Cornish history

Stone Age

The earliest stone tools found in Cornwall date from around 4500BC and there are remains a stone age settlement at Carn Brae (near Redruth). The name "Cornwall" comes from Cornovii (hill dwellers), and Waelas (strangers). Many burial chambers remain from this period, good examples of which can be seen at Trethevy Quoit near St Cleer, Liskeard, and Chun Cromlech near Land's End.

Bronze Age

Around 2500BC a trade started growing in tin and copper, with foreign traders exchanging bronze tools and gold ornaments for the minerals. The remains of Bronze Age villages can be seen on Bodmin Moor and the West Penwith Uplands. Excavations reveal these peoples to be, living in villages and practicing farming with evidence of metalworking.

The Celtic Iron Age

Around 1000 BC came knowledge of forging iron into weapons. The Celts, the ancestors of the modern Cornish, lived in villages and farmed, mined for tin, copper, bronze and iron, smelted and worked the metal. Chysuaster near Penzance is the one of their settlements with the low stone walls, grinding stones and the fireplaces in evidence. Many of the settlements were on hilltops to protect from attack. Most of their settlements were fortified against attack. The word "Car" or "Caer" in Cornish place names are from the Celtic "ker" meaning fort, and "Dinas" meaning hill.

Roman times

The Roman landings in Britain in 55BC appear to have had little impact in Cornwall with the last major Roman settlement in the west being at Exeter. The Tamar, Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin Moor acted as impediments to the Romans. The Cornish Celts were left much to themselves.

Middle Ages

When the Romans left Britain, Cornwall became more under Saxon influence. After the Norman conquest, the integration of Cornwall into Britain started to increase. Cornwall was given to Roberts, William's half-brother, who made his headquarters at Launceston, where he built the castle to enforce his rule. Cornwall was ruled by a succession of relatives of the Norman and Plantagenet kings.

The first Duke of Cornwall was Edward, son of Edward III. Throughout the middle ages there were a number of rebellions. The Prayer Book Rebellion in 1549 against the imposition of the English Prayer book resulted in many Cornishmen being executed. A Spanish invasion took place at Mounts Bay in 1595. The Civil War between 1642-1649 led to battles and sieges in Cornwall. The Monmouth Rebellion took place in 1685.

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