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Title: The Celtic Christianity of Cornwall - Divers Sketches and Studies
Author: Taylor, Thomas
Language: English
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                            Transcriber Note

 Obvious typos, missing accent marks and punctuation errors corrected.
 Inconsistencies in hyphenation, spelling, translation and dates left as
   in the original.
 Two of the three items noted in the Corrigenda changed. The third item,
   (p. 48, line 24, omit “is.”), was not changed because there was no
   such word on that line.
 A maltese cross character, ✠, is used in the Appendices. If the font in
   use on the device does not support this character, it may not display
 Italic text is represented by underscores surrounding the _italic
 Small capitals have been converted to ALL CAPS.
 Footnotes have been moved to the end of their respective chapters.
 Superscript characters are preceded by a ^ character.


                        THE CELTIC CHRISTIANITY
                              OF CORNWALL


                          CELTIC CHRISTIANITY
                              OF CORNWALL

                      DIVERS SKETCHES AND STUDIES

                      THOMAS TAYLOR, M.A., F.S.A.

                      VICAR OF ST. JUST-IN-PENWITH

                        LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO.
                       39 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON
                 FOURTH AVENUE & 30TH STREET, NEW YORK
                      BOMBAY, CALCUTTA AND MADRAS



                             M. JOSEPH LOTH

                      FROM WHICH I HAVE REAPED THE
                         FRUITS OF DISCIPLESHIP

              Sed quanquam utilitates multae et magnae
              consecutae sunt, non sunt tamen ab earum spe
              causae diligendi profectae.



In one of the most brilliant of modern books its author[1] calls
attention to the common fallacy which assumes that “if you can find a
principle which gives an adequate explanation of three different facts
it is more likely to correspond with the truth than three different
principles which give adequate explanations of the same facts

This fallacy underlies much that is being urged in favour of a common
origin for religious doctrines and methods of worship. A single source
of religious belief or of religious phenomena is preferred to several
sources as being more tidy and more in keeping with what we have learnt
to expect in other departments of research. It may be illogical, but
still it is recommended as a safe guide to the truth.

Indeed, it is difficult for a modern student to conceive how any real
advance can be made in scientific pursuits unless the principle, which
prefers one explanation of phenomena to many, is favoured.

Before the days of Kepler and of Newton it may have been possible, it
may be possible still, to imagine more than one explanation of the fall
of a heavy body to the ground and of the action of one inert mass upon
another. The law of gravity, as elaborated by Newton, represents what,
so far as we know, has invariably happened and what we believe will
invariably happen in space between two or more bodies, namely, that they
will, as heretofore, each attract all the other bodies directly as their
mass and inversely as the square of their distance. This law is not
merely preferred before all other laws; it is the very foundation of the
whole of what is called Physical Astronomy. It is a law to which there
are, within its own province, no known exceptions.

We accept this law not because we prefer one explanation to many, but
because it meets not only the requirements of cases which might
conceivably be explained in other ways but also the requirements of
cases for which no other explanation has been suggested or conceived.
Among laws, which are not received as self-evident, the law of gravity
is unique. This will be clear to anyone who contrasts the secure
position which it occupies with the perilous position occupied by laws
which have been formulated within recent years.

Men do not prefer Newton’s explanation to other explanations: the
evidence in its favour is so overwhelming that they feel compelled to
accept it.

It is far otherwise with other laws like evolution. These fascinate or
repel from the very first. Preference undoubtedly enters into the
complex intellectual process which leads us first to accept and then to
defend this or that explanation of an array of facts. And this
preference, admittedly illogical, may arise from our limited knowledge
of the facts or from regard for some particular protagonist of one of
many conflicting theories; but, other things being equal, it seizes hold
of that explanation which claims to cover the most ground and to
reconcile the largest number of facts. It only becomes mischievous when
it claims infallibility.

It is perhaps too readily assumed that in the domain of religious
phenomena there is a law by which these phenomena are bounded and
conditioned. Assuming such a law to exist, the attempts to formulate it
will be directed in a greater or less degree by preference. For
religious phenomena, by which is here meant the outward manifestations
of religions, cannot be examined and classified, without a comprehensive
knowledge of the religions themselves. And if, as a French writer has
contended, “the man who would write the history of a religion must
believe it no longer but must have believed it once,” it follows that
few persons, even in this versatile age, can claim to be proficient in
more than three or four religions. From which it also follows that lack
of knowledge must be supplied by fertility of imagination or by the
exercise of preference on the part of him who employs the comparative
method in order to discover the law.

And yet, it is only by eliminating this personal element and by
confining our attention to material which is neither inaccurate nor
defective that we can hope to arrive at the truth. It must be confessed
that the rough and ready generalisations with which we are so familiar
in this connection and the lack of care which is taken in gathering and
sifting the materials upon which they are based, almost lead us to
despair of useful results. The attempt to evolve a law from insufficient
data is like an attempt to measure volume in terms of two dimensions or
like an attempt to classify animals without an intimate knowledge of
them. A salamander has four legs and a tail: so has a sheep. A zoology
based on these criteria alone would not carry us very far. The biologist
might kindly step in with his law of evolution and say some soothing
words respecting their common origin, but we should leave off where we
began and know no more of those animals than we did at the start,
namely, that they each have four legs and a tail.[2]

In studying religions those points of resemblance which are most obvious
are sometimes the most misleading. And for this reason. The essence of a
religion—what may be called its soul—is not always revealed in its
methods of worship. This is said to be especially true of Buddhism, at
least by those writers who, like Mr. Feilding, strive to commend it to
the Western world. Certainly it is no disparagement of a true religion
that it should have, in the department of worship, many points in common
with a false one. Every religion requires some machinery if it is to do
its work. And it is more true to say of religions that they agree in
machinery but differ in what they teach than to say that they agree in
what they teach but differ in machinery. It would be most untrue,
nevertheless, to assert that these common elements have always been
acquired in the same way or have meant the same thing or have been used
with the same object. Before any deductions whatever can be legitimately
drawn the religious phenomena must be submitted to the most rigorous
scrutiny. Dates, places, distances count for more, whether the phenomena
be prehistoric or historic, than almost anything save accurate
definition. This will be clear if we take an imaginary case. Let us
consider the eagle as an object of worship. In the year 4000 A.D. a
popular archæologist of liberal views notes the immense number of brass
eagles which are unearthed from beneath the sites of ancient churches,
and inasmuch as no mention is made in history and no rubric is to be
found in any of the old service books of the function assigned to the
image of the king of birds, he comes to the conclusion that the
Christians of the Victorian era were, in spite of much quarrelling
concerning the point of the compass towards which the priest should
stand at the altar and the use of lights and incense, united at least on
one point—the worship of the eagle. He reflects that reverence for the
eagle was as dear to the hearts of Roman soldiers as it was abhorrent to
the Jews. He recalls the incident at Cæsarea. He does not forget that
long after the Roman Empire had ceased to be an important factor in
European politics the Jews were regarded with unreasoning hatred.
Putting two and two together he comes to the conclusion that Christians,
in order to emphasise their contempt for Jewish susceptibilities,
admitted into their religious system the cult of the eagle and that this
cult attained its high-water mark in the nineteenth century. If it be
objected that such a notion is altogether preposterous and absurd, that
it is, in fact, an insult to average intelligence to attempt to
influence human judgment by a fiction so transparent, it ought to be
sufficient to recall the erudite expositions of rock basins, stone
circles and dolmens which, elaborated by men of the highest eminence,
were welcomed as brilliant discoveries by a generation by no means
remote. It is a common enough practice, but it serves no useful purpose
to hold up the wisdom of one age to the scorn of another. There are two
cautions which are needed in all ages; the first, that eminence in one
department of human learning does not, of itself, constitute a
qualification to pass authoritative judgments in other departments; the
second, that as all knowledge, when unhindered, is progressive the
present generation may indeed hope to have got somewhat nearer the truth
than its predecessors, but in virtue of the same principle it is still
far from its final stage.

Archæology which at the beginning of the nineteenth century could hardly
claim to be regarded as a science, had by the end of that century
attained to the highest rank as a science. It has not outlived the
record of past mistakes and some years may yet have to elapse before its
achievements are fully recognised.

It is impossible to discuss the Christianity of Cornwall in its earlier
stages without devoting some space to its Celtic inhabitants. This is
all the more necessary because in the county there are many monuments,
both pagan and Christian, and in some quarters there has been a
disposition to confound them. Only by referring the pagan monuments to
their true place in pre-history is it possible to avoid this confusion.

For such knowledge as he possesses of archæology the writer is largely
indebted to M. Joseph Déchelette’s _Manuel d’Archéologie_. There is no
work in English which, based on sound principles, attempts, as this
does, to cover the whole ground. Like the _Principles of Geology_ the
_Manuel_ stands alone.

When the losses in human life, due to the Great War, come to be reckoned
up and those losses come to be analysed, there will be few names to take
precedence of that of M. Déchelette. The _Revue Celtique_, after
expressing its profound regret for his death, says that after honouring
France by solid and learned works, notably by his _Manuel
d’Archéologie_—a unique monument of erudition—at the age of fifty-three,
though not compelled to serve in the army, he chose to take part in the
campaign and to die like a hero. An order of the day of the French army
supplies particulars of his death. He was a captain in the 29th Regiment
of infantry and was shot down while leading his company. With his men he
had won 800 metres of ground. As he lay dying he asked his colonel
whether they had kept the conquered ground, and being answered in the
affirmative, he replied that he was happy that his death was of service
to France. The writer finely adds, _Belle vie, et fin plus belle

In a small book like the present, there will necessarily be many points
which deserve some fuller explanation than was possible, while here and
there some points will seem to be unduly magnified. The chapter on St.
Michael’s Mount might, at first sight, seem to add little to the main
subject, but in this case it was not so much the hope of gain as the
fear of loss which had to be considered. Should the reader meet with
phrases and expressions which appear to him inconsistent with a serious
treatment of the subject the writer can only crave his indulgence and
assure him that they were not altogether unprovoked.

Chapter III was in substance contributed to the _Truro Diocesan
Magazine_; Chapter IV was read at a conference of the Kirrier Rural
Deanery; Chapters V and VI were printed concurrently in the _Revue
Celtique_ and the _Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall_. For
permission to reprint them their author tenders his thanks to those

Besides the _Manuel d’Archéologie_ there are two other works to which he
is much indebted, Dom Gougaud’s _Chrétientés Celtiques_ and Miss Clay’s
_Hermits and Anchorites of England_. No better introduction to Celtic
Christianity could be desired than Dom Gougaud’s book. Miss Clay has
treated her subject with a particularity which is as rare as it is
valuable, and although her book furnished little material for the
present work, it was of great value in supplying the cartography of an
unfamiliar region.

To Professor J. Loth and to Mr. H. Jenner, F.S.A., his obligations are
of a more personal character and therefore more difficult to express. To
both of them, in all matters which concern Celtic language and
literature, he stands in the relation of pupil to master. As such he
acknowledges gratefully their friendly and patient guidance and ever
ready help.

It should be needless to add that in so doing he has no wish to shelter
himself behind great names. For all blundering and backsliding he and he
alone is responsible, inasmuch as throughout the perilous adventure he
has cheerfully bestridden his own beast.


Footnote 1:

  R. A. Knox, _Some Loose Stones_, p. 89.

Footnote 2:

  A friend of mine performed the surprising feat of evolving an entire
  system—god, religion, worshippers and all—out of much less than four
  legs and a tail. His only material consisted of a word, half-obsolete,
  of uncertain derivation and meaning. The jaw-bone in the hands of
  Samson was as nothing compared with the magic of this word in the mind
  of the valiant expositor of prehistoric religions. While reading the
  paper in which he proclaimed his discovery to a learned society, one
  could not fail to note the profound impression which it made upon the
  hearers or to admire the transparent sincerity of the reader.

  It will not surprise those who read this book to learn that its author
  spent some portion of the wakeful night which followed the reading of
  the paper in the composition of a simple liturgy to crown his friend’s



    CHAPTER                                                    PAGE

         I. COINCIDENCE AND RESEMBLANCE                           1

            Often misleading. The Eucharist. Christian
            Passover a development of the Jewish and its
            origin to be sought in primitive Israel. Ancillary
            Christian Festivals. Direct and Collateral
            descent. St. Patrick’s fire.

        II. THE CELTS                                            18

            Prehistoric Remains in Cornwall. Ligurians,
            Iberians, and Celts. No trace of Phœnicians.
            Celtic worship. The Druids. Fetich worship.
            Cornish crosses.

       III. CORNWALL AND BRITTANY                                37

            Dumnonian Exodus. Breton nobles in the Conqueror’s
            army. _Tristan and Iseult._ Henry the Eighth’s
            subsidy roll. Mystery and Morality Plays.

        IV. THE CELTIC CHRISTIANITY OF CORNWALL                  50

            Language. Isolation of Cornwall. Monasticism.
            Church Dedications. Easter and Tonsure

         V. THE MONASTERY-BISHOPRICS OF CORNWALL                 58

            Celtic Monasticism _sui generis_. Episcopacy.
            Gildas, Kenstec, and Plegmund. Athelstan. Bodmin
            Gospels. Lyfing. Leofric. See of Exeter.

        VI. EVOLUTION OF THE DIOCESAN BISHOPRIC                  70

            Episcopal manors in Domesday Book—their sources
            and their value. Three important holdings—Pawton,
            St. Germans, and Gerrans. Independent of each
            other. All of them sees of Celtic bishops. Kerrier
            and Penwith.

       VII. CORNISH SAINTS                                       90

            Not topological or eponymous. St. Ia, St. Dennis,
            St. Allen, St. Paul, and St. Buryan. Lives of the
            Saints. Religion of the Cornish.

      VIII. ANCIENT RELIGIOUS HOUSES                            104

            Celtic or English? _Monasticon_ and Domesday Book
            examined. Conversion of Celtic monasteries to
            Norman establishments. St. Kew. Summary of

        IX. CORNISH HERMITS                                     122

            St. Guron. The Three Brothers. St. Neot. Ogrin.
            Andrew Paugan. SS. Philip and Robert. Roger
            Godman. Cecilia and Lucy Moys. The Hermit of St.
            Teath. Margaret of Bodmin. Roche Rock.

         X. ST. MICHAEL’S MOUNT                                 141

            Ictis. Dinsul. Mons Tumba. Cult of St. Michael.
            Pre-Norman origin of the monastery. Examination of
            Charters and Domesday extracts. Identification of
            St. Michael’s lands. The Meneage. William of


         A. EXTRACT FROM _VITA SAMSONIS_                        169

         B. EDWARD THE CONFESSOR’S CHARTER                      172

         C. THE COUNT OF MORTAIN’S CHARTER                      173




            p. xv, last line but one, for “Each” read “All.”
            p. 48, line 22, for “but which, as” read “when.”
            p. 48, line 24, omit “is.”


                        THE CELTIC CHRISTIANITY
                              OF CORNWALL



The tyranny of observed coincidence and resemblance over the human mind
is very remarkable, especially when coincidence and resemblance are
associated with traditional sayings and superstitions.

Thirteen persons sit round a dinner table. When dinner is over the
discovery is made that they were thirteen in number and the diners
reflect that, according to the ancient fiction, one of them at least
will die within the year. During the year one of them dies, as an
insurance agent would have told them was extremely probable. A
succession of such coincidences does not lead them to study the
insurance tables, or to calculate the expectation of life; it only helps
to confirm the superstition.

The sight of one magpie by the road-side alarms: the sight of two
encourages. At the end of the day the single magpie is recalled when
reckoning up the day’s disappointments.

The devout Christian believer is not more prone to superstition than
others. A man lay dying of consumption at St. Just. He was a crack rifle
shot, an unbeliever and inclined to suicide. He insisted upon having his
rifle by him as he lay in bed and, for the sake of peace, his wife
allowed it. A single magpie came and perched daily on the hedge outside
his bedroom window. One day seizing his weapon and steadying it on his
knee as he lay there, he shot the magpie. The death of the solitary bird
brought peace and all thought of suicide was banished and forgotten. The
above are examples of superstition in the sense in which the word is
here used.

But the shepherd’s proverb:

          “A rainbow in the morning is the shepherd’s warning:
          A rainbow at night is the shepherd’s delight.”

and the fisherman’s

               “When the wind is in the south
               It blows your bait into the fish’s mouth.”

are based upon sound observation and contain no taint of superstition;
they could doubtless be referred to recognised scientific principles.

Again, the study of biology has led men to look, not in vain, for
resemblances between the gills of a fish and the lungs of a mammal,
between the hands of a man and the forefeet of a quadruped. Postulating
the theory of evolution a common origin is discovered in either case.

The prehensile and tentacular movements of certain plants call to mind
the like movements of certain fishes. Whether by means of the same
theory, with the aid of the accredited results of research, they can be
held to have had a common origin; whether, for example, they can be
referred to some such quality or instinct as that which characterises
the _Proteus animalcule_ is perhaps an open question. It seems, however,
quite clear that these blind, involuntary movements on the part of
fishes are not derived from the similar movements of plants or vice
versâ, but that, if a common origin is to be found, it must be sought in
some very early stage before animal and vegetable became differentiated.
The evolution hypothesis, whether it be regarded as proved or unproved,
is in any case invaluable because it stimulates thought, observation,
and research. By means of it knowledge becomes coherent, articulate,

The application of this principle to religion is becoming more and more
the vogue, and, provided that its adherents are content to work on the
same lines as the students of physical science, there is no reason why
useful results should not be obtained. There is, however, a tendency to
transmute this working hypothesis into a superstition which, in point of
sanity, is only comparable to that of the number thirteen and that of
the single magpie—the superstition, in short, which notes coincidences
and resemblances and ignores their opposites.

It is by no means clear that resemblance of rite and ceremonial and
coincidence in point of time of calendared festivals furnish the proper
material from which to formulate the law and to determine the source of
religious observance. For example, however we may judge of the Salvation
Army, it is obvious that a very different principle underlies and
animates Mr. Booth’s following from that which inspires the soldiers of
King George. Military organisation merely suggested a useful and
convenient form of discipline. In this case resemblance is utterly
misleading, and the archæologist of the distant future, who should argue
that the venerated coat of the General, supposing it to have been
preserved, points to some mad but futile attempt to repeat the religious
conquests of Mahomet, would be quite as wide of the truth as he who
should seek the General’s prototype in the militant ecclesiastic of the
Middle Ages.

A further danger attends the student of religions. This arises from
prepossession rather than from hypothesis and leads him to mistake
deduction for induction. He finds, we will suppose, what he takes to be
a latchkey. It is an instrument considerably the worse for wear and of a
somewhat unusual pattern. He is quite certain it is a key. There is no
room for doubt. He determines to find a lock which it will fit. Starting
with the key he examines locks prehistoric, mediæval and modern, but all
in vain, for the simple reason that the implement in his hands is not a
key at all but the head of a fish spear.

It is not the critical method of induction but the uncritical method of
deduction which is to be reprobated. When, for example, we discover by
observation, the practical universality of sacrifice as a distinguishing
mark of religion, we may explain the fact in a dozen different ways, but
in every case we are compelled to recognise the belief in a God of some
sort, and when we find that generally, at some stage of religious
development, sacrifice is offered by way of propitiation, we are led to
the conclusion that safety and salvation were held to be only possible
by atonement. We have before us a multitude of locks and one key fits
them all, and we are therefore led to conclude that _au fond_ offence
and sacrifice are related as poison to antidote. When, however, we
descend to particulars, resemblances and coincidences are found to be as
misleading as the salvationist’s tunic. Their evidential value, to use a
threadbare but useful phrase, is infinitesimally small and sometimes a
negative quantity.

Relying upon resemblance, a person might be led to conclude that it was
the spring turnip which suggested the shape of the watch and the duck’s
egg the morphology of toilet soaps.

