One of the iconic dates in the Cornish sporting calendar is the annual rugby match between Camborne and Redruth, held on Boxing Day. Sometimes, the two teams also met on Easter Monday to renew their competition. On occasion however, this resulted in more than friendly local rivalry between two neighbouring towns. Take this fixture from … Continue reading Camborne versus Redruth: Regrettable scenes
Cornwall’s central spine is made up of four granite outcrops, from Bodmin Moor in the east through Hensbarrow and Carnmenellis to West Penwith at the Land’s End. It is said that every Cornish person also has a granite core. Easy-going on the surface, we can be obstinate and unmoveable if pushed too far. Cornishmen combined … Continue reading Cornwall’s granite backbone
As Richard Carew turned his attention westwards, his accounts of Cornish towns became noticeably briefer, probably reflecting his lack of acquaintance with places increasingly distant from his home at Antony, close to the Tamar. St Columb was merely ‘a mean market town’, while St Austell was still too insignificant to get a mention. Despite being … Continue reading The state of Cornish towns in 1600: Part 2
Parish feasts in the 1700s were often accompanied by the choosing of mock mayors. These were parodies of real mayor-choosing events, an inversion of the real thing accompanied by copious drinking. The custom was not restricted to those boroughs that had real mayors but took place even in rural parishes without mayors. For example, at … Continue reading Mock mayors in Cornwall
Those were the days. Now Cornwall only has a feeble voice in the UK Parliament, represented by just six MPs. But before 1821 Cornwall enjoyed a representation more fitting its status, sending 44 MPs. With around 1.5% of the population it had 7-8% of parliamentary representatives. Why? In the 1500s Cornwall was not that exceptional. … Continue reading Why did Cornwall have 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
Last weekend saw the Rugby World Cup final. Nowadays rugby and association football are viewed as entirely separate games. In fact they share a common ancestor, which we should just call ‘football’. In the middle of the 1800s football was played at the public schools as well as by more working-class communities up and down … Continue reading Cornish rugby football finds its feet