[New Book] Cornwall’s First Golden Age – From Arthur to the Normans (A review)

Author: Bernard W. Deacon (former Senior Lecturer, Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter) https://bernarddeacon.wordpress.com/

Publisher:  Francis Boutle Publishers, London, 2016    ISBN:  978 0 9935344 47   Cover price:  14:99  Paperback 257pp   Launch:   3 November, 2016 at Cornish Studies Library, Redruth   [See more – Cornish and Celtic Alternatives Series Volume 1]


Introduction, Arthur’s Country, From Roman margin to British centre: the rise and fall of Dumnonia in the 5th & 6th c., Changing times: The 5th to 7th c., The turn to the local: the 7th & 8th c., Cornwall’s 100 years war: the 8th & 9th c., The crisis of Cornwall: the 9th & 10th c., The survival of Cornwall: the 10th & 11th c., The Cornish revival: the 11th & 12th c.


If you are interested in getting nearer the truth of Cornwall’s beginning, its early history, and it’s identity (as anyone on this website should be), then Bernard Deacon makes a huge contribution in this book.

He sets the scene for his work, brushing aside the weedy growth of Anglocentric academia, and encrusted literary mythology. Reaching into the pile of grain behind, he methodically winnows out the layers of chaff, to reveal those alas very few, but very precious  kernels of truth.

He compelling explains that Cornwall between the departure of the Romans and the arrival of the Normans, was not a ‘dark age’ for Cornwall, but contained something of a (first) golden age. A  changing, evolving Cornwall, but an ethnically Cornish, British (ie. Celtic) speaking one nonetheless.  

There never was an “Anglo-Saxon period” in Cornwall, no matter what English academics, blinkered archaeologists, English (sic) Heritage, or Time Team, or your local blow in from up country may claim.  It is a history to understand, to treasure, to celebrate, and build on.

Let us first make clear, Bernard is an academic, and this is written with the rigorous approach and wordsmithing of an academic. It is very much worth the read however. Take your time to take in the key reveals, and the importance of them.

Never let someone hide the real early history of Cornwall away from you again.

Buying it:
It can be purchased direct from the publishers at Francis Boutle Publishers, or direct from Bernard (Contact via a Facebook message to request email address); or from Waterstones or Just Books, Truro; Worlds End Bookshop, Penzance; The Cornish Store, Falmouth, or any good bookshop (if not in stock they can order it; or online http://www.francisboutle.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=130&osCsid=6917df3f8b8ff4f6f4febc8926183c70

Kevrenor (Chris Dunkerley)
26 October, 2016