Utility and convenience have entered largely into the ritual systems of
all religions. The same accessories are required for the worship of Baal
as for the worship of Jehovah. To identify Baal with Jehovah is to beg
the question and to fall a victim to the tyranny of coincidence and

When attempts are made to discover a common origin for the Christian
Eucharist, the Aztec communion described by Prescott, and the ceremonial
eating and drinking practised by the worshippers of Mithras, it is often
assumed that the closer the ritual resemblance between them the stronger
the argument in favour of a common origin. It does not seem to have
occurred to the maintainers of this hypothesis that public worship, of
whatsoever kind it may be, finds expression in a symbolism of its own,
just as thought expresses itself in speech and in written language. The
fact that Christianity expressed itself in symbol and sacrament does
prove that from the very first it claimed to be a religion and not a
mere philosophy or school of thought, but it does not prove identity of
origin or of intention with the pagan religions which employed the same
or similar symbolism. It was inevitable that the Christian Passover
should have been singled out in order to illustrate the prepossession
that in origin it is essentially pagan. In this case, however, it is not
resemblance but coincidence (in point of time) which is supposed to
afford the ground of proof. One writer, at least, who rightly connects
it with the Jewish Passover, in order to exhibit its sacrificial
character,[3] does not hesitate to refer its origin to the worship of
Attis or Tammuz, the earth-god, on the ground that the time of its
occurrence roughly coincides with the solemnities of Attis. No better
illustration of the tyranny of observed coincidence could be found than
in his ingenious but futile attempt to apply the principle to Cornwall.
His object is to identify the May-day festivities, which he conceives to
be a survival of Beltane solemnities, with those of the Christian
Passover. Unfortunately for him the latter festival occurs too early; it
can never occur later than the twenty-fifth of April. But he has read of
Little Easter, which occurs a week later, and attributing to the Cornish
a preference for a réchauffé of the Easter banquet to the banquet
itself—a preference for which no reasons are vouchsafed—he concludes
that Little Easter is the Cornish equivalent of the Beltane Feast. It
might have occurred to the maintainer of this opinion to test it by
means of the same calculations which forbade the synchronising of Easter
itself with the pagan solemnity. Had he done so he would have found that
Little Easter (Paskbian) or Low Sunday occurs in May only once in sixty
or seventy years, and on May-day less than once in a century.[4] A
coincidence which occurs once in a century does not convince the writer
and will hardly convince the reader of the identity of the Celtic feast
of Beltane with the Christian Passover, or even with the Low Sunday
celebration at Lostwithiel described by Richard Carew, the historian.[5]

It is impossible, without destroying the character of this enquiry, to
consider the Christian Passover in all its bearings upon the subject
before us, but a few remarks are needed in order to place it in a right
relation to the more ancient solemnity from which incidentally it

The Jewish Passover was kept at the time of the first full moon which
followed the vernal equinox. The primitive Christians of Asia Minor,
claiming for precedent the practice of St. John the Divine, commemorated
our Saviour’s Passion on the same day as the Passover and His
Resurrection on the third day after. Thus it frequently happened that
the very event which had led to the observance of the first day of the
week as the Christian Sabbath had its yearly commemoration on some day
which was not the Christian Sabbath. On the other hand, the Christians
at Rome, following as they believed the practice of St. Paul, kept not
only the weekly but also the yearly feast of the Resurrection on the
first day of the week and the anniversary of the Passion on the third
day before, in other words they kept their Paschal feast as we do now on
the first day of the week which occurred next after the first full moon
following the Spring equinox. The origin and signification of the feast
were the same for both Eastern and Western Christians. It was the
Christian Passover (_Pascha_) and was known by that name. The ancient
Cornish word for it was Pask. In North Staffordshire forty years ago it
was the custom, and it is probably still the custom, for bands of men
and maidens to solicit Pace (Pasch) eggs. The use of the term Easter, of
Saxon origin, is merely a proof of the stubborn independence of the
English character which refused to receive not only the names of the
days of the week but also of the Christian seasons from the Latin. The
coincidence in point of time of the Paschal feast with a pagan feast, if
such coincidence can be discovered, was purely accidental; and the same
can be said of Ascension, Pentecost and all other movable feasts which
are ancillary to or supplementary of it. In this connection it is
noteworthy that throughout the bitter controversy, dating from an
amicable discussion held in the year 162 when Polycarp, bishop of
Smyrna, paid a visit to Anicetus, bishop of Rome until the sixth
century, it never occurred to either party to suggest a pagan origin for
the feast or to connect the time of its celebration with nature or
nature worship.[6] As the commemoration of a notable historical
event—the Resurrection of Jesus Christ—it was observed by East and West,
just as the Jewish Passover was observed as the anniversary of the
“self-same day that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of
Egypt by their armies,” and of that hurried meal of which a lamb of the
first year and unleavened bread were the more important constituent
elements. In the Bible and in the Primitive Church the two feasts are so
closely linked together that, in order to demonstrate identity of origin
for the Christian Passover and the feast of Tammuz the earth-god, it
will be necessary to show that the Jewish Passover derived its _raison
d’être_ from the same source as the worship of Tammuz. That any such
source has been found or that any connection has been found, or will be
found, is not to be taken for granted. The connection between the Jewish
and the Christian Pascha is not open to dispute. Had the Christian
Church repudiated the Pascha and kept a festival of the Resurrection
entirely distinct from it, something might have been urged in favour of
a pagan origin. It is the indissolubility of their union which forbids
any such interpretation.

The writer has no desire to be regarded as an obscurantist and, for this
reason if for no other, he offers to the students of folklore in general
and to all deductive philosophers obsessed with the unique evidential
value of coincidence and resemblance in particular, the following facts,
for the authenticity of which he is prepared to vouch whenever he is
required so to do. He believes that when their import is fully grasped
they will carry, to the minds of the said philosophers to whom the
discovery, never previously announced, is humbly but confidently
dedicated, the conviction that not in Asia, the accredited home of
mystery, not in Africa the cradle of theologies old and new, not in
America the foster mother of science Christian and otherwise, but in
Australia will be found the true origin of the Easter festival and its
ceremonial. He regrets that his command of scientific language is
unequal to the task which a discovery of such absorbing interest and
far-reaching possibility demands. He therefore craves the indulgence of
the learned for expressing himself in terms which he hopes will be
intelligible to learned and unlearned alike.

In the low-lying land which borders Halifax Bay in the colony of
Queensland there is to be found an edible root called the bulgaroo
which, at the time of the European Spring equinox, after the heavy rains
which begin in the month of February, betrays its presence by sending
forth shoots of a bright and tender green colour. For some occult reason
this root is preferred by the aboriginal inhabitants to the choicest
delicacies which the white man, notwithstanding his cultivated taste in
the matter of food and drink, can supply. Accordingly every year the
black man, if employed, seeks his master’s permission for a month’s
sojourn in the land of the bulgaroo. It is well known to all who have
lived in Queensland that the black man is a keen observer of the
heavenly bodies and is much distressed by the sight of an eclipse of the
sun or moon, from which it may be inferred that he rejoices when the sun
and moon are not obscured. Whether, strictly speaking, he can be
described as a sun worshipper has not been determined, but it is
believed that the disclosure of these particulars will help incidentally
to solve this as well as the larger problem under discussion. The
coincidence of the Spring equinox with the resurrection of the said
bulgaroo from its dark retreat under the earth, and of both events with
the assembling of the aboriginal tribes and of their partaking together
of what may not unfitly be described as the root of ages (for in all
probability we have here a vegetable food known to the black man’s
ancestors long before they emerged from a pre-human archetype); above
all, the addition to the bulgaroo banquet of human flesh whenever it may
be safely had, and the marked preference for those portions of the human
body which, like the heart, are essential to life, and therefore, as
they suppose, are the better fitted to stimulate and increase the
eater’s physical courage and efficiency; to which must also be added the
attendant dance and song of corroboree and the more secret and
mysterious bora meeting whereat, after due proof has been given, both
oral and experimental of the candidate’s fortitude, he is admitted to
the full privileges of manhood by a solemn rite of initiation: all these
ceremonial acts, whose significance it is impossible to misinterpret and
to exaggerate, strengthened and not weakened (as might be supposed by a
superficial observer) by the fact that at the antipodes Spring
synchronises with European Autumn, establish a strong presumption that
the continent of Australia affords the veritable solution of the great
problem of the origin of Christian ceremonial observance. Nor is this
surprising when we remember that according to an eminent German
archæologist, Dr. Buttel-Reepen,[7] the Australian aborigines are the
direct descendants of the propithecanthropi, i.e. pre-ape-men or common
progenitors of apes and men, “since their foot had not yet undergone the
definite change from a grasping organ to a supporting apparatus.” Nay
more, when we reflect that from the great concourse of pre-men one huge
horde poured away in the direction of Africa, some of its members
pursuing their wanderings through generations, until they eventually
reached Europe across a bridge of land that then united the two
continents; being accompanied in their migration by the pre-glacial
fauna, the _Elephas antiquus_, _Rhinoceros merckii_ and other great
beasts whose fossilised remains bear witness of this emigration, we are
driven to conclude that throughout incalculable periods of time, from
the Tertiary era at least, when, according to Dr. Woodward, man was
already emerging from his pre-ape condition, down through the ages,
palæolithic, neolithic, bronze, and iron, across continents which have
been overwhelmed or refashioned, this simple meal of bulgaroo has
persistently held its ground and won its triumphs in the social and
afterwards in the religious life, pagan and Christian, of man as he has
progressed steadily but surely from generation to generation.

Absurd as the foregoing presentment of a few, plain verifiable facts
will appear to the reader, it is neither more absurd nor more wildly
fantastic than much that passes for penetration with those who allow
themselves to become the slaves of resemblance and coincidence. So far
as the bulgaroo feast is concerned, it would be possible to write in the
same grandiloquent manner and with an equal amount of wisdom of a
beanfeast at Blackpool.

To resume. The deductive philosopher having identified the Christian
Passover, which in England is commonly known as Easter and which always
occurs in March or April, with the Celtic feast of Beltane which always
occurs in May, it would be strange if he did not discover a pagan
archetype for Christmas.

In this case both coincidence and resemblance point to the birthday of
Mithras the Persian sun-god whose worship was introduced at Rome in the
time of the Emperors. Is it unfair to remark that here conviction is
rendered doubly certain by reason of the fact that the date of the
earliest Christian observance of the Christmas festival is somewhat
obscure? We know that it originated at a very early period and that the
Alexandrians and the Churches of Palestine kept it, until the year 428,
at Epiphany[8] and not on the 25th of December. Clement of Alexandria,
who died about A.D. 220, refers to calculations of the year and day of
the Lord’s nativity not to encourage but to caution. It is noteworthy,
however, that he gives no hint of the danger which might arise from the
possibility of its being confounded with pagan celebrations of like
nature. It is well known that a festival of the sun was held at the time
of the winter solstice (_dies natalis invicti solis_), but it is equally
well known that the early fathers never ceased to warn the people
against confounding Christian festivals with pagan.[9]

Having satisfied himself that the keeping of Christmas originated in sun
worship at the winter solstice, our philosopher would hardly do himself
justice did he not discover a similar explanation of the commemoration
of the birthday of St. John the Baptist at Midsummer. The ordinary
uninstructed Christian would probably argue, and to better purpose, that
if you keep the Saviour’s birthday on the 25th of December you ought to
keep the Baptist’s birthday on the 24th of June, because the latter was
six months older than the former.[10]

It is possible that pagan rites may have become associated with the
Christian festival, but in Cornwall the Midsummer fires do not appear to
have been so associated. Whatever their origin may be, there is no
evidence that they have at any time entered into the Christian system.

The position for which, in the interests of truth, it seems vital to
contend may be illustrated by citing a familiar episode from the life of
St. Patrick—the episode of the Paschal fire. There is indisputable
evidence that, from the days of the Emperor Constantine (A.D. 274-337)
at least, Easter was distinguished by the Christian Church from other
festivals by the lighting of fires or tapers to signify the rising of
Christ from the dead to give light to the world. When St. Patrick
arrived at the hill of Slane, in sight of Tara, on the eve of the
Christian Passover, he set about preparing for that great solemnity. He
lighted the sacred fire. But it so happened that the then pagan Irish
were, at that moment, equally intent upon keeping a festival of their
own, and that their festival also involved the observance of a similar
ceremony. They, too, had a fire to light, and the act of lighting by
anyone except King Leoghaire himself, or by one of his ministers at a
signal given by him, was punishable with death. St. Patrick in ignorance
of the prohibition lighted his fire first, and the fire was seen by the
King and his subjects at Tara. He would doubtless have acted as he did
had he known of the edict; but it was, as events soon showed, this
particular transgression, insignificant enough in itself, which at once
brought about the collision between him and Leoghaire.

St. Patrick manifestly was not consciously observing a practice of pagan
origin. Whatever thoughts, memories or associations his fire kindled
within him they were definitely Christian. We are not told what meaning
the King’s fire had for _him_. The casual onlooker would probably have
seen little to choose between the one fire and the other: he might
conceivably have regarded them as expressive of one and the same
intention. Had a modern philosopher been present he would almost
inevitably have discerned a common origin and therefore a more or less
near relationship. Yet both would have been wrong; the first, because
the motives and intentions of Patrick and Leoghaire were _not_ the same;
the second, because until a common origin has been shown any inference
derived from similarity of ceremonial is apt to be misleading however
reasonable it may seem.

An inference is misleading when it carries with it consequences which
are irrelevant to the main facts upon which it is founded.

You cannot say that because the Christians used fire in their worship at
Easter and the pagans also used fire in their worship, therefore the
Christians adopted the practice from the pagans; still less can you say
that Easter originated in a pagan festival. All you can say is that
fire, as an accessory of worship, was used by both, just as prayer was
also so used by both. The paraphernalia (using the term in a neutral
sense) of two religions may be precisely alike, while the religions
themselves may be as wide as the poles asunder. And the complaint one
has to make against much that is brought forward as evidence of a common
origin for customs, both religious and secular, is that it is not
evidence at all, and that though it be repeated or multiplied a
thousandfold, it follows the familiar rule of mathematics and amounts to
nothing. Even when legitimate inferences have been drawn from groups of
observed facts, it is by no means uncommon to find them so manipulated
by writers as to convey wrong and erroneous impressions. Having regard
to the laws of the physical growth and development of organic matter and
to other considerations of a more technical character it may be
considered a legitimate inference that men and apes are descended from a
common ancestor, but it is a misrepresentation of the inference to say
that it implies that men are descended from apes. For although it may be
a source of comfort to all English-speaking people to believe that their
ancestors “either came in with William the Conqueror or went out in the
_Mayflower_,” it is clearly impossible for them to believe that they can
all trace their descent either from George the Third on the one hand, or
from George Washington on the other. A genealogical enthusiast may
perhaps be pardoned for seeking to embrace as many of the elect as
possible in his family tree, because even in his moments of deepest
depression he can point to Adam as the common ancestor. The student of
religions in like manner may be pardoned for desiring to express in
tabular form the successive stages through which doctrines and rites
have passed; have been developed, arrested, modified, governed and
conditioned. But neither the genealogist nor the religious philosopher
can be pardoned for mistaking a collateral for a direct ancestor.

The Christian Church has, with generous and ready welcome, received into
her bosom all that could produce credentials of kinship, holding nothing
as common or unclean, however unworthy its associations and however
perverted its use in the past. Painting, music, poetry, drama,
philosophy, architecture, ritual, organisation, each has found a place
and received a fresh consecration as the result of its admission to the
embrace of the true mother of them all. Only one barrier has she
interposed—the barrier of heresy. She has always insisted that the
postulant’s real intentions should be clearly known. By sacrament,
creed, and confession she has exercised every precaution to secure peace
within her sacred walls. She has sacrificed popularity, endured
persecution, incurred hatred in order that all her children should share
the same affections, should speak the same things and think the same
thoughts. This has ever been and is still her great offence, her
unpardonable sin, in the eyes of those outside her communion, viz. that
she has been so uncompromisingly true to herself. For this reason it
might have been thought superfluous, or at any rate a more or less
academic matter, to discuss the origin of her symbolism and its
affinities. The human mind, however, almost inevitably, refuses to admit
the appropriateness of a newly imported symbol unless its past
associations are free from suspicion. Not only so, the student of
religions obsessed with the superlative value of resemblance and
coincidence, is apt to suppose that if he can show that the
paraphernalia of Christian worship approximately resembles that of some
pagan religion he has proved identity of intention and belief.

By way of reply it would be possible to argue, with greater force and to
better purpose, that historically it can be shown that Christian worship
would be, at this time, fuller, richer, more ornate, more attractive and
possibly not less true to its supreme purpose if larger use had been
made of the common sources of religious ceremonial. The history of
heresy is, however, a sufficient refutation of the main contention. An
examination of some particular forms which the pagan theory has assumed
in relation to Cornwall will be given later on.


Footnote 3:

  R. A. Courtney, _The Hill and the Circle_, p. 15.

Footnote 4:

  Between the years 1854 and 1930, inclusive, Little Easter occurs
  once—on the 2nd of May, 1886.

Footnote 5:

  Quoted in the _Parochial History of Cornwall_, iii., 175.

Footnote 6:

  The Celtic controversy respecting the incidence of the Christian
  Passover was concerned solely with astronomical calculations and has,
  of course, no bearing upon the matter here under discussion.

Footnote 7:

  Buttel-Reepen, _Man and His Forerunners_, pp. 72-3.

Footnote 8:

  The Armenians still keep the Nativity on the 6th of January.

Footnote 9:

  The subject is fully dealt with by Neander; _Church History_ (Bohn’s
  ed.), vol. ii., pp. 419-48.

Footnote 10:

  He would be led so to argue by reflecting that in the Church’s
  Kalendar Ascension and Pentecost are similarly related to the Paschal
  Feast and Annunciation to Christmas.



                               THE CELTS

It is almost, if not quite, impossible to acquire a right perspective of
the position which the Celts occupy in British history without examining
the incidence of that position and some of its relationships by the
light of the results of modern archæological research.

In Cornwall, as elsewhere, the prehistoric races which inhabited the
county before the Celts appeared have left abundant evidence of their
presence. That evidence, however, will be hard to discover in the warp
and bent of character and in the physical development which doubtless
all Englishmen have in some measure inherited from them, and towards
which these extremely remote ancestors have to some slight extent
contributed. We shall probably never know enough about any of them so as
to be in a position to say of any one living in the county as we might
say, for example, of an Irishman “that splendid act of daring or that
hairbrained escapade must be set down to his Irish breeding.” Yet,
inasmuch as no one supposes that an incoming race commonly extirpates
the race it supplants there is always the suspicion that the new race
may have yielded to the moral influence or to the religious atmosphere
of the old. History supplies us with instances of this triumph of
spiritual over physical force, Christianity itself being the most
striking instance of all.

For this reason it is necessary to go back to those ages which have been
distinguished as palæolithic, neolithic, and bronze, in other words to
those periods during which unpolished stone, polished stone, and bronze
implements were in use,[11] in order to discover, if possible, whether
as the tide of industrial progress flowed in, there are indubitable
signs of an unbroken tradition of religious thought and practice which
became articulate in the historic narrative of Julius Cæsar.

Mr. Clement Reid, F.R.S., has thought that he detected traces of the
palæolithic age in the raised beach at Prah Sands,[12] and there is, a
priori, no reason to suppose that his discovery will not be confirmed by
further investigation. Quite the contrary; it is not unlikely that some
of the implements which have been found in the county and which are now
commonly regarded as belonging to the later stone age will be found to
belong to the earlier. This consideration, however, has only a very
indirect bearing upon the present enquiry, for it has not yet been shown
that the men of the earlier period had any religious belief at all.

On the other hand, there is a very strong presumption that the races of
the later period had, towards the end of it, religious beliefs more or
less definite. In this connection there is no need to call attention to
the different kinds of stone implements which have been found in
Cornwall and which have been identified with this—the neolithic—period.
It will be useful, however, to consider, very briefly, the more striking
of its monuments, found chiefly in the west and, by reason of their
size, styled megalithic. They are distinguished as dolmens sometimes but
incorrectly termed cromlechs, cists (stone chests), circles, menhirs or
long stones, and alignments of which there are comparatively very few in
the county. All belong to the same period; all appear to have been
erected by the same race. They are all found in greater numbers and of
larger dimensions in Brittany. The general opinion of competent
archæologists is that, with the exception perhaps of the menhirs, they
are all sepulchral in character and with the exception of some of the
cists that they all belong to the neolithic or else to the earlier half
of the Bronze Age. The dolmens, of which Chûn Quoit and Lanyon Quoit are
good examples, differ only in size and detail from the cists which are
abundant in Cornwall, and which have been proved to be depositories for
the dead by their contents. The circles probably performed the very
useful function of marking and protecting either single graves, as many
of the smaller ones are still found to do, or a more or less large
collection of graves like a modern churchyard wall. The fact that some
of the circles no longer surround human interments, or that some cists
are found without circles to protect them, presents no difficulty to
those who accept this explanation, but who at the same time admit a
variety of use in the disposal of the dead and who have abundant proof
of a bygone vandalism which is not unknown in Cornwall to-day.
Stonehenge is not only larger and more elaborate, but of later date than
most of the larger circles, being the only one in England which is
constructed of hewn stone, all the rest being built of undressed stone.
Even of this, for which, on that account, there might have been presumed
a quasi-religious origin, Sir Arthur Evans, one of the most eminent of
living archæologists, can only assert that “it is one of the large
series of primitive religious monuments that grew out of purely
sepulchral architecture.”

