Cornwall’s First Golden Age: From Arthur to the Normans

What do Tintagel's intriguing remains tell us about church and state in the 6th century?

What do Tintagel’s intriguing remains tell us about church and state in the 6th century?

Forget everything you might think you know about early medieval Cornwall, about Arthur and his knights, about the Kingdom of Dumnonia, about the conquest of Cornwall by Wessex. Cornwall’s First Golden Age re-interprets the story of Cornwall from the Romans to the arrival of the Normans. This period saw the rise and fall of a kingdom in the west, the colonisation of Brittany and the creation of a distinct, decentralised society. Moreover, it lay the foundations for Cornwall’s later sense of difference. Cornish culture not only survived but blossomed in a twelfth century renaissance that allowed dreams of liberty to linger on.

CFGA cover The book is  published by Francis Boutle Publishers and costs £14.99.

It can be purchased direct from the publishers at Francis Boutle Publishers

or direct from me (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 – the isbn is 978 0 9935344 4 7)


Cornwall’s First Golden Age

  • clarifies the significance of Tintagel
  • replaces a model of a shrinking Dumnonia with one of a fluctuating Greater Cornubia
  • identifies a decentralised, libertarian society in the 7th/8th centuries
  • traces the course of the long ‘hundred years war’ with the English in the 8th/9th centuries
  • explains why the Cornish were able to survive as a distinct people after the 10th century


Here’s a list of the contents with some sample paragraphs:


1. Arthur’s country

2. From Roman margin to British centre: the rise and fall of Dumnonia in the fifth and sixth centuries

3. Changing times: the fifth to seventh centuries

4. The turn to the local: the seventh and eighth centuries

5. Cornwall’s hundred years war: the eighth and ninth centuries

6. The crisis of Cornwall: the ninth and tenth centuries

7. The survival of Cornwall: the tenth and eleventh centuries

8. Cornish revival: the eleventh and twelfth centuries

To understand how the Cornish can still dream we have to understand our first golden age

To understand how the Cornish can still dream we have to understand our first golden age

7 thoughts on “NEWS

  1. Dear Bernard, I am delighted to discover that you have taken on this task – more power to your elbow! One aspect in particular that I am really looking forward to reading is your exploration of ‘Dumnonia’ and whether that term actually included the territory of Cornwall as well – it’s has always seemed pretty dubious to me. There is another specific detail that has long been on my list of ‘dodgy things I want to research some more’ – do you look at the story of Athelstan’s visit to St Buryan and the early creation of a ‘Royal Peculiar’ there? oll an gwella, Will

    • Good to know someone else has their doubts about ‘Dumnonia’. I argue that there’s no evidence for it after the mid C6th and even before then a more appropriate term for the western kingdom might be Greater Cornubia. I mention rthe St Buryan charter in passing in the context of the lack of royall charters before Edgar’s time. I think the St Buryan charter was a recognition of earlier rights and I’d take the Athelstan visit with a pinch of salt but, as you say, it’s worth some further research.

      • Merasthawhy sos. (I do know that Francis Boutle can be a bit ‘drekly’ in his timescales but I am very much looking forward to publication!)

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