Gorsedd of the Bards

For many, the spectacular Gorsedd ceremonies are an integral part of the Eisteddfod festival, but in reality, the Gorsedd and the Eisteddfod are two separate organisations.  These pages offer a taste of what the Gorsedd does; go to www.gorsedd.cymru for more information.

The Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle of Britain has a long and interesting history dating back to the end of the eighteenth century.

It may be a surprise for many to learn that the Gorsedd was not created in Wales, but rather in London, on Primrose Hill in the north west of the city in June 1792.  The brainchild of Welsh academic, Iolo Morganwg, who came originally from Llancarfan, Glamorgan, he wanted to emphasise the fact that the heritage and culture of the Celts belonged to the Welsh, and felt that the creation of the Gorsedd was an excellent way to reflect this.

The first link between the Eisteddfod and the Gorsedd was at the Carmarthenshire Eisteddfod in 1819, when Iolo Morganwg held a ceremony in the gardens of the Ivy Bush Hotel.  He scattered a cluster of pebbles in a circle, and the Gorsedd ceremony was held within this circle.

This was the beginning of the close and valuable link between the Eisteddfod and the Gorsedd, a link which has continued since the creation of the Eisteddfod in its current form in 1861.