THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL as a Fellow of my college at Oxford , I was entered as having been born in the “ Duchy ” of Cornwall.
It was intended as a compliment, and, for sentimental reasons, taken as such, without protest.
But it was inaccurate.
The popular habit of referring to Cornwall as the “ Duchy ” — in the sixteenth century they called it a “ shire ” like any other English shire — is a modern error ; it may be compared to what grammarians call the “ transferred epithet ” . For all that, the Duchy, in the exact sense — the appanage of the Duke when there is one, and when there is not, lying dormant in the Crown — is no less interesting and curious historically than it is on legal and constitutional grounds.For one thing, it goes back direct as an institution to the reign of Edward III, who created it for the support of his eldest son, the Black Prince ; and indirectly to the Norman earldom of Cornwall, and perhaps further than that to the conquests of the House of Wessex upon Cornish soil. For it is worth noting that two of the Duchy castles, Launceston and Trematon, were at places with names ending in “ ton ” , indicating Saxon settlement ; and their positions guarded entries into or exits from Cornwall across the Tamar — the one in the north, the other in the south. Saxon settlement does not seem to have gone a great way further into Cornwall ; but it was a conquered country when the Saxons themselves were conquered by William of Normandy.
He made his half-brother, Robert of Mortain, Earl of Cornwall, who immediately began the building of the castles at Launceston and Trematon, the strategic keys of the county. Something of the status of conquest remained on under the earldom and into the Duchy. For it is significant that the lands of both earldom and Duchy have always been concentrated in the eastern half of the county ;
I would not be thought peremptorily to aflert, that there is nothing of that kind ;
I mean only, that there is not any one of thefe vifibly predominant ; for Nature mixes and qualifies her ingredients inimi-
tably and inimitably. We may pofiitively affirm, that fuch and
fuch ingredients are to be found unqueftionably in Waters ; but
others may be alfo there in a quantity to us indifcoverable ; and therefore we cannot abfolutely affirm, that in any Water there is
no fuch fait, fteel, fulphur, or the like .
In Cornwall there is a great number of thofe Waters, which, SECT IX _
from their principal ingredient, are called Chalybeate.
The ftrongeft Of Mineral
Water of this kind, and moft remarkable for its cures, which I have Waters ‘
heard of, or had the opportunity of examining, is that which rifes in the tenement of Colurian in the Parifh of Ludgvan. The bed
through which this Water flows, is a loofe pebbly ground, mixed with a gravelly clay, full of the ochrous iron mineral, from which the
tafte and fmell of the Water proceeds. Upon trying it feveral times with galls, it turned a deep reddilh purple ; with green tea, a lighter
purple; with oak leaves, a blue-black of a purple caft. Upon pouring two thimbles full of fpirit of vitriol into half a pint, it made
but a fmall effervefcence. I let the Water with the galls only ftand for fome time, and it retained its purple and tranfparency ; whereas,
if it had turned black and turbid, as fome Waters do b , that would have been a difadvantageous fymptom. Upon dropping gently a
large thimble full of fyrup of violets, about three fourths of an inch of the Mineral Water, towards the top of the glafs, kept its ufual
colour ; the middle part turned to a pale greenifh yellow, which reached to within half an inch of the bottom ; and the remainder
was of a light purple : but upon ftirring it, after it had flood half an hour, the whole became a deep green. Upon dropping a thimble of tartar, it fell immediately to the bottom of the b Shaw on Mineral and Iflington Waters, page 227.
THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL
Recent events have brought the
Duchy of Cornwall, or rather its revenues, very much to the fore.
There has been much coming and going of its officers ;
never have they occupied so prominent a position in the public eye. Indeed, the public may well have wondered at this sudden importance the Duchy has attained ;
it has served to call to mind the existence of a peculiarly interesting institution, with a constitutional status and characteristics all its own, of which few people are aware and with which only a few lawyers are competent to deal. It is first necessary to clear out of the way the popular confusion between the Duchy and the county of Cornwall.
They are, of course, two entirely separate entities, utterly differing in character.
The one is an ordinary — or to a Cornishman, a not so very ordinary — English shire, as it might be Devonshire or Dorset ;
So that we are just on the threshold of celebrating its sexcentenary.
The habit of referring to the “ Duchy ” when people mean the county of Cornwall is no doubt due more than anything to one of Q,.’s early books, The Delectable Duchy, the title of which caught on and has become popularised over the last forty years —■ in itself a tribute to that charming volume of stories.
I remember, when my name was entered in the register 1 Written after the Abdication of Edward V III, in 1937.
THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL as a Fellow of my college at Oxford , I was entered as having been born in the “ Duchy ” of Cornwall.
It was intended as a compliment, and, for sentimental reasons, taken as such, without protest.
But it was inaccurate.
The popular habit of referring to Cornwall as the “ Duchy ” — in the sixteenth century they called it a “ shire ” like any other English shire — is a modern error ; it may be compared to what grammarians call the “ transferred epithet ” .
For all that, the Duchy, in the exact sense — the appanage of the Duke when there is one, and when there is not, lying dormant in the Crown — is no less interesting and curious historically than it is on legal and constitutional grounds.
For one thing, it goes back direct as an institution to the reign of Edward III, who created it for the support of his eldest son, the Black Prince ; and indirectly to the Norman earldom of Cornwall, and perhaps further than that to the conquests of the House of Wessex upon Cornish soil. For it is worth noting that two of the Duchy castles, Launceston and Trematon, were at places with names ending in “ ton ” , indicating Saxon settlement ; and their positions guarded entries into or exits from Cornwall across the Tamar — the one in the north, the other in the south. Saxon settlement does not seem to have gone a great way further into Cornwall ; but it was a conquered country when the Saxons themselves were conquered by William of Normandy.
