Obrazy na stronie

staves in their hands.

This county was included by the Romans in their first division, or Britannia Prima; but it appears probable that they never made more than a partial conquest of this part of the country, as it is scarcely credible that the natives would have been allowed to retain their ancient language, religion, and manners, had they been as completely subjected to the yoke of those conquerors as the inhabitants of other parts of the island were.

However this may be, it is certain that on the departure of the Romans, the Cornish Britons were among the first to take up arms in defence of their country against the incursions of the Picts and Scots, and their King, Vortigern, was chosen supreme chief of the various nations into which Britain was at that time divided. His impolitic expedient of inviting the assistance of the Saxons, with its fatal consequences, have been already narrated; it should be mentioned here that in Cornwall the Britons, vanquished in every other quarter, long maintained their independence, and during 500 years were engaged in an almost unintermitting struggle with the West Saxons, in which each party was alternately victorious and vanquished.

In the fifth century great numbers of the Britons had fled from hence to the opposite shores of Gaul, and settled in the province of Armorica, which from them obtained the name of Bretagne; here they retained their ancient language and manners, and the frequent intercourse of friendship or commerce kept alive in their breasts the recollection of the country of their ancestors: in the season of distress their assistance was solicited by their Cornish brethren, and a strong body came over about the year 700, by whose help the career of the Saxons was checked: the contest was protracted during another century, and about 810 the Britons formed an alliance with the Danes, who had recently commenced their destructive incursions. This coalition, although it might serve temporarily to gratify their hatred of the Saxons, proved injurious to the cause of the Britons, as it drew down upon them the severe vengeance of Egbert, who then filled the English throne: they did not, however, submit without a vigorous struggle, but after several sanguinary conflicts were totally defeated at Henge

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ston Hill about 835; even after this there were occasional contests, and it was not until 938, that the whole country was subjugated by Athelstan, after a noble contest for independence during 500 years.

To secure his conquest, Athelstan committed the custody of this county to a nobleman, with the title of Earl, not then a merely honorary distinction, but accompanied with a large landed interest in the district from which it was derived, and the civil and military government of the county. Under its Earls, Cornwall continued until the reign of Edward III, who in 1337 erected it into a Dukedom, in favour of his heroic son Edward the Black Prince; and by an Act of Parliament, the duchy, with a large revenue, was settled in perpetuity upon the eldest sons of the Kings of England.

After this period but few events of historical interest occur: in 1471 a large body of the people of this county marched to Exeter, and placed themselves under the command of Queen Margaret, who had landed with her son, in the hope of regaining the crown lost by her feeble husband Henry VI; her partisans were, however, defeated with great slaughter at the battle of Tewkesbury, and the Cornish men returned from the conflict with considerable loss. In 1497 a formidable rebellion broke out in Cornwall, occasioned by the imposition of a tax by the rapacious Henry; the insurgents marched towards London, and had reached Blackheath, when they were defeated by Lord Daubeny, and their ringleaders executed; the others were, however, dismissed without punishment. A short time afterwards the celebrated Perkin Warbeck landed in this county, and proceeding to Bodmin was immediately joined by upwards of 3000 men, with whom he marched to Exeter, and laid siege to that city. On the approach of the royal forces, however, he retired to Taunton, and afterwards took sanctuary in Beaulieu Priory, where he was persuaded to deliver himself into the King's hands on the promise of mercy, a promise which that crafty tyrant soon found an excuse for violating. On the suppression of this rebellion, some persons of distinction who had joined in it were executed, and many others severely fined, but the great body of the people again escaped unpunished.

In 1549 formidable insurrections broke out in va rious parts of the kingdom, occasioned by the rapacity with which the possessions of the Church were seized, and the poor deprived of the support they had formerly derived from them, by the needy upstarts whom Henry VIII had elevated to the peerage, and who were solely intent on amassing fortunes suitable to their new dignities: in Cornwall these insurrectionary movements assumed a more alarming aspect than in almost any other county, the rebels being headed by many of the gentry, who were attached to the ancient faith. They marched to Exeter, which they besieged, but were at length encountered and defeated by Lord Russel, their leaders sent to London, tried and executed, and many of the inferior sort put to death by martial law: one of the clergy, who had been distinguished in the rebellion, was hanged on the steeple of his own church, arrayed in his ecclesiastical habit.