Of alignments it is hardly possible to say more than this, that they are
usually associated with circles and may have served as avenues to them.
The menhirs, sometimes isolated and independent of other ancient remains
and sometimes as, for example, at St. Buryan and Drycarn, sufficiently
near to circles to suggest association with them, are even less easy to
explain. Some of them are of enormous dimensions, like the Men-er-Hroeck
at Locmariaquer in Brittany; some are so small as to be liable to be
mistaken for the rubbing stones of cattle. The former must have required
vast numbers of men to erect, and it is their weight and size which has
invested both the smaller and the greater with an interest and
importance which would otherwise have been lacking. It is probable that
some of them served as boundary stones, some as guide posts, and others
as stones of memorial, like those reared by Jacob at Bethel, Joshua at
Jordan, and Samuel at Ebenezer. The isolated menhirs of the largest
size, i.e. the true menhirs or great undressed stones, reared by human
instrumentality, wherever no traces of burial can be found either
underneath or near them, undoubtedly suggest a religious purpose. While
there is nothing to connect them with nature worship,[13] as commonly
understood, or with solar worship, it is difficult to conceive how they
came to be erected unless it was either to commemorate a departed
chief[14] or to serve as symbols or objects of religion. Reverence paid
to the dead, at certain stages of human development, may and probably
does imply a belief in life after death. These monuments are of the late
neolithic age.

The transition from it to the Bronze Age took place in Europe, according
to the best authorities, about 1800 years before Christ. Bronze gave
place to iron about 900 years later. The use of bronze in Cornwall,
judging from the comparatively small number of bronze implements which
have been discovered in the county, and from the fact that for its
manufacture both of its constituent metals are abundant, would seem to
have been of shorter duration here than elsewhere. Bronze celts have
been found in Lelant, St. Just-in-Penwith, St. Hilary, St.
Mawgan-in-meneage, Gwinear and in a few other places, but the net result
is somewhat disappointing.

It is, however, during this period that in Gaul we meet with two races,
the Ligurian and Iberian, occupying lands east and west of the Rhone
respectively. These races must not be identified too closely with the
countries whose names they bear.

They appear to have followed different occupations, the Ligurians
devoting themselves to agriculture and the Iberians to the keeping of
sheep and cattle.[15]

It is remarkable that little evidence should have been discovered
respecting the character of the religion of either race. A bronze disc
from Ireland and a horse mounted on (not harnessed to) a six-wheeled
curricle to one of the axles of which is affixed a disc, from Denmark,
have been supposed to be emblematic of the Bronze Age sun worship of
those countries. Again, the swan-shaped prow of Scandinavian boats has
been recognised as a solar emblem, but the freedom with which that
ancient bird has been treated for decorative purposes, leaves one
somewhat in doubt as to its religious signification. No evidence of the
use of either symbol has apparently been found in Britain or in

If the distinction between Ligurian and Iberian can be sustained is it
not possible that the latter if not both emblems were confined to the
Ligurians and were introduced by them along with their religious
associations as traders engaged in the overland amber traffic between
the Baltic and the Mediterranean?

The same dearth of evidence meets us when we come to consider the cult
of the bull and the sacred horns and that of the axe. Had this cult been
peculiar to a pastoral people like the Iberians an irreverent mind might
have been pardoned for suggesting that they hit upon a very appropriate
symbolism. Unfortunately the Bronze Age of Britain and Armorica, whether
Iberian or otherwise, supplies us with very few if any illustrations of
it. Two bronze bulls of small size found in Morbihan have been claimed
to represent it in Armorica. The bronze bull found in the Vicarage
garden at St. Just, undoubtedly fashioned for a religious purpose, seems
to have an equal claim; but until more evidence is forthcoming it is
allowable to doubt whether the Minoan beliefs, associated with the
bronze period in the Ægean, ever gained a footing in Britain. M.
Déchelette has with great pains striven to show that the mythology and
the metal were closely related, perhaps contemporaneous and
coextensive[16]—at least this seems to be the general drift of his
exposition. While yielding to no one in gratitude for his great work—a
challenge to English archæologists—it seems to the present writer that,
in dealing with the religious symbolism of the Bronze Age, so far as
North-Western Europe is concerned, he has done little more than to show
that the double axe (_bipenne_) of the Ægean has its analogue, perhaps
archetype, in the single axe with handle (_hache simple et emmanchée_)
which is found inscribed on some of the Armorican dolmens of an earlier
age. Nor is it self-evident that either the sacred horns or the axe is a
solar emblem, though both appear to have been received into the Minoan

When we leave the Bronze Age and come to the Iron, we enter upon what
has been termed protohistoric archæology. Within about 300 years of its
commencement we find ourselves in the presence of a race which has
survived and has in a measure retained its individuality up to the
present time.

The Celts, it is true, were only one of several races which from the
east and north pressed westward and southward over Europe for a period
of over a thousand years; but no invasion has ever been more complete or
the effects of an invasion more profound and permanent. The Celts became
identified with our island to a greater extent than either of their
successors, the Saxons and Normans. The second body of them imparted to
it its name. In the fifth century before Christ they had reached the
Atlantic and had begun to invade Britain although the main body were
near the Danube. In 387 B.C., they sacked Rome, and in the succeeding
century a section of them crossed the Hellespont, overran Asia Minor and
eventually settled in what became known as Galatia.

The point of greatest importance at the present stage of our enquiry is
that of the Celtic religion between the close of the Bronze Age and
Cæsar’s invasion of Gaul and Britain. Was it one of the many forms of
nature worship which found the central object of its adoration in the
glorious orb who in the words of the Psalmist “cometh forth as a
bridegroom out of his chamber and rejoiceth as a giant to run his
course”? Did the worship of the sun form its most prominent
distinguishing feature?

The much-quoted passage given by Diodorus the Sicilian, who lived in the
first century before the Christian era and who reproduced it from the
_Description of the World_ written by Hecatæus in the fifth century,
states that in the island of the Hyperboreans over against Celtica there
is a magnificent circular temple which they have erected to Apollo.[17]
The passage presents more than one difficulty. The Hyperboreans were
known to the ancient world as the possessors of the sources of amber, a
substance which is not found in Britain but in the neighbourhood of the
Baltic. Those who would identify the Hyperborean island with Britain and
the temple with Stonehenge, have to face the greater difficulty of
accounting for the fact that a sepulchral structure erected in
pre-Celtic times was, in the fifth century before Christ, being used for
sun worship by Hyperboreans who may or may not have been Celts, but who
in the passage are described as having erected it for that purpose. It
should be remembered that Hecatæus had been dead for over a century when
Pytheas the daring Greek explorer made his famous voyage of discovery,
and that if that voyage was, as M. Déchelette contends,[18] to the
navigator of the fourth century before the Christian era what a polar
expedition is to the navigator of to-day, it is hardly likely that
Hecatæus could have had very reliable information concerning either
Britain or its Celtic inhabitants.

It may, perhaps, be allowable to hazard an opinion which after all is
only an opinion, viz. that the Ligurians who dwelt along the
transcontinental amber route were sun worshippers, but that until the
days of Julius Cæsar we know very little, if indeed anything for
certain, of the religion of the Celts who inhabited western Gaul and
Britain. Whether Stonehenge was the temple referred to is very doubtful;
whether it was orientated with respect to the sun is a matter which, as
Professor Oman justly observes, need not be taken seriously.[19]

But what of the Phœnicians, and where do they come in? It is a cruel
thing to say to a generation which can ill afford to part with any
fragment of its diminished archæological patrimony, but it must be said
without reserve or qualification: the Phœnicians do not come in at all.

It would be comparatively easy, as some have already found, to provide
Celtic Britain with all the elaborate machinery of sun worship if it
could be shown that there were direct and close relations between
Britain and Phœnicia either before or after the Celtic invasion. No one,
of course, doubts or denies the glory of the Phœnician thalassocracy.
The Bible is only one of many witnesses. Hiram King of Tyre supplied
Solomon both with craftsmen for the brass work of the Temple at
Jerusalem and with sailors for his trading expeditions to India. Gades
(Cadiz) the port of Tartessus, or Tarshish, was founded by the
Phœnicians before 1100 B.C. The ships of Tarshish are rooted in the
memory like the bulls of Bashan and the cedars of Libanus. Ezekiel’s
lamentation for Tyre[20] is not only one of the most profoundly pathetic
but also one of the most illuminating passages in the Old Testament.

Speaking of Tyre, he says, “Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the
multitude of all kind of riches, with silver, iron, tin, and lead they
traded in thy fairs:” “the ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy
market: and thou wast replenished and made very glorious in the midst of
the seas.”

Nevertheless, great, extensive and varied as was the commercial
enterprise of the Phœnicians, scholars are now generally agreed that
they never got beyond Gades in their Atlantic voyages.

Moreover, the Cassiterides or Tin Islands, mentioned by Diodorus, which
a former generation strove to identify with the Scilly Isles, lay
undoubtedly to the north of Spain.[21] At the same time it must be noted
that the same author Diodorus, who probably had his information from
Poseidonius (born circa 135 B.C.), does expressly state in the same
passage that tin was conveyed from Britain to Gaul and overland to
Marseilles. By that time, however, the doom of Carthage, the daughter
city of Tyre, situated on the Bay of Tunis, had also been sealed.

This absence of historical evidence respecting Phœnician intercourse
with Britain, supposing such intercourse to have existed, might have
been in some measure explained—and not as the Privy Council explained
the Ornaments Rubric of the Church of England, by arguing that omission
implies prohibition—by assuming that the source of the tin supply was
kept secret, like that of amber, by the traders in that commodity. It is
the fact that no vestige of these Semitic navigators has been found
either in Gaul or in Britain, which decisively excludes the supposition
that they ever visited those countries. Dr. Birch in giving his judgment
upon the bronze bull found in the garden of St. Just Vicarage states it
as his conviction that no object has yet been found in Britain which can
be satisfactorily identified with the Phœnicians,[22] and M. Déchelette
is equally emphatic respecting the absence of similar objects in
Gaul.[23] What M. Alexandre Bertrand says of Celtic civilisation,
namely, that neither the Ligurians, nor the Phœnicians, nor the Greeks,
nor the Iberians collaborated in that educational work, may with some
reservations in favour of the two latter nations be accepted as true of
the Celtic religion.

From Julius Cæsar some useful information is to be gained respecting the
religion of the Celts of his own day. He states that they had many gods,
the chief of whom, in Gaul at least, answered to the Roman Mercury,
patron of arts and crafts. Mars, Apollo, Minerva and Dis Pater were
represented in the Celtic system, but it is not easy to equate them
satisfactorily. After the Roman conquest the Britons followed the custom
of other subject races and identified their gods with those of Olympus.
Some of their gods found no corresponding analogue, like Nodens, whose
temple overlooked the Severn; others again were purely local and

During the three centuries while Britain remained a province of the
Empire the Romanisation of the native religion had free scope, the
spread of Christianity meanwhile striving with indifferent success to
keep pace with it. “The larger half of the altars and shrines,
discovered in Britain are simply set up to honour the ordinary gods of
the Roman world.”[24] Among these latter were many strange divinities,
who in origin were neither Celtic nor Roman, but were those of alien
races led to Britain by the hope of profitable traffic or by compulsory
military service.

Mithras, for example, whose worship was introduced at Rome under the
Emperors, found in this way a place in the British pantheon.

There is no evidence to show that either nature worship or sun worship
was the dominant religion of the Celts either before, during or after
the Roman occupation. It is, of course, possible to say of the Romans
that they practised both, but it is an abuse of language to say that
they were either sun worshippers like the Egyptians or nature
worshippers like the Phœnicians. The same holds good of the Celts.

Under Roman influence the days of the week received Latin names derived
from the planetary system, all of which except Sunday (_Dies Solis_
which became _Dies Dominica_) continued to be used by our lawyers until
English took the place of Latin in the courts of record. In Cornwall,
notwithstanding the Saxon invasion, the Latin names were retained until
Cornish ceased to be a spoken and written language. Thus Sunday, _Dies
Solis_ became _Dê Zil_, _Zil_ being the Cornish derivative of Sol and
not a variant of the Cornish word Houl.[25] Until the Roman occupation
the Celts reckoned time by nights, not days. Thus the first night (of
the week if they had weeks) was the sixth night after new moon, that is
when the moon was on the point of becoming half-full. Their year,
therefore, consisted of thirteen months. The Celtic mind appears to have
revelled in the realm of mystery. The practice of magic; the prevalence
of human sacrifice; the numerous local divinities, with strange names
preserved to us only in the dedications of their shrines, whose
attributes and powers remain unknown; the hidden virtues of the
mistletoe and the selago; above all, the secrets of the Celtic
priesthood—the Druids—suggest, but unfortunately only suggest, a
religious differentiation which carries us back to a period more remote
than that of any religious system with which we are familiar.

Professor Sir John Rhys has attempted to show that Druidism was a
pre-Celtic survival, the religious system, in short, of some race which
preceded the Celts in Britain, and his judgment would doubtless have
been accepted had there not been good evidence to show that the system
was not peculiar to Britain but to the Celts themselves. It prevailed
among the continental Celts just as it prevailed among those of Britain
and Ireland. On the other hand, its affinities with classical mythology
are not sufficiently pronounced at the time when it is first encountered
to indicate an Ægean origin. When the original home of the Celt has been
determined it may be possible to discover the home of his religion.

The Druids[26] were the interpreters of divine things to the Celtic
conscience. They shared with the knights the administration of public
affairs, expounded the ceremonial law and determined the times and modes
of its application. Cæsar states, but not on good authority, that
Druidism originated in Britain, and Tacitus, who lived towards the end
of the first century of the Christian era, that Anglesey was its
religious centre. An impressive picture is given of the scene (A.D. 60)
which was presented to the army of Suetonius Paulinus preparing to
attack that venerable sanctuary. “Along the shore was seen a dense line
of armed warriors, while women were rushing about between the ranks
garbed like the Furies, in black gowns, their hair flowing loose, and
torches in their hands. The Druids were visible in the rear offering
sacrifices to their gods, raising their hands to heaven, and calling
down dire imprecations upon the head of the invader.”[27]

Of Druidical worship in Cornwall there is no direct evidence.[28] The
kinship and intercourse and close relations, however, which subsisted
between Cornwall, Wales and Ireland leave no room for doubt that
Druidism was its religious system. It should be needless to observe that
its megalithic remains, dolmens, circles, and the like, which were
erected many centuries before the Celts appeared in Britain, had
originally no connection with Druidism and that there is no evidence to
show that they ever became identified with it.

Without stopping to compare Irish and Gaulish Druidism with that of
Britain there is one point which claims attention and which, whether
Druidical or essentially primitive and sporadic, bears witness to the
existence of a cult which, occurring in Ireland, could not have been
introduced by the Romans.

From the life of St. Patrick we learn that in Ireland idols of stone,
sometimes adorned with gold, silver, or copper, and in particular one
stone, that of Ceen Cruaich or Cronn Cruach, were worshipped by all the
people of the land.[29] Practices similar though not necessarily
identical—in other words idol worship—characterised the Cornish paganism
of the sixth century. Henoc the biographer of St. Sampson relates an
incident of such absorbing interest that a translation of the Latin,[30]
however imperfect, will be welcomed. It was during the saint’s sojourn
at Docco (St. Kew) that we read, “Now it came to pass, on a certain day
as he journeyed through a certain district which they call Tricurius
(the hundred of Trigg) he heard on his left hand (_in sinistra parte de
eo_) to be exact, men worshipping (at) a certain shrine after the custom
of the Bacchantes by means of a play in honour of an image. Thereupon he
beckoned to his brothers that they should stand still and be silent
while he himself, quietly descending from his chariot to the ground and
standing upon his feet and observing those who worshipped the idol, saw
in front of them, resting on the summit of a certain hill an abominable
image. On this hill I myself have been and have adored and with my hand
have traced the sign of the cross which Saint Sampson, with his own
hand, carved by means of an iron instrument on a standing stone. When
Saint Sampson saw it (the image), selecting two only of the brothers to
be with him, he hastened quickly towards them, their chief Guedianus
standing at their head, and gently admonished them that they ought not
to forsake the one God who created all things and worship an idol. And
when they pleaded as excuse that it was not wrong to keep the festival
of their progenitors in a play, some being furious, some mocking but
some of saner mind strongly urging him to go away, straightway the power
of God was made clearly manifest. For a certain boy driving horses at
full speed fell from a swift horse to the ground and twisting his head
under him as he fell headlong, remained, just as he was flung, little
else than a lifeless corpse.

“Then St. Sampson, speaking to the tribesmen as they wept around the
body, said, ‘You see that your image is not able to give aid to the dead
man. But if you will promise that you will utterly destroy this idol and
no longer adore it I, with God’s assistance, will bring the dead man to
life.’ And they consenting, he commanded them to withdraw a little
further off and after praying earnestly over the lifeless man for two
hours he delivered him, who had been dead, alive and sound before them

“Seeing this they all with one accord, along with the aforementioned
chief, prostrated themselves at St. Sampson’s feet and utterly destroyed
the idol.”

It will have been noticed that the writer does not state whether the
idol was of stone or of wood; nor is it quite clear whether it was
itself the object of worship or the representation or symbol of a god.
Probably it was the latter.

Whatever its nature and character the saint decided upon its destruction
and marked the sign of the cross not upon it but upon a stone standing
in its vicinity. It does not seem likely that the word abominable
(_simulacrum abominabile_) would have been employed to describe a
wheel-headed stone. The idol was probably a fetich pure and simple or
possibly a symbol of nature worship.

Whatever may have been the purposes for which menhirs were erected
during the neolithic period and whatever adoration may have been paid
them by succeeding races—we have no evidence that such adoration _was_
paid—it appears certain that they had nothing to do with sun worship.
The Minoan symbolism, as such, which included the cross or rather the
wheel with four spokes (in this connection a better and more accurate
description because it explains the most beautiful form which it assumed
as the swastika), is entirely absent from the prehistoric monuments of
Western Europe.[31] The stone crosses of Cornwall are not of an earlier
date than the sixth or seventh century of our era, and by that time not
only was the county actively Christian but the Minoan symbolism was
dead, buried and forgotten.

Stones may be, and in many ages and in many lands have been, venerated
for their supposed powers and virtues. Such stones, especially in
Brittany, have received Christianisation, that is, have been marked with
or surmounted by a cross within comparatively modern times. There is no
reason why some such course may not have suggested itself to the Cornish
Christians of the seventh and succeeding centuries. But the golden age
of Celtic Christianity was during the latter half of the seventh and
first half of the eighth century, and at that time Cornwall was in
constant communication with Ireland, the centre of Christian

About 270 stone crosses are to be found in Cornwall. They are mostly of
granite and have been fashioned by means of iron implements, in some
instances with considerable taste and skill.

They are too well known to require description. To suppose them to have
been erected by sun worshippers in the sixth and succeeding centuries is
to suppose the prevalence of a religion in Cornwall which at that time
prevailed nowhere else in Europe and concerning which history is silent.
On the other hand, to suppose them to have been originally connected
with nature worship of a peculiarly revolting character and to have been
Christianised by signing them with the sign of the cross is highly
improbable if, as the maintainers of this hypothesis assert, that sign
was regarded as pagan.

A much simpler and more convincing explanation is that the stone crosses
were erected in order to disaffect and sanctify places which from time
immemorial had been devoted to old pagan superstitions.[33] This at any
rate has the merit of being in accordance with the facts disclosed by
the Sampson episode. Moreover, it avoids the anachronism which connects
them with sun worship, while at the same time it disallows the charge of
incredible folly which must otherwise be imputed to the founders of
Cornish Christianity if we suppose those earnest men to have retained a
degrading symbol of nature worship with little or no modification of its
structural features.


Footnote 11:

  A still earlier age, the eolithic, which in Sussex has supplied my
  school contemporary, Dr. A. Smith Woodward of the British Museum, with
  what he believes to be a link between man and his pre-human ancestor
  is not represented in Cornwall.

Footnote 12:

  _Geology of the Land’s End District_, pp. 79-80.

Footnote 13:

  “_Le prétendu caractère phallique de quelques-uns de ces monuments
  n’est qu’une conjecture chimérique qui a permis à certains esprits
  imaginatifs de se donner carrière._” Déchelette, _Manuel
  d’Archéologie_, I, 431, n. 2.

Footnote 14:

  W. C. Borlase, _Nænia Cornubiæ_, p. 99:

  “Wishing to put beyond dispute the origin and purpose of some few at
  least of these monoliths, and to ascertain if any were indeed
  sepulchral, the author ... examined the ground round some half-dozen
  of them.”

  At the foot of a menhir at Pridden, St. Buryan, he found “a deposit of
  splinters of human bone.” At the foot of a menhir at Trelew, St.
  Buryan, he found “a deposit of splintered bones similar in quantity
  and appearance to that found at Pridden.” A precisely similar
  discovery was made at Trenuggo, Sancreed. Another at Tregonebris.

Footnote 15:

  This is shown by the presence of bronze sickles in Ligurian graves and
  their absence in Iberian.

Footnote 16:

   _Archéologie: Age du Bronze_, chap. xiii.

Footnote 17:

  Quoted by Déchelette, _Archéologie_, II, pp. 413, 567; by Lord
  Avebury, _Prehistoric Times_, p. 132; by D. Gougaud, _Chrétientés_, p.

