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17685.  Sat Apr 16, 2005 5:43 am Reply with quote

Just realised we haven't mentioned it yet. Quite interesting, what with its peculiar language (which no-one speaks 'natively' anymore).

Go on - run with it!

17715.  Mon Apr 18, 2005 4:26 am Reply with quote

Q. Who painted out the English roses on all Cornwall's tourist direction signs?
Forfeit: Mebyon Kernow (the movement for more self-government for Cornwall).

A: Cornwall County Council.

The authorities got so fed up with cleaning or replacing signs where the English Tourist Board's logo (the English rose) had been painted over by activists that they obliterated them all themselves.

Clues that this wasn't protesters' work:

1. Every single sign in the whole of the county was dealt with;
2. The colour of the obscuring paint was exactly the same shade as the background;
3. A leading Cornish cleric confirmed the story for me.

17719.  Mon Apr 18, 2005 4:38 am Reply with quote

A few Cornish gubbins – this will be a bit of a mish-mash I’m afraid.

I read an article on Wikipedia about the constitution of Cornwall, and have tried to find verification to most of it elsewhere.

Firstly, a little factoid that I like is from the Kilbrandon Report of 1969/71, it states that in official sources Cornwall should be cited as a Duchy rather than a County. This could possibly be used to try to trick a panellist into calling Cornwall a county. E.g. “Name a county which borders Devon”

Verified on the council website:

A few things that you may expect refer to the crown actually refer to the Duchy (Prince Charles) in Cornwall.

The High Sheriff of Cornwall is appointed by the Duke, not the monarch, in contrast to the other counties of England and Wales.
The Duke has the right to the estates of all those who die without heirs (intestate) in the whole of Cornwall, outside of Cornwall such estates go to the Crown. This is known as Bona Vacantia and applies to treasure trove as well.
A sturgeon caught elsewhere in Britain is ceremonially offered to the monarch, while in Cornwall it is offered to the Duke.
The Duke has right of wreck on all ships wrecked on Cornish shores, but in most of England this is the right of the Crown.

The Bona Vacantia website tells you to contact Farrer & Co (The Prince’s solicitors) for heirless estates etc. in Cornwall.

Also a strange one – due to being the Duchy of Cornwall, the Prince owns a great deal of land. Rather perversely, by far and away, most of this land is in Devon!

As Duke of Cornwall, Prince Charles is one of the biggest landowners in the South West.

As part of its estates, the duchy owns 18,000 acres in Cornwall, 70,000 in Devon, 15,000 in Somerset, 3,000 in Dorset and almost all of the Isles of Scilly.

17724.  Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:07 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
what with its peculiar language (which no-one speaks 'natively' anymore)
I'm a bit of a bore on this subject, speaking as I do the language to which Cornish is most closely related.

Some basic facts:

The last monoglot speaker of Cornish, Dolly Pentreath, died in 1777 - this date has often wrongly been offered as the year Cornish died. By the end of the 19th century, when there were still people who could converse in Cornish, the revival had already begun, so it could be argued that, strictly speaking, Cornish never actually died out.

However, the total number of Cornish speakers - all of whom have had to learn it as a non-native language - cannot be more than maybe 300, and the number is further complicated by the need to define levels of fluency (thousands of Cornish people have basic conversational Cornish vocabulary).

As a first-language Welsh speaker, I find reading Cornish intriguing and maddening - many of the words are exactly the same but spelt differently; others are equivalents of archaic Welsh forms, and the syntax is similarly old-fashioned. I've found that, if I stick with Cornish books for primary school children, such as Orvil an Morvil (=Welsh Orfil y Morfil, = English Orville the Whale), I can just about hack it.

Some other books named on the link above are: Bras ha byghan (Welsh: Bras a Bychan, English: Big and Small) An Dhragon Rudh (Archaic W: Y Ddraig Rudd, Mod. W: Y Ddraig Goch, Eng.: The Red Dragon) and Dowr Toemm Kernow (South Walian: Dwr Twym Cernyw, Eng. Cornwall's Hot Water).

I have an English-Cornish phrasebook, which includes such useful expressions as "Switch on the heater in the greenhouse, because it may freeze tonight", "See that guy with the dark hair? - he's got a nice bum", "Watch out for that cowpat", "When I was younger I used to ride my uncle's pig" and "Who wrote this bloody phrasebook?".

You can read here, on the Eurolang site, the problems faced by Cornwall in comparison with Welsh as regards number of speakers, public services, publishing etc.

17735.  Mon Apr 18, 2005 6:39 am Reply with quote

I am quite interested by the fact that the Cornish Tin industry have a theoretical veto over parliamentary decisions.

The group involved are called the Stannery Parliament. They were apparently granted:

A Charter of Pardon from King Henry VII in 1508, confirmed as valid by the Lord Chancellor in 1977, which included the right to veto acts of the Monarchy, the Westminster Parliament and the Duchy of Cornwall.

