11th Bard Of Bath

Click here to read about Ash

On 7th December 2006 I won the Bard of Bath Competition.
The open competition included an assessment of a performance and manifesto. I hit the post with a business plan and set to work on the items in my bardic manifesto.
Read my Bardic Manifesto

Ash Mandrake

Newspaper articles: Bath Chronicle 2007

Read the newspaper article: Poetry – it’s the people’s thing
Read the newspaper article: Competition to find the 12th Bard Of Bath
Read the newspaper article: Bard Targets Banks In Poetic Fight For Justice
Read the newspaper article: Bard: Squeeze A Squash Into Your Garden

Read the newspaper article: Bard’s Back To Basics


Ash Mandrake


1/ Promotion of the concept of an inclusive definition of Bard, both in terms of performers and audiences, by:

E.g. telling the public that they are bards every time they e.g. tell a joke; and that “practicing helps you enjoy doing it even more!” and Performing regularly to: Local children in schools

Tourists and the Bath general public in (location to be decided) e.g. Victoria park (The ring of five beeches)

Bath general public in Bath City Centre (busking), open mics and paying venues.

2/ Facilitate bardic activity by:

a/ Running a story writing competition for local school children.

b/ Beginning work with the local council and businesses to gain support for the siting of a “Bardic Amphitheatre” (tree henge).

3/ Generate community spirit and laughter by:

Writing an alternative history of Bath and invite residents to grow peculiar squash in unexpected places, the most original locations being presented with prizes at an autumn pumpkin soup event, with bardic contributions.

4/ Support a humanitarian cause:

I will use my “Mighty Dragon Song” to persuade the banks of Bath to publicly reveal the percentage of debts that are attributable to their own charges. Especially the debts of those on low incomes.

Ash Mandrake

Ash Mandrake The 11th Bard Of Bath: Photograph by David Wilton copyright 2007

Poetry – It’s the people’s thing (published in The Bath Chronicle some time on Dec 14th 2006)

THE newly crowned Bard of Bath used the force of a “mighty dragon” to seal his title for the year.

Ash Mandrake has taken on the title and plans to launch a humanitarian project while forging a greater community spirit in Bath.

Ash – real name Mark Ashley – wants every citizen to become a bard of Bath. Despite the bardic traditions dating back to the ancient Celts and Druids. Ash is spreading the word in a thoroughly 21st century format through his own myspace site.

On his homepage at www…(old myspace address that no longer exists…) the winning bard’s manifesto states that Ash 42, will be telling the public that they are bards every time they, for example, tell a joke.
He also promises to take his bardic skills into local schools and to entertain not only the city’s permanent residents but the all important temporary citizens – the tourists.
Ash said “I don’t want people to think I’m the only one who can do this kind of thing.
“My audiences are going to be children in schools, I already go to nurseries and get them singing and playing guitar, and we have a great time. I don’t see why tourists in Bath shouldn’t be able to experience the product as well.”
To target tourists, Ash hopes to be able to use a circle of trees in the Royal Victoria Park as an amphitheatre for his performances. Possibly the toughest mission he has tasked himself for the year in office is tackling banks over debts and charges.

His humanitarian cause will be backed by the song which helped bring him the Bard of Bath title – The Mighty Dragon Song.
And he plans to persuade the banks in the city to reveal what percentage of customers’ debts are attributable to their own charges.
Ash is a musician and makes leather hats when he is not acting in a bardic manner.
He said: “I am planning to put a lot of energy into being the bard.”

Competition to find the 12th Bard of Bath (published in The Bath Chronicle some time in October 2007)

Tall tales will be the focus of the contest to select the next bard of Bath

Ash Mandrake who currently holds the title has chosen “The Biggest Lie” as the theme of the competition to find the city’s 12th bard. Mr Mandrake is encouraging people to sign up for the chance to win the honorary title, which lasts for a year and aims to encourage storytelling and poetry.

He said: “The Bard of Bath is defined more by what is coming next than what has gone before. This title will provide someone with a fantastic opportunity to make a contribution to this wonderful city – There’s a lot of good that can come from it.

“Being bardic is not something that is reserved for the elite. If you read bedtime stories to your children, tell each other jokes, or even sing in the bath, you’re employing the skills of the bard. You will obviously improve your skills if you practice, but everybody has to start somewhere.”

During his year as the bard, Mr Mandrake said he had enjoyed being a poet, storyteller and musician.

He has protested against bank charges in song, held a storytelling event during the Bath Fringe Festival, and launched the Bath Squash and pumpkin Project, where he encouraged families to grow a squash plant together.

He has also performed with his band, The Mandrake project, and their next performance will be at The Mission Theatre in Corn Street tomorrow and at The Porter on George Street next Tuesday.

There has been an increase in new bards around the country after the Archdruid of the Bardic Chair of Bath, the late Tim Sebastian, sparked a national revival.

Mr. Sebastian, who died in February aged 59, was part of the council of British Druid orders which decided to revive the bardic tradition in 1992.

Now bards are selected in towns and cities such as Glastonbury, Bristol, Winchester, Exeter and Oxford.

In the competition for the title, participants need to perform an original piece lasting no more than 10 minutes.

The deadline is November 16 and the contest is open to all storytellers, poets and singers who will live in Bath and north east Somerset between December 2007 and December 2008.

The bard also has to be aged 18 or over. The competition to choose the bard will be held at 7.30pm on Saturday December 8 At Invention Studios Lower Borough Walls.

For more information and to find out where to send entries visit www… (old myspace address that no longer exists)…

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