Footnote 18:

  _Archéologie_, II, p. 30.

Footnote 19:

  _England before the Norman Conquest_, p. 9.

Footnote 20:

  Ezekiel, xxvii and xxviii.

Footnote 21:

  Sir Hercules Read, _Early Iron Age_, p. 85.

Footnote 22:

  _Arch. Journal_, viii, 8.

Footnote 23:

  _Age du Bronze_, p. 29.

Footnote 24:

  Oman, _England before the Norman Conquest_, p. 107.

Footnote 25:

  Mr. Henry Jenner, F.S.A., to whom I am indebted for this statement,
  has reminded me that St. Michael’s Mount is given in the _Life of St.
  Cadoc_ as Dinsul (Mons solis) and that Tregaseal in St. Just may be a
  compound of which _seal_=_Zil_=_sol_. Both are possible. Roman
  intercourse with the extreme west of Cornwall is proved by the Roman
  milestone at St. Hilary, which is within easy distance of both places.

Footnote 26:

  Gougaud, _Chrétientés_, p. 22. The derivation of the word Druid is
  uncertain. There appears to be no doubt that the Druids practised a
  form of divination founded not on the flight but on the song of birds,
  that of the wren in particular. Dren is Irish for wren. From this some
  have inferred that Druid is derived from dren drui-én. There is
  another Irish word _drúi_ (genitive _druad_) which meant a magician.
  Anwyl, _Celtic Religion_, p. 55.

Footnote 27:

  Prof. Oman’s translation, _England before the Norman Conquest_, p. 74.

Footnote 28:

  See, however, chap. iv.

Footnote 29:

  D. Gougaud, _Chrétientés_, pp. 16, 17.

Footnote 30:

  Edited by M. Fawtier (Paris, Champion, 5 Quai Malequais, 1912). The
  Latin text is given in the appendix to this book p. 169.

Footnote 31:

  Déchelette, _Archéologie Préhistorique_, p. 441.

Footnote 32:

  Oman, _England before the Norman Conquest_, p. 30.

Footnote 33:

  Anatole le Braz, _La nuit des feux_.



                         CORNWALL AND BRITTANY

Although much good work has been done and useful results have been
obtained in many fields of research both by individual Cornishmen and by
societies like the Royal Institution of Cornwall, there is one
department at least which has been somewhat neglected by those for whom
it might have been expected to possess a special attractiveness.

The interest which of late years has been awakened in the Cornish
language and in Celtic Christianity has not been the result of any
revival in Cornwall itself. Mr. Whitley Stokes is an Irishman by birth
and extraction, Professor Loth a Breton, Mr. Henry Jenner a Cornishman.
In fact no Cornishman except the last-named has so far thrown himself
wholeheartedly into the movement which has for its object the critical
study of the language and religion of the Celtic-speaking nations. This
is much to be regretted, because both of these subjects were assigned a
place in the comprehensive scheme of Dr. Borlase, which, as conceived
and elaborated by him, entitled him to rank among the leading European
antiquaries of his own day. Although Dr. Borlase achieved little of
permanent value in the way of exposition, he gathered much valuable
material which, but for him, would have been lost, and by his sagacity
and diligence succeeded in riveting the attention of his compatriots.

He was, like all the leading archæologists of his time, a resolute
believer in the Druidical origin of the prehistoric remains of the
county, a theory which he advocated with consummate skill and
particularity. Since his death the theory has been found to be untenable
without any serious injury, however, being done to his high reputation.

The brilliant essay of his great-great-grandson, the late Mr. William
Copeland Borlase, on the _Age of the Saints_, first printed in 1878, has
been one of the very few original works accomplished in the county
having for its object the exposition of Celtic Christianity. In this
work its writer attempted too much. Subsequent research has shown that
many of his identifications of the Cornish saints are untrustworthy, and
that his arbitrary delineation of the spheres of influence of the
respective groups of Irish, Welsh and Breton saints is often fanciful
and misleading.

Given leisure and the spirit of enquiry, the two subjects which ought to
appeal most strongly to a Cornishman are the ancient religion and the
ancient language of the county to which he belongs.

Both subjects are now well within his reach owing to the immense amount
of material which has, within recent years, been made available by the
publication of ancient records. The _Councils and Ecclesiastical
Documents_ of Haddan and Stubbs, the _Episcopal Registers_, edited by
Hingeston-Randolph, the _Parish Registers_, edited by Phillimore and
others, the publications of the Record Commissioners and of the Royal
Institution of Cornwall, the _Revue Celtique_, the _Ancient Cornish
Drama_, edited by Mr. Edwin Norris, the critical works of Mr. Whitley
Stokes, of Professor Loth and Dom Gougaud, the _Cornish Grammar_ of Mr.
Jenner; these are a few of the many sources whence valuable information
may be derived for the comparative study of these subjects. In this
connection it may be observed that little satisfaction will be gained
from facts and statements which are obtained at second hand. Facts must
be sought out in the original documents and examined in their original

The context is often more illuminating than the fact which it enshrines.
Not documents only; the towns, villages, hamlets and homesteads, with
their ancient names, address silent appeals to the hearts and
understandings of those who live among them.

An interesting illustration is supplied by the three Cornish words,
Eglos (_Ecclesia_), Escop (_Episcopus_) and Pleu (_Plebs_)—interesting
because the final judgment must be held in suspense until a survey has
been made of their ramifications. All three words are found in the
place-names of this county. Eglos is found in Lanteglos, Egloskerry and
in some other places; Escop is found in Trescobeas in Budock, formerly
appendant to the bishop’s manor of Penryn, also in Mainen Escop
(Bishop’s Rock), in the Isles of Scilly; Pleu is found in Plunent, the
ancient name of Pelynt, in Pluvathack (Budock) and possibly in Bleu
Bridge in Gulval. Names beginning or ending in Eglos are numerous in
Cornwall; those having Pleu for the first syllable are very few in
number. In Brittany very few place-names are composed of Eglos and
Escop, whereas Pleu enters into many. Why does Pleu rather than Eglos
lend itself so readily in Brittany to the exigencies of ecclesiastical
nomenclature? Were it not that Lan (monastery) is equally distributed in
the two countries, we should be tempted to say that in Cornwall a Celtic
word (lan) was preferred to a Latin word (plebs) to describe the
ecclesiastical unit. Some difference of condition or of association
there must have been to account for it. That which most readily occurs
is that Armorica was thoroughly Latinised before the insular Celts
arrived there, whereas Cornwall was probably never brought into close
contact with Roman civilisation as such except on and near the coast; in
other words, that Plebs was in use in the former country before it
became Christian and acquired afterwards a specific ecclesiastical
signification, whereas in Cornwall it was introduced along with
Christianity or after Christianity had taken root. Very few traces of
Roman civilisation are to be found in this county. The Roman milestone
at St. Hilary is almost unique. Roman coins, of which many have been
found in the county, do not prove Roman settlement. It is certain,
however, that Britain had become Christian, at least in name, before the
Roman legions were withdrawn, and it is therefore probable that the
words Eglos, Escop and Pleu had been received into the Cornish language
before that time. And the true explanation of the persistence of Pleu in
the place-names of Brittany seems to be that the insular Britons, who
had acquired the word Plebs during the Roman occupation, converted it,
for ecclesiastical purposes, into Pleu and took it with them when they
emigrated to Armorica, where very soon it had to give place to the word
Pares (from the French Paroisse), though not before it had taken root in
the place-names. In Cornwall and Wales, on the other hand, Pleu remained
in current use and is therefore seldom found in the place-names of those
countries. Making allowance for changed conditions, the same explanation
accounts for the persistence of the word Lan in the place-names of all
three countries—it persisted in the place-names because it had fallen
out of current use.

For reasons which will appear later, it is important to keep well in
mind the relations which subsisted between Cornwall and Brittany from
the time of the Dumnonian exodus, which began in the first half of the
fifth century, until those relations were interrupted in the sixteenth

Leaving for future discussion the question of religion, there are points
of contact between the two countries which deserve attention, not only
because they are interesting in themselves, but because they can hardly
fail to suggest others.

The colonisation of Armorica by the people of Dumnonia is accepted by
every scholar of repute. The gradual re-settlement of Bretons in
Cornwall is not so well known. Nevertheless, the historical evidence is
not open to question. Domesday Book shows that, with three exceptions,
all the landholders in Cornwall were, in the days of Edward the
Confessor, Saxons. When William the Norman set about the conquest of
England, he was joined by several Breton nobles, who, by way of reward,
received considerable grants of land in Cornwall. Richard Fitz Turold,
the ancestor of the baronial house of Cardinan, received thirty-one
manors, Brient six, Blohiu five, Jovin thirteen, Wihumar three and
Judhel one.

It was, doubtless, owing to the presence of these Breton knights that
Cornwall came to play so important a part in the Arthurian romances,
which, soon after the Conquest, became known throughout western Europe.
There has been much controversy respecting their origin. They have been
attributed to England, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. That of _Tristan
and Iseult_ was, until quite recently, commonly referred to an English
archetype which assumed literary form at the hands of British and Welsh
minstrels or jugglers.

It has remained for Professor Loth to demonstrate, beyond the
possibility of doubt, that it originated in Cornwall at a time when
Celtic, Saxon and Norman were all spoken languages. Those who are
familiar with the romance will have been puzzled by the presence of two
Iseults in one and the same story. On this point M. Loth says, “in my
opinion it is from the juxtaposition in Cornwall of two legends, the
Cornish and the Armorican, and from a compromise between the two that
the creation of the two Iseults has originated.”[34]

No better proof could be found of the friendly spirit which existed
between the two nations than their mutual consent to share the tales and
traditions of both.

It was a Breton who, in 1177, carried away the body of St. Petrock to
the monastery of St. Mewan in Brittany. As a canon of Bodmin he had
learnt to venerate the saint, and doubtless considered that he could
confer no greater boon upon his own countrymen than to present them with
the saint’s relics. At the instance of Henry II, Roland de Dinan
restored them to the Priory.

The trade between the two countries was considerable. The Patent Rolls
supply ample evidence of this. In 1343 we find an inquisition respecting
certain mariners of the county of Cornwall who had been received into
the service of the Duchess of Brittany, but who had turned pirates and
plundered the vessels of both countries.

More convincing still is the evidence supplied by the first subsidy roll
of King Henry VIII. The roll is undated, but the date cannot be later
than 1523. In it are given the names of all those who were required to
contribute to the subsidy and the several amounts of their assessment,
in land and goods, for the purpose. The roll for the hundred of Penwith
is almost complete, only the parishes of Crowan, Illogan, Redruth and a
part of Camborne being missing.[35] In all the Penwith parishes, save
five of the smaller ones, are found Bretons who are described as _nati
in partibus Britanniæ sub obediencia Regis Francorum_. These Bretons
constitute more than one-sixth of the total tax-paying population of the
hundred of Penwith. They are described as tinners, fishermen, smiths,
servants, labourers and cooks: the occupations of twenty-nine of them
are not given. Although the several amounts to be contributed by them
are in every case in respect of goods and comparatively small, there is
fortunately reliable evidence to prove they were not mere sojourners but
persons who had come to stay.

The order to keep parish registers issued by Thomas Cromwell in 1537,
and the further order, in 1597, requiring a transcript of them to be
made on parchment, would have provided future generations with an
invaluable source of information, had those orders been generally obeyed
and the records carefully preserved.

Unfortunately, few parishes can claim to possess an uninterrupted record
of baptisms, marriages and burials from the year 1538 up to the present
time. In Penwith only Camborne enjoys this distinction. All the rest of
the registers begin after the accession of Queen Elizabeth. The earliest
of the Madron registers, which begins in 1577, has been printed and is
accessible: the Camborne marriages have also been printed. From these
two registers it will suffice to give extracts which bear upon Breton
settlement in the county. Camborne supplies the following marriages:

    1538. John Carthowe, brito, and Nora his wife.
    1540. Stephen Bryton and Jane his wife.
    1540. G’ua Bryton and Margaret his wife.
    1540. Uden John, brytton, and his wife.
    1540. Gregorie Brytton and Margaret his wife.
    1546. John Gerecrist and Margaret Willm, bryttons.
    1568. Peres Brytton and Alson his wife.

If the above list is compared with the subsidy roll, to which reference
has been made, it will be clear that Bryton is not a surname but a
descriptive epithet. The list, in fact, supplies only four surnames,
Carthowe, John, Willm and Gerecrist. Of these the first and last are
interesting: the first survives in Cornwall as Carthewe and in Brittany
as Carzou; the last is a Breton place-name—Kergrist, near Pontivy.[36]

As showing that the Breton immigrants did not return to their own
country the following entries from the Madron register[37] will be
helpful, if not conclusive. Among the burials we have:

    1582. Jane, wife of John Brittayne.
    1585. Elizabeth, wife of Oliver, the Brittonn.
    1587. Joane, wife of John Britton.
    1599. Peres Brittayne.

Unfortunately the Madron baptisms are missing until 1592 and the
marriages until 1577. It is impossible, however, with the Camborne
marriages and the Madron burials before us, to resist the conclusion
that in the first half of the sixteenth century Bretons arrived, married
and were buried in the county. They doubtless left descendants. It is
remarkable, however, that whereas, at the present time, in Cornwall the
surname Britton or Bridden is rare, in the Midlands, where Breton
influence was never considerable, it is comparatively common. The
explanation appears to be that the Christian names of the Breton
immigrants became surnames, and in this way the number of Christian
surnames, which in West Cornwall now amounts to little short of 30 per
cent of the whole number, was vastly increased.

For how long the tide of Breton immigration had been flowing, when we
meet with it in the sixteenth century, it is impossible to say. Its
persistence in the first half of that century is not more noteworthy
than its arrest in the second half.[38]

Brittany had become a French province in 1495 by the marriage of Anne,
Duchess of Brittany, to Charles VIII. The tortuous foreign policy of
Queen Elizabeth of England, no less than the political and religious
complications of her protracted reign, could hardly have been favourable
to Breton immigration. The reformed religion and the decline of the
Cornish language have prevented a renewal of close relations between the
two countries.

The mystery and miracle plays constituted another link between Cornwall
and Brittany. Whether written in Cornish or Breton they could be
understood by the inhabitants of both countries.

They were acted on both sides of the Channel in the open air. The
subject matter—sacred history and religious biography—was the same for
both. The trilogy called the Ordinalia, which, in three plays, covered
roughly the same ground as the Old and New Testament, represents the
Cornish treatment, by means of the Cornish language, of the mystery,
which, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, was common to western
Europe. But the miracle play of _Beunans Meriasek_, the life of St.
Meriasek, was Celtic in origin and treatment. The Cornish version,
written by Dom Hadton, in 1504, had probably a Breton archetype. St.
Meriasek or Meriadec, who shares with St. Martin the patronage of
Camborne, was unquestionably a very important personage in Brittany. He
gave his name to a trève of Plumergat, Pluvigner, Pluneret and
Noyal-Pontivy:[39] he is the patron of Stival and of Plougasnou. He was
also numbered among the early bishops of Vannes, though, according to M.
Loth, mistakenly.[40]

It is significant that in the Cornish _Beunans Meriasek_ his elevation
to that see forms an important episode. This fact, of itself, would
suggest a Breton origin for the play. Mr. Thurstan Peter has, on other
grounds, arrived at the same conclusion.[41]

The mystery and miracle plays were still in vogue when Richard Carew
wrote his _Survey of Cornwall_. There is no need to quote the well-known
passage in which he describes the degradation of what had once been a
valuable means of instruction, but which, in his day (1590), had become
a questionable form of popular entertainment.

At St. Just-in-Penwith and Perranzabuloe the plain-an-gware, place of
the play, is more or less carefully preserved. The populous district of
Plainangwarry in the parish of Redruth also reminds the inhabitants of
the days of old and the years that are past. In more than one manorial
extent, as, for example, in that of the manor of St. Buryan, the writer
has found a tenement, described as Plainangware, the site of which is
now unknown. It is not improbable that every considerable Cornish parish
had formerly a space reserved for the mystery and miracle play.

No attempts have hitherto been made to revive these plays in
Cornwall.[42] A graduate of Missouri University, visiting the
Plain-an-gware at St. Just, informed the writer that in New York, with
the assistance of wealthy patrons, the Cornish plays had been
successfully rendered by members of the University. In Brittany there
has been of late years a notable revival of the mysteries on modern
lines in the Breton language. Under the direction of an enlightened
clergy, encouraged by eminent Celtic scholars, the plays are attracting
the attention of many besides those for whom they have been written. The
marked histrionic ability of the players, most, if not all, of them
simple country folk, the atmosphere of reverent adoring faith, and of
robust inspiring patriotism, the utter absence of anything like vanity
or pretence, the intense reality of the Gospel story which, too often,
in the case of ordinary Englishmen, has, under the soothing influence of
an inimitable authorised version of the Holy Scriptures, become an
idyllic, poetical and idealistic presentment of Scriptural truth, when
proclaimed by the living voice and the impassioned fervour of believing
hearts amid circumstances not very dissimilar to those which gave it
birth: all this is irresistibly pathetic and convincing.

No one who has been present at St. Anne d’Auray and who has followed,
even by means of a French translation, the Boéh-er-goèd (the Call of the
Blood), in which the parable of the Prodigal Son is unfolded strictly on
the lines of the sacred narrative, can ever forget it. In the words of
Abbé le Bayon, the writer of the libretto, it is “par delà ce pauvre
père qui souffrit un jour, dans quelque coin ignoré, de l’abandon
inqualifiable de son fils—que chacun des spectateurs veuille bien
entrevoir; le cœur de Dieu éternellement blessé des abandons humains;
mais aussi, la vieille Bretagne toute déchirée au délaissement des siens
et confiante encore, toujours aimante, rappelant à sa vieille langue, à
ses croyances anciennes, les fils oublieux en qui repose l’espoir de la
race.” The appeal “à sa vieille langue” for Cornishmen comes too late,
but that “à ses croyances anciennes” should meet with a response from
those at least who are zealous for the traditions of their Cornish


Footnote 34:

  _Romans de la Table Ronde_, p. 110.

Footnote 35:

  The Roll was printed by the Royal Institution of Cornwall in 1887.
  Extracts from some of the later rolls are given by Mr. J. H. Matthews
  in his _History of St. Ives, Lelant, Towednack and Zennor_, pp.
  133-42; and by Dr. W. J. Stephens in his _Collections for a History of

Footnote 36:

  I am indebted to Professor Loth for the identification of these

Footnote 37:

  Some further light would doubtless be thrown on the subject if the
  Camborne registers were searched for the children of the above
  marriages and for the burial of their parents. It is noteworthy that
  Carthew marriages were solemnised at Camborne in 1583 and 1588. They
  may have been, and probably were, those of John Carthowe’s children.

Footnote 38:

  As late, however, as 1599 we meet with Bretons at Redruth, who
  contributed handsomely to the subsidy of that year. Six may be noted
  in the St. Ives district in 1571, but none in 1593 or after that date
  (Lay Subsidies, 87 (218)).

Footnote 39:

  The trève is described by Dom Gougaud as a parochial subdivision still
  recognised in certain cantons of Brittany (_Chrétientés_, p. 124).

Footnote 40:

  Loth’s _Les Saints bretons_, pp. 92, 93.

Footnote 41:

  Peter, _Old Cornish Drama_, p. 34.

Footnote 42:

  After the above was written, Mr. Thurstan Peter, President of the
  Royal Institution of Cornwall, announced that under the ægis of that
  institution the _Beunans Meriasek_ would be performed in the year
  1915. The great war has necessarily caused the postponement of the




By comparing the development of Christian institutions in the various
portions of the Celtic world and observing those elements which were,
for three centuries at least, characteristic, common and permanent, it
ought to be possible to arrive at some very definite and useful results.
It ought to be possible to supplement the evidence, supplied by writers
like Gildas and the venerable Bede, and, from the common store of Celtic
learning, acquired in Wales, Ireland and Brittany, to remedy our
defective knowledge of Cornwall and of Cornish Christianity. Obviously
the closer the relations between the four Celtic families the stronger
the presumption in favour of an identity of ecclesiastical organisation.

Until the Saxon raids, which began in the year 428, Cornwall and Wales
were integral portions of Great Britain; the inhabitants, though
differentiated into kingdoms, were bound together by a common religion
and by a more or less common language.

The Roman occupation which in Armorica had changed the vernacular from
Gaulish to Latin (which in the fifth century was, in that country,
already giving rise to a romance language) achieved no such marked
result in Britain. Latin may have been spoken in the centres of
population and in places where the Roman influence was exceptionally
strong; it may have been spoken, as Professor Haverfield contends, in
the eastern counties; but the absence of any trace of a romance language
goes to prove that it was never the vernacular.

