Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Judicious, Daniel 3:25-43, Psalms 25:4-9, Matthew 18:21-35, St. Piran, Cornwall England, Catholic Catechism Part One Section 2 The Creeds Chapter 3:9 I Believe in the Holy Catholic Church

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Judicious, Daniel 3:25-43, Psalms 25:4-9, Matthew 18:21-35, St. Piran, Cornwall England, Catholic Catechism Part One Section 2 The Creeds Chapter 3:9 I Believe in the Holy Catholic Church

Good Day Bloggers!  Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012

Heed the Solemnity of Lent! This Lent instead of "Giving Up" something, why not "Give" by volunteering time to a worthy cause, or extending a simple act of kindness! This blog is an act of giving, simply "opening a door" to all to learn about God, the history and cultures of humanity, the geography of our biosphere, the catechism of the Catholic Church and more; its you choice of "free will" to walk through this blog with an open mind, to learn, to evaluate, to contemplate,.  Start by familiarizing yourself with the Beatitudes, they are universal to all mankind, of which one is the gift of knowledge, utilize.

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’(Matthew 25:34-40)


Prayers for Today: Tuesday in Lent


 Prayer For the Holy Election of Our New Pope

Sadly Pope Benedict XVI has announced his retirement on the Feast Day of our Lady of Lourdes. We must pray together for Pope Benedict XVI retirement and our New Pope, yet to be elected, as well as all of Gods Shepherds.

May the Lord preserve the sanctity of the enclave as they embark on electing our new Holy Father, give him life, and make him blessed upon earth, and deliver him not to the will of his enemies.

O God, the Shepherd and Ruler of all the faithful, in Thy mercy look down upon Thy servant, (Our New Pope), whom Thou will appoint to preside over Thy Church, and grant we beseech Thee that both by word and example he may edify those who are under his charge; so that, with the flock entrusted to him, he may attain life everlasting. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


March 2, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
“Dear children; Anew, in a motherly way, I am calling you not to be of a hard heart. Do not shut your eyes to the warnings which the Heavenly Father sends to you out of love. Do you love Him above all else? Do you repent for having often forgotten that the Heavenly Father, out of His great love, sent His Son to redeem us by the Cross? Do you repent for not having accepted the message? My children, do not resist the love of my Son. Do not resist hope and peace. Along with your prayers and fasting, by His Cross, my Son will cast away the darkness that wants to surround you and come to rule over you. He will give you the strength for a new life. Living it according to my Son, you will be a blessing and a hope to all those sinners who wander in the darkness of sin. My children, keep vigil. I, as a mother, am keeping vigil with you. I am especially praying and watching over those whom my Son called to be light-bearers and carriers of hope for you – for your shepherds. Thank you.”

February 25, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
“Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. Sin is pulling you towards worldly things and I have come to lead you towards holiness and the things of God, but you are struggling and spending your energies in the battle with the good and the evil that are in you. Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray until prayer becomes a joy for you and your life will become a simple walk towards God. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

 February 2, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
"Dear children, love is bringing me to you - the love which I desire to teach you also - real love; the love which my Son showed you when He died on the Cross out of love for you; the love which is always ready to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. How great is your love? My motherly heart is sorrowful as it searches for love in your hearts. You are not ready to submit your will to God's will out of love. You cannot help me to have those who have not come to know God's love to come to know it, because you do not have real love. Consecrate your hearts to me and I will lead you. I will teach you to forgive, to love your enemies and to live according to my Son. Do not be afraid for yourselves. In afflictions my Son does not forget those who love. I will be beside you. I will implore the Heavenly Father for the light of eternal truth and love to illuminate you. Pray for your shepherds so that through your fasting and prayer they can lead you in love. Thank you."



Today's Word:  judicious   ju·di·cious  [joo-dish-uhs]

Origin: 1590–1600;  < Latin jūdici ( um ) judgment (see judge, -ium) + -ous; compare Italian giudizioso, French judicieux

1. using or showing judgment as to action or practical expediency; discreet, prudent, or politic: judicious use of one's money.
2. having, exercising, or characterized by good or discriminating judgment; wise, sensible, or well-advised: a judicious selection of documents.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 25:4-9

4 DIRECT me in your ways, Yahweh, and teach me your paths.
5 ENCOURAGE me to walk in your truth and teach me since you are the God who saves me. FOR my hope is in you all day long -- such is your generosity, Yahweh.
6 GOODNESS and faithful love have been yours for ever, Yahweh, do not forget them.
7 HOLD not my youthful sins against me, but remember me as your faithful love dictates.
8 INTEGRITY and generosity are marks of Yahweh for he brings sinners back to the path.
9 JUDICIOUSLY he guides the humble, instructing the poor in his way.


Today's Epistle -  Jeremiah 18:18-20

18 'Come on,' they said, 'let us concoct a plot against Jeremiah, for the Law will not perish for lack of priests, nor advice for lack of wise men, nor the word for lack of prophets. Come on, let us slander him and pay no attention to anything he says.'
19 Pay attention to me, Yahweh, hear what my adversaries are saying.
20 Should evil be returned for good? Now they are digging a pit for me. Remember how I pleaded before you and spoke good of them, to turn your retribution away from them.


Today's Gospel Reading Matthew 18:21-35

Then Peter went up to him and said, 'Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?' Jesus answered, 'Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times. 'And so the kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a king who decided to settle his accounts with his servants. When the reckoning began, they brought him a man who owed ten thousand talents; he had no means of paying, so his master gave orders that he should be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, to meet the debt. At this, the servant threw himself down at his master's feet, with the words, "Be patient with me and I will pay the whole sum." And the servant's master felt so sorry for him that he let him go and cancelled the debt.

Now as this servant went out, he happened to meet a fellow-servant who owed him one hundred denarii; and he seized him by the throat and began to throttle him, saying, "Pay what you owe me." His fellow-servant fell at his feet and appealed to him, saying, "Be patient with me and I will pay you." But the other would not agree; on the contrary, he had him thrown into prison till he should pay the debt. His fellow-servants were deeply distressed when they saw what had happened, and they went to their master and reported the whole affair to him. Then the master sent for the man and said to him, "You wicked servant, I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow-servant just as I had pity on you?" And in his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay all his debt. And that is how my heavenly Father will deal with you unless you each forgive your brother from your heart.' 

• Today’s Gospel speaks to us about the need for pardon. It is not easy to forgive, because certain grief and pain continue to burn the heart. There are persons who say: “I forgive, but I do not forget!” Rancour, tensions, diverse opinions, insults, offences, provocations, all this renders pardon and reconciliation difficult. Let us try to meditate on the words of Jesus which speak about reconciliation (Mt 18, 21-22) and which speak to us about the parable of pardon without limits (Mt 18, 23-35).

• Matthew 18, 21-22: To forgive seventy times seven! Jesus had spoken of the importance of pardon and of the need of knowing how to accept the brothers and sisters to help them to reconcile themselves with the community (Mt 18, 15-20) Before these words of Jesus, Peter asks: “How often should I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?” Number seven indicates perfection. In this case, it was synonymous of always. Jesus goes far beyond the proposal of Peter. He eliminates any possibility of limitation to pardon: “Not seven I tell you, but seventy seven times!” That is, seventy times always! Because there is no proportion between the pardon which we receive from God and the pardon which we should offer to the brother, as the parable of pardon without limit teaches us.

• The expression seventy seven times was a clear reference to the words of Lamech who said: “·I killed a man for wounding me, a boy for striking me. Sevenfold vengeance for Cain but seventy-sevenfold for Lamech” (Gen 4, 23-24). Jesus wants to invert the spiral of violence which entered the world because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, because of the killing of Abel by Cain and for the vengeance of Lamech. When uncontrolled violence invades life, everything goes wrong and life disintegrates itself. The Deluge arrived and the Tower of Babel appeared for universal dominion (Gen 2, 1 to 11, 32).

• Matthew 18, 23-35: The parable of pardon without limits. The debt of ten thousand talents was approximately around 164 tons of gold. The debt of one hundred denarii was worth about 30 grams of gold. There is no comparison between the two! Even if the debtor together with his wife and children set to work their whole life, they would never be capable to get 164 tons of gold. Before God’s love which forgives gratuitously our debt of 164 tons of gold, is more than just on our part to forgive gratuitously the debt of 30 grams of gold, seventy times always! The only limit to the gratuity of pardon of God is our incapacity to forgive our brother! (Mt 18,34; 6,15).

• The community, an alternative space of solidarity and of fraternity: the society of the Roman Empire was hard and without a heart, without any space for the little ones. They sought refuge for the heart and did not find it. The Synagogue was also demanding and did not offer them any place. And in the Christian communities, the rigor of some in the observance of the Law made life together difficult because they used the same criteria of the Synagogue. Besides this, toward the end of the first century, in the Christian communities began to appear the same divisions which existed in society between rich and poor (Jm 2, 1-9). Instead of making of the community a space of acceptance, they ran the risk of becoming a place of condemnation and conflict. Matthew wants to enlighten the communities, in such a way that these be an alternative space of solidarity and of fraternity. They should be Good News for the poor. 

Personal question
• Why is it so difficult to forgive?
• In our community is there a space for reconciliation? How? 

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  Saint Piran

Feast DayMarch 5

Patron Saint:  Tin-miners, Cornwall


Saint Piran
Saint Piran or Perran (traditionally in Cornwall, saints are simply named, without this title) (Cornish: Peran) was an early 6th century Cornish abbot and saint, supposedly of Irish origin.

He is the patron saint of tin-miners, and is also generally regarded as the patron saint of Cornwall, although Saint Michael and Saint Petroc also have some claim to this title.[1] Saint Piran's Flag, a white cross on a black background, is used as a symbol of Cornwall. Saint Piran's Day falls on 5 March.

