Cornwall, human name Curnow Penberthy
Artist | Student | Traditional Art
Name: Cornwall aka Curnow Penberthy
Appearance: He has dark blonde hair and green-blue eyes that are sometime seen to be hazel, this id due to losing his own identity as the Cornish culture faded but is now being slowly reclaimed, his originally brown haired, blue eyed look may return but as of now it is uncertain. He is short of stature only around 5”5 and has always been fairly short for a male, but his height is increasing as the average height of his county’s people does.
The way he dresses varies generally wearing shirts of a pale or base colour, browns and greys, with flannel trousers that are generally dark in colour often held up by braces, and the pockets often had a flap they could button up. These were worn often when at sea to keep the contents of his pockets contained, he often wore these when fishing in his earlier days.
When he was fishing he’d make sure to wear smocks, they are ‘T’ shaped with wide, straight neck and stand up collar, or a small slit as the front with a flat collar, colours varied from greys to browns and cream to light grey. However, Cornwall preferred the cream coloured smocks to use while fishing.
He wears Guernsey’s in the cold of winter, which are hand-knitted jumpers and is often found knitting them himself, he has his own individual pattern which he likes to knit into his jumpers. He has a simple Celtic design darned across the edges of his jumpers. He often is seen wearing various hats, with his fishing outfit however it is a round topped with a small brim that is made from oiled cloth, which Cornwall wears in dark blue. He wore tall heavy boots while out at sea, sometimes even thigh high boots, and he tacked scutes (metal shapes) into the heels to prevent wearing and lengthen the life of the leather, sometimes he drove nails into the heels for the same reason.
However, when he is on his farm he wears blue overalls and steel-toed wellies for traipsing on the mud. Also wearing Yarks, (binder twine or straps worn around the lower trouser leg, under the knee, to give the trouser knee more flexibility when working, and to prevent snakes and mice from climbing up inside! He is often seen wearing a waistcoat were mainly they are short, but usually covered the top of the high-waisted trousers, and they had a high button fastening at the front. Occasionally they were made from leather or suede, but mostly they were made from woollen cloth, back and front, the colours he wears are dark or brown. He wore a wide brimmed straw hat while working in the fields, however is less and less seen to be wearing a hat like this and nowadays just wears a cap or nothing at all on his head.
Personality: Cornwall was mostly seen as an isolated nation, many of his people saw themselves as a separate race than the rest of the nation, they had their own language, of which most now rarely speak which often means that Cornwall stays silent, it hit him hard when his people began to forget his own language that he grew far more silent than he used to be, his voice was faded. However, now that they are trying to revive the language his voice is growing a little louder. The Cornish used to be much like the Scottish, Welsh and English, they were different from the English, but slowly Cornish life became few and far between and they were immersed into British culture. Cornwall used to have dark brown hair and it was wild and untamed much like most of the Cornish landscape, and he had dark blue eyes which represented the completely surrounding seas. However, when Cornwall became more immersed in British life his eyes started to fade to green like England’s and his hair became a blonde.
Even though Cornwall is connected to the England the county and its people have mostly been physically isolated, surrounded by seas on all sides but one and the river Tamar practically severs it’s only link with England. Following the collapse of Roman rule in Britain, this natural fortress became a place of refuge for the original British inhabitants known as the ‘Celts’, Cornwall gladly welcomed them for the safety of his young brother England, he would never want England to lose who he is. Soon an independent British polity was established within Cornwall, and was defended against the Saxon incursion for many hundreds of years. Cornwall was thankful for England’s guidance and help during this time, because Cornish culture still retained the markings of a separate culture, when the ‘West Britons’ were finally subdued in 838. Cornish culture was entirely different to their English counterparts.
England and Cornwall wee inherently different Cornwall being dark haired but blue eyed, whilst England was blonde haired and green eyed, and stronger in his own ways, Cornwall had a different language to England and a different way of life. The Cornish were descended from British ancestors and not Saxon ones and as late as the mid-16th century they still possessed their own styles of dress, their own folklore, their own naming-custom, their own agricultural practices and their own games and pastimes. Cornwall was completely different from England, until his little county began to get immersed with his brother’s culture.
Most of the modern period Cornwall was seen as a British culture and not an English one, otherwise known as Kernow, and foreigners saw it the same. France often observed England as well as visiting Cornwall for his luxurious beaches and countryside, France has always seen Cornwall as completely independent of England, so when he began to change he tried to help Cornwall to change and guide his people back to their own culture. For this Cornwall was close to France and saw him very much as his older brother, and often goes to him for help and support.
In the introduction to his famous 'Anglica Historia', first published in 1535, the Italian scholar Polydore Vergil wrote that:
'the whole Countrie of Britain ...is divided into iiii partes; whereof the one is inhabited of Englishmen, the other of Scottes, the third of Wallshemen, [and] the fowerthe of Cornishe people, which all differ emonge them selves, either in tongue, ...in manners, or ells in lawes and ordinaunces.'
This excerpt helps to emphasise that Cornwall was once separate from England, Cornwall is working with officials and schools to try and reclaim his heritage, his eyes have since become blue-green and his blonde hair is now a darker shade of blonde, he wants to become separated from England and be known as a separate race as Wales and Scotland have. It was regarded by so many people that Cornwall was almost like a separate country, often seen as a different ethnic group. Italy once visited with Lodovico Falier (an Italian diplomat at the court of Henry VIII) they both saw that the Cornish were so different that the English and the Cornish did not understand each other. Cornwall and England often had trouble getting along when they were growing and developing, they never directly fought like Scotland and Ireland did and Cornwall was never as cruel as his brothers were, but he could kick off a nasty argument with his brother who was often left hurt and alone. Cornwall and England couldn’t understand why they were just so different.
In his younger years Cornwall was seen to be much like his own people just as other nations, he was poor like many of the farmers and town people and lived in a small leaky cottage in the middle of the countryside. He was rather rough around the edges, a lot different from England’s refined, gentlemanly behaviour and was often seen to be boorish and unwelcoming of foreigners.
During the Tudor period nearly everyone observed that the English and the Cornish were separate, but in 1700 practically no one did. During this time is when Cornwall first began to change, when his own people began to forget their language and less and less people used it, instead favouring the English language in replacement of their own. Cornwall was sure that even he had forgotten it, and it was because of this that he has a small scar on his throat where his language was seemingly ripped from his throat, he couldn’t remember it very well anymore.
The Reformation accelerated the process. In 1549 Edward VI’s protestant government decreed that familiar Latin liturgy should be replaced with a new Prayer Book in English. A rebellion surged in the West Country fuelled by Cornish anger at the assault on the traditional church that had been so supportive of their ancient language and culture. Cornwall had ran to England when his king had announced this and demanded he revoke it, his own self was already changing and he was afraid that he would completely lose himself, he fought with England but was defeated, he was far weaker than his brother. The rebellion of his people was crushed with hideous slaughter, Cornwall has a deep scar over his heart where he suffered the pain of losing so many of his people, three to four thousand were killed, and the ruling classes began to see the Cornish language as a rebellion and sedition, as well as poverty and ‘backwardness’.
During the time after so many were killed and during, Cornwall was in pain. A lot of pain and suffering he suffered as his people declined and his language was lost, he doesn’t recall a lot of his memories during this time and is often left staring blankly ahead of him with moments of relapsing. He is often pained with the memory of losing his Cornish culture and England has felt guilty for the pain he caused his brother ever since, and since provided support in his attempt to revive of Cornish culture and lost language.
What is certain is that the failure to provide a liturgy in the Cornish tongue did much to hasten the subsequent decline of the language.
By 1640, the Cornish tongue was restricted to the far west of the peninsula and yet the Cornish differences remained strong, made clear when Cornwall declared itself wholeheartedly for the King during the opening months of the civil war. At least in part because Charles I was regarded as British and not English like the Parliamentarian opponents. The Cornish grew the reputation for being his most committed supporters and several thousand Cornish soldiers lost their lives in his services. Cornwall gained a deep scar across the back of his head for the loss of their lives during the Civil war and was seen to be backwards in his beliefs in wanting to follow the king and not a peoples Parliament. This alliance with the king was shown to be disastrous because of the King’s eventual defeat in 1646, after this the Cornish language and sense of identity faded fast.
By 1700, there were only 5000 Cornish speakers left: most of them living in the coastal parishes between the Lizard and Land's End. From this last, precarious toehold, there was nowhere left for the language to go but into the sea itself - and into the sea it eventually went: ending its days as a technical, ship-board vocabulary employed by a handful of elderly fishermen during the late 18th century. Cornish, it seemed, had died - and with it had died Cornwall's claim to be the fifth British nation. Or had it?
For today's Cornishmen and women - some of them speaking revived versions of Cornish, many of them increasingly fascinated both by Cornwall's distinctive past and by its potential future within a devolved United Kingdom - the answer is by no means clear-cut.