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      Cornish FAQ

   Cornish Flag

What is Cornwall and where is it?
Cornwall is a county in the south-western extremity of England. Cornwall was occupied by Romans, Saxons, and Celts before the Norman Conquest in 1066, after which it became an Earldom. Since 1337 the heir to the British crown has held the title of Duke of Cornwall. It is a peninsula bounded by the English Channel on the south and the Atlantic Ocean on the north and west, terminating at Land's End.

Who are the Cornish?
"By Tre, Ros, Car, Lan, Pol and Pen
Ye may know most Cornishmen."
The Cornish are a Celtic people, in ancient times the Westernmost kingdom of the Dumnonii, the people who inhabited all of Cornwall, Devon and West Somerset.  The Cornish are probably the same people who have lived in Cornwall since the introduction of farming around 3000 B.C.. The start of farming in Cornwall may also indicate the start of what some scholars now term 'proto Indo-European', from whence the Celtic languages along with the Italic and other related groups of languages began evolving.

Is there a Cornish language?

Yes it is Kernowek. It has been revived in this century and is now spoken again in Kernow which is Kernowek for Cornwall.

What does the Cornish Flag, "St Piran", represent?
Either Christianity over evil, or silver tin out of black rock.  The Black and White St Piran's Cross flags are seen everywhere in Cornwall, and are a potent symbol of Cornwall's distinct identity as a Duchy (and not a county of England).

Who is St Piran?
St.Piran, the patron saint of the tinners, who sailed to Cornwall on a millstone from Ireland.
It bore him safely across to Cornwall and he landed between Newquay and Perranporth at Perran Beach, to which he gave his name.

What does the Cornish Crest mean?
The fifteen balls in the Cornish Badge represent fifteen besants, Byzantian gold coins, which was the ransom to the Saracens for the release of the Earl of Cornwall in the ninth century. The Cornish motto 'One and All' is

said to commemorate the voluntary efforts of the Cornish people to raise this ransom.  The Cornish Fisherman and Cornish Tin Miner represent what were the major industries. The Cornish bird is the Cornish Chough.

What does tradition say of the Cornish Chough?
King Arthur when he died was transforned into a Chough.  The "Talons and beak all red with blood" are said to mark the violent end to which this celebrated chieftain came. It is consided very bad luck to kill a Chough.

What is the Cornish national anthem?
"Trelawny" based on The Song of the Western Men, by R.S. Hawker

Who is Trelawny?
Trelawny was Jonathan Trelawny (1650 - 1721) one of the seven bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London by James II in 1688 for protesting the reading of the Declaration of Indulgence towards Catholics in his church. When Cornwall received the news of the arrest of their Bishop they cried out with anger and dismay and asked "And shall Trelawny die?"  and wanted to know "the reason why". The latter words are thought to be an echo of a much older popular ballad, possibly from the time of the "An Gof" rebellion of 1497. 

What are some Cornish Holidays?
An Gof -  June 27th
St Piran's Day - March 5th
Helston Floral Dance - May 8th
Towednack Cuckoo Feast - April 28th
Padstow 'Obby 'Oss  - 1st. May
Marazion  Michaelmas - Saturday closest to Sept. 23
Camborne's Trevithick Day - last Saturday in April
Wadebridge Royal Cornwall Show - June

What is a Cousin Jack?
A Cornishman. A Cornish Miner. A Cornish Cousin. The term started with the Cornish Miner overseas. "Wherever there is a hole in the earth, you will find a Cornishman at the bottom of it." Cousin Jennies is a later addition for the womenfolk.

What is a pasty?
A pasty or Oggie as the Cornish call it, is a type of pie, held in the hand to be eaten (the first and best fast food). The Cornish plural spelling of pasty is "pastys."

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Cornish Chough

Cornish Badge