Cornwall History Timeline

 Cornwall History Timeline

400,000 - 200,000 BC

Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age)

From 400,000 BC to 200,000 BC, the record or archaeological finds (ie. flint axes and blades) shows that people, who were probably settled in Devon, were beginning to make visits into Cornwall for the first time. Cornwall is too far south to be under the ice sheet, and is joined to Continental Europe.

By 40,000 BC during the Upper Paleolithic , people (Homo Sapiens Sapiens) have settled throughout South West Britain but no remains from this period have been found in Cornwall

10,000 / 8,000 BC

Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age)

This period begins at the end of the last glacial period, when water levels began to rise. Rising sea levels cut Cornwall off from the Continent as the English Channel floods and hunter-gatherer bands begin to settle around the coastlines of Cornwall and have working sites on upland areas e.g. Bodmin Moor. Populations seemed to have followed a hunter gatherer lifestyle similar to their palaeolithic predecessors.

Sites have been identified inland at Dozmary Pool and on the coast at Trevose Head and along much of the north coast of Cornwall including a concentration of sites on the Land's End peninsula and sites on the Lizard peninsula such as Poldowrian, Croft Pascoe and Windmill Lane. Evidence of their flint working sites have been found. It appears the mesolithic hunter gatherers would live inland during some seasons and winter on the coast where they could fish and consume shellfish.

4,500 - 2,400

Neolithic (New Stone Age)

The Neolithic period is a time of great social and agricultural development. This can be seen through the adoption of farming and increased monument construction, brought about largely by an increasing population. The Megalithic Culture came to prominence. The period of the monument builders. Remains include the numerous Hill Forts, Cromlechs and Quoits. Settlements begin to be fortified e.g. on top of Carn Brea.

During the Neolithic period, Cornish hedges enclosed land for cereal crops for the first time.

2,400 BC to 600 BC

The Bronze Age

2,400 - 1,500

Early Bronze Age

Further settlement in Cornwall. These new settlers were skilled in metal - working, especially in bronze, which uses Cornwall's natural resources of tin and copper. Possibly the start of Cornish Mining - mainly from alluvial deposits at this time. These sources are found by tin-streaming and open-cast mining for copper. The period is also characterised by its ceremonial and burial monuments: the stone circles, rows and standing stones or menhirs, and the barrows with their kist graves.

A period of great defensive building of Cliff Castles all along the Cornish coast as well as Barrows / Tumuli. The start of trade between peoples. The dead were buried singly or cremated.

1,600 BC

Cornwall experiences a trade boom driven by the export of tin across Europe.

1,500 - 600 BC

Late Bronze Age

The climate begins to get wetter during this period which causes settlement movement to lowland sites such as Trethellan, Newquay, and a move to more seasonal and less intensive grazing on the uplands. Population pressure, as a result, creates a more warlike society which often makes sacrifices of weapons to their gods.

Mining in Cornwall has existed from the early Bronze Age around 2150 BC and it is thought that Cornwall was visited by metal traders from the eastern Mediterranean. It has been suggested that the Cassiterides or "Tin Islands" as recorded by Herodotus in 445 BC may have referred to the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall as when first discovered they were both thought to have been islands.

Arrival of the first Celts in Britain by 600 BC. Some recent research suggests that it was before 1000 BC, and could have been as early as 2000 BC.

750 BC to 55 BC

The Iron Age arrives in Cornwall allowing more possibilities for agriculture through the use of new iron ploughs and axes.

The Celts from Central Europe (La Tene / Hallstatt cultures) expand north and west into Britain. Further Hill Forts were constructed. Compared to the previous settlers, the Celts were more civilised, with a structured society and were well trained in battle.

Iron gradually replaces bronze for weapons and farming tools. People are starting to live in defended settlements called rounds which are bank-and-ditch enclosures protecting a number of round-houses within. There are also economic and social centres, where manufacturing and trading occur, establishing on hill-tops and headlands, such as Trevelgue Head, near Newquay.

330 BC

Pytheas of Massilia (now Marseilles), a Greek merchant and explorer, sailed around the British Isles between about 330 and 320 BC and produced the first written record of the islands. He described the Cornish as civilised, skilled farmers, usually peaceable, but formidable in war.

60 BC

Greek historian Diodorus Siculus named Cornwall "Belerion" - "The Shining Land", the first recorded place name in the British Isles.

55 BC

First attempt at the invasion of the British Mainland by Julius Caesar.

54 BC

Second invasion of the British Mainland by Julius Caesar.

19 AD

A total eclipse of the sun is visible in Cornwall on June 21St

43 AD to 410 AD

The Roman Occupation of Britain when britain was incorporated into the Roman Empire - Romano-British Period.

The Romans under Emperor Claudius invade and occupy Britain. South-west Britain is however left largely untouched by the Romans. The Celts of the region - 'The Dumnonii' were left largely to their own devices. The Second Legion Augusta were stationed at the capital of the Celtic capital: Isca Dumnoniiorum, now Exeter.

55 to 60 AD

Construction of Nanstallon Roman fort on River Camel near Bodmin. Occupied for 20 years. The fort was constructed to guard the main communication and trade route linking the south coast (Fowey) to the north coast (Camel)

80 AD

The new Roman governor Agricola reformed the administration where each tribe became a self-governing region (cervitas).Cornwall was part of the southwest region with its headquarters at Exeter,Isca Dumnoniorum

Late 1st century AD sees Roman military occupation but little civil presence. The south west is occupied by the tribe known as the Dumnonii. They were Iron Age Celts who had held the area for centuries. The rural society of the previous period continues, largely unchanged by the Roman influence in the rest of Britain. One villa, at Magor, Camborne is built. Probably not by a Roman but by someone who has been influenced by Roman culture.

New trading posts are set up e.g. Carvossa at Probus, and a new style of housing is introduced in Penwith, the courtyard house, at villages like Chysauster.

150 - 230 AD

Roman villa at Magor Farm near Camborne is still occupied.

Circa. 250 AD

Romans start to exploit the Cornish tin

King Mark's (Marcus Cunomorus) region whose base was possibly Castle Dore

Irish raids

Saints arrive in Cornwall

238 - 244 AD

The reign of Gordian III. In 1942, a milestone inscribed with the Roman's name is found at Menheer, Gwennap, . This is the earliest example in Cornwall.

During the 3rd and 4th centuries AD the trade in tin increased, not only for bronze, but also to alloy with lead for pewter objects.

360 AD and after

Various Germanic peoples came to Roman Britain: raiders, Roman armies recruited from among German tribes, authorized settlers

400 AD

Cornwall's native name (Kernow) appeared on record as early as 400 AD

410 AD

Rome falls. The Goths started attacking Rome in about 238 AD. Over the next 150 years or so the barbarian tribes wore down the Roman Empire. In 410 AD, the Visigoths invaded Spain and Italy and sacked Rome. This caused Rome to recall her legions from Britain, stating that Britain should 'look to its own defence'


Emperor Honorius recalls the last legions from Britain. There is some uncertainty: some say that this "rescript" refers not to Britannia (= Britain) but to Bruttium in Italy.

410 AD - 1000 AD

The 'Dark Ages' A time of mystery and legend. Little is known of this period. After the fall of the Romans and their supported regimes it is thought this period was a time of incessant war and revolt. The time of King Arthur, The Knights of the Round Table, Lancelot, Merlin & Vortigern and Tristan & Iseult.

Later Roman geography indicates that there are territorial sub-groupings, and what is now Cornwall - distinguished by its Late British name, Cornouia, the land of the Cornovii. Welsh sources point to a succession of Dumnonian Kings right through to the 9th century, and a 10th century memorial to King Ricatus stands in the grounds of Penlee House, Penzance. By this time, Cornouia has become Cornubia (Latin), Cernyw (Welsh) and Kernow (Cornish). The British language evolves in Dumnonia into what becomes Cornish.


The Britons call the Angles to come and help them [as mercenaries ] against the Picts.

440 - 450 AD

The Anglo-Saxon Invasion Jutes, Angles and Saxons were at first invited to Britain to act as mercenaries against the raids of the Picts and Irish. They rebel and the Saxons under Hengist and Horsa capture Kent (Ceint) initially. The Saxon armies fan out over the next 200 years to capture and control large swathes of South and East Britain. They proceed westward winning several major battles along the way, except that of Mount Badon.

Mid 5th century

First waves of settlers from Cornwall, and Devon, go to Brittany

Circa 446

The "Groans of the Britons" last appeal (possibly to the Consul Aetius) for the Roman army to come back to Britain.

Late 5th century

King Mark - of Tristan and Iseult fame - probably ruled in the late 5th century. According to Cornish folklore, he held court at Tintagel. King Salomon father of Saint Cybi, ruled after Mark.

490 to 510

Likely range of dates for the Battle of Mons Badonicus, in which Romano-British Celts defeated an invading Anglo-Saxon army.


The Kingdom of Cornwall emerged around the 6th century which included the tribes of the Dumnonii and the Cornish Cornovii. The origins of the neighbouring Kingdom of Wessex are also in this period.

Circa. 500 - 600 AD

English invasion: period of Arthur, Doniert & other Celtic kings; and 'The age of the Saints'.


Earliest known example of written Cornish in the Latin manuscript of De Consolatione Philosophiae by Boethius, which used the words ud rocashaas. The phrase means "it (the mind) hated the gloomy places".


Extreme weather events of 535 - 536 cause European famine.

After 540s

Plague of Justinian, which would affect all of Europe.


Battle of Deorham Down near Bristol results in the separation of the West Welsh (the Cornish) from the Welsh by the advance of the Saxons.

Earliest Cornish Saints systematically convert Cornwall to Christianity, a considerable period before the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon peoples of England (the territory east of the River Tamar). These early monastic foundations were started by Christian preachers or Christian Druids from other Celtic lands, mainly Ireland (as in the cases of Saint Piran and Saint Petroc), Wales (as in the case of Saint Lewis or Gluvias) and Brittany (as in the case of Saint Mylor).

Circa. 600 AD

Earliest Christian church opens at St Piran's Oratory in what is now Penhale Sands at Perranporth. By now, the Saxons, have destroyed what was left of Roman civilisation in eastern England, and in the west the Romans are almost forgotten. The Saxons become established as the most important tribe of invaders. They are converting to Roman Christianity.

664 AD

The Synod of Whitby determines that England is again an ecclesiastical province of Rome, with its formal structure of dioceses and parishes. The Celtic Church of Dumnonia is not party to the decision and the Cornish Church remains monastic in nature.

682 AD

The Cornish under their chieftain, Centwine,'drove the Britons as far as the sea' probably this was to the north-eastern part of Cornwall.This established the frontier around the Ottery-Tamar line


Centwine, King of Wessex drove the Britons of the West at the sword's point as far as the sea. This resulted in the Saxon occupation of the North-east tip of Cornwall. Even today several Saxon place names are found it that area, i.e. Widemouth (OE WID), Canworthy (OE WORTHIG), Crackington Haven (OE HAEFEN), Otterham (OE HAMM)..

Circa 700 AD

The English reach the Bristol Channel: the Celts of Cornwall become cut off from Welsh Celts. Cornwall began to be recorded as Cornubia by the Romans, and its people as Cornovii or Cornavii

The Ravenna Cosmography, compiled ca. 700 AD from Roman material 300 years older, lists a route running westward into Cornwall and on this route is a place then called Durocornovio (Latinised from British Celtic "duno-Cornouio-n" fortress of the Cornish people). In Latin, 'V' represented and was pronounced as a 'W' and the fortress name refers to Tintagel.

705 AD

Saxon westward advance is renewed and by 710 AD Exeter is occupied.

Circa. 710-711 AD

Ina, King of the West Saxons, attempts to destroy the kingdom of Dumnonia.

710 AD

After their victory at Dyrham Down near Bristol, in 577 AD, the Saxons press ever westward. Until 766 AD several battles took place. They conquer Devon in 682 AD with Isca first occupied by the Saxons in 710 AD under Ine of Wessex, who had defeated Geraint of Dumnonia.

The Saxons advanced across the River Tamar to the River Lynher. Subsequently the lands between the two rivers were granted to Glastonbury by Royal charter


Battle of Linig (probably between the rivers Lyhner and Tamar) resulted from King Geraint of Cornwall's refusal to allow the celtic church to follow the call of the English church (which was perhaps 300 years younger) to conform to the standards of Rome. The battle was fought against Wessex King Ine and his kinsman, Nonna.

722 AD

Cornwall remained independent for a time largely due to the fact that King Roderic of the Britons (Wales & Cornwall) won a great victory over his Saxon counterpart Adelred, King of Wessex, in 722 AD.


Battle of Hehil - The Cornish Britons (the Cornovii) together with their friends and allies, the (Danish) Vikings push back a West-Saxon offensive at "Hehil", unlocated, but possibly Slaughterbridge on the River Camel. (Annales Cambriae).

787 - 814 AD

The Christianized Vikings (Danes) visit the Wessex coast and land on the Cornish coast in about 807 AD and form an Alliance with the Cornish to fight against the non Christian West Saxons.


Unsuccessful Cornish alliance with Danes.

814 AD

Saxon King Egbert of Wessex first conquers Cornwall in 814 AD. He does not succeed in totally controlling the population. The Viking - Cornish alliance holds sway in battles for the next 25 years or so.

815 AD

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle states "& ?y geare gehergade Ecgbryht cyning on West Walas from easteweardum o? westewearde."...and in this year king Ecgbryht harried the Cornish from east to west

825 AD

The Cornish send an army into Wessex (which is under attack from the Mercians) but to no avail. The Cornish rise against Egbert . The Battle of Gafulforda, unidentified but perhaps Galford, near Lydford. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle only states: "The West Wealas (Cornish) and the men of Defnas (Devon) fought at Gafalforda".