Suggested Irish origins

Piran is the most famous of all the saints said to have come to Cornwall from Ireland. By at least the 13th century, he had become identified with the Irish Saint Ciarán of Saighir who founded the monastery at Seir-Kieran (Saighir) in County Offaly. This was due to the widely recognised ability of the P-Celtic or Brythonic letter 'P' to transform into the Q-Celtic or Gaelic letter 'C'. The 14th century 'Life of Saint Piran', probably written at Exeter Cathedral, is a complete copy of an earlier Irish life of Saint Ciarán of Saighir, with different parentage and a different ending that takes into account Piran's works in Cornwall, and especially details of his death and the movements of his Cornish shrine; thus "excising the passages which speak of his burial at Saighir" (Doble). However, there is no shrine to him in Ireland. 5 March is the traditional feast day of both Saint Ciarán of Saighir and Saint Piran, but the Calendar of Launceston Church records an alternative date of 18 November for the latter.

Views from modern scholars

  • Charles Plummer suggested that Piran might, instead, be identified with Saint Ciarán of Clonmacnoise, who founded the monastery of Clonmacnoise also in County Offaly but this is doubtful since this saint is believed to have died of yellow fever at the age of thirty-two and was traditionally buried at Clonmacnoise. His father is, however, sometimes said to have been a Cornishman.
  • Joseph Loth, moreover, has argued, on detailed philological grounds, that the two names could not possibly be identical.
  • G. H. Doble thought that Piran was a Welshman from Glamorgan, citing the lost chapel once dedicated to him in Cardiff.
  • David Nash Ford accepts the Ciarán of Clonmacnoise identification, whilst further suggesting that Piran's father in the Exeter life, Domuel, be identified with Dywel ab Erbin, a 5th century prince of Dumnonia (Devon and Cornwall).
  • The St Piran Trust has undertaken research which  has led them to the conclusion that Saint Piran was indeed Saint Ciarán of Saighir or perhaps a disciple, as indicated by Dr James Brennan of Kilkenny and Dr T. F. G. Dexter, whose thesis is held in the Royal Cornwall Museum.

Saint Piran's Flag

Saint Piran's Flag consists of a white cross on a black field
 Saint Piran's Flag (Cornish: Baner Peran) is the flag of Cornwall. The earliest known description of the flag as the Standard of Cornwall was written in 1838. It is used by Cornish people as a symbol of identity. It is a white cross on a black background.
The flag is attributed to Saint Piran, a 6th century Cornish abbot. Saint Piran is supposed to have adopted these two colours from seeing the molten tin spilling out of the black ore in his fire.This occurred during his supposed discovery of tin in Cornwall, thus becoming the patron saint of tin miners. The earliest use of the white cross and black background design with relation to the Saint is the 15th century coat of arms of the Saint-Peran family.

At the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in June 2012, the flag was among those flown on the Royal Barge, Gloriana.

Origin of Flag

Saint Piran's Day celebrations in Penzance
There are claims that the design dates from prior to 1188 when the flag was used in the Crusades, and an article in the Encyclopædia Britannica tells that the flag was carried by the Cornish contingent at the Battle of Agincourt (1415). However, the reference given by the Encyclopædia Britannica seems to have been confused with one that comes from a 1590 poem entitled Poly-Olbion by Michael Drayton. It states that the banner carried by the Cornish men at Agincourt depicted two Cornish Wrestlers in a hitch.

The earliest known evidence of this flag was recorded by Davies Gilbert in his 1838 work: The Parochial History of Cornwall, in which he gives reference to a white cross on a black ground [that] was formerly the banner of St Perran and the Standard of Cornwall; probably with some allusion to the black ore and the white metal of tin The fact that Gilbert identifies it as being "formerly" a Standard of Cornwall implies that he believed it to have been used before 1838. However, Gilbert did not leave a record of his background research, and referred only to his "recollection".

One of the oldest depictions of the flag can be seen in a stained glass window at Westminster Abbey. It was unveiled in 1888 in memory of the famous Cornish inventor and engineer Richard Trevithick. The window depicts St Michael at the top and nine Cornish saints, Piran, Petroc, Pinnock, Germanus, Julian, Cyriacus, Constantine, Nonna and Geraint in tiers below. The head of St Piran appears to be a portrait of Trevithick himself and the figure carries the banner of Cornwall.

  • The heathen Irish tied him to a mill-stone, rolled it over the edge of a cliff into a stormy sea, which immediately became calm, and the saint floated safely over the water to land upon the sandy beach of Perranzabuloe in Cornwall.
  • He was joined at Perranzabuloe by many of his Christian converts and together they founded the Abbey of Lanpiran, with Piran as abbot.
  • Saint Piran 'rediscovered' tin-smelting (tin had been smelted in Cornwall since before the Romans' arrival, but the methods had since been lost) when his black hearthstone, which was evidently a slab of tin-bearing ore, had the tin smelt out of it and rise to the top in the form of a white cross (thus the image on the flag).

Death and Veneration

It is said that at his death the remains of the Blessed Martin the Abbot which he had brought from Ireland were buried with him at Perranzabuloe. His own remains were subsequently exhumed and redistributed to be venerated in various reliquaries. Exeter Cathedral was reputed to be the possessor of one of his arms, while according to an inventory, St Piran's Old Church, Perranzabuloe, had a reliquary containing his head and also a hearse in which his body was placed for processionals. The churches at Perranuthnoe and Perranarworthal were dedicated to Piran and holy wells at Perranwell and Probus, Cornwall are named after him: in Brittany St. Peran, Loperan and Saint-Perran are also named after him.

The earliest documented link to the design of the St Piran's Flag with St Piran is on the coat of arms of the de Saint-Péran or Saint-Pezran (pronounced Peran) family from Cornouaille in Brittany. The earliest evidence known comes from the 15th century, with the arms being De sable à la croix pattée d'argent. (a black shield with a white cross pattée).

Mount St. Piran is a mountain in Banff National Park near Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, named after the saint.

St Piran's Feast Day

St Piran's Cross in the dunes at Perranzabuloe
St Piran's Day is popular in Cornwall and the term 'Perrantide' has been coined to describe the week prior to this day. Many Cornish-themed events occur in the Duchy and also in areas in which there is a large community descended from Cornish emigrants. The village of Perranporth ('Porthpyran' in Cornish) hosts the annual inter-Celtic festival of 'Lowender Peran', which is also named in honour of him.

The largest St Piran's Day event is the march across the dunes to St Piran's cross which thousands of people attend, generally dressed in black, white and gold, and carrying the Cornish Flag. A play of the Life of St Piran, in Cornish, has been enacted in recent years at the event. Daffodils are also carried and placed at the cross. Daffodils also feature in celebrations in Truro, most likely due to their 'gold' colour. Black, white and gold are colours associated with Cornwall due to St Piran's Flag (black and white), and the Duchy Shield (gold coins on black).


    • ^ The cult of St Michael was largely due to the Norman Earls of Cornwall, while that of St Petroc was the most important in the Diocese of Cornwall since he was the founder of the monastery of Bodmin the most important in the diocese and, with St Germans, the seat of the bishops. He was the patron of the diocese and of Bodmin: Caroline Brett, ‘Petroc (fl. 6th cent.)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 16 December 2008
    • ^ Cornish Church Guide (1925) Truro: Blackford
    • ^ Guide des drapeaux bretons et celtes (English: Guide of Breton and Celtic flags) by Divi Kervella and Mikael Bodlore-Penlaez, published by Yoran Embanner (in French), (2008) ISBN 978-2-916579-12-2
    • ^ P. POTIER de COURCY, Nobiliaire et armorial de Bretagne, A. Aubry, 1862, p390


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    Today's Snippet I:  Cornwall, England

    Aerial view of  cliffs of Cornwall
    Cornwall  is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. Cornwall is a peninsula bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of 536,000 and covers an area of 3,563 km2 (1,376 sq mi).The administrative centre, and only city in Cornwall, is Truro.

    Cornwall forms the westernmost part of the south-west peninsula of the island of Great Britain, and a large part of the Cornubian batholith is within Cornwall. This area was first inhabited in the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods. It continued to be occupied by Neolithic and then Bronze Age peoples, and later (in the Iron Age) by Brythons with distinctive cultural relations to neighbouring Wales and Brittany. There is little evidence that Roman rule was effective west of Exeter and few Roman remains have been found. Cornwall was the home of a division of the Dumnonii tribe—whose tribal centre was in the modern county of Devon—known as the Cornovii, separated from the Brythons of Wales after the Battle of Deorham, often coming into conflict with the expanding English kingdom of Wessex before King Athelstan in AD 936 set the boundary between English and Cornish at the Tamar. From the early Middle Ages, British language and culture was apparently shared by Brythons trading across both sides of the Channel, evidenced by the corresponding high medieval Breton kingdoms of Domnonee and Cornouaille and the Celtic Christianity common to both territories.

    Historically tin mining was important in the Cornish economy, becoming increasingly significant during the High Middle Ages and expanding greatly during the 19th century when rich copper mines were also in production. In the mid-nineteenth century, however, the tin and copper mines entered a period of decline. Subsequently china clay extraction became more important and metal mining had virtually ended by the 1990s. Traditionally fishing (particularly of pilchards), and agriculture (particularly of dairy products and vegetables), were the other important sectors of the economy. The railways led to the growth of tourism during the 20th century, however, Cornwall's economy struggled after the decline of the mining and fishing industries. The area is noted for its wild moorland landscapes, its long and varied coastline, its many place-names derived from the Cornish language, and its very mild climate. Extensive stretches of Cornwall's coastline, and Bodmin Moor, are protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

    Cornwall is the traditional homeland of the Cornish people and is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, retaining a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history. Some people question the present constitutional status of Cornwall, and a nationalist movement seeks greater autonomy within the United Kingdom in the form of a devolved legislative assembly, and greater recognition of the Cornish people as a national minority.


