Talk:Constitutional status of Cornwall

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Early relationship between Cornwall and England[edit]

Recently added etymology for Cornwall states "The first element "Corn" is probably related to English "horn" (and Latin cornu), indicating the shape of the peninsula; the area was occupied by people known to the Romans as Cornovii, and the area was known as Cornubia." This seems to imply that the Romans spoke English. The section is not cited, so we have no way of checking whether they did or not. But I suspect the answer is 'not'. This needs to be amended (or deleted). Daicaregos (talk) 10:50, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

I've amended the wording. Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:23, 10 December 2009 (UTC)
There is no evidence of "Cornubia" or of the south-western peninsula being inhabited by "Cornovii" before the 8th century CE. See for example here and here. We need to rethink this. David Trochos (talk) 07:34, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
Can you come up with an alternative wording, which recognises the uncertainty, for discussion here? Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:52, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
It is essential to cite some (or even just one) WP:RS references for this claim. I'm not sure that it is necessary for this article anyway. Without refs, we should delete. Daicaregos (talk) 08:05, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't have a strong view in relation to this article (my involvement was initially to correct an obvious error), but other articles covering the naming issue need to give a balanced position, with reliable refs. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:54, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Pages 50-51 of Payton's "Cornwall: A History" (paperback edition) deal with Cornovii, Cornubia, etc. Got to go to work now, but will be back online later to tell you more. DuncanHill (talk) 08:09, 11 December 2009 (UTC)
I think that's basically the same Payton material as presented in my second web-link above, and it's certainly very useful in explaining the complexity resulting from the lack of early sources (though he fails to mention the possibly significant omission from the 3rd-century Antonine Itinerary of "Puro" [likely mistake for "Duro"] Coronavis, mentioned in the Ravenna Cosmography- written c700 but apparently based on one or more old maps). It has belatedly occured to me that I have a more fundamental problem with the disputed sentence in the "Early Relationship" section- namely, that the presumed late-Roman tribal name has exactly as little relevance to the Constitutional Status of Cornwall as the ancient presence of the Cantiaci tribe has to the constitutional status of Kent. That being so, I'm inclined to vote for removing it from this article altogether, and concentrating on the etymologies in Cornwall and History of Cornwall (which on inspection I find are not entirely healthy- but it's Friday night, so I'm not in a hurry to revise them). David Trochos (talk) 19:20, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Ulster Scots[edit]

Regarding the mention of the relative amounts of government funding made available to Ulster Scots and Cornish, I have amended the "Ulster Scots language" to "Ulster Scots dialect", as this is more accurate (as explained in detail of the "Linguistic Status" section of the Ulster Scots article, and moreover makes the point better regarding the grievance.--feline1 (talk) 15:06, 14 December 2009 (UTC)


The peninsula was culturally distinct from the rest of southern Britain in the late pre-Roman Iron Age, during the Roman era, and also thereafter. See article Lloegyr, particularly the section on the regional demarcation of Lloegyr. This article's section "Myth of origin" may be correct in saying that stories arose in the Middle Ages based on Geoffrey's stories, but it is incorrect to say that that is the origin of Cornwall's distinction. Regards, Notuncurious (talk) 14:02, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

The Lloegyr article is not particularly helpful in this case, as its focus is, by definition, an area which is not Cornwall. Also, as it happens, Lloegyr is quite likely to be a result of Roman focus on the south-east, beginning with the establishment of the Fosse Way as their original frontier. As the little problem with Boudicca shows, there were clear distinctions even within that area- Cornwall/Dumnonia was never unique in being unique. David Trochos (talk) 05:33, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Bear in mind, by the way, that the whole of Wales is in "southern Britain" - the midpoint between north and south of the island passes through Cumbria! Ghmyrtle (talk) 06:18, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough on blurring the lines of distinction, David, and you might also add a mention of the interactions across the geographic lines as additional refutation, such as the acceptance of southeastern Caratacus leading the western Silures and Ordovices. The Fosse Way is traditionally offered as a frontier, but modern scholarship rejects the perspective ... the Roman advance did not slow or stop there, and it is simply a prudent military communications link across the line of advance, without further implication. The point was in noting the overlap between the limits of Lloegyr and the regions of "urbanization, industrialization, and Romanization", and comparing that to the regions of "non-Lloegyr". One might think that similar, native peoples simply chose different courses of societal evolution over the course of time, and perhaps that is relevant to later history (or not). Either way, or even some other way, surely the distinction of Cornwall can be more realistically presented to the readership than to suggest that it lies in Geoffrey's fictional origin. Regards, Notuncurious (talk) 14:00, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
FWIW, I'd say that the distribution of cultural features such as mosaics suggests that the Fosse Way had huge and long-lasting implications- and that its line was chosen (avoiding, for example, the Severn and its estuary so that those to the west retained full communication) specifically to allow the co-existence of two Britains, the lowland south-east with its tremendous agricultural potential which needed careful control of land, and the upland west & north with their valuable minerals. However, precisely because the Fosse Way was not a "hard" frontier, Romanisation naturally spread beyond it, ultimately rather isolating the south-west peninsula from the other "less-Romanised" regions. David Trochos (talk) 19:30, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

October 2010[edit]

User:Salmon123 has made a series of edits to this article, without explanation and without reference to reliable sources. I've added a {{POV}} tag in the hope that he/she will explain and justify those changes on this page. Ghmyrtle (talk) 16:42, 29 October 2010 (UTC)


I wish to reply to User Ghmyrtle on two levels. The first deals with his/her motivation for intervening, and the second deals with the questions he/she raised about my edits.

The same day as I made changes which demonstrated why some believe Cornwall should have greater autonomy, and added balance to, or removed existing unverified claims which aimed to show Cornwall as being just another part of England, User Ghmyrtle messaged me to say that unless I could cite sources, the content I added would be undone. Less than six hours later, he told me that as I had not added my sources, my changes had been removed.

Ghmyrtle then messaged me to say that he does not “have any particular interest in the topic” and “certainly don't have any specialist knowledge” in it. Whilst I can accept that he does not have any specialist knowledge of the subject, he must have a keen interest in it for he is actively policing the page. Why else would he have interjected within hours of my changes, and then been so eager to remove factual content that shows why some people believe Cornwall should be granted more autonomy.

Not only did Ghmyrtle react too quickly, but his/her intervention is totally biased. For example, Ghmyrtle said that he had removed my entries because they were unverified. Yet many unverified claims made by those opposed to the notion of Cornish autonomy were left unchallenged by Ghmyrtle.

I provide just two examples:

"The 1337 charters describe Cornwall as a county, using the same word (comitatus) as that used to describe other counties such as Devon and Surrey[citation needed]."


“Cornwall sent members to the Parliament of England from the late thirteenth century when that parliament originated[citation needed].”

These unverified claims had been left unchallenged on the page for many months. The question for User Ghmyrtle is: why did he object to, and remove within hours, my pro-Cornish autonomy text, but not object to or remove several anti-Cornish autonomy claims – many of which are clearly unverified?

User Ghmyrtle has now stated that my entries should be removed not on grounds of being unverifiable, but because they contravene wiki soapbox rules. User Ghmyrtle seems to wish to zealously apply all the wiki rules when it comes to pro-Cornish autonomy entries, but not when it comes to anti-Cornish autonomy entries. For example, take a look at the following entry which remained unchalleged by Ghmyrtle:


Another 18th century writer, Richard Gough, concentrated on a contemporary viewpoint, noting that "Cornwall seems to be another Kingdom", in his "Camden's Britannia", 2nd ed.(4 vols; London, 1806). He stresses that it seems to be another kingdom, recognising that it is not.

During the eighteenth century, Samuel Johnson created an ironic Cornish Declaration of Independence that he used in his essay Taxation no Tyranny [17] His irony starts: "As political diseases are naturally contagious, let it be supposed, for a moment, that Cornwall, seized with the Philadelphian phrensy, may resolve to separate itself from the general system of the English constitution, and judge of its own rights in its own parliament. A congress might then meet at Truro, and address the other counties in a style not unlike the language of the American patriots ..."

The irony works because he sees the idea of Cornish independence as so absurd that no-one could countenance it. It includes such intentionally comic ideas as:

"We are the acknowledged descendants of the earliest inhabitants of Britain, of men, who, before the time of history, took possession of the island desolate and waste, and, therefore, open to the first occupants. Of this descent, our language is a sufficient proof, which, not quite a century ago, was different from yours."

Curiously even this statement, designed to point fun at the ludicrous idea of Cornish independence, implicitly assumes that the inhabitants now east of Cornwall are mainly descended from other, later, groups. Modern genetic studies currently suggest that most of the English descend primarily from the pre-Saxon population and that the invaders formed a mainly male minority.[citation needed]


Quite clearly, elements of this anti-Cornish autonomy article break Wiki rules on a number of levels. It is personal opinion, it is soapbox, it is unverifiable etc etc. User Ghmyrtle had many months to object to, and remove, these rogue elements, yet never did.

User Ghmyrtle should explain why he/she is complaining about alleged unverified pro-Cornwall autonomy text, but then, by actively reverting my removal of unverifid anti-Cornwall autonomy text, effectively posting unverified text?


User Ghmyrtle says I should add reliable sources. Lets take a look at my first entry:


Cornwall is a unitary non-metropolitan and ceremonial county of England.[1] However, a number of organisations and individuals actively dispute this constitutional status chiefly because the second and third Duchy Charters of 1337 place the governance of Cornwall within the Duchy of Cornwall, which is itself extra-territorial to England. Grounds for holding these views stem from the fact that the two Charters acknowledge that the English Summons of Exchequer, and the English monarchs Right of Writ, do not extend to Cornwall. All three Duchy Charters can be seen in The Report of Cases Argued and Determined in Court of Queens Bench During Mich. Term 8 etc by James Manning 1830. Even today, the Duke of Cornwall is not subject to Parliamentary laws regarding income tax [he makes only a voluntary contribution equivalent to that which he would pay if he were subject to Parliamentary law]. Moreover, an impotent Westminster Parliament can only pass laws pertaining to the Duchy of Cornwall with the prior express consent of the Duke in writing [See Parliamentary Standing Orders].


What here, is unverifiable? Firstly, the three Charters can be read, in English, in the Manning law book. Secondly, the fact that the Duke pays income tax only voluntary is common knowledge – but I can find a ‘verified’ source if pedants want it. Thirdly, the statement that laws pertaining to the Duchy can only be passed with the prior consent of Duke is written into Parliamentary Standing Orders at Section 7.178 of the ‘Companion to the Standing Orders and guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords’. So what is unverifiable in this passage?

I request that User Ghmyrtle either backs up his statement, with comprehensive examples, that my entries are unverifiable, or withdraws the complaint. If he provides instances of my entries which need verifying, I will do so.

I request that User Ghmyrtle explain why he reverted my removal of unverified claims, and therefore himself posted unverified claims.

I request that User Ghmyrtle explain why he objects/removes pro-Cornwall autonomy claims that are verified, but leaves unmolested unverified anti-Cornwall autonomy claims? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Salmon123 (talkcontribs) 11:35, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

First, WP:AGF you need to cool off, your tone is a bit over the top. The core fact is, you hadn't sort out consensus for these major changes, and you have made a good start by posting it here. Just don't edit war, is all we ask, don't be tempted! :). Wait for someone to come and debate this with you, but this page isn't very active at times so it might be slow. --Τασουλα (Shalom!) (talk) 15:54, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
I've made some further edits to the article, aiming to take into account some of User:Salmon123's concerns. The problem is that the whole article is something of a mess and, in theory, requires an independent expert to make sense of it. The arguments are somewhat arcane and obscure, to put it politely, and almost any attempt to impose objectivity is likely to be seen as politically motivated, from one side or another. What I have now done is:
  • removed detail from the introduction; if other editors wish to put that back in the body of the article, so be it, but the introduction is supposed to summarise the article rather than provide information unsupported by the remaining text.
  • removed any newly introduced commentary or (apparently) original research
  • reinstated material recently removed
  • added {{fact}} tags where statements are made without citations
  • added {{clarify}} tags where citations are unclear.
Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:41, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
I've made some steps towards cleaning up the article (although do not plan to do the bulk of the work myself), detailed in my other post within this talk page, I would like opinions on the "neutrality" tag in the light of the recent edits. Some of the worst polemical sections (from both sides of the argument) have been reworded, but I have not indulged in large scale removal of content Govynn (talk) 22:39, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Can user Salmon 123 please explain how 'comitatus' translates as County seeing as it predates the use of the word count(y) by several hundred years. This word translates as 'Community', which obviously completely changes the essence of the meaning in the Dutch charters. It refers to a 'Community' of people, not an administrative division! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:33, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Or I could do it instead: "County" and "Count" (the official in charge of a County- replaced in English parlance by the Germanic term "Earl", but seen in French, for example, as "Comte") both derive from the classical Latin word "comitatus", meaning "retinue" and referring to the way a regional governor would travel through the area he governed with a band of enforcers to maintain law and order. You're thinking of "communitas" which is not related to "county". David Trochos (talk) 05:51, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

8th century[edit]

This has been removed "Cornwall was first recognised as part of the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the 8th century.[citation needed]" as it contradicts History of Cornwall#Post-Roman and Medieval periods: 936 is the first date which can realistically be understood as Cornwall being part of Wessex (though allowed internal auonomy).--Felix Folio Secundus (talk) 17:19, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Rubbish. 936 is the first time it is mentioned that the border between Wessex and Cornwall was set at the East bank of the river Tamar. No mention of it being part of, or absorbed in anyway. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:35, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Cornwall reference in Howard Goodall's "Christmas Carols" programme.[edit]

A few days before Christmas one of the TV channels re-transmitted a 2008 programme about the history of the Christmas carol, presented by Howard Goodall. During this, Goodall interviewed an archivist (at the British Museum??) who revealed an original legal document from (I think) the 16th century, relating to some aspect of 'carolling'. This document contained the phrase '..... in England, the Dominion of Wales, and Cornwall......', thus providing direct legal evidence of Cornwall being distinct from England, at least in the mind of the legal draftman.

