CORNWALL FACTS - 100 interesting facts about Kernow and the Cornish

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1. Modern archaeology now admits that the Cornish and Welsh of today are the remnants of an ancient race native to these islands since at least the Neolithic period, between 4,000 and 6,000 years ago.

2. Cornwall was originally part of the kingdom of Dumnonia that may well predate the Roman occupation.

3. Cornwall is an older nation than England and one of the oldest Duchies in Europe.

4. In 936 the English King Athelstan fixed the boundary between England and Cornwall as the east bank of the river Tamar.

5. There is no mention in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles that Cornwall was ever conquered by the English or absorbed into Wessex.

6. No record exists of any formal annexation of Cornwall to England.

7. Cornwall’s continued independence is strongly supported by the fact that it has enjoyed a special status, as Earldom and Duchy.

8. Many treaty's and documents up until the 18th century made reference to there being a distinction between Anglia and Cornubia and maps of the British Isles produced up until the 18th century often showed Cornwall as a distinct entity on a par with Wales.

9. The Cornish had and arguably continue to have a perceived national identity other than English.

10. Cornwall and the Cornish have had an identity distinct form the English for centuries as is evidenced by the existence of the Cornish language as a mother tongue up until the late 18th or early 19th century and the subsequent successful revival of said language in the 20th century. The language exits in our First, Familial and Place names.

11. Constitutionally the nature of Cornwall and its description of being a county of England are disputed - if correct these arguments would indicate a de jure status for Cornwall as a Duchy and a crown dependency not a county of England.

12. Cornwall was portrayed on numerous maps, including the famous Mappa Mundi, as separate from England right up until the mid 16th century and Henry VIII even listed England and Cornwall separately in the list of his realms given in his coronation address.

13. During the 1549 Anglo-Cornish war, English and foreign mercenaries killed 4,000 Cornish fighters before moving into Cornwall and in total slaughtered up to 11% of its population before the butchery was stopped - with families deprived of their menfolk and livelihoods, the true figure of deaths caused by this barbaric crime accounted for 20% of the Cornish population.

14. Cornwall was not party to the Act of Union in 1707.

15. Cornwall's legal right to its own Parliament has existed for over 800 years - the right was confirmed and strengthened by the Charter of Pardon 1508, which added to its rights that of veto over acts, statutes, laws, etc., passed by the Westminster government - these rights were granted in perpetuity and cannot be lawfully rescinded.

16. Cornwall's right to its own sovereign Parliament, and the powers it processes under the Charter of Pardon were confirmed as valid in British law by the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Elwyn Jones in 1977.

17. In British law - a law that has been continually ignored and breached by England - no officer or agent of the Crown (this would include both Westminster and the Anglican Church) can legally set foot upon Cornish soil without the express and joint permissions of the Duke of Cornwall and Cornwall's Stannary Parliament.

18. Cornwall was successfully described as a Duchy in the Cornish Foreshore Case of 1856 and also that the Duke of Cornwall is the head of state, not the UK monarch.

19. In the notable 1856 Duchy of Cornwall v the Crown case it was confirmed by the Attorney General to the Duchy, Sir George Harrison, that Cornwall was, in law, a Palatine State , extra-territorial to the English Crown and whose quasi-sovereign is the Duke of Cornwall; that during the Kingdom, Earldom and Duchy, Cornwall had always been treated as distinct from England; and that its eastern boundary confirmed that set up in 931 AD, that is, the east bank of the Tamar river; all of which was accepted as the legal position by the Court.

20. Cornwall is officially a Duchy and that’s the title recommended by the Kilbrandon Report back in 1973 to be used instead of “county” - the imposition of county status imposed on Cornwall in 1889 was not lawful.

21. The Welsh are regarded by the UK Government as a national minority, however before the 1960's there was little difference between Cornwall and Wales in constitutional terms.

