- Kingdom of Cornwall
"Kernow" is the
Cornish languagename of Cornwall to this day, with cognates in Welsh "Cernyw" and Breton "Kernev". ("Kernev" is also the Breton form of the region of Brittanyknown in French as Cornouaille.) Its Latinname is "Cornubia", but it was known to the Anglo-Saxonsof neighbouring Wessexas the kingdom of the "West Welsh", later as " Cornwall".
tatus and character
Cornwall seems to have originally been part of the greater kingdom of
Dumnonia, although tradition seems to indicate that it had its own monarchs at times and may have been one of a number of sub-kingdoms. However, some historians, such as Peter Berresford Ellis, believe it was always independent of Dumnonia, perhaps as early as the time of Gildas(c. 545) [ Peter Berresford Ellis. (1993). "Celt and Saxon". London: Constable and Co] . This was certainly the case after the majority of the latter kingdom fell under Anglo-Saxon control in the 8th century.
Two waves of migrations took place to Armorica (Brittany) from Dumnonia and Cornwall and this may have resulted in rulers who exercised Kingship in both Brittany amnd Cornwall, explaining those occurences of the same rulers names in both places.Thomas, Anthony Charles (1986), "Celtic Britain". Ptb. Thames & Hidson, London. ISBN 0-500-02107-4. P. 66.]
Cornwall had remained largely un-Romanized and settlements continued in use into the post-Roman period. It is suggested that the kings were itinerant, stopping at various palaces, such as Tintagel, at different times of the year. Lesser lords built defended 'rounds' like
Kelly Roundsand Castle Dore.
Cornwall may have reverted to
paganismafter the Roman departure from Britain, or perhaps Christianitynever reached these far-flung parts of the Empire. In the 5th and 6th centuries, however, the area was evangelized by the children of Brychan Brycheiniog and saintsfrom Ireland. There was an important monastery at Bodminand sporadically, Cornish bishops are named in various records until they submitted to the See of Canterburyin the mid-9th century.
Kings of Cornwall
Cornish monarchs are recorded in a number of
Old Welshdocuments and "Saints' Lives" as well as in local and Arthurian tradition:
* King Mark – of Tristan and Iseult fame, probably ruled in the late 5th century. According to Cornish folklore, he held court at Tintagel.
* King Salomon – father of Saint
Cybi, probably ruled after Mark.
* Dungarth – was recorded by the
Annales Cambriaeas having drowned in 876. The Annales refer to him as "rex Cerniu", King of Cornwall.
In the "De Gestis Herwardi Saxonis" written in the 12th century it is recorded that
Hereward the Waketook refuge in Cornwall in the 11th century at the court of the Cornish Prince or King Alef.Bevis, Revor (1981). Hereward together with "De Gestis Herwardi Saxonis". Pub. Wetrydale Press, ISBN 0-901680-16-8. P. 13.]
Since the 19th century [ [http://www.google.co.uk/books?id=NcYMAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA99&dq=Huwal+king+cornwall&as_brr=1 The Anglo-Saxon "Episcopate of Cornwall": With Some Account of the Bishops of Crediton By
Edward Hoblyn Pedler(1856)] ] , there has been controversy concerning a certain Huwal, "King of the West Welsh". This character only appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicleentry for 927, accepting King Athelstan of Wessexas his overlord. 'West Wales' was an old term for Dumnoniaor Cornwall, but may also refer to present day West Wales, then generally known as Deheubarth, where Hywel Ddawas king [Ann Williams et al. (1991). "A Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain". London: Seaby] . Other 'kings', such as Ricatus, mentioned on memorial stones may have ruled more localised regions.
An early 17th century pedigree of a so-called 'Earl of Cornwall' in the Book of Baglan [http://wiki.whitneygen.org/wrg/index.php/Archive:Llyfr_Baglan] may possibly also represent a list of rulers in Cornwall [Williams, John. Llyfr Baglan: or The Book of Baglan. Compiled Between the Years 1600 and 1607. Edited by Joseph Alfred Bradney. London: Mitchell, Hughes and Clarke, 1910. p80]
According to William of Worcester, writing in the 15th century, Cadoc, described as the last survivor of the Cornish royal line at the time of the
Norman Conquestin 1066, was appointed Earl of Cornwallby William I of England. Philip Payton. (1996). "Cornwall". Fowey: Alexander Associates]
Geoffrey of Monmouthsaid that King Arthurwas conceived at Tintagel Castle.
*Geoffrey also said that Arthur’s final
Battle of Camlann, was fought in Cornwall. Tradition points to Slaughter Bridgenear Camelford.
*Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote in his 'Prophecies of
Merlin' (Prophetiae Merlini ) "that the race that is oppressed shall prevail in the end, for it will resist the savagery of the invaders. The Boar of Cornwall shall bring relief from these invaders, for it will trample the necks beneath its feet." [ [http://www.caerleon.net/history/geoffrey/prophecy1.htm Geoffrey Of Monmouth - The Prophecies of Merlin] ]
Camelfordis sometimes said to have been Camelot.
Arrival of the Saxons and Normans
Lying in the extreme west of Britain, Cornwall was protected from Anglo-Saxon land invasions until 814 when King
Egbert of Wessexsubdued parts of Devon that were until then part of Cornwall. Clashes continued throughout the early 9th century and by the 880s Wessex had gained control of at least part of Cornwall, where Alfred the Greathad estates. [Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge (tr.), "Alfred the Great - Asser's Life of King Alfred and other contemporary sources", London, Penguin, 1983, p175; cf. "ibid", p89.] William of Malmesbury, writing around 1120, says that King Athelstan of England (924–939) fixed Cornwall's eastern boundary at the Tamar [ [http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5042 Cornwall timeline 936] ] . The chronology of English expansion into Cornwall is unclear, but it had been absorbed into England by the reign of Edward the Confessor(1042–1066). [Ann Williams and G.H. Martin, (tr.) "Domesday Book - a complete translation", London, Penguin, 2002, pp341-357] [Michael Swanton (tr.), "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles", (2nd ed.) London, Phoenix Press, 2000, p177] Cornwall showed a very different type of settlement pattern to that of Saxon Wessex and places continued (even after 1066) to be named in the Celtic Cornish tradition with Saxon architecture being uncommon in Cornwall. The earliest record for any Anglo Saxon place names west of the Tamar is around 1040. [ Philip Payton- "Cornwall" - 1996]
*Christopher A. Snyder (2003), "The Britons"
Legendary Dukes of Cornwallfor the pseudo-historic rulers of Cornwall mentioned by Geoffrey of Monmouth
List of topics related to Cornwall
Constitutional status of Cornwall
History of Cornwall
* [http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/kingdoms/west.html Early British Kingdoms: Kingdoms of the West Country]
* [http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/bios/index.html Early British Kingdoms: Kings of Dumnonia, and of Cerniw]
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