He made his half-brother, Robert of Mortain, Earl of Cornwall, who immediately began the building of the castles at Launceston and Trematon, the strategic keys of the county. Something of the status of conquest remained on under the earldom and into the Duchy. For it is significant that the lands of both earldom and Duchy have always been concentrated in the eastern half of the county ; while villeinage went on on the Duchy manors in Cornwall longer than 95 WEST-COUNTRY STORIES anywhere else in the country. I have myself come across in the Record Office numbers of manumissions of bondmen upon these manors right throughout the sixteenth century, in the reigns of Henry V II, Mary, and Elizabeth ; and it was not until the reign of James I that all were finally freed. The surname “ Bond ” , not uncommon in Cornwall, goes back to. the time when they were unfree in status, villeins tied to the land, at the will of their lord — in this case the Duchy. These manumissions were made in greatest number upon the manor of Stokeclimsland, the largest of the Duchy manors, still the chief agricultural centre of the Duchy in Cornwall, in which Edward V III as Duke always displayed a close personal interest. O f the Norman Earls of Cornwall, the most famous and the most magnificent was Richard, King of the Romans, brother of Henry III, and the most important person in the kingdom, after the King. He was a crusader and went to Palestine in 1240. He returned to England to become a prominent figure in internal politics — his brother was having great difficulty with the popular opposition led by Simon de Montfort — and later became a personage of European importance. For he used his great wealth as Earl of Cornwall and Count of Poitou to assure himself of his election as Holy Roman Emperor. He was elected by the majority of the electors ; but, in spite of his coronation at Aix-la-Chapelle, he never could secure the obedience to his rule of more than the immediate Rhineland. Defeated by the intricacies and intrigues of German politics, when his money ran out he returned to this country and the resources of his earldom. In the last years of his life he turned his attention to Cornwall, greatly strengthening his position there by gaining possession of Tintagel and Trematon Castles, and persuading the last of the Cardinhams to hand over Restormel Castle and the town of Lostwithiel. From this time Lostwithiel became the chief administrative centre of 96 the earldom in Cornwall, as it subsequently remained for centuries for the Duchy. Richard’s son, Edmund Earl of Cornwall, 1272-99, built between the church and the river there a fine range of buildings to house the administrative offices, which became known as the “ Duchy Palace ” .
Here was the Shire Hall, in which the county court met, the exchequer of the earldom, later of the Duchy, the Coinage Hall (for Lostwithiel was one of the stannary towns for the coinage of tin), and the gaol for the Cornish stannaries, which continued in use as late as the eighteenth century for prisoners brought before the stannary courts.
Thus on a small scale, Mr. Charles Henderson says, the Duchy Palace “ represented the great Palace of Westminster now incorporated in the Houses of Parliament.
Westminster had its great hall, its exchequer, its prison and government offices.
” The Shire Hall was a very fine thirteenth-century building which existed up to the eighteenth century, but, with that disrespect or ignorant vandalism which the Cornish people often display towards beautiful things or historical monuments of the past, was subsequently destroyed.
Only a small fragment remains of the buildings which once adorned the little quayside at Lostwithiel ; you may still see something of a hall, and the remains of walls and archways built into adjacent houses indicate to the regretful visitor what once stood there. Restormel Castle, some way out of the town, high up on a hill above the lovely valley of the Fowey, the river rippling down between the oaks and glades of fern, has been more fortunate. After an uneventful history — though it woke to life once again in the Civil War, when it was besieged and taken in turn by Parliament and the King — it has now fallen into the careful hands of the Office of Works. Stripped of devouring ivy and with walls made firm and secure, the round shell of the keep stands well up on its hill, where one may see it among the
THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL 97 WEST-COUNTRY STORIES trees on the right hand as the train nears Lostwithiel.
The earldom as organised by Richard and Edmund was substantially what constituted the Duchy later. There was an intervening period after Edmund’s death in 1299, when Piers Gaveston, Edward II’s favourite, became earl, and after he came to his end John of Eltham, the King’s second son. Upon his death Edward III decided to use the vacant earldom as a means of support for his eldest son, who had not yet been created Prince of Wales. He did so in a form to last ; for as he constituted it, it has come down to us unbroken. The original charter by which it was created, March 17th, 11 Edward III, differentiates the dukedom from the principality of Wales ; for whereas the title of Prince of Wales is conferred by special investiture by the King, the dukedom of Cornwall is vested indissolubly in the person of the eldest son of the reigning Sovereign.
The Duchy Auditor who wrote an account of the Duchy for Henry, Prince of Wales, James I’s elder son, in 1609 says : “ The King’s first begotten and eldest sons are as touching livery to be made unto them of the Duchy, accounted of full and perfect age, that is to say, of twenty-one years on the very day of their birth, so as even then in right, they ought to have livery thereof” . The Duchy is therefore a shifting possession from the Crown to the Duke and back to the Crown, for when the Duke dies or ascends the throne the Duchy reverts to the Sovereign.
As Connock writes : “ those honours and revenues are drowned again in the Crown ” . During the dormancy of the dukedom the King functions “ as he was Duke ” , according to the formula. There is this further legal peculiarity of the Duchy, that, since it was constituted by royal charter expressly forbidding the alienation of its lands, the Duke is unable to sever lands from it except with the consent of Parliament.
