Last updated: 09/12/2011
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Earl Moreton takes Moresk Castle for William the Conqueror
Domesday. Markets and fairs recorded are: Bodmin, Launceston,
Liskeard, Matele (Methleigh in Breage?), St. Germans, Trematon.
Ingulf's Chronicle records Cornwall as a nation distinct from
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', possibly during 1173, 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'.
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
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
(later to be absorbed within Truro
Cathedral). Sources of Cornish History - St
Mary's Church, Truro
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.By this time Norman designs are considered dark and
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, and
within two years several buildings including a church, refectory,
chapter house and mills are completed.
Sources of Cornish History
- The History of Glasney College
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 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, and again 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 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 1
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
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
Grant of weekly market and 7-day fair at Penzance to Alice de
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, 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
At least half of the inhabitants of Truro die of the Black Death
The 'Black Death' claims half the population at Bodmin - 1500
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
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
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
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 (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
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, gains
momentum 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.
Sources of Cornish History -
Charter of Pardon 1508
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.
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" and that
"England is limited on the West part with the bounds of Cornwall
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
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.
Sources of Cornish History - Prayer Book
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 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: 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 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.
War of the five peoples - Civil war in Britain, involving the
English, Scots, Irish, Welsh, Cornish.
Sources of Cornish History -
Civil War in Cornwall
Battle of Braddock Down (19th January). 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
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, 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.
The seige of Plymouth begins (3rd December), but the result is
disastrous for the Cavaliers. Sir Richard Grenvile, having
previously declared for Parliament, invites his troops to follow
him into the King's service.Parliament proclaim him a traitor.
Sir Richard Grenvile 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
Grenvile 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.
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.
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, covering 72 parishes alphabetically from Advent to Helston. A
manuscript for Illogan survives but the remainder is
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, 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.
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
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
Imprisonment in Tower of London of Bishop Trelawny for refusing
to sign a paper to bring back Catholicism as official religion -
Sources of Cornish History -
Sir Jonathan Trelawney
Falmouth is selected as the most westward port for packets to
carry mails to the Groyne (Corunna), the first sailing being in
Sources of Cornish History - The Packet
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
This information was collated by the Cornwall Centre, Redruth,
telephone +44(0)1209 216760. If you know of an interesting date
that we have missed, please let us know.