Battle of Hingston Down - The Cornish in alliance with the Danes were defeated by the West Saxons, Egbert of Wessex at Hingston Down, near Callington (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle). The Alliance's last battle against the Saxons.

In 838

the eastern Cornish border was still on the River Exe-River Taw line and the site of the battle is disputed, but now believed to be at Hingston Down near Moretonhampstead in Devon. The only record of this is from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which state: "There came a great ship army to the West Wealas where they were joined by the people who commenced war against Ecgberht, the West Saxon king. When he heard this, he proceeded with his army against them and fought with them at Hengestesdun where he put to flight both the Wealas and the Danes". As a result it would appear that a bishop, who was subject to the Archbishop of Canterbury, was shortly afterwards appointed for Cornwall. His name was Bishop Kenstec, whose see was placed in the monastery of Dinnurrin, possibly, Dingerein, the city of King Gerennius, now Gerrans.


King Dungarth (Donyarth) of Cerniu ("id est Cornubiae") (believed to be Doniert in Saxon records), King of the Cornish, drowns in what is thought to be the River Fowey. King Doniert's Stone stands in St Cleer parish on the east of Bodmin Moor.


The Church in Cornwall is having more Saxon priests appointed to it and they control some church estates like Polltun, Caellwic and Landwithan (Pawton, in St Breock; perhaps Celliwig (Kellywick in Egloshayle?); and Lawhitton). Eventually they passed these over to Wessex kings. However according to Alfred the Great's will the amount of land he owned in Cornwall was very small.


The entry in the Saxon Chronicle reads....'This year fiery lights appeared in the north part of the heavens. And Sihtric perished : and king Aethelstan obtained the kingdom of the North-humbrians. And he ruled all the kings who were in this island: first, Huwal king of the West-Welsh (Cornish); and Constantine king of the Scots; and Uwen king of the people of Guent; and Ealdred, son of Ealdulf, of Bambrough : and they confirmed the peace by pledge, and by oaths, at the place which is called Eamot, on the 4th of the ides of July [12th July]; and they renounced all idolatry, and after that submitted to him in peace.


William of Malmesbury, writing around 1120, says that Athelstan, , eldest son of Edward the Elder and grandson of Alfred, attacks the south western Celts, evicting the Cornish from Exeter and perhaps the rest of Devon - "Exeter was cleansed of its defilement by wiping out that filthy race".

The area inside the city walls still known today as 'Little Britain' is the quarter where most of the Cornish Romano-British aristocracy had their town houses, from which the Cornish were expelled.

Under Athelstan's statutes it eventually became unlawful for any Cornishman to own land, and lawful for any Englishman to kill any Cornishman (or woman or child).


It is thought that the Cornish King Huwal, "King of the West Welsh" was one of several kings who signed a treaty with Aethelstan of Wessex at Egmont Bridge.


Armes Prydein, (the Prophecy of Britain), this early Welsh poem mentions 'Cornyw', the Celtic name for Cornwall. It foretells that the Welsh together with Cornwall, Brittany, Ireland and Cumbria would expel the English from Britain. This poem also demonstrates any early allegiance between the Celtic people of Britain.

931 AD

King Athelstan of Wessex creates the diocese of Cornwall to incorporate Cornwall into his kingdom, sets up a bishopric at St Germans in south east Cornwall. It lasts until 1042 when the See is united with Crediton and is later removed to Exeter, after which Cornwall remains an archdeaconry until 1876.


Athelstan fixed Cornwall's eastern boundary as the east bank of the Tamar. There is no record of him taking his campaigns into Cornwall. It seems probable that Hywel, King of the Cornish, agreed to pay tribute to Athelstan, as did Alfred the Great, and thus avoided more attacks and were able to maintain a high degree of autonomy.

Prior to this the West Saxons had pushed their frontier across the Tamar as far west as the River Lynher, but this was only temporary. It was long enough, however, for Saxon settlement and land charters to influence our modern day inheritance of place-names: between Lynher and Tamar there are today many more English than Cornish place names, as is also the case in that other debatable land between Ottery and Tamar in north Cornwall.

944 AD

Edmund I, successor to Athlestan, styles himself 'King of the English and ruler of this province of the Britons', referring to Cornwall, thus making it clear that Cornwall was not and never has been formally incorporated into the English state.


Olaf Tryggvason allegedly visits the Isles of Scilly


The Dartmoor town of Lydford, near the Cornish/Wessex border just east of the Tamar is completely destroyed by an angry mob of Danish Vikings. The surprise attack on Lydford is ordered by the King of Denmark and Viking leader Sweyn Forkbeard (previously, Lydford was believed to be impregnable against Viking attack). However, Cornwall is left alone as Sweyn Forkbeard has no intention of crushing Cornwall -- unlike Wessex.


Cornwall's enemy and Anglo-Saxon neighbour, Wessex is crushed and conquered by a Danish army under the leadership of the Viking leader and King of Denmark Sweyn Forkbeard. Sweyn annexes Wessex to his Viking empire which includes Denmark and Norway. He does not, however, annex Cornwall, Wales and Scotland, allowing these "client nations" self rule in return for an annual payment of tribute or "danegeld".


The Kingdom of Cornwall, Wales, much of Scotland and Ireland were not included in the territories of King Canute the Great.


Mount's Bay inundated by a sea-flood. Several towns and many people drowned.


Famine throughout Europe.

Circa 1050

Diocese of Cornwall combines with Devon with See at Exeter for internal English political reasons


Norman ConqueSt William the Conqueror installed his brother, a Celtic speaking Breton, Robert of Mortain as Earl of Cornwall and builds a castle at Launceston. Earl Ordulf is in charge of Moresk Castle, Truro.

Norman Conquest brings many Bretons into Cornwall. The Cornish and Breton languages are mutually intelligible at this point.

According to William of Worcester, writing in the 15th century, Cadoc, was described as the last survivor of the Cornish royal line at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066.


Harold Godwinson's sons, who have taken refuge in Ireland, raid Somerset, Devon and Cornwall from the sea.


A revolt based at Exeter forces William the Conqueror to march into Cornwall and he grants most of Cornwall to Count Brian of Brittany who was with him in this campaign and at Hastings

The Battle of Exeter - the Cornish attacked the Saxon stronghold of Exeter but were eventually driven back by an Anglo-Norman army sent to mop up pockets of resistance.


Earl Moreton takes Moresk Castle for William the Conqueror


Following a revolt by some of his barons, William makes Count Brian's lands forfeit and bestows them on Robert, Count of Mortain (Robert is supposed to have donated 120 ships to the invasion of England, he also fought at Hastings and is depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry seated on the left of William with his sword half-drawn)


The Domesday Book records that the cream of the Cornish estates, 227 (of 350) in number valued at £424 were in the hands of Robert. Of the remainder 67 were held by Anglo-Saxons and the rest by Bretons and Fleming's. For the first time Cornwall was devided into 7 (subsequently 9) administrative arrears known as 'hundreds'. The original hundreds were Penwith, Kerrier, Pydar, Powder, East and West Wivel and Trigg. Trigg was tri-devided to produce an additional two hundreds of Lesnewth and Stratton. Bodmin was recorded as the largest town in Cornwall with 68 houses.

Markets and fairs recorded are: Bodmin, Launceston, Liskeard, Matele (Methleigh in Breage?), St Germans, Trematon.

1090 AD

Robert, Count of Mortain dies and his lands pass to his son William.


Mount's Bay suffers another inundation by the sea.

Circa 1100

'Rugby' evolved from hurling in Penzance.


William, son of Robert, Count of Mortain, revolts against Henry I and his lands become forfeit and are redistributed.

Circa 1120

Ingulf's Chronicle records Cornwall as a nation distinct from England.


Truro receives its first Charter of Incorporation from Earl Richard de Lucy.


King Stephen appoints Count Allan of Brittany to administer Cornwall


Reginald de Dunstanville becomes Earl of Cornwall (1141-1175) during this period it is possible that the wooden castle at Launceston was replaced with the imposing stone castle known as 'Castle Terrible' (Launceston is the only Cornish town to have been surround by a stone wall, up to 6 feet wide, and gates for defensive purposes)


Henry of Anjou (Henry II) succeeds King Stephen and bestows the Earldom of Cornwall on his uncle Richard

1154-1214 (effective) / 1242 (formal)

Angevin Empire, which includes other Brythonic areas such as Brittany and parts of Wales.


Reginald de Dunstanville, 1st Earl of Cornwall, grants a charter of privileges to his 'free burgesses of Triueru' and he addresses his meetings at Truro to: "All men both Cornish and English" suggesting a continuing differentiation. Subsequently, for Launceston, Reginald's Charter continues that distinction - "To all my men, French, English and Cornish" showing the unique relationship of Cornwall and the English crown, as an independent nation under the 'protection' of the English state


Prior Theobald of Tywardreath established a 'free borough' at Fowey which quickly became a major cornish port.


William de Wrotham (Lord Warden of the Stannaries) writes of those working tin in Cornwall paying twice the taxation of their Devon counterparts.


King John grants a charter for the Cornish Stannaries as '....the desire of the Cornish tinners to be separated from those of Devon...' The Charter established four mining districts, or Stannaries, in which Stannary Law would operate. They are Foweymoor (Bodmin Moor), Blackmoor (Hensbarrow downs near Saint Austell), Tywarnhaile (Truro to Saint Agnes) and Penwith-with-Kerrier. No fixed boundaries were set for the Stannaries so in effect they covered all of Cornwall and as each Stannary appointed 6 Stannators to the Stannary Parliament, the Parliament represents all of Cornwall. The Charter also exempted tinners from the normal laws and taxation, allowed tinners to search for tin on common land, provided for their own courts and goal at Launceston.


Grant to William de Boterell of a market for Talkar (Talkarne in Minster)


Grants of markets at Derteigne and Launceston.


Grant of a fair at Stratton


Battle of Bouvines confirms French crown's sovereignty over the duchy of Normandy's lands in Brittany and Normandy, meaning Cornwall and Brittany are once more in separate states.


Grant of a market at St Germans.


Cornwall is acknowledged as having the continuing right to appoint its own vicecomitatus (sheriff).


Grant of a market and fair to Lostwithiel.


Grant of a fair at St Keymno.


Henry III grants the Earldom of Cornwall to his younger brother (who 2 years previously had been granted the rights to the Cornish tin-works) He was henceforth known universally as Richard of Cornwall.


Grant of a market at St Ives.


Grant of a market at Camelton (?)


Cornish militia fight against the Scots


The Franciscan Friary at Bodmin is founded.


Craft Guilds come into existence at Bodmin.


Grant of a market at Stratton.


Grant of a fair at St Ive(?).


Grant to Bishop of Exeter for a market and fair at Penryn.


Walter de Bronescombe, Bishop of Exeter, makes a tour of Cornwall dedicating nineteen parish churches which had been rebuilt or remodelled. They include St Anthony-in-Roseland, Antony, Botus Fleming, St Breoke, St Dominic, Pillaton, and Truro St Mary's (later to be absorbed within Truro Cathedral). By this time Norman designs are considered dark and old-fashioned.


Grant of market and fair at Camelford.


The church of St Germanus is finally consecrated in 1261 after its reorganisation by Bishop Bartholomew as an Augustinian priory (1161-84). Eight centuries on, St Germans displays more of Norman planning than any other Cornish church, although two thirds of them have some Norman traces.

A Charter for the removal of sea sand distinguishes between rights in Cornwall and England.


Bishop Bronescombe of Exeter begins the building of the Glasney Collegiate Church at Penryn. On completion this fortified residence housed 26 clerics with its own church, domestic quarters, refectory, chapter house, mills and cemetery. It was subsequently destroyed during the Reformation.

Work starts on the Lostwithiel Stannary Palace. It is reputed to be the oldest non-ecclesiastical building in Cornwall and was said to have been built as a replica of the Great Hall of Westminster. Its original function was as a Court dealing with the Cornish tin industry.


Grants of market and fair at Porthenesse (? Mousehole), and Stratton; grant to Henry de Pomeray of a fair at Tregony.


The title Earl of Cornwall passes to Edmund, who holds it until 1300 and on his death it then reverts to Edward I then to Edward II

Circa 1280-1290

Mappa Mundi [in Hereford Cathedral] shows the four constituent parts of Britain as England, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall

Circa 1280

Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, makes Lostwithiel the county capital where he built the 'Duchy Palace'. This once extensive building incorporated the Shire Hall, the Exchequer of the Earldom (later Duchy), the Stannary Goal and the Coinage Hall. Edmund also modernized Restormel Castle at Lostwithiel. He was the last Earl of Cornwall to reside in the county


Grant of market and fair at St Germans.


Earl Edmund refutes the King of England's claim to jurisdiction over Cornwall, and again similarly in1290.


Grant to Philip Daubeney for market and fair at Polruan.


Truro, Bodmin, Tregony, Launceston and Liskeard are granted the right to send 2 representatives each to the Parliament of Edward I. This privilege continued until the Second Reform Act of 1867.


Grant of a market and fair for Naute or Nante


Grant of a market and fair at Mousehole.


Grants, or claims proved, to allow Markets and/or fairs at Bodmin (claim of the prior of Bodmin), Boscastle (claim of W. de Boterus), Boswythgy, Callington (claim of Reg. de Ferrars), Kilkhampton (claim of R. de Grenville), Lananta (claim of W. de Boterus), Looe (claim of W. de Bodrygan), Michell (claim of J. de Arundel), Mousehole, Penryn (claim of Thomas, bishop of Exeter), Plemute [? Plymouth], St Brian, St Germains (claim of the prior of St Germains), Tregony (claim of H. de Pomeray); claim of the burgesses for a merchant guild at Helston proved.