The Saxon invasion which, during the fifth and sixth centuries, reduced
the Britons to a state of servitude, or drove them to the more
inaccessible and remote regions of Wales and Cornwall, was the immediate
cause of a great exodus to Armorica. No event in British history proved
more fruitful in results: no event is more suggestive for the purpose of
elucidating Cornish Church history. How large was the share taken in
that emigration by the people of Dumnonia (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and
Somerset) may be gathered from the fact that the language which the
emigrants introduced into Armorica—a language which speedily superseded
Latin just as Latin had superseded Gaulish—was Cornish rather than
Welsh, the language, in short, which survived in some parts of Cornwall
until the eighteenth century and which is, with some slight
modification, still spoken in Finistère and to some extent in Morbihan
and Côtes du Nord. Professor Loth, whose eminence as a Celtic scholar no
one will dispute, has written, “it is certain that linguistically the
Britons of Cornwall were nearer of kin to the emigrants than the Welsh:
they doubtless occupied the nearer neighbourhood of ancient Dumnonia.”
“The Breton language forms with Cornish a closely compacted unity as
opposed to Welsh, although the three languages were assuredly very near
neighbours at this period” (the fifth century).[43]

Armorica itself became known as Brittany in the sixth century. Cornwall
(Cornouaille) was adopted as the name of that portion of it between the
Elorn and the Ellé soon afterwards. Dumnonia was the name given to the
northern portion between the Elorn and the Cuesnon in the ninth century.
The settlers in Armorica introduced their own form of Christianity, and
the object of the British and Irish missionary saints who flocked
thither soon afterwards was not, as ancient writers have supposed, in
order to convert the pagan Gauls, but rather to administer to the
spiritual needs of their compatriots. To these missions our Dumnonia
contributed little in comparison with Wales. Cornwall after the
foundation of the kingdom of Wessex in 519 became isolated: its
relations with Brittany were doubtless closer than with Saxonised
Britain. But it never became, like Wales and Ireland in the fifth and
sixth centuries, a great missionary centre. The founders of the Breton
monastery-bishoprics—Pol Aurelian, Lunaire, Magloire, Mewan and Malo
were all Welsh: Tutwal only, the founder of Tréguier, was of British
Dumnonia. Of the British saints whose names are found in the parishes,
fractions of parishes and holy places of Brittany, from 80 to 90 are
Welsh; about 60 appear in Cornwall; from 30 to 40 appear only in
Brittany and in Cornwall and Devon, and a few in Somerset.[44]

The British refugees remind us of Æneas whom tradition represents as
bringing with him his Lares and Penates to Italy. The Dumnonian
immigrants brought with them the cult of their own insular saints. At a
later period Brittany was able to make a return in kind. Pol Aurelian,
Sampson, Columba, Meriadec, Corentin and others of Breton fame were
received into the devotional system of Cornwall.

Not only were the Breton and Cornish people one in origin, tradition,
language and religious sentiment, they were one in their Celtic ideal of
the priestly and religious life. Theirs no less than that of the Welsh
and Irish was the monastic ideal. Every Cornish place-name bearing the
prefix _lan_, together with some place-names bearing the prefix _nan_,
implies a monastic foundation. Lanisley, Landithy, Lanhydrock, Lanherne
and Landegy, Nancekuke and Nansladron are a few examples which show that
the quasi-monastic foundations of Domesday Book were only modified
survivals of what was in the sixth century the accepted ecclesiastical
type, a type which continued to exist apparently long after the
parochial system made its appearance. A body of celibate clergy, living
in community, observing a religious rule and entrusted with the care of
souls over an ill-defined area will probably represent the normal, just
as an anchorite living solitary with a view to the perfecting of his
soul in holiness will represent the abnormal development of the monastic
ideal. We have no means of estimating the number of monks whose
segregation constituted a Cornish lan. It is probable that the
communities were small as compared with those of Wales and Ireland. The
great monastery of Bangor Iscoed on the Dee had, according to the
Venerable Bede, at the beginning of the seventh century no less than
2100 monks. Clonard, in the county of Meath, founded by St. Finnian
about the year 520, is said to have been larger. It may be extravagance
on the part of the biographer of St. Patrick to state that the saint
enjoined a levy of a tithe of the men as well as a tithe of the land for
the support of the Church,[45] but there can be no doubt that a very
considerable fraction of the Celtic population embraced the religious
life. At the same time we shall probably arrive at a false economic
inference unless we bear in mind the tripartite division of the monk’s
day which required one-third of it to be spent in manual labour.

Professor Loth, as the result of a careful study of Breton toponomastic,
has arrived at the conclusion that the Armorican parishes were placed as
early as the sixth and seventh century under the invocation of the
saints—national, emigrant, or otherwise—whose names they still bear.[46]
It is therefore possible, I think probable, that the Cornish parish is
older than the English. The reforms of Archbishop Theodore (668-690)
which resulted in the subdivision of dioceses and the formation of
parishes, were begun though not completed a little less than a century
later. Cornwall and Wales were unaffected by these reforms, the
Archbishop of Canterbury’s jurisdiction not being acknowledged by
Cornwall until the days of Egbert (803-839), or by Wales until the
beginning of the twelfth century.

In the absence of clear historical evidence it would be rash to assert
that every development in Wales, Brittany and Ireland was followed by a
corresponding development in Cornwall, but where the same religious
influences were at work in every other Celtic-speaking country it may be
assumed that those influences were at work in Cornwall, and the
receptivity of the Cornish in the matter of religion, when the influence
was held to come from the right quarter, is witnessed by the readiness
wherewith they admitted Welsh, Irish and Breton saints into their

At the time under discussion it will be borne in mind that the saints
reverenced in Cornwall were almost if not wholly Celtic. Even at the
present time, in spite of the Saxon conquest and the submission to
Canterbury, in spite of the attempt to substitute saints from the Roman
Kalendar for the Celtic patrons of Cornish churches in the fourteenth
century, and in spite of the ignorant perversion of spelling and the
abortive attempts at identification on the part of the English
registrars who conducted the business of the bishop’s court at Exeter,
it is a matter for wonder and gratitude that so many Cornish churches
should still be known by their ancient saints’ names.

If we compare the dedications of Derbyshire with those of Cornwall we
find that of the 168 ancient churches in the former county, 72 are under
the invocation of Scriptural saints, 18 under St. Michael, 28 under All
Saints, 34 under historical saints like Martin, Lawrence and Giles and
about 16 under English and Saxonised saints, like Edmund, Oswald,
Wilfrid, Werburgh and Cuthbert.

On the other hand, in Cornwall, of the 200 dedications 30 are
Scriptural, less than 30 are strangers (either historical and
non-English like Martin, German and Clement, or aggressively English,
like Morwenna, Werburgh, Swithun and Neot, or Saxonised like Cuthbert,
Olave, Odulph and Hugh) and the rest, more than two-thirds of the total
number, are Celtic. Nor is it difficult to account for the presence of
the Saxon element. The monastic ideal presented by Werburgh the abbess
and by Cuthbert the abbot-bishop would appeal to the prevailing monastic
temper, while the early settlement of Saxons in the north-eastern
portion of the county, of which we have abundant proof in its
toponomastic (e.g. in Morwenstow, Jacobstow, Aldestow and Neotstou) and
in the will of King Alfred (871-901) whose possessions in Triconshire
(the hundred of Trigg which at that time probably embraced the hundred
of Stratton) are expressly mentioned, will account for saints like Neot,
Swithun and Morwenna who probably displaced the Celtic saints of an
earlier period.

Before passing to what is of greatest interest—the Celtic episcopate—a
few words are required respecting the two great controversies, which,
however trivial in themselves, served the purpose of furnishing records
of a period concerning which records are very scarce.

The Easter no less than the Tonsure controversy was one of the results
of the isolation of Celtic Christianity. In order to find Easter the
Roman Church had, until the year 457, used the old Jewish cycle of 84
years. In that year a cycle of 532 years was adopted. The Welsh and
Cornish, who had received their Christianity during the Roman occupation
of Great Britain, and therefore long before 457, continued to use the
Jewish cycle. They refused to conform to the Roman use and persisted in
their refusal for a very considerable period. Ireland, which had also
become Christian before 457, was the first to adopt the Roman Easter in
633. Cornwall followed in or about 705, as the result of St. Aldhelm’s
famous letter to Geruntius, prince of Dumnonia. North Wales held out
until 768 and South Wales until 777.[47] Mr. Haddan, who identifies the
“errores” of bishop Leofric’s Missal (909) with the “egregium errorem
Brittonum” of Bede’s history, is inclined to the opinion that St.
Aldhelm’s letter was inoperative outside the Kingdom of Wessex;[48] but
the opinion is open to dispute.

The shaving of the head does not appear to have been associated with the
Christian ministry until the fourth century. The apostolic injunction
respecting long hair was observed, but it was the monks who introduced
the tonsure which, at first, was a tonsure of the entire head and known
as that of St. Paul. St. Peter’s tonsure, which allowed to the shaven
ecclesiastic an aureole or crown of hair around the denuded pate, was
not introduced until the sixth century. Long before this time, however,
the monks of the Celtic world had become distinguished by a tonsure
which apparently made bare the fore part only of the head and left a
semicircular fringe in front. The Celtic tonsure was taken by the
British refugees to Brittany and Galicia. It was as characteristic of
the Celtic clergy as the kilt is characteristic of Scottish soldiers
to-day. Its origin was almost certainly Druidical, and, if so, it is one
of the few shreds of evidence we possess of the presence of Druids in
Cornwall. Their presence in Great Britain at an earlier period is
generally allowed; their presence and power in Ireland is conclusively

The Celtic tonsure appears to have been abandoned at the time when the
Roman Easter was accepted.


Footnote 43:

  _Les Noms des Saints bretons_, p. 143.

Footnote 44:

  Loth, _ibid._, p. 124, n. 1.

Footnote 45:

  Quoted by Dom Gougaud, _Les Chrétientés celtiques_, p. 82.

Footnote 46:

  Gougaud, _ibid._, p. 107.

Footnote 47:

  Haddan and Stubbs, _Councils_, etc., i, 201.

Footnote 48:

  _Ibid._, i, 674 and 676.




The chief interest of Celtic Christianity gathers around the
monastery-bishopric and the abbot-bishop who ruled it. In the sixth
century the religious life had become much more than a counsel of
perfection. In Ireland the Church was almost exclusively monastic. In
Wales St. German is said to have founded a monastery during his second
visit. Iltut, whom he ordained priest, was the founder of Llantwit, the
great school of monks whence came Sampson, Paul Aurelian and possibly
Gildas and David.

At the outset it is necessary to guard against the undercurrent of
thought which connects Celtic monasticism with one or other of the great
religious orders. The earliest of these orders—that of St. Benedict—was
not established until about A.D. 529, and was not introduced into
Britain until St. Augustine’s arrival in A.D. 597. At the interview
between Augustine and the Welsh bishops in 603 Dinoot abbot of Bangor
Iscoed was among the strongest opponents of compromise. Celtic
monasticism owed nothing to St. Benedict or to St. Augustine. When
therefore we read the statement of a shrewd and learned writer like Sir
John Maclean that “St. Petrock founded his monastery at Bodmin adopting
the rule of St. Benedict” and when we recall an admission by the same
writer that Petrock was educated at the great monastery of Clonard
towards the end of the fifth or at the beginning of the sixth century,
i.e. presumably between 490 and A.D. 510 and therefore before the
Benedictine order was founded, we realise how mischievous this
undercurrent of thought may prove.

There is no evidence that any early monastic foundation in the Celtic
world was established in accordance with the Benedictine discipline.
Celtic monasticism was quite definitely _sui generis_. The mission of
St. German in 429 and 447 probably laid the foundations of it in

It had achieved some of its greatest victories before St. Augustine of
Canterbury was born. Paul Aurelian, the Welsh monk, established the
monastery-bishopric of Léon in A.D. 530: Sampson, a compatriot, the
similar foundation at Dol in A.D. 565: Tutwal of British Dumnonia was
abbot before he became abbot-bishop of Tréguier in the same century. In
Ireland the monastery of Clonard was founded before the Benedictine
order came into existence. St. Patrick was a contemporary of St. German.
Celtic Christianity, while it was practically independent of Rome,[49]
became intensely monastic. There is nothing therefore to lead us to
regard the canons of St. Petrock, St. Piran, St. Stephen, St. Keverne
and St. Probus, mentioned in Domesday Book, as subject to the discipline
of St. Benedict. Such evidence as we possess tends to confirm the
contrary opinion. What has been said of the order of St. Benedict
applies with greater force to that of St. Augustine, the Black Canons,
whose earliest foundation in England dates from A.D. 1108, that is, 22
years after Domesday Book was compiled. Cardinal Gasquet truly says the
clergy of every large church, as being subject to rule, were called
canons. The rule of St. Augustine was not introduced at Bodmin until the
time of Bishop William Warelwast (1107-36).[50]

Under the strong pressure exerted by monastic expansion the governmental
character of episcopacy became attenuated. This was especially the case
in Ireland and in those churches which owed their foundation to Irish
missions. The multiplication of bishops tended to degrade the office. It
is impossible to read the accounts of monastic rule as developed by St.
Bridget at Kildare and by the Irish mission at Iona, and of the
mechanical and subsidiary part which the bishops were called upon to
play in the drama, without being aware of the subversion of one of the
fundamental marks of episcopacy. The present writer has found but slight
evidence of this disastrous policy in Wales and Brittany. There the
abbot-bishop is seen as the ruler of a monastery or of a tribe.
Innumerable monasteries had no bishop at all. The presence of a bishop
gave to the monastery the elements of permanence and priority. The
Breton and Welsh monastery-bishoprics have in many instances survived as
bishoprics up to the present time solely, as it would seem, owing to
their early episcopal character.

The distinction between the Irish and British conception of episcopacy
must be borne in mind when we attempt to reconstruct the ecclesiastical
institutions of Cornwall. It has been shown that the relation between
Cornwall and Brittany was that of mother and daughter. Between Wales and
Cornwall the relation, though probably less close, was far closer than
that between Ireland and Cornwall. It is therefore more than probable
that while the abbot-bishop was everywhere a distinguishing feature of
Celtic Christianity there was here (in this county) no such perversion
of the episcopal office as to give rise to a body of _episcopi vagantes_
of whom we read in connection with Ireland and Irish missions.[51]

That Cornwall possessed bishops is certain, and that they ruled
monasteries is equally certain, diocesan bishops being, during the
period under consideration, practically unknown to the Celtic world.
History helps us little as regards Cornwall. We know that in A.D. 664
two British bishops (duobus de Brittonum gente episcopis), whom Mr.
Haddan considers to have been Cornish, assisted Wini, the Saxon bishop
of Wessex, in the consecration of St. Chad.[52]

Gildas, the Jeremiah of Britain, whose _De Excidio_ is stated to have
been written in the sixth century, introduces us to an ecclesiastical
system which, in respect of its main features, differs hardly if at all
from that with which we are familiar, but which both surprises us by the
evidence of its progress and alarms us by the extent of its
perverseness. Gildas speaks of the clergy “intruding themselves into the
preferments of the Church, yea, rather buying the same at a high rate”
and “after the example of Simon Magus buying the office of a bishop or
of a priest.” There was, therefore, already in the sixth century, if the
traditional date of the _De Excidio_ be accepted, a gradation not only
of dignity but also of office and emolument, for which, without Gildas’
evidence, we should hardly have been prepared. The denunciations of
Gildas have been held to apply to the civil rulers and the secular
clergy only,[53] but there seems to be no good reason for accepting this
hypothesis unless we read into the sixth century conditions which are
found at a later period. It is important and sufficient for us to know
that the British Church was highly organised and comparatively wealthy
at this time.

To suppose, however, that Celtic monasteries were large, solid
structures of stone with cloisters, refectories, dortors and the like is
to mistake the economic conditions of the period and of the countries
under review. To associate the Celtic bishop with a durable and spacious
cathedral church is almost as grotesque an anachronism as to represent
St. Lucy (who died in the year 303), as they do in the sailors’ church
at Naples, apparelled in a modern court dress with a tiara of gems and a
necklace of beautiful pearls.

The Celtic monastery has been compared to a pioneer settlement. It
consisted of a congeries of detached cells, each suitable for the
habitation of one or more monks. The cells, like the churches of the
period, were commonly of wood, sometimes of stone. It is therefore,
after the lapse of so many centuries, usually futile to seek for traces
of them. Of existing Christian remains of the Celtic period in Cornwall
the most noteworthy and interesting are the granite crosses and those
monuments especially which bear the Chi-rho monogram. The chapels at
Perranzabuloe, at Gwithian and at Madron are also of this date, the two
former probably owing their preservation to the sand which buried them
and the latter to the healing virtues of the waters of the holy well
which flow through it.[54]

Having shown that the Celtic conception of episcopal jurisdiction was
definitely monastic, as opposed to the Roman which, at an early period,
had become diocesan, it is necessary to fix approximately the date at
which, in Cornwall, the former gave place to the latter. Upon the
solution of the problem depends the character to be assigned to the four
Celtic bishops, Kenstec, Conan, Daniel and Comoere, whose names are
disclosed in certain authentic documents and are given in the Truro
Diocesan Kalendar.

In Brittany, a more progressive country and less isolated than Cornwall,
the change was violently effected by the patriot Nominoë in the year
849. In Ireland the diocesan system was not adopted until 1152.[55]
Wales submitted to the jurisdiction and discipline of Canterbury in
1207. It is certain, therefore, that Cornwall, more opposed to Saxon
influence than any of the others, did not accept the diocesan system
until the days of Egbert (836). There is good reason to believe that the
change took place much later. Kenstec’s letter to Archbishop Ceolnoth
(833-870) states explicitly that his bishopric was monastic (_Ego
Kenstec_ ... [ad] _episcopalem sedem in gente Cornubia in monasterio
quod lingua Brettonum appellatur Dinuurin electus, etc._).[56]

The next bit of historical evidence is that of Asser, the adviser of
King Alfred, to whom Alfred in 884 committed Exeter _cum omni parochia
quae ad se pertinebat in Saxonia et in Cornubia_.[57] The precise nature
of the commission is uncertain. If the gift was made after Asser became
bishop of Sherborne it probably involved the oversight of Devon and of
that portion of Trigg, in Cornwall, where Alfred’s possessions were
situated. There is nothing to lead us to conclude that the Celtic
Christianity of Cornwall was to be affected by it.

A very distinct advance, in intention if not in achievement, was made
when, in 909, Archbishop Plegmund constituted the see of Crediton. To
Eadulf the bishop were given three vills in Cornwall,—“Pollton, Coelling
and Landuuithan from which year by year he might visit the Cornish
people in order to extirpate their errors. For in times past, as far as
possible, they resisted the truth and were not obedient to the
apostolical decrees.” Pollton and Landuuithan are unquestionably Pawton
in St. Breock and Lawhitton. Coelling presents some difficulty because
Domesday Book and all subsequent records represent Callington (with
which it has been identified) as ancient demesne of the Crown. It is
possible, however, that before the Norman Conquest Coelling may have
been surrendered to the King or have been exchanged for another

How far Eadulf was successful it is again impossible to say. A conquered
race does not readily surrender its traditional religious customs. One
of the most instructive records of the Jewish captivity is that which
preserves the pedigrees of the priests who were themselves to preserve
and perpetuate the priestly succession.[59]

Athelstan’s policy (925-940) of excluding the Cornish from Exeter and
confining them within the limits of their own province does not at first
sight point to improved relations between the two races. His conquest of
the whole of Cornwall may be accepted as fact and also his grant of
lands to the church of St. Buryan. Perhaps the most important act of his
life, so far as Cornwall was concerned, was, in the words of Leland, “to
set up one Conan to be bishop in the church of St. German.” The
statement, even if copied from what he regarded as a trustworthy
document, would have carried little weight as coming from a writer who
lived 600 years after the event, had not Bishop Conan been found signing
charters, undoubtedly authentic, between the years 931 and 934.
Moreover, the name Conan is Celtic and occurs frequently in Cornish
place-names. I am inclined to think that the Bishop Donan whose name is
appended to the St. Buryan charter is a transcriber’s mistake for Bishop
Conan.[60] The question naturally suggests itself, how was it possible
for a people smarting under recent defeat to accept the religious
ministrations provided by their conqueror? Close upon a century had
elapsed since the decisive battle of Hengestisdun, and during the
interval doubtless a considerable portion of the Cornish had come to
accept the Saxon supremacy. Athelstan’s mission may have been, generally
speaking, pacific though involving punishment to the disaffected and

In choosing a Cornishman, and one probably already a bishop, for the see
of St. Germans, he would be acting in a conciliatory spirit, especially
if he, at the same time, recognised the traditional type of Cornish
Christianity. There is no reason to interpret his action as involving a
departure from it.

An interesting note is given by Haddan and Stubbs[61] which calls
attention to the signature of one Mancant, a bishop, to a charter of 932
to which also Bishop Conan’s name is appended. The learned editors
rightly conjecture that Mancant was a Cornish bishop (Mancant, or more
correctly Maucant). Coeval Cornish bishops are just what we should
expect to find in the tenth century no less than in the sixth.

