University of Exeter Press

Cornish Studies Volume 18

    • 232 Pages

    This is the eighteenth volume in the acclaimed paperback series...the only county series that can legitimately claim to represent the past and present of a nation.

    "Cornish Studies" has consistently - and successfully - sought to investigate and understand the complex nature of Cornish identity, as well as to discuss its implications for society and governance in contemporary Cornwall. The article which provides the cover illustration is a fascinating account of the rise and importance of swimming matches in Victorian Cornwall. These demonstrated both the beneficial aspects of the sport, and the importance of swimming prowess in life-saving around the Cornish coast - an important consideration for the developing tourist trade - the latter providing a significant antidote to the simultaneous construction of maritime Cornwall by a range of English writers as a dangerous region inhabited by wreckers, smugglers and pirates. This latest and diverse collection also includes articles on mining in both nineteenth century and contemporary Cornwall, an exploration of identity using material gathered through individual interviews, an assessment of research into Cornish folklore, discussion of the modern growth of alternative 'Celtic spiritualities' in Cornwall, and a fresh perspective on the Middle Cornish language of medieval Cornish drama. Cover Illustration: Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1890, it shows the start of a race from the 1896 swimming matches in St Ives.

    This is the eighteenth volume in the acclaimed paperback series...the only county series that can legitimately claim to represent the past and present of a nation.

    "The outcome and intention has been to place Cornwall squarely in new debates about the nature of "Britishness" and the territorial identities." (Western Morning News)

    "Cornish Studies is a real gem among the serial publications dedicated to regional studies, and this volume confirms once again its status as a significant contribution to the field of European ethnology and ethnography. One of only a few genuinely multi- and inter-disciplinary series to combine academic rigour with accessibility to a wide readership - thanks to the careful editing by Philip Payton - it contains an important collection of articles which, while maintaining the focus on Cornwall, is of wide comparative relevance in a European context, and indeed beyond. Unafraid of crossing disciplinary boundaries and bringing into close contact academic fields that elsewhere may jealously guard their respective fiefdoms, this series presents European ethnology (in the sense the term was originally intended) at its best". (Ullrich Kockel, Professor of Ethnology and Folk Life, Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages, University of Ulster)"


    1. Mining the Data: What can a Quantitative Approach tell us about the Micro-Geography of Nineteenth-Century Cornish mining?, Bernard Deacon

    2. South Crofty and the Regeneration of Pool: National Agenda v Cornish Ethnicity?, Richard Harris

    3. When is a NIMBY not a NIMBY: The case of the St Dennis Anti-Incinerator Group, Jon Cope

    4. Meanings of Cornishness: A Study of Contemporary Cornish Identity, Robert Dickinson

    5. Imagining the Swimming: Discourses of Modernity, Identity and Nationhood in the Annual Swimming Matches in Late Victorian Cornwall, Geoffrey Swallow

    6. Cornish Folklore: Context and Opportunity, Ronald M. James

    7. Bucca Redivivus: History, Folklore and the Construction of Ethnic Identity within Modern Pagan Witchcraft in Cornwall, Jason Semmens

    8. The Stage of the Nation in Medieval Cornwall, Eleanor Lavan

    9. The Preterite in Cornish, Nicholas J.A. Williams

    10. The Three Epitaphs of Dolly Pentreath, Matthew Spriggs and Richard Gendall

    Notes on Contributors

    Philip Payton is Professor of Cornish & Australian Studies in the University of Exeter and Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies at the University's Cornwall campus. He is also the author of A.L. Rowse and Cornwall: A Paradoxical Patriot (UEP, 2005, paperback 2007), Making Moonta: The Invention of 'Australia's Little Cornwall' (UEP, 2007) and numerous other books on Cornwall and the Cornish.