    "Cornweallas" shown on an early 19th century map of "Saxon England" (and Wales) based on the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
    The name Cornwall derives from the combination of two separate terms from different languages. The Corn- part comes from the hypothesised original tribal name of the people who had lived here since the Iron Age: Cornowii. The second element -wall derives from the Old English w(e)alh, meaning a foreigner or Welshman. The name first appears in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle in 891 as On Corn walum. In Domesday it was referred to as Cornualia, and in c.1198 as Cornwal.

    A latinisation of the name as Cornubia first appears in a mid-9th-century deed purporting to be a copy of one dating from c.705. Another variation, with Wales reinterpreted as Gallia, thus: Cornugallia, is first attested in 1086. Finally, the Cornish language form of the name, Kernow, which first appears around 1400, derives directly from the original Cornowii.

    The name Cornowii is postulated from a single mention in the Ravenna Cosmography of around 700 (but based on earlier sources) of Purocoronavis. This is considered to be a corruption of Durocornovium, 'a fort or walled settlement of the Cornovii'. Its location is unidentified, but Tintagel or Carn Brea have been suggested.


    Prehistory, Roman and post-Roman periods

    The present human history of Cornwall begins with the reoccupation of Britain after the last Ice Age. The area now known as Cornwall was first inhabited in the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods. It continued to be occupied by Neolithic and then Bronze Age peoples. According to John T. Koch and others, Cornwall in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-networked culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age that also included the other Celtic nations, in modern day England, France, Spain and Portugal where Celtic languages developed with the Tartessian language, which he claims was the first written Celtic language so far discovered.

     During the British Iron Age Cornwall, like all of Britain south of the Firth of Forth, was inhabited by the Celtic people known as the Britons (or Brythons) with distinctive cultural relations to neighbouring Wales and Brittany. The Celtic British language spoken at the time eventually developed into several distinct tongues, including Cornish.

    The first account of Cornwall comes from the Sicilian Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (c. 90 BC – c. 30 BC), supposedly quoting or paraphrasing the fourth-century BC geographer Pytheas, who had sailed to Britain:
    The inhabitants of that part of Britain called Belerion (or Land's End) from their intercourse with foreign merchants, are civilised in their manner of life. They prepare the tin, working very carefully the earth in which it is produced ... Here then the merchants buy the tin from the natives and carry it over to Gaul, and after travelling overland for about thirty days, they finally bring their loads on horses to the mouth of the Rhône.
    The identity of these merchants is unknown. It has been theorised that they were Phoenicians, but there is no evidence for this. (For further discussion of tin mining see the section on the economy below.)

    There is little evidence that Roman rule was effective west of Exeter in Devon and few Roman remains have been found. After the Romans left in around 410, Cornwall reverted to rule by Celtic chieftains of the Cornovii tribe as part of Dumnonia.

    Conflict with Wessex

    Celtic tribes of Southern Britain
    The Battle of Deorham in 577 saw the separation of Dumnonia (and therefore Cornwall) from Wales, following which the Dumnonii often came into conflict with the expanding English kingdom of Wessex. The Annales Cambriae report that in 722 AD the Britons of Cornwall won a battle at "Hehil". It seems likely that the enemy the Cornish fought was a West Saxon force, as evidenced by the naming of King Ine of Wessex and his kinsman Nonna in reference to an earlier Battle of Lining in 710.

    The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle stated in 815 (adjusted date) "and in this year king Ecgbryht raided in Cornwall from east to west." and thenceforth apparently held it as a ducatus or dukedom annexed to his regnum or kingdom of Wessex, but not wholly incorporated with it. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that in 825 (adjusted date) a battle took place between the Wealas (Cornish) and the Defnas (men of Devon) at Gafulforda. In the same year Ecgbert, as a later document expresses it, "disposed of their territory as it seemed fit to him, giving a tenth part of it to God." In other words he incorporated Cornwall ecclesiastically with the West Saxon diocese of Sherborne, and endowed Ealhstan, his fighting bishop, who took part in the campaign, with an extensive Cornish estate consisting of Callington and Lawhitton, both in the Tamar valley, and Pawton near Padstow.

    In 838, the Cornish and their Danish allies were defeated by Egbert at Hengestesdune (probably Hingston Down in Cornwall). In 875, the last recorded king of Cornwall, Dumgarth, is said to have drowned. Around the 880s, Anglo-Saxons from Wessex had established modest land holdings in the eastern part of Cornwall; notably Alfred the Great who had acquired a few estates. William of Malmesbury, writing around 1120, says that King Athelstan of England (924–939) fixed the boundary between English and Cornish people at the east bank of the River Tamar.

    Norman period

    The ancient Hundreds of Cornwall
    One interpretation of the Domesday Book is that by this time the native Cornish landowning class had been almost completely dispossessed and replaced by English landowners, particularly Harold Godwinson himself However, the Bodmin manumissions show that two leading Cornish figures nominally had Saxon names, but these were both glossed with native Cornish names.

    Soon after the Norman conquest most of the land was transferred to the new Breton-Norman aristocracy, with the lion's share going to Robert, Count of Mortain, half-brother of King William and the largest landholder in England after the king. Cornwall showed a very different type of settlement pattern from that of Saxon Wessex and places continued, even after 1066, to be named in the Celtic Cornish tradition with Saxon architecture being uncommon.

    Later medieval administration and society

    Subsequently, however, Norman absentee landlords became replaced by a new Cornu-Norman elite. These families eventually became the new ruling class of Cornwall (typically speaking Norman French, Cornish, Latin and eventually English), many becoming involved in the operation of the Stannary Parliament system, Earldom and eventually the Duchy. The Cornish language continued to be spoken and it acquired a number of characteristics establishing its identity as a separate language from Breton.

    Physical geography

    Satellite image of Cornwall
    Cornwall forms the tip of the south-west peninsula of the island of Great Britain, and is therefore exposed to the full force of the prevailing winds that blow in from the Atlantic Ocean. The coastline is composed mainly of resistant rocks that give rise in many places to impressive cliffs. Cornwall has a border with only one other county, Devon.

    Coastal areas

    The north and south coasts have different characteristics. The north coast on the Celtic Sea, part of the Atlantic Ocean, is more exposed and therefore has a wilder nature. The prosaically named High Cliff, between Boscastle and St Gennys, is the highest sheer-drop cliff in Cornwall at 223 metres (732 ft). However, there are also many extensive stretches of fine golden sand which form the beaches that are so important to the tourist industry, such as those at Bude, Polzeath, Watergate Bay, Perranporth, Porthtowan, Fistral Beach, Newquay, St Agnes, St Ives, and on the south coast Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth. There are two river estuaries on the north coast: Hayle Estuary and the estuary of the River Camel, which provides Padstow and Rock with a safe harbour.

    St Michaels Mount

    St Michael's Mount in Marazion
    The south coast, dubbed the "Cornish Riviera", is more sheltered and there are several broad estuaries offering safe anchorages, such as at Falmouth and Fowey. Beaches on the south coast usually consist of coarser sand and shingle, interspersed with rocky sections of wave-cut platform. Also on the south coast, the picturesque fishing village of Polperro, at the mouth of the Pol River, and the fishing port of Looe on the River Looe are both popular with tourists.

    Inland areas

    Cornwall is known for its beaches (Porthcurno beach illustrated) and rugged coastline
    The interior of the county consists of a roughly east-west spine of infertile and exposed upland, with a series of granite intrusions, such as Bodmin Moor, which contains the highest land within Cornwall. From east to west, and with approximately descending altitude, these are Bodmin Moor, the area north of St Austell, the area south of Camborne, and the Penwith or Land's End peninsula. These intrusions are the central part of the granite outcrops that form the exposed parts of the Cornubian batholith of south-west Britain, which also includes Dartmoor to the east in Devon and the Isles of Scilly to the west, the latter now being partially submerged.

    The intrusion of the granite into the surrounding sedimentary rocks gave rise to extensive metamorphism and mineralisation, and this led to Cornwall being one of the most important mining areas in Europe until the early 20th century. It is thought tin was mined here as early as the Bronze Age, and copper, lead, zinc and silver have all been mined in Cornwall. Alteration of the granite also gave rise to extensive deposits of China Clay, especially in the area to the north of St Austell, and the extraction of this remains an important industry.

    The uplands are surrounded by more fertile, mainly pastoral farmland. Near the south coast, deep wooded valleys provide sheltered conditions for flora that like shade and a moist, mild climate. These areas lie mainly on Devonian sandstone and slate. The north east of Cornwall lies on Carboniferous rocks known as the Culm Measures. In places these have been subjected to severe folding, as can be seen on the north coast near Crackington Haven and in several other locations.

    The Lizard Peninsula

    The geology of the Lizard peninsula is unusual, in that it is mainland Britain's only example of an ophiolite, a section of oceanic crust now found on land. Much of the peninsula consists of the dark green and red Precambrian serpentinite, which forms spectacular cliffs, notably at Kynance Cove, and carved and polished serpentine ornaments are sold in local gift shops. This ultramafic rock also forms a very infertile soil which covers the flat and marshy heaths of the interior of the peninsula. This is home to rare plants, such as the Cornish Heath, which has been adopted as the county flower.


