Borlase’s & Scawen’s Legacy Preserved

Borlase & Scawen’s Legacy Preserved

Two manuscripts written in Cornish, dating back as far as 1688, will undergo “much needed” conservation work this spring.

A grant from the The National Manuscripts Conservation Trust will restore the documents, by antiquarians William Scawen and William Borlase.

The manuscripts, described as “fragile documents”, will be restored by a conservation company in Penzance.

The restored works will be available to be read by the public at the Cornwall Record Office later this year.

Scawen’s manuscript, called Antiquities Cornubritannic was written in 1688.   It contains a version of the Cornish language poem Passio Christi, as well as an examination of the contemporary decline of the Cornish language.

Professor Mark Stoyle from Southampton University, who has studied the manuscript in detail, said: “I am delighted that these historically important and fragile documents will now be preserved in the best possible condition.”

Borlase’s document, called Memorandums of the Cornish Tongue, from 1750, is described as an “early example of a Cornish grammar and vocabulary study which resembles a Cornish dictionary”.

The texts were never published and their rarity means that they are key sources for people studying Cornish language, literature and the lives of the authors.

The conservation work will be carried out by PZ Conservation, a Penzance based community interest company, using a grant of £3,300 from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust.

Cornwall Archives and Cornish Studies Service is comprised of Cornwall Record Office and the Cornish Studies Library. Its basic function is to celebrate and promote the written and printed heritage of Cornwall, and ensure that it is preserved and made available so that individuals and communities, now and in the future, have access to these fantastic collections.

Please see on Cornwall Council web pages – Visit the Cornish Studies Library or Visit Cornwall Record Office
The Archives and Cornish Studies Service reports to the Historic Cornwall Advisory Group  (HCAG). To view the minutes and agendas of the HCAG meetings please see the HCAG pages.

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