(this comes from the remarkably anti-English Stannery site

Anyone else heard about this?

17738.  Mon Apr 18, 2005 7:00 am Reply with quote

How to eat a Cornish Pasty:

Miners never ate a pasty with a fork, they ate it end to end, and held it upright to keep the juices in. Since entire Cornish families worked in mines and each member of the family wanted different ingredients in the pasty, the Cornish wife would stamp the bottom corner of each pasty with an initial. According to the Cornish Recipes Ancient and Modern, "The true Cornish way to eat a pasty is to hold it in the hand, and begin to bite it from the opposite end to the initial, so that, should any of it be uneaten, it may be consumed later by its rightful owner. And woe betide anyone who take's another person's corner!" There was a superstition among the Cornish miner's that the initial corner should not be eaten, instead it was dropped on the ground for the mining gremlins to eat. These "gremlins" caused mischief in mines, causing accidents and mine collapses, feeding them supposedly kept them out of trouble. There is some truth to this rumor, because the early Cornish tin mines had large amounts of arsenic, by not eating the corner which the miners held, they kept themselves from consuming large amounts of arsenic.

Frederick The Monk
17739.  Mon Apr 18, 2005 7:04 am Reply with quote

Intersting stuff. From an initial scan of the material it seems that the Cornish Stannary Parliament was suspended in 1752 by the Lord Warden of the Stannaries of Cornwall and never officially reinstated.

But having said that in 1977, Plaid Cymru MP Dafydd Wigley on behalf of Mebyon Kernow asked in Parliament the Attorney General for England and Wales if he would provide the date upon which enactments of the Charter of Pardon (the charter from Henry VII under which the Stannaries gained their veto right) were rescinded. The reply, received on 14th May 1977, stated that a Stannator's right to veto Westminster legislation had never been formally withdrawn. BUT, as the parliament is suspended, there is theoretically no-one with the right to exercise the veto.

Wiki claims this is also disputed:
Some Cornish political activists claim to have revived the Stannary Parliament since 1974, along with the right to veto British legislation. This claim to legal authority is controversial, and is bound up with the disputed constitutional status of Cornwall. On 12 December 1974 the Home Office replied to letters from the members of this revived Parliament, saying that the Home Office could only accept elections by the stannary towns as constitutive of a valid Stannary Parliament. The revived Cornish Stannary Parliament is driven primarily by Cornish nationalism and demands for greater local autonomy. Unlike its predecessors, it claims no special relationship to the mining industry.

This suggests that if formal elections could be arranged in the four Stannary towns of Truro, Lostwithiel, Launceston and Helston, then the Home Office would recognise its right of veto.

Somehow I think they'd find a way of wheedling out of it though...

18903.  Tue May 03, 2005 9:11 am Reply with quote

Cornwall had a long tradition of 'Droll Tellers'

Droll: "A comic or farcical composition, from the noun 'a funny or waggish fellow.' Our use of droll as an adjective means 'intentionally facetious, amusing,' and as a verb 'to jest.'

In Cornwall, a droll-teller can be considered a modern version of a Welsh bard. Droll-tellers wandered from village to village trading telling of standard stories around a blazing hearth for his meals and lodging for the evening. The droll-teller relied on his prodigious memory as did the Welsh bards. Often, the listeners knew the tales just as well, so improvisation was undertaken by the droll with caution. The droll, like the tinker, brought news from outside the parish; but his tools were his memory of hundreds of stories and his mouth to tell them, plus a dash of theater to really bring it off.

Perhaps the most renowned Cornish folklorist was William Bottrell, who in the latter part of the 19th Century, published three privately printed volumes of 'drolls'. For the latter part of his life Bottrell toured the villages and public houses of West Cornwall,
collecting tales from the lips of the droll tellers in an effort to save them.
CD of Bottrell's tales available from here

An 1800s folklorist Robert Hunt went from farm to pub to tell Cornish tales in exchange for food and beer. From his 1881 book Popular Romances of the West of England:

"I have a dim recollection of another old droll-teller, called Billy Frost, in St Just, who used to go round to the feasts in the neighbouring parishes, and be well entertained at the public-houses for the sake of his drolls. In 1829 there still existed two of those droll-tellers, and from them were obtained a few of the stories here preserved.

A gentleman to whom I am under many obligations writes:-- "The only wandering droll-teller whom I well remember was an old blind man, from the parish of Cury,--I think, as he used to tell many stories about the clever doings of the conjurer Luty of that place, and by that means procure the conjurer much practice from the people of the west. The old man had been a soldier in his youth, and had a small pension at the time he went over the country, accompanied by a boy and dog. He neither begged nor offered anything for sale, but was sure of a welcome to bed and board in every house he called at. He would seldom stop in the same house more than one night, not because he had exhausted his stories, or 'eaten his welcome,' but because it required all his time to visit his acquaintances once in the year. The old man was called Uncle Anthony James. (Uncle is a term of respect, which was very commonly applied to aged men by their juniors in Cornwall. Aunt (A'nt or Ann), as A'nt Sally or Ann' Jenney, was used in the same manner when addressing aged women."

