New Book: Celtic Cornwall – Nation, Tradition, Invention

By Alan M Kent, with photography by Jan Beare

Celtic Cornwall: Nation, Tradition, Invention ISBN: 9780857040787

Alan M. Kent (born 1967, St Austell, Cornwall) is a Cornish poet, novelist, dramatist, author and editor of a number of works on Cornish and Anglo-Cornish literature.

In his introduction to Celtic Cornwall, the author writes:

“Observers have tried to debunk Cornish Celticity over the years, claiming that after the Anglo-Saxon invasions and the Norman Conquest then, in effect, Cornwall ceased to be truly Celtic. This assertion is wrong on several levels because fundamentally it seems to lack recognition of the resistance of Cornish people over time to reconfigure and re-negotiate their Celtic identity. It is also assumes a kind of assimilation and integration into England which has clearly not fully occurred. Resistance has been there in many different ways across the centuries, and it is still there in the twenty-first century. The entries in this book confirm this. They also deny the sceptics.”

The Celtic peoples of Europe, despite subjugation by more powerful nations, have retained their essential ‘difference’, a remarkable tribute to their resilience and a phenomenon celebrated in what today is known as the Celtic Revival. Nowhere is this feeling stronger than in Cornwall which, in spite of (or perhaps because of?) losing its native language and parts of its distinctive identity, marches at the head of this revivalism.

But who were the ‘real’ Celts and what actually remains of their legacy in Cornwall? It is these questions that Alan Kent sets out to answer in this book.

Exploring the sites associated with the Celts, both in ancient and in more modern times, he provides the reader with a fascinating insight into the landscape, life and traditions that have made Cornwall and its people ‘different’.

The contemporary photography of Jan Beare, combined with many historic images, adds immensely to the visual impact of the book and provides for the reader a ready-made guide to sites they can visit and explore for themselves.


Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 078 7, hardback, 238x258mm, 288 pages.

Published July 2012.