There is reluctance in Cornwall to supply ships to assist England against Scotland.


Stannary Charter re-affirms the Crown's right of pre-emption, its first call upon the tin mined in Cornwall and Devon.


The Tinners Charter is granted by Edward I

Edward II gives the title, Earl of Cornwall, to his court favourite Piers Gaveston who holds it until his execution in 1312


Grant of market and fair to bishop of Exeter for Lawhitton, and market and fair at Penryn; grant of market and fair at St Breock, and St Germans.


Grant to the bishop of Exeter of a market for Caergaule (Cargol, Newlyn East); grant of a market and fair at Castelboterell

The Italian, Antonio Pessaigne, obtains from the Crown a lien on coinage dues in Cornwall and Devon and the authority to buy all tin coined. This causes great hostility in the stannaries. The miners continue to sell to whom they please and in 1316 obtain a revocation of the patent.


Grant to Nicholas Dawnye for market and fair at Sheviock


Grant to the prior of Tywardreath of a market and fair at Fowey.


In Europe, climate change leads to the Great Famine.


Total failure of the harvest in Cornwall through bad weather


Grant of a market and fair at Helston.


Grant to the Treasurer of the Cathedral of Exeter to De St Probain (Probus) for markets and two fairs.


After Edward III's unpopular choice of Piers Gaveston to be Earl of Cornwall, and his execution on the orders of the Earl of Lancaster in 1312, a number of the Cornish gentry support Lancaster in rebelling against the King. Lancaster is defeated at Boroughbridge and executed.


Grant to Ralph de Bloyou of a market and fair at Marazion.


Edward III granted to Alice de l'Isle of Penzance a weekly market on Wednesdays and a fair of seven days for the festival of St Peter in June.


Grant to William Basset of 2-day a week market and two annual fairs at Redruth; grant to Sir John Arundell of market and fair at St Columb Major.


Grant of a market and fair at Inceworth (in Maker and Antony), and Shepstall (in Ruanlanihorne?)


Edward, the Black Prince was named Duke of Cornwall.


The Duchy of Cornwall was created with Edward the Black Prince as the first Duke by his father Edward III at a full session of Parliament. The Dukedoms lands in Cornwall were made up of 17 manors and the boroughs of Camelford, Grampound, Helston, Launceston, Liskeard, Lostwithiel, Tintagel, Trematon and Saltash. Other benefits granted to the Dukedom include the profits from the county courts, control of wrecks and the right to collect a duty of £2 on each 1,000lbs. of tin.


Edward the Black Prince, eldest son of Edward III, is created first Duke of Cornwall.


French raids along the Channel


Cornish archers, conspicuous for their long bows and accurate shooting, distinguish themselves at the Battle of Crecy.


777 men from Fowey ("Gallants of Fowey") fight at the Siege of Calais.


The Black Death (or Great Pestilence) arrives in Cornwall (it started in Russia and was spread by rats). It reached its height in Cornwall in 1350/1.


The 'Black Death' claims half the population at Bodmin - 1500 people.


Grant of a market and fair at Polran (Polruan?).


Second outbreak of The Black Death in Cornwall lasting to 1362


Grant to Daubeney family of market and fair at Polruan.


John Trevisa of Cornwall wrote the first book about England in the English language (previously latin was the language used by authors)


A period of concentrated church building occurs. Almost every Cornish church is altered or enlarged. Five centuries later, most remain substantially unchanged in form, despite subsequent restorations.

The emergence of a popular Cornish literature, centred on the religious-themed mystery plays.


Cornwall is described as Cornubia - Land of the Saints.


Grant to Thomas, Lord Berkeley by Henry IV, of a market and fair at Penzance, in lieu of one 7-day fair, three 2-day fairs to be held.


The hermit's chapel on Roche Rock (St Austell area), dedicated to St Michael, is licensed.


Cornish archers fight under a banner depicting 2 Cornish wrestlers at the Battle of Agincourt. This was calibrated by Michael Drayton (1563-1631) in his narrative poem 'The Battaile of Agincourt'


Greystone Bridge on the Launceston to Tavistock Road is constructed.


St Blazey Church is built around this time, and thoroughly restored in 1839 by W Moffat, and again in 1897.


Wars of the Roses, the feud between the Courtenays and Bonvilles in Cornwall and Devon.


During the Wars of the Roses the Breton fleet attacks Fowey and this leads to the legend of Elisabeth, the wife of Thomas Treffry of Fowey. With her husband absent, when the Bretons attack, she leads the defiant defence of the town by pouring molten lead over the invaders at Place. On his return, Thomas Treffry, who's forefather was knighted by the Black Prince at the Battle of Crecy, undertakes further improvements to the fortification of Place and towers were built at each end of the harbour with a chain suspended between them.


Piracy against Breton, Norman and Spanish vessels (what would now be termed mutual reprisals) is rife along Channel coast. The 'Fowey gallants' are particularly notable. Determined to put an end to this, Edward IV despatches a commission to Cornwall to 'arrest all mariners, masters, pirates, victuallers of ships' of Fowey, Bodinnick, and Polruan. The independent Cornish seafarers and their ships are removed to England and placed in custody. One Harrington is executed.


Sweating sickness


Polydore Vergil, an Italian cleric commissioned by King Henry VII to write a history of England, states that "The whole country of Britain is divided into four parts, whereof the one is inhabited by Englishmen, the other of Scots, the third of Welshmen, the fourth of Cornish people ... and which all differ among themselves either in tongue, either in manners, or else in laws and ordinances."


Cornish uprising against Henry VII's taxation to pay for his war against the Scots, which is a curtailment of Cornish constitutional rights under the Stannary law Charter of 1305 (that no tax of 10ths and 15ths may be raised in Cornwall). Resistance, particularly at St Keverne under the leadership of Michael Joseph an gof of Lizard village, gains momentum at Bodmin when taken up by lawyer, Thomas Flamank. They lead a march of 40,000 Cornish to London, are joined by Lord Audley en route, but are confronted by 10000 of Henry's men under Lord Daubeney. On 16th June the Cornish force, armed only with country weapons, are routed. Audley, Flamank and Joseph are executed. The Cornish are resentful... On September 7th Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the throne, lands at Whitesand Bay, near Land's End. Warmly welcomed, he is proclaimed King Richard IV at Bodmin. Michael An Gof and Thomas Flamank were hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.

Second Cornish Uprising of 1497 - The Cornish march on Exeter and Taunton before the pretender to the English throne Perkin Warbeck was captured at Beaulieu Abbey in Hampshire.




'Charter of Pardon' granted by Henry VII states "that no statutes, acts, ordinances... or proclamations shall take effect in...[Cornwall] or elsewhere to the prejudice or in exoneration of the said tinners, bounders, possessors of tinworks... dealers in white tin or the heirs or successors of any of them, unless there has previously been convened twenty-four good and lawful men of the four stannaries of the county of Cornwall...; so that no statutes be made in future by us, our heirs and successors, or by the said Prince and Duke of Cornwall for the time being shall be made except with the consent of the said twenty-four men so elected and appointed..." allowed the Cornish Stannary Parliament to veto English legislation. This is extant legislation. Cornwall's legal right to its own Parliament was confirmed and strengthened by the 1508 Charter of Pardon.


Henry VIII's coronation procession includes "nine children of honour" representing "England and France, Gascony, Guienne, Normandy, Anjou, Cornwall, Wales and Ireland."




Death of Thomasine Bonaventure of Week St Mary. Known as 'the Cornish Shepherdess' (later Dame Thomasine Percival), she has been Lord Mayoress of London.

Charter from Henry VIII allowing Penzance to keep profits from all ships visiting the harbour.


Marazion was attacked and burnt during a war with France that started in 1511.


As part of the colonisation of Ireland an English official suggests that one man should be sent from "every parish in England, Cornwall and Wales".


The New Bridge at Gunnislake is built.


From the court of King Henry VIII, the Italian diplomat Lodovico Falier writes in a letter that "The language of the English, Welsh and Cornish men is so different that they do not understand each other". He also claims it is possible to distinguish the members of each group by alleged "national characteristics".


Henry VIII founds Church of England and commences Reformation.


Polydore Vergil's Anglica Historia describes Britain as being made up of "Scots, Welsh, English and Cornish people" and that "England is limited on the West part with the bounds of Cornwall and Wales."


Dissolution of the Monasteries including Glasney College

Circa 1538

Leland's tour of Cornwall

Writing to his government, the French ambassador in London, Gaspard de Coligny Chatillon, indicates ethnic differences thus: "The kingdom of England is by no means a united whole, for it also contains Wales and Cornwall, natural enemies of the rest of England, and speaking a [different] language".


Following raids by the Spanish and French up the Fal estuary, Henry VIII creates a chain of fortifications along the south coast, including the castles of Pendennis and St Mawes.


Henry VIII adds Saint Catherine's castle at Fowey to his fortification building programme.


Andrew Boorde's First boke of the introduction of knowledge... records that "In Cornwall is two speches, the one is naughty Englysshe and the other is Cornysshe speche. And there may be many men and women the which cannot speak one word of Englysshe but all Cornysshe."


The captain of Henry VIII's ship the Mary Rose, Roger Grenville of Stowe (father of Sir Richard Grenville of the Revenge) dies in the sinking of the ship. This ship was acting as the flagship of vice-admiral Sir George Carew when the ship was struck by a squall and sank at Spithead (Portsmouth) on July 19th.


The Cornish rose up in the Prayer Book Rebellion against the imposition by Edward VI of the use of the Book of Common Prayer in English. - some 5,000 "rebels" were killed by mercenary forces. The main confrontations were the siege of Exeter, the battles of Fenny Bridges, Woodbury Common, Clyst St Mary, Clyst Heath (where 900 unarmed Cornish prisoners were killed) and Sampford Courtenay. Following this, Provost Marshal Sir Anthony Kingston was sent into Cornwall to seek retribution. The Book of Common Prayer was enforced resulting in a decline in the use of the Cornish language.

Following the passing of the Act of Uniformity by Parliament, which replaced Latin with English as the language to be used in church services from the 9th. June, rebels attacked St Michael's Mount and Marazion. The rebels caused 'great decay, ruin and desolution' to the town. Following this the rebels, under their leader Humphry Arundel of Helland, marched to Bodmin and where they were joined by the towns mayor Nicholas Boyer. They then drew a petition to the king stating 'we will not receyve the new servyce because it is but lyke a christmas game, but we wyll have our old service of matens, Masse, evensong and procession in Latten as it was before, and so we Cornysshe men, where of certen of us understand no English, utterly refuse thys newe Englysh'. Their petition was rejected and approximately 2,000 rebels marched to Exeter and surrounded the town on 2nd. July. Towards the end of the month a large number of the rebels left and marched to Honiton where they were defeated by the King's forces under Lord Grey. The rebels fought a rearguard action at Stampford Courtenay however this was the last fight. The ringleaders were captured, some were publicly executed others lost their property and lands. As a general punishment the bells(except the smallest bell) in church towers were ordered to be removed. However only the clappers were removed.


Richard Carew (1555-1620) is born at Antony




When he returned to England he became an MP and shared the privateer Castle of Comfort with William Hawkins.


Spaniards land at Penryn late at night with the intent of burning the town. It is during a performance of the Miracle Play of St Sampson and, according to Richard Carew writing in the 1590s, they are put to flight by the players.


Richard Grenville proposes to the Queen an expedition to find the southern route around America to the Pacific and to establish new colonies, however this plan was rejected. He returned to Buckland Abbey and finished the rebuilding putting the date 1576 over the fireplace in the hall. The Abbey was sold to Drake on his return from his voyage around South America and the Pacific in 1580.


In June 1577, as the new Sheriff of Cornwall he arrested Francis Tregian of Golden (near Probus) for providing sanctuary to the seminary priest Cuthbert Mayne, who was holding 'illegal Catholic services'. This lead to Grenville being knighted for his services. Mayne was found to be wearing an Agnus Dei (a wax medallion of a lamb blessed by the Pope) with a Papal Bull of absolution. Mayne and Tregian were held at Launceston goal. Mayne was tried by a jury of 'Cornish gentry' including the young Richard Carew who later wrote the 'Survey of Cornwall'. Mayne was hung, drawn and quartered in the market place of Launceston with his 'quarters' subsequently being displayed at Bodmin, Wadebridge, Tregony (near Golden) and his home town of Barnstaple. His head was impaled on the gate of Launceston castle and later it was taken to Lanherne, the home of the staunchly Catholic Arundell's were it was preserved as a saintly relic.


Plague in Penzance.


Peter Carder of Veryan was the first recorded european to travel the length of South America .


Nicholas Prideaux begins building Prideaux Place at Padstow after inheriting the estates in 1581.

In 1585 Sir Richard Grenville, in 'The Revenge' commanded the expedition that founded Virginia USA, for his cousin Walter Raleigh.


Anglo-Spanish War, intermittent conflict, never declared, many raids on shipping.




Sir Richard Grenville, under Drake, organised the defence of England against the Spanish Armada.


Meeting of the Convocation of Tinners of Cornwall petitions Queen Elizabeth I to confer powers to legislate, but this goes unheeded. In 1624 the Meeting of Tinners of Cornwall assumes the power to legislate. These laws are added to in later Convocations in 1636, 1688 and 1753.

Spanish Armada. The first sighting is on July 19, when 130 ships was first sighted from Halzephron cliff, Lizard. Also sighted from St Michael's Mount. Soon afterwards, 55 English ships set out in pursuit from Plymouth under the command of Lord Howard of Effingham, with Sir Francis Drake as Vice Admiral. There is an inconclusive skirmish off Eddystone Rocks, and the Spanish fleet sails eastwards up the Channel.