And when lands were so severed, as in the case of 98 THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL Henry V III’s annexation of the honour of Wallingford to the Crown — which previously was part of the Duchy — a number of monastic and other manors were granted instead, both within Cornwall and without, which were of equal or superior value. They were more conveniently administered as part of the Duchy since they lay in the west. This process increased the number of manors of which the Duchy was comprised to some seventy-eight by the time of the Civil War, instead of the thirty-five with which it had been originally endowed at the time of its creation. They fell into several classes. There were, first, the seventeen “ Antiqua Maneria ” in Cornwall, which had formed part of the earldom ; secondly, there were the “ Forinseca Maneria ” outside the county, which were included by Edward III in his grant ; and, thirdly, the “ Annexata Maneria ” , both inside Cornwall and without, which had been incorporated subsequently by Act of Parliament. The original nucleus in Cornwall were the manors of Stokeclimsland, Rillaton, Helston-in-Trigg, Liskeard, Tybesta, Tywarnhaile, Talskedy, Penmayne, Calstock, Trematon, Restormel, Penkneth, Penlyne, Tewington, Helston-in-Kerrier, Tintagel, and Moresk. Upon these there existed a special conventionary form of tenure, from seven-year to seven-year, right up to the middle of the last century. The lands of the Duchy outside Cornwall were no less extensive than they were within, including an equal number of manors in various counties, and, as it still does, the honour of Bradninch, in Devonshire, all that high country between the rivers Exe and Culm, between Tiverton and Cullompton, and in London the manor of Kennington, upon which the Black Prince resided, now the most remunerative of all the Duchy’s sources of income. This being its peculiar constitution, the history of the dukedom has been one of dormancy in the Crown as much 99 WEST-COUNTRY STORIES as of separate and independent existence under the Duke. The Black Prince, whose father, Edward III, lived such an unconscionably long time, enjoyed the Duchy for close on forty years ; but with his son, Richard II, who had no children, the Duchy lay dormant in the Crown. Under Henry IV, the later Henry V — Shakespeare’s Prince Hal — was Duke ; then for the forty years from 1413 to 1453 the Duchy was again in the possession of the Crown, and there were lapses again in the fifteenth century. With the death of Prince Arthur, Henry V II’s elder son, in 1502, a new problem arose : did the King’s surviving son and heir succeed to the Duchy under the charter ? Sir John Doddridge, whose little book on the Principality of Wales and the Duchy of Cornwall was published in 1630, says that the intention of the charter was “ first that none should be Dukes of Cornwall, but such as were eldest sons and heirs apparent to the Crown ; and that when there was any fail of such person, then the said dignity should remain in suspense, until such son and heir apparent were extant ” . But the lawyers interpreted the phrase the King’s “ eldest son ” in the original charter to mean his eldest surviving son ; so that Henry, subsequently Henry V III, was enabled to succeed to his brother’s Duchy, as he did later to his wife. The precedent was followed in 1612, upon the death of Prince Henry, when his younger brother Charles succeeded. But there were long periods in the sixteenth century when the Crown was in possession of the Duchy : under Henry V III from 1509 till 1537, when his son Edward was born, and throughout the whole reigns of Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth — i.e. from 1547 to 1603. In the seventeenth century there were similar periods : under Charles I, from 1625 to 1645, when he handed over the government of the Duchy to his son ; under the Commonwealth, when the Duchy even ceased for a time to exist and its manors were sold. It was restored under Charles II, but there was 100 THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL no son to inherit the dukedom from 1649 right up to the death of Queen Anne in 1714, except for the brief and fugitive appearance of James IPs infant son upon the public scene in 1688. The Hanoverians, being a more prolific stock, did their duty by the Duchy more regularly. The later George II was Duke from 1714 to 1727, then Frederick Prince of Wales from 1727 to 1751. There followed upon his death an interregnum until the later George IV was born in 1762. Again the Crown was in possession from 1820 to 1841, when the Prince who became Edward V II was born. From then right up to the accession of Edward V III there has been a Duke o f Cornwall, the longest continuous stretch in its history. With Edward V III’s accession the Duchy fell once more to the Crown, where it remains again until the birth o f a son to the King. The remarkable feature of the dukedom historically, it will be observed, is its discontinuity, as compared with the virtually unbroken continuity o f the Duchy. O f the long line of its Dukes, few have been in a position to make acquaintance with, or take personal interest, in, their Duchy. The first Duke, the Black Prince himself, owing to his length of tenure, was in a position to do so.. Mr. Henderson says : When the Black Prince came to man’s estate and was renowned as a warrior all over Christendom, he paid more than one visit to his duchy. Restormel was his chief halting- place. . . . In May 1354, the Duchy Council wrote to John de Kendal, the receiver of Cornwall, ordering him to repair the castles in Cornwall, and especially the ‘ conduit ’ in the castle of Restormel, as quickly as possible. In August following, the Prince himself came down to Cornwall, with a gallant company of Knights whose names are immortalised in the- pages of Froissart. Here the Prince remained from August 20th to about: September 4th. 101 WEST-COUNTRY STORIES This was eight years after the Prince’s first youthful campaign, which had culminated at Crecy, where he led the van and won his immortal name, to the English people, of the Black Prince.
He was still only twenty-four on this first visit to the west.
It was just before he was appointed lieutenant of Gascony,
whence he made his famous marauding campaigns over the whole south of France, burning and ravaging as he went, and ending up with the famous victory at Poitiers, where he took the King of France prisoner. Nine years after his first visit to the Duchy he paid another, at Eastertide 1363, to Restormel.
He had been created Prince of Aquitaine and Gascony the year before, and was about to go abroad to take up his charge, which consumed all the remaining good years of his life in ceaseless war — altogether less fortunate than in his earlier years — in the south of France and upon the borders of Spain. He came home, wasted with disease, in 1371, but came no more to his Duchy. The Duchy went on as an administrative unit ; it had been strongly organised and its officers did not fail.
During all these years they kept their books duly, and there remains to us as the fruit of their efforts that register dealing with the Prince’s affairs in Cornwall known as the White Book of Cornwall, which reposes at the Public Record Office and has been published by His Majesty’s Stationery Office as part of the Black Prince's Register.