22. Cornwall’s rights have been ignored for 450 years, and there is an ongoing stream of official untruths - many organisations operate in Cornwall in direct breach of the Duchy Charters - HM Inspector of Taxes, the Crown Prosecution Service, Crown Courts, English Heritage, English Nature, English Estates etc.

23. Cornwall's distinction was reflected by the first Duke of Cornwall when, in 1351, he commissioned a survey of his Duchy of Cornwall lands to ascertain what was held, and by whom, of his tenants in "Cornwall & England". There are many historical references to corroborate this distinction and it has been the Cornish perception of themselves up to the present day, but hidden from the world by being classified, since 1889, as an English administrative county.

24. Cornwall and Wales both have a similar relationship to the Crown, with the same person, the heir to the thrown, acting as Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cornwall and both countries have shared origins - so why are the Cornish treated differently by the Government ?

25. The Cornish language gained official UK Government recognition in 2002 and funding in 2005.

26. Since 2001, the Cornish have been officially recognised on the ONS UK national Census as one of Britain's ethnic group categories (ie Catagory "A" White Group - 1 British, 2 Irish, 3 English, 4 Scottish, 5 Welsh, 6 Cornish, 38 Northern Irishand) and on the recent local school census it was possible to record oneself as Cornish (as opposed to English).

27. Cornwall is legally an extra territorial land from England and not an administrative county which it has illegally been for near on 400 years

28. 90% of Cornish place names are of Celtic origin and derived from the Kernewek language.

29. The Cornish are accepted by many within the European Community as a national minority.

30. In 1652 the English puritan preacher, Roger Williams complained that "we have Cornwall, Indians in Wales, Indians in Ireland".

31. In 1360 the Treaty of Brétigny syas: "John, by the Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, Earl of Anjou, confirmed the aforesaid; and Richard, King of Germany and Earl of Cornwall, in like manner, confirmed the aforesaid".

32. In the fifteenth century the Croyland Chronicle states: "In order zealously to carry out the same, he sent the venerable men of God, brothers Egelmer and Nigel, his fellow-monks, with relics of the saints, into the western parts, namely, Flanders and France. To the northern parts and into Scotland he sent the brothers Fulk and Oger, and into Denmark and Norway the brothers Swetman and Wulsin the younger; while to Wales, Cornwall and Ireland he sent the brothers Augustin and Osbert".

33. In 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."

34. In 1509 King Henry VIII's coronation procession includes "nine children of honour" representing "England and France, Gascony, Guienne, Normandy, Anjou, Cornwall, Wales and Ireland."

35. In 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".

36. In 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.

37. In 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'".

38. In 1616 Arthur Hopton [later 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".

39. During the eighteenth century, Samuel Johnson created a Cornish declaration of independence that he used in his essay "Taxation no Tyranny" - "We are the acknowledged descendants of the earliest inhabitants of Britain, of men, who, before the time of history, took possession of the island desolate and waste, and, therefore, open to the first occupants. Of this descent, our language is a sufficient proof, which, not quite a century ago, was different from yours."

40. Many maps of the isles prior to the seventeenth century showed Cornwall ("Cornubia"/"Cornwallia") as a nation on a par with Wales, notably Gerardus Mercator (1512), Sebastian Munster (1515), Abraham Ortelius and Girolamo Ruscelli.

41. In 1937 Bartholomew published a Map of European Ethnicity prepared by the Edinburgh Institute of Geography which featured "Celtic Cornish"

42. On 12 July 2005, Jim Fitzpatrick MP, an ODPM Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Labour government, said in a Commons in response to Andrew George Lib Dem MP for St Ives, Cornwall, that he "realises that the people of Cornwall consider that they have a separate identity."

43. In July 2005 Phil Woolas MP, Minister for Local Government, said "On your point about Cornwall’s desire to control its own future, the Government is very much aware of the strength of feeling about Cornwall’s separate identity and distinctiveness ... The Government recognises that many people in Cornwall consider they have a separate identity."

44. Non-governmental organizations such as Eurominority and the Federal Union of European Nationalities also give varying degrees of recognition to a Cornish people.