Enemy Spaniards land in Mount's Bay, attacking Mousehole, Newlyn, Penzance and Paul.


In 1591 Sir Richard Grenville was second in command of a fleet (vice admiral) under Lord Thomas Howard that sailed to seize the Spanish treasure ships on route to Spain from South America. His ship became isolated from the fleet off the Azores and was attacked by a Spanish fleet. The ensuing action lasted 15 hours with Revenge holding of fifty-three opponents. The Revenge finally surrendered, as a helpless hulk with Grenville fatally wounded. Sir Richard was subsequently immortalized by Alfred Tennyson in the poem 'The Revenge' in 1880


Sir Richard Grenville, born 1542 (of the Revenge) dies . Grenville began as a student of the Inner Temple in 1559 where he killed a man in a street fight. This led him to change career and become a soldier. He fought in Hungry and Ireland.


23rd July Battle of Cornwall. Spanish forces under Don Carlos de Amesquita, land in Penzance area raiding and sacking settlements, including Newlyn, appearing to fulfil an old Cornish prophecy that strangers would 'burn Paul, Penzance and Newlyn'. 200 Spaniards land at Mousehole from 4 galleys. The Spaniard's set fire to Paul church and killed James Keigwin, John Pearce Peyton, James of Newlyn and Teck Cornall who were endevouring to organise a defence. On being informed of the presence of the Spanish Sir Francis Godolphin gathered a makeshift force and hurried to Mousehole. On arriving they found that the Spanish had re-embarked and had sailed to Newlyn were the full force of 400 landed and fired Newlyn and Penzance. Sir Francis were powerless to intervene and the Spanish eventually fled after sighting the men-of-war sent from Plymouth by Drake to deal with them.


Sir Bevil Grenville born.


Francis Carew created a method of producing out of season fruit.


Various small mines which are later to form Polberro Mine are working at St Agnes. By the 1830s the mine employs 480 people and in 1846 it is visited by Queen Victoria.


Survey of Cornwall by Richard Carew published. In his book, he wrote about Cornwall, as a Cornishman, with the view of a 'modern' Englishman. On the economy of Cornwall he wrote that ' the Cornish people gave themselves principally, and in a manner wholly, to the seeking of tin and neglected husbandry'. Richard Carew (1555-1620) was born at Antony.


Upon the death of Queen Elizabeth, the Venetian ambassador described her as ruling over five different peoples: English, Welsh, Cornish, Scottish and Irish.


Following Queen Elizabeth I's death, the Venetian ambassador writes that the "late queen had ruled over five different 'peoples' - English, Welsh, Cornish, Scottish and Irish".


Sir Francis Godolphin, born in 1535, dies. Expert in mining, he has prospered from some of the best Cornish mines of the time, bringing in German engineers to improve mining processes. His success added to Queen Elizabeth's revenues by £1,000 per year.


Pocahontas may have visited Indian Queens, although this is disputed.

Arthur Hopton (ambassador to Madrid) writes that "England is ... divided into three great Provinces, or Countries ... speaking a several and different language, as English, Welsh and Cornish".


Thirty Years' War


John Killigrew's lighthouse at the Lizard Lizard Point. This led to the local population, who regarded wrecks as 'Gods grace', to complain at the loss of revenue.


Sir Richard Robartes, a Truro tin and wool merchant. buys the Lanhydrock estate and begins to build the house which bears two dates at the front, 1636 and 1642. The gatehouse is only completed in 1658. In 1881 a large part of the house is destroyed by fire, but re-built with additions.

The Mayflower, en route to America with the Pilgrim Fathers stops off at Newlyn to take on water.


Sir John Elliot imprisoned. Sir John had married a rich heiress and became Member of the Parliament for St Germans in 1614. He was knighted in 1618 and he was a witness at the execution of Raleigh in 1619. Sir John was appointed Vice Admiral of Devon in 1623 and took strong action to stop the pirates operating along the coaSt He was instrumental in the capture of the most infamous of the day,John Nutt in Torbay. However Nutt had more friends at court than Sir John and was subsequently released. Eliot continued his work and was ruthless with those captured ,hanging 20 pirates on one day. He led in the Commons for the impeachment of Buckingham (following his disastrous management of the anti-Catholic war) in 1626 and was imprisoned for eleven days and dismissed as Vice Admiral. He was returned to the Parliament of 1628 where, with Pym, he led the Commons in forcing King Charles to accept the Petition of Rights and continued to attack Buckingham. Charles dismissed Parliament and imprisoned Elliot (and eight other commons leaders) in the Tower where he died 3 years later. When the family asked Charles for his body, so that he could be buried at Port Elliot, he refused replying 'Let Sir John Elliot be buried in the church of that parish where he died'. more


Sir John Dodridge re-interprets preceding historical records in his book An historical account of the ancient and modern state of the Principality of Wales, Duchy of Cornwall and earldom of Chester, referring to Cornwall as "anciently reputed a Dukedom", and earlier "an Earldom". He states that "until the 11th year of King Edward III, at a time it was a-new constituted a Duchy, the first erected in England after the Conquest", suggesting ancient Duchy Charters and royal intents had been misunderstood over the preceding 300 years.


William Noy (1577-1634) probably born in St Buryan, MP for Grampound 1603-1614, Fowey 1623-1625 and Helston 1627-1631, becomes Attorney General. Author of several legal works.


Trewan Hall at St Columb is built.


Turkish Pirates around the coast near Penzance.


Charles I recalls Parliament in order to obtain money to finance his military struggle with Scotland. Parliament agrees to fund Charles, but only on condition he answer their grievances relating to his 11-year "personal rule" or "tyranny". Charles refuses and dissolves Parliament after a mere 3 weeks, hence the name of the "Short Parliament"


War of the five peoples - The First "English" Civil War. Civil war in Britain, involving the English, Scots, Irish, Welsh, Cornish.


The Cornish played a significant role Civil War as Cornwall was a Royalist stronghold in the generally Parliamentarian south-weSt The reason for this was that Cornwall's rights and privileges were tied up with the royal Duchy and Stannaries and the Cornish saw the Civil War as a fight between England and Cornwall as much as a conflict between King and Parliament.

First Battle of Lostwithiel.

At the start of the civil war a royalist force under Sir Ralph Hopton enters Cornwall in late September and in October they take Launceston castle for the king.


Battle of Braddock Down (19th January). Cornish Royalist victory at the Battle of Braddock. Col. Ruthin's Parliamentarian troops are defeated by Sir Ralph Hopton with Bevil Grenvile's Regiment which includes the 7-foot Anthony Payne carrying his colours.

Battle of Stratton (16th May). The Earl of Stamford's Parliamentarian force is repelled by Hopton's men after day-long fighting, with 300 men killed and 1700 captured, and retreats to Bideford.

The victories for Hopton with the Cornish militia provide the impetus for campaigns in Devon and Somerset. Taunton and Bridgwater are taken by the Cornish army on the 5th July, but Sir Bevil Grenvile is killed in the moment of victory at the Battle of Lansdown in Somerset and Hopton is seriously wounded. Bristol falls to Hopton's troops, and later Exeter.

Sir Bevil Grenville (1596-1643 born at Brinn) was a leading Cornish Royalist soldier. Educated at Exeter College, Oxford who entered Parliament in 1621 and for some years supported the Popular Party. In 1639 he became a firm supporter of the King. He helped Hopton (Ralph 1St Baron, commander for the King in the southwest 1642-46) in October '42 organize an army of volunteers called by Parliament the Cornish Malignant's. On January 19th. 1643, at the first battle to be fought in Cornwall, on a ridge in between Bradock and Boconnoc, he led the foot. The charge was so fierce that the enemy broke and fled. He campaigned until the battle at Lansdown ridge, north of Bath, on July 5th where he held the edge of the plateau with his stand of pikes against the repeated charges of the Parliamentary horse until he was fatally wounded at the victorious conclusion of the battle. He died the following day and his body was taken back to Kilkhampton for burial. Colonel Ruthin's Parliamentarian force was defeated at Liskeard in January with 1,250 of his troops being taken prisoners. This was followed by a second defeat at Saltash and the Royalist's laid siege to Plymouth. A separate Parliamentary force under General James Chudliegh crosses Poulston Bridge and marched on Launceston. Following a long battle, where each side held the advantage at times, the Parliamentarians were forced to retreat.

Battle of Roundway Down (July 13th.)

The siege of Plymouth begins (3rd December), but the result is disastrous for the Cavaliers. Sir Richard Grenville, having previously declared for Parliament, invites his troops to follow him into the King's service.Parliament proclaim him a traitor.


Sir Richard Grenville arrives in Plymouth in March to maintain a blockade, but it results in a stalemate as inhabitants obtain enough provisions to survive. The arrival of Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, in command of the Roundhead army of 8000 men forces Grenville to retreat westwards across the Tamar.

Campaign at Lostwithiel. 28th July - Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, taking the Parliamentarian forces into Cornwall, reaches Bodmin

11th August - Sir Richard Grenvile's Royalist men surround them at Lostwithiel, secure Respryn Bridge and take Bodmin

21st August, - Grenvile takes Restormel Castle and Beacon Hill, Lostwithiel. Intermittent fighting follows with gains and losses, but the Royalists push the Parliamentarians back to Castle Dore high above the Fowey river (31st August). Essex escapes leaving his army to surrender. They are not kindly treated by the Royalists, but sent off having had their weapons confiscated (2nd September). Perhaps 1000 of the 6000 Roundheads survive hunger, disease and exposure, but their time in Lostwithiel has seen the vandalism of Lostwithiel's Great Hall and Jonathan Rashleigh's Menabilly house, and the destruction of all the constitutional Charters and Stannary records placed in Luxulyan church for safety. The ensuing debate in London about the unsatisfactory manner of the war leads to the passage of the Self-Denying Ordinance. This is the prompt for a professional English army with a unified command and devoid of its earlier feudal nature - the New Model Army.

1644 August 1

King Charles I arrived in Cornwall and spent the night at Trecarrell near Launceston

1644 August 31

Cornish Royalist victory at the Second Battle of Lostwithiel.


Royalists roundly defeat a Parliamentary force commanded by the Earl of Essex at Lostwithiel. However this was not intime to stop the Parliamentarians desecrating Saint Barthomew's church and gutting the administrative centre known as 'The Duchy Parliament'. This was a disastrous campaign for Essex as of the 7,000 troops he brought to Cornwall only 1,000 left with him.


Sir Thomas Fairfax is chosen to command the New Model Army. The Royalist army is also reorganised and a succession of command changes and squabbling ensues. Prince Charles becomes the Commander-in-Chief. The Royalists suffers a noted defeat at Naseby in Northamptonshire and Fairfax's men overrun them in confrontations in the south and west of England.

Cornish Royalist leader Sir Richard Grenville, 1st Baronet made Launceston his base and he stationed Cornish troops along the River Tamar and issued them with instructions to keep "all foreign troops out of Cornwall". Grenville tried to use "Cornish particularist sentiment" to muster support for the Royalist cause and put a plan to the Prince which would, if implemented, have created a semi-independent Cornwall.


The Prince gives Lord Hopton command of the Royalist forces, with Wentworth to command the horse and Grenvile the foot. Grenvile refuses and is imprisoned.

Hopton advances from Stratton to Torrington en route to Exeter, but is driven out by Fairfax's men, and falls back to Stratton. Fairfax proceeds into Cornwall reaching Launceston (25th February) and Bodmin (2nd March). Hopton's army is in disarray but he refuses to surrender. News at Bodmin of an imminent Irish invasion further damages the Royalist cause locally and Fairfax offers Hopton terms. Surrender takes place at Tresillian Bridge on 15th March.

Following the Roundhead victory at the Battle of Naseby in 1645 they had proceeded towards Cornwall reaching Launceston on 25 February 1646 and Bodmin by 2 March 1646. There were skirmishes but the Cornish were vastly outnumbered. Fairfax offered Hopton terms and the surrender took place at Tresillian Bridge, Truro, on 15 March 1646.

The siege of Pendennis Castle began in April 1646 and lasted for five months. Parliamentary forces attacked the castle from both land and sea and it finally surrendered on 17 August 1646.

Fairfax commanding the Parliamentary army invades Cornwall, John Arundell surrenders Pendennis Castle-Civil War ends.

Fox's Shipping Agency founded


The Gear Rout - The last Cornish armed uprising involving some 500 rebels.


Second English Civil War


Third English Civil War


Rev. Hugh Peters baptised at Fowey in 1598 becomes Chaplain to Oliver Cromwell. Author of numerous publications, his life ends by hanging and decapitation at Charing Cross in 1660.


Capture of the Isles of Scilly by Admiral Robert Blake


John Grenville and the Royalists driven out of Scilly. John Grenville, Earl of Bath (1628-1701).Son of Sir Bevil, who was placed on his fathers horse and continued to lead the battle at Lansdowne after Sir Bevil fell, at the age of sixteen. Shortly after he was knighted and then left for dead at the second battle of Newbury in 1644. Following the execution of the King he operated from the Isles of Scilly with a fleet of privateers attacking Parliamentary shipping. When Blake captured the Islands John joined Charles in France and then returned to Stowe. During the Commonwealth Grenville actively worked for the restoration of the monarchy and traveled to France to tell Charles that the country was ready for his return. Charles II showed his gratitude by making Grenville Earl of Bath, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall and Captain and Governor of Plymouth, overseeing the building of the Citadel. These offices brought with them an income in excess of £3,000 per year and allowed him to rebuild the house at Stowe. Under James II he lost most of his offices because of his strong Protestant beliefs. However he kept Plymouth and surrendered it to William of Orange when he arrived there with his fleet. William made him Lord Lieutenant of Devon and Cornwall but he was not satisfied wanting the vacant title of Duke of Albermarle. The title went to William's friend Keppel and Grenville tried to contest this in the courts for seven years. He spent his fortune on this and died in debt.


