Sunday, 28 October 2018

Cornwall: County or Country? A little discussion.

Oh the difference a couple of thousand years and letters can make? The debate continues....?

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Tim Veater Athelstan and the Battle of Boleigh was in 931 AD what might arguably considered the Cornish Celts last stand.


Craig Weatherhill The event didn't happen. It was John Leland's own imagination c.1515 that dreamed that up. He hero-worshipped Athelstan and made up all sorts of false stories about him. There is no record of Athelstan ever setting foot on Cornish soil. And Athelstan's St Buryan "Charter" is a C13 forgery, probably by Bishop Briwer. Domesday, over a century later gives no hint of "royal" collegiate status and simply states that it's held by the Canons of St Buryan. The "Charter" has place-names showing assibilation that didn't occur in Cornish until 300 years after Athelstan, and it's signed, purportedly by Athelstan himself, 3 years after his own death. Good trick if you can pull it off!

Craig Weatherhill My new book, "The Promontory People" will give some insight into "quoits" and many other things, and explains what really happened in the later "Dark Ages". And military conquest wasn't one of them. The undermining of Cornish dynastic authority by West Saxons was done by stealth with the Canterbury-controlled Church heavily involved (in fact, Charles Henderson latched onto that 100 years ago, and no one spotted what he said). Mainstream Anglocentric historians are going to hate this book. I saw the cover design today (it's great!) so publication is only a month or so away.

Craig Weatherhill I can't wait, either - it's been a 3-year marathon. It'll be the last book of that sort of size from me (87,000 words). I'm just not up to another one. I'll write shorter stuff from now on. 20,000 words or so. I wrote one in 10 days recently. "Arthur and Riotamus - Glimpses of the King?", to get you salivating. There is a section on this in the forthcoming book, but this one is much more detailed. Penwith Press is doing another one of that shorter length: "They Shall Land..... - the Spanish Raid on Mount's Bay, July 1595", which follows the entire voyage of the four galleys. These are much more fun to write, but I'm really glad that I completed "The Promontory People".

Tim Veater: The 'Dark Ages', arguably the 5th - 10th Centuries, is subject to controversy. It has to be seen in the light of the 'renaissance' and 'enlightenment' but it does contain the truth that between the retreat of the Roman legions and the invasion of the Normans, there is relatively little documentary evidence of the complicated political and military activity between the major regional powers and their leaders. However despite this fact, there are sources that pre-date Leland such as the Venerable Bede writing (from an Anglo Saxon perspective) prior to the 8th C. Leland was given the job, as part of Henry VIII/Cromwell's dissolution of the monasteries , to survey their libraries before they were transferred to the Crown. He was not however an academic researcher in the modern sense and it is I think an over simplification to blame him for what you claim is an historical inaccuracy, despite its widespread acceptance. Whether Boleigh was the site of a decisive battle or not, it cannot be disputed that all the major 'Bretwaldas' or regional 'Kings' of Northumberland, Mercia, Saxons north and south of the Thames and Wessex, besides competing with one another, progressively pushed the pre-dating Romano British further and further west, effectively destroying the culture. Battle of Deorham just north of Bath in 577 appears to be a major point in the Welsh (an Anglo Saxon word meaning 'stranger' paradoxically) retreat. Alfred Church is still a good read on the subject although no doubt overtaken by modern scholarship. It's complicated and the sources are primitive, partial and vague as to exact dates but given the fact that the Anglo Saxon advance had been going on for four centuries, and Exeter was cleared of Cornish Celts in 926 and killing them was made legal, it is surely not unlikely that Athelstan would have pressed home his advantage to root out the last vestiges of armed opposition? Athelstan certainly had an intimate connection with St Buryan giving it its charter after a visit in 931 it is said in thanks for the conquest of Cornwall. That at least fits the Boleigh battle legend.