18975.  Wed May 04, 2005 4:54 am Reply with quote

The feudal dues that Charles Windsor received when he was proclaimed Duke of Cornwall in 1973:

a pair of white gloves
a pair of greyhounds
a pound of pepper and of cumin
a bow
a pair of gilt spurs
100 specially struck silver shillings
wood for his fires
a salmon spear

I note they didn't give him any arrows to go with the bow, which was probably a wise move.

Also, which surprised me, not all of the Duchy of Cornwall is in Cornwall.

The Duchy's total area is about 141,072 acres (57,091 hectares) in 25 counties, with over half the estate on Dartmoor in Devon. There are nearly 250 let farms or smallholdings, and the estate owns some residential properties, shops, and offices, as well as a portfolio of stocks and shares. The main holdings, in hectares, are:

Cambridgeshire 409
Cornwall 7,664
Devon 28,547
Dorset 1,430
Gloucestershire 644
Greater London 16
Herefordshire 5,437
Isles of Scilly 1,587
Kent 1,487
Lincolnshire 784
Nottinghamshire 288
Oxfordshire 581
Shropshire 582
Somerset 5,973
South Glamorgan 20
Sussex 127
Wiltshire 1,503

A possible trick question might be:

Q: Who is this?

Forfeit: Prince Charles.


Though the term is commonly used, he ceased to be styled Prince Charles (and technically should not be described as such) following the accession of his mother to the throne in 1952, when he became Duke of Cornwall [...]

From his birth until his mother's accession in 1952, he was known as: His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Edinburgh

From his mother's accession until 1958, he was known as:
1) His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall (outside Scotland)
2) His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay (in Scotland)

Since 1958, he has been known as:

1) His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (outside Scotland)
2) His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay (in Scotland)

87375.  Sat Aug 19, 2006 6:55 am Reply with quote

There are no motorways in cornwall.

88256.  Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:09 am Reply with quote

There are quite a lot of counties without any motorways. Norfolk and Suffolk to name but two, not to mention most of Scotland and Wales.

88295.  Wed Aug 23, 2006 9:58 am Reply with quote

And the Isle of Wight.

88312.  Wed Aug 23, 2006 10:32 am Reply with quote

That's nothing!

The Canadian territory of Nunavut is about the same size as Greenland and has half the population. It has something like 500 miles of road, none of which comes anywhere near the standard of a British motorway.

The only fully paved road in Nunavut is Federal Road - effectively Iqaluit High Street - which runs about 5 miles from Iqaluit Airport through the centre of the city to the government buildings. Apart from that, there is Apex Road which runs 3 miles - about half paved - from the middle of town to the housing scheme at Niaqunguut, and the Road to Nowhere which was built in the 90s to serve either a housing scheme or a rubbish dump (depends who you listen to) which never got built.

There are very few roads between settlements. Most settlements are coastal, so boats are used in summer while in winter snowmobiles or cars driven (very carefully) across the ice are the thing. There is a plan for a road into Nunavut from Manitoba, but it would be extraordinarily expensive and seems unlikely to happen. Even then, it wouldn't help Iqaluit - Nunavut's main town with a population around 6,000 - since Iqaluit is on Baffin Island and can only be reached by air or in summer by barge.

88468.  Thu Aug 24, 2006 7:24 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
That's nothing!

or cars driven (very carefully) across the ice are the thing. .

And trucks too, under strict conditions of when, where, distance apart and speed. There is a famous photo of an artic tanker whose driver did not obey the rules and ended up sticking through the ice while resting on the bed of the Mackenzie River. He suffered severe frostbite and wallet lightening. The pic crops up from time to time on the Canadian Drivers' forum.

88474.  Thu Aug 24, 2006 7:43 am Reply with quote

Ah yes, I think I've seen that picture at some point.

We're talking Route 3 (The Frontier Highway) which is the main route from the South to Yellowknife, the capital city of Northwest Territories.

This road crosses the Mackenzie River, which is about 3 kilometers wide at this point. In summer there is a flat bed ferry which plies back and forth (free, which is impressive in itself) while in winter one drives over the ice. For a few days in November and again in April there is no way across as the ice forms and then melts.

I haven't been to Yellowknife since the early 90s, but I believe that the Frontier Highway is now surfaced for all but about 40 kilometers. It used to be a three day drive from Edmonton over hundreds of miles of gravel, probably just about possible in two now.


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