From it we learn how the Prince’s affairs in Cornwall were managed — how his revenues arose, the rents, fines, and profits of all kinds from his lands, the moneys arising from his stannary rights, the coinage of tin, the profits of his courts and all the innumerable small change of feudal tenure, the issues from wreck upon his manors on the coast. Then there were all the outgoings — payments to the Duchy’s full complement of officers from the steward, sheriff, and receiver of the Duchy, the havenor who dealt 102 THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL with customs at the ports, the “ Prince’s batchelor and keeper of his game ” , down to his keepers and bailiffs and chaplains. All the multifarious purposes, charitable and devotional or purely customary, of a great feudal landlord we find provided for : a chaplain to sing masses for the souls of the Prince’s ancestors in the chapel of the castle at Trematon, another to sing for the souls of former Earls of Cornwall in the hermitage dedicated to the Holy Trinity in the park of Restormel ; it stood by the river-bank below the castle on the site of “ Trinity ” within earshot of the pleasant noise of the river rushing by outside. Then there were oaks to be given from the Duchy parks for pious purposes, to the Dominican Friars of Truro to build their church,/to the Prior of Tywardreath, |or to the parishioners of Stokeclimsland as a gift from the Prince to repair their church ; a grant of a tun of wine to a chaplain, or to a canon of Exeter going to keep his residence there the gift of “ twelve does from this season of grease to be taken from the Prince’s parks ” . The deer-parks were a very important part in the economy of the Duchy. When it was constituted there were seven : Kerrybullock (now Stokeclimsland), with 150 deer ; Liskeard Old Park, with 200 ; Lanteglos and Helsbury, with 180 ; Trematon, with 42 ; Restormel, with 300 ; and Launceston, with 15. After the Black Prince, the Dukes never visited their Duchy ; its castles tended to fall into disrepair and there was less point in maintaining the deer-parks efficiently. With the movement for enclosure that grew strong in the sixteenth century, Henry V III decided to dispark the Duchy parks and turn them more profitably into pasture. It is the site of Kerrybullock Park, in the parish of Stokeclimsland, that the large Duchy farm now occupies. The Duchy continued to be administered upon the lines laid down under the Black Prince ; it remained substantially the same through the generations. 103 WEST-COUNTRY STORIES Politicians and royal favourites came and went at remote Westminster ; dynasties changed ; there was civil war and battles raged upon English soil. Still the administration of the Duchy went on, the most permanent feature in the landscape of society in Cornwall, the diurnal routine of its tenants living close to the soil, undisturbed, unchanging, or changing slowly only with the slow tides of the ages. One derives the impression of an institution tenacious and conservative, one that neither relaxed its rights nor vexed its tenantry with new and unexpected impositions; the fines it took upon leases remained stable over long periods. At bottom, it was the age-long reverence for custom and tradition, the bed - rock of human history, that prevailed and ruled in and through the Duchy. The drastic social changes of the Reformation, however, were not without their effect, and the Duchy emerged with a greater concentration of its lands in the west. Henry V III detached the honours of Wallingford and St. Valery, but in exchange granted all the Cornish estates of the Earls of Devonshire, which fell to the Crown by the attainder of the Marquis of Exeter, some fifteen manors in all, and fifteen more Cornish manors belonging to the dissolved priories of Launceston and Tywardreath. )
This meant a considerable extension of Duchy lands into mid-Cornwall, though the main concentration still remained in the east of the county. In the far west, the farm of the Scilly Isles now became for the first time Duchy property. In the last years of Elizabeth, with the constant drain upon the finances of the long war with Spain, and the continuous campaigns in the Netherlands and Ireland, she found it necessary to sell eighteen of these newly-annexed manors. But it was held on James Ts accession that the sale was illegal under the charter of the Duchy and the King recovered them.
Of the political influence of the Duchy in Cornwall in 104 THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL these years, when its economic hold was so much strengthened, it is difficult to say much with certainty.
It is the popular view that the great increase which the Tudors made in the parliamentary representation of Cornwall was intended to assure and strengthen Royal influence upon Parliament by the return of so many members — forty-four in all — from a county where the Duchy had such an extensive influence.
But if that was the intention, it was not wholly fulfilled — at any rate, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
For in Elizabeth’s reign the Puritan leaders Peter and Paul Wentworth, the initiators of parliamentary opposition, sat for Cornish boroughs ;
while in the reign of Charles I, at election after election, the Duchy failed to get its candidates returned against the local influence of Sir John Eliot, William Coryton, and such Puritan and Parliamentarian families as the Rouses of Hal ton. With the outbreak of the Civil War the Duchy reached, perhaps, the apex of its importance ; for upon its stable and ordered administrative system, and upon its revenues, Charles I had to fall back for the sinews of his cause in the west.
This most interesting phase of the Duchy’s existence has been studied most illumii latingly and in detail by Miss Mary Coate in her Cornwall in the Civil War.
In 1645, at the decisive downward turn of his fortunes, Charles I took the decision to grant livery of the Duchy to the young Prince of Wales, then fifteen, and to send him into the west with a Council attendant upon him, to govern the west in his name. Hyde was the chief member of the Prince’s Council, and for a year he laboured hard to screw up the resources of the Duchy and to stay the rot in the Royalist forces.