    Souvenir flags outside a Cornish café
    Saint Piran's Flag is regarded by many as the national flag of Cornwall, and an emblem of the Cornish people; and by others as the county flag. The banner of Saint Piran is a white cross on a black background (in terms of heraldry 'sable, a cross argent'). Saint Piran is supposed to have adopted these two colours from seeing the white tin in the black coals and ashes during his supposed discovery of tin. Davies Gilbert in 1826 described it as anciently the flag of St Piran and the banner of Cornwall, and another history of 1880 said that: "The white cross of St. Piran was the ancient banner of the Cornish people." The Cornish flag is an exact reverse of the former Breton national flag (black cross) and is known by the same name "Kroaz Du".

    There are also claims that the patron saint of Cornwall is Saint Michael or Saint Petroc, but Saint Piran is by far the most popular of the three and his emblem is internationally recognised as the flag of Cornwall. St Piran's Day (5 March) is celebrated by the Cornish diaspora around the world.

    Languages and dialects

    English is the main language used in Cornwall, although the revived Cornish language may be seen on road signs and is spoken fluently by a small minority of people.

    Cornish language

    A welcome sign to Penzance, in the English and Cornish languages
    The Cornish language is closely related to the other Brythonic languages of Welsh and Breton, and less so to the Goidelic languages of Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx. The language continued to function visibly as a community language in parts of Cornwall until the late 18th century, and it was claimed in 2011 that the last native speaker did not die until 1914.

    There has been a revival of the language since Henry Jenner's Handbook of the Cornish Language was published in 1904. A study in 2000 suggested that there were around 300 people who spoke Cornish fluently. Cornish, however, had no legal status in the UK until 2002. Nevertheless, the language is taught in about twelve primary schools, and occasionally used in religious and civic ceremonies. In 2002 Cornish was officially recognised as a UK minority language and in 2005 it received limited Government funding. A Standard Written Form was agreed in 2008. Several Cornish mining words are still in use in English language mining terminology, such as costean, gunnies, vug, kibbal, gossan and kieve. Four of the current members in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Andrew George, MP for St Ives, Dan Rogerson, MP for North Cornwall, Stephen Gilbert, MP for St Austell and Newquay, and Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth repeated their Parliamentary oaths in Cornish.


    Visual arts

    The Tate Gallery at St Ives
    Since the 19th century, Cornwall, with its unspoilt maritime scenery and strong light, has sustained a vibrant visual art scene of international renown. Artistic activity within Cornwall was initially centred on the art-colony of Newlyn, most active at the turn of the 20th century. This Newlyn School is associated with the names of Stanhope Forbes, Elizabeth Forbes, Norman Garstin and Lamorna Birch. Modernist writers such as D. H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf lived in Cornwall between the wars, and Ben Nicholson, the painter, having visited in the 1920s came to live in St Ives with his then wife, the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, at the outbreak of the second  worldwar. They were later joined by the Russian emigrant Naum Gabo, and other artists. These included Peter Lanyon, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Bryan Wynter and Roger Hilton. St Ives also houses the Leach Pottery, where Bernard Leach, and his followers championed Japanese inspired studio pottery. Much of this modernist work can be seen in Tate St Ives. The Newlyn Society and Penwith Society of Arts continue to be active, and contemporary visual art is documented in a dedicated online journal.

    Music and festivals

    Cornwall has a full and vibrant folk music tradition which has survived into the present and is well known for its unusual folk survivals such as Mummers Plays, the Furry Dance in Helston played by the famous Helston Town Band, and Obby Oss in Padstow.

    As in other former mining districts of Britain, male voice choirs and Brass Bands, e.g. Brass on the Grass concerts during the summer at Constantine, are still very popular in Cornwall: Cornwall also has around 40 brass bands, including the six-times National Champions of Great Britain, Camborne Youth Band, and the bands of Lanner and St Dennis.

    Cornish players are regular participants in inter-Celtic festivals, and Cornwall itself has several lively inter-Celtic festivals such as Perranporth's Lowender Peran folk festival.

    On a more modern note, contemporary musician Richard D. James (also known as Aphex Twin) grew up in Cornwall, as did Luke Vibert and Alex Parks winner of Fame Academy 2003. Roger Taylor, the drummer from the band Queen was also raised in the county, and currently lives not far from Falmouth. The American singer/songwriter Tori Amos now resides predominantly in North Cornwall not far from Bude with her family.



    Remains of Tintagel Castle, legendary birthplace of mythical King Arthur
    Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch author of many novels and works of literary criticism lived in Fowey: his novels are mainly set in Cornwall. Daphne du Maurier lived at Menabilly near Fowey and many of her novels had Cornish settings, including Rebecca, Jamaica Inn, Frenchman's Creek, My Cousin Rachel, and The House on the Strand. She is also noted for writing Vanishing Cornwall. Cornwall provided the inspiration for The Birds, one of her terrifying series of short stories, made famous as a film by Alfred Hitchcock.

    Medieval Cornwall is the setting of the trilogy by Monica Furlong, Wise Child, Juniper, and Colman, as well as part of Charles Kingsley's Hereward the Wake.

    Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Devil's Foot featuring Sherlock Holmes is set in Cornwall. Winston Graham's series Poldark, Kate Tremayne's Adam Loveday series, Susan Cooper's novels Over Sea, Under Stone and Greenwitch, and Mary Wesley's The Camomile Lawn are all set in Cornwall. Writing under the pseudonym of Alexander Kent, Douglas Reeman sets parts of his Richard Bolitho and Adam Bolitho series in the Cornwall of the late 18th and the early 19th centuries, particularly in Falmouth.

    Hammond Innes's novel, The Killer Mine; Charles de Lint's novel The Little Country; and Chapters 24 and 25 of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows take place in Cornwall (the Harry Potter story at Shell Cottage, which is on the beach outside the fictional village of Tinworth in Cornwall).

    Author David Cornwell, who writes espionage novels under the name John le Carré, lives and writes in Cornwall.[128] Nobel Prize-winning novelist William Golding was born in St Columb Minor in 1911, and returned to live near Truro from 1985 until his death in 1993. D. H. Lawrence spent a short time living in Cornwall. Rosamunde Pilcher grew up in Cornwall, and several of her books take place there.


    'For The Fallen' plaque with The Rumps promontory beyond
    The late Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman was famously fond of Cornwall and it featured prominently in his poetry. He is buried in the churchyard at St Enodoc's Church, Trebetherick. Charles Causley, the poet, was born in Launceston and is perhaps the best known of Cornish poets. Jack Clemo and the scholar A. L. Rowse were also notable Cornishmen known for their poetry; The Rev. R. S. Hawker of Morwenstow wrote some poetry which was very popular in the Victorian period. The Scottish poet W. S. Graham lived in West Cornwall from 1944 until his death in 1986.

    The poet Laurence Binyon wrote "For the Fallen" (first published in 1914) while sitting on the cliffs between Pentire Point and The Rumps and a stone plaque was erected in 2001 to commemorate the fact. The plaque bears the inscription "FOR THE FALLEN / Composed on these cliffs, 1914". The plaque also bears below this the fourth stanza (sometimes referred to as "The Ode") of the poem:
    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them


    Other literary works

    Cornwall produced a substantial number of passion plays such as the Ordinalia during the Middle Ages. Many are still extant, and provide valuable information about the Cornish language. See also Cornish literature

    Prolific writer Colin Wilson, best known for his debut work The Outsider (1956) and for The Mind Parasites (1967), lives in Gorran Haven, a small village on the southern Cornish coast. The writer D. M. Thomas was born in Redruth but lived and worked in Australia and the United States before returning to his native Cornwall. He has written novels, poetry, and other works, including translations from Russian.

    Thomas Hardy's drama The Queen of Cornwall (1923) is a version of the Tristan story; the second act of Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde takes place in Cornwall, as do Gilbert and Sullivan's operettas The Pirates of Penzance and Ruddigore. A level of Tomb Raider: Legend, a game dealing with Arthurian Legend, takes place in Cornwall at a tacky museum above King Arthur's tomb.
    The fairy tale Jack the Giant Killer takes place in Cornwall.


    A Cornish pasty
    Cornwall has a strong culinary heritage. Surrounded on three sides by the sea amid fertile fishing grounds, Cornwall naturally has fresh seafood readily available; Newlyn is the largest fishing port in the UK by value of fish landed. Television chef Rick Stein has long operated a fish restaurant in Padstow for this reason, and Jamie Oliver recently chose to open his second restaurant, Fifteen, in Watergate Bay near Newquay. MasterChef host and founder of Smiths of Smithfield, John Torode, in 2007 purchased Seiners in Perranporth. One famous local fish dish is Stargazy pie, a fish-based pie in which the heads of the fish stick through the piecrust, as though "star-gazing". The pie is cooked as part of traditional celebrations for Tom Bawcock's Eve, but is not generally eaten at any other time.

    Cornwall is perhaps best known though for its pasties, a savoury dish made with pastry. Today's pasties usually contain a filling of beef steak, onion, potato and swede with salt and white pepper, but historically pasties had a variety of different fillings. "Turmut, 'tates and mate" (i.e. Turnip, potatoes and meat) describes a filling once very common. For instance, the licky pasty contained mostly leeks, and the herb pasty contained watercress, parsley, and shallots. Pasties are often locally referred to as oggies. Historically, pasties were also often made with sweet fillings such as jam, apple and blackberry, plums or cherries. The wet climate and relatively poor soil of Cornwall make it unsuitable for growing many arable crops. However, it is ideal for growing the rich grass required for dairying, leading to the production of Cornwall's other famous export, clotted cream. This forms the basis for many local specialities including Cornish fudge and Cornish ice cream. Cornish clotted cream has Protected Geographical Status under EU law, and cannot be made anywhere else. Its principal manufacturer is Rodda's, based at Scorrier.

    Local cakes and desserts include Saffron cake, Cornish heavy (hevva) cake, Cornish fairings biscuits, figgy 'obbin, scones (often served with jam and clotted cream) and whortleberry pie.

