1066-1700 AD

Find out more about Cornwall’s history through the Cornish timeline


Continue reading

Earl Moreton takes Moresk Castle for William the Conqueror

Domesday. Markets and fairs recorded including:

  • Bodmin
  • Launceston
  • Liskeard
  • Matele (Methleigh in Breage?)
  • St. Germans
  • Trematon 

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

Truro receives its first Charter of Incorporation from Earl Richard de Lucy, the King's Justicar

Reginald, Earl of Cornwall, grants a charter to his 'free bugesses of Triueru'. This is possibly during 1173. 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'.

William de Wrotham writes of those working tin in Cornwall paying twice the taxation of their Devon counterparts.

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

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

Grant of a market at St. Ives

Grant of a market at Camelton (?)

Cornish militia fight against the Scots

Craft Guilds come into existence at Bodmin

The Franciscan Friary at Bodmin is founded.

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

St. Mary's Church, Truro is dedicated by Bishop Bronscombe. This is later to be absorbed within Truro Cathedral.   

Walter de Bronescombe, Bishop of Exeter, makes a tour of Cornwall. He dedicates 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

By this time Norman designs are considered dark and old-fashioned.

Grant of market and fair at Camelford

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

Bishop Bronescombe lays the foundation of Glasney College. Within two years several buildings are completed. These include:

  • a church
  • refectory
  • chapter house and
  • mills 

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

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

Grant of market and fair at St. Germans

Earl Edmund refutes the King of England's claim to jurisdiction over Cornwall. This is repeated similarly in 1290.

Grant to Philip Daubeney for market and fair at Polruan

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 also 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. This is its first call upon the tin mined in Cornwall and Devon.

The Tinners Charter is granted by King Edward II. The King makes Piers Gaveston the Earl of Cornwall. A very unpopular choice.

Grants of market and fair:

  • to Bishop of Exeter for Lawhitton
  • at Penryn
  • at St. Breock and
  • at 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

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

Gaveston, the Earl of Cornwall is executed 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

Grant of weekly market and 7-day fair at Penzance to Alice de l'Isle

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, eldest son of Edward III, is created first Duke of Cornwall

Cornish archers distinguish themselves at the Battle of Crecy. They are known for their long bows and accurate shooting.

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

At least half of the inhabitants of Truro die of the Black Death pestilence

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

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

Grant to Daubeney family of market and fair at Polruan

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.

Cornwall is described as Cornubia - Land of the Saints

Grant to Thomas, Lord Berkeley, 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.

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

'Piracy' against Breton, Norman and Spanish vessels is rife along Channel coast. This would now be termed mutual reprisals. The 'Fowey gallants' are particularly notable. Determined to put an end to this, Edward IV despatches a commission to Cornwall. It aims 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. They are placed in custody. One Harrington is executed.

Cornish Uprising

The Cornish uprising opposed Henry VII's taxation to pay for his war against the Scots. This 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. A resistance movement begins at St. Keverne under the leadership of Michael Joseph an gof. This gains momentum particularly at Bodmin when taken up by lawyer, Thomas Flamank. They lead a march 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.

'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 ...[etc.] to 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.

Henry VIII's coronation procession includes "nine children of honour". They represent "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.

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.

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

Henry VIII creates a chain of fortifications along the south coast, including the castles of Pendennis and St. Mawes

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."

Uprising in protest against the imposition by Edward VI of the use of the Book of Common Prayer in English. This spells the end for the use of Cornish language.

Richard Carew (1555-1620) is born at Antony

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.

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

Meeting of the Convocation of Tinners of Cornwall. This 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.

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

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.

Publication of Richard Carew's 'The Survey of Cornwall'. 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. These are the 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.

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.

Sir John Dodridge re-interprets preceding historical records in his book. It is titled An historical account of the ancient and modern state of the Principality of Wales, Duchy of Cornwall and earldom of Chester. He refers 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". Thus 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.

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

Battle of Braddock Down (19th January).   Col. Ruthin's Parliamentarian troops are defeated by Sir Ralph Hopton with Bevil Grenvile's Regiment. The regiment 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. 300 men killed and 1700 captured., Stamford's force 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. Sir Bevil Grenvile is killed in the moment of victory at the Battle of Lansdown in Somerset. Hopton is seriously wounded. Bristol falls to Hopton's troops, and later Exeter.

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

Sir Richard Grenvile arrives in Plymouth in March to maintain a blockade. It results in a stalemate as inhabitants obtain enough provisions to survive. Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, arrives. He is in command of the Roundhead army of 8000 men. This forces Grenvile to retreat westwards across the Tamar.

Campaign at Lostwithiel.

28th July:
Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, takes Parliamentarian forces into Cornwall. Reaches Bodmin.
11th August:
Sir Richard Grenvile's Royalist men surround them at Lostwithiel. They secure Respryn Bridge and take Bodmin.
21st August:
Grenvile takes Restormel Castle and Beacon Hill, Lostwithiel. Intermittent fighting follows with gains and losses.
31st August:
Royalists push the Parliamentarians back to Castle Dore high above the Fowey river. Essex escapes leaving his army to surrender.
2nd September:
They are not kindly treated by the Royalists, but sent off having had their weapons confiscated. Perhaps 1000 of the 6000 Roundheads survive hunger, disease and exposure. Their time in Lostwithiel has seen the vandalism of Lostwithiel's Great Hall and Jonathan Rashleigh's Menabilly house. The destruction of all the constitutional Charters. 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. It is devoid of its earlier feudal nature - the New Model Army.

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. Fairfax's men overrun them in confrontations in the south and west of England.

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.

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.

William Hals, the historian, is born at Tresawsen, Merther, near Truro. Part of his projected History of Cornwall is published in 1750. It covers 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.

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.

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

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.

Newton Ferrers mansion is built for Sir William Coryton.   A substantial part of the house is gutted by fire in 1940. Some of it is later rebuilt, leaving the remainder as a ruin.

Bishop Trelawny imprisoned in the Tower of London. He refused to sign a paper to bring back Catholicism as official religion. He was held for three weeks before trial. He was tried and 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.

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