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tregenna



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:41 pm    Post subject: Cornish Historical Facts Reply with quote

The Cornish and the West Saxons

There is no current archaeological evidence to show that there was any notable Anglo-Saxon settlement west of the Tamar until the late 10th century. None of the place names can be dated to before 1000AD. "Anglo-Saxon Charters" from the 10th century (those, if any, that are actually genuine - and many are later forgeries, like the St Buryan Charter) originate from the Church, which isn't surprising as, by that time, the Cornish church had been flooded by Anglo-Saxon priests (back then, priests were not to be harmed. A Saxon priest could travel where he liked in Britain and not be molested; so could a Celtic one). This seems like a continuation of the tradition that ensured safety for bards.

Ecgberht's 838 victory was simply that - a victory. It did not lead to any conquest of Cornwall or expansion of Wessex into Cornwall. If it had, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles would have shouted the fact from the rooftops. But it doesn't. Some mainstream 'historians' like Malcolm Todd, draw huge conclusions from nothing. For example, he says this of the battle of Gafulforda (perhaps Galford, near Lydford) in 825:

"The Cornish rose up in rebellion and were defeated by Ecgberht at Gafalforda". The ASC (the only source we have) says this: "The West Wealas (Cornish) and the men of Defnas (Devon) fought at Gafalforda".

It doesn't say who won or who lost; whether the men of Cornwall and Devon were fighting each other or on the same side and certainly no mention of Ecgberht. Nor can one "rebel" against a foreign enemy - only an internal one. Todd has no foundation whatsoever for his assumption, and seems to be politically motivated. As a professional historian, the man should be ashamed of himself.

It is not credible that Hengist Down (Hingston Down) in Cornwall is the site of the 838 battle and the Hingston Down near Moretonhampstead in Devon is much more realistic. We have nothing of real Saxon evidence before 950 and post 950 we see some increasing Saxon influence - English speaking priests, Cornish landowners with bilingual names etc. but it is still very little, much of which would have been swept aside by the time the Normans arrived.

The Anglo Saxon Chronicles say that in 838 "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."

In 838 the eastern Cornish border was still on the Exe-Taw line and it was to be nearly another century before Aethelstan was to push it back to the east bank of the Tamar. The whole of Dartmoor and the South Hams was still exclusively Cornish territory. In August 825 Ecgberht had signed a charter in a place called Creodantreow (thought to be close to Crediton) where he was "amongst the enemy, the Britons" confirming the Exe-Taw line as the border.

Both the 815 raid (at the Culm Measures of Devon, north of Dartmoor) and the 825 Gafalforda battle were likely to have been rapid in and out campaigns, and the Creodantreow record implies that Ecgberht considered it too risky to base himself any further west.

The most probable harbour where the Danish fleet landed was Plymouth Sound. From here an ancient trackway route (now largely followed by the B3212 road) crosses Dartmoor in a virtual straight line towards Exeter. The trackway begins to descend from the moor close to Moretonhampstead and a mile east of that village is a hill spur called Hingston Down.

It is thought that Ecgberht's West Saxon army lay in wait with his army concealed in the thickly wooded Teign Valley. This position would have provided a quick retreat 10 miles to Exeter if the attack had not gone to plan. "he put to flight both the Wealas and the Danes", evidently back across the wilds of Dartmoor where the West Saxon forces had more sense than to follow.

Why would Ecgberht have taken such a huge and foolhardy risk and venture deep into unknown territory west of the deepening Tamar valley far from safety, to attack a Cornish Viking force some 50 miles or more inside enemy land ?

The Cornish king, Donyarth, was recorded by the Annales Cambriae as having drowned in 878 AD. The Annales refer to him as “rex Cerniu” (“king of Cornwall”). Fifty years later, we find another o­ne, Huwal, called by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles “king of the West Welsh”, a term exclusively used to describe the British Celts of Dumnonia and Cornwall (this was not Hywel Dda of South Wales). He was o­ne of several kings who signed a treaty with Aethelstan of Wessex in 928 at Egmont Bridge, following which (and after he’d forced the Cornish from Exeter), Aethelstan fixed the border between Cornwall and Wessex at the east bank of the Tamar

Regarding A-S place names West of the Tamar - the earliest record for any of them was around 1040 AD. The Archaeological Unit in Truro seems to believe that English settlement on Bodmin Moor didn't occur until the 12th century.

Claims of earlier A-S settlement are only supposition. There are no solid facts to back it up. For some reason, though, there are people who fall over themselves to insist upon it, or even upon a Saxon conquest of Cornwall, when there is not a scrap of evidence to support either. When that person is a professional historian (Todd, Ravenhill, etc), it is unforgiveable. Their job is to present us with fact, not fiction based upon wishful thinking.




http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A10686710

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3712510


Last edited by tregenna on Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:13 pm; edited 2 times in total
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tregenna



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cornwall's distinctiveness as a national, as opposed to regional, minority has been periodically recognised by major British papers. For example, a Guardian editorial in 1990 pointed to these differences, and warned that they should be constitutionally recognised:

"Smaller minorities also have equally proud visions of themselves as irreducibly Welsh, Irish, Manx or Cornish. These identities are distinctly national in ways which proud people from Yorkshire, much less proud people from Berkshire will never know. Any new constitutional settlement which ignores these factors will be built on uneven ground."

