6 January 2007

Some nationalists object to historic structures in Cornwall being marked as part of the organisation English Heritage. Their basic argument is that these structures predate the traditional adventus of the Anglo-Saxons and the establishment of England.

So some structures do. But the objections strike me as misplaced.

In this case English is a geographical term; it means simply “located in England” and does not refer to the originators or age of the castle or whatever. Similarly, Scottish Heritage means “located in Scotland” not “originating after Scotland was established as a country.” If there were a British or Cornish heritage organisation the title would refer to the location in Britain or Cornwall and not say anything about the originators or age of the structures. No one claims that Stonehenge or Hadrian’s wall was built by Anglo-Saxons in the fifth century AD but they are legitimately examples of English heritage because they are in England.

Nationalists say that the structures are in Cornwall not England, believing Cornwall is or should be separate from England and not an English county. However, the reality is that in 2007 Cornwall is a county in England.

The objection to English Heritage in Cornwall is about politics not historical truth.

Some of English Heritage properties in Cornwall date from the first millennium BC, such as Chysauster and Carn Euny; others, such as Restormel and Launceston castles, have origins in Norman times, well after the stablishment of England. St Mawes and Pendennis castles were built during the Tudor period, and Tintagel has Roman, Cornish, and Norman originators.