Cornish Culture Granted Minority Status

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The future of Cornwall’s unique culture and heritage looks bright after it was announced that Cornish people have been granted minority status within the UK. Joining compatriot Celts from across the British Isles, the county will receive the same rights and protections as other national minorities in Britain, including those of the Scottish, Welsh and Irish. But what prompted the decision to grant Cornwall this momentous accolade? Sykes investigates!

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Reason 1: Cornwall has its own language

1,200 years ago, Kernowek, better known as Cornish, was spoken by over 40,000 people in the region that we now know as Cornwall. The language, which evolved during the Iron Age, virtually died out during the 19th century after older generations failed to pass it a long. In recent years however, Kernowek has experienced a sort of renaissance, and now around 500 Cornish citizens consider this their first language!

Reason 2: It’s also got lots of saints

47 to be precise including Saint Austell, Saint Nectan, Neot and Michael, whose name is also given to Cornwall’s well-known tidal island, St Michael’s Mount. Perhaps the most famous of Cornwall’s saints however is Saint Piran, the patron saint of tin mining, who supposedly arrived in the county lashed to a mill stone after being ousted from his homeland by Irish heathens.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Reason 3: It provides lots of foodie exports

As a county, Cornwall has provided some of the UK’s favourite foods, including the immortal Cornish Pasty. Brimming with meat and vegetables, the humble pasty was originally produced for miners who would throw away the trademark knotted crust lest it be covered with poisonous arsenic from their hands. Other Cornish foods that have sparked national interest include Stargazey Pie and Cornish Ice Cream, which is now sold throughout the UK.

Reason 4: Cornwall has its own distinct identity

It’s not just the Scots who are partial to a touch of tartan. As one of Britain’s ancient Celtic communities, Cornwall also has its own brand of this timeless tribal pattern. Comprising a fetching blend of red, yellow and black, Cornish tartan isn’t as readily available as that from north of the border, but we reckon you Cornish chaps could pull it off just as well.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Reason 5: It’s in their blood

Supposedly, Cornish people have more DNA linking them to the first tribes of Britain than any other region in the UK.  Indeed, the name itself is derived from the word Cornovii, meaning hill dwellers, and Waelas, meaning strangers, a title which reflects Cornwall’s history of cultural segregation from the rest of the country.

Luckily, you won’t need a passport to gain entry to this wonderful county anytime soon, so if you haven’t already done so, head on over to our Cornish cottages page, where we’ve over 180 wonderful self-catering holiday homes waiting for you.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

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