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8.7.09

Where is Cornwall?

One in five school children think Cornwall is in Scotland according to this Mail Online article.

Of course it's important to ask why so many kids have such a poor sense of geography but surely the first step to a solution is being 100% honest about the facts of history.

As has been explained in detail by the people behind -Tyr Gwyr Gweryn- and -The Duchy of Cornwall Human Rights Association- Cornwall has never legally been part of the country of England. A protectorate of the English Crown and then later UK state perhaps but never part of England or a simple English shire county.

With this in mind I think It would prove far more interesting to ask why the majority place Cornwall in England. How did this situation come about? How did we loose our country?

An interesting extract from A K Hamilton Jenkin's "Cornwall and its People (1933)" indicates education as the source of the Cornish conundrum and the root of uncertainty about our Cornish identity. The extract gives an account of one Peggy Combellack in her dame-school, circa 1840:

The next lesson was in geography. This subject was regarded by Peggy as her masterpiece of learning. "Es Coornwall a naation, a hiland, or what es 'a?" she inquired on one of these occasions. This question completely baffled the whole school, putting the scholars into one continued hubbub. "Ef I aint got a hanser in five menutes, I'll give 'ee all the custis" (caning on the hands), Peggy exclaimed. "I will have horder, though the owld school do cost more in canes than 'tes worth. Now what es Coornwall, I say. Es 'a a naation, a hiland or a furrin country?" "Boy Kit" was the first to hold up his hand. "Please, he hedn't no naation, he hedn't no hiland, nor he hedn't no furrin country, but he's cigged (stuck) on to a furrin country from the top hand," came the bright reply, which was heard with approval by the whole school, Peggy herself included.

Has the Anglo-British establishment slowly removed our unique constitutional accommodation within the UK? Have our schools been used to help the Cornish forget they ever even had any special relationship with the UK in the first place? Is the question of Cornwall's constitutional history or distinct national identity even touched on in our schools today? Not a bit of it! We have a majority schools and curriculum content in the Duchy pumping out English history and culture with not even a nod to the indigenous Cornish identity or its actual history.

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