(The Guardian, editorial, 8th May 1990)

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tregenna wrote:
Cornwall's distinctiveness as a national, as opposed to regional, minority has been periodically recognised by major British papers. For example, a Guardian editorial in 1990 pointed to these differences, and warned that they should be constitutionally recognised:

"Smaller minorities also have equally proud visions of themselves as irreducibly Welsh, Irish, Manx or Cornish. These identities are distinctly national in ways which proud people from Yorkshire, much less proud people from Berkshire will never know. Any new constitutional settlement which ignores these factors will be built on uneven ground."

(The Guardian, editorial, 8th May 1990)


Aye, that's off wikipedia, quoted in "Modern Cornwall" by Payton. Found it funny though that we weren't mentioned in that list, but anyway...
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

from Cornwall24

Origins of the Cornish Celts

There was NO "invasion of the Celts" (or anyone else) at the advent of the Iron Age, nor is there any real connections between British Celts and those perceived as Celts from central Europe (La Tene, Hallstatt). There was no major movement of people into Britain from the Neolithic period until the Romans turned up.

Archaeologists led by Prof. Colin Renfrew and Prof. Barry Cunliffe, along with linguists like John Waddell (Galway) and John Koch (Aberystwyth) and geneticists like Oppenheimer and Sykes turned the old ideas on their heads some years ago.

The Celtic speaking people who populated Britain (West Britain in particular) were here during the Neolithic and may even have been earlier. Celtic languages developed from Indo-European along the Atlantic coasts of Europe, from Spain to the Hebrides as a common language of the sea trading that went on even then.

Those people are the direct ancestors of the Cornish (and the Welsh). They built the quoits, stone circles etc., and we are wholly justified in calling them Cornish heritage not English heritage.

Interesting thought, though - the language of people in Britain before the spread of Celtic might have been an early form of Basque (suggested quite convincingly by Oppenheimer).

There were early English in south-eastern Britain before the 5th century, but not by much more. The "Saxon Shore" forts of the south-east seemed to have been built to protect trading centres communicating with North Sea European coasts and Saxons may have been established on the SE coast of Britain as marketing entrepreneurs.

One area where we do disagree with Oppenheimer is that he believes that pre-Roman tribes in SE Britain, such as the Belgae, might have been Germanic speaking - he bases this upon the lack of Celtic inscriptions in that area (hardly surprising - there is no natural occurrence of resiliant stone in that area and any inscriptions would have eroded away long ago). His argument does not consider the fact that all the place names, tribal names and personal names recorded by Julius Caesar and other Roman writers from that area of Britain were all - Celtic.

The "no such things as Celts" line originally promoted by "English" Heritage and echoed by English nationalists. Why is the same question never asked of the English?

Let's just get this straight, shall we? We are unconnected to the mid European Iron Age cultures popularly connected with the Celts (i.e. Hallstatt and La Tene). We just imported their art and metalwork, while they had adopted the Celtic language, probably spread by trading.

We, the Cornish, are closely connected to the culture of Neolithic and later Atlantic Europe, from the W coast of Spain and Portugal, Biscay, western and southern Britain and Ireland. Celtic, from which Cornish has developed as one branch, sprang up at that time, more than 6,000 years ago, as a common language of those trading nations. Among those people, in western Gaul, were the tribe from whom all Celts have taken their name: the Celtae, noted by Julius Caesar in the very first sentence of his The Gallic Wars. We are genetically the same as them. This is agreed by archaeologists such as Prof. Barry Cunliffe and Prof. Colin Renfrew, as well as leading linguistic scholars and genticists. So, common Neolithic culture and people over a long stretch of Atlantic coast, genetically similar, and speaking a common language known as Celtic. Those are the Celts, and the Cornish are an inextricable part of them.

The old theories of succesive waves of invasion during prehistory, and the central Eurpean "Celts" invading Britain at the beginning of the Iron Age, are now wholly discredited. There were NO major movements of people into Britain between the late Mesolithic or early Neolithic and the Romans in the 1st century AD (I'm not counting Caesar - he simply came, saw and buggered off twice).

So, that's who we are. Now tell me who the English are, what makes them English and how do they substantiate their claim? (And remember, apart from the few entrepreneurs from the 3rd century AD on "the Saxon Shore", there were no English (i.e. Angles, Saxons, Frisians, Jutes) and no English language in Britain until the 5th century AD - and they didn't really venture west of the Tamar until at least the 10th century.