Quite the most valuable extant document of Cornish Christianity,
however, is the List of _Manumissions on the Bodmin Gospels_ which dates
from the year 942 and carries us almost to the middle of the eleventh
century. From this precious manuscript we gather that there were during
that period the following bishops in, or connected with, Cornwall: (1)
Athelgea[rd] possibly bishop of Crediton, (2) Comoere contemporary with
Edgar (958-975), (3) Wulfsige of a slightly subsequent date, (4)
Burthwold mentioned in Cnut’s charter and described by William of
Malmesbury as uncle of Living or Lyfing the penultimate bishop of
Crediton. Charters also disclose two additional bishops: Ealdred
(993-997) and Aethelred (1001). Of these Comoere, Wulfsige and Ealdred
are identified by Mr. Haddan with Bodmin and Burthwold with St. Germans.
Comoere’s name is Celtic; the rest of the names are Saxon. But the
important point is that they are all, except possibly the first,
contemporary with, though not identical with, bishops of Crediton, in
other words, some measure of independence continued to exist between the
Saxon see and the see or sees of Cornwall. There is nothing to show
that, before the days of Wulfsige (967), i.e. until within 80 years of
Leofric, the first bishop of Exeter, the greater part of Cornwall was
not Celtic both in religion and language. The change of ecclesiastical
organisation was made at a period much later than is commonly

The charter of King Aethelred to Bishop Ealdred (994) seems to point to
a period of transition. He gives to Bishop Ealdred episcopal
jurisdiction in the province of Cornwall that it (the province?) may be
free and subject to him and his successors, “that he may govern and rule
his diocese (_parochiam_) in the same way as other bishops who are in
his realm, both the monastery (_locus_) and the domain (_regimen_) of
St. Petrock being under the control of him and his successors.” If the
English conception of diocesan jurisdiction had been generally known and
allowed in Cornwall there would have been no need to require the
stipulations contained in the concluding paragraph. Ealdred was to
administer the see of St. Petrock on English lines. History does not
tell us what was, in the meanwhile, happening at St. Germans; but
twenty-four years later (in 1018) we meet with a grant of lands, in
Landrake and Tiniel, by King Cnut to Burhwold bishop of St. Germans; the
Landrake lands were to be held by the bishop during his life and after
his death they were to be held for the good of the souls of him and the
King. The Tiniel lands were to be used as the bishop thought fit. It is
interesting to note that these lands were not annexed to the bishopric
but continued to be held by the prior of St. Germans until the
dissolution of the priory in the sixteenth century.

At the time of Cnut’s grant Cornwall had practically lost its
independence both civil and ecclesiastical. All the witnesses of his
charter, twenty-seven in number, bear Saxon names.

Burhwold died in or about A.D. 1043. Lyfing his nephew, who had become
bishop of Crediton in 1027, was, in pursuance of an arrangement made
long before between him and King Cnut, allowed to hold both sees. On
Lyfing’s death, in the third year of the Confessor’s reign (1046),
Leofric the King’s chaplain was appointed to the united bishopric
(_episcopatum Cridionensis ecclesiae atque Cornubiensis provinciae_) and
the see transferred to Exeter. Papal sanction was obtained for the
transaction three years afterwards.

By his charter of ratification, dated 1050, Edward the Confessor
transfers the Cornish diocese which had formerly been assigned to a
bishop’s see (_episcopali solio_) in memory of Blessed German and in
veneration of Petrock, this, with all parishes, lands, etc., he
transfers to St. Peter in the city of Exeter. The absence of clear
definition in the last paragraph is sufficiently obvious: no clearer
definition was possible. There had been hitherto no Cornish diocese in
the English and Roman acceptation of the word. There had been bishops
both at Bodmin and at St. Germans within living memory holding lands and
exercising jurisdiction, but the monastic tie was still probably
stronger than the diocesan.

Yet it was obviously important, now that Exeter was to be the seat of
ecclesiastical government for the two counties, that ample provision
should be made for the great bishop who was to occupy it. Exeter lacked
lands, books and almost every church ornament; so stated Pope Leo in his
letter to King Edward. Accordingly the King not only gave to it lands of
his own but he provided for the transfer of all that could under any
reasonable pretext be claimed for its support. In effect, he made it
possible for the Exeter bishopric to derive nearly one-half of its
entire revenue from Cornish monastic lands. But the endowment of the see
of Exeter requires a chapter to itself.


Footnote 49:

  Cornwall’s independence of Rome implied neither repudiation of nor
  secession from the Roman Church. It was merely the temporary
  suspension of outward communion with Latin Christianity as the result
  of political events which had placed Cornwall in a state of isolation.

Footnote 50:

  The statement is based upon the assumption that the decrees of Pope
  Leo III were as inoperative in Cornwall as they were in Wales and
  Ireland. It should be needless to warn the reader against confounding
  Augustine of Canterbury with the bishop of Hippo. The latter is said
  to have sanctioned certain regulations for the religious life which
  subsequently became known as the rule of St. Augustine. In the
  beginning of the ninth century Pope Leo III made this rule obligatory
  upon all the clergy who had not embraced some other rule. Had the
  monks of St. Petrock been in outward communion with western
  Christendom they would probably have become canons, regular or
  secular, of St. Augustine and, in that case and in that sense only,
  Sir John Maclean’s statement might have been excusable. But in that
  sense the words had no meaning in the sixth century when St. Petrock
  founded the Cornish community. Augustine of Canterbury was a
  Benedictine monk and the canons regular introduced by Bishop
  Warelwast, known as Black Canons, belonged to one of the three great
  orders which sprang from the rule attributed to his great namesake the
  bishop of Hippo.

Footnote 51:

  Dom Gougaud speaks of them as _Évêques déclassés et errants_
  (_Chrétientés_, p. 219).

Footnote 52:

  Haddan and Stubbs, _Councils_, I, 124.

Footnote 53:

  Gougaud, _Chrétientés_, p. 67.

Footnote 54:

  To this period Mr. Jenner would also assign the dwellings at
  Chysauster which may indeed, as he suggests, have been St. Gulval’s

Footnote 55:

  Stokes, _Ireland and the Celtic Church_, p. 347.

Footnote 56:

  Haddan and Stubbs, _Councils_, I, 675.

Footnote 57:

  _Ibid._, I, 676.

Footnote 58:

  It is even possible that Coelling may be Callestock in Perranzabuloe.
  The canons of Exeter had lands in that parish in the twelfth century.

Footnote 59:

  Ezra VII; Nehemiah XII.

Footnote 60:

  Donan, however, is a Celtic name (see Loth, _Rev. Celt._, XXIX, 277).
  For the purpose of the argument which is here put forward it would
  have been more convenient to have distinguished between them.

Footnote 61:

  _Councils_, I, 979.

Footnote 62:

  In the West of Cornwall there are indications in Domesday Book (1086)
  of the recent introduction of Saxon place-names, e.g. in Edward the
  Confessor’s time it can hardly be a coincidence that Aluuarton
  (_hodie_ Alverton) was the holding of Aluuar.




The Roman and, consequently, the Saxon conception of episcopal
government was territorial and diocesan; the Celtic conception was
tribal and monastic. An ecclesiastical system based upon tribal and
monastic principles, recognising no supreme central authority, can
afford to dispense with clearly defined boundaries. At the same time a
monastic, no less than a tribal organisation, requires a centre of its
own, towards which its activities may converge, and from which its
influences may radiate.

The present is an attempt to show where the more important of such
centres existed in Cornwall before diocesan was substituted for monastic
rule. Doubtless every _lan_ represented some such centre, however
insignificant, just as every _caer_ represented a fortified seat of
civil authority. The _lan_ justified its existence by the strength and
fervour of its prayers and spiritual influence: the _caer_ by the
strength of its natural position and its artificial defences. A monastic
settlement with a definite amount of demesne land, corresponding to its
size and importance, upon which the monks worked for the support of the
community, will sufficiently indicate what is meant. Some monasteries
had bishops; some—the greater number—were without them. The great
monasteries of Landévennec in Brittany, Llantwit in Wales, and Bangor in
Ireland, do not appear to have had bishops of their own, or, if they
had, their episcopal character was submerged. On the other hand, the
monastery-bishoprics of all three countries are too well known to
require demonstration. The isolation of the Church in Cornwall until the
middle of the tenth century encouraged and perpetuated the system in the
mother country which in the fifth and sixth century it had helped to
establish in Brittany.

Domesday Book, when studied by the light of earlier and later records,
supplies invaluable information upon the subject of Cornish
ecclesiastical organisation even before the Saxon conquest.

At the time of the Great Survey (1086), the bishop of Exeter held the
following manors in Cornwall:

    Treliuel (Treluswell in St. Gluvias).
    Matela (Methleigh in St. Breage).
    Tregel (Trewell in St. Feock).
    Pauton (Pawton in St. Breock).
    Berner (Burneir in Egloshayle).
    St. German (St. Germans).
    Lanherneu (Lanherne in Pydar).
    Tinten (Tinten in St. Tudy).
    Languititon (Lawhitton).
    Landicla (Gulval).
    St. Winnuc (St. Winnow).

Of these eleven manors all except five, viz. Burneir, Lanherne, Tinten,
Lanisley, and St. Winnow, were demesne lands, the whole of their
revenues going direct to the bishop. Richard Fitz Turold held Burneir
and Tinten of the bishop, who received the profits of the former.
Fulcard held Lanherne, and Godfrey St. Winnow. The services or profits
rendered to the bishop in respect of four of the five manors would be
comparatively trifling, except on the death of the tenant in demesne and
during the minority of his heir. Consequently they are not considered
worthy of mention in the _Taxatio_, made by Pope Nicholas IV of the
bishop’s temporalities in the year 1291.

In order to estimate the extent and value of the bishop’s possessions in
Cornwall it will suffice to compare them with those of the clergy, as
given in the _Taxatio_ or assessment just mentioned. It must, however,
be remembered that Methleigh had ceased to be an episcopal manor before
that assessment was made, having been granted by Bishop Robert
Warelwast, between 1155 and 1161, to the dean and chapter of Exeter.[63]
On the other hand, the manor of Cargol, in Newlyn, had been acquired in
the meanwhile.[64] Moreover, Treluswell and Tregella, for civil
purposes, had become differentiated into Camwerris (Penwerris),
Trevella, Tolverne, Fentongollen, Trevennal, and Trelonk,[65] and for
the purpose of ecclesiastical assessment had become known as Tregaher
and Penryn.[66] In 1306 Tregaher, or Trocair, was the name of the major
portion of the hundred of Powder, and was itself regarded as a hundred.
The Bishop’s holdings by military tenure in this hundred were rated at
four knights’ fees. Tregaher, the seat of these possessions, which lay
east and west of the river Fal, is now known as Tregear in Gerrans.
Roughly speaking, the bishop’s manors in this district included the
whole of the parishes of Gerrans, St. Gluvias with Falmouth, Budock,
Mabe, Mylor, Philleigh, Merther, St. Just-in-Roseland, and Ruan
Lanyhorne. His demesne lands were very extensive and valuable, as will
be seen by comparing the papal assessment of Tregaher (£20 11s. 5d.)
with that of the rectory of Gerrans (£2 6s. 7d.) and the assessment of
Penryn (£21 8s. 1d.) with that of the benefice of St. Gluvias (£2).

Pawton and Burneir must be considered together, for they were doubtless
both included in the grant made by King Edward the Elder to Eadulf when
the see of Crediton was constituted in 909. The extent of the bishop’s
holding in Pawton at the time of the Domesday Survey (1086) is declared
to be the entire hundred of Pawton, comprising 44 hides of land. It
extended over the parishes of St. Breock, Egloshayle, St. Ervan, St.
Eval, St. Issey, Little Petherick, St. Merryn, and Padstow. Pawton is
only a contracted form of Petrockton, and there is sufficient reason to
believe that these lands of the bishop had formerly belonged to the
monastery of St. Petrock. In the Inquisitio Geldi (1085) the scribe
appears to have found it difficult to describe the hundred of Pawton
according to the prescribed formula. In his list of the hundreds he has
interlined over “Rieltone Hundret” the words “Sci Petrochii,”[67] and
has added Pauton at the end of the list. In his second attempt he has
placed the hundred of Pauton first and omitted St. Petrock’s altogether.
It is interesting to observe that so late as the year 1691 the hundred
of Pydar is described in a grant from the Crown as “Petrockshire alias
Pidershire alias the hundred of Pider.”[68] Whether the word Pydershire
is a sublimated equivalent of Petrockshire is a question for
etymologists. That the two were not quite territorially conterminous is
evident from Domesday Book itself, in which Nancekuke in Penwith and
Forsnewth in West are included among the manors of St. Petrock. The
important point to grasp is that out of the very heart of St. Petrock’s
province, Pawton, and with it what subsequently became known as the
bishop’s peculiar jurisdiction, embracing five parishes (_decanatus de
Poltone_), was transferred in 909 from the monastery of St. Petrock to
the new see of Crediton, and in 1046 to the see of Exeter. The episcopal
revenue from Pawton in 1291 may be estimated by comparing its assessment
(£49 16s. 3d.) with that of the church (appropriated rectory and
vicarage) of Egloshayle (£5).

Lawhitton, given to Crediton at the same time as Pawton, was also of
considerable extent. It consisted of eleven hides of land in 1086, and
was assessed in 1291 at £25 10s. 11d., while the church or rectory of
Lawhitton was assessed at £2. From what source it was obtained for the
endowment of Crediton is not clear. Along with Lezant and South
Petherwyn it was subsequently within the bishop of Exeter’s peculiar
jurisdiction. Possibly it had been taken (in 909) from the canons of St.
Stephen near Launceston.

The manor of St. German, or, as it is called in the Exchequer Domesday,
the manor of the church of St. German, consisted in 1086 of twenty-four
hides of land, the whole of which had been held by Bishop Leofric in the
time of the Confessor. At the time of the Survey (1086) the bishop had
twelve hides and the canons of St. German had twelve hides. The bishop
had one hide in demesne, and the canons had one hide in demesne: the
rest of the land was held by villeins either of the bishop or of the
canons. It is clear, therefore, that between 1066 and 1086 a
redistribution had taken place, as the result of which the bishop and
the canons had been assigned equal shares of the lands. A Sunday market
which had fallen to the latter had been reduced to nothing owing to a
market on the same day having been established at Trematon Castle by the
Count of Mortain. There had also been taken away by the Count from the
church of St. German a hide of land which rendered as custom a cask
(_cupa_) of ale and 30 pence, an acre (Cornish) of demesne land
sufficient for one plough, and a virgate of demesne land which called
for no remark. Of the usurped lands Reginald de Valletort held the two
former, and Hamelin the latter, of the Count. In 1291 the bishop’s manor
of St. German was assessed at £17 16s. 5d., and the prior’s holding at
£14 13s. 4d. for lands in St. Germans, £1 for dues from South Petherwyn
and Landulph, and £9 16s. 2d. for lands, including those of Tiniel and
Landrake given to Bishop Burhwold by King Cnut in the year 1018. In the
_Valor ecclesiasticus_ (1535) to the revenues of the priory from the
above sources there is added the impropriated tithe of Gulval, of which
something more will be said when treating of Lanisley.

What actually happened shortly after the Norman Conquest in regard to
St. Germans is not obscure, although some confusion has resulted owing
to a misapprehension on the part of more than one writer. Cnut’s gift to
Bishop Burhwold, as we have seen,[69] only served to augment the
revenues of the religious community, of which Burhwold was doubtless the
head. Under Lyfing, the nephew and successor of Burhwold, and before the
death of Cnut, the see of St. Germans, such as it was, was united with
that of Crediton, the community still consisting of secular canons.
Leofric succeeded Lyfing, and in his days the see of Crediton and its
possessions were transferred to Exeter. The revenue of St. German was
consequently impoverished. Nothing appears to have been done to repair
the loss until after Edward the Confessor’s death, but, somewhere
between 1066 and 1073, Leofric consented to a partition of the revenue
by which the bishop and the canons became possessed of equal shares, as
stated in Domesday Book.[70]

Having briefly reviewed the more important of the Cornish contributions
to the revenue of the Exeter bishopric, a few words are required
respecting the manors which, though absent from the _Taxatio_ of 1291,
were in 1086 amongst the possessions of the bishop, and were recorded in
Domesday Book.

Matela or Methleigh, reckoned at a hide and a half in 1086, was granted
by the bishop to the dean and chapter of Exeter, about the year 1160
and, by them, was conveyed soon afterwards to the family of Nansladron.
It was to this manor that the church of St. Breage was appendant, and it
may well have been the demesne land of a religious community before the
Saxon invasion.

Landicla or Lanisley, also a hide and a half, was held by Rolland the
archdeacon, of the bishop in 1086, having been Bishop Leofric’s in the
time of the Confessor. It embraced the whole parish of Gulval. Before
the enactment of the statute _Quia emptores_ in 1290, the whole of the
demesne land appears to have been granted to the family of Fitz Ive.
There is consequently no mention of it in the _Taxatio_ of the following
year, although the seignorial rights were subsequently claimed and
exercised by the bishop from time to time as occasion arose. In 1580 it
is described in an inquisition as having been held by John Tripcony of
the bishop as of his manor of Penryn Foren, but the description, far
from indicating a common origin of the two manors, probably only
indicates a late expedient enabling the bishop to claim the services and
collect the dues, if any, at his chief manor in the west. The advowson,
and with it the rectorial tithe of Lanisley or Gulval, was at an early
date held by the prior and canons of St. Germans, and continued to be
held by them until the dissolution of their religious house in the
sixteenth century. In the _Valor ecclesiasticus_ their holding was
assessed at £10 6s. 8d. It is not unlikely that when Bishop Leofric
reconstituted the church of St. German he gave to it the advowson of

Lanherne, the Lanherneu of Domesday, was a holding of Bishop Leofric
before the Norman conquest, and was in 1086 held by Fulcard of the
bishop. It was estimated at three hides. Of the incidents of tenure in
subsequent times nothing remained to the bishop save homage, wardship,
and the like, and the manor was not considered worthy of assessment in
the _Taxatio_ of 1291. It would be interesting to know how this manor
came into the bishop’s hands. It adjoined his manor or hundred of
Pawton, and may have passed with it, but, curiously enough, the parish
of St. Mawgan, with which it was almost conterminous, was not within the
bishop’s peculiar jurisdiction. The manor was, doubtless, St. Petrock’s
before it became the bishop’s.

The manor of St. Winnuc or St. Winnow had already passed to a sub-tenant
at the time of the Domesday Survey, and the impropriated tithe and
advowson of the church of St. Winnow to the dean and chapter of Exeter,
before 1291. There is nothing to suggest the source whence the manor was
obtained for the endowment of the bishopric, save that St. Winnow
adjoins Lanhydrock, which belonged to St. Petrock, and may, therefore,
have been taken from the saint.

The manor of Tinten in St. Tudy, held in 1086 by Richard, of the bishop,
was not considered worthy of separate mention in the _Taxatio_ of 1291.
It is the only episcopal manor the name or locality of which does not
suggest an ecclesiastical origin. The advowson of St. Tudy was
independent of it being appendant to the manor of Trethewell in St.
Eval. Does the half hide of Tinten represent the lay contribution of
Cornwall towards the endowment of the see of Exeter?[72]

We are now in a position to summarise the results of the foregoing
survey. We have seen that the Cornish possessions of the see of Exeter,
at the time of the Domesday Survey, consisted chiefly of manors which
had St. Germans, Lawhitton, Pawton and Penryn (or Tregear) for their
centres. St. Germans and Pawton, and probably Lawhitton, were derived
from monastic sources, viz. from the monasteries of St. German, St.
Petrock, and probably from St. Stephen. The possessions in and around
Penryn require further examination.

That there was a monastery-bishopric at Dinurrin or Dingerein in the
ninth century is clear from Kenstec’s profession of obedience to
Archbishop Ceolnoth. To treat of Gerrans and its associations in an
impartial spirit is wellnigh impossible. Legend, history and fact are so
strangely and so suggestively interwoven that the temptation is equally
great to say too much or too little. The name Gerrans is a modern form
of Geraint or Geruntius. The presence of Gerrans, Just and Cuby, as the
names of three churches and parishes near together, is indeed a
remarkable coincidence if they are not identical with Geraint of
Anglesey, his son Jestyn or Just, and his grandson Cuby, son of Selyf.
No valid reason has been offered against the identification. Mr.
Baring-Gould considers St. Gerrans the same person as Gerennius, King of
Cornwall, who requested St. Teilo to visit and communicate him when
dying (circa 556).

