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

Bridging the Tamar

At the very margins of Cornwall, the River Tamar is nonetheless central to Cornish identity. Countless books refer to the river ‘almost’ extending far enough to make Cornwall an island. When Brunel’s railway bridge spanned the estuary at Saltash in 1859 it was widely viewed as ending Cornwall’s remoteness. Even sober industrial archaeologists have written … Continue reading Bridging the Tamar

Pisky-led? Piskies and Cornish difference

Pixies or piskies are little people, about knee-high. They live in the otherworld and are usually invisible to humans. But if you look very carefully you might just spot them cavorting around in circles on a remote moor at the dead of night. Sometimes they will help farmers and others with their chores; sometimes they … Continue reading Pisky-led? Piskies and Cornish difference