An Gof

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An Gof was a militant Cornish nationalist group suspected of a series of attacks in the 1980s.[1] The name was also used by a group in 2007.

The organisation's name is Cornish for "The Smith", and takes its name from the trade of Michael An Gof, a leader of the Cornish Rebellion of 1497.

The extent to which this organisation was exaggerated by media or police is unknown. In one attack, a politician's letterbox was blown up with a bomb. It is uncertain whether other attacks were carried out by the same organisation.


In December 1980, a group calling itself An Gof 1980 exploded a bomb at the courthouse in St Austell. In January 1981, they claimed responsibility for a fire at a Penzance hairdressers (the business was mistaken for the Bristol and West Building Society). Later in the decade, An Gof claimed responsibility for a number of fires, including one at the Zodiac Bingo Hall in Redruth. They also claimed responsibility for an attempted explosion at Beacon Village Hall in Camborne and placing broken glass under the sand at Portreath Beach in 1984, "to deter tourists".[2][3] Some commentators believed the group were claiming unrelated acts as their own.[4]


A group claiming to be An Gof stated on 12 March 2007 that it wanted to destroy all English flags in Cornwall. A statement made by a spokesman for the group was faxed to the Cornish Branch of the Celtic League by an unknown person who withheld his or her telephone number and reads as follows:

Out of respect for many of the decent and honourable Cornish people present today, we have asked our membership to remain inactive. We are aware that reputations were placed on the line by moderate Cornish Nationals who have been subject of death threats from the far right as well as threats of action by the police. However, we wish to make this point very clear: any attempts from hereon to fly the hated and oppressive Flag of St. George of England which we know as the blood banner in this our Country will result in direct action by our organization. For those who question our motives, we refer them to the events of 1497 and 1549 and the years of English Imperialistic repression which has followed. We shall not show the tolerance of those standing Vigil today and our action will be to remove and burn the flags of the English which may cause peripheral damage. An Gof 1497.[citation needed]

In March 2007 a group claiming to be the resurrected "An Gof" committed several acts of vandalism.[5]

This was followed on 13 June 2007 with a declaration by a previously unheard of group called the Cornish National Liberation Army which claimed to have formed due to a merger of An Gof and the Cornish Liberation Army and declared the restaurants owned by Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein to be enemies of the Cornish people. A number of arrests were made.[6][7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Morris, Steven (14 June 2007). "Cornish militants rise again - and this time they're targeting celebrity chefs". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 June 2007.
  2. ^ "Condemnation for 'An Gof' vandalism". 25 April 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  3. ^ Ames, Justin (10 January 2012). "In Search Of The Cornish National Liberation Army". The Velvet Rocket. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  4. ^ Steven Morris. "Cornish militants rise again - this time targeting celebrity chefs". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Coles, John. "Ooh-arr on Cornish terror". The Sun. London. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.(subscription required)
  7. ^ Coles, John. "Man denies being Cornish Nasty". The Sun. London. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.(subscription required)
  8. ^ [2][dead link]