RepositoryUniversity of Exeter Penryn Campus (GB 3242)
Ref NoICS9
Extent0.5 linear metre / 2 boxes
TitlePersonal Papers of Edwin Chirgwin (Map Melyn)
DescriptionThis Collection includes a variety of written material in English and Cornish concentrating on Cornish history and culture from poetry, lectures and essays, to translations and stories written to reflect the Cornish dialect.
Admin HistoryEdwin Chirgwin was born in April 1892 in Newlyn. He went to the Wesleyan Day School there and later went on to attend the new Grammar School in Penzance where he did well and eventually became a pupil teacher in 1908. He went on to train as a teacher at St Luke's Teacher Training College, Exeter in 1912 and left fully qualified the following year. His teaching career was interrupted by the First World War which saw Chirgwin enlist and join the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry as a Sergeant Signaller serving in India, Palestine and Egypt.

After the war Chirgwin married Dorothy Thomas of St Just in 1924. Chirgwin became Headmaster of St Cleer School in 1926 where he continued until his retirement in 1956. During his spare time, Chirgwin indulged in his passion for the Cornish past, writing about Cornish folklore, local stories, language, poetry and historic events. He was a regular contributor to newspapers and publications, gave lectures, and still found time to produce instructive booklets about the Cornish language and translations of religious texts such as hymns and books from the Bible. Some of his works include 'Say it in Cornish' and '1000 Placenames of Cornwall'. He also won the Royal Institution of Cornwall's Nicol Medal a number of times.

In 1932 Chirgwin became a bard of the Conrish Gorseth, taking the name of Map Melyn, meaning 'Son of a Mill'. He became Herald Bard in 1935 and served as Secretary from 1944 until his death. He was accepted as Honorary Druid of Brittany in 1951 and Honorary Druid of Wales in 1952.

During the Second World War Chirgwin undertook military service once again, this time in the Royal Ordnance Corps in Gibraltar as a Lieutenant, until he retired on his 50th birthday in 1942.

Edwin Chirgwin died in November 1960 aged 68 years. A stone was erected in the graveyard at St Cleer in memorium.

Source: Gorseth Kernow, 'Edwin Chirgwin (Map Melyn), 1892-1960', <> [Accessed 13/12/13].
LanguageEnglish and Cornish
Access StatusOpen
ArrangementIn the abscence of information as to the original organisation and use by Chirgwin, the collection follows a functional approach based on the activities undertaken. An accession list exists from which some information has been drawn. There is one exception which did not fit into this structure and is listed seperately (ICS9/F/1). The arrangement is as follows:
ICS9/A - Poetry c1940s-1950s
ICS9/B - Lectures 1930-c1960s
ICS9/C - Accounts in Cornish dialect c1940s-1950s
ICS9/D - Essays c1940s-1950s
ICS9/E - Translations c1940s-1950s
ICS9/F - Scrapbook c1930-1932
Finding_AidsThis Collection is fully catalogued.
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