Before 1821 Cornwall was properly represented, with 44 MPs, only one fewer than Scotland. All but two of them represented boroughs, each returning two members. The franchise in those days was ambiguous, being based on vaguely worded medieval or sixteenth-century charters. Basically, the vote was restricted to the householders of certain properties or the mayor … Continue reading When Cornwall had 44 MPs
Castle an Dinas in mid-Cornwall is one of our most impressive hillforts. The hill, around 700 feet above sea level and with commanding views, was already important for people in the neolithic period, before 2500BC. They had erected two barrows on the hilltop to house their dead. Then, in the late Bronze Age, around 1500-800BC, … Continue reading Castle an Dinas
These three rare Cornish surnames originated in nicknames or occupational names. Croggon is usually assumed to come for the Cornish word croghen (leather or skin) and be a name for a tanner. Its connection with Grampound’s tanning industry and its concentration in Grampound and Creed until the 1800s look to prove the point. The only … Continue reading Tanners, talkers and trappers? Three Cornish nicknames.
In the 1870s, farmers across Britain began to suffer from falling grain prices as imports started to flood in from the prairies of North America. As farmers struggled, demands for rent reductions mounted. Cornwall was actually one of the places where rents declined far less than average. This can be explained by the extra competition … Continue reading Agricultural depression in Cornwall
This week in 1863 saw the birth of Arthur Quiller-Couch, Cornwall’s foremost early twentieth century intellectual. While at Oxford Quiller-Couch adopted the pseudonym Q. Born at Bodmin, his father hailed from a well-known Polperro family, Q’s grandfather being the naturalist Jonathan Couch. Yet his mother’s home was Newton Abbot and it was there, outside Cornwall, … Continue reading Q
Here are three relatively rare surnames that don’t appear in my book. All three were more likely to be met with in the 1600s in mid-Cornwall, on the north coast. Two of them definitely stem from placenames while the third is uncertain. The place Carevick in Cubert, near present-day Newquay, gave rise to the surname … Continue reading More rare Cornish surnames
Now that most of the hordes of sightseers who flock to Tintagel to commune with King Arthur have better things to do, it’s as good a time as any to remind ourselves of the proper significance of this iconic site. While it has no significance at all for English heritage, it has major, if still … Continue reading Tintagel: reminder of Cornwall’s golden age
The general election of 1885 has one major similarity with the one we’re now enduring. Polling day was in December. But in most other respects it was quite different. And although the newly created Mining Division in 1885 had very similar boundaries to the present Camborne-Redruth constituency, nowhere was this difference starker than in the … Continue reading When Camborne-Redruth was the most radical place in the UK
Coplin Apart from the isolated example of Alice Copling, buried at St Columb in 1632, the name Coplyn first appeared in the Falmouth district in the 1670s and 1680s with baptisms and marriages at Mabe, Budock and St Gluvias. Does this geography, near the Fal estuary, indicate that it had arrived by sea? Is it … Continue reading Three more Cornish surname puzzles. Or are they?
Next weekend sees the anniversary of the birth of Charles Rashleigh in 1747. He was the tenth child of Jonathan and Mary Rashleigh of Menabilly near Fowey. With six older brothers and unlikely ever to succeed to the family estate, he became a property developer. His best known purchase was on the coast south east … Continue reading Charles Rashleigh and Charlestown