Battle of Plymouth off Cornish coast, part of First Anglo-Dutch War


William Hals, the historian, is born at Tresawsen, Merther, near Truro. Part of his projected History of Cornwall is published in 1750, covering 72 parishes alphabetically from Advent to Helston. A manuscript for Illogan survives but the remainder is unfinished.


The village of Flushing near Falmouth is founded.


Charles II bride, Catherine of Braganza, anchored off Penzance


Sir William Lower is born at Tresmere, St Tudy. He becomes a noted playwright of his day. He is buried in London.


The Church of King Charles the Martyr is built in Falmouth.


Richard Lower experimented with blood transfusion, transferring blood from one dog's artery to another


Dr. Richard Lower, of Tremeer, St Tudy, baptised in 1631, publishes information on the transfusion of blood between animals, and of an experiment practised on a man in London.


Chesten Marchant supposedly the last Cornish monoglot, dies.


Sir Robert Geffrye, born at Landrake in 1613, becomes Lord Mayor of London. Dying in 1703 he leaves money for the building of almshouses (built in 1715). They are now renowned as the Geffrye Museum.


Imprisonment in Tower of London of Bishop Trelawny for refusing to sign a paper to bring back Catholicism as official religion - acquitted.

Falmouth is selected as the most westward port for packets to carry mails to the Groyne (Corunna), the first sailing being in January 1689.


The Falmouth Packets service, carrying the mail come into being, the first was from Falmouth to Corunna in Spain


William Borlase, the Cornish antiquary, is born at Pendeen. Author of a 'Natural History of Cornwall' 1758 and 'Antiquities of Cornwall' 1754. Dies in 1772.


Thomas Martyn, a topographer, is born in Gwennap. He is noted for his "New and accurate map of the County of Cornwall from actual survey" published in a number of editions and scales, from 1748 to 1784. He dies at Ashburton, Devon, in 1751


Joel Gascoyne produces the first 1 inch to 1 mile County map using Cornwall as his subject


Sidney Godolphin becomes Lord Treasurer until 1710.


The first Falmouth Packet service across the Atlantic to the West Indies


27th - 28th August - A violent storm, the tail end of an American hurricane results in damaged houses, ships being driven ashore and the destruction of Henry Winstanley's Eddystone Lighthouse.

Daniel Gumb is born at Linkinhorne. Raised as a stone-cutter, he makes a name for himself as a self-taught mathematician. He makes his home carving out a rock by The Cheesewring. The roof serves as an observatory, and the whole as a place where he can study uninterrupted but near to his work. He becomes more reclusive and the home also serves as a chapel for him as he was never seen to attend the parish church. His wife and several children also live in the rock dwelling.


Grant to Anthony Nicoll for 2 fairs or markets at StTudy.


Grant in fee for Robert Hooker, gent. of 3 fairs at Camborne.


The thatched Friends' Meeting House at Come-to-Good, near Feock is built.


Antony House, the home of the Carews at Torpoint, begins construction, and is completed in 1721.

Circa 1710

First steam pump in Cornwall


5th November - Charles Mohun, 5th Baron Mohun, is killed in a duel with the Duke of Hamilton. Mohun has previously been tried and cleared (1692-3) by the House of Peers for the murder of William Mountford.


3rd May - "The most celebrated eclipse ever recorded in England. Totality passed right across England from Cornwall to Norfolk".

Jacobite uprising in Cornwall

The Lizard lighthouse is built.


Trewithen House near Probus is under construction, probably to the design of Thomas Edwards of Greenwich.


John Anstis, born at St Neot in 1699, (MP for St Germans (1702) and Launceston (1713)) becomes Garter King at Arms. Author of a number of heraldic works.


27th Jan - Samuel Foote, playwright and comedian, is born at Truro.

Thomas Newcomen comes to Cornwall to erect an atmospheric engine at Wheal Fortune in Ludgvan.

Thomas Pitt, otherwise known as 'Diamond Pitt', (1653-1726) buys Boconnoc, near Lostwithiel, and other manors in Cornwall with the proceeds of the sale of a famous 127 carat diamond to the Regent of Orleans (later Louis XV) in 1716 for approximately £125,000. While Governor of Fort St George, Madras, he had bought it for around £20,400. Thomas Pitt becomes the grandfather of William Pitt the Elder (statesman) and Great Grandfather of William Pitt the Younger (Prime Minister), and 2nd Baron Camelford

Ralph Allen devises the first cross-country postal service. Known as 'The Man of Bath', he was born in St Blazey in 1693,becoming Post Master in Bath; Contractor for Cross Posts (1722-1764) and Mayor of Bath 1742.


Dolcoath, near Camborne, perhaps Cornwall's most celebrated mine, is already working and by 1778 is 160 fathoms deep. By 1864, equipped with its ten engines, seven water wheels, and a man-engine, it employs about 1200 people. Underground working ceases in 1920 by which time the bottom level is at 550 fathoms, the deepest of all the Cornish mines.


Mining is in operation by this time at Botallack Mine on the cliff's edge near St Just, and by 1800 the workings extended to over 100 fathoms and a long distance beneath the sea. It becomes one of Cornwall's richest tin mines. Operations finally end in 1914.


John Knill who instigated the 5-yearly celebrations at his mausoleum near St Ives, is born at Callington. He becomes Collector of Customs at St Ives and is elected Mayor in 1767 Resigning his Customs post in 1782 around which time he arranges the erection of a mausoleum on Worvas Hill as he "abhorred the practice of burial within the body of the Church" which prevailed in St Ives at the time. He moves to London and buys chambers in Gray's Inn Square and is called to the Bar in 1787. In 1811 he dies and is buried at Holborn, not St Ives.


Tehidy House, Illogan, is built for the Basset family to the design of Thomas Edwards of Greenwich. It is destroyed by fire in 1919.


The Sherborne Mercury newspaper commences publication in Dorset. It includes Cornish news and advertising, and circulates throughout the south west of England. It continues until 1867.


Expansion of deep copper mining in Cornwall. This heralds the Industrial Revolution in Britain.


John Williams is born. He becomes a successful mining engineer, and manager of Poldice and Gwennap mines. He is noted for driving the County Adit from Bissoe Bridge to drain the mines of Poldice, a task which lasts twenty years and the completed work, thirty miles long, takes in numerous branch adits and drains fifty mines. After profiting spectacularly from a sudden tin price rise, he builds Scorrier House, enlarging it substantially in 1845. After a serious fire in 1908, it is rebuilt.


John Wesley's Methodism becomes the dominant religious denomination. This is his first of forty visits to Cornwall.


William Cookworthy, (a Kingsbridge Quaker who began a wholesale chemist's business in Plymouth around 1733), having researched the Chinese manufacture of porcelain, obtains kaolin from Virginia in America. Around 1746 he locates china-clay and china-stone deposits on the western side of Tregonning Hill in Germoe parish, near Helston. On a later journey to Cornwall he finds much larger quantities in the vicinity of St Stephen-in-Brannel and St Dennis, near St Austell which led to the china clay industry in the county.


Admiral Boscawen wins fame at Cape Finisterre by singly engaging the French fleet until the English fleet arrive


Sir William Lemon, who becomes MP for Penryn (1769-72) and the County (1774-1824), is born in Truro. He dies at Carclew, Mylor, in 1824.


A new church, designed by Thomas Edwards of Greenwich at the behest of the Earl of Godolphin replaces the old one at Helston.


The Cornish Stannary Parliament is suspended, subsequent to a dispute with the Lord Warden, Thomas Pitt, over the location of the Convocation in Lostwithiel contrary to the wishes of the Stannators.


9th Sept - William Bligh, grandson of John Bligh of St Tudy is baptised in Plymouth. In 1787 he sets sail as Captain of the 'Bounty' to procure bread fruit trees from the South Sea Islands.


Antiquities of Cornwall by William Borlase published

Henry Bone, enamellist, is born at Truro. He becomes enamel painter to the Prince of Wales in 1800, a Royal Academician in 1811, dying in 1854.

1st November - The Lisbon Earthquake strikes the Cornish coast at about 09:40 hours. Its magnitude is somewhere between 8 and 9 on the Richter Scale, the epicentre being some 200 km West of Cape St Vincent. It has knock-on effects throughout Europe, mostly in the form of flooding. Further damage is done by a Tsunami hitting the city & this is followed by several massive fires. In Cornwall, at St Michael's Mount, at about 14:00 hours, the sea is observed to rise suddenly and then to retire. After 10 minutes the sea rises nearly 6 feet, very rapidly coming in from the South East; it then ebbs again to the West with the same speed for about 10 minutes, until it is nearly 6 feet lower than before. It returns again, and falls again in the same space of time, and continues to do so for some 5 hours after. In Penzance the tide rises some eight feet, at Newlyn Pier some ten feet. The same effect is reported at St Ives & Hayle somewhat later.


Seven Years' War


The old church at Redruth is taken down and replaced by a new building in the classical style, although its C15 tower remains.


Rev. Richard Polwhele, who becomes the Vicar of Manaccan (1794-1821) and Newlyn East (1821-1838) and the author of a two-volume seven-part History of Cornwall, a similar work on Devon and many other books, is born at Truro.


Admiral Boscawen dies. A hero of his time, he assists in the capture of Porto Bello in 1740, commands a party which storms Carthagena in 1747 capturing two batteries, becomes Commander-in-Chief of the Navy in 1758, and, with General Wolff, captures Louisberg and in 1759 beats the French fleet in Port Lagos.


John Wesley first visits Gwennap Pit in 1762, and thereafter 18 times until his last visit in 1798 at the age of 86. In the entry in his Journal for Sunday 22nd August 1773 he estimates that 'two and thirty thousand' were present, and other dates record upwards of 20,000 in attendance. The pit we see today was remodelled by local tinners and their helpers, re-opening on Whit Monday 1807. The annual Whit Monday service is still a feature of the local Methodist calendar.


Pencarrow, near Washaway, is built in the Palladian style.


Davies Gilbert (Giddy) PRS FAS FGS is born at St Erth. He becomes a national figure of the Industrial Revolution, an antiquarian, the President of the Royal Society, and MP for Bodmin. He chairs several parliamentary committees concerning, for instance, the building of roads, steam power, feeding the population, and the Poor Laws. He moves in the same circles as Boulton and Watt, Peel and Canning, and Darwin, and many others; he is patron of Cornish inventors like Trevithick and Hornblower and he discovers Humphry Davy.


John Smeaton, noted for the Eddystone lighthouse, constructs a pier at St Ives, since lengthened.


William Cookworthy takes out a patent for the making of porcelain using Cornish materials, and this and the establishment of a (short-lived) porcelain factory in Plymouth is greatly supported by the Hon. Thomas Pitt of Boconnoc (later Lord Camelford) who grants Cookworthy a lease on his land in St Stephen.


The Bodmin to Launceston turnpike road is opened.


Richard Trevithick, born in 1771 at Illogan

The 123 feet high obelisk commemorating Thomas Pitt, Lord Camelford, is erected at Boconnoc.


The St Columb Canal, proposed by John Edyvean, is authorised and planned to run from Mawgan Porth through parishes inland and to return to St Columb Porth. Its purpose is to import sea-sand for manuring to improve land. Two sections are built. One, from Trenance Point to near Whitewater, and the other from Lusty Glaze to near Rialton Barton in St Columb Minor.

William Bligh discovered bread fruit on the island of Otaheite (also known as King George the Third's Island)


William Cookworthy passes his patent for making porcelain from Cornish china-clay to Richard Champion, prompting the interest of Josiah Wedgwood, the distinguished Staffordshire potter. Following a legal battle, Champion loses his monopoly over the Cornish materials.


28th July - Richard Hussey Vivian (afterwards General Lord Vivian) is born at Truro. During a distinguished military career he became MP for Truro (1820-25) and Windsor (1825-30), and later a Privy Councillor (1834), Master General of Ordnance (1835) and MP for East Cornwall (1837-41) at which time he was created Baron Vivian of Glyn.

Sir John Call's mansion at Stoke Climsland is built. It is demolished in 1912.

Thomas Pitt, 2nd and last Baron Camelford is born at Boconnoc, near Lostwithiel. He becomes a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, leads a short but remarkably adventurous life, and is mortally wounded in a duel with a friend Captain Best in 1804, behind Holland House, London.


John Edyvean invented the inclined plane system, to reduce the necessity for locks within the canal system


Dolly Pentreath, who dies in 1777, is often claimed to be the last speaker of Cornish. However, William Bodener who dies in 1794 knows five people in Mousehole who speak the language. Others claim knowledge of it as late as the 1890s. It is probably safe to say that the last native speakers are alive in the late 19th century. However, the Education Act of 1870 makes the teaching of English compulsory in all schools.

James Watt erects his first steam engine in Cornwall.

Jonathan Hornblower invented the double cylinder engine


James Watt erects his first pumping engine in a Cornish mine at Great Wheal Busy near Chacewater, one of the oldest of Cornwall's copper mines. It replaces a Newcomen engine installed by John Smeaton. By now, the mine has worked at various times from 1700 and continues to do so until 1900.


Humphry Davy born in Penzance


William Murdoch (born in Ayrshire in 1754) the Scottish inventor moves to Cornwall in the employment of Boulton & Watt. Whilst in Cornwall he carried out important work on steam engines and gas-lights.


William Murdoch makes a small steam locomotion which he tries successfully in Redruth in Church Lane.


John Silk Buckingham, MP, journalist and reformer, is born at Flushing.


Riots at Poldice mine-copper depression


James Ruse, a Launceston man, arrives in New South Wales aboard the transport Scarborough, part of the "first fleet" of Australian convict ships.

