Cornwall in focus

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An Historical Timeline for Cornwall

Onen hag Oll

40000 BC
Paleolithic or Early Stone Age

People settle in South West Britain but no remains from this period have been found in Cornwall

10000 BC
Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age

As the last Ice Age retreats, the 'Beaker People' begin to build settlements in Cornwall - predominantly around the coasts.

3000 BC
Neolithic or New Stone Age

The Megalithic Culture came to prominence. The period of the monument builders. Remains include the numerous Hill Forts, Cromlechs and Quoits.

2000 BC to 500 BC
The Bronze Age

Further settlement in Cornwall. These new settlers were skilled in metal -working. Possibly the start of Cornish Mining - mainly from alluvial deposits at this time. A period of great defensive building of 'Cliff Castles' all along the Cornish coast as well as Barrows. The Start of Trade between peoples. The Dead were buried singly or cremated.

500 BC to 55 BC
The Iron Age

The Celts from Central Europe [La Tène / Hallstatt cultures] expand north and west into Britain. Further Hill Forts were constructed. Compared to the previous settlers, the Celts were more civilised, with a structured society and were well trained in battle...As Julius Caesar later put it ....'they seemed to have no fear of Death'.

54 BC to 43 AD
The Rise of Rome

The Romans under Julius Caesar invaded and conquered Gaul in 56 BC, before probing, and demanding tribute from the tribes of South East Britain in 55 BC. Internal Roman Politics back home in Italy give the British a brief interlude of almost a century, before the Romans return in earnest.

43 AD to 410 AD
The Roman Invasion of Britain

The Romans under Emperor Claudius invade and occupy Britain. South-west Britain is however left largely untouched by the Romans. The Celts of the region - 'The Dumnonii' were left largely to their own devices. The Second Legion Augusta were stationed at the capital of the Celtic capital: Isca Dumnoniiorum (present-day Exeter)

.410 AD
The Fall of Rome

The Goths started attacking Rome in about 238 AD. Gradually the barbarian tribes wore down the Roman Empire over the next 150 years or so. In 410 AD, the Visigoths invaded Spain and Italy and sacked Rome. This caused Rome to recall her legions from Britain, stating that Britain should 'look to its own defence'

410 AD - 1000 AD
The 'Dark Ages'

A time of mystery and legend. Little is known of this period. After the fall of the 'enlightened and civilised' Romans and their supported regimes it is thought this period was a time of incessant war and revolt. Fact gets superceded by myth. The time of King Arthur, The Knights of the Round Table, Lancelot, Merlin & Vortigern, Tristan & Isolde.

440 - 450 AD
The Anglo-Saxon Invasion

Jutes, Angles and Saxons were at first invited to Britain to act as mercenaries against the raids of the Picts and Irish. They rebel and the Saxons under Hengist and Horsa capture Kent (Ceint) initially. The Saxon armies fan out over the next 200 years to capture and control large swathes of South and East Britain. They press ever westward winning several major battles along the way...except Mount Badon.

710 AD
Advance of the West Saxons

After their victory at Dyrham Down near Bristol, in 577 AD, the Saxons press ever westward. They conquer Devon in 682 AD with Isca first occupied by the Saxons in 710 AD. Cornwall remained independent for a time largely due to the fact that King Roderic of the Britons (Wales & Cornwall) won a great victory over his Saxon counterpart Adelred in 722AD.

787 - 814 AD
The Cornish-Danish Alliance

The Christianized Vikings (Danes) land on the Cornish coast in about 807AD and form an Alliance with the Cornish to fight against the 'heathen' West Saxons. Saxon King Ecgbert of Wessex first conquers Cornwall in 814 AD. He does not succeed in totally subjugating the population. The Alliance 'holds its own' in battles for the next 25 years or so.

838 AD
The Saxon Invasion of Cornwall

The West Saxons (Wessex) finally defeat the Cornish-Danish Alliance in 838 AD however at Hingston Down, near Callington.

927 AD
The capture of Exeter (Isca)

Isca now known as Exeter, is attacked, captured and occupied by the Saxons under Athelstan. All Celts told to leave the city or be removed by early form of 'ethnic cleansing' ??

936 AD
Tamar set as Cornish border

The River Tamar is fixed as the border between Cornwall and England. The east bank is Anglo-Saxon England, the west bank is Celtic Cornwall.

The Modern

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The Cornish Language


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