Timeline of Cornish history

Timeline of Cornish history

__NOTOC__"This timeline summarizes significant events in the History of Cornwall."

Cornwall's earliest recorded history pre-dates the Roman invasions and conquests of Britain. In the Iron Age Cornwall was part of the Celtic Kingdom of Dumnonia. It is likely that the western half of the kingdom formed part of what we now know as 'Kernow' (in Cornish) or 'Cornwall' in English. 'Dumnonia' is how the Romans described the kingdom in Latin and they described the western half of the kingdom as Cornovia. The Romans absorbed the Dumnonii into their Empire, and the Cornish were well represented in the capital of the Romanised 'civitates', at the Roman garrison city of 'Isca Dumnoniorum' or modern day Exeter.

Cornwall became a separate independent Celtic kingdom in its own right only after the Romans had left Britain in the early fifth century AD. Dumnonia as a viable political entity collapsed under the onslaught of the Germanic invaders which we know as the Angles and Saxons and its remnants ruled by its indigenous Romano-British aristocracy retreated westwards towards and across the natural frontier of the River Tamar to survive as an independent State long after the fall of Rome. The Saxon Kingdom of Wessex eventually conquered the eastern half of Dumnonia to form the marcher County of Devon but there was no major military invasion of Celtic Cornwall.


* Examples of Cornish Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age structures are Chûn Quoit, Boscawen-Un and Chysauster Ancient Village.


*Mining in Cornwall has existed from the early Bronze Age around 2150BC and it is thought that Cornwall was visited by metal traders from the eastern Mediterranean. It has been suggested that the Cassiterides or "Tin Islands" as recorded by Herodotus in 445BC may have referred to the Scilly Islands and Cornwall as when first discovered they were both thought to have been islands. [ [http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=o1MBAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=Cassiterides+cornwall&source=web&ots=MBNuLCy7gr&sig=oFDZ6OcPiMmy5xikv4KZz1BwhfU&hl=en Google books - Sharon Turner] ] [ [http://www.cornwallgb.com/cornish_stannaryparliament.html Cornish Stannary Parliament since AD 700] ]


*Pytheas of Massilia (now Marseilles), a Greek merchant and explorer, circumnavigated the British Isles between about 330 and 320 BC and produced the first written record of the islands. He described the Cornish as civilised, skilled farmers, usually peaceable, but formidable in war and also described the Cornish trade in tin with the Mediterranean. Pytheas studied the production and processing of tin in Cornwall and recorded the earliest reference to the presence of a civil administration in Cornwall. He recorded the local name of the islands in Greek as Prettanike - this supports theories that the coastal inhabitants of Cornwall may have called themselves Pretani or Priteni, 'Painted' or 'Tattooed' people. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/timeline/ironage_timeline_noflash.shtml BBC - British History Timeline] ]


*60BC Greek historian Diodorus Siculus named Cornwall "Belerion" - "The Shining Land", the first recorded place name in the British Isles.


*Cornwall's native name (Kernow) appeared on record as early as 400AD. The Ravenna Cosmography, compiled c700AD from Roman material 300 years older, lists a route running westward into Cornwall and on this route is a place then called Durocornovio (Latinised from British Celtic duno-Cornouio-n – “fortress of the Cornish people”). In Latin, 'V' represented and was pronounced as a 'W' and the fortress name refers to Tintagel. [Philip Payton. (1996). "Cornwall". Fowey: Alexander Associates]
*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, ruled after Mark.


*500 The Kingdom of Cornwall emerged around the 6th century which included the tribes of the Dumnonii and the Cornish Cornovii. [Peter Berresford Ellis. (1993). "Celt and Saxon". London: Constable and Co] .
*577 Battle of Deorham Down near Bristol results in the separation of the West Welsh (the Cornish) from the Welsh by the advance of the Saxons. Earliest Cornish Saints systematically convert Cornwall to Christianity, a considerable period before the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon peoples of England (the territory east of the River Tamar). These early monastic foundations were started by Christian preachers or Christian Druids from other Celtic lands, mainly Ireland (as in the cases of Saint Piran and Saint Petroc), Wales (as in the case of Saint Lewis or Gluvias) and Britanny (as in the case of Saint Mylor).


*664 The Synod of Whitby determines that England is again an ecclesiastical province of Rome, with its formal structure of dioceses and parishes. The Celtic Church of Dumnonia is not party to the decision and the Cornish Church remains monastic in nature.


*722 The Cornish Britons (the Cornovii) together with their friends and allies, the (Danish) Vikings destroy an invading West-Saxon army at "Hehil", unlocated, but claims put it somewhere around modern day Padstow. (Annales Cambriae).

As part of the Cornish/Viking alliance, the Cornish allowed the Vikings to use Cornish habours as "safe anchorages" from which the Vikings could plan pillaging raids on Wessex: it is strongly believed Falmouth and Padstow were the main Viking anchorages. For the Vikings, being based in the safety of Cornwall was strategically superb: the Wessex coast was just literally an hours sail for them and they could (and did) raid Wessex was surprise attacks. Viking pillaging raids on Wessex include Wareham in 787 AD, Portland/Weymouth in 790 AD, and, most infamously, at Charmouth in 831 AD when the Vikings landed at the Dorset resort and slaughtered the local Saxon population.


*814 The Anglo Saxon Chronicle states King Egbert "laid waste to Cornwall from east to west"
*825 The Battle of Gafulforda, unidentified but perhaps Galford, near Lydford. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle only states: "The West Wealas (Cornish) and the men of Defnas (Devon) fought at Gafalforda"." ["The Kingdom of Dumnonia: Studies in History and Tradition in South western Britain, AD 350 - 1150", Susan. M. Pearce, 1978, St George Printing Works Ltd, Camborne, Cornwall/Lodenek Press, Padstow, ISBN O 902899 68 6] [Philip Payton. (1996). "Cornwall". Fowey: Alexander Associates]
*838 The Cornish in alliance with the Danes were defeated by Egbert of Wessex at Hingston Down (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle). In 838 the eastern Cornish border was still on the River Exe-River Taw line) and the site of the battle is disputed, but now believed to be at Hingston Down near Moretonhampstead in Devon. The only record of this is from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which state: " "There came a great ship army to the West Wealas where they were joined by the people who commenced war against Ecgberht, the West Saxon king. When he heard this, he proceeded with his army against them and fought with them at Hengestesdun where he put to flight both the Wealas and the Danes"." [Philip Payton. (1996). "Cornwall". Fowey: Alexander Associates] ["The Kingdom of Dumnonia: Studies in History and Tradition in South western Britain, AD 350 - 1150", Susan. M. Pearce, 1978, St George Printing Works Ltd, Camborne, Cornwall/Lodenek Press, Padstow, ISBN O 902899 68 6] .
*875 King Dungarth (Donyarth) of Cerniu ("id est Cornubiae") drowns in what is thought to be the River Fowey.


*927 William of Malmesbury, writing around 1120, says that Athelstan evicted the Cornish from Exeter and perhaps the rest of Devon - "Exeter was cleansed of its defilement by wiping out that filthy race". [Philip Payton. (1996). "Cornwall". Fowey: Alexander Associates] "The area inside the city walls still known today as 'Little Britain' is the quarter where most of the Cornish Romano-British aristocracy had their town houses, from which the Cornish were expelled. Under Athelstan's statutes it eventually became unlawful for any Cornishman to own land, and lawful for any Englishman to kill any Cornishman (or woman or child)..Fact|date=January 2008"
*928 It is thought that the Cornish king Huwal, "King of the West Welsh" was one of several kings who signed a treaty with Aethelstan of Wessex at Egmont Bridge.
*936 Athelstan fixed Cornwall's eastern boundary at the Tamar. [Philip Payton. (1996). "Cornwall". Fowey: Alexander Associates] There is no record of Athelstan taking his campaigns into Cornwall and it seems probable that Huwel, King of the Cornish, agreed to pay tribute thus avoiding further attacks and maintaining a high degree of autonomy. Prior to this the West Saxons had pushed their frontier across the Tamar as far west as the River Lynher, but this was only temporary. It was long enough, however, for Saxon settlement and land charters to influence our modern day inheritance of placenames: between Lynher and Tamar there are today many more English than Cornish place names, as is also the case in that other debatable land between Otter and Tamar in north Cornwall.

*944 Athelstan's successor, Edmund I of England, styled himself "King of the English and ruler of this province of the Britons" [Malcolm Todd, 1987 p289] ,

*997 The Dartmoor town of Lydford, near the Cornish/Wessex border just east of the Tamar is completely destroyed by an angry mob of Danish Vikings. The surprise attack on Lydford is ordered by the King of Denmark and Viking leader Sweyn Forkbeard. Previously, Lydford was believed to be impregnable against Viking attack. However, Cornwall is left alone as Sweyn Forkbeard has no intention of crushing Cornwall - unlike Wessex.


*1013 Cornwall's enemy and Anglo-Saxon neighbour, Wessex is crushed and conquered by a Danish army under the leadership of the Viking leader and King of Denmark Sweyn Forkbeard. Sweyn annexes Wessex to his Viking empire which includes Denmark and Norway. He does not, however, annex Cornwall, Wales and Scotland, allowing these "client nations" self rule in return for an annual payment of tribute or "danegeld".
*1014-1035 The Kingdom of Cornwall, Wales, much of Scotland and Ireland were not included in the territories of King Canute the Great [ [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
*1066 According to William of Worcester, writing in the 15th century, Cadoc, was described as the last survivor of the Cornish royal line at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. [Philip Payton. (1996). "Cornwall". Fowey: Alexander Associates]
*1066 William the Conqueror installed his brother, a Celtic speaking Breton, Robert, Count of Mortain as the Earl of Cornwall.
*1068 The Battle of Exeter - the Cornish attacked the Saxon stronghold of Exeter but were eventually driven back by an Anglo-Norman army sent to mop up pockets of resistance.