Jonathan Couch, FLS, author and naturalist, is born at Polperro.


Bread riots in Truro at the outbreak of the French Revolution - the tinners are nearly starved

Wesley`s last visit to Cornwall


William Gregor discoveries Manaccanite, now know as Titanium at Manaccan, Lizard


Mr Charles Rashleigh commences creation of the new port of Charlestown for the shipment of china stone to Liverpool for Worcestershire or Staffordshire porcelain manufacturers.


Cornwall County Library is founded at Pydar Street, Truro, with nearly 30 subscribers, minimum subscription 1 guinea, and survived until 1920. In that time the library moved to Princes Street and then to the Public Rooms, situated between Quay Street and the Green.

William Murdoch lights Redruth house by gas, the foundation for today's gas industry.

The first convict ship sailed for Australia with James Ruse of Launceston on board


French Revolutionary Wars


A public meeting is held at Bodmin which resolves that a canal linking the Wadebridge River to the Fowey River would be advantageous. Sir William Molesworth arranges surveying and costings and plans are sent to John Rennie for comment. It all comes to nothing, but Marc Isambard Brunel surveys the Padstow - Fowey route in 1825 for a ship canal., proposing one 13 miles long. This too is not taken further.

Sir Goldsworthy Gurney born at Treator, near Padstow,


In Truro the building of Boscawen Street and Lemon Street is started.

Passing of the Truro Paving & Lighting Act enables the Corporation to improve Boscawen Street by pulling down Middle Row and to lay out and build Lemon Street (after Sir Charles Lemon).

Lanherne at St Mawgan in Pydar, formerly the home of the Arundells, becomes a convent.

Billy Bray, Cornish evangelist, is born at Twelveheads, near Chacewater.


The American engineer and inventor, Robert Fulton, with the surveyor Charles Moody, examined the practicality of building a canal from the Helford River at Gweek to the Hayle River near St Erth. It was not proceeded with.

"On Saturday 20th August at 20 minutes past 2 o'clock (p.m.) a slight Shock of an Earthquake was felt at St Hilary, which lasted 2 or 3 seconds being in the middle space of a rumbling Noise which attended it and which lasted 6 or 7 seconds. The Motion was from East to WeSt The Air was still. The Thermometer at 70" - St Hilary parish records. 1796 - Earthquake in St Hilary.


William Lovett, noted Chartist, is born at Newlyn. He migrates to London in 1821 where he becomes a formidable spokesman on behalf of the deprived.


A canal from Hayle to Carwinnen bridge near Camborne via Angarrack is proposed but not built.

Cornwall's first newspaper, The Cornwall Gazette and Falmouth Packet newspaper commences publication in Truro, becomes the Royal Cornwall Gazette in 1803 and continues until 1951 when it is incorporated into The West Briton.

24th December. Richard Trevithick built a full-size passenger carrying steam road carriage and runs this in Camborne for the first time. Known locally as the puffing devil.


Expansion of mining following Richard Trevithick`s high pressure engine


Richard Trevithick runs his road locomotive from Leather Lane, London - to Islington and back.


Richard Trevithick invents a high pressure steam dredge.

Rev. Robert Stephen Hawker, the noted vicar of Morwenstow, is born in Plymouth. Famed as a poet,and particularly for The Song of the Western Men ("Trelawny"), he is remembered for risking his life to help shipwrecked mariners, supporting his impoverished parishioners, and for reviving harvest-time festivals. He dies in 1875. His cliff-top hut is now a National Trust property.


Richard Lemon Lander (who afterwards discovered the River Niger) is born at the Fighting Cocks Inn, Truro.

February - Richard Trevithick runs his railway locomotive at Penydarren in Wales.

Perranzabuloe's church of St Piran, the third church of the parish, is erected in a new location at Lambourne, with material from the earlier


John Opie (1761 - 1807) of St Agnes, becomes Professor in Painting to the Royal Academy.

Glynn House, near Bodmin Parkway (formerly Bodmin Road) Station is rebuilt.

The first announcement of the death of Nelson was made from the balcony of the Union Hotel, Penzance


Caerhayes Castle, designed by John Nash for J B Trevanion, is erected in St Michael Caerhays parish.


The wreck of the frigate, "HMS Anson" is witnessed by Henry Trengrouse, the Helston cabinet-maker. The terrible loss of life spurs him on to devise at his own expense a line-throwing apparatus to be propelled across any stricken vessel by a rocket. His successful experiments in 1816 pave the way for saving the lives of thousands of seamen. Like Richard Trevithick before him, he dies in poverty in 1854.


Henry Trengrouse invented the 'Breeches Buoy'


Ordnance Survey's first mapping of Cornwall. It is published at 1" scale in 1813.

The first rails are laid for the Poldice Tramway to serve the St Day mines, providing a horse-drawn rail link (for goods and minerals) to the port of Portreath. It falls into disuse in the 1850s.


July 20th - The West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser newspaper commences publication at Truro


Work is re-started at Great Wheal Vor near Tregoning Hill. By 1820 it employs over 500 men underground. In the 1860s it is described as 'probably the richest tin mine in the world' by the Mining Journal. It closes in 1877, although part of the sett sees limited working at the end of the 19th century.

The brilliant Henry Martyn, born in Truro in 1781, dies alone in Tokat, having devoted his life to missionary work in India and Persia.

Andrew Pears from Mevagissey, perfected the process of refining soap.

The worlds first steam powered rock boring machine was built by Harvey's of Hayle


The Cornwall Central School is founded in Fairmantle Street, Truro, as Cornwall's first Anglican elementary school. It trains men and women teachers and, with a move to Agar Road, evolves into the Truro Training College which closes in 1938.


Ding Dong Mine in West Penwith is restarted and continues until 1878. Tradition says it was working in Roman times.

The "Queen" transport ship is wrecked in Falmouth and 195 soldiers drown.

Royal Geological Society of Cornwall founded.


The miners' safety lamp, containing a candle, is devised by Sir Humphry Davy. Born at Penzance in 1778, as well as the invention of the aforementioned safety lamp (for which he is most well known in Cornwall), Davy was also a pioneering chemist - among his many outstanding achievements was the discovery of several new elements, largely through his innovative use of the then novel phenomenon - electricity.


20th October - Richard Trevithick goes to Peru - to superintend the Silver Mines on the Cerro de Pasco mountains, Lima and erect his engines. He returns on 9th Oct in 1827.


Sir Charles Hawkins commences building the harbour at Pentewan for the shipment of china-clay. It is the first china-clay port to be linked by rail - a horse tramway - to its hinterland.


The Royal Institution & Museum, situated in Pydar Street, is founded


Torpoint's chapel-of-ease, dedicated to St James the Great, is erected. Its north and south galleries are removed in the 1930s.

Tresavean Mine, near Lanner, worked through much of the 18th century, is said to have already produced over £1,500,000-worth of copper ore. In the 1830s it is for a while the third largest copper producer in Cornwall, employing over 1300 people. By 1860 another £1,500,000-worth of ore has been sold. Working finally ends in 1927. From 1819 to 1840 the Consolidated Mines of Gwennap, worked as a number of smaller concerns from the 1750s, are the richest of all the Cornish copper mines, and for many years richest of the whole world. Ores to the value of £2,250,000 are sold. By 1838 63 miles of underground workings have been driven, and the mine employs 2000 persons.


The Basset Mines near Redruth become important producers of copper from now on, and later of tin. By 1879 the concern employs 550 men.


Silas E Martin of Crantock proposes a canal from Newquay to Retyn near St Enoder to serve the then-prospering East Wheal Rose lead and silver mine and carry sea-sand for the land. John Edgcumbe carried out a survey but no action was then taken.


Robert Were Fox ll. discovered that heat increased with depth relating to the internal temperature of the earth


November - Scilly Isles experience very heavy gales, which causes the loss of roofs and chimneys.


J Passmore Edwards of Blackwater near St Agnes, journalist and philanthropist, is born. He amasses his fortune as a publisher and devotes his resources to helping the public library and cottage hospitals movements in particular. He realises his aim of establishing a library for every one of the 19 letters in his name (for instance at Penzance, St Ives, Camborne, Redruth, Truro, Falmouth, and Bodmin) as well as village Institutes to help the education of the miners (Blackwater, St Agnes, Chacewater etc.) and cottage hospitals (Liskeard, Perranporth etc). Most were in Cornwall, but several were in London.

Sir Goldsworthy Gurney devises a steam jet, which is applied to boats and carriages in 1824.


The Treffry Viaduct, 700 feet long and nearly 100 feet high, situated in the Luxulyan Valley, is built by J T Treffry.


Redruth and Chacewater Railway (for goods and minerals) opens, running from Wheal Buller to Devoran, with a branch to Redruth. It closes in 1915.


Penwerris St Michael's church at Falmouth is erected, and is made parochial in 1848.


Liskeard and Looe Canel opens.


St Paul's church at Chacewater is erected, and is later repaired in 1886 following a lightning strike. Except for the tower, it is completely rebuilt in 1892 to the design of Edmund Sedding. Nearby St Day church is built (see photo). Its original galleries are removed in 1930 and it was condemned in 1956 as unsafe and closed. A preservation scheme of the 1990s sees it reopen as stabilised ruin with a historical display. In West Penwith, Morvah church, dedicated to St Bridget of Sweden is constructed.


The Falmouth Packet and Cornish Herald newspaper commences publication in Falmouth and continues until 1848.

The St Austell to Pentewan Railway (for goods and minerals) opens. It closes in 1918.

Sir Goldsworthy Gurney made the first long distance journey from London to Bath and back in his steam carriage, travelling at an average of 15 miles per hour.


The Great Migration of the Cornish begins in earnest and continues into the next century.

Richard and John Lander (born in Truro in 1804 and 1806 respectively) go out to Africa to discover the course of the Niger and become the first to find its source in November, returning home in June 1831. Sources of Cornish History - Richard and John Lander

St Martin-in-Meneage church is erected, with the 15th century tower of an older building remaining.

The source of the river Niger was discovered by Richard Lander, who in recognition of his discovery received the Royal Geographical Society's first medal.


William Bickford (born in Devonshire in 1744) who is a leather merchant in Tuckingmill (nr. Camborne) devised and patented the Safety Fuse - in doing so, he saves countless miners and quarry workers from death.


Richard Lander returns to Africa and dies of gunshot wounds at Fernando Po.

Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society founded in Falmouth.

Reform Act-Cornish MP's reduced from 42 to 12

St Anne' church at Hessenford, near Looe, is built. It is rebuilt in 1871 to a design by G E Street.

Brenton Symons AICI is born at Rosehill, Gwennap. He is educated at Truro Grammar School, becomes a noted lithographer, assayer, draughtsman and mineralogist, Civil Engineer of the Chontales Mining Co., Central America, 1866-68, Managing Director of the Servian Copper Mining and Smelting Co, 1871, and publishes maps of Falmouth, the Redruth Mining District and the Bodmin and Liskeard District.

Since 1823 Gwennap has produced 30.1% of the total production of Great Britain's copper, and 37.7% of the Cornwall total.

Construction of Newquay harbour begins.

1833 22nd April

Richard Trevithick dies.

The Cornish Polytechnic Society in Falmouth is founded by 'the exertions of some ladies, among the most active of whom were the Misses Fox . . ' (reports RCPS, 1864). It was the first society to describe itself as 'polytechnic' and Miss Caroline Fox, (1820-1871), then aged 13, is credited with the idea.

Webb's Hotel, one of the finest in Cornwall, is built in the Parade at Liskeard.


Scilly becomes the first place in Britain to have compulsory education. Augustus Smith obtains the Isles of Scilly, and evicts the inhabitants of some of the smaller islands. Augustus Smith lessee of the Scilly Isles introduced compulsory education, 30 years before it was introduced on the mainland Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway opens to carry sea-sand to farming districts for soil improvement. St Mary's church at Hugh Town, Isles of Scilly, is begun at the instigation of William IV. Penzance's church of St Mary-the-Virgin, designed by Charles Hutchins, is built on the site of the ancient chapel on the headland which gives the town its name. It is made parochial in 1871. Severely damaged by an arson attack on 23rd March 1985 it is restored.


The church of St Michael, Bude Haven, is built to the designs of architect, George Wightwick.

The West Briton joins the campaign against "oppressive" royal taxation in Cornwall and miners rally in London to proteSt


90ft high monument is erected on Carn Brea to the memory of Francis Lord de Dunstanville and Basset of Tehidy

St Mary's Church in Penzance is built to the design of Charles Hutchins of St Buryan, who also designed St Day church (1828), now a preserved ruin.


The Hayle Railway, the first passenger-carrying line in West Cornwall, opens primarily as a mineral transport route for the Camborne and Redruth mines to the ports of Hayle and Portreath.

Discovery of copper at Caradon


The earliest known published reference to the Cornish Banner - the Cross of St Piran.

The Redruth Union Workhouse at Barncoose, Illogan is constructed to the design of George Gilbert Scott. Its remaining buildings now form part of the Camborne-Redruth Community Hospital.

China-clay production increases to around 13,000 tons a year from approximately 2,000 tons in the 1820s

Abolition of tin coinage


The Liskeard Union Workhouse is constructed, designed by John Foulston of Plymouth. It later becomes the Lamellion Hospital.

A Chapel-of-ease for Liskeard parish is erected at Dobwalls.


Since 1823 Great Britain has produced 231,163 tons of copper, of which 198,200 tons, or 82.6%, have come from Cornwall


Significant emigration to Mexico and the Real del Monte silver mines; also to the iron mines of Lake Huron in Canada; and in the 1840's and 1850's to the Wisconsin lead mines in America; and to Australia following the discovery of copper at Kapunda and Burra Burra - and later Wallaroo and Moonta.