45. In the late 1930s, when the outside world was becoming increasingly vociferous over the Nazi's treatment of the German Jews, German newspapers, fed by the Nazi propagandists, tried to counter criticism from British sources by claiming that the English should be the last to complain, since they had 'persecuted' the Cornish from time immemorial.

46. In March 2004 a Morgan Stanley Bank survey showed that 44% of the inhabitants of Cornwall believe themselves to be Cornish rather than British or English.

47. In 1977 the Plaid Cymru MP Dafydd Wigley in Parliament asked the Attorney General for England and Wales if he would provide the date upon which enactments of the Charter of Pardon of 1508 were rescinded. The reply, received on 14 May 1977, stated that a Stannator's right to veto Westminster legislation had never been formally withdrawn.

48. In 1997 the Liberal Democrat Andrew George MP attempted to raise a Duchy-related question but he was prevented by an injunction that disallows MPs raising any questions in Parliament that are in any way related to the Duchy.

49. Recently Lord Whitty, in the House of Lords, recognised that Cornwall has a "special case" for devolution and on a visit to Cornwall, Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott said "Cornwall has the strongest regional identity in the UK".

50. The Council of Europe has urged the Government to extend the cultural, educational and other benefits of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities to the Cornish and a 2nd UK report was submited this year with a decision due in late 2006.

51. Cornwall is the only Celtic nation (out of Cornwall, Brittany, Galicia, the Irish Republic, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) that has no form of effective self-government.

52. The Cornish and Welsh languages predate English and are the only European languages along with Basque language to have been in use before, during and after the Roman empire.

53. The 1998 Tamar bridge act recognises that the Cornish foreshore and river beds are the responsibility of the Duchy of Cornwall.

54. Out of a tiny gross domestic product of 3.6billion pounds, the Government takes over 1.95 billion in taxes from Cornwall and puts back less than 1.62 billion, a gap of over 300 million pounds. (Business Age: Oct. 02: Kevin Cahill, "The Killing of Cornwall" )

55. In 1997, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall had no Tories elected in the general election.

56. In 2005, in a clear message to Westminster, all five Cornish MPs elected were not from the two major parties, but were Liberal Democrats.

57. A Cornish Assembly will help to rebuild a sense of "Cornishness" that is fast disappearing.

58. Because of its cultural and linguistic simularities with Wales, Cornwall was originally charted by the Anglo-Norman's as 'South Wales'.

59. Cornwall is seen by many as distinct as Wales and Scotland are from England.

60. It is argued that Cornwall should have the same rights as the other recognised Celtic Nations and be permitted to run it's own affairs.

61. Cornwall is a member of the Celtic League, the Pan-Celtic Congress and the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) which has special participatory status at the council of Europe in Strasbourg and consultative status to the United Nations.

62. Cornwall has two unique Celtic sports, Cornish Hurling and Cornish Wrestling, both chronically ignored and under funded.

63. Many Cornish festivals and events, like the Obby Oss have their origins in the Celtic Britons and predate the arrival of the English in the British Isles.

64.The Cornish language is closely related to that of Wales and Brittany.

65. Many Cornish people cite laws and constitutional peculiarities related to the Duchy of Cornwall, a private estate belonging to the Prince of Wales, that seem to indicate that the territory of Cornwall is not simply an English county.

66. Cornwall is larger than more than 20 UN nations, and one of the oldest Duchies in Europe.

67. In 2005 Mebyon Kernow became the largest political group on a Cornish town council (Camborne) after a by-election.

68. Cornwall has it's own Cornish Stannary Parliament which deals with Cornish constitutional issues and has the ancient right of Cornish tin-miners' assemblies to veto legislation from Westminster.

69. Cornwall 2000 is a the Human Rights organisation which works with Cornish cultural issues.

70. The Cornish flag is an exact reverse of the former Breton national flag (black cross on a white field) and is known by the same name "Gwynn ha Du" - white and black.