Both Geraint and Gerennius must be distinguished from Gerontius, prince
of Dumnonia, to whom St. Aldhelm wrote at the request of an English
synod in 705 urging him to abandon the Celtic method of determining
Easter and the Celtic tonsure which the saint described as the tonsure
of Simon Magus. All three (who are here distinguished as Geraint,
Gerennius and Gerontius, though the names are identical) were historical
personages and worthy of the veneration of after ages. For our present
purpose it is not material to determine the identity of St. Gerrans: it
is sufficient for us to know that Dingerein may be derived from any one
of them. In the ninth century Dingerein or Dinurrin was the seat of the
Abbot-bishop Kenstec. In the absence of evidence to the contrary we may
suppose that his episcopate was concentrated at Gerrans and embraced the
lands or parishes bordering the estuary of the Fal—those parishes in
fact which subsequently became for ecclesiastical purposes the deanery
of Penryn, and for civil purposes formed a large portion of the hundred
of Trocayr or Tregeare. There is nothing to show that, either for
ecclesiastical or for civil purposes, there were close relations, much
less that there was a bond of union, between the Gerrans territory and
that of Pawton, Pydar, St. German or Lawhitton. Gerrans was
self-contained and independent. It may have retained, and probably did
retain, traces of its episcopal character until Edward the Confessor, by
charter, transferred the Cornish diocese with its lands and parishes to
the see of Exeter. Some justification was doubtless required for the
annexation of so much land in and around Gerrans to the bishop’s
demesne, and the only justification which is apparent is that it was
already regarded as such.[73]

In the case of St. Gerrans hardly any trace was left of its monastic and
episcopal associations. In the _Taxatio_ of 1291 the benefice of St.
Gerrans consisted of two portions, the rector’s and the prior of St.
Anthony’s, which may point to a corporate life at an earlier date.

A glance at the map of Cornwall, in the light of what has been said,
reveals, at the time of the Domesday Survey, present or past activities,
on a considerable scale and monastic in character in every part of the
county except in the north-east, and in the promontories of the Lizard
and of the Land’s End.

The north-east became Saxonised at a very early period. This is clear
from the place-names. There is no reason to doubt that St. Neot, the
Saxon monk of Glastonbury, settled in that part of Cornwall which bears
his name, in the ninth century, and after founding a college of priests
died, and was buried there. There is no reason to doubt the substantial
accuracy of Asser’s narrative—whether it be Asser’s or another’s—which
states that Alfred the Great hunted in the neighbourhood of St. Neot,
and was healed, or believed himself to have been healed, at the shrine
of St. Guerir. Alfred’s possessions in Triconshire have been referred
to. The community at St. Neot held two hides of land in the days of the
Confessor, but the whole of it save one (Cornish) acre had been stolen
by the Count of Mortain in 1086.

Again, the canons of St. Stephen-by-Launceston appear to have suffered a
diminution of their power and also of their revenue owing to Saxon
settlement. At the time of the Survey their affairs were in a state of
utter confusion. They were attempting to hold on to lands which had been
theirs, and are styled theirs in Domesday Book, which Harold held before
the Norman Conquest, and which the Count of Mortain was striving to
re-annex. In North-East Cornwall the Celtic type of Christianity had
given place to the Saxon.




The promontory of the Lizard never became Saxonised. Everything here
points to the persistence of the Celtic type and to very close and
fruitful relations with Brittany. The names of the churches, including
Manaccan, the monks’ church,[74] are all to be found in Armorica except
Grade (of very uncertain derivation) and St. Keverne. The word Meneage
is itself possibly a derivative form of Manach. The lands given by the
Count of Mortain to St. Michael’s Mount, and described in his charter as
situated in Amaneth,[75] were certainly in Meneage. Landivick,
Langweath, Lantenning and, above all, Landewednack speak of monastic
settlement. It is curious that the Breton monastery of Landévennec and
the church of Landewednack both claim Winwaloe for patron,[76] although
St. Guenoc is possibly their true patron. However this may be, it is
clear that a common influence has been at work in determining the
nomenclature in both countries. In Domesday Book the hundred of Kerrier
appears as Wineton or Winenton, the usual Saxon termination being added
to a Celtic word as in Tedinton and Conarton. In later documents it is
found as Winianton, and as such it remained until comparatively recent
times, when it became Winnington. The point less than a mile west of
Winianton is known as Pedngwinion. Mr. H. Jenner has suggested an
interpretation which is almost certainly correct, viz. that Winianton
means the home of the shining or blessed ones. Winianton, as the name of
a hundred, implies some sort of local pre-eminence, past or present.
Before the Norman Conquest the _manor_ of Winianton embraced 22
sub-manors which were in the hands of 17 thegns. The description of
these thegns is interesting—they could not be separated from the manor
and they rendered custom in the same manor. Before 1086 they were
supplanted by the Count of Mortain’s men. A thegn, according to
Professor Maitland, was, before the tenth century, “a household officer
of some great man” and, from the tenth century until the Norman
Conquest, a person socially above a churl with corresponding privileges
and responsibilities.[77] Now it is remarkable that the thegns of
Winenton differed in no respect from those of St. Petrock, except that
whereas the former could not be separated from the manor, the latter
could not be separated from the saint.

Have we here the note of tragedy, inseparable from a lost cause, of
which the Lizard district, to its lasting credit, furnished two other
conspicuous examples in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? It
looks[78] as if there had been the overthrow of monkish supremacy by the
Cornish, followed by Saxon Conquest, and in the meantime the
preservation of thegnship until the Norman Conquest. The small community
of St. Keverne despoiled by the Count of Mortain represents Irish
influence, if we suppose with Mr. W. C. Borlase that Keverne is
identical with Kieran. This saint is not found among the Breton
dedications, Peran and Kerrien being regarded by Professor Loth as
different saints, and neither of them identical with Keverne or Kieran.
We, therefore, conclude that the agency which compassed the destruction
of Brittonic monachism in Meneage left the Irish house to the tender
mercies of the Norman invader. It is possible that in the church of St.
Breage we have an attempt at reparation. From time immemorial it
embraced Germoe, Cury, and Gunwalloe as chapelries. Methleigh, the only
manor which escaped Norman rapacity as the result of its having been
added to the Exeter bishopric, may have been originally a portion of the
demesne of the monastic body which dominated the Lizard peninsula.

Respecting the hundred of Penwith, we have little historical evidence
prior to the Norman Conquest. Athelstan’s grant to the church of St.
Buryan and Edward the Confessor’s grant to St. Michael’s Mount, whatever
fault may be found with the charters, as they have come down to us, are
sufficiently authentic. The story of St. Ia’s arrival with her Irish
companions must be received with caution; but there is no reason to
doubt that a substratum of truth lies beneath a legend which is by no
means modern. Seven churches in Penwith bear the names of these
missionaries. On the other hand, no less than fourteen dedications,
including two which subsequently became obsolete and two which are among
those of the Irish mission, are common to Penwith and Brittany. The
remaining dedications are of doubtful origin. It seems, therefore,
certain that Irish and Breton influences had a great deal to do with the
moulding of the church life of the hundred. The preponderating influence
was Breton. The presence of St. Pol Aurelian (Paul) and of Winwaloe
(Towednack) is sufficient evidence of this. It is remarkable that four,
if not more, of the Penwith churches afford traces of presumably earlier
dedications. St. Erth (possibly also Perranuthnoe) was known as Lanudno,
Gulval as Lanisley, Madron probably as Landithy,[79] and Illogan
probably as Lancichuc. St. Just may have borne the name of Lafrowda, as
being situated near the holy springs. Udno (Goueznou) the companion of
Pol Aurelian (circa 530) is commemorated in three Breton parishes. Pol
was originally of Wales, and a contemporary of Just of Anglesey, who is
probably the patron of the church which bears the name in Penwith. If
this be so, St. Levan will be Seleven, Salomon, Selyf, or Selus, whose
memorial stone is preserved in St. Just Church. It is quite possible
that the changed dedications indicate a change from monastic to some
sort of parochial organisation. In Penwith there does not appear to have
been any monastic community of commanding importance whose revenues
could be seized without leaving the people spiritually destitute.
Lanisley may have been one which had outstayed its welcome and on that
account may have become attached to what was eventually to become the
see of Exeter.

To sum up. Three large holdings, or, to use a modern though inadequate
word, estates, stand out clear and distinct, viz. those of Gerrans,
Pawton and St. Germans, each of them at one time or another associated
with the see of a Cornish bishop, monastic in character. Such records as
we have, carefully distinguish these lands from one another. Neither St.
Petrock (Pawton) nor St. German possesses any rights in Gerrans, nor
Gerrans in Pawton or in St. Germans. Neither does St. Germans claim
rights in Pawton, nor Pawton in St. Germans. It is not only opposed to
the evidence of Domesday, it is inconceivable that any Cornish bishop
exercised lordship over all three at the same time. The Pawton lands
were almost certainly claimed by Crediton by virtue of the provision
made in 909 for missionary visits to them yearly by the bishop of
Crediton. The St. Germans holding was certainly annexed to Exeter when
that see was founded. The Gerrans holding presents several difficulties.
We have no record of any bishop at Gerrans save Kenstec (865). But
because no records have been preserved, we cannot say that no bishops
existed. Such a principle if applied to Cornish parishes would be fatal
to their claim to have had a rector before the days of Bishop
Bronescombe (1257). Nevertheless, the absence of recorded evidence is
distinctly embarrassing. What were the events or circumstances which
justified the annexation of the Gerrans property to the see of Exeter?
Some justification there doubtless was. Was it found in the letter of
submission written by Bishop Kenstec to Archbishop Plegmund (833-870)
about fifty years before the see of Crediton was founded? Was it found
in the forfeiture of royal possessions consequent upon the conquest of
Cornwall by Athelstan (925-940)? It is possible that both these events
may have contributed to the result, for there is good reason to believe
that Gerrans was a residence of the kings of Cornwall in the seventh
century, and it is certain that it was the residence of Kenstec in the
ninth century. If the lands were claimed by King Athelstan there ought
to be some charter to show when and by whom they were transferred to the
see of Crediton or of Exeter. If they passed to the Saxon bishopric by
virtue of the grant of Edward the Confessor in 1050, then we must
conclude that they had preserved their episcopal associations until
within a few years of that time, and that, therefore, Bishop Kenstec
probably had successors at Gerrans. It is inconceivable that there were
not valid grounds for the transfer of the lands. The fact that they were
monastic lands would not have sufficed, for the canons of St. Petrock
and St. German survived the annexation of a portion of theirs, whereas
no vestige of a monastery remained at Gerrans in the days of the
Confessor. It was its former connection with episcopal rule which led to
the inclusion of Gerrans in the endowments of the bishopric of Exeter.

The foregoing fragmentary sketch is not to be regarded as a conclusive
proof of the existence of concurrent Cornish bishoprics so late as the
eleventh century, but it is intended to call attention to some of the
sources from which others may seek the necessary means of forming a
judgment for themselves. That the monastery-bishoprics were hard to
suppress will be evident to everyone who examines the evidence. That
they survived in Cornwall for a much longer period than is generally
supposed seems more than probable.


Footnote 63:

  Inventory of Bp. Grandisson.

Footnote 64:

  _Exeter Episc. Registers, Stapeldon_, p. 97.

Footnote 65:

  Feudal Aids 1303, 1306, 1346.

Footnote 66:

  _Episc. Reg. Bronescombe_, App. p. 473.

Footnote 67:

  St. Petrock’s hundred had, of course, no connection with Rielton or
  Rillaton, subsequently known as the hundred of East. The confusion may
  have arisen from the fact that the bailiwick of Pydar was at Rialton,
  and that of East at Rillaton, formerly Rielton.

Footnote 68:

  Patent Roll, 3 William and Mary.

Footnote 69:

  See Monastery-Bishoprics, _supra_.

Footnote 70:

  The Patent Roll of 7 Richard II (cf. also _Monasticon_, edited by
  Oliver, p. 4) should be compared with the Patent Roll of 9 Richard II.
  The former states that Cnut was the founder of the priory of St.
  German, while the latter states that Leofric was the founder. Inasmuch
  as the charter of Cnut required the land of Landrake to be given after
  Burhwold’s death to St. German for the good of the souls of Cnut and
  Burhwold (_Terram ... commendat ... Sancto Germano_) it follows that
  both statements were (and were probably understood to be) legal
  fictions. The earlier document, however, confirms, if confirmation
  were needed, the evidence as to the reconstruction of the monastery by
  Leofric as given in Domesday Book, though it is not necessarily
  conclusive as to the substitution of regular for secular canons. Preb.
  Hingeston Randolph (_Architec. Hist. of St. Germans_, p. 31) states
  that “there is no reason to suppose that Leofric took any steps to
  found a priory at St. Germans.” The statement is far too sweeping. On
  the other hand, Mr. Haddan (_Councils_, etc., I, 704) relies upon the
  _ipsissima verba_ of the Patent Roll for one of his main arguments for
  a single Cornish see in the days of Cnut. By itself the evidence
  supplied by an early patent roll relating to a transaction which took
  place nearly four centuries previously is not conclusive, especially
  when, as in this case, a legal title was needed in order to settle a
  dispute, and to place a bishop in undisputed possession of an

Footnote 71:

  There is a temptation to identify Lanisley with the Lannaledensis of
  the _Missa S. Germani_ (Haddan and Stubbs, _Councils_, etc., I, 696).
  Alet, or Aleth, and Idles, in the parish of Kenwyn, are regarded as
  synonymous, if not identical, in several ancient charters. On the same
  principle Lanaleth would become Lanidles, a form sufficiently near
  that of Lanisle to convey the idea of identity. But Mr. Haddan is
  satisfied that Lanadleth is the British name of St. Germans, and the
  confusion introduced by the above supposition would be practically

Footnote 72:

  Eglostudic (St. Tudy) and Polrode belonged to St. Petrock in the time
  of the Confessor, and Tinten may have been claimed for Exeter by
  virtue of the grant of 909.

Footnote 73:

  At a much earlier date (670) St. Wilfrid claimed ecclesiastical
  endowments of the British for the Saxon Church in the neighbourhood of

Footnote 74:

  Loth, _Les Noms des Saints bretons_, p. 87.

Footnote 75:

  Amaneth may be an English equivalent for Anmanach. Treveneage appears
  at Trevanek in 1284, and as Trevanaek in 1361.

Footnote 76:

  Loth, _Les Noms des Saints bretons_, pp. 52, 53.

Footnote 77:

  _Hist. of English Law_, i, 33.

Footnote 78:

  The references are to Kilter’s rising in 1549, and to the prolonged
  defence of Little Dennis by Sir Richard Vyvyan in 1646.

Footnote 79:

  The evidence is indirect. Trengwainton, to which the advowson was
  appendant, was itself a sub-manor of Roseworthy in Gwinear. Landithy
  is only a short distance from the church.



                             CORNISH SAINTS

In the first chapter it has been attempted to show how the tyranny of
resemblance and coincidence leads to false analogies and wrong
inferences. Some further illustrations of this principle which have a
direct bearing upon the main purpose of the present enquiry may be found

In this chapter we are not so much concerned with the Lives of the
Cornish Saints, as they have come down to us, as with the question
whether they had any actual existence as human beings at all. Of Ia,
Uny, Dennis, Allen, Paul and Berrian it has been stated that “it is more
than probable that there was no man in either case. Ia is the Island
saint, Uny the Downs saint, Dennis the Hill saint, Paul or Pol the Pool
saint,” Buryan or Berrian the saint of Berrie.

But why stop there? Domesday Book supplies us with Eglostudic,
Sainguilant and Sainguinas. It is just as easy to imagine places bearing
the names of Tudic, Guilant and Guinas as to imagine one bearing the
name of Berrie, and quite as good etymology to derive them from Tutton a
chair, Guilan a kingfisher and Guenan a blister.

Most will admit that a chair saint is suggestive of saintly
pursuits—study and contemplation; many saints have been fishermen; some
have suffered from pimples and perhaps have known how to cure them.

Again we have two more ancient parishes one of which occurs in Domesday
Book, viz. Eglosros (Philleigh) and Egloshayle, the church on the heath
and the church on the estuary, yet no one has ever ventured to describe
or to speak of them as the churches of St. Rose and St. Hayle, and for
the obvious reason that Cornish saints have not been manufactured in the
way that has been suggested.

In choosing Ia, Uny, Dennis, Allen, Paul and Berrian to demonstrate his
theory, the critic could hardly have made a more unfortunate selection.
With one exception they are all to be found in Brittany.

Ia is said to have been an Irish missionary who came with her brothers
Uny and Erth and some others to complete the conversion of the Cornish
in the golden age of Celtic Christianity. For our present purpose it is
not material to accept the legend, but it is useful to know that Ia is
commemorated at St. Ives in Cornwall and in Finistère in Brittany, Erth
at St. Erth in Cornwall and at Chittlehampton in Devon, Uny at Lelant
and Redruth in Cornwall and at Plevin in Côtes du Nord. St. Dennis (or
Denys), his church being situated in the centre of a hill-fort, is the
only one whose name seems, at first sight, to lend colour to the new
criticism. But to quote Professor Loth, writing on a totally different
subject,[80] “it is quite impossible for Dinas by itself to be a man’s
name. It is one of the most widely distributed place-names in Cornwall.
Dinas in Cornish, as in Welsh, signifies a fortified town.” Assuming
that a personage derived his name from the place Dinas we should have
Dinan as in Cardinan. St. Dennis or Denys appears to have been the name
given to a chapelry of St. Stephen (Etienne) but there is no reason to
suppose that it was ancient when it first appears along with that of
Caerhayes in the _Inquisitio Nonarum_ (1340) as _Capella Sci. Dionisii_.
St. Denys, supposed, but mistakenly, to be identical with Dionysius the
Areopagite, was from the seventh century onwards venerated throughout
Europe, and it is not remarkable to find him the patron of a chapel in
Cornwall in the fourteenth century.

That the name of the site of the chapel may have suggested to its
founder a name for its patron saint is quite possible. As late as the
seventeenth century the heralds chose St. John Baptist’s head for the
arms of Penzance (holy head). There are, in truth, no better grounds for
regarding St. Dennis as mythical than St. Stephen to whom his chapel was

St. Allen, as the presiding saint of the _hail_ or moor, reminds one of
some rather irreverent lines by the greatest of Irish poets:

                   Our preacher prays he may in’erit
                   The hinspiration of the Spirit.
                   Oh! grant him also, ’oly Lord,
                   The haspiration of thy word.

St. Allen is found as St. Alun in the Episcopal Registers. The name
occurs in the cartulary of Redon and in Coed-Alun near Carnarvon in
Wales. St. Alan is among the disciples of Iltut and is the patron of
Corlay (Côtes du Nord). In no instance is the name found with the
aspirate, or hail without it.

Pol de Leon is a personage quite as historic as Napoleon. It must rest
with the reader to say whether the church in Cornwall which bears his
name got it from Gwavas Lake or from the well-known British saint, a
disciple of Tutwal, who founded a Breton bishopric, who was a
fellow-student of St. Sampson the patron of Golant and who is himself
the patron of fifteen parishes, one of which curiously enough is in
Cornouaille in Brittany.

Eglosberria remains and this, we are told, is compounded of Eglos and a
Cornish place-word presumed to be Berrie. The fact that no such place is
now to be found in the parish of St. Buryan does not, of course, prove
that in the far remote past there may not have been one. Nor does it
concern us much to know that in the parish berries of sorts are
abundant, holly berries, elder berries, blackberries and gooseberries;
still less to consider whether the last-named berry is indigenous or
acclimatised. This is not a treatise on Botany.

Had our critic consulted his reference, Domesday Book, he would have
read in the Exchequer redaction, “The Canons of St. Berriona hold
Eglosberrie”; in the Exeter book—the original document—under the heading
Inquisitio Geldi (1085), “St. Berriana holds a hide of land”; and under
the heading Land of St. Berriona the Virgin, “the Canons of St. Berriona
hold a manor which is called Eglosberria, which the same Virgin held in
the time of King Edward freely” (i.e. free from the payment of dues).
The first point to notice is that in every case the name of the saint is
trisyllabic, Berrian or Berrion. Berria, the second half of the name of
the manor, is probably only a contraction for Berriana made by the
earlier scribe and copied by the later. This explanation is placed
almost beyond dispute by earlier and later documents concerning the
manor and the church. Again it is well known that the letters _b_ and
_v_ are, in certain Cornish words, interchangeable as, for example, in
Trebean and Trevean. Professor Loth had pointed out to the present
writer that Berrian (Buryan) and Verrian (Veryan) were identical, but it
was two years before a striking confirmation of his statement was
disclosed. A charter dated 1450 was recently handed to me to decipher
relating to this very manor of Eglosberrie.

In it the lands were described as those of Eglosveryan. The Domesday
record is not only in perfect agreement with, but confirms, the charter
of Athelstan, which, in spite of some adverse criticism, probably
arising from the fact that it has been copied and attested more than
once, is acknowledged to be a trustworthy document, and as such was
always regarded whenever the rights and privileges of the royal chapel
of St. Buryan were called in question. Veryan and Buryan being
identical, it follows that, on the assumption that they are derived from
Berrie, a place-name, that place will be found in both parishes. It is
found in neither. It is purely mythical.