Craig Weatherhill Well, I've just shown you the evidence that the St Buryan "Charter" is a forgery, and probably created by Bishop Briwer of Exeter. Athelstan had no call to enter the ongoing kingdom of Cornwall - his setting of the Tamar's east bank as the western border of his own kingdom echoes the setting of the Wye as the border between his realm and the Welsh kingdoms. The latter was a treaty signed at Hereford, and the Cornish border has every indication if being another treaty between himself and the Cornish king, and it appears that the appointment of a Cornish see and bishop (Conan) was part of that treaty. Why would he set a border if he'd conquered Cornwall? The answer can only be that he wouldn't, and he didn't because he left Cornwall alone. You give definite dates (926 and 931) but, in reality, these events cannot be firmly dated. They happened between 927 and 931 for sure. Conan was signing documents as Bishop in 931, so I usually cite c.930 for these events. Cornwall remained unconquered and retained its own autonomy. In 1016, Cnut made a point of exempting Cornwall from his tripartite system of English law, recogonising its own independent legislature. That remained the case right through until at least Henry I, when the same exemption was written into his 'Leges Henrici'; the separate laws of Cornwall were written into the Earldom and finally the Duchy in 1337-8 and remain intact to this day. It also seems that Athelstan didn't clear all the Cornish out of Exeter. A colony remained and the northwestern quarter of the city was named 'Bretayne' into the 1200s. That "the killing of them (the Celts) was made legal" is, I'm afraid, a groundless claim. My new book will explain all - it'll be out in a month or so ('The Promontory People - An Early History of the Cornish".)

Tim Veater: Craig I'm sure you agree that Cornwall was the last refuge of the 'Southern Welsh' as distinct from those in the north, that became "Wales" itself. The Celts were a war-like race with common cultural elements across the whole of northern Europe that had resisted the Roman expansion well before Julius Caesar's first and second invasions of Britain in 55 and 54 BC. Unfortunately for fully understanding them, its history, knowledge and beliefs were, apart from the stone and other artifacts, largely aural and subject to a vicious programme of erradication, particularly of the priestly class, such as demonstrated by first the Roman then the Anglo-Saxon contempt and violent persecution of them. Tacitus' account of the slaughter of the Druids on Anglesea in AD 60 is dramatic: ""On the shore stood the opposing army with its densest array of armed warriors. Between the ranks dashed women, attired in black like the Furies with their hair disheveled, waving burning brands. All around them were Druids lifting up their hands to heaven and pouring forth dreadful implications. Our soldiers were so petrified by the unfamiliar sight that as if their limbs were paralyzed, they stood motionless, exposed to wounds. Until at last, urged by their general not to quail before a troop of frenzied women, they bore the standards onward, smote down all resistence, and wrapped the foe in the flames of his own brands." This in other words was a massacre of the unarmed civilian religious sect and the genocide continued for effectively the next thousand years but perhaps marks the turning point of a largely lost Civilization. The western parts were subsequently but a poor remnant of it though still clinging on to elements, including of course the Celtic languages which gradually diverged with the territorial and cultural separation. Athelstan is recognised the first true King of all the England land mass, and this by treaty and submission, included Cornwall that increasing became ruled by Westminster, via principally the Duchy and Church. The former Celtic sovereign SW counties, that included Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall was not relinquished willingly or without a fight and great loss of blood. The Tamar may have been accepted as convenient demarcation, but it does not lessen the fact that Cornwall accepted vassal statehood by battle and superior force of arms, including probably in the far SW.

Craig Weatherhill Its included place-names like Ponsprontiryon, Bosegham and Bodselevan would not have had those forms in c.930. Assibilation (softening of certain consonants) did not occur in Cornish until round 1200, and the Old Cornish Vocabulary, dated to around 1200 has some assibilated entries and some not, showing the process to be in transitional form. If the Charter was genuine for c.930, then those names (in corrected form) would have been written as Pontprontiryon ('preachers' bridge); Bodselevan ([St} Selevan's dwelling'), and Bodseghan ('dwelling in a waterless place'). And it also doesn't explain how Athelstan could have signed a Charter in 943, when he died in 940.