    There are also many types of beers brewed in Cornwall – those produced by Sharp's Brewery, Skinner's Brewery and St Austell Brewery are the best-known – including stouts, ales and other beer types. There is some small scale production of wine, mead and cider.


    • Clegg, David (2005). Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: the complete guide (2nd ed.). Leicester: Matador. ISBN 1-904744-99-0.
    • Halliday, Frank Ernest (1959). A History of Cornwall. London: Gerald Duckworth. ISBN 0-7551-0817-5. A second edition was published in 2001 by the House of Stratus, Thirsk: the original text new illustrations and an afterword by Halliday's son
    • Payton, Philip (2004). Cornwall: A History (2nd ed.). Fowey: Cornwall Editions Ltd. ISBN 1-904880-00-2.
    • Balchin, W. G. V. (1954) Cornwall: an illustrated essay on the history of the landscape. (The Making of the English Landscape). London: Hodder and Stoughton
    • Boase, George Clement; Courtney, W. P. (1874–1882) Bibliotheca Cornubiensis: a catalogue of the writings, both manuscript and printed, of Cornishmen, and of works relating to the county of Cornwall, with biographical memoranda and copious literary references. 3 vols. London: Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer
    • du Maurier, Daphne (1967). Vanishing Cornwall. London: Doubleday. (illustrated edition Published by Victor Gollancz, London, 1981, ISBN 0-575-02844-0, photographs by Christian Browning)
    • Ellis, Peter Berresford (1974). The Cornish Language and its Literature. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Books. ISBN 0-7100-7928-1. (Available online on Google Books).
    • Graves, Alfred Perceval (1928). The Celtic Song Book: Being Representative Folk Songs of the Six Celtic Nations. London: Ernest Benn. (Available online on Digital Book Index)
    • Koch, John T. (2006). Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia. London: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1-85109-440-7. (Available online on Google Books).
    • Payton, Philip (1996). Cornwall. Fowey: Alexander Associates. ISBN 1-899526-60-9.
    • Stoyle, Mark (2001). "BBC – History – The Cornish: A Neglected Nation?". BBC History website. BBC. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
    • Stoyle, Mark (2002). West Britons: Cornish Identities and the Early Modern British State. Exeter: University of Exeter Press. ISBN 0-85989-688-9.
    • Williams, Michael (ed.) (1973) My Cornwall. St Teath: Bossiney Books (eleven chapters by various hands, including three previously published essays)


    Today's Snippet II:  Christianity in Cornwall

    Remains of St Piran's Old Church, Perranzabuloe
    Christianity in Cornwall began in the 4th or 5th century AD when Western Christianity was introduced into Cornwall along with the rest of Roman Britain. Over time it became the official religion, superseding previous Celtic and Roman practice. Early Christianity in Cornwall was spread largely by the saints, including Piran, the patron of the county. Cornwall, like other parts of Britain, is sometimes associated with the distinct collection of practices known as Celtic Christianity but was always in communion with the wider Catholic Church. The Cornish saints are commemorated in legends, churches and placenames.

    In contrast to Wales, which produced Welsh Bibles, the churches of Cornwall never produced a translation of the Bible in the Cornish language, which may have contributed to that language's demise. During the English Reformation, churches in Cornwall officially became affiliated with the Church of England. In 1549, the Prayer Book Rebellion caused the deaths of thousands of people from Devon and Cornwall. The Methodism of John Wesley proved to be very popular with the working classes in Cornwall in the 19th century. Methodist chapels became important social centres, with male voice choirs and other church-affiliated groups playing a central role in the social lives of working class Cornishmen. Methodism still plays a large part in the religious life of Cornwall today, although Cornwall has shared in the post-World War II decline in British religious feeling. In 1876 a separate Cornish diocese of the Church of England was established with the bishop's see at Truro.

    Early history and legend

    Inside St Michael's Church, Michaelstow
    Nothing is known about the beginnings of Christianity in Cornwall. Scilly has been identified as the place of exile of two heretical 4th century bishops from Gaul, Instantius and Tiberianus, who were followers of Priscillian and were banished after the Council of Bordeaux in 384.[3] Toleration was granted to the Christians of the Roman Empire in 313 and there was some growth in the church in Roman Britain in the following hundred years, mainly in urban centres. There were no known cities (L castrum, OE caester, W caer, Br Ker ) west of Exeter so Cornwall may have remained pagan at least until the 5th century, the presumed period of the mythical Christian King of the Britons, Arthur Pendragon. During the 5th century the earliest inscribed stones have inscriptions in Latin or Ogham script and some have Christian symbols. Precise dating is impossible for these stones but they are thought to come from the 5th to 11th centuries. Both the inscriptions and the Ruin of Britain by Gildas suggest that the leading families of Dumnonia were Christian in the 6th century.[4] Many early medieval settlements in the region were occupied by hermitage chapels which are often dedicated to St Michael as the conventional slayer of pagan demons, as at St Michael's Mount.

    Many place names in Cornwall are associated with Christian missionaries described as coming from Ireland and Wales in the 5th century AD and usually called saints . The historicity of some of these missionaries is problematic[ and it has been pointed out by Canon Doble that it was customary in the Middle Ages to ascribe such geographic origins to saints. Some of these saints are not included in the early lists of saints.

    The Saints' Way, a long-distance footpath, follows the probable route of early Christian travellers making their way from Ireland to the Continent. Rather than risk the difficult passage around Land's End they would disembark their ships on the North Cornish coast (in the Camel estuary) and progress to ports such as Fowey on foot.

    Like some other parts of Britain Cornwall derived much of its Christianity from post-Patrician Irish missions. Saint Ia of Cornwall and her companions, and Saint Piran, Saint Sennen, Saint Petroc, and the rest of the saints who came to Cornwall in the late 5th century and early 6th century found there a population which had perhaps relapsed into paganism under the pagan King Teudar.[8] When these saints introduced, or reintroduced, Christianity, they probably brought with them whatever rites they were accustomed to, and Cornwall certainly had its own separate ecclesiastical quarrel with Wessex in the days of Saint Aldhelm, which, as appears by a statement in the Leofric Missal, was still going on in the early 10th century, though the details of it are not specified.

    It is notable that in Cornwall that most of the parish churches in existence in Norman times were generally not in the larger settlements and that the medieval towns which developed thereafter usually had only a chapel of ease with the right of burial remaining at the ancient parish church. Over a hundred holy wells exist in Cornwall, each associated with a particular saint, though not always the same one as the dedication of the church. In the Domesday Survey the church had considerable holdings of land but the Earl of Cornwall had appropriated a number of manors formerly held by monasteries. The monasteries of St Michael's Mount, Bodmin, and Tavistock, and the canons of St Piran, St Keverne, Probus, Crantock, St Buryan and St Stephen's all had land at this time.

    Various kinds of religious houses existed in medieval Cornwall though none of them were nunneries; the benefices of the parishes were in many cases appropriated to religious houses within Cornwall or elsewhere in England or France. There were also a number of peculiars, areas outside the diocesan administration. Four of these were directly under the Bishop of Exeter, i.e. Lawhitton, St Germans, Pawton, and Penryn; Perranzabuloe was a peculiar of Exeter Cathedral and St Buryan of the Kings of England. From the time of Bishop William Warelwast the administration of the remainder of Cornwall was in the hands of the Archdeacon of Cornwall and visits by the Bishop became more infrequent; only bishops could consecrate churches or conduct confirmations.

    St Piran, after whom Perranporth is named, is generally regarded as the patron saint of Cornwall. However in earlier times it is likely that St Michael the Archangel was recognized as the patron saint and the title has also been claimed for St Petroc. (The cult of St Michael is found in Norman times and is seen in the naming of St Michael's Mount after the similarly named monastery in Normandy.

    Diocese of Cornwall

    The church in Cornwall until the time of Athelstan of Wessex observed more or less orthodox practices, being completely separate from the Anglo-Saxon church until then (and perhaps later). The See of Cornwall continued until much later: Bishop Conan apparently in place previously, but (re-?)consecrated in 931 AD by Athelstan. However, it is unclear whether he was the sole Bishop for Cornwall or the leading Bishop in the area. The situation in Cornwall may have been somewhat similar to Wales where each major religious house equated to a kevrang (cf. Welsh cantref), each under the control of a Bishop.

    According to Nicholas Orme "... a period of obscurity ... ends only after Egbert's conquest in the early 800s. Later records claim that he used his power to grant estates in Cornwall to the bishop of Sherborne, especially Pawton in St Breock and Lawhitton near Launceston. Egbert may have intended that the bishop would visit Cornwall or send deputies there to supervise or develop the local church." By the 880s the Church in Cornwall was having more Saxon priests appointed to it and they controlled some church estates like Polltun, Caellwic and Landwithan (Pawton, in St Breock; perhaps Celliwig {Kellywick in Egloshayle?}; and Lawhitton). Eventually they passed these over to Wessex kings. However according to Alfred the Great's will the amount of land he owned in Cornwall was very small. West of the Tamar Alfred the Great only owned a small area in the Stratton region, plus a few other small estates around Lifton on Cornish soil east of the Tamar). These were provided to him illicitly through the Church whose Canterbury-appointed priesthood was increasingly English dominated.

    William of Malmesbury, writing around 1120, says that King Athelstan of England (924–939) fixed Cornwall's eastern boundary at the east bank of the Tamar and the remaining Cornish were evicted from Exeter and perhaps the rest of Devon: "Exeter was cleansed of its defilement by wiping out that filthy race". These British speakers were deported across the Tamar, which was fixed as the border of the Cornish; they were left under their own dynasty to regulate themselves with west Welsh tribal law and customs, rather like the Indian princes under the Raj in the 19th century and early 20th century. By 944 Athelstan's successor, Edmund I of England, styled himself 'King of the English and ruler of this province of the Britons', an indication of how that accommodation was understood at the time.

    The early organisation and affiliations of the Church in Cornwall are unclear, but in the mid-9th century it was led by a Bishop Kenstec with his see at Dinurrin, a location which has sometimes been identified as Bodmin and sometimes as Gerrans. Kenstec acknowledged the authority of Ceolnoth, bringing Cornwall under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the 920s or 930s King Athelstan established a bishopric at St Germans to cover the whole of Cornwall, which seems to have been initially subordinated to the see of Sherborne but emerged as a full bishopric (with a Bishop of Cornwall) in its own right by the end of the 10th century. The first few bishops here were native Cornish, but those appointed from 963 onwards were all English. From around 1027 the see was held jointly with that of Crediton, and in 1050 they were merged to become the diocese of Exeter.

    The Bodmin Gospels is believed to be the only original record relating to Cornwall, or its Bishopric, predating the Norman Conquest. The whole of Cornwall was from the Norman period onwards in the Archdeaconry of Cornwall within the Diocese of Exeter. From 1267 the archdeacons had a house at Glasney near Penryn. Their duties were to visit and inspect each parish annually, to execute the bishop's orders, and to induct (install) new parochial clergy. The archdeacon also held a court to deal with minor offences against ecclesiastical law and administer wills. The first recorded archdeacon was Archdeacon Roland (in the Domesday Book of 1086)


    There is a Mass in Bodl. MS. 572 (at Oxford), in honour of St Germanus, which appears to be Cornish and relates to "Ecclesia Lanaledensis", which has been considered to be the monastery of St. Germanus, in Cornwall. There is no other evidence of the name, which was also the Breton name of Aleth, now part of Saint-Malo. The manuscript, which contains also certain glosses, possibly Cornish or Breton—it would be impossible to distinguish between them at that date—but held by Professor Loth to be Welsh, is probably of the 9th century, and the Mass is quite Roman in type, being probably written after that part of Cornwall had come under Saxon influence. There is a very interesting Proper Preface. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.

    Joseph of Arimathea

    Ding Dong mine, reputedly one of the oldest in Cornwall, in the parish of Gulval is said in local legend to have been visited by Joseph of Arimathea, a tin trader, and that he brought a young Jesus to address the miners, although there is no evidence to support this.

    Religious history from the Reformation to the early twenty-first century

    Sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

    Tudor period, 1509–1603

    Memorial to John Payne, portreeve of St Ives, one of the rebels
    The failure to translate the first Prayer Book into the Cornish language and the imposition of English liturgy over the Latin rite in the whole of Cornwall, was one of the reasons which led to the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549. There had already been dissent in Cornwall from the changes in the church enacted by the government of Edward VI abolishing chantries and reforming some aspects of the liturgy. The Cornish, amongst other reasons, objected to the English language Book of Common Prayer, protesting that the English language was still unknown to many at the time. Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset on behalf of the Crown, expressed no sympathy pointing out that the old rites and prayers had been in Latin—also a foreign language—and there was thus no reason for the Cornish to complain. The Prayer Book Rebellion was a cultural and social disaster for Cornwall, the reprisals taken by the forces of the Crown have been estimated to account for 10–11% of the civilian population of Cornwall. Culturally speaking, it saw the beginning of the slow "death" of the Cornish language.

    Penal laws against Roman Catholics were enacted by the English government in 1571 and 1581. By this time people of papal sympathies were a small minority but they included the two powerful families of Arundell and Tregian. A priest (Cuthbert Mayne) harboured by the Tregians was arrested and eventually executed at Launceston in 1577. Francis Tregian was punished by imprisonment and the loss of some of his lands. Others who were adherents of the old faith went into exile, including the rectors of St Michael Penkevil and St Just in Roseland, Thomas Bluett and John Vivian respectively. Among laymen the most notable was Nicholas Roscarrock, who was imprisoned and compiled while in prison a register of British saints.

    From that time Christianity in Cornwall was in the main within the Church of England and subject to the national events which affected it in the next century and a half. Roman Catholicism never became extinct, though openly practised by very few. Also at this period there was an increase in adherents of the Puritan position as evidenced by the acquisition of large communion cups in many parishes in the 1570s.

    Stuart period, 1603–1714

    St German's priory church, St Germans
    In the reign of Charles I, the leading gentry of the Puritan party were the Robarteses of Lanhydrock, the Bullers of Morval, the Boscawens of Tregothnan and the Rouses of Halton, while Puritan clergy were to be found at Blisland, Morval, Landrake, and Mylor. However during the Civil War there was much more support in Cornwall for the Anglican and Royalist position and the military successes of the Royalist army delayed any imposition of Presbyteriansim in church administration. The Parliamentary success in 1645 led to the ejection of the Bishop of Exeter and the depriving of the cathedral chapter. In 1646 the 72 clergy regarded as unacceptable to the county committee were required to subscribe to the new order. Some submitted while others were obstinate and so were deprived of their benefices. Civil marriage was instituted in 1653 but was not popular; much iconoclasm took place in churches such as the destruction of the stained glass at St Agnes and the rood screen at St Ives. The church organs at Launceston and St Ives were also destroyed.

    During the 17th century, adherents of Roman Catholicism tended to diminish since only a few could afford the penalties exacted by the government. Lanherne, the Cornish home of the Arundells in Mawgan in Pydar, was the most important centre, while the religious census of 1671 recorded recusants also in the parishes of Treneglos, Cardinham, Newlyn East and St Ervan. In the Civil War the recusants were firmly of Royalist sympathies since they had more to fear from a Parliament opposed to prelacy and popery. Sir John Arundell (born ca. 1625) fought gallantly for King Charles in the Cornish campaign, which he joined in 1644, and continued to live at Lanherne until his death in 1701.

    At the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, ministers unwilling to conform to the Church of England were ejected from the benefices. Under the Conventicle Act of 1664 non-Anglican services were only permitted in private houses and only with five persons attending apart from the household. In Cornwall, there were about 50 ejected ministers, some of whom persisted in conducting meetings in out of the way places: these included Thomas Tregosse, formerly vicar of Mylor and Mabe, Joseph Sherwood of Penzance, and Henry Flamank of Lanivet.

    A number of prominent men holding Baptist views were to be found in Cornwall in the 1650s, such as John Pendarves, John Carew and Hugh Courtney. At the restoration of the monarchy such people became dissenters and they were only found in a few settlements such as Falmouth and Looe. George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, visited Cornwall in 1655 and found followers in Loveday Hambly, of Tregongreeves near St Austell, and Thomas Mounce, of Liskeard. The early Cornish Quakers endured much persecution but after 1675 they made many converts. Once the opening of meeting houses became legal in 1689 their position became much easier and by 1700 there were altogether 27 societies with about 400 adherents.

    The last church services conducted in Cornish were in the far west (Penwith) in the late 17th century: Towednack is recorded as the place (in 1678) and the claim is also made for Ludgvan.


    St Petroc's Church, Bodmin
    The few Roman Catholics, Baptists and Quakers were now largely free of persecution. During the remainder of the 18th century Cornish Anglicanism was very much in the same state as Anglicanism in most of England.

    Wesleyan Methodist missions began during John Wesley's lifetime and had great success over a long period during which Methodism itself divided into a number of sects and established a definite separation from the Church of England.

    19th and 20th centuries

    Samuel Pollard, missionary
    From the early nineteenth to the mid-20th century Methodism was the leading form of Christianity in Cornwall but is now (early 21st century) in decline. The Church of England was in the majority from the reign of Queen Elizabeth until the Methodist revival of the 19th century: before the Wesleyan missions dissenters were very few in Cornwall. The Quaker family, the Foxes of Falmouth, had many notable members involved in philanthropy and cultural life.

    The episcopate of Henry Phillpotts (1830–1869) was a period of great Anglican activity with the establishment of many new parishes and parish churches and the first unsuccessful attempts to create a Cornish diocese. The county remained within the Diocese of Exeter until 1876 when the Anglican Diocese of Truro was created (the first Bishop was appointed in 1877). Roman Catholicism was virtually extinct in Cornwall after the 17th century except for a few families such as the Arundells of Lanherne. From the mid-19th century the church reestablished episcopal sees in England, one of these being at Plymouth. Since then immigration to Cornwall has brought more Roman Catholics into the population. Religious houses have been established at several locations including Bodmin, and Roman Catholic churches have been built where the need for them is apparent.

    Other significant trends during the 20th century were the spread of Anglo-Catholicism in Church of England parishes and the movement towards unification of the Anglican and Methodist Churches in the 1960s. As the bishops were sometimes High Church (e.g. W. H. Frere) and sometimes Low (e.g. Joseph Hunkin) administration of the diocese could vary from each episcopate to the next. The usage of Cornish as a liturgical language has become much more common.

    The Cornish diaspora has contributed to the international spread of Methodism, a movement within Protestant Christianity that was popular with the Cornish people at the time of their mass migration.

    Recent developments

    Edward Benson, bishop of Truro, 1877–1883
    In the late 20th century and early 21st century there has been a renewed interest in the older forms of Christianity in Cornwall. Cowethas Peran Sans, the Fellowship of St Piran, is one such group promoting practices associated with Celtic Christianity. The group was founded by Andrew Phillips in 2006 and membership is open to baptised Christians in good standing in their local community who support the aims of the group.

    In 2003, a campaign group was formed called Fry an Spyrys (Free the Spirit in Cornish). It is dedicated to disestablishing the Church of England in Cornwall and to forming an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion – a Church of Cornwall. Its chairman is Dr Garry Tregidga of the Institute of Cornish Studies.

    The Anglican Church was disestablished in Wales to form the Church in Wales in 1920 and in Ireland to form the Church of Ireland in 1872.

    Medieval and early modern religious literature

    Works in verse

    Pascon agan Arluth (The Passion of our Lord), a poem of 259 eight-line verses probably composed around 1375, is one of the earliest surviving works of Cornish literature. The most important work of literature surviving from the Middle Cornish period is the Cornish Ordinalia, a 9000-line religious verse drama which had probably reached its present form by 1400. The Ordinalia consists of three miracle plays, Origo Mundi, Passio Christi and Resurrexio Domini, meant to be performed on successive days. Such plays were performed in a 'Plain an Gwarry' (i.e. Playing Place).

    The longest single surviving work of Cornish literature is Beunans Meriasek (The Life of Meriasek), a two-day verse drama dated 1504, but probably copied from an earlier manuscript. (This has been studied since the 1890s whereas the only other known Cornish drama portraying events in a saint's legend, Beunans Ke, was only found in the early years of the 21st century.)

    Other notable pieces of Cornish literature include the Creation of the World (with Noah's Flood) which is a miracle play similar to Origo Mundi but in a much later manuscript (1611); the Charter Fragment, a short poem about marriage, believed to be the earliest connected text in the language; and the recently-discovered Beunans Ke, another saint's play, notable for containing a long Arthurian section.

    Works in prose

    The earliest surving examples of Cornish prose are the Tregear Homilies, a series of 12 Catholic sermons written in English and translated by John Tregear around 1555–1557, to which a thirteenth homily The Sacrament of the Alter, was added by another hand. Twelve of Edmund Bonner's Homelies to be read within his diocese of London of all Parsons, vycars and curates (1555; nine of these were by John Harpsfield) were translated into Cornish by Tregear; they are the largest single work of traditional Cornish prose.

    Church architecture and monuments

    War Memorial, in the churchyard, Constantine, Kerrier, carved from local stone by Elkana Symons

    Norman font in Altarnun Parish Church
    Celtic art is found in Cornwall, often in the form of Celtic crosses. Cornwall boasts the highest density of traditional 'Celtic crosses' of any nation. In modern times many crosses were erected as war memorials and to celebrate events such as the millennium.

    The church architecture of Cornwall and Devon typically differs from that of the rest of southern England: most medieval churches in the larger parishes were rebuilt in the later medieval period with one or two aisles and a western tower, the aisles being the same width as the nave and the piers of the arcades being of one of a few standard types. Wagon roofs often survive in these churches. The typical tower is of three stages, often with buttresses set back from the angles. Only a few Cornish church towers are beautiful or striking, the majority are plain and dull. Part of the reason is the shortage of good building stone in the county. The arcades of those churches with aisles generally have piers of one of three different types: Type A "consists of four attached shafts in the main axes and four hollows in the diagonals"; Type B which seems to have been in use earlier has "square piers with four attached demi-shafts"; or octagonal piers. Type A is very common in both Devon and Cornwall.

    Churches of the Decorated period are relatively rare, as are those with spires; about a dozen churches have spires, the most elaborate being at Lostwithiel. There are very few churches from the 17th and 18th centuries. There is a distinctive type of Norman font in many Cornish churches which is sometimes called the Altarnun type. The style of carving in benchends is also recognisably Cornish.

    Church plate

    Nearly 100 pieces of communion plate in Cornish churches were made in the Elizabethan period, that is between the years 1570 and 1577. Only one piece of pre-Reformation plate survives, an unremarkable paten at Morval dated 1528–29. Most of the Elizabethan pieces were made by Westcountry goldsmiths who include John Jons of Exeter (about 25). There are 47 pieces of communion plate from the Stuart period (up to 1685). 22 examples of flagons for the wine made in the 17th century still exist, and there are two at Minster dated 1588. At Kea is a French chalice and paten (1514 or 1537) donated by Susannah Haweis and at Antony three foreign chalices, two of these are Sienese of the 14th century and one is Flemish and dated 1582.

    Religious houses

    East Cornwall

    St Endellion Church, a collegiate church
    After founding a monastery at Padstow Saint Petroc founded another monastery in Bodmin in the 6th century and gave the town its alternative name of Petrockstow. The monastery was deprived of some of its lands at the Norman Conquest but at the time of Domesday still held 18 manors, including Bodmin, Padstow and Rialton. Bodmin is one of the oldest towns in Cornwall, and the only large Cornish settlement recorded in the Domesday Book of the late 11th century. In the 15th century the Norman church of St Petroc was largely rebuilt and stands as one of the largest churches in Cornwall (the largest after the cathedral at Truro).

    At Bodmin are remains from the substantial Franciscan Friary established ca. 1240: a gateway in Fore Street and two pillars elsewhere in the town. The Roman Catholic Abbey of St Mary and St Petroc was built in 1965 next to the already existing seminary.

    St German's Priory was built over a Saxon building which was the cathedral of the Bishops of Cornwall. The monastery was reorganized by the Bishop of Exeter between 1161 and 1184 as an Augustinian priory and the new church was built on a grand scale, with two western towers and a nave of 102 ft.

    Saint Petroc founded monasteries at Padstow and Bodmin: Padstow, which is named after him (Pedroc-stowe, or 'Petrock's Place'), appears to have been his base for some time before he moved to Bodmin. The monastery suffered raids from Viking pirates and the monks moved to Bodmin.

    At St Stephens by Launceston the parish church, dedicated to St Stephen, is on the northern outskirts of the town of Launceston. The church was built in the early 13th century after the monastery which had been on this site had moved into the valley near the castle. (The name of Launceston belonged originally to the monastery and town here, but was transferred to the town of Dunheved.)

    It was formerly believed that a monastery existed on the site of Tintagel Castle but modern discoveries have refuted this. There was however a pre-Conquest monastery at Minster near Boscastle. At St Endellion the church is a rare example of a collegiate church not abolished at the Reformation.

    West Cornwall and Scilly

    The Manor House, St Mawgan (Lanherne)
    At St Buryan King Athelstan endowed the building of collegiate buildings and the establishment of one of the earliest monasteries in Cornwall, and this was subsequently enlarged and rededicated to the saint in 1238 by Bishop William Briwere. The collegiate establishment consisted of a dean and three prebendaries

    Glasney College was founded at Penryn, Cornwall in 1265 by Bishop Bronescombe and was the centre of ecclesiastical power in Cornwall's Middle Ages and probably the best known and most important of Cornwall's monastic institutions. Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries, between 1536 and 1545, signalle the end of the big Cornish priories but as a Chantry Church, Glasney held on until 1548 when it suffered the same fate. The smashing and looting of Cornish colleges such as Glasney and Crantoc  brought an end to the formal scholarship that had helped sustain the Cornish language and Cornish cultural identity.  At St Mawgan Lanherne House, mainly built in the 16th and 17th centuries, became a convent for Roman Catholic nuns from Belgium in 1794.

    St Michael's Mount

    St Michael's Mount in 1900
    St Michael's Mount may have been the site of a monastery in the 8th – early 11th centuries and Edward the Confessor gave it to the Norman abbey of Mont Saint-Michel. It was a priory of that abbey until the dissolution of the alien houses by Henry V, when it was given to the abbess and Convent of Syon at Isleworth, Middlesex. It was a resort of pilgrims, whose devotions were encouraged by an indulgence granted by Pope Gregory in the 11th century. The monastic buildings were built during the 12th century but in 1425 as an alien monastery it was suppressed.

    During Anglo-Saxon times the oratory site in Perranzabuloe was the site of an important monastery known as Lanpiran or Lamberran. It was disendowed ca. 1085 by Robert of Mortain. The later church preserved the relics of St Piran and was a major centre of pilgrimage: the relics are recorded in an inventory made in 1281 and were still venerated in the reign of Queen Mary I according to Nicholas Roscarrock's account. It is believed that Saint Piran founded the church near to Perranporth (the "Lost Church") in the 7th century.

    In early times the Isles of Scilly were in the possession of a confederacy of hermits. King Henry I gave the hermits' territory to the abbey of Tavistock, which established a priory on Tresco that was abolished at the Reformation.

    In Truro, Bishop Wilkinson founded a community of nuns, the Community of the Epiphany. George Wilkinson was afterwards Bishop of St Andrews. The sisters were involved in pastoral and educational work and the care of the cathedral.

     Cathedral Church of Saint Peter at Exeter

    Exeter Cathedral,
    Exeter Cathedral, the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter at Exeter, is an Anglican cathedral, and the seat of the Bishop of Exeter, in the city of Exeter, Devon, in South West England. The present building was complete by about 1400, and has several notable features, including an early set of misericords, an astronomical clock and the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England.

    The founding of the cathedral at Exeter, dedicated to Saint Peter, dates from 1050, when the seat of the bishop of Devon and Cornwall was transferred from Crediton because of a fear of sea-raids. A Saxon minster already existing within the town (and dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Peter) was used by Bishop Leofric as his seat, but services were often held out of doors, close to the site of the present cathedral building.

    In 1107 William Warelwast, a nephew of William the Conqueror, was appointed to the see, and this was the catalyst for the building of a new cathedral in the Norman style. Its official foundation was in 1133, during Warelwast's time, but it took many more years to complete. Following the appointment of Walter Bronescombe as bishop in 1258, the building was already recognized as outmoded, and it was rebuilt in the Decorated Gothic style, following the example of nearby Salisbury. However, much of the Norman building was kept, including the two massive square towers and part of the walls. It was constructed entirely of local stone, including Purbeck Marble. The new cathedral was complete by about 1400, apart from the addition of the chapter house and chantry chapels.

    Like most English cathedrals, Exeter suffered during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, but not as much as it would have done had it been a monastic foundation. Further damage was done during the English Civil War, when the cloisters were destroyed. Following the restoration of Charles II, a new pipe organ was built in the cathedral by John Loosemore. Charles II's sister Henrietta Anne of England was baptised here in 1644. During the Victorian era, some refurbishment was carried out by George Gilbert Scott.

    As a boy, The composer Matthew Locke was trained in the choir of Exeter Cathedral, under Edward Gibbons, the brother of Orlando Gibbons. His name can be found scribed into the stone organ 'screen'.

    On 4 May 1942 an early-morning air raid took place over Exeter. The cathedral sustained a direct hit by a large high-explosive bomb on the chapel of St James, completely demolishing it. The muniment room above, three bays of the aisle and two flying buttresses were also destroyed in the blast. The medieval wooden screen opposite the chapel was smashed into many pieces by the blast, but it has been reconstructed and restored. Many of the cathedral's most important artifacts, such as the ancient glass (including the great east window), the misericords, the bishop's throne, the Exeter Book, the ancient charters (of King Athelstan and King Edward the Confessor) and other precious documents from the library had been removed in anticipation of such an attack. The precious effigy of Bishop Bronscombe had been protected by sand bags. Subsequent repairs and the clearance of the area around the western end of the building uncovered portions of earlier structures, including remains of the Roman city and of the original Norman cathedral.

    Notable features

    One of the misericords, depicting a pipe and tabor player
    Notable features of the interior include the misericords, the minstrels' gallery, the astronomical clock and the organ. Notable architectural features of the interior include the multi-ribbed ceiling and the compound piers in the nave arcade.

    The 18 m (59 ft) high bishop's throne in the quire was made from Devon oak between 1312 and 1316; the nearby choir stalls were made by George Gilbert Scott in the 1870s. The east window contains much 14th-century glass, and there are over 400 ceiling bosses, one of which depicts the murder of Thomas Becket. The bosses can be seen at the peak of the vaulted ceiling, joining the ribs together.  Because there is no centre tower, Exeter Cathedral has the longest uninterrupted medieval vaulted ceiling in the world, at about 96 m (315 ft).

    The fifty misericords are the earliest complete set in the United Kingdom. They date from two periods: 1220–1230 and 1250–1260. Amongst other things, they depict the earliest known wooden representation of an elephant in the UK. Also, unusually for misericords of this period,they have supporters.

    Minstrels' gallery

    The minstrels' gallery in the nave dates to around 1360 and is unique in English cathedrals. Its front is decorated with 12 carved and painted angels playing medieval musical instruments, including the cittern, bagpipe, hautboy, crwth, harp, trumpet, organ, guitar, tambourine and cymbals, with two others which are uncertain.

    Astronomical clock

    The clock is one of the group of famous 14th- to 16th-century astronomical clocks to be found in the West of England. Others are at Wells, Ottery St Mary, and Wimborne Minster.

    The main, lower, dial is the oldest part of the clock, dating from 1484. The fleur-de-lys 'hand' indicates the time (and the position of the sun in the sky) on a 24-hour analogue dial. The numbering consists of two sets of I-XII Roman numerals. The silver ball and inner dial shows both the age of the moon and its phase (using a rotating black shield to indicate the moon's phase). The upper dial, added in 1760, shows the minutes.

    The Latin phrase Pereunt et Imputantur, a favourite motto for clocks and sundials, was written by the Latin poet Martial. It is usually translated as "they perish and are reckoned to our account", referring to the hours that we spend, wisely or not. The original clockwork mechanism, much modified, repaired, and neglected until it was replaced in the early 20th century, can be seen on the floor below. The door below the clock has a round hole near its base. This was cut in the early 17th century to allow entry for the Bishop's cat to deter vermin that were attracted to the animal fat used to lubricate the clock mechanism.


    The 17th-century organ case (enlarged in 1891)
    The Cathedral organ stands on the ornate medieval screen, preserving the old classical distinction between quire and nave.

    The first organ was built by John Loosemore in 1665. There was a radical rebuild by Henry Willis in 1891, and again by Harrison & Harrison in 1931.

    The largest pipes, the lower octave of the 32 ft Contra Violone, stand just inside the south transept.

     The organ has one of only three trompette militaire stops in the country (the others are in Liverpool Cathedral and London's St Paul's Cathedral), housed in the minstrels' gallery, along with a chorus of diapason pipes.



    Si quis illum inde abstulerit eterne subiaceat maledictioni. Fiat. Fiat.
    (If any one removes this he shall be eternally cursed. So be it! So be it!)
    Curse written by Leofric on some of the books in his library
    The library began during the episcopate of Bishop Leofric (1050–72) who presented the cathedral with 66 books, only one of which remains in the library: this is the Exeter Book (Exeter Cathedral Library MS 3501) of Anglo-Saxon poetry. 16 others have survived and are in the British Library, the Bodleian Library or Cambridge University Library. A 10th-century manuscript of Hrabanus Maurus's De Computo and Isidore of Seville's De Natura Rerum may have belonged to Leofric also but the earliest record of it is in an inventory of 1327. The inventory was compiled by the Sub-Dean, William de Braileghe, and 230 titles were listed. Service books were not included and a note at the end mentions many other books in French, English and Latin which were then considered worthless. In 1412-13 a new lectrinum was fitted out for the books by two carpenters working for 40 weeks. Those books in need of repair were repaired and some were fitted with chains. The catalogue compiled in 1506 shows that the library furnished some 90 years earlier had 11 desks for books. The most beautiful manuscript in the library is a Psalter (MS. 3508) probably written for the Church of St Helen at Worcester in the early 13th century).

    The earliest printed book in the library is represented by only a single leaf: this is Cicero's De officiis (Mainz: Fust and Schoeffer, 1465–66). There is a good collection of early medical books, part of which came in 1948 from the Exeter Medical Library (founded 1814), and part on permanent loan from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (1300 volumes, 1965). A catalogue of the cathedral's books made in 1506 records over 530 titles, of which more than a third are service books. In 1566 the Dean and Chapter presented to Archbishop Matthew Parker a manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Gospels which had been given by Bishop Leofric; in 1602 81 manuscripts from the library were presented to Sir Thomas Bodley for the Bodleian Library at Oxford. In 1657 under the Commonwealth the Cathedral was deprived of several of its ancillary buildings, including the reading room of 1412-13. Some books were lost but a large part of them were saved due to the efforts of Dr Robert Vilvaine, who had them transferred to St John's Hospital. At a later date he provided funds to convert the Lady Chapel into a library, and the books were brought back. By 1752 it is thought the collection had grown considerably to some 5,000 volumes, to a large extent by benefactions. In 1761 the Dean Charles Lyttelton describes it as having over 6,000 books and some good manuscripts. He describes the work which has been done to repair and list the contents of the manuscripts. At the same time the muniments and records had been cleaned and moved to a suitable muniment room.

    In 1820 the library was moved from the Lady Chapel to the Chapter House. In the later 19th century two large collections were received by the Cathedral, and it was necessary to construct a new building to accommodate the whole library. The collections of Chancellor Edward Harington and Canon F. C. Cook were together more than twice the size of the existing library, and John Loughborough Pearson was the architect of the new building on the site of the old cloister. During the 20th century the greater part of the library was transferred to rooms in the Bishop's Palace, while the remainder was kept in Pearson's cloister library.

    Biblical translations

    There have also been Bible translations into Cornish. This redresses a perceived handicap unique to Cornish, in that of all the Celtic languages, it was only Cornish that did not have its own translation of the Bible.
    • The first complete edition of the New Testament in Cornish, Nicholas Williams's translation of the Testament Noweth agan Arluth ha Savyour Jesu Cryst, was published at Easter 2002 by Spyrys a Gernow (ISBN 0-9535975-4-7); it uses Unified Cornish Revised orthography. The translation was made from the Greek text, and incorporated John Tregear's existing translations with slight revisions.
    • In August 2004, Kesva an Taves Kernewek published its edition of the New Testament in Cornish (ISBN 1-902917-33-2), translated by Keith Syed and Ray Edwards; it uses Kernewek Kemmyn orthography. It was launched in a ceremony in Truro Cathedral attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury. A translation of the Old Testament is currently under preparation.
    • The first complete translation of the Bible into Cornish, An Beybel Sans, was published in 2011 by Evertype. It was translated by Nicholas Williams, taking a total of 13 years to complete.


    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    Part One: Profession of Faith, Sect 2 The Creeds, Ch 3:9


    Article 9

    748 "Christ is the light of humanity; and it is, accordingly, the heart-felt desire of this sacred Council, being gathered together in the Holy Spirit, that, by proclaiming his Gospel to every creature, it may bring to all men that light of Christ which shines out visibly from the Church."LG 1; cf. Mk 16:15 These words open the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. By choosing this starting point, the Council demonstrates that the article of faith about the Church depends entirely on the articles concerning Christ Jesus. the Church has no other light than Christ's; according to a favorite image of the Church Fathers, the Church is like the moon, all its light reflected from the sun.

    749 The article concerning the Church also depends entirely on the article about the Holy Spirit, which immediately precedes it. "Indeed, having shown that the Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness, we now confess that it is he who has endowed the Church with holiness."Roman Catechism I, 10, 1 The Church is, in a phrase used by the Fathers, the place "where the Spirit flourishes."St. Hippolytus, Trad. Ap. 35: SCh 11, 118

    750 To believe that the Church is "holy" and "catholic," and that she is "one" and "apostolic" (as the Nicene Creed adds), is inseparable from belief in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the Apostles' Creed we profess "one Holy Church" (Credo . . . Ecclesiam), and not to believe in the Church, so as not to confuse God with his works and to attribute clearly to God's goodness all the gifts he has bestowed on his Church.Roman Catechism I, 10, 22