My aim here is provide a comprehensive first port of call for anyone seeking accurate and trustworthy information on Cornwall. I’ll be adding more topics over time, including a section on Cornish political history, together with some contemporary socio-economic statistics. Occasional summaries and reviews of academic work on Cornwall will also appear. Suggestions for further topics are welcome and anyone is welcome to submit a short review (no more than 750-1,000 words please) of any work on Cornwall for inclusion under their own name, although I reserve the right to edit it.
You’ll also find a full list of my own publications on the site, some of which have links to full text versions. (For those who don’t know me, I was Senior Lecturer in Cornish Studies at the Institute of Cornish Studies before retirement.) Meanwhile some details of my current and recent projects can be found below.
I’m currently working on a gazetteer of surnames in Cornwall. For more details see here.
Industrial Celts explains how Cornwall’s early industrialisation produced a unique society and a distinct regional culture. Socially, Cornwall became home to a dispersed paternalist society. In economic terms, it was based on mining and merchant capitalism. Culturally, it was dominated by Methodism. The twin symbols of mining and Methodism became central to a sense of Cornishness, encapsulated in the popular dialect literature that flourished in the mid-1800s. At the same time, identification of the Cornish as Celts became more widespread. That self-description had been recognised by Cornish historians as early as the 1700s and did not have to await either the later ‘Cornish Revival’ or romantic, metropolitan dreamers. Moreover, early de-industrialisation and mass emigration meant that Cornwall’s rural industrial economy and society retained material differences well into the twentieth century. However, the sense of identity produced by its industrialisation had its limits and proved incapable of competing with more powerful territorial discourses. Industrial Celts, a revised and more accessible version of my doctoral thesis, restores the importance of Cornwall’s industrial period to the modern sense of Cornishness and is an essential addition to the corpus of scholarly work on Cornwall’s past.
If you’re interested in this can you afford to miss From a Cornish Study: essays on Cornish Studies and Cornwall?