He was successful only in the first ; but that at such a time of disintegration and defeat was a remarkable achievement. The production of tin was enormously increased and shipped across to France and Holland to buy munitions. But nothing could stave off 105 H WEST-COUNTRY STORIES the military defeat ; the Cavaliers were at daggers drawn among themselves, the Prince’s Council was riddled with animosities and dissensions, and in March 1646 the Prince embarked at Falmouth for Scilly and later for France. In these years Cornwall was being drained by both sides ;
and no doubt it was the enormous sacrifices the county had made, both of man-power for the King — the Cornish army raised by Sir Bevil Grenville, which achieved such magnificent feats in the campaign of 1643, was bled white — and of its resources by both King and Parliament, that made Cornwall accept the Parliamentarian victory on the whole quietly and submissively. After so long a struggle, and such sacrifices made in vain, the ordinary Cornishman must have felt “ A plague on both your houses ” , and turned with satisfaction to beating the sword into a reaping-hook.
It had been a great disadvantage, productive of much misery and impoverishment, for Cornwall to have been forced into such invidious prominence in the war by its association with the Duchy.
However, the latter paid for the part it had played in the struggle. It was sold up by the victorious Parliament, its organisation dissolved. When Charles II came back to his throne all had to be reconstituted.
The old foundations, the old routine, however, were there ; it only remained to follow out their lines.
The Duchy was revived, officers appointed ; at the head of them all was John Grenville, Earl of Bath, Sir Bevil’s son, who as a lad of sixteen, when his father was killed at Lansdown, was lifted on to his horse to take his place and encourage the dispirited Cornish foot.
The close personal friend of the King — he shared his room in the palace at Whitehall, and later was, with the Earl of Feversham, the only Protestant present when the dying Charles was received into the Roman Church — now in 1661 he was made High Steward of the Duchy, Lord Warden of the Stannaries, Rider and Master of Dartmoor Forest, offices 106 THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL which went with the Duchy, and later Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall.
The age-long customs of the Duchy, temporarily stilled, woke again to their slow, satisfying routine ; the manor courts were held in the King’s name, the Lord Warden came down in person to preside at the Parliament of the Stannaries ;
the tin trade flourished ; there was money , once more for Charles to support his mistresses at Whitehall.
With the Duchy settling again into its old accustomed routine, there remains only to notice the stannaries, from which the Duchy had early drawn some part of its revenues. With the greatly increasing return from the mines of Cornwall, this source of revenue was expanding and becoming ever more important. After the Restoration the history of the Duchy is without constitutional excitements, and the economic factor of the stannaries becomes more prominent. Theirs is a history distinct from, though subordinate to, the Duchy ; it has been treated in full by Dr. G. R. Lewis in his book The Stannaries. Nevertheless, the popular view of what the stannaries were is even less clear than as to the Duchy : a recent article on the latter, almost the only one to appear, referred to the stannaries as “ tin mines ” , which they were not. They were areas of jurisdiction covering not only the tin mines, but the whole of the tin industry and all affairs arising out of it. They formed a peculiar jurisdiction springing from the Royal prerogative in the working of metals. As such they were not subject to common la w ; after many disputes on the point, the leading case of Trewynnard in the reign of Elizabeth decided that there was no appeal from the stannary courts to the ordinary courts of law.
They had their own system of courts with an ultimate appeal to the Council of the Prince as Duke of Cornwall.
It is worth noting that the last survival of the ancient stannary courts remained until as late as 1896, when the court of the Vice-Warden of the Stannaries was abolished. 107 When the Duchy was created in 1337 the stannaries of Cornwall and Devon were incorporated into it ; from that time the Duke took the place of the King in receiving their revenues and regulating their affairs. His Council formed the fountain-head of all stannary administration.
He appointed the Lord Warden to act as his representative in governing the stannaries, naming their officers, summoning the tinners’ parliaments, assenting to their legislation, promulgating new laws and enactments for their regulation. As a peculiar jurisdiction with its own rights, the stannaries mustered their own men for service in times of danger. In the alarming years before and after the Spanish Armada we find frequent complaints from the deputy-lieutenants of Cornwall against the stannaries on the ground of the overlapping of jurisdictions and their consequent inability to make complete returns of men for the musters. But Sir Walter Raleigh’s position as Lord Warden was sufficient to maintain the independence of the stannaries from the ordinary local administration, and co-ordination of the two was usually provided for by the appointment of the Lord Warden as lord lieutenant of the county. With the great development of the mining industry in Cornwall in the eighteenth century the revenues from the stannary must have become an increasing part of the revenues of the Duchy. Complicated as it would be to work out in detail, it is not difficult to sum up what the economic effect of the Duchy has been upon Cornwall through the centuries. It must have meant, on balance, a constant and very serious drain of wealth from a county which was, except for its minerals, poor in resources. Charles Henderson, our chief authority on Cornish history, held this to be the reason why so few large estates were formed in Cornwall, and why, charming as a number of the Cornish country houses are, there are not many historic houses to compare with those of other counties.
money to spare which they could lend to carry on the royal wars. Some of these guilds still exist and in London march with their banners at the Lord Mayor's Show on the ninth of November o f each year.
But the work o f the guilds is not the same as it was in the early days ; and it is no longer the rule for boys to become apprentices. 50
Servants of the People
THE BLACK PRINCE Of all the famous tales in history most boys love best of all that which tells how the Black Prince won the Battle of Crecy .
Perhaps this is because the prince was only a boy at the time. The battle was fought in France at a place not very far from the Straits of Dover.
Edward III., King o f England, the father of the Black Prince, said that he ought also to be King of France ; and he took a splendid army of knights and bowmen across the Channel to fight the French king for his crown. I like to read the story o f the battle as it is told by a knight named Sir John Froissart, who lived at that time, and whose book you must read some day. Here is a portion o f the great story in Froissart’s own words :— “ During the time, a heavy rain fell, accompanied by thunder and a very terrible eclipse of the sun ; and before this rain, a great flight o f crows hovered in the air over all the battalions, making a loud noise ; shortly afterwards it cleared up, and the sun shone very bright; but the French had it in their faces, and the English on their backs. “ When the Genoese who fought for the French king were somewhat in order, they drew near to the English
The Black Prince
51 and set up a loud shout, in order to frighten them ; but the English remained quite quiet, and did not seem to attend to it. “ Then they set up a second shout and advanced a little forward ; the English never moved.
