The First Gorsedd, 1792

Iolo's plan of the Gorsedd Circle (the Conventional Circle)
A plan of the Gorsedd Circle (the Conventional Circle) in Iolo Morganwg's handwriting. Note the comment 'the Bards stand unshod and uncovered within the circle'.

The first ever Gorsedd was held on midsummer's day, 21 June, 1792, on Primrose Hill, London. A second Gorsedd was held on September 22 and the Morning Chronicle presented an excellent report of the ceremony:

'Saturday, Sept 22, being the day on which the autumnal equinox occurred and consequently, in the phrase of Bardism, a Solemn Bardic Day, some Welch Bards, resident in London, assembled in Congress on Primrose Hill, according to ancient usage, which required that it should be in the eye of the public observation, in the open air, in a conspicuous place, and whilst the sun is above the horizon. The wonted ceremonies were observed. A circle of stone was formed, in the middle of which was the Maen Gorsedd, or altar, on which a naked sword being placed, all the bards assisted to sheathe it. On this occasion the Bards appeared in the insignia of their various Orders.'

Several further ceremonies were held in London and in 1795 Iolo returned to Glamorgan to hold his first Gorsedd in his native country. But the authorities thought that he was fermenting revolutionary activity and therefore it was not until after the end of the war, in 1815, that Gorseddau were able to begin to flourish properly.

  • National Museum Cardiff

    National Museum Cardiff

    Discover art, natural history and geology. With a busy programme of exhibitions and events, we have something to amaze everyone, whatever your interest – and admission is free!

  • St Fagans National History Museum

    St Fagans

    St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open-air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction.

  • Big Pit National Coal Museum

    Big Pit

    Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. With facilities to educate and entertain all ages, Big Pit is an exciting and informative day out.

  • National Wool Museum

    National Wool Museum

    Located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, the Museum is a special place with a spellbinding story to tell.

  • National Roman Legion Museum

    National Roman Legion Museum

    In AD 75, the Romans built a fortress at Caerleon that would guard the region for over 200 years. Today at the National Roman Legion Museum you can learn what made the Romans a formidable force and how life wouldn't be the same without them.

  • National Slate Museum

    National Slate Museum

    The National Slate Museum offers a day full of enjoyment and education in a dramatically beautiful landscape on the shores of Llyn Padarn.

  • National Waterfront Museum

    National Waterfront Museum

    The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years.

  • Rhagor: Explore our collections

    Rhagor (Welsh for ‘more’) offers unprecedented access to the amazing stories that lie behind our collections.