Treslothan church, near Camborne, the chapel to Pendarves House and dedicated to St John the Evangelist, is erected to a design by George Wightwick.


Children's Employment Commission publishes a report by Dr. Charles Barham (of Truro) examining employment of children and young persons in the mines of Cornwall and Devon.

Completion at Luxulyan of the 100 feet high viaduct-aquaduct serving Joseph Thomas Treffry's mineral tramway from the china clay area around Bugle to the port of Par.

St Peter's church at Flushing, near Falmouth, is erected in a mock-Norman style. Porthleven's St Bartholomew's is also built.


Man engine installed at Tresaven mine, it had been invented 8 years earlier by Michael Loam


Robert Stephen Hawker introduced the harvest festival service


All Saints Church at Tuckingmill is erected to designs by J Hayward of Exeter.


Holy Trinity church at Penponds, near Camborne, is erected.


Liskeard and Caradon Railway opens with horse power until 1862, transporting goods and minerals


John Couch Adams, born at Laneast in 1819, reported on his 1841-5 calculations re Neptune. His submission to the Astronomer Royal was put aside until 1846 when calculations by the French scientist Le Verrier were verified.

9th July - East Wheal Rose (Newlyn East) mine disaster, 39 lives lost in flooding.

Christ Church, Lanner, is built. A south aisle is added in 1883. St Luke's, Tideford, near Saltash, is also erected.

The first pan-kilns for the artificial drying of Cornish china-clay are introduced at Greensplat and Parkandillick and by 1858 annual production increases to 65,600 tons from 89 active china-clay works.


A new church is built at Illogan on a new site. The 14th century tower of the old one with a ring of six bells remains nearby.

Truro St Paul's church is built as a chapel-of-ease for St Clement. It becomes parochial in 1865.


Railway from Plymouth to Falmouth is begun


The Church of St Michael, designed by the architect William White, is built at Baldhu. The revivalist preacher Billy Bray is buried in the graveyard in 1868. Baldhu church is now closed - Billy Bray's memorial is left of centre.

St Agnes Church, formerly a chapelry of Perranzabuloe, is rebuilt to the design of J P St Aubyn.

Holy Trinity Church at Bolventor, on Bodmin Moor, is erected.


St Paul's church, Charlestown, designed by Christopher Eales is built and consecrated in 1851. A fibreglass spire is added to the completed tower in 1971, and a peal of six bells by Taylor of Loughborough in 1972. In the same year St Mary's church at Par is erected to the design of G E Street, his first complete church.


Rhododendron arboreum specimen at Carclew, planted about now by Sir. Charles Lemon, becomes one of the most famous in Cornwall. By 1928 it is about 35 feet high.

Holy Trinity church at Carnmenellis is erected to serve the thriving mining community. In the same year Herodsfoot All Saints is constructed for similar reasons. G E Street's church at Treverbyn, St Austell, dedicated to St Peter, is also built. Declining population around Carnmenellis in the twentieth century leads to the eventual demolition of its church in 1970.


Period of greatest mining prosperity


The greatest influx of Cornish miners to South Africa, to mine in the Namaqualand copper mines in the northern Cape.


The Census on Religious Worship showed that in Cornwall 27% are Anglicans. 60% are Methodists and the remaining are mostly non-conformists of other denominations.

The Cornish Telegraph newspaper commences publication in Penzance and continues until 1915.

Mary Kelynack, a Madron fishwife born in 1777 at Newlyn, walks alone from Cornwall to London to see the Great Exhibition.

J P St Aubyn's design for the church of St John Baptist at Godolphin is realised. The Rev Robert Aitken's Church of St John Baptist at Pendeen is also erected by the villagers to his designs.

West Wheal Basset near Redruth is re-started and yields good quantities of copper. By the 1860s it employs over 400 men. The adjacent South Wheal Frances is successfully worked at the same time.


Wheal Sophia, near Greystone Bridge on the River Tamar becomes the first Cornish mine to detonate a blasting charge with electricity.

West Cornwall Railway (Penzance-Truro ) finished

18th Nov 1854 - 14th March 1855

The Newlyn 40 foot fishing boat called Mystery, sails to Australia.


St George's church in Truro, designed by Rev William Haslam, vicar of Baldhu, is erected.


Legal arguments of the Duchy of Cornwall defeat the Crown's aspirations of sovereignty of the Cornish foreshore. The Duchy argues that the Duke has sovereignty of Cornwall and not the Crown. During the same case, Parliament defines the Cornish as "aborigines".

Also on behalf of the Duchy, the following submission was made.

That Cornwall, like Wales, was at the time of the Conquest, and was subsequently treated in many respects as distinct from England. That it was held by the Earls of Cornwall with the rights and prerogative of a County Palatine, as far as regarded the Seignory or territorial dominion. That the Dukes of Cornwall have from the creation of the Duchy enjoyed the rights and prerogatives of a County Palatine, as far as regarded seignory or territorial dominion, and that to a great extent by Earls.

That when the Earldom was augmented into a Duchy, the circumstances attending to it's creation, as well as the language of the Duchy Charter, not only support and confirm natural presumption, that the new and higher title was to be accompanied with at least as great dignity, power, and prerogative as the Earls enjoyed, but also afforded evidence that the Duchy was to be invested with still more extensive rights and privileges. The Duchy Charters have always been construed and treated, not merley by the Courts of Judicature, but also by the Legislature of the Country, as having vested in the Dukes of Cornwall the whole territorial interest and dominion of the Crown in and over the entire County of Cornwall. Thenceforth mineral rights above the Low Water Mark belonged to the Duchy and below it to the Crown.


The Launceston Weekly News commences publication and continues until 1931, when it is incorporated into the Cornish and Devon Post

John Verran, who becomes Premier of South Australia in 1910, is born at Cusgarne, Gwennap. Working in the Australian mines he becomes a strong trades unionist and is elected for Parliament in 1901, achieving leadership of the Labour Party in 1908. He dies in 1932.

Maximum copper production-209,000 tons of ore


The 144 feet high obelisk commemorating Lt-Gen. Sir W R Gilbert is erected at Bodmin.


The Cornish Times newspaper commences publication at Liskeard.


Lake's Falmouth Packet Newspaper commences its publication in Falmouth.

The Miners Association established.

The Cornish Foreshore Case 1854-1858 confirmed that the Duke of Cornwall, was considered to be a quasi-sovereign within the Duchy of Cornwall territory.


May - The Royal Albert Bridge, Saltash is Isambard Kingdom Brunel's spectacular solution to bridging the Tamar to allow the connection of the railway through Cornwall with the rest of the GWR system. 2,200 feet long and 100 feet above the water, it is officially opened on 2nd May 1859 by Prince Albert, having cost £225,000 and is opened to the public on 4th May 1859. 1859 The Royal Albert Bridge (sometimes called the Brunel Bridge or Saltash Bridge) was opened.

Oct - Storm, said to be the worst since 1823, with numerous shipwrecks off Cornish coasts.

The East Cornwall Times newspaper commences publication in Launceston, and continues until 1877, when it is incorporated into the Cornish and Devon PoSt


Louis Lucien Bonaparte visits Cornwall.


The St Day Brick Works is begun at about this time by a Mr. Hawke. A large kiln is erected in 1874 and daily output is eventually 20,000 bricks per day. It closes down in 1912.


The Falmouth and Penryn Weekly Times newspaper commences publication, and continues until 1952 after a change of title in 1896 to the Cornish Echo.

Marazion's All Saints church, designed by J P St Aubyn, is built, replacing an old chapel-of-ease, which had become ruinous by 1735 and was rebuilt. In the same year St Peter's Church, Mithian is erected to a design by William White. Its spire is taken down in 1898 and a new three-stage tower is built in 1928.


"Cornwall Works" in Birmingham is built by the Tangye's, tool-makers of Illogan. The growth of their business follows success in moving Brunel's "Great Eastern" ship from its stocks when all else had failed.

Cornwall's first Mining Exchange, where mining men could gather and transact business, is established in November in Camborne by Charles Carkeek in the former premises of the Miners' Bank. It closes around 1865. The Redruth Mining Exchange is established at the end of 1863 and its later premises in Alma Place still stand.


John Tabois Tregellas, "the Cornish Mathews", a gifted lecturer and story-teller, dies and is buried at Llantysilio in Wales. Born at St Agnes in 1792, and a merchant and mine purser by trade, he is best known for his dialect stories - for example Specimens of Cornish provincial dialect (1846) and Peeps into the haunts and homes of the rural population of Cornwall (1879)

The Duchy of Cornwall Management Act confirms that the Duke possesses seignory and territorial rights befitting a king.


John Harris, the poet (1820-) of Bolenowe, Camborne, wins the Shakespeare tercentenary first prize.


Mines Commission


St Stephens' Church at Treleigh, Redruth commences construction to a design by J Piers StAubyn.


Newlyn St Peter's church is built in the 14th century style. A north aisle is added in 1888.


Collapse of copper prices begins the de-industrialisation of Cornwall and increases Cornish emigration.

Halsetown church, dedicated to St John Evangelist, and designed by J P St Aubyn is built.

Collapse of copper mining-emigration of miners


The Redruth Times and Camborne Advertiser newspaper commences publication and continues until 1925, after changing its title to The Cornubian in 1879, and the Cornwall County Times in 1924.

The High Sheriff appeals for aid to prevent "severe distress and great destitution" in Cornwall. Between 1860 and 1870 700 people die of poverty-related diseases in Truro alone.


The Wolf Rock Lighthouse is completed at a cost of £62,726.


The Duke of Cornwall sails down the River Nile accompanied by six blue and gold steamers towing supply barges. One carried 3,000 bottles of champagne, 4,000 bottles of claret, 10,000 pints of beer and four French chefs.


17th Aug - Act creates the Bishopric of Truro.


Diocese of Cornwall revived with see at Truro


The Cornish & Devon Post newspaper commences publication at Launceston.

1st May - Bishop Benson is enthroned at St Mary's Church, Truro as the first Bishop of Truro

17th Aug - City status granted to Truro.

The first use of a high-pressure hose in the extraction of Cornish china-clay is introduced by the West Of England Company, but is sabotaged by the workers


St Nicholas' church, Tresco, Isles of Scilly, is erected. Mount Hawke church, by the architect Charles Hancock, is also built in 1878.


The Cornishman newspaper commences publication in Penzance.


The Redruth Independent newspaper commences publication and continues until 1895.


25th May - HRH Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, lays foundation stone of Truro Cathedral (St Mary's Church is demolished except for the South Aisle)

Tresmere Church is wholly rebuilt except for the tower, and reconsecrated in 1881.


St Andrew's church, Pencoys is built, as is Penzance's St John Baptist church.


Walter Langley settles in Newlyn, the first of those who become known as artists of the Newlyn School to reside there.

St Peter's church at Port Isaac, is built, and St Mary's church at Looe begins construction on the site of an old chapel. Its 13th century tower remains.


At Temple on Bodmin Moor, the site of a 12th century Knights Templar commandery, St Catherine's church is built to a design by Sylvanus Trevail in the location of an earlier one which had become ruinous by the 18th century.

Artists colony established at Newlyn

Artists' colony established at Lamorna


St Andrew's at Redruth, daughter church to St Euny's, is erected and completed in 1938.


The church of St John & St Petroc designed by J L Pearson (architect of Truro Cathedral) is built at Devoran.


Cornwall's first free public library service was founded by the creation of the Truro Free Public Library at the Public Rooms, Truro


J D Sedding's St Elwyn's church at Hayle is erected, and is considered to be one of the architect's best works.


The Newquay Guardian newspaper commences publication, and continues until 1911 when it is incorporated into the Newquay Express.

All Saints Church is built is Falmouth to the designs of J D Sedding. It becomes parochial in 1924.


The Cambornian newspaper commences publication in Camborne, changes its title to The Western Star in 1890 and continues until 1896.

School of Mines was established.

Artists' colony established at St Ives


1st April - Cornwall County Council is created by the Local Government Act of 1888. Committees include County Rate Basis, Finance, Highways and Bridges, Lunatic Asylum, Contagious Diseases of Animals, General Purposes & Parliamentary, Standing Joint, and Sea Fisheries.

The Cornish Post and Mining News newspaper commences publication in Camborne, and continues until 1944 when it is incorporated into The Cornishman. The St Austell Star newspaper commences publication and continues until 1915. The Western Echo newspaper commences publication in St Ives and continues until 1957 when it is incorporated in the St Ives Times.


Bob Fitzsimmons of Helston is the first native Briton heavy-weight boxing champion. He also wins three world titles at different weights at an age when most of today's boxers would have retired.


9th March - A severe blizzard swept through Cornwall bringing snowdrifts up to 20 feet deep. But it is the hurricane force wind that causes most damage: over 200 lives are lost, the majority at sea where 63 ships founder. Upwards of 6,000 sheep and lambs die, and half a million trees are brought down.


6th June - J. Passmore Edwards is made the first Freeman of the City of Truro for his generous gifts to the City and the County.

The St Ives Weekly Summary newspaper commences publication and continues until 1918. From 1910 it becomes a local edition of The Cornishman.


10th Jan - Wheal Owles (St Just) mine disaster, 20 lives lost in flooding.

The first free public library building in Cornwall is provided when Penzance's Public Library is opened in Morrab Road. It is established with a bequest of £1,947 from Octavius Allen Ferris of Highgate, London, who gives similar amounts to Truro, Falmouth, Camborne and Redruth. Thomas Bedford Bolitho and J. Passmore Edwards each present 1,000 volumes. Passmore Edwards finances the building of these libraries too, as well as those at St Ives, Bodmin, Liskeard and Launceston.


All Saints Church, Millbrook, is built echoing the 15th century style.


Stannaries Court (Abolition) Act 1896.