71. At present, the Parliament and Government of the UK, as well as Cornwall Council, treat Cornwall as an administrative and ceremonial county of England.

72. Many Cornish people assert that Cornwall is, or ought to be, separate from England, but do not necessarily mean to advocate separation from the United Kingdom (merely Cornwall's recognition as a fifth 'home nation'.)

73. An ancient tale, the legend of Brutus, recounted by Geoffrey of Monmouth, makes explicit reference to a distinct origin of the Cornish people.

74. Extracted from a commission of the first Duke of Cornwall:- 25 Edw. III to "John Dabernoun, our Steward and Sheriff of Cornwall greeting. On account of certain escheats we command you that you inquire by all the means in your power how much land and rents, goods and chattels, whom and in whom, and of what value they which those persons of Cornwall and England have, whose names we send in a schedule enclosed"......

75. The 18th century writer, Richard Gough, noted that "Cornwall seems to be another Kingdom", in his Brittania (4 vols; London, 1806).

76. The Cornish Constitutional Convention — composed of many political groups in Cornwall (including Mebyon Kernow) — gathered over 50,000 signatures in 2000 on a petition to create a Cornish Assembly resembling the National Assembly for Wales.

77. Many Cornish people argue that the Cornish are a distinct ethnic group, that people in Cornwall typically refer to 'England' as beginning east of the Tamar, and that there is a Cornish language.

78. The Cornish fully qualify as an ethnic group - The Oxford Modern English Dictionary defines "ethnic" as: of a social group having a common national or cultural background; denoting origin by birth or descent rather than nationality; relating to race or culture.

79. Investigations have revealed that during Henry VIII's reign a minimum of 60,000 people of all ages were judicially hung, beheaded, stretched, shredded, burnt or otherwise despatched in England and Cornwall - The population of England and Cornwall at this time was estimated at 2.8m, so pro rata, this was a higher death toll than incurred by the population of Europe under Hitler, and Stalin and Pol Pot used similar unconstitutional devices to eliminate 'social undesirables'.

80. Mebyon Kernow has for many years sought for Cornwall the position of a first-order (NUTS 1) EU region, which would put Cornwall on the same statistical level as Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Regions of England.

81. The people of Cornwall have UK passports and pay UK taxes (not as some believe, English passports and English taxes).

82. Recently the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has had some accusations of racial discrimination leveled against it by only providing a Census tickbox for "British" and "Irish" in category "A". There have been widespread calls for extra tickboxes on the next 2011 Census for people to clearly identify as "Cornish", "English" and "Welsh".

83. Cornwall is recognised by many as a "stateless nation" and the Cornish as a UK "national minority"

84. Contrarary to popular belief the Cornish language didn't completely die out. During the 1840s, there were a group of children in Zennor Parish, brought up bilingually, who habitually spoke Cornish among themselves. One of these, John Mann (then of Chapel Street, St Just) was still alive, at the age of 80, in 1914, ten years after Jenner's Handbook had kick started the Cornish language revival.

85. Cornish was revived as a living language at the beginning of the twentieth century. The revival was led by the scholar Henry Jenner, who published the first book to encourage the use of Cornish as a living language in 1904. It's title was 'The Handbook of the Cornish Language'. Cornish shares a distinction with Hebrew as being one of the few languages that has been successfully revived.

86. The earliest known reference to Corneu/Cerniu/Kernow is in the Ravenna Cosmography of c700 AD, drawn from Roman sources of c400 AD, with its mention of "Durocornovio" (fortress of the Cornish), identified as Tintagel by Prof. Charles Thomas.

87. The Cornish uprising of 1497 was followed by the subsequent destruction of Cornish monasteries from 1536 through to 1545 which brought an end to the formal scholarship that had sustained the Cornish cultural identity. For the Cornish populace, the attack on their autonomous Cornish identity together with the 1549 Act of Uniformity was a step too far and aggravated by the assaults on their legal rights and culture, the extinguishing of their religion, and ever greater tax demands, the 1549 Cornish uprising began.