Still they hooted a third time, advancing with their crossbows presented, and began to shoot.
The English archers then advanced one step forward and shot their arrows with such force and quickness, that it seemed as if it snowed. “ When the Genoese felt these arrows, which pierced through their armour, some of them cut the strings of their crossbows; others flung them to the ground ; and all turned about and retreated quite discomfited.” Remember as you read the above that this fight at Crecy was one of the first o f our many battles.
The English and Normans had at last joined together to make one united nation, and now the new English nation was facing a foreign foe on his own ground. Now take another glimpse at this battlefield :— “ Early in the day the enemy had broken through the archers o f the prince's battalion and had engaged with the men-at-arms. Seeing the danger they were in, a knight went off in great haste to the King of England who was posted upon an eminence near a windmill. “ On the knight's arrival, he said, ‘ Sir, the knights who are with your son are vigorously attacked by the French ; and they entreat that you will come to their assistance with your battalion, for if numbers should increase against him, they fear he will have too much to do.’ “ The king replied, 4 Is my son dead, unhorsed, or so badly wounded that he cannot support himself i ' 4 Nothing o f the sort, thank G od,’ replied the knight, 4 but he is in so hot an engagement that he has great need of your help.' money to spare which they could lend to carry on the royal wars. Some of these guilds still exist and in London march with their banners at the Lord Mayor's Show on the ninth of November o f each year. But the work o f the guilds is not the same as it was in the early days ; and it is no longer the rule for boys to become apprentices. 50
Servants of the People THE BLACK PRINCE Of all the famous tales in history most boys love best o f all that which tells how the Black Prince won the Battle of Crecy. Perhaps this is because the prince was only a boy at the time. The battle was fought in France at a place not very far from the Straits of Dover. Edward III., King o f England, the father o f the Black Prince, said that he ought also to be King of France ; and he took a splendid army of knights and bowmen across the Channel to fight the French king for his crown. I like to read the story o f the battle as it is told by a knight named Sir John Froissart, who lived at that time, and whose book you must read some day. Here is a portion o f the gre it story in Froissart’s own words :— “ During the time, a heavy rain fell, accompanied by thunder and a very terrible eclipse of the sun ; and before this rain, a great flight of crows hovered in the air over all the battalions, making a loud noise ; shortly afterwards it cleared up, and the sun shone very bright; but the French had it in their faces, and the English on their backs. “ When the Genoese who fought for the French king were somewhat in order, they drew near to the English
The Black Prince
51 and set up a loud shout, in order to frighten them ; but the English remained quite quiet, and did not seem to attend to it. “ Then they set up a second shout and advanced a little forward ; the English never moved.
Still they hooted a third time, advancing with their crossbows presented, and began to shoot. The English archers then advanced one step forward and shot their arrows with such force and quickness, that it seemed as if it snowed. “ When the Genoese felt these arrows, which pierced through their armour, some of them cut the strings of their crossbows; others flung them to the ground ; and all turned about and retreated quite discomfited.” Remember as you read the above that this fight at Crecy was one of the first of our many battles. The English and Normans had at last joined together to make one united nation, and now the new English nation was facing a foreign foe on his own ground. Now take another glimpse at this battlefield :— “ Early in the day the enemy had broken through the archers o f the prince's battalion and had engaged with the men-at-arms. Seeing the danger they were in, a knight went off in great haste to the King of England who was posted upon an eminence near a windmill. “ On the knight's arrival, he said, ‘ Sir, the knights who are with your son are vigorously attacked by the French ; and they entreat that you will come to their assistance with your battalion, for if numbers should increase against him, they fear he will have too much to do.’ “ The king replied, 4 Is my son dead, unhorsed, or so badly wounded that he cannot support himself i ' 4 Nothing o f the sort, thank G od,’ replied the knight, 4 but he is in so hot an engagement that he has great need of your help.' 52
Servants of the People “ The king answered, * Now, Sir Thomas, return to those that sent you, and tell them from me not to send again for me this day, nor expect that I shall come, let what will happen, as long as my son has life ; and say that I command them to let the boy win his spurs ; for I am determined, if it please God, that all the glory of this day shall be given to him and to those into whose care I have entrusted him.' “ The knight returned to his lords and related the king's answer, which mightily encouraged them, and made them repent that they had ever sent such a message.'' The battle ended in a complete victory for the army o f the Black Prince. He had been taught on that great day to depend upon himself.
He learnt that if he was meant to govern a kingdom he must prove himself able to lead its armies. Now note the six words which are printed in italics in the above description— “ let the boy win his spurs.” These words remind us that the Black Prince belonged to that company of men who were known as knights, and who lived their lives according to very definite rules* These men all belonged to an “ order" or society, banded together for certain objects. They were all riders of horses, and therefore they came to be known as the members o f the Order of Chivalry (from the French word cheval, a horse).