The Victoria Gardens in Truro are laid out and opened for public use in commemoration of the 60th year of the reign of Queen Victoria


Annual production of Cornish china-clay is over 550,000 tons


Marconi sends first transatlantic signal from Cornwall

The Cornish Guardian newspaper commences publication in Bodmin


Camborne and Redruth Tramway opens, Cornwall's only electric street tramway, and unique in Britain in providing for the transport of minerals too


The Lizard lighthouse is altered in 1903.


Publication of Jenner's 'Handbook of the Cornish language', prompts the revival of Cornish.

Cornwall accepted into Celtic Congress


The Newquay Express newspaper commences publication, and continues until 1945, when it becomes the Newquay Guardian and Cornwall County Chronicle. In 1955 it is incorporated as a local edition of the Cornish Guardian.

Geevor Mine is the name given to the former North Levant Mine which has worked from about 1810. It survives as a working mine until August 1986. It re-opens as a mining heritage centre in August 1993.


Thomas Merritt, composer of famous carols was born at Broad Lane, Illogan on October 26th 1863, the son of a copper miner. He attended Pool School until his father died when Thomas was age 11. For a time Thomas then worked at Carn Brea mine & later Tolvaddon Tin Streams.

Mr Humphrey Broad taught him music for about 6 months at Redruth when he was about 18 or 19, but apart from that he appears to have had no formal training

He was organist at Chili Road Chapel & Illogan Highway Chapel.

In addition to his carols, Merritt also composed (among others) The Christian Solider, an Oratorio & Shepherd of Israel, a Sacred Cantata.

Merritt died on April 17th 1908, aged 46.

Cornish Christmas Carols - Or 'Curls'


Truro's three-spired cathedral is completed.


Newquay St Michael's, a large church in the Cornish style designed by Sir Ninian Comper, is erected. It is destroyed by an arson attack on 29th June 1993 but reopens following complete restoration.


75% of Cornish china-clay production is for shipment overseas

'Observations on the West of England Mining Region' by JH Collins published.


The St Ives Times newspaper commences publication and continues from 1957 as the St Ives Times and Echo (incorporating the Western Echo).

A wooden mission church is constructed at Carbis Bay. Foundations for a new church are laid in 1927, the tower is finished in 1959 and the nave is completed in 1964-8.

A major strike occurs in support of a minimum wage of £1 5s 0d (equal to approx £82.00 in 2005)


159 china-clay works are in operation in Cornwall


20th Oct - Levant Mine (St Just) disaster, 31 lives lost when main rod of man-engine broke.

Royal Institution of Cornwall occupies its present building in River Street, Truro.

The amalgamation takes place of three large china-clay companies - Martin Brothers, the west of England and Great Beam Company, and the North Cornwall China Clay Company, to become English China Clays Ltd or ECC. It controls 50% of the production


Donald Healey transmits an air-to-ground radio message over Perranporth, the first in Cornwall and possibly in the country.

First Old Cornwall Society founded at St Ives


Cornwall's deepest mine, the 3,500ft Dolcoath, closes


The County Library Service begins. In January 1925 Cornwall County Council adopts the Public Libraries Acts, and by 1926 48 villages have boxes of up to 30 volumes sent out by bus and rail. In 1928 the first 'exhibition library van' is purchased, to carry about 2,000 books, visiting each village regularly to permit the public to select books for their village centre.


First Cornish Gorsedd at Boscawen-un, (instituted by Henry Jenner) symbolising the resurgent interest in Cornwall's cultural and linguistic heritage conducted by Pedrog, Archdruid of Britain.

Cornwall College is the first college of further education in the county


Unified Cornish developed.


The Council for the Preservation of Rural England publishes Cornwall: a survey of its coast, moors and valleys, with suggestions for the preservation of amenities. Its preface is contributed by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch.


The Roman Villa at Magor Farm, Camborne, is discovered.


Miss Rowena Cade and her gardener begin to carve out the amphitheatre on the cliffs at Porthcurno which becomes the remarkable Minack Theatre.

The process of the amalgamation of Cornish china-clay companies begun in 1919 continues with the formation of English Clays, Lovering, Pochin & Co (ECLP) which controls 75% of the industry


Cornish author Silas K. Hocking becomes the first author to sell 1 million books in his lifetime.


A large coal-fired power station is built by ECLP at Drinnick to serve the whole Hensbarrow area


Capt Dick Yelland retires in January after 60 years work at the same china-clay works


Hill 112 in Normandy acquired the name "Cornwall Hill" after Cornish soldiers of 5th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry suffered 320 casualties in the fighting here.


Royal Institution of Cornwall suggests to the County Council the establishment of a County Record Office


Mebyon Kernow (The Sons of Cornwall) is formed, initially as a pressure group working within existing political parties, canvassing for Cornwall to have greater control of its own destiny.

Charles Causley's first volume of poetry is published - 'Farewell Aggie Weston'.


Mebyon Kernow wins first council seat.


June 3rd - Serious flooding occurs at Boscastle in which Mr Charlie Berryman, the local Bandmaster, loses his life by drowning, and Miss Rachel Beadon, trapped in a telephone box, has to be rescued by fishermen.


The Greensplat Cornish beam engine in the china-clay district ceases working, the last such engine to work in Cornwall


Mount Edgcumbe House, originally erected in 1547-54, is rebuilt following its destruction in the Second World War.


Counter-urbanisation results in major inward migration to Cornwall.


Tamar Road Bridge opens.

St Austell Public Library is built to the design of F K Hicklin, County Architect. It is now a listed building.

Celtic League founded at Rhos near Wrexham, includes Cornish branch.


July - Goonhilly Earth Satellite Station's first aerial ready for the launch of Telstar. This was the first satellite communication between the UK and the rest of the world.

Goonhilly Receiving Station started, receives first transatlantic TV broadcaSt

Sir James Smith Comprehensive School at Camelford, designed by F K Hicklin, is built.

Newquay County Branch Library is built to the design of F K Hicklin, County Architect.


A pedestrian precinct is begun in the centre of St Austell, containing a supermarket and shops, flats, offices, a restaurant and a multi-storey car park. It is designed by Alister MacDonald & Partners.


Penzance to Scilly helicopter service is launched. This is the first scheduled passenger helicopter service in Europe.


Cornwall's new County Hall, now a listed building, is completed to the design of the County Architect's Department under Alan J Groves.


18th March - The Torrey Canyon goes aground on the Seven Stones with a cargo of 119,328 tons of crude oil en route from Mena al Ahmadi in the Persian Gulf to the BP Refinery in Milford Haven. Salvage preparations are begun, but by 21st March the oil slick was 35 by 20 miles in extent and the ship is abandoned. The entire Cornish coastline, north and south, is polluted by the end of the month.


Kilbrandon Report into the British constitution recommends that, when referring to Cornwall - official sources should cite the Duchy not the County. This was suggested in recognition of its constitutional position.


Institute of Cornish Studies set up at Trevenson House, Pool, with Prof. Charles Thomas as its first Director.


Local Government Act 1972 - special dispensation for Scilly.

Peninsula West, Cornwall's first modern-day free newspaper, commences publication and continues until 1974.


Reform of Cornish Stannary Parliament

1st April - Local Government Reorganisation establishes six new districts, Penwith, Kerrier, Carrick, Restormel, Caradon and North Cornwall.

Creation of the Cornish Studies Library in Redruth.


The North Cornwall Courier newspaper commences publication in Bodmin, continues as the Cornwall Courier, published in Falmouth, and thence until 1986, to be succeeded by the Newquay Packet and the St Austell Packet (local editions of the Falmouth Packet).

September - 80 properties in Polperro are seriously flooded


Plaid Cymru MP Dafydd Wigley confirms in Parliament that the Stannators right to veto Westminster legislation is confirmed by Parliament.


Peter Mitchell of Cornwall receives the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his contribution to the understanding of biological energy transfer through the formulation of the chemiosmotic theory


First European Parliament election contested in Cornwall and Plymouth (European Parliament constituency)


Split in Cornish language revival, with Modern Cornish and Kernewek Kemmyn being developed.


20th Dec - Penlee Lifeboat Disaster - 8 lifeboatmen, all unpaid volunteers, perished today off Lands End with 4 shipwrecked sailors they had rescued. The lifeboat was launched from the fishing village of Mousehole into hurricane-lashed seas and was crushed against the 1,400ton coaster, Union Star, by 60ft. waves.


The BBC's first purpose-built radio station opens in Truro


The Gazette: Launceston and Bude newspaper commences publication in Launceston. In 1987 it becomes The Launceston and Bude Gazette, in 1989 the Launceston, Bude and Holsworthy Gazette, and changes its title again, to the Journal Gazette in 1991.


Geo-thermal experiments using hot-rock energy are successful at Rosemanowes, Longdowns.


22nd Dec - Cornwall's most popular MP, the member for Truro, David Penhaligon, killed in car accident, aged 42.

Creation of the new Courts of Justice at Truro, designed by Evans and Shalev, begins.


1st April - Britain's first Air Ambulance service is launched in Cornwall.

The Duke of Cornwall suggests the formation of a Devon and Cornwall Development Corporation thereby promoting closer administrative links. Concerned Cornish label this concept 'Devonwall'.


6th July - Pollution of Lowermoor Water Treatment Works, Camelford.

Cornwall produces over 3.25 million tons of refined china-clay


Newquay's Martin Potter became World Surfing Champion.


24th - 25th Jan - Storm winds of 177 mph are recorded in Falmouth. The Polurrian Hotel at Mullion loses its roof. 400,000 South West residents are left without power for 2 hours. 50,000 Cornish residents lose power for over 24 hrs.


Cornwall's unemployment has increased by 300% since 1961 (20,000 cf. 5,000) while its population has increased by 39% (473,000 cf. 339,000).

17th Nov - Thousands of gallons of heavily polluted water overflow into the Carnon River from the recently closed Wheal Jane.

Dec - Cornwall's first commercial wind-farm in service at Delabole.


Prince Charles opens the Tate Gallery at St Ives.

First commercial radio station, Pirate FM102, begins broadcasting on 3rd April.


The joint Cornwall and Devon bid for Objective One funds fails because of Devon's high GDP.

30th December - Polperro suffers extensive flooding and 99 properties are deluged


The Queen handed out maundy money during a visit to Truro

Dec - Launch of new campaign for a University for Cornwall by Sir Geoffrey Holland, Vice-Chancellor of University of Exeter.


Statistics reveal that out of 56 deprived communities in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, 51 are in Cornwall.


24th May - Keskerdh Kernow - 500 marchers set off from St Keverne to London in remembrance of 1497 events.


6th March - Closure of South Crofty mine is widely believed to mark an end to 4000 years of metal mining in Cornwall. Ores began to be produced more cheaply abroad.


February - Cornwall County Council vote in support of the campaign to include Cornish as a minority ethnic group for the purposes of the forthcoming 2001 Census. The Government's Office of National Statistics subsequently agrees the inclusion.

English China Clays International (ECCI) is acquired by the French company Imetal, which changes its name in the same year to Imerys

25th March - Cornwall is awarded Objective 1 status

22nd May - Cornwall beat Gloucestershire at Twickenham in the Rugby Union County Championship

South West Regional Assembly established, but is not elected.

August - The Government's Compliance Report to the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities declines to recognise the term 'national minority' as applicable and applies the Council of Europe principles to ethnic groups and visible minorities, using the Race Relations Act 1976 to define racial groups. The Scots, Welsh and Irish, although not 'national minorities' as defined by the Government, are included as racial groups, implying that the Cornish are neither.

11th Aug - On the morning of Wednesday 11th August, a total eclipse of the Sun occurs over the south-western part of the UK mainland.


October 22nd - The Cornwall Centre opens at Alma Place, Redruth, as a significant town centre regeneration project, at a cost of £2.6million. It incorporates the much-enlarged Cornish Studies Library with a visitor centre, 12 shop units with a market stall area, and Cornwall's first 'Forum' scheme for housing and training homeless young people.

April - A sturgeon is caught off Cadgwith and is offered to the Duke of Cornwall. When landed in other parts of Britain the fish is customarily offered to the monarch.

Cornish Assembly declaration containing the signatures of 50,000 people was handed into 10 Downing Street on Wednesday 12 December 2001.

The Cornish were allocated the ethnic code of '06' for the 2001 Census


March - The Council of Europe request the Government to consult the Cornish with a view to incorporating Cornish language, history and culture into the education curriculum.

5th Nov - UK Government confirms that Cornish will be included in the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, joining Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Irish, Scots and Ulster Scots as a protected and promoted language within the United Kingdom. The Cornish language is officially recognised by the Government.


April 13th - Baseresult claims a new era of mining has begun at South Crofty mine, which it acquired in 2001, with the blasting of a new tunnel to link the Tuckingmill Decline with New Cook's Kitchen shaft. The company estimates an 80-year life for the mine.

Cornwall merged into South West England (European Parliament constituency)

16th August - Boscastle and Crackington are inundated with devastating floods, which result in extensive damage and loss of property but no loss of life.


The Standard Written Form (Cornish: Furv Savonek Scrifys) of the Cornish language was formally agreed.


An election for Cornwall's new unitary council took place on 4 June 2009. There are now 123 councillors.


British International Helicopters last flight from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly.


Cornwall History in Cornish

Cornwall History Timeline
Linen-dermyn Istori Kernow

Iron Age
Oos Horn

Bronze Age
Oos Brons

Age of the Saints
Oos an Sens

Stone Circles
Donsyow Meyn

Norman Conquest
Trygh Normanek



mound, tumulus
krug, krugow

karnedh, karnedhow

men bras, men broas

standing stone
men hir, meyn hir

Stone Age
Oos an Men

kowans, kowansow



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