| 3,563 km²|| South West England|
| Cornwall College, Falmouth University|
Lands End, Eden Project, Lost Gardens of Heligan, The Lizard, The Flambards Experience
Truro, Newquay, Penzance, Falmouth, St Austell
Cornwall ( or Cornish: , ) is a ceremonial county and unitary authority area of England within the United Kingdom. Cornwall is a peninsula bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of 536,000 and covers an area of 3,563 km2 (1,376 sq mi). The administrative centre, and only city in Cornwall, is Truro, although the town of St Austell has the largest population.
Cornwall forms the westernmost part of the south-west peninsula of the island of Great Britain, and a large part of the Cornubian batholith is within Cornwall. This area was first inhabited in the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods. It continued to be occupied by Neolithic and then Bronze Age peoples, and later (in the Iron Age) by Brythons with distinctive cultural relations to neighbouring Wales and Brittany. There is little evidence that Roman rule was effective west of Exeter and few Roman remains have been found. Cornwall was the home of a division of the Dumnonii tribe – whose tribal centre was in the modern county of Devon – known as the Cornovii, separated from the Brythons of Wales after the Battle of Deorham, often coming into conflict with the expanding English kingdom of Wessex before King Athelstan in AD 936 set the boundary between English and Cornish at the high water mark of the eastern bank of the River Tamar. From the early Middle Ages, British language and culture was apparently shared by Brythons trading across both sides of the Channel, evidenced by the corresponding high medieval Breton kingdoms of Domnonée and Cornouaille and the Celtic Christianity common to both territories.
Historically tin mining was important in the Cornish economy, becoming increasingly significant during the High Middle Ages and expanding greatly during the 19th century when rich copper mines were also in production. In the mid-19th century, however, the tin and copper mines entered a period of decline. Subsequently china clay extraction became more important and metal mining had virtually ended by the 1990s. Traditionally, fishing (particularly of pilchards) and agriculture (notably dairy products and vegetables) were the other important sectors of the economy. Railways led to a growth of tourism in the 20th century; however, Cornwalls economy struggled after the decline of the mining and fishing industries.
The area is noted for its wild moorland landscapes, its long and varied coastline, its attractive villages, its many place-names derived from the Cornish language, and its very mild climate. Extensive stretches of Cornwalls coastline, and Bodmin Moor, are protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Cornwall is the traditional homeland of the Cornish people and is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, retaining a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history. Some people question the present constitutional status of Cornwall, and a nationalist movement seeks greater autonomy within the United Kingdom in the form of a devolved legislative assembly. On 24 April 2014 it was announced that Cornish people will be granted minority status under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
The present human history of Cornwall begins with the reoccupation of Britain after the last Ice Age. The area now known as Cornwall was first inhabited in the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods. It continued to be occupied by Neolithic and then Bronze Age peoples. According to John T. Koch and others, Cornwall in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-networked culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age, in modern-day Ireland, England, France, Spain and Portugal. During the British Iron Age Cornwall, like all of Britain south of the Firth of Forth, was inhabited by a Celtic people known as the Britons with distinctive cultural relations to neighbouring Wales and Brittany. The Common Brittonic spoken at the time eventually developed into several distinct tongues, including Cornish.
The first account of Cornwall comes from the Sicilian Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (c. 90 BCE – c. 30 BCE), supposedly quoting or paraphrasing the 4th-century BCE geographer Pytheas, who had sailed to Britain:
The inhabitants of that part of Britain called Belerion (or Lands End) from their intercourse with foreign merchants, are civilised in their manner of life. They prepare the tin, working very carefully the earth in which it is produced ... Here then the merchants buy the tin from the natives and carry it over to Gaul, and after travelling overland for about thirty days, they finally bring their loads on horses to the mouth of the Rhône.
— Halliday (1959), p. 51.
The identity of these merchants is unknown. It has been theorised that they were Phoenicians, but there is no evidence for this. (For further discussion of tin mining see the section on the economy below.)
There is little evidence that Roman rule was effective west of Exeter in Devon and few Roman remains have been found. However after 410, Cornwall appears to have reverted to rule by Romano-Celtic chieftains of the Cornovii tribe as part of Dumnonia including one Marcus Cunomorus with at least one significant power base at Tintagel. King Mark of Cornwall is a semi-historical figure known from Welsh literature, the Matter of Britain, and in particular, the later Norman-Breton medieval romance of Tristan and Yseult where he is regarded as a close kinsman of King Arthur; himself usually considered to be born of the Cornish people in folklore traditions derived from Geoffrey of Monmouths Historia Regum Britanniae. Archaeology supports ecclesiastical, literary and legendary evidence for some relative economic stability and close cultural ties between the sub-Roman Westcountry, South Wales, Brittany and Ireland through the fifth and sixth centuries.
Cornwall forms the tip of the south-west peninsula of the island of Great Britain, and is therefore exposed to the full force of the prevailing winds that blow in from the Atlantic Ocean. The coastline is composed mainly of resistant rocks that give rise in many places to impressive cliffs. Cornwall has a border with only one other county, Devon, which is formed almost entirely by the River Tamar and (to the north) by the Marsland Valley.
Cornwall is one of the poorest parts of the United Kingdom in terms of per capita GDP and average household incomes. At the same time, parts of the county, especially on the coast, have high house prices, driven up by demand from relatively wealthy retired people and second-home owners. The GVA per head was 65% of the UK average for 2004. The GDP per head for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly was 79.2% of the EU-27 average for 2004, the UK per head average was 123.0%.
