Identities in Twelfth Century Cornwall

  • David Lees

Traethawd ymchwil myfyriwr: Traethawd Ymchwil DoethurolDoethur mewn Athroniaeth


Cornwall has long been thought to possess a strangely ambiguous identity, distinctive in its “Celtic” language and culture while still being absorbed into a wider England. This thesis examines how Cornwall and the Cornish were perceived, and how they perceived themselves, over a long twelfth century (c.1066-c.1250). The county was certainly perceived as distinct. Geoffrey of Monmouth was the most prominent exponent of that distinctiveness, basing it on Cornwall’s separate origins, its status as a territory, and the character of its people as exemplary Britons. He was not, however, alone. The idea of a distinct Cornwall is one strongly rooted in a wide variety of sources from the fifth to the twelfth century. Distinctiveness did not mean complete isolation, Cornwall retained strong links to both Wales and the rest of England. Sources from Wales and Cornwall acknowledge a degree of kinship between the two regions, while never completely merging them. English writers too knew that Cornwall had a long history within their kingdom, although they also remembered Cornwall’s Brittonic past. Just as importantly, people and institutions from Cornwall were linked to others in England, Wales, and to a far broader Anglo-Norman world. Yet, for all its links to both countries, Cornwall was never fully accepted as either Welsh or English. Within Cornwall itself, there were a range of local identities. People came together collectively at a number of levels. An elite slowly became more firmly associated with the county, but evidence for a particular “Cornish” identity among them is sparse. A single Cornish identity remains elusive, a myriad of potential identities was available, and were deployed by individuals as their own circumstances dictated.
Dyddiad Dyfarnu2023
Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
Sefydliad Dyfarnu
  • Prifysgol Aberystwyth
GoruchwyliwrBjorn Weiler (Goruchwylydd) & Phillipp Schofield (Goruchwylydd)

Dyfynnu hyn