88. The Act of Uniformity in 1549 which established the Book of Common Prayer as the sole legal form of worship in Cornwall and England proved to be a turning point in Cornish history which led to the 1549 Cornish Uprising. With the imposition of this Act, the rights that had been granted by Henry VII in the 1508 Charter of Pardon to the Cornish were totally trampled on. (Cornwall's legal right to its own Parliament had previously been confirmed and strengthened by the Charter of Pardon 1508, granted by Henry VII, which is still fully valid at law even today).

89. The imposition of the book of Common prayer in 1549 was enforced by the murder of Cornish priests and the populace, the destruction of texts and traditions, the beating of children and the use of English in church education. This went on for a period of nearly 150 years - long enough to force tens of thousands to give up their native Cornish language.

90. The Institute of Molecular Research's genetic survey was emphatic in including the Cornish with the other Celts in sharing the amazingly ancient genetic strain along the western side of Britain.

91. The tin miners of Cornwall once traded with the Phoenicians and at this time Cornwall was known as The Cassiterides or The Tin Islands.

92. Cornwall was also known as The Stannaries. (Stannum is Latin for tin) No fixed boundaries were set for the Stannaries so in effect they covered all of Cornwall and as each Stannary appointed 6 Stannators to the Stannary Parliament, the Parliament represented all of Cornwall.

93. The 1847 Cornish potato famine, which deprived the working classes of one of their staple foods, occurred at the same time as the Irish potato famine. Combined with an increase in wheat and flour prices, which put the price of bread out of the reach of Cornish miners and their families, it is recorded in Cornish history as the "Corn Riots".

94. In 722AD the Cornish allied with Danish Vikings in order to hold Wessex from expanding into Cornwall. A Wessex Saxon army led by King Ine was comprehensibly destroyed by an alliance of Cornish and Vikings near the Camel estuary. This battle, as well as the Vikings continually attacking Wessex, enabled Cornwall to stay autonomous from Wessex.

95. Cornwall showed a very different type of settlement pattern than Saxon Wessex. Places continued (even after 1066) to be named in the Celtic Cornish tradition not Saxon tradition and Saxon architecture is very rare in Cornwall.

96. The English translation of the Great Charter of 1337 as deployed in Rowe v Brenton (Manning edition 1830) states that the Kings son is “Duke of Cornwall and heir to the Kingdom of England”. A revised Government translation states that the Kings son is “Duke of Cornwall in the Kingdom of England” (Halsburys Laws 1973). There is a Parliamentary injunction preventing MP’s from raising questions about, or even attempting to discuss, these matters.

97. The Charter Roll of 16th March 1337 announcing the Great Charter said that inspiration was drawn from the time when Cornwall was recognised as being a separate Kingdom, and that the intention was to “restore Cornwall’s original ancient honours”. Today the Duchy states that the “main purpose of the Charter is to create an income for the Duke”. There is a Parliamentary injunction preventing MP’s from raising questions about, or even attempting to discuss, these matters.

98. In 1857 the Duchy stated that the three Charters confirm and acknowledge Cornwall as being co-terminus with the Duchy, which is extra-territorial to England and subject to its own chief ruler, law making apparatus and tax raising regime. Today the Duchy states that it is merely a collection of private estates. There is a Parliamentary injunction preventing MP’s from raising questions about, or even attempting to discuss, these matters.

99. Halsburys Laws refer only to the 17th March 1337 Great Charter. Two subsequent Charters of 18th March 1337 and 3rd Jan 1338 confirming that Cornwall was for all time to be subject to its own law-making regime, and not subject to England’s Summons of Exchequer are not referenced. There is a Parliamentary injunction preventing MP’s from raising questions about, or even attempting to discuss, these matters.

100. It remains an undisputed fact that Cornwall, once a separate country, has never formally been integrated into England, which is why some even today still believe that Cornwall and England are technically two distinct countries - they maintain that it takes a specific Act of Parliament to merge the two countries, as opposed to merging them by stealth.

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