The Cornish and Dumnonians overall were, for about 150 years, referred to by West Saxons as 'Westwala' (and the Welsh as 'Northwala'). 'Wala' is often translated as "strangers, foreigners' without any real basis. I think it merely meant 'Celtic-speakers'. The Celts could be warlike if forced to be - apart from their famous cattle-raids where a few heads would get broken - they generally lived a peaceful life. It's interesting that in all of Cornwall's formidable Iron Age hill forts, not a trace of comfleuct has yet been found. In fact the positioning of the West Penwith hillforts ensured intervisibility - the Chun Castle : Caer Bran intervisibility is restricted to a few metres each way. Stray beyond that and they can't see each other. This suggests that they were built in mutual cooperation, so that if any threat from the sea was sighted, one fort could signal others by beacon fires, and alert the whole peninsula in minutes. Settlement sites show that the Iron Age was a peaceful period as well, and when Pytheas the Greek visited c.325 BCE, he described the Celtic West Cornish as "courteous, civilised, welcoming to strangers and ingenious" which coming from a member of the world's most civilised society of the time, says a lot about us. We weren't even secretive, and were quite happy to show Pytheas where and how tin was extracted and processed. (Tim, Ecgberht, when conquering Mercia, did not allow vassal kings in the short time that he held it. Why should he and his successors do so in Cornwall? There's no evidence for this. It is undeniable that the authority of the Cornish dynasty was gradually and increasingly undermined after about 700 CE and how that was done - sneakily - will be explained in the new book. It wasn't by military means.)

For years, we've have had to put up with Anglocentric versions of Cornish "history" ('twistory' might be a better word) by those bending over backwards to "prove" a conquest that they desire for politcal reasons, but never took place in reality. Let me give you one example - the Battle of Gafulforda. Todd (1987) says: "a rebellion by the Cornish in 825 failed when they were defeated by Ecgberht at Gafulford.' Williams, Smith and Kirby (1991) go even further into fantasy by stating: "In the southwest, he (Ecgberht) accomplished the final conquest of the Cornish Britons, whose kingdom was permanently incorporated into Wessex." Utter fantasy. There is only one source for this event (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle) and this is what it says, in full. "The Weala and the Defena fought at Gafulforda." That's it. No mention of who won, who lost, not a trace there of Ecgberht's presence (he was conquering Mercia at Ellandune in 825), and yet these "professionals" can conjure a completely fictitious interpretation, based on no evidence whatsoever, to justify their conviction that Cornwall was conquered and absorbed into Wessex. Piffle. Absolute piffle. Why, then, would Athelstan fix the border of his own kingdom at the Tamar? If Cornwall was already part of his kingdom, why a border, and one that's been enshrined in law ever since? And Todd never did explain exactly how one autonomous kingdom could possibly"rebel" against another. My book will, at last, tell the truth and give the evidence.

Tim Veater Craig all very fascinating Craig. What do you think of Wilson and Blackett's discoveries/theories re. 'King Arthur' the legendary last Romano/British leader referred to here?

Craig Weatherhill Not a lot, to be honest, Tim. Like Keatman and Phillips, and a host of others, they come up with a character so utterly obscure that he could never have given rise to a legend that swept the world. They need to be looking for the British king who was seen as the last hope of a doomed and dying Empire. THAT is the sort of man who would give rise to such a vast legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth knew who that was, because he was the model for his version of Arthur, and every version of him since. So did historian Sharon Turner (a man) in 1799 and, I think, so did William of Brittany when he wrote "Life of St Goeznovius a century before Geoffrey. You won't find him in what survives of British record from that period, but you will in near-contemporary Gaulish record. Even a letter to him survives! I shall say no more because I'm the process of writing that up. Whether this man was the same as that in the other faint pre-Galfridan references is another question.

Tim Veater Yes but it is difficult to dispute either the progressive advance of Anglo Saxon power and corresponding retreat of the Celts or that Kings of Cornwall submitted to the English monarchy. A lot was happening! Just a few relevant examples: 838 - The British of Dumnonia join forces with the Vikings and attack Wessex. King Egbert defeats them at the Battle of Hingston Down. 885 - King Alfred the Great of Wessex summons Asser, a relative of Bishop Nobis of St. Davids, to the English Court. He agrees to spend six months of the year in the King's service. Asser helps to enhance the literary status of the English Court and also to negotiate the recognition of Alfred as overlord of the South Welsh Kings. The Vikings attack Rochester but are beaten back by King Alfred. c.885 - Kings Hyfaidd of Dyfed, Elisedd of Brycheiniog and Hywel of Glywysing, being harassed by the armies of King Anarawd of Gwynedd, seek the protection of King Alfred the Great of Wessex and submit to his overlordship. King Anarawd of Gwynedd seeks an alliance with the Norse King Guthfrith I of York. etc etc

