I’m very proud of my Cornish heritage and happily tell anybody who is prepared to listen that I could play football for Cornwall due to my Cornish father. That I am sixty years old with dodgy knees matters not a jot to me. If called upon, I’d be there, pulling on the black and gold. Rod Stewart was born in North London, but nobody doubted his passion for Scotland, his father’s homeland. So I guess you can think of me as a Cornish Rod Stewart, except, of course I am self-assured enough to KNOW that I’m sexy!
My passion for Cornwall means that I am also consequently very protective over our nation’s identity (and we are and have always have been a nation).
The recent hoo-hah, due to the government’s attempt to redefine the constituency boundaries (in their favour), has thrown up the hideous prospect of what is referred to as a ‘Devonwall’ constituency that straddles both sides of the Tamar.
The name ‘Devonwall’ itself is derogatory to any proud Cornishman or maid. It removes any identity of Cornwall from the name. If it had been a ‘Cornwallon’ constituency, I’m sure it would have had caused equal offence in Exeter and Plymouth.
That aside, with the recent acceptance that Cornwall is a Celtic nation in its own right, the idea of diluting it in anyway should be vehemently opposed.
My poem (not sure if it really is a poem or a history/geography/language lesson) illustrates that Cornwall has always been a separate place. As soon as you travel over the Tamar the place names start to change, just as they do when you travel over the Severn Bridge.
Cornwall was so much of a place that it has its own name in the various languages of the countries that it traded or argued with. Like Wales, it was conquered…like Wales it still deserves its own identity.
THE CORNISH NATION
What’s England in French? Angleterre
What’s Scotland in French? L’Ecosse
What’s Wales in French? Le Pays de Galles
What’s Ireland in French? L’Irelande
What’s Cornwall in French? Cornuailles
What’s Devon in French? Devon (but with a French accent)
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
What’s Cornwall in Spanish? Cornualles
What’s Devon in Spanish? Devon
What’s Cornwall in Portuguese? Cornualha
What’s Devon in Portuguese? Devon
What’s Cornwall in Italian? Cornovaglia
What’s Devon in Italian? Devon
Now I don’t want you to think I’m picking on Devon because…
What’s Cornwall in Swedish? Korniska
What’s Yorkshire (England’s largest county) in Swedish? Yorkshire
What’s Cornwall in Icelandic? Kornbretaland
What’s Lancashire in Icelandic? Lancashire
What’s Cornwall in Polish? Kornwalia
What’s the only way Essex is said in Polish? Essex
What’s Cornwall in Latvian? Kornvola
What’s Kent in Latvian? Kent
Are you beginning to see a pattern here?
What’s Cornwall in Welsh? Cernyw
What’s Somerset in Welsh? Gwlad yr Haf
Oh! I was just seeing if you are still paying attention…
The Welsh have made the effort to have a Welsh name for each English county which is nice of them but then again they always had a name for Cornwall…because Cornwall is another country, like Wales and Scotland.
The Cornish nation has, unlike any other English county, its own language…Kernewek.
It even has a name for Devon
Hear Gray read this at…