English authorities could carry out the simple task of recognising the Cornish for who we are. They refuse to do. They deliberately omitted us from the Framework Convention for National Minorities and it is they who are creating the divisions and hostile reactions. It is they who are forcing organisations like "English" Heritage, Natural "England" etc. upon us, deliberately provoking outrage and casting insult. They recognise "travellers", for God's sake, but not us. What the hell is a "traveller"? How do you define them? Most of them don't even travel. They squat. It's easy to define the Cornish, by comparison. All we are saying is: look - we are a truly indigenous (i.e. we didn't just blow in 1500 years ago like the English did - we were here millenia before them) national minority. Give us back our rights. They could do it with the stroke of a pen but they won't so please don't condemn us - condemn them. The words Britain and Briton are Celtic (originally Pretannike). It describes the Welsh and the Cornish. London stole the title from both in 1707 as part of the Act of Union.

The ONS present a very confused mixture of ethnicity and national identity but base their definition of such on the House of Lords ruling of 1983 notably: An ethnic group has a distinct identity, based on recognising a long shared history and having distinct cultural traditions which may be related to one or more of the following characteristics:-

- ancestry
- geographical origin
- nationality
- country of birth
- cultural traditions
- religion
- language’


Even those of our people who have a moderate view of the Cornish and our constitutional position cannot deny that the Cornish easily fulfil at least four of the above points and some would argue even more.

The ONS recently said that "national identity and ethnicity Census questions will contain tick boxes only for the largest groups." i.e ONS 13th May Test Census 2007 Questions 12 and 13E - What is your ethnic group ? A tick box has been provided for the "Gypsy/Romany/Irish Traveller"

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/census2001/pdfs/2007_test_H1_form.pdf
ONS 13th May Test Census 2007

"It is estimated that there are between 200,000 and 300,000 Gypsies and Irish Travellers living in the UK and they are recognised ethnic groups for the purposes of the Race Relations Act (1976), identified as having a shared culture, language and beliefs"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_2001_Ethnic_Codes
Census 2001 Ethnic Codes - '06 Cornish'
.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's all to do with assimilation and power. Never get caught up in the DNA argument.

Quote:
They recognise "travellers", for God's sake, but not us. What the hell is a "traveller"? How do you define them? Most of them don't even travel. They squat.


I presume that they mean Romany, or Irish travellers. These are identifiable groups, with their own languages, and even distinctive ethnic customs.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

District Councils like Penwith also mention New Travellers in their planning documents and surveys.

However, they don't mention the Cornish by name.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember that equality organisations working only within the Duchy consider the white British (including those who identify as Cornish) to be the majority and if we accept their definition 'white British' then they are correct.

Their focus is on racial and new immigrant minorities, the idea of Cornish rights to them in comparison to the discrimination faced by these minorities is absurd and suspect.

The Cornish question is really UK wide in which context we are a national minority.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New Age Travellers (as opposed to Romany/Sinta (i.e. proper Gypsies) and Irish travellers) are a lifestyle choice, not an ethnicity. Romany, yes, hippies, no!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course, they’d never have a chance against the Fraser criteria, unlike the Cornish who fulfill every category.

The Cornish Question is UK wide. However, it is of equal significance within Cornwall, especially given the territorial dimension and it is also a more difficult issue because of subjectivity and the human interface.

Despite the unethical approach of PDC, the Cornish are part-recognised. We are recognised for Census purposes with the 06 category. We are recognised internationally with our ties to the Cornish diaspora and to the other Celtic nations. We are certainly recognised when they want something from us like reasons to push tourism. And when it comes to the big awards like Objective 1, the Language Charter and UNESCO WHS Cornish Mining the Cornish element has been an essential factor without which these international distinctions would not have been awarded.

So what does recognition of the Cornish by Local Government and by equality organisations within Cornwall come down to? According to the Senior Research Officer at Cornwall Council, it is down to the individual person writing the document on the day. The part-recognition means that personal bias or other agendas are what determine the collection of statistical data within Cornwall. Some Councils are notably better than others - Cornwall Council established that ‘The category ‘Cornish’ will be added to all ethnic monitoring work undertaken by the Council’. Carrick and Kerrier have their good points. However, Local Authority staff are paid for from public funds as is service provision and most other public sector jobs, and given that a very sizeable proportion of Council tax payers are Cornish, applying personal bias and failing to monitor in a way that is appropriate is indefensible.

It is a peculiar freedom available to Local Authorities and equality organisations within Cornwall whether to render the Cornish invisible and follow a pro-active assimilationist agenda or whether to take the humanitarian and ethical decision to name the Cornish for purposes of strategic planning and the collection of statistical data to facilitate a deeper and broader understanding of a Duchy that is unique.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The Cornish Question is UK wide. However, it is of equal significance within Cornwall, especially given the territorial dimension and it is also a more difficult issue because of subjectivity and the human interface.


I agree I was just trying to put myself in their shoes.
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