Craig Weatherhill Hengestesdun (Hingston Down) was not, by the way, fought within Cornwall's present boundaries, but at a site on the east side of Dartmoor just 10 miles from Saxon-held territory at Exeter and Crediton. I've examined it. Not a place you'd choose to fight a battle, but an absolutely perfect site if you're planning an ambush from the densely wooded valleys alongside the down and have time to do so, as Ecgberht did. Not that he could follow that up. Viking threats elsewhere called him away - why risk his own kingdom to Danish incursion elsewhere by having your army down west and far away? - and he was dead within a year.

Tim, the Cornish kings didn't submit to anybody. We (Huwal) signed a treaty at Eamont Bridge. That's all, and it's all that the record says happened. A treaty isn't submission. It's an agreement. (Athelstan was an arrogant bugger - he even called himself 'rex totius Albionis' - "king of all Britain". He wasn't any such thing, and never would be!)

Tim Veater  We might ask why the Cornish resentment against the English which evidenced itself right up to the 16th C. if they felt they were sovereign and independent? It is said that Henry VIII had a Cornish wrestler (Cornish wrestling may be one of those Celtic cultural remnants not unconnected to Greece) who refused to speak anything but Cornish in protest as just one little example.

By and large, if you sought a long and quiet life, becoming 'king' was not the way to go.

Craig Weatherhill Because England began to believe that they owned us, particularly under the Tudor dynasty. It's noticeable that they always went for us when there was no living Duke (who is the de jure ruler of Cornwall), so felt they needn't go through anyone or any other authority to get at us. The 1497 uprising happened because Henry VII decided to impose huge taxes on us to finance his campaign against our fellow Celts in Scotland. Not only that, but he'd also seen fit to illegally suspend our Parliament. In 1508, at a cost, we managed to exact redress from him. The Cornish Parliament was restored, and the unprecedented right of veto over all Acts and Statutes of Westminster, were granted in perptutity (and still intact at law today). It took the English just 41 years (and again no Duke in power) to trample all over that right when they enforced Cranmer's Act of Uniformity, creating an English state religion and enforcing a foreign language on the Cornish, with extreme violence. Hence the 1549 uprising, and the Cornish Holocaust that saw between 11% and 20% of our entire population slaughtered. It was during this time that rampant English nationalism took hold. No longer did official court documents state "in Anglia et in Cornubia". Maps no longer showed Cornwall as a separate entity. as they always had. The British Sea was renamed the English Channel, The channel between South Wales and Ireland was named "St George's Channel" to stamp Englishness on those nations, and our own Island of St Michael at Looe suddenly became "St George's Island" for no good reason. I think that's all good reason for resentment. In the Civil War (not the "English" Civil War, as many call it, but the "War of Five Nations" because it did involve that many), we sided with the Royalists against Parliament. Not for the sake of royalty, but to protect the Duchy which was the only legislative power and authority that kept us officially apart from England. It still is. "The whole territorial interest and dominion of the Crown in and over the entirety of Cornwall is vested in the Duke of Cornwall". That statement was upheld by the High Court in 1855 and as recently as 2011. In other words, the Crown does not legally rule in Cornwall.

Tim Veater Doesn't this prove my point notwithstanding the paradox that Cornwall was seen to be Royalist in the Civil War?

Craig Weatherhill I don't see how. We had our own ruler, we had our own parliament, we had our own laws and, at law, we still have. How much more sovereign and independent could we be? That our ruler is still part of the English dynasty doesn't make us part of England, any more than the Indian nation and princes became English just because Victoria ruled them. In fact, William I uniquely appointed a (Celtic-speaking) viceroy in Cornwall, something he didn't do anywhere else, and just as Victoria did in India.

