The history of Cornwall has shaped the county we know now, dating back to the Bronze and Iron ages. Cornwall is home to wild moors, quaint fishing villages and St Piran; discover the story of the Cornish flag and how music, fishing and cider has impact the country and caused a recent serge in popularity.
Cornwall, or ‘Kernow’ in Cornish, has a distinctive Celtic heritage and a unique history, sculpted by its wild coastline and isolation from the rest of England. Wherever you go, you will see Saint Piran’s Flag – a white cross on a black background. It is the flag of Cornwall, attributed to the 6th century Cornish Abbot, St Piran. One of its oldest depictions is at Westminster Abbey, in a stained-glass window dating back to 1888, dedicated to the Cornish inventor, Richard Trevithick.
Cornwall was first inhabited during the Bronze and Iron ages, when strong trade and cultural connections were forged with Wales and Brittany. Mining began in the Bronze Age, particularly tin mining, which quickly became one of the region’s most important industries. Ruined mines still dot the Cornish countryside and are among the county’s most iconic images. During the Elizabethan era, the coast was terrorised by pirates, smugglers and wreckers, who preyed on ships on the rocky coast. Fishing and agriculture have traditionally been important industries, and in the 20th century, the construction of better railways and roads led to the development of tourism. Tourists flock from their Cornish cottages to take in the sites across the county.
Cornwall has a rich heritage of art, music and literature. For centuries, the county’s enchanting light has inspired painters and sculptors such as Ben Nicolson, Barbara Hepworth and Stanhope Forbes. D.H Lawrence and Virginia Woolf both lived and worked in Cornwall between the wars, and the county appears in much of the late poet laureate John Betjeman’s work. He is buried at St Enodoc’s Church, in Trebetherick.