The latest book by Bernard Deacon does as its blurb describes and ‘gives us a ground-breaking interpretation of the history of Cornwall between the departure of the Romans and the arrival of the Normans’.
During the introduction, Deacon explains that he ‘became increasingly surprised and not a little irritated that no-one had bothered to write an up-to-date or convincing narrative history of medieval Cornwall’ and to make sense of an age that no longer warrants the description of ‘dark’. He arrives at conclusions that echo those reached by John Angarrack and that ‘the central point about anglocentric historians’ attitude to early medieval Cornwall stands’. He also highlights the ‘failure to assimilate the Cornish culturally ultimately meant that they were never entirely assimilated politically’.
The Cornish language is now recognised and Cornish ethnicity finally afforded recognition by the UK Government. It can only be hoped that this recognition will see the Cornish become even less ‘culturally and politically’ assimilated; maybe even to the extent of their bringing recognition to Cornwall itself, rather than remain under an English administration and ‘county’ status.
This book is recommended reading for all those with an interest in this period of Cornish history, especially the Cornish themselves who, due to an assimilating anglocentric school curriculum, would remain ignorant of their ancestors’ progression during a period in Cornwall that may no longer be described as the ‘dark age’.
Cornwall’s First Golden Age
by Bernard Deacon
Available at Francis Boutle Publishers
Despite the UK Government blocking previous attempts by the Cornish, the UK Government finally recognised Cornish ethnicity in April 2014 by its inclusion within the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM)
The Cornish and Welsh are the oldest peoples on this island and as a proud Welshman I look forward to seeing St Piran’s Flag flying
What is the FCNM?
The Framework Convention is a legally binding instrument under international law, the word “Framework” highlights the scope for member states to translate the Convention’s provisions to their specific country situation through national legislation and appropriate governmental policies.
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: “This is a great day for the people of Cornwall who have long campaigned for the distinctiveness and identity of the Cornish people to be recognised officially. The Cornish and Welsh are the oldest peoples on this island and as a proud Welshman I look forward to seeing St Piran’s Flag flying with extra Celtic pride on5 March next year.” It means that Cornish people will be afforded the same protections as the Welsh, Scottish and the Irish; with government departments and public bodies required to take Cornwall’s views into account when making decisions.
What commitments do states undertake when they ratify the FCNM?
The Framework Convention sets out principles to be respected as well as goals to be achieved by the states, in order to ensure the protection of national minorities, in this case the Cornish people. Parties to the Framework Convention undertake to promote full and effective equality of persons belonging to minorities in all areas of economic, social, political, public and cultural life together with conditions that will allow them to express, preserve and develop their culture, religion, language and traditions. They have to ensure their freedom of assembly, association, expression, thought, conscience, religion and their access to and use of media. The Convention also provides guidelines for their linguistic freedom and rights regarding education.