Cornwall is ‘almost an island’

The visitor to Brittany cannot fail to notice the number of presque d’isles, or ‘almost islands’ dotted around its coasts. These are usually peninsulas jutting into the sea with only a narrow strip joining them to the land. We have no equivalent term in the English language but the whole of Cornwall could be viewed … Continue reading Cornwall is ‘almost an island’

A game fit only for barbarians

It's the weekend, traditionally the time to play and watch sport, although at the moment watching is a mite more difficult than normal. Three hundred years ago the most watched sport in Cornwall would have been wrestling. The other sport associated with Cornwall was hurling. Here's an extract from chapter 7 of my forthcoming Poldark's … Continue reading A game fit only for barbarians

A Cornish colony in Mexico

In 1826 the West Briton carried a report from Redruth: a miner recently back from overseas had  ‘astonished the natives by appearing in the streets in the dress usually worn by the Mexican miners.’ The migration links between Cornwall and Mexico in the 1800s have been less often covered than the much more numerous flows … Continue reading A Cornish colony in Mexico

The good old days in quiet Cornwall

Sepia-toned photos of quiet nineteenth century Cornish towns and villages make us conjure up imagined memories of those peaceful days of our great-grandparents. But records of the police courts at two Cornish towns serve to qualify this nostalgic glow somewhat. The towns were St Austell in mid-Cornwall and Helston in the west. The time was … Continue reading The good old days in quiet Cornwall

Some east Cornish surnames

These three surnames were mainly found in east Cornwall in the 1500s. They had already ramified and probably been hereditary for about 200 years, or six generations by then. To see what the 1861 map of these surnames looks like click here.