*1120 Ingulph's Chronicle records Cornwall as a nation distinct from England.
*1173 Reginald de Dunstanville, 1st Earl of Cornwall, grants a charter to his 'free bugesses of Triueru' and he addresses his meetings at Truro to: "All men both Cornish and English" suggesting a continuing differentiation. Subsequently, for Launceston, Reginald's Charter continues that distinction - "To all my men, French, English and Cornish"."
*1198 William de Wrotham (Lord Warden of the Stannaries) writes of those working tin in Cornwall paying twice the taxation of their Devon counterparts.


*1265 Work starts on the Lostwithiel Stannary Palace. It is reputed to be the oldest non-ecclesiastical building in Cornwall and was said to have been built as a replica of the Great Hall of Westminster. Its original function was as a Court dealing with the Cornish tin industry.
*1265 Glasney College was founded at Penryn.


*1307 The Tinners Charter is granted by Edward 1.
*1336 Edward, the Black Prince was named Duke of Cornwall.


*1485 Polydore Vergil, an Italian cleric commissioned by King Henry VII to write a history of England, states that "The whole country of Britain is divided into four parts, whereof the one is inhabited by Englishmen, the other of Scots, the third of Welshmen, the fourth of Cornish people ... and which all differ among themselves either in tongue, either in manners, or else in laws and ordinances."
*1497 The Cornish Rebellion of 1497
*1497 Michael An Gof and Thomas Flamank were hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.
*1497 Second Cornish Uprising of 1497 - The Cornish march on Exeter and Taunton before the pretender to the English throne Perkin Warbeck was captured at Beaulieu Abbey in Hampshire.


*1508 'Charter of Pardon' granted by Henry VII Cornwall's legal right to its own Parliament was confirmed and strengthened by the 1508 Charter of Pardon. [ [http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=6546 Sources of Cornish History - Charter of Pardon - 1508] ]
*1509 King Henry VIII's coronation procession includes "nine children of honour" representing "England and France, Gascony, Guienne, Normandy, Anjou, Cornwall, Wales and Ireland."
*1531 From the court of King Henry VIII, the Italian diplomat Lodovico Falier writes in a letter that "The language of the English, Welsh and Cornish men is so different that they do not understand each other". He also claims it is possible to distinguish the members of each group by alleged "national characteristics".
*1538 Writing to his government, the French ambassador in London, Gaspard de Coligny Chatillon, indicates ethnic differences thus: "The kingdom of England is by no means a united whole, for it also contains Wales and Cornwall, natural enemies of the rest of England, and speaking a [different] language".
*1549 The Cornish rose up in the Prayer Book Rebellion - some 5,000 "rebels" were killed by mercenary forces. The main confrontations were the siege of Exeter, the battles of Fenny Bridges, Woodbury Common, Clyst St Mary, Clyst Heath (where 900 unarmed Cornish prisioners were killed) and Sampford Courtenay. Following this, Provost Marshal Sir Anthony Kingston was sent into Cornwall to seek retribution. [ [http://www.cornishworldmagazine.co.uk/content/view/77/54/1/8/ Cornish World - The Anglo-Cornish War of June-August 1549 - Aftermath: The Death Squads] ] The Book of Common Prayer was enforced resulting in a decline in the use of the Cornish language.


