Scholar of Celtic Languages, Revivalist of Cornish culture & Bard
8th May, 1934
St Uny's Church, Lelant
Henry was born at St Columb Major on 8th August 1848 and though he did not live in Cornwall from the age of 3 until his retirement in 1909, his interest in Cornwall and its language was there from an early age.
Henry made a visit to the memorial of Dolly Penreath (then thought to be the last native Cornish speaker) when he was 19, and his strong links and interest in Cornwall led him to meet and marry the author and poet Katherine Lee Rawlings from Hayle. The couple wed in the pretty parish church of St Erth in 1877.
Henry kept an interest in Cornwall during his working life, and published 'Handbook of the Cornish language' in 1904, the year in which Cornwall was accepted as a Celtic nation. Popular interest in the culture and language was developed via the Old Cornwall Societies and formation of the Cornish Gorseth, both organisations in which Henry had important roles to play. At various times he was the Librarian of what is now the Morrab Library, President of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society and a Council Member of the Royal Institution of Cornwall.
Though not born to Cornish parents, Henry's engaging and learned personality made huge strides in bringing Cornish identity to the fore, and served to inspire another generation to continue the work he started.