjects

Contact by email at: Telephone: 01872 552098

Gwel An Vre, Wheal Quoit Avenue, St Agnes, Cornwall TR5 0SJ

Dr Joanna Mattingly Gwithyades Form Eglos (Bardic name)

Well known authority on Cornish churches having written and edited a number of books on Cornwall and Cornish subjects. Barded by Gorsedh Kernow for services to the study of the fabric and history of Cornish churches -  Gwithyades Form Eglos - Church Bench Researcher

  • Talks include:
  • Cornish Churches 
  • Holy Wells in Cornwall  
  • Church Houses              
  • History of Sport in Cornwall 
  • A Short History of the Tea Cosy with Cornish examples 
  • Country House Fires in Cornwall

Fee - usually £30+ and travel expenses.

I do slide as well as powerpoint talks but always ask the group to provide equipment. This is usually slide projector, stand and screen and pointer, or laptop and power point projector, stand and screen and pointer.

Contact by email at: Telephone: 01872 225254 

Dr Joanna Mattingly. 21 Broad Street, Truro, Cornwall. TR1 1JD

Brian Oldham

Brian Oldham is President of Liskeard OCS and a Volunteer at Liskeard & District Museum. He has drawn from the Archives of both these organisations, as well as the Cornwall Record Office, to compile a series of illustrated talks which have proved popular to other groups in South East Cornwall.

  • Preservation Work of A de C Glubb and Liskeard OCS.
  • The Remarkable Daniel Gumb.
  • Trades & Occupations of 19th Century Liskeard.
  • Connections Between Lanhydrock & Liskeard District.
  • Memories & Sketches of a 20th Caradon Miner
  • Gems From Liskeard's Archives.
  • Liskeard's Iron Foundries

Contact by email at:

Roger Radcliffe

St Agnes

I am usually unavailable for daytime talks; evenings suit me better.

The presentations I have in stock are:

  • Wheal Kitty and Goonlaze Downs
  • The Search for the Lady Agnes
  • All Washed up at St. Agnes
  • The Coastline of St. Agnes

Contact by email at: Telephone: 01872 552181

Jason Semmens M.A.

Director at The Museum of Military Medicine and holds a Masters of Art in Museum Studies and is a well known author and editor on works relating to Cornish witchcraft and folklore

The talks I can offer are as follows:

  • Witchcraft and Folk Magic in Cornwall Introduction to historic witch beliefs and practices in Cornwall, from the medieval period until the mid twentieth century.
  • Tammy Blee's Cabalistic Agency - Witchcraft and Popular Magic in 19th Century Cornwall Cunning-folk and witchcraft in Cornwall as seen through the life of Thomasine Blight (1793-1856) of Redruth and Helston.
  • The Cornish Witch-finder: William Henry Paynter and the Folklore of Cornwall One of the most active collectors in the early Old Cornwall movement, Paynter's collections are the last significant body of Cornish folklore; what did he find and what do his collections tell us about Cornish beliefs in the early twentieth century?
  • Myrgh An Hallow: Barbara Catherine Spooner's Folklore Collecting in North East Cornwall From King Arthur to Witches, via ghosts and Tregeagle, Spooner's little known folklore collections shed light on beliefs in North East Cornwall in the first half of the twentieth century.

Contact by email at:

Len Sheppard Kevrennek a Skians (Bardic name)

Len is Chair of Newquay Old Cornwall Society and Publicity Officer for Federation of Old Cornwall Societies

Talks are available on a number of Newquay related subjects covering all aspects of Newquay's history, including:

  • From Pilchards to Tourism

Other talks on Cornwall and Cornish themes include:

  • Aspects of Cornish History through the Tregellas Tapestry 
  • Cornwall’s 19th Century Maritime Trade [With Special Reference to Newquay] 
  • Early Tourists & Tourism to Cornwall [With Special Reference to Newquay] 
  • Aspects of the Cornish Fishing Industry from its Earliest Times [With Special Reference to Newquay] 
  • The Song of the Western Men ‘Trelawny’ The Life of Robert Stephen Hawker
  • The ‘Round Castles’ of Cornwall [Launceston, Restormel & Trematon] 
  • Richard Earl of Cornwall – Builder of Tintagel 
  • Aspects of Bodmin Moor 
  • Notable Cornish Women 
  • Dirty Rotten Boroughs – Cornwall and the Great Reform Act of 1832

Other talks are available including

  • Naval Warfare in WWI [Various parts] 
  • The Royal Navy during the Period of Pax Britannica -
    •  Part I 1815 to 1890 [End of the Napoleonic War to the Two Power Standard]
    • Part II 1890 to 1914 [The Naval Defence Act 1889 to Start WWI]
  • The British Battleship 1906 to 1946 [From the Dreadnought to Obsolescence]

Fees charged for talks, including travel costs, are donated to contribute to the support of Newquay Heritage Archive & Museum run by Newquay Old Cornwall Society and Association for Cornish Heritage.