Tim Veater The ability to tax - tin coinage being just one specific example -and other crucial powers determines whether a geographical area is independent and sovereign or not. Quite clearly, for a long, long time, whatever it's quasi legal or cultural status may have been, Cornwall didn't have them, without the approval of the English Monarch and Parliament - when it evolved. Even the 1497 rebellion by tin miners was an attempt to frustrate central government taxing them, and we all know how that ended. Apart from the Cornishmen being 'cut to pieces', and the leaders executed, severe monetary penalties, extracted by Crown agents, pauperised sections of Cornwall for years to come. That is the reality of the evaporation of Cornish independence from the sixth century on.

Craig Weatherhill Not the reality at all but your own take on it, Tim. From Norman times and after, the output of tin from Cornwall was ten times that from Dartmoor. Cornish tin was taxed at twice the rate of Dartmoor tin in accordance with the policy then exercised with regard to goods deemed to be from foreign sources. How do you explain that? We do not have "quasi-legal" status. We have a fully legal, and completely unique constitutional status. You should read the various papers by Constitutional Law expert Dr John Kirkhope on this.

Tim Veater I get you Craig. But there's a difference between the theoretical and the practical. In every practical sense, and particularly since the absence of tin production has removed the essence of the Stannery Parliament, Cornwall for all administrative purposes has been treated as a constituent county of the United Kingdom. Ironically it was Europe that gave it more status but then Europe as we know, wanted to do that to all the regions of its empire to undermine european nationhood.

Craig Weatherhill It's a knotty problem. The 1889 branding of Cornwall as an administrative "county" under the Council Councils Act 1888 took place a year after everyone else. It was, basically, illegal (Berresford Ellis 2002; Royal Commission on the Constitution 1973). We think, (but will never know due to the intense secrecy of the unelected Duchy Council) that a deal was struck between the then Duke, who was even more feckless than the present one, if that's possible, and Westminster, where the Duke agreed to hand over his powers of administration in exchange for retention of all the financial and other benefits due to him under the terms of the Duchy Charters. At that point the total myth of "the Duchy is only a private estate" was born. As Dr Kirkhope says, it's a very curious "private estate" that has the ongoing power to convene a parliament, and still appoints the officer whose task it is to do just that when and if instructed. A strange private estate indeed that retains absolute ownership of the soil west of the Tamar, rights of bona vacantia, ownership of the foreshore, rights to treasure trove and right of wreck. But how does one challenge this? Because both are, at law, rulers, only the Monarch and the Duke of Cornwall are totally exempt from the law, so we can't bring him before a Court. There is an answer, but it takes money and personnel we don't have to get that in place. By the way, cessation of tin production (actually one mine does currently operate) does not negate the Stannary Parliament and Stannary Law as their powers were granted to their "heirs and successors", and one does not have to a tinner to be an heir and successor. Just as I didn't have to be a naval officer to be my late father's heir and successor. I was an expert witness at a case that granted rights under Stannary Law to an Appellant in 2002. The Parliament last sat in 1753, but the lapse of time since then does not diminish its full legal right to exist. I'll just leave you with this quotation from G.D. Flather, QC attached to the Boundary Commission in 1988: "Although Cornwall may be de facto joindered with England, I can find no de jure joinder of the two."

Saturday, 27 October 2018

The Eagle Has LANDED

Social Progress? What went wrong?

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These new developments embodied all the latest innovations in hygienic living in stark contrast to earlier overcrowded slums. Wide roads and pavement with trees. Piped drainage and water supply to each house individually. Large airy rooms with high ceilings. Big opening windows to allow in the sunlight. Large gardens to grow vegetables and flowers. The provision of kitchens and bathrooms with all facilities including hot water! Electricity and even the occasional telephone. This was truly a social revolution enjoyed by the fortunate sector able to afford it from their professional salaries and trading incomes. What proportion of these buildings are today occupied by one family? How many are actually affordable by the same cohort that bought them? Which raises the question how much better off are we now than then?

This area was originally called Little Clifton or New Clifton  Pre 1924 map. The Photo of Coldharbour Rd is at the junction with Linden Rd. It show that only half of Linden Rd has been built.