Since the 19th century, Cornwall, with its unspoilt maritime scenery and strong light, has sustained a vibrant visual art scene of international renown. Artistic activity within Cornwall was initially centred on the art-colony of Newlyn, most active at the turn of the 20th century. This Newlyn School is associated with the names of Stanhope Forbes, Elizabeth Forbes, Norman Garstin and Lamorna Birch. Modernist writers such as D. H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf lived in Cornwall between the wars, and Ben Nicholson, the painter, having visited in the 1920s came to live in St Ives with his then wife, the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, at the outbreak of the second world war. They were later joined by the Russian emigrant Naum Gabo, and other artists. These included Peter Lanyon, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Bryan Wynter and Roger Hilton. St Ives also houses the Leach Pottery, where Bernard Leach, and his followers championed Japanese inspired studio pottery. Much of this modernist work can be seen in Tate St Ives. The Newlyn Society and Penwith Society of Arts continue to be active, and contemporary visual art is documented in a dedicated online journal.
Cornwall has a full and vibrant folk music tradition which has survived into the present and is well known for its unusual folk survivals such as Mummers Plays, the Furry Dance in Helston played by the famous Helston Town Band, and Obby Oss in Padstow.
As in other former mining districts of Britain, male voice choirs and Brass Bands, e.g. Brass on the Grass concerts during the summer at Constantine, are still very popular in Cornwall: Cornwall also has around 40 brass bands, including the six-times National Champions of Great Britain, Camborne Youth Band, and the bands of Lanner and St Dennis.
Cornish players are regular participants in inter-Celtic festivals, and Cornwall itself has several lively inter-Celtic festivals such as Perranporths Lowender Peran folk festival.
On a more modern note, contemporary musician Richard D. James (also known as Aphex Twin) grew up in Cornwall, as did Luke Vibert and Alex Parks winner of Fame Academy 2003. Roger Taylor, the drummer from the band Queen was also raised in the county, and currently lives not far from Falmouth. The American singer/songwriter Tori Amos now resides predominantly in North Cornwall not far from Bude with her family. The lutenist, lutarist, composer and festival director Ben Salfield lives in Truro.
Cornwall has a strong culinary heritage. Surrounded on three sides by the sea amid fertile fishing grounds, Cornwall naturally has fresh seafood readily available; Newlyn is the largest fishing port in the UK by value of fish landed. Television chef Rick Stein has long operated a fish restaurant in Padstow for this reason, and Jamie Oliver recently chose to open his second restaurant, Fifteen, in Watergate Bay near Newquay. MasterChef host and founder of Smiths of Smithfield, John Torode, in 2007 purchased Seiners in Perranporth. One famous local fish dish is Stargazy pie, a fish-based pie in which the heads of the fish stick through the piecrust, as though "star-gazing". The pie is cooked as part of traditional celebrations for Tom Bawcocks Eve, but is not generally eaten at any other time.
Cornish cuisine encompasses the cooking styles, traditions and recipes associated with Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, and the Cornish people. It has been heavily influenced by the geography of the county as well as its social history.
Cornwall being a peninsula surrounded by seas historically well-stocked with fish has meant that fish dishes form a major part of the historical and modern recipes in Cornwall. The fishing industry has played a major part in the economy of the county. The iconic dish of Cornwall, the pasty, has its roots in another historical industry within the county, this being mining.
Cornwall has influenced and been influenced by other British cuisine, as well as having similarities with the cuisine of its neighbour in South West England, Devon.
Certain Cornish food dishes have been granted protected geographical status under EU law, ensuring that they can only be labelled and marketed as "Cornish" if they are produced and mainly sourced within Cornwall. The Cornwall Food and Drink festival promotes Cornish cuisine and produce. A major theme is the use of game foods as well as fish. A number of high profile Cornish restaurants and hotels use game as part of their menu. This is highlighted at the Cornwall Food and Drink festival by the Magnificent Seven Dinner, put on by seven of the best chefs in Cornwall.
Cornwall is perhaps best known though for its pasties, a savoury dish made with pastry. Todays pasties usually contain a filling of beef steak, onion, potato and swede with salt and white pepper, but historically pasties had a variety of different fillings. "Turmut, tates and mate" (i.e. "Turnip, potatoes and meat", turnip being the Cornish and Scottish term for swede, itself an abbreviation of Swedish Turnip) describes a filling once very common. For instance, the licky pasty contained mostly leeks, and the herb pasty contained watercress, parsley, and shallots. Pasties are often locally referred to as oggies. Historically, pasties were also often made with sweet fillings such as jam, apple and blackberry, plums or cherries. The wet climate and relatively poor soil of Cornwall make it unsuitable for growing many arable crops. However, it is ideal for growing the rich grass required for dairying, leading to the production of Cornwalls other famous export, clotted cream. This forms the basis for many local specialities including Cornish fudge and Cornish ice cream. Cornish clotted cream has Protected Geographical Status under EU law, and cannot be made anywhere else. Its principal manufacturer is Roddas, based at Scorrier.
Local cakes and desserts include Saffron cake, Cornish heavy (hevva) cake, Cornish fairings biscuits, figgy obbin, Cream tea and whortleberry pie.
There are also many types of beers brewed in Cornwall – those produced by Sharps Brewery, Skinners Brewery and St Austell Brewery are the best-known – including stouts, ales and other beer types. There is some small scale production of wine, mead and cider.