  • £5.00 discount for Old Cornwall Societies
  • Online talks via Zoom or Microsoft Teams can be arranged

Contact by email at: Telephone: 01637 850055

Trevor Smitheram Gevell Gov An Hordh (Bardic name)

President of Hayle Old Cornwall Society Trevor is well known as a highly entertaining speaker on Cornish subjects including the Cornish dialect.

Trevor is also an authority on Hayle and it's historic heritage and is a volunteer at Hayle Heritage Centre

Guided walks around Hayle can be arranged with Trevor

Contact by email Telephone: 01736 756793

TIR HA TAVAS - Delia and Dave Brotherton Myrghwym Melynor &  Ilewydh Porthia (Bardic names)

Music and song inspired by the beauty of Cornwall.

Tir ha Tavas, which means “land and language” in the Cornish language Kernewek, is Delia Brotherton, Myrghwyn Melynor and Dave Brotherton, Ilewydh Porthia, bards of Gorsedh Kernow, musicians and singer-songwriters based in St Ives, West Cornwall.

Delia and Dave are familiar figures on the traditional Cornish and Celtic folk scene and originally formed Bagas Porthia and St Ives Guisers in 2008 following a need to provide local musicians and dancers for traditional events such St Ives Feast Day, St Pirans Day and during Christmastide.

Tir ha Tavas grew out of a desire by Delia and Dave to write and perform more of their own original material including songs in the Cornish language KernewekThey possess a strong musical chemistry and are inspired by the beauty and majesty of the West Cornwall landscape and the recurring feeling of “hireth” or longing for home, felt very strongly by those who love Cornwall.  Their songs combine a sense of fun and wistfulness reflecting their take on modern Cornish life.  They can also combine a talk about the Cornish language with a selection of songs if a more educational evening is required.

Tir ha Tavas has performed at many events in Cornwall including

  • St Ives September Festival and Literary Festival
  • Lowender Peran Festival of the Celts
  • Gorsedh Kernow’s Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture
  • Federation of Old Cornwall Societies national Winter Festival and individual OCS events
  • Summer concerts in local churches

Their show “Towl Ros/Cast Net” about Cornish fishing in music and words won a Gorsedh Kernow Creativity Award in 2018.

They represented Cornwall in the traditional song section of the Pan Celtic International Festival 2018, in Letterkenny, Ireland. They have also featured on local radio programmes.

They have recorded three CDs

  • Bagas Porthia” - Cornish and Celtic tunes and songs from their five piece band Bagas Porthia
  • Ogh Penndra Vyghan” - a more intimate collection of songs with Tir ha Tavas, all in Kernewek
  • An Viaj / The Journey”- the latest Tir ha Tavas CD released in March 2018 with a collection of new, mostly self-penned songs in Kernewek and English

“Just to say ‘thank you’ for the wonderful Cornish music and songs, everyone really loved the performance and had a thoroughly wonderful evening.” St Ives Lit Fest.

“….beautifully crafted songs in the Cornish language by Delia and with their vocals and super tight harmonies along with Dave’s guitar playing they provide pretty unique entertainment.” Philleigh (Cornwall) Folk Club.

“…..Dee and Dave Brotherton have made a wonderful contribution to Cornwall’s musical culture and both are also hard working bards within Gorsedh Kernow.” Federation of Old Cornwall Societies.

“….everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening.  It was so different from anything else we have had for a meeting and was certainly a very refreshing change.  We really enjoyed your choice of songs and loved that you sang some in Cornish – and we did appreciate your translations and explanations!” Gerrans & Porthscatho OCS.

If you would like to enquire about Tir ha Tavas

Contact by email at: Telephone: Tel 01736 799305