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1870 before it was all built.My family lived at 56 Linden Rd for 40 years. The house was built 1924c

Friday, 26 October 2018


Egypt hit out at Israel on Friday for killing civilians in Gaza with 'oppressive policies of mass punishment', while urging the international community to act quickly to end the conflict
Egypt has hit out at Israel for killing civilians in Gaza with "oppressive policies of mass punishment", while urging the international community to act quickly to end the conflictPicture: Getty


Update: And now 11 or 12 shot dead at Pittsburg 'Tree of Life' Synagogue, inaccurately blamed on Trump 'hate speech' just before the mid-term elections. Well I never!



PART 3 OF 3 - Pyramid Function

PART 2 OF 3 - Pyramid Function

Thursday, 25 October 2018


If an Obama-led State can do this, what is it not capable of?

Jahar Tsarnaev Goes to the Laundry

by Craig A
Photo credit:
by Mary W Maxwell, LLB
I have revised my book “Marathon Bombing: Indicting the Players.” It is now called “The Soul of Boston and the Marathon Bombing.” It contains a chapter on the Brady rule regarding exculpatory evidence. That chapter required me to make a list – a laundry list – of exculpatory items for prisoner Dzhokhar (Jahar) Tsarnaev.
The US Supreme Court ruled in Brady v Maryland in 1963 that a government’s withholding of evidence was found to deprive the accused of his right to due process. Only a few of the exculpatory items in the laundry list below are about withholding by the government, i.e., the Prosecutor.
Most are about the Defense team’s withholding of crucial evidence. But then, the Public Defender is paid by the government, and in any case the effect was to deprive Jahar of due process.
His case is now in appeal at the First Circuit, Boston. (He was convicted of bombing the 2013 Marathon, killing an MIT cop named Sean Collier, and having a shootout with police). Hearings will begin no earlier than 2019, it appears.
If Jahar loses his appeal and goes to the US Supreme Court, his case could out-do Brady. The “Tsarnaev rule” could provide that any time the Public Defender’s gets all cozy with the Prosecutor, the public defender goes to jail.
(OK, I am being a bit imaginative there
The good news is that as the law now stands, each item below on its own should suffice to spring the boy from Colorado Supermax, never mind all twelve items combined.
I also think it should spring from jail any of his friends who were convicted of “hiding evidence,” “lying to the FBI,” and that sort of thing, as their arrests were done for malicious reasons.
Image result for Jahar Tsarnaev IMAGES
Jahar’s Laundry List of Exculpatory Stuff
  1.  Defenders went to Russia to pressure parents to pressure Jahar.
  2.  FBI evidence in court is a black backpack; Jahar’s was whitish.
  3.  The Podstava video rules out a 12:35am Laurel St shoot-out, as Tamerlan was taken into custody naked, unwounded at 1:05am.
  4.  Matt Isgur’s compilation video has a telltale gap around 10.24pm (the moment Collier was killed) -- and it is unimaginable that MIT does not own good quality surveillance.
  5.  The FBI refuses to say why it swarmed at MIT that afternoon.
  6.  Sean Collier’s cruiser was destroyed within 3 weeks for no reason. This is criminal concealment of evidence.
  7.  Judge O’Toole withheld from jury that Jahar pleaded not guilty.
  8.  Defender’s use of the ‘It’s him’ strategy was against the wishes of the accused.
  9.  Defender didn’t cross-examine Dun Meng or Nathan Harman, or challenge boat-wall “confession” written with a sharp pencil.
  10.  Friends who could help the accused were rounded up, put in solitary, and convicted of lying to FBI; some were deported.
  11.  Cabbie Matanov was chased around the highway by FBI; he had told of Tamerlan being bearded on Marathon night, contra the Boylston St photos of a clean-shaven Tamerlan.
  12.  The gun’s chain-of-custody is risible; Silva was trapped into a drug charge, then freed for giving witness against best friend Jahar.
-- Mary W Maxwell is eagerly looking for a publisher for her new book, The Soul of Boston and the Marathon Bombing.
Photo credit:
Craig A | October 24, 2018 at 7:41 am | Categories: News | URL: