The Survey of Cornwall

Cover of book The Survey of Cornwall
Categories: Nonfiction

T H E S V R V E Y O F CORNWALLThe first Booke.Cornwall, the farthest Shire of England Westwards, hath her name by diuers Authors diuersly deriued. Some (as our owne Chroniclers) draw it from Corineus,


cousin to Brute, the first Conqueror of this Iland: who wrastling at Plymmouth (as they say) with a mightie Giant, called Gogmagog, threw him ouer Cliffe, brake his necke, and receiued the gift of that Countrie, in reward for his prowesse: Some, as Cerealis, (no lesse mistaken perhaps in that, then in his measures) from Cornu Galliae, a home or corner of Fraunce, whereagainst nature hath placed it: and some, from Cornu Walliae, which (in my conjecture) carrieth greatest likelyhood of truth.For what time the Saxons, after many bloudie inuasions [Anno Dom. 586.] as Pirates, began at last to plant their dwellings [2a] and take roote in this Iland, as Conquerors, the Britons, by them supplanted, were driuen to seeke their safegard in the waste Moores, craggie Mountaines, and wild Forrests of Wales and Cornwall, where the Countries barrennesse barred their pursuers from victuals, and the dangerousnesse of the passages laid them open to priuie inuasions. Such as had in this sort withdrawne themselves, the Saxons termed Welshmen, by interpretation strangers, for so they were to them, as they to the Countrie: and their place of abode they called Welshland, sithence turned to Wales, euen as by the same reason, they giue still the same name to Italy. Now, Cornwall being cast out into the Sea, with the shape of a horne, borrowed the one part of her name from her fashion, as Matthew of Westminster testifieth, and the other from her Inhabitants; both which conjoyned, make Cornwalliae, and contriued, Cornwall: in which sence, the Cornish people call it Kernow, deriued likewise from Kerne a home. Neither needeth this composition to be accompted any way vncouth, seeing the same is made familiar vnto vs by the like in other Countries, as of Herbipolis in Germanie, Lombardie in Italy, Paleocastrum in Crete, and Neoportus in Carniola: all which, with many other, are likewise compacted of double languages.This ill-halfening hornie name, hath (as Corneto in Italy) opened a gap to the scoffes of many, who not knowing their owne present condition, or at least their future destinie, can be contented to draw an odious mirth from a publike infamie. But seeing the wisest Enditer, hath directed the penne of his holiest writers to vse this terme, not only in a good meaning, but also in a significant sense, and to sanctifie the thing itselfe in sundrie parts of his seruice: such iesters dishonest indiscretion is rather charitably to bee pittied, then their exception either angerly to be grieued at, or seriously to bee confuted. ...

The Survey of Cornwall
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