A Short History of Cornwall
|There were not many people here in the early Stone Age, but
a drift across the land bridge from Europe brought settlers to Cornwall.
The first stone tools found date from about 4500BC. There is the remains
of a stone age settlement at Carn Brea near Redruth.
- The name "Cornwall" comes from Cornovii, meaning hill
dwellers, and Waelas, meaning strangers
- There also exists many burial chambers from this
period. Most of these have been damaged by weather or by man, but you can
still see good example[le at Trethevy Quoit near St Cleer, Liskeard, and another
at Chun Cromlech near Land's End
- Around 2500BC a trade started growing in tin and copper to foreign
shores. The traders brought Bronze tools and gold ornaments to exchange
for the minerals.
- The remains of such Bronze Age villages can still be seen on Bodmin
Moor and the West Penwith Uplands. Excavations have shown these peoples
to be well organised, living in villages and practicing farming and
- Around 1000 BC a near group of warrior like settlers arrived in Cornwall
from Europe, these were the Celts. They brought with them knowledge
of forging iron into weapons. These Celts are the ancestors of modern
Cornwall. They lived in villages, farmed, mined for tin, copper, bronze
and iron, smelted and worked the metal.
- The best known of their Iron Age settlements
is at Chysauster, near Penzance. Here the low stone walls, the grinding
stones and the fireplaces still remain.
- Most of their settlements were fortified against attack - hence many
were on hilltops or on promontories that could be easily defended. Hence
the word "Car" or "Caer" in Cornish place name from
the Celtic "ker" meaning fort., and "Dinas" meaning
- The Romans landed in Britain in 55BC, but they had very little influence
in Cornwall. The last major Roman settlement in the west was at Exeter.The
Tamar, the wild moors of Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin Moor, plus the lack of
safe ports effectively kept the Romans at bay. And the Roman presence kept
other raiders way. The Cornish Celts were left much to themselves.
- When the Romans abandoned Britain, Cornwall came under Saxon influence,
and following the Norman conquest, the first real integration of Cornwall
into Britain took place. The whole of Cornwall was given to William's
half brother, Robert. He made his headquarters at Launceston, where
he built the castle to enforce his rule. Then for the next few hundred
years Cornwall was rule by a succession of relatives of the Norman and
- The first Duke of Cornwall was Edward, the Black Prince, son of Edward III.
Then there was a succession of rebellions through the middle ages.
- 1497, Perkin Warbeck landed near Sennan , claiming to be one of the Princes
murdered in the tower, he was defeated in battle at Exeter. The Prayer Book
Rebellion of 1549 against te imposition of the English Prayer book, saw many
Cornishmen executed. There was the Spanish invasion at Mounts Bay in 1595.The
Civil War between 1642-1649 led to a number of battles and sieges in Cornwall.
And in 1685 there was the Monmouth Rebellion with its bloody aftermath.
Georgian & Victorian Age
||The invention of the steam engine in the 18th century and
its rapid development in the 19th, led to revolutional advances in mining.
Engines could pump dry mines at a great depth, they could haul up ore and
on the surface could
|perform many of the jobs that previously had to be done by
hand.. The Cornishman, Richard Trevithick, was one of the leaders in steam
engine development. Mines were sunk deeper, ports had to be developed to
get the ore out, and there was plenty of employment available in the mines.
But by the middle of the 19th century vast deposits of tin and copper ore
were found abroad, and deep, expense Cornish mines became uncompetitive.
Cornish mines started a long downhill decline, and the last mines have now
The permanent legacy is the Cornish communities that prospered in other countries,
as many Cornish miners emigrated to take their mining skills to Australia, North
and South America and South Africa. In Cornwall all that remains are the ruined
engine houses with their massive granite walls and high brick chiminies
||Mining has finished, the fish stocks are not what the were,
Cornwall has little industry, but it has its scenery and the best climate
in Britain. Miles of sandy beaches, coastal walks, open moorland and a benign
climate that sees spring arriving early, and autumn lingering longer.
Hence tourism is the mainstay of the Cornish economy. As Cornwall tries
hard to capitalise on it's geography, it is striving to attract visitors
here all year round.
Cornwall Tourist Information
Cornwall Calling front page
The hotel to stay at when
visiting Cornwall is Corisande
Manor Hotel, Cornwall find out more about it