Cornwall is a county in the southwest of England.
It is bordered by Devon to the east, Somerset to the northeast and Dorset to the north. The Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. Cornwall has a population of 568,000 (2019 estimate) and an area of 3,563 km2 (1,376 sq mi). The administrative centre and only city in Cornwall is Truro.
The Cornish people are proud of their heritage and have their own language, which is similar to Welsh. There are many place names in Cornwall with Celtic origins.
Cornwall was formerly a separate kingdom known as Kernow or Cerniw. In 838 King Egbert of Wessex conquered Cornwall and it became part of his Kingdom of Wessex. In 936 King Athelstan annexed Cornwall into his new Kingdom of England which included Wales and most of present-day Scotland south of Hadrian’s Wall.
Cornwall remained under English rule until 1497 when King Henry VII granted it autonomy following a successful uprising against English rule led by Perkin Warbeck who claimed to be Richard IV, Duke of York.
In 1707 following the Act Of Union between England and Scotland Cornwall lost its status as an autonomous region within England but regained some measure self-government in 1894 with the establishment of County Councils followed by District Councils in 1974. Today Cornwall is governed by unitary authority Cornwall council established in 2009.
Here are ten fun facts about Cornwall:
1. Tintagel Castle is said to be where Arthur Pendragon, better known as King Arthur, was conceived.
2. St Michael’s Mount is home to a medieval chapel dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel – it’s also where Monty Python filmed their famous ‘French Taunter’ scene.
3. Bodmin Moor is thought to be one inspiration for JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
4. Pirates such as Blackbeard used sheltered coves along the coast for refuge.
5. Charles Darwin first formulated his theory on evolution while staying at Shrewsbury House near Liskeard.
6. Cornwall was the last region of England to be conquered by the Normans.
7. Land’s End is mainland Britain’s western most point.
8. Launceston castle claims to be haunted by Lady Jane Grey.
9. There are a number of Cornish customs and traditions which are still practised today. These include ‘Obby ‘Oss’, a folk festival which takes place in Padstow every May Day and ‘Furry Dance’, a parade which takes place in Helston every Floral Dance day.
10. Fictional detective Sherlock Holmes retired to beekeep on Dartmoor.