The time in which they lived, about six hundred years ago, is sometimes spoken of as the Age of Chivalry. The monks and priests of the time had a great deal to do with these knights. Before a man could become a knight he spent a long time in the company of the priests who explained to him what he would be expected to do. He must help all who were oppressed or ill-treated; be kind and helpful to women, children, and the aged of The Black Prince 53 (From a picture cf the time) both sexes ; fight bravely against all enemies of the Christian religion ; keep himself pure in thought and word and deed ; and abide by his promises so that the expression “ on the honour of a true knight " might be more binding than bars of iron. The young man who wished to be made a knight was obliged to spend a whole night kneeling in prayer before the altar of a church on the steps o f which his sword and armour were laid. This was called “ keeping vigil.” On the next morning the priests came to him and
WEST-COUNTRY STORIES THE DUCHY OF CORNWALL That pleasant antiquary, Richard Carew of Antony, who wrote his Survey of Cornwall towards the end of Elizabeth’s reign, and in such delightful Elizabethan English, comments a little sadly upon there being no Cornish peerage in his time, no one in Cornwall, of however ancient a family, whom the Queen might call cousin. Under the Hanoverian dynasty the Duchy went on according to its old-established order; though I do not know that any of the first four Georges paid any personal visits to their Duchy. All our recent sovereigns from Victoria onwards have done so. Edward V II as Prince of Wales visited his Cornish estates on several occasions. The revenues which accumulated during his minority enabled him to buy Sandringham, as they enabled Edward V III when Duke to buy Fort Belvedere.
Perhaps it was in consequence of this, or as an indication of the distinction he wished to maintain between his capacity as Duke of Cornwall and his public role as Prince and King, or simply out of sentiment for the Duchy, that i the Duchy of Cornwall flag was always flown at Fort 1 Belvedere and never any othery At any rate, Cornishmen may hope so, with images of the Duchy in their mind — the centuries-old buildings going back to Edmund Earl of Cornwall, by the quayside at Lostwithiel, lapped by the tidal waters of the river Fowey ; the house at Trematon within the old walls of the castle, where Sir Richard Grenville, grandfather of the hero, took refuge in the time of the great “ Commotion ” of 1549, the castle to which Drake took the treasure which he brought home from his voyage round the world, the grey walls now looking quietly down through the twinkling leaves to the broad waters of the Hamoaze and across to Devonport ; or Launceston Castle, with the ruined shell of its keep ; or Tintagel, grim, barbaric upon its desolate headland, the inspiration of so much poetry and legend. Whether one thinks of these, or the delightful acres of pasture and wood109 WEST-COUNTRY STORIES land, the small enclosed fields within their granite hedges, the long, slow, laborious lives of the generations, the farmers and their strong sons serving the Duchy, tilling the soil, it is all the same. / Not a Cornishman but must have felt some catch at the heart when the flag with the fifteen gold bezants was broken for the last time at Fort Belvedere, not only for the gesture in itself, but for all the history that lies behind it. / no RIA LT ON: A CORNISH MONASTIC MANOR Be h in d the hideous, unhappy mess that the speculative builder has made of modern Newquay there is a delicious valley, in the old-fashioned Cornish manner, that runs down to the sea at St. Columb Porth. A narrow winding road, with innumerable twists and bends, a little stream that goes singing down through the meadows bright with golden flag and meadow-sweet, the low hills upheaved on either hand, a good deal of rough brake beside the ploughland, and along the road as you go the characteristic groups of tiny Cornish elms, the hedges in early summer coloured with purple vetch and crowsfoot, the first foxgloves and pink campion. And over all there is the rumour, the magic presence, of the sea, invisible yet always there.
1 At one of the bends in the road is Rialton.
You wouldn’t think anything of it at first view : just a Cornish stone cottage, rather larger than usual. The house turns its back on the road, at the end of a real cottage garden, full of primulas in spring, of phloxes and sweet-william in summer.
It is not until you go up the cobbled path and round to the old front of the house that you see what an interesting place it is, very Cornish and at the same time a rare survival for Cornwall.
For what you are face to face with is a fragment, the main front of a late fifteenth- century or early Tudor house, a monastic manor.
The place indeed has a long and interesting history. From early Celtic times it was the chief possession of Bodmin Priory, the jewel among the lands of those canons, fat or lean.
It was the capital of their hundred of Pydar 1 Since writing this, in 1941, I am told that road-widening operations, by the County Council, have done their best to spoil the valley.
Geochemical fingerprinting of west Cornish greenstones as an aid to provenancing Neolithic axes. Geoscience in south-west England, 9, 218-223. Of the large number of Neolithic stone axes made of greenstone, some 392 (referred to as Group 1 axes) are believed to have been manufactured in west Cornwall around the Mount's Bay area.
To aid the location of the greenstone that provided the materials for the axes, geochemical fingerprinting of the axes and greenstone outcrops was undertaken in the Mount's Bay area to both discriminate the greenstone localities and provide a basis for matching Group 1 axes.
Non-destructive analysis of the axes was determined by a portable XRF Spectrometer unit that gave comparable results for selected greenstone samples to standard laboratory-based XRF techniques.
Geochemical fingerprinting of the greenstone localities by portable XRF spectrometer provided a degree of discrimination between them, although preliminary data on the axes suggests that there is not a very strong correlation between axe composition and possible greenstone sites. Further work is required on other greenstone localities and axes as current data does not conclusively point to an origin in this area of west Cornwall.
Barrow discovered near Looe
An Archaeologist at The Australian National University (ANU) has discovered a prehistoric Bronze-Age barrow, or burial mound, on a hill in Cornwall and is about to start excavating the untouched site which overlooks the English Channel.
The site dates back to around 2,000 BC and was discovered by chance when ANU Archaeologist Dr Catherine Frieman, who was conducting geophysical surveys of a known site outside the village of Looe in Cornwall, was approached by a farmer about a possible site in a neighbouring field.
"He told us about a 'lump' on his land and that nobody knew what it was, so he asked us to take a look at it," said Dr Frieman, who is a Senior Lecturer in the ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology.
"So we ran our equipment over a 1,600 metre square area and sure enough we found a quite obvious circular ditch - about 15 metres across - with a single entrance pointing south east and a bunch of pits in the middle.
