Cornwall’s First Golden Age

Cornwall’s First Golden Age: From Arthur to the Normans

What do Tintagel's intriguing remains tell us about church and state in the 6th century?
What do Tintagel’s intriguing remains tell us about
church and state in the 6th century?

Forget everything you might think you know about early medieval Cornwall, about Arthur and his knights, about the Kingdom of Dumnonia, about the conquest of Cornwall by Wessex. Cornwall’s First Golden Age re-interprets the story of Cornwall from the Romans to the arrival of the Normans. This period saw the rise and fall of a kingdom in the west, the colonisation of Brittany and the creation of a distinct, decentralised society. Moreover, it lay the foundations for Cornwall’s later sense of difference. Cornish culture not only survived but blossomed in a twelfth century renaissance that allowed dreams of liberty to linger on.

As of 2020 Cornwall’s First Golden Age remains the most recently written work on Cornwall’s early medieval period (although not the most recently published!) It is also the only fully referenced book on this period although its conclusions have been strangely ignored by anglocentrics and kernowmaniacs alike. Too unsettling for cherished myths perhaps.

CFGA cover

The book was published by Francis Boutle Publishers and costs £14.99, although it may now be out of print.

Contact the publishers at Francis Boutle Publishers for information.

Or check out Waterstones, Just Books and the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro; the Cornish Studies Library, Redruth; Worlds End Bookshop, Penzance; The Cornish Store, Falmouth, or any good bookshop (the isbn is 978 0 9935344 4 7)

Cornwall’s First Golden Age

  • clarifies the significance of Tintagel
  • replaces a model of a shrinking Dumnonia with one of a fluctuating Greater Cornubia
  • identifies a decentralised, libertarian society in the 7th/8th centuries
  • traces the course of the long ‘hundred years war’ with the English in the 8th/9th centuries
  • explains why the Cornish were able to survive as a distinct people after the 10th century

Here’s a list of the contents with some sample paragraphs:


1. Arthur’s country

2. From Roman margin to British centre: the rise and fall of Dumnonia in the fifth and sixth centuries

3. Changing times: the fifth to seventh centuries

4. The turn to the local: the seventh and eighth centuries

5. Cornwall’s hundred years war: the eighth and ninth centuries

6. The crisis of Cornwall: the ninth and tenth centuries

7. The survival of Cornwall: the tenth and eleventh centuries

8. Cornish revival: the eleventh and twelfth centuries

To understand how the Cornish can still dream we have to understand our first golden age
To understand how the Cornish can still dream we have to understand our first golden age

2 thoughts on “Cornwall’s First Golden Age

  1. I would like to read this book. Is it not available in print at all? I cannot seem to find it anywhere. Is it downloadable? If so, from where can I download?


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