*1603 Following Queen Elizabeth I's death, the Venetian ambassador writes that the "late queen had ruled over five different 'peoples' - English, Welsh, Cornish, Scottish and Irish".
*1616 Arthur Hopton (ambassador to Madrid) writes that "England is ... divided into three great Provinces, or Countries ... speaking a several and different language, as English, Welsh and Cornish".
*1642 The Cornish played a significant role Civil War as Cornwall was a Royalist stronghold in the generally Parliamentarian south-west. The reason for this was that Cornwall's rights and privileges were tied up with the royal Duchy and Stannaries and the Cornish saw the Civil War as a fight between England and Cornwall as much as a conflict between King and Parliament. [Philip Payton. (1996). "Cornwall". Fowey: Alexander Associates]
*1642 First Battle of Lostwithiel.
*1643 January 19 - Cornish Royalist victory at the Battle of Braddock
*1643 May 15 - Cornish Royalist victory at the Battle of Stratton.
*1644 August 1 - King Charles I arrived in Cornwall and spent the night at Trecarrell near Launceston [ [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=50643] 'Parishes: Lawhitton - Luxulion', Magna Britannia: volume 3: Cornwall (1814), pp. 193-206. ]
*1644 August 31 - Cornish Royalist victory at the Second Battle of Lostwithiel.
*1645 Cornish Royalist leader Sir Richard Grenville, 1st Baronet made Launceston his base and he stationed Cornish troops along the River Tamar and issued them with instructions to keep "all foreign troops out of Cornwall". Grenville tried to use "Cornish particularist sentiment" to muster support for the Royalist cause and put a plan to the Prince which would, if implemented, have created a semi-independent Cornwall. ["West Britons", by Mark Stoyle (Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Southampton) University of Exeter Press, 2002] [A.H. Burne & P. Young, The Great Civil War, a military history, 1959] [S.R. Gardiner, History of the Great Civil War vol. i, 1888] [Peter Gaunt, The Cromwellian Gazetteer, 1987]
*1646 Following the Roundhead victory at the Battle of Naseby in 1645 they had proceeded towards Cornwall reaching Launceston on 25 February 1646 and Bodmin by 2 March 1646. There were skirmishes but the Cornish were vastly outnumbered. Fairfax offered Hopton terms and the surrender took place at Tresillian Bridge, Truro, on 15 March 1646.
*1646 The siege of Pendennis Castle began in April 1646 and lasted for five months. Parliamentary forces attacked the castle from both land and sea and it finally surrendered on 17 August 1646.
*1648 The Gear Rout - The last Cornish armed uprising involving some 500 rebels.


*1715 Jacobite uprising in Cornwall
*1755 A tsunami caused by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake strikes the Cornish coast
*1771 Birth of Richard Trevithick
*1778 Humphrey Davey born in Penzance


*1801 Richard Trevithick built a full-size steam road carriage.
*1814 Royal Geological Society of Cornwall founded.
*1818 Royal Institution of Cornwall
*1832 Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society founded in Falmouth.
*1858 The Miners Association established.
*1858 The Cornish Foreshore Case 1854-1858 confirmed that the Duke of Cornwall, was considered to be a quasi-sovereign within the Duchy of Cornwall territory.

*1888 School of Mines was established.
*1896 Stannaries Court (Abolition) Act 1896. [ [http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.com/pa/cm200607/cmhansrd/cm070329/text/70329w0004.htm House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 29 Mar 2007 (pt 0004) ] ] ,


*1921 Cornwall's deepest mine, the 3,500ft Dolcoath mine, closes
*1928 First Gorseth Kernow at Boscawen-un, (instituted by Henry Jenner) symbolising the resurgent interest in Cornwall's Celtic cultural and linguistic heritage.
*1951 Cornish Political party, Mebyon Kernow, or ("Sons of Cornwall"), was formed.
*1967 The Torrey Canyon Supertanker Disaster.
*1971 The Royal Commission on the Constitution (United Kingdom)
Kilbrandon Report
into the British constitution recommends that, when referring to Cornwall - official sources should cite the Duchy not the County. This was suggested in recognition of its constitutional position.
*1977 Plaid Cymru MP Dafydd Wigley confirms in Parliament that the Stannators right to veto Westminster legislation is confirmed by Parliament. [ [http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5919 Cornwall timeline] ]
*1997 Keskerdh Kernow 500 march to London.
*1998 South Crofty tin mine closes in March 1998 when ores began to be produced more cheaply abroad.
* 1999 English China Clays taken over by French owned company, Imerys in a £756m deal.


*2001 Eden project opened
*2001 Cornish Assembly declaration containing the signatures of 50,000 people was handed into 10 Downing Street on Wednesday 12 December 2001. [
BBC News 11th December 2001 [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/1704112.stm]
*2001 The Cornish were allocated the ethnic code of '06' for the 2001 Census - (see Census 2001 Ethnic Codes)
*2002 The Cornish language is officially recognised by the Government. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2410383.stm BBC News November 2002 - Cornish gains official recognition from Government] ]
*2008 The Standard Written Form ( _kw. Furv Savonek Scrifys) of the Cornish language was formally agreed.

ee also

* History of Cornwall

External links

* [http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5042 Timeline of Cornish History 400,000 BC - 1066 AD] "Cornwall County Council webpage"
* [http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5749 Timeline of Cornish History 1066-1700 AD] "Cornwall County Council webpage"
* [http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5772 Timeline of Cornish History 1700 to 1800 AD] "Cornwall County Council webpage"
* [http://www.cornwall.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5919 Timeline of Cornish History 1800 AD to date] "Cornwall County Council webpage"

ee also

*List of years in the Kingdom of England
*List of years in Great Britain
*Kingdom of Cornwall


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