The British nobles in an attempt to prevent the total dissolution of the state and to end the
civil war. gathered in an assembly and agreed on a compromise whereby Godrich. the Earl
(Duke/King) of Cornwall, would reign as regent and hold the Kingdom of Britain in trust for the
English heiress. Goldborough. the daughter of the late Anglican heir, Cymen. and his wife. Adela.
the Saxon heiress, only child and daughter of England’s first Bretwalda. Aella of Sussex Thus,
preserving the fiction of centralized rule which was accepted only because the alternative was
. Prince-Regent. Earl (Duke/King) of Cornwall, reigned
as regent of Britain in the absence of a national-kmg during the interregnum that followed the
murder of the boy-king, Huai, and his mother. Queen Lonle (Lenore, Lunette] There were civil
wars throughout Britain dunng his regency The episode of Havelock “The Dane* takes place
dunng the regency of Earl Godrich
X. CADROD (CATRAUT), the Arthunan heir, established his headquarters at a
castle (site unsure] called “CALCHVYNYDD” (‘hill of chalk or lime”], which name came to be his
epithet, somewhere in the Bntish midlands between the Thames and the Trent rivers. He fights
the Cerdicite heir Cynnc “of Wessex”
X. CYNRIC (CUNORIX). the Cerdicite heir, the other claimant to the Bntish
throne, held sway south of the Thames in Wessex with his headquarters at Winchester
One of the surviving ex-tnumvirs. Riwal of Dumnoma (Devonshire), meanwhile, was
expelled from Bntam by Caradoc ‘Strong-Arm”. Count of the Saxon Shore, in another
regional-war. and fled to Armohca (Bnttany] where he established himself at St. Bneoc. circa 552
Riwal was killed fighting Cynvawr II of Cornwall, circa 555. and his widow married King Cynvawr
Prmce ludwal of Domnonee (son of Riwal. the ex-thumvir] fled his murderous step-father
(Cynvawr II of ComwaH-Brittany] and found refuge at the court of King Childebert I of France
(534-558), in 558. Prince ludwal of Domnonee retook his throne Cynvawr II withdrew back to
Cornwall, area 558, and. circa 560. was murdered along with his wife (name] and son (St.
Tremeur] St Brieoc is attacked by King Childebert of France, and King Canao II leads the
Meantime, the civil war between the House of Arthur and the House of Cerdic continued
to rage Cynnc repulsed Cadrod’s offensive at Old Sarum (Salisbury] in 552.
and slew him in battle
at Bart>ury Castle, near Swindon. Wiltshire, in 556 King Erp (Urban) of Gwent was killed in the
battle (fighting for the Arthurian heir]; and his kingdom was divided in halves, called Gwent and
Ergyng Cadrod ‘Calchvynydd” was survived by seven sons and three daughters His eldest son.
Cyndywyn. was murdered following his fathers death in battle Another son.
rallied his father s old supporters and earned on the struggle He slew Cynrtc in battle in 560 and
set himself up as an anti-king although technically the throne was vacant while the country was
governed by Godhch. the Earl of Cornwall, who officially reigned as regent of Bntain in the
absence of a legitimate ‘national” king Cynric was survived by three sons Coelm (Ceawim).
Cutha. and Cwichelm. of whom the eldest Ceawlin (Coelin) succeeded to the Wessex kingdom
The name Ceawlin (Coelin) is Celtic, but the names of his brothers, possibly half-brothers, have a
Saxon favor to them Their mother may have been a Saxon princess; or perhaps by this time the
influence of Saxon culture was beginning to show itself in the Wessex royal house
560-565 9. HAVELOK ‘THE DANE”, barbarian-king. not usually numbered in the
regnal-lists. however, remembered in tradition, legend, and folklore, reigned for three years as
King of Bntain. or England. 560-562 The legend of Havelock “The Dane’ begins when he was a
boy and tells us that a fisherman was ordered by Denmark’s usurper-kmg to murder the true heir
to the Danish throne. Havelock, then a youth about age eleven, but instead the fisherman allowed
the young pnnce to escape to England Later, when Havelock had come of age. he found
employment with an English ealdorman He soon became famous for his prowess at sports,
Brychan – father of Endelient at St Endellion ,,,father of Keyne at St Keyne
Listed in the Life of Saint Nectan are, by his wife, Gwladys:
Adwen, Canauc (Cynog), Cleder (Clether), Dilic (Illick), Endelient (Endelienta), Helie, Johannes (Sion), Iona, Juliana (Ilud), Kenhender (Cynidr), Keri (Curig), Mabon (Mabyn), Menfre (Menefrewy), Merewenne (Marwenna), Morewenna (Morwenna), Nectanus (Nectan), Tamalanc, Tedda (Tetha), Wencu (Gwencuff, Gwengustle, name of Saint Nennocha), Wenheden (Enoder), Wenna (Gwen), Wensent, Wynup (Gwenabwy) and Yse (Issey).
According to Robert Hunt, of the holy children that settled in Cornwall, we learn that the following gave their names to Cornish churches
Lostwithiel the Old Cornish Lost Gwydhyel meaning "tail-end of the woodland". The view from Restormel Castle looking towards the town shows how this may have come to be. Lostwithiel is a historic borough.The Lostwithiel constituency elected two members to the Unreformed House of Commons, but was disenfranchised by the Reform Act 1832. It remained a municipal borough until the 1960s, when it became a civil parish. The seal of the borough of Lostwithiel was a shield charged with a castle rising from water between two thistles, in the water two fish, with the legend "Sigillum burgi de Lostwithyel et Penknight in Cornubia" Its mayoral regalia includes a silver oar, signifying its former jurisdiction over the River Fowey.