It may be asked, why devote so much space to a matter of secondary
importance? The reason is that here we have to meet an attempt to bring
the Celtic saints within the province of comparative mythology, an
attempt to show that they were eponymous in somewhat the same sense as
Romulus, Cypris, Pallas Athene and Ceres (as representing Siculus) were
the genii and afterwards the presiding deities over Rome, Cyprus, Athens
and Sicily. It is useless to deny the assertion that “the Church history
of Cornwall before the Norman Conquest is chiefly a matter of legendary
lore” and that “the cult of the sun was that of Cornwall not a thousand
years ago” unless we have something to say in support of our denial.

Let us therefore carry the argument a little further—let us suppose that
the topological origin of the saints is the true one; let us suppose
that there is indisputable evidence, gathered in Cornwall, in its
favour; in other words, that the Cornish saints are local divinities;
how will it fare with them when their votaries have crossed the seas?
Will the Island which gives its name to St. Ives, will the Downs of
Lelant, the Hail (deprived of its aspirate), the Dinas of Mid-Cornwall
and Gwavas Lake win Armorican devotion? Or conversely, assuming the
saints to have been of Armorican manufacture, will they appeal to the
devotional instincts of the Cornish? Or must we assume that there was a
sacred island at Plouyé, a sacred downs at Plevin, a sacred pool at Léon
and a sacred Berrie at Berrien and Lan-verrien in Finistère? It is as
difficult to imagine an affirmative answer being returned to any of
these questions as St. Thomas Aquinas found it to believe that a
religious could tell a lie, and therefore, according to his biographer,
more difficult to believe than that an ox could fly. The Celtic saints
were not eponymous, but men of like passions with us, who lived their
lives, told their story, impressed their contemporaries and were
gathered to their fathers, men honoured in their generation and the
glory of their times.

This leads to a brief notice of their biographies. The subject is not
free from difficulty. It requires a rearrangement of thoughts, a
re-focussing of ideas. The Lives of the Saints do not conform to
ordinary standards or respond to ordinary appeals.

They are not plain, unvarnished accounts of simple earnest men written
by their contemporaries, but, in their present form, they are for the
most part highly coloured stories addressed not to the intellect but to
the imagination. They are not always free from anachronisms. The ideals
of their writers are not ours to-day.

They abound in the miraculous. They are adorned after a common pattern
peculiarly their own. They draw largely upon Holy Scripture. Incidents
related of one saint are sometimes transferred to another. Similarities
of expression are found in them, perhaps pointing to a common origin or
authorship. In short, all the elements which provoke adverse criticism
are found in them.

And yet, making due allowance for the mentality of those who wrote and
those who read them, there is no sufficient reason for impugning the
veracity of the writers, much less for despising them.[81] They were
neither deceivers nor deceived. The hagiographer had probably as great a
regard for truth as his modern critics, but he knew nothing of the
canons of literary excellence. He had never heard of “nature unadorned”;
but he knew, just as we know, how banal and commonplace are the lives of
many of the best men and women who have lived and worked for others, and
he strove to portray them in colours which might make them interesting
to a generation whose intelligence, so far as religion was concerned,
had been chiefly moulded by Holy Scripture. He recognised analogies and
emphasised them. He was conversant with the main facts and knew how
impressive had been the personality and the life of his hero, but he had
not, like Boswell, followed him about with a note-book. He was himself
an impressionist and by no means sparing of his paint, one whose work
doubtless won the approval of the age in which he lived. He had no
message for succeeding ages.

At the same time only ignorance or prejudice will place all
hagiographers on the same level or refuse to take account of alleged
facts, even when they are concealed underneath an intolerable deal of
fanciful adornment.

In some cases the Lives of the Saints, as presented by their authors,
possess real historical value. Those of Sampson, Paul Aurelian,
Winwaloe, Tutwal and Malo (Machutus) fall within this category.[82] The
life of St. Sampson drawn up, according to Mgr. Duchesne, towards the
end of the seventh century, of which the earliest and most valuable MS.
is of the eleventh century, will repay diligent study.[83] It has a
direct and important bearing upon monastery-bishoprics, and ought to
possess a special interest for the people of Cornwall whose forefathers
profited by St. Sampson’s ministry. The biography, as we should expect,
contains its full share of miracles, but is, nevertheless, characterised
by veracity in those statements which relate to the saint’s parentage,
private life, travels and career. The picture is a true picture, however
much we may dislike the method of treatment. The landing of the saint
near Padstow, his sojourn at St. Kew, his destruction of the pagan idol
in the hundred of Trigg and other details are all related and the
topographical knowledge of the writer has been shown to be accurate.[84]
It is doubtful, however, whether, at the present stage of historical
research, it is possible for those, who are most competent to form a
judgment of the value of the evidence afforded by the Lives of the
Saints, to do so dispassionately and impartially owing to the antagonism
which is provoked by the extraordinary play of fancy on the part of
their writers.

That some of them possess historical value is proved by a Life the
earliest MS. of which is comparatively recent. In the life of St.
Petrock the text of which is not earlier than the fifteenth century it
is stated that “Petrock, after visiting his compatriot St. Sampson,
betook himself _ad cellam Wethnoci episcopi_. A little further on we
read _unde etiam lingua gentis illius Landuuethmoch_ (for Lannwethnoc)
_adhuc usque hodie dicitur_. Now Lannwethnoc presents itself in Domesday
Book under the forms of Lanwehenoc (wrongly written Lanwenahoc) and

The remarkable thing is that a fifteenth-century writer should have
recorded two facts which were as little known at the time when he wrote
as they are to the generality of English readers to-day; the first, that
in the days of St. Petrock a bishop might have been found occupying a
cell, living as a monk or hermit, though not necessarily living alone;
and the second, that there was in pre-Norman times a place bearing the
name of Languihenoc, both of which are placed beyond dispute by the
evidence given us in the chapter on Monastery-Bishoprics and by the
testimony of Domesday Book. It surely requires an imagination of wider
scope to believe that the writer was not transcribing or interpreting an
authentic document than to accept the most fantastic legends of Celtic
saints. The service rendered to research is twofold: it witnesses to the
historicity of the Life even if it does not establish the reputation of
its writer, and it adds one more to our list of Celtic bishops in the
person of Guethnoc, who as Gwethnoc is honoured in Finistère and
elsewhere in Brittany.

At this point it seems convenient to summarise the results of our
survey. It has been maintained that coincidence and resemblance have
been invested with an importance disproportionate to their real value,
that where coincidence has been claimed for the purpose of discrediting
traditional doctrine it has often proved as illusory as the rainbow,
that resemblance unsupported by other evidence has proved to be
imaginary or superficial, that in the case of the Cornish saints, whose
names have been supposed to resemble place-names, there is nothing to
warrant the suspicion that they are eponymous, that the Lives of the
Saints as they have come down to us must be estimated in the light of
the mentality of the writers and readers of them, that, however ornate
or barbaric they may be considered to be, when they record ordinary
events the statements are worthy of investigation and often of
historical value, and that a comparatively modern life of a saint may
afford evidence of the substantial accuracy of the facts which it

It may not unreasonably be asked what then is the attitude to be
observed towards those students of comparative mythology who endeavour
to find a common origin for all religions by studying religious
phenomena? There is no reason why it should not be friendly or even
helpful. But, whatever may be the final verdict of that study, its
present value will be generally determined by psychology rather than by
logic. The man who starts with a theory, whether in favour of a common
origin of religious belief or with one opposed to a common origin, will
probably find enough evidence to confirm his theory. Darwins are not
born every day; yet there is no hope which is more widely shared or more
secretly cherished by those who give themselves to mythological research
than the hope that they are at least potential Darwins. The desire to be
scientific, that is, to reduce to system an array of facts, vastly
preponderates over the desire to ascertain the accuracy of certain
alleged facts and their relation to other facts of a similar nature. It
is possible to accept the statement that worship originated in
sacrifice, in the attempt to propitiate an offended deity, and to deduce
conclusions diametrically opposed to each other. To the Catholic
Christian it will perhaps be a substantial aid to faith, to the
Protestant an encouragement to discard the errors of paganism, to the
unbeliever a confirmation of unbelief. The subject—only as yet in its
infancy—can hardly be ignored. At the same time its ramifications cover
so much ground that comparatively few can be expected to acquire
sufficient knowledge to be in a position to judge of its conclusions.
Archæology, philology, ethnology, ancient philosophy, theology and
mythology are only some of the departments of a study which aims at
determining the origins of religious belief. Who then is sufficient for
these things? He has yet to be born.

Cornwall, with its large admixture of Celtic blood, until lately
speaking a Celtic language, inheriting a Celtic tradition, for centuries
in close contact with Brittany, might have been expected to furnish
materials enabling the student to differentiate the quality of its
religious belief and practice from that of the Midlands. To accept the
same creed is not necessarily to hold the same belief or to have the
same religious ideal. Each people has doubtless its own instinctive
beliefs which may or may not find a place in the creed which is
professed. If those beliefs do find a place in it they will find
emphasised expression in the popular worship. The appeal of Wesley in
the eighteenth century struck home to the instinctive beliefs of the
Cornish. In spite of the marked progress of Anglicanism during the last
half-century the Cornish are largely Methodists, whose worship is still
conducted in buildings which usually have as little claim to beauty as a
railway station. They have no stereotyped form of service, no liturgy
which lends itself to musical adornment. The hospitals and other
charitable institutions in the county have in many cases been built and
are mainly supported by others. And yet the Cornish possess a keen sense
of beauty. They are musical, refined and generous. In skill and
intelligence they will bear comparison with the rest of the United
Kingdom. They are open-minded, fond of discussion and never tired when
it takes a religious turn. Their nearest kinsmen in blood are the
Bretons, with whom they have much in common, although in the matter of
religious practice they are as far as the poles apart. While the latter
cling with unrivalled devotion to the old religion, the former spend
much time, like the men of Athens, in telling or hearing some new thing.
Methodism on the old lines is moribund in Cornwall; Catholicism on the
old lines is a living and a growing power in Brittany. During the last
quarter of a century a remarkable change has passed over the face of
Cornish nonconformity. Revivals have almost become things of the past.
Conversion, theoretically the starting-point of Methodist religion, is
no longer required to be sudden. The class meeting has lost much of its
attractiveness. There is less reverence for the Holy Scriptures. Many of
the old doctrines are being recast. Methodism is in a state of
transition. The drift is towards rationalism, but the end is not yet in
sight. Under these circumstances it is not easy to form a right judgment
or to forecast the future of Cornish Methodism, but to one who has spent
twenty-five years in its midst and who knows how deeply and
instinctively religious is the character of the people it would seem
that at a no distant date there will be a _volte-face_, in other words,
that the essentially religious instinct will reassert itself. Two
alternatives may supervene. There may be a return to the Catholic faith,
Anglican or Roman, of which there are already signs or there may be
recourse to Christian Science, Spiritualism or some occult system which
attracts by its novelty and promises to satisfy religious craving.
Rationalism, which may suit the Teutonic race and be a substitute for
religion, is impossible to the emotional God-fearing temper of the Celt.


Footnote 80:

  _Romans de la Table ronde_, p. 90.

Footnote 81:

  To quote M. Loth, whose gentle irony would be spoiled by translation,
  in his answer to M. Fawtier’s criticism: “Il (M. Fawtier) a été
  évidemment, d’avance, fâcheusement impressionné par le fait même
  d’avoir affaire à un _hagiographe et ce qui plus est_, comme il
  l’avoue sans détour _à un hagiographe breton_. Si nos hagiographes
  méritent une place d’honneur dans le martyrologe de la critique, c’est
  peut-être bien que nos vies de saints sont d’une assez basse époque:
  la vie de Samson mise à part, les deux plus anciennes ont été rédigées
  vers la fin du ix^e siècle.”

Footnote 82:

  J. Loth, _Revue Celtique_, xxii, p. 96.

Footnote 83:

  The text has been edited by M. Fawtier and published by MM. Champion
  (Paris). The reader should consult also the more critical notes on _S.
  Samson de Dol_, by Prof. Loth (Champion, Paris) and if possible a very
  illuminating little treatise, _La vie de S. Samson_, by M. L’Abbé

Footnote 84:

  Loth, _Saint Samson de Dol_, p. 26.

Footnote 85:

  See the previous footnote.



                        ANCIENT RELIGIOUS HOUSES

A brief survey of the monastic and quasi-monastic foundations is
required in order to determine if possible which of them, if any, were
originally Celtic in character. It will suffice to take the
_Monasticon_, as edited by Dr. Oliver, and to examine the charters and
notes respecting the several houses and to check them by means of such
other records as are available. Neither Sir William Dugdale nor Dr.
Oliver distinguished between institutions which were Celtic and
institutions which were the common heritage of Western Christianity.

If a monastery existed before the Norman Conquest their main purpose was
to trace it back, if possible, beyond that date, and, having done this,
to record its fortunes as it fared forth through the centuries which
followed. This purpose they achieved by printing in chronological order
all its charters, whether preserved as chirographs or as inspeximi[86]
derived from Charter and Patent Rolls. The following list comprises all
the Cornish religious foundations given in the _Monasticon_:

    St. Petrock’s (Bodmin) Priory.
    St. German’s Priory.
    St. Michael’s (Mount) Priory.
    St. Stephen’s (Launceston) Priory.
    St. Buryan Collegiate Church.
    St. Crantock Collegiate Church.
    St. Cyricus, or St. Cyriacus, Priory.
    St. Probus Prebendal Church.
    St. Keverne Collegiate Church.
    St. Piran Collegiate Church.
    Minster or Talkarn Priory.
    Scilly Priory.
    Tregony Priory.
    Tywardreath Priory.
    St. Anthony, Cell of Plympton.
    St. Michael of Lammana Cell.
    Truro Convent.
    Endellion Collegiate Church.
    Glasney Collegiate Church.
    St. Michael’s (Penkevil) Collegiate Church.
    St. Teath Collegiate Church.
    Helston Hospital of St. John the Baptist.
    Liskeard Lazar-house.

Of the twenty-three religious houses enumerated the first nine are
mentioned in Domesday Book, which also mentions the priests of St. Neot,
the lands of St. Constantine and of St. Goran and the honour of St. Che
(_Honor St. Chei_). There are also a few churches which call for
examination like those of St. Kew, Mawnan and Manaccan whose religious
character is omitted in both. Languihenoc and Gerrans have been already
considered. It is obvious that to give a full and complete review of all
of them would require not a chapter but a volume.

Before attempting to deal with the subject, within even the narrowest
possible limits, we may profitably ask ourselves what courses were open
to the members of monastic communities, which had been in the ascendant
until the Saxon Conquest of Cornwall, in order that they might come into
line with the new ecclesiastical régime? Three courses presented
themselves. The first was to allow themselves to be disbanded as the
regular clergy were compelled to be at the time of Henry’s reformation;
the second was to conform to the rules of one or other of the recognised
western orders and to become affiliated to it; the third was to
transform their convents of regular clergy into colleges or collegiate
churches of secular clergy. No doubt there was a strong conservative
party who resisted all change, otherwise it would be difficult to
understand the spoliation of which there are traces during the Saxon
period and of which after the Norman Conquest there is abundant proof in
Domesday Book. Of the three courses which have been suggested the third
seems to have been favoured under the Saxons and the second under the

Taking the nine monastic bodies which stand at the head of the foregoing
list in order, it will suffice to say that after serving as the seat of
an abbot-bishop the monastery of St. Petrock probably became collegiate
and parochial. In Domesday Book it is always referred to as St. Petrock
or the Church of St. Petrock. The date of its reconstruction as a
monastery is obscure. There does not appear to be any evidence to show
to which of the religious orders it belonged until the _Ordinatio_ of
the Priory by Bishop Grandisson in 1347, in which it is ordained that
the prior and convent shall celebrate the Divine Office and observe
vigil, fast, silence and prayer according to the rule of Blessed
Augustine. Long before that date it had therefore doubtless become a
convent of the Black Canons. Sir John Maclean expressly states, though
on what authority I have not been able to discover, that it was Bishop
William Warelwast (1107-1136) who settled therein regular canons of St.
Augustine. In the _Taxatio_ of the vicarage, by Bishop Bronescombe in
1269, the vicar was assigned, as a part of his emolument, the victuals
(_liberacionem_) of one canon.

The monastery of St. Germans was served by secular canons before the
Norman Conquest. Bishop Leofric (1046-1073) removed them and introduced
canons regular. In 1270 Bishop Bronescombe ordered the excommunication
of certain persons concerning whom he vouchsafes no particulars save
that they were _Sathane satellites, proprie salutis immemores_ and that
they had expelled those whom he had sent to take charge of the priory
during the vacancy caused by the death of Richard the late prior. His
letter is valuable because it affords evidence that the bishop of Exeter
claimed absolute power over the priory and its possessions so long as
there was no prior appointed, and apparently the right of confirming the
prior’s appointment.

Of St. Michael’s Mount some particulars will be found in Chapter X.

The church of St. Stephen by Launceston was like that of St. German
served by secular canons at the time of the Domesday Survey. By Bishop
William Warelwast (1107-1138) to whom Ralph the dean of St. Stephens had
surrendered the deanery it was made an Augustinian priory and so
remained until the dissolution of the religious houses by Henry VIII.
Harassed and despoiled by Robert Count of Mortain in the years which
followed the Norman Conquest, under the fostering care of Reginald Earl
of Cornwall (1140-1175) and Richard King of the Romans (1225-1272), it
soon became the wealthiest of the religious houses in Cornwall. The
relations between the parochial church of St. Stephen and the priory are
somewhat obscure. The church was taxed independently of the priory in
1291, but in the _Inquisitio nonarum_ of 1346 the church was assessed at
£10, of which 40s. was chargeable to the prior.

The collegiate church of St. Buryan is undoubtedly an early instance of
the conversion of a Celtic monastery to a recognised English type. King
Athelstan by charter gave a small piece of his land in a place which is
called the church of St. Berrian ... to be free of all taxation unless
the clerks who had promised him their prayers, viz. 100 masses, 100
psalters and daily supplications failed, to perform their task. The
place which is called the church of St. Berrian was evidently
Eglosberria or Eglosveryan, of which we have already spoken. In later
times it was advantageous to the dean and his fellows to cite Athelstan
as their founder and their church as a royal chapel. All that the Saxon
King did for them was probably to guarantee to them security of tenure
for the lands which they already held and freedom from payment of geld.

The Canons of St. Crantock who held the manor of Langorock at the time
of the Survey (1086) also survived the various changes made in the
constitution of their community until their dissolution in 1536. Robert,
Count of Mortain, had already seized their lands when the Survey was
made. His son, Count William, founded the Cluniac house at Montacute in
Somerset, and to it he is said to have given the church of St. Crantock.
It is certain that in 1236 the prior of Montacute transferred the church
and its possessions to William Briwer, bishop of Exeter. The bishop
thenceforth became patron of the deanery and prebends. In 1291 there
were on the foundation a dean and nine prebendaries. St. Crantock had
become a typical collegiate church. The several stages through which it
passed leave no doubt that as Langorock it had established its claim to
considerate treatment by Saxon and Norman alike.

Of St. Keverne we learn from Domesday Book that the canons of St.
Achebran had one manor which was called Lannachebran, which the same
saint had held in the Confessor’s time. There is, however, evidence of
its quasi-prebendal character more than a century before the Survey was
made.[87] By Richard, Earl of Cornwall and King of the Romans, the
church was given to the abbot and convent of Beaulieu for the good of
his own soul and that of King John his father.[88] The vicarage was
taxed by Bishop Bronescombe, in 1260, very unfavourably to the vicar,
there being assigned to the abbot and convent of Beaulieu more than
five-sixths of the income. Leland, writing about the year 1530, states
that near “The Paroch church of S. Keveryn otherwise Piranus,” there is
a sanctuary with ten or twelve dwelling houses and hard by “there was a
sel of monkes but now gonn home to ther Hed Hows.” These monks were
doubtless Cistercians from Beaulieu who, for some reason or another, had
been temporarily resident in the parish. The appropriation of the church
by Earl Richard, and its taxation by Bishop Bronescombe, had left it a
rather poorly endowed vicarage, of which the patronage and greater
tithes belonged to Beaulieu. That Lannachebran was originally Celtic and
monastic does not admit of doubt.

The account supplied by Domesday Book respecting St. Pieran
(Perranzabuloe) is very illuminating. “The Canons of St. Pieran,” so the
statement runs, “have a manor called Lanpiran, which in the time of King
Edward they held freely.... From this manor have been taken away two
manors which in the time of King Edward rendered to the Canons of St.
Pieran four weeks’ farm (_firmam iii septimanarum_). Of these manors
Berner holds one of the Count. And from the other hide which Odo holds
of St. Pieran the Count has taken away all the stock (_pecuniam_). These
two manors rendered to the Dean by way of custom 20s. in addition to the
said farm (_firmam_).” The first of these two manors was that of
Tregