Nicholas Kenneth Bartle MA CA FCIS
Den an Soth
Born in St. Day, Nick grew up in what had been one of the main mining towns during Cornwall’s heyday of tin and copper mining. His parents, George and Myrtle, both had Cornish ancestry with generations of humble farm workers and miners before them. The house where he was born was a typical Cornish cottage built of large granite stones with a slate roof and a long history. It had previously been two cottages believed to have been linked with Trinity Church that had once been on the pilgrimage route to St Michael’s Mount.
He went to St Day Primary School and became active in the Methodist Chapel and Sunday School. His secondary education was at Redruth Grammar School where he sang in the choir until his voice broke. He was academically successful enough to earn a place at Christ’s College, Cambridge where he studied natural sciences and graduated with a master’s degree.
Nick was not cut out for a career in science and he opted for further training as an accountant with a large firm in London. Living in Bromley, Kent and commuting to the City, Nick joined the West Kent Cornish Association.
After qualifying as a chartered accountant, he took a transfer to Wellington, New Zealand where he has lived since 1984. While his parents were alive, he revisited Cornwall every 3 or 4 years but now makes the long journey less often.
The West Kent Cornish supplied a contact to the New Zealand Cornish Association and he joined up almost as soon as he arrived in the country. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time and, when he first attended one of its biennial national meetings, the NZ Cornish were keen to secure some new blood and he was elected president on the spot. It was a position he was to hold for 24 years only to relinquish that role in order to take over writing the Association’s newsletters. More recently he has also taken on the jobs of treasurer and secretary. It was for his years of office and thousands of words in newsletters that Nick was honoured to accept the nomination to become a bard. It took the bardic name of Den an Soth (Man of the South or Southern Man) in recognition of his adopted home in the Antipodes.
Nick treasures his Cornish heritage and keeps it alive not only with his roles in the Cornish Association but in as many ways as he can; such as baking pasties (vegetarian variants these days) and saffron cake, reading, keeping an eye open for any reference to things Cornish and rarely missing an opportunity to proclaim that he is Cornish – not English – and why the distinction is so important.