I feel this document may be worthy of mention alongside the other evidence pro/con Cornwall as being part of England.

(In another context, the description of Wales as a 'Dominion' is not without interest).

I have no specific interest in Cornwall, but thought an editor more directly involved might like to pursue the Goodall reference.

Incidentally, the origin of the Service of Lessons and Carols in Truro in not a widely known matter, and might warrant some reference somewhere in a Cornish context. Goodall gave a significant amount of time to this in his programme.Flying Stag (talk) 13:11, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

"The truth about Cristmas Carols" (BBC4 Sun 19 Dec) contains a reference at 16:50 to a House of Lords document dating from 1647 that refers to the "Kingdom of England and dominion of Wales". No mention of Cornwall. This actually discredits other references that do separate Cornwall from England. By this time Wales was completely integrated part of England (thanks to the Laws in Wales Acts) and yet even some government documents referred to them separately. Eckerslike (talk) 16:38, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Thanks Eckerslike; you have given me a few anxious moments regarding my ageing memory. I have now watched the programme on iPlayer (thank you for identifying it) and what I quoted comes shortly afterwards at about 19 mins in an interview with Professor Hutton of Bristol University; I conflated the two bits together I'm afraid, sorry about that. What makes the Professor mention Cornwall one can only speculate on, perhaps he has an agenda of his own, but anyway there is nothing there with an adequate reference without contacting the Prof directly Flying Stag (talk) 20:19, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Looks as if it may be a personal thing. See the section on "Triumph of the Moon" within his Wikipedia entry. David Trochos (talk) 17:13, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Multiple Edits[edit]

Frankly this article is a mess, many topics are repeated multiple times etc. My edits can be regarded as a starting point for cleaning it up.

Summary of edits:

  • previous opening sentence prejudiced the arguments
  • multiple minor clarifications
  • some over-emphasis (on both sides of the argument) removed
  • some additional references found (although many still needed)
  • paragraph reading "Some would point to the lack of any formal union between England and Cornwall as evidence that Cornwall was already recognized as de facto a part of England; others would regard this as illustrating the suppression of Cornish identity and culture by the English.[citation needed]" removed - it is difficult to argue from a lack of evidence
  • Triggshire - inference from name alone, caveat added
  • previous "Status quo - County of Cornwall" big heading removed - it prejudiced the arguments
  • current constitution (sic) status changed to "current administrative status" since it better reflects the content of the paragraph below
  • some sections made less polemical (on both sides of the argument)
  • New section header before the mention of the European parliament, since it is a rapid jump from medieval to modern topics
  • some updates in the light of 2010 UK election.
  • However, over twenty years later, it seems unclear whether Cornwall is due for total incorporation, or will retain some residual or future autonomy. removed - predicting the future isn't really the purpose of Wikipedia

the modified article is far from perfect and other editors may not regard all of my changes as improvements. I do not wish to start an "edit war" but be part of the process of improving the article

Govynn (talk) 20:43, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Concerns regarding a map shown[edit]

I have concerns regarding the following map:

Boundaries of Cornwall and the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms according to an antiquarian's interpretation of the text of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – Cornwall is shown as a named part of Wessex, though by contrast Ireland and Wales, as all the individual Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, are shown as separate entities. The map refers to the position about 700AD.

I notice the map doesn't have any documentary source on what source it was originally published in, or what date in history the author of the map claimed to represent from interpretation of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

I also notice the usage seems fairly restricted:

Usage on

  * Cornwall
  * History of Devon
  * Constitutional status of Cornwall
  * Cornish people
  * User:Laurascudder/maps
  * Haplogroup I1 (Y-DNA)

I would suppose that if this map is regarded by experts in the field as being an accurate interpretation of British history, it would be used on a wider variaty of articles on British history. Govynn (talk) 02:22, 19 June 2011 (UTC)

For information the map is from an 1805 version of Camden's "Britannia" by John Cary. Not, as I understand, used in the original, so not a good source for early modern ideas about Cornwall. I don't see a problem with the map being included (if it is properly identified), but it shouldn't have a label that makes observations without a reliable secondary source to back them up. This map could be interpreted in many different ways.--SabreBD (talk) 09:12, 19 June 2011 (UTC)