From this period we do not meet with any remarkable event connected with Cornwall, until the Civil War in the seventeenth century, when the inhabitants were distinguished for their attachment to the King, and this county was the theatre of many conflicts, which will be more particularly adverted to, in mentioning the scenes of their occurrence.

ST. (or WEST) ANTHONY, is a village on the Tamar, nearly opposite Devonport, from which place it is 14 mile distant. Its vicinity to the Dockyard and Government establishments has rendered it the residence of many persons connected with them, and its population, which, in 1821, was 2642 persons, is now much greater. Its Church is a small but neat fabric, standing on an eminence, and containing several monuments in memory of the Carew family, among which is one in memory of Richard Carew, author of the " Survey of Cornwall." He was born at the residence of his father in this parish in 1555, and was sent at an early age to the University of Oxford, where, when only 14, he was chosen to dispute extempore with Sir Philip Sidney before a learned audience; a great compliment to his talents and ac

quirements, as his "incomparable" rival was several years his senior. He afterwards studied at the Middle Temple in London, travelled some years on the Continent, and on his return to his native county was appointed High Sheriff in 1586. In 1602 he published the work above mentioned, which is much praised by Camden, and is considered one of the best county histories ever written. Mr. Carew also produced some poems, and translated Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered; he died in 1620. His principal work has been more than once printed, but is now scarce. Anthony House, the family residence of the Carews, is a fine mansion, beautifully situated on the Lynher creek, and containing some valuable portraits and other paintings.

ST. AUSTLE, 243 miles from London, is situated on an eminence, at the foot of which is a stream, whose waters are beneficially employed in impelling the machinery of the tin-works in the neighbourhood. This is a place of some antiquity, and received the Charter for its weekly Market from Queen Elizabeth; it remained, however, in a state of insignificance, until about 80 years since, when the great tin mine of Polgooth was discovered, about two miles to the south-west; since that period the high road to the Land's End has been carried through this town, and these circumstances have tended greatly to increase its wealth and population, which, in 1821, was stated at 6175 persons. coarse woollen cloths are manufactured here, a portion of the inhabitants is occupied during the season in the pilchard fishery, and the digging of porcelain clay for the Staffordshire potteries also furnishes some employment.


The Church, dedicated to St. Austle, is a handsome building, near the centre of the town, with a fine tower, adorned with pinnacles, statues, and carving; several other parts of the fabric are also ornamented with sculptures, the meaning of which has exercised the ingenuity of antiquarians. Chapels for Dissenters of various classes are likewise established here. The Market-house is a handsome modern building, and the Market, which is held on Friday, is well attended; four annual Fairs are also kept

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here; and the town is much benefited by the holding of one of the Stannary Courts, called the Blackmore Court.

The Blowing Houses, in which the ore is smelted on an improved principle, are situated at the west end of this town, and are worthy of attention, as are also the extensive tin mines of Polgooth, in which a great number of persons are employed, and which are generally very productive, although not always in the same degree.

About four miles from St. Austle is the village of St. Blazey, with 938 inhabitants, which is celebrated as the landing place of Bishop Blaize, the patron of the wool-combers, in whose honour an annual festival is still observed in several places, on the 3d of February; at Bradford in Yorkshire the celebration is septennial, and is distinguished for the splendour of the procession*: the period of this worthy prelate's visit is uncertain, and his introduction of the woollen manufacture to this country will not receive much credit from those who consider that the date of his martyrdom is fixed in 316, and that of the art which he is said to have taught, about 1000 years afterwards.


This town is situated nearly in the centre of the county, and is 235 miles from London. It was a considerable place long previously to the Conquest, and is stated to have been the seat of the Bishop of this diocese; but this is doubted by other writers. Here were formerly a Convent, a Priory, and thirteen Churches, or Chapels, of which one only now remains, although some vestiges of others may be traced. This town received its first Charter from Richard, Earl of Cornwall, in the reign of Henry III, which was confirmed by Edward I, but abrogated by James I, by whom a new one was granted; this was likewise superseded by one received from George III, in 1799, by which the government is vested in a Mayor, eleven Aldermen, and

* Among the eminent personages who figure on this occasion in the train of the venerable Bishop, are Jason and Medea," the King and Queen," (the site of their dominions is not exactly ascertained,) and various other distinguished individuals, accompanied by nearly 1000 woolstaplers, spinners, combers, dyers, &c. in fanciful attire, with flags and bands of music, extending nearly a mile in length.

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