When Cornwall had 44 MPs

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

Tanners, talkers and trappers? Three Cornish nicknames.

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.

Agricultural depression in Cornwall

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

Tintagel: reminder of Cornwall’s golden age

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

When Camborne-Redruth was the most radical place in the UK

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