Cornwall before 1900
A message from King Charles I - displayed in St. Uny Lelant Church
"We are fo highly fenfible of the Extraordinary merits of our County of Cornwall, of their zeal for our Crown, in a time when we could Contribute fo little to our own defence, or to their affiftance. In a time when not only no Relief appeard, but great & Probable dangers were threatned to Obedience & Loyalty, of their great & Eminent courage & patience, in indefatigable Perficutions, of their great work againft fo potent an Enemy, backt with fo ftrong rich & populous Cities. & fo plentifully furnifh with men, & arms, ammunition, & money, & provifions of all forts. & of Ye wonderfull fucceff, it hath pleafed Allmighty God, through with Ye loff of fome great & eminent perfons, who fhall never be forgotten by us. to reward their Loyalty & patience, by many ftrange Victory's. over their & our enemies, in defpite of all human probability & all imaginable difadvantages, as we can not be forgetful, of fo great deferts, fo we can not but ever publifh to all Ye world, & perpetuate to all times Ye Memory of their Merits, & of our Acceptance of Ye fame & to that end, we do hereby render our Royal thanks to that our County in a moft publick & lafting manner, we devife. Commanding copies, here to be printed & publifhed & one of them read in every Church & Chappel, & to be keept & erected in the fame, that as long as the hiftory of thefe Times & of this Nation, fhall continue. Ye memory of how much that County hath merited from us & our Crown, may be delivered with it to pofterity".
Given at our camp at Sudly Caftle September the 10th 1643
Other Notable Dates
1066 Robert de Mortain, the half brother of William the Conqueror, becomes Earl of Cornwall. He builds Launceston Castle in a typical Norman style.
1086 The Domesday Book set up to note all taxable landholdings due to the Crown.
1100-1400 English becomes the first language in Eastern Cornwall.
1100-1400 Many Cornish towns created by Royal Charter.
1100-1400 Population Growth - Improvements in agriculture and farming.
c.1140 Earls of Cornwall created.
1201 First Stannary Court set up by Royal Charter.
c.1230 Tintagel Castle built by Earl Richard.
1280 Lostwithiel designated chief town of the Earldom of Cornwall.
1280-1290 Mappa Mundi created showing Cornwall marked as a distinct part of Britain.
1337 Duchy of Cornwall created by King Edward III. The King's eldest son, Edward the Black Prince, becomes the first Duke of Cornwall.
1349-1360 Black Death reduces the population of Cornwall by 30%.
1496 Stannary Courts suspended. Restored 1508.
1497 The Cornish Rebellion against high taxes imposed by King Edward VII to finance his wars against the Scots. The march ended in a crushing defeat by the King's forces at Blackheath.
1530-1540 The Reformation under Henry VIII. English Bible used increasingly in Cornwall.
1538 First parish registers set up as an early type of population census.
1549 The Prayer Book Rebellion.
1588 The Spanish Armada sighted off the Lizard.
1591 The Bubonic Plague recorded at Redruth.
1595 Spanish navy attacks and burns Mousehole, Paul, Newlyn and parts of Penzance.
1642-1649 English Civil War - Cornish Royalists defeat Parlimentarian forces in East Cornwall.
1644 The Battle of Lostwithiel where the Parliamentary Army lost control of South West England to the King.
1667 The Great Plague reaches West Cornwall.
1687 Bishop Jonathan Trelawny imprisoned in the Tower of London.
1708-1709 Small Pox epidemic.
1733 'The Horse-Hoeing Husbandry' published by Jethro Tull - promoting new techniques in agriculture.
1752 The Gregorian Calendar introduced - replacing the Julian Calendar.
1764-1785 Great technological advances in the textile industry of Northern England - some population relocation to follow this opprtunity. Around this time practices in agriculture moved from the smallholder and yeoman to a system of agricultural labourers owning no land of their own but working as tenants for landlords of the middle & upper classes.
1775 Global Trade expanded greatly with the UK trading chiefly with the infant USA, the Caribbean, India and the colonies.
1790 Devonport and other dockyards greatly expanded due to the growing threat from Napoleonic France.
1815 The Corn Law was introduced to safeguard the agricultural industry of the UK by artificially keeping up prices. The Effect Of The Corn Law was to make the price of corn so high that the poorer classes were driven into poverty and experienced great hardship.
1831 The First Reform Bill passed enabling a wider section of the populace to vote.
1845-1851 'The Hungry Forties' - The Great Famine: Ireland's Potato Famine 1845-51 - over a fifth of the population died (1.2m). Poor harvests and food shortages in the UK. A time of mass emmigration to the colonies - over 4 million left Ireland mainly for the United States with over 12 million leaving the UK for the colonies between 1820-1910.
1848 Average age of death 28 years in West Cornwall - not so much of a shock when you learn "1 house in 12" or "1 house in 28 had a privy" (toilet)
1848 Gold discovered in California.
1849 Cholera in West Cornwall.
1849-1850 Small Pox epidemic.
1850 The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 and the rapid expansion of the railways gave the economy the boost it needed and the population renewed hope.
1851 Gold discovered in Australia. Many miners left Cornwall around this time to seek their fortune, especially to Perth (Sn), Western Australia (Au), New South Wales - Bendigo and Broken Hill (Cu, Au, Ag, Pb & Zn), Victoria (Au, Ag); New Zealand - Otago (Gold discovered 1861) and of course to Kimberley and the Witwatersrand in South Africa (Diamonds and Gold). To learn more about what day to day life was like for the average Cornish mining family click on the following link Living Conditions for the Cornish Miner.
March 9th 1891 The Great Blizzard.