A more positive view of the druids, portraying them as wise old men arose with the northern European Romantic movement of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. One of the key proponents of the idea that the bards preserved a purer and more universal religion that transcended sectarianism was the Welsh Iolo Morganwg. His writings, though now acknowledged to be partly his own invention claimed to be based on manuscript sources and oral traditions in Wales. His work led to the establishment of the Welsh Gorsedd of Bards and influenced the forms of the Welsh National Eisteddfod, celebrations of British culture as distinct from that of the conquering English. The romantic positive figure of the druid and the bard became powerful images within the Welsh and Irish nationalist movements.
In 1964, George’s son Robert MacGregor Reid, then chief of the The Druid Order, died, and Dr Thomas Maughan was elected as his successor. Following a differing amongst some senior members, Ross Nichols founded the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, fully recognizing those three grades in a way that is not formalised in The Druid Order. The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids now represents the largest body of organized Druidry in the world, with over ten thousand members.
Recent decades have seen an explosion of druidic orders and groups in Britain, including the Loyal Arthurian Warband (founded and led by British activist Arthur Uther Pendragon, self-declared reincarnation of King Arthur), the British Druid Order, the Secular Order of Druids, the Glastonbury Order of Druids and so on, with the Council of British Druid Orders set up in 1989 to enable meetings and discussions between different Orders to take place. In February 2003, The Druid Network was launched; its aim is to be a source of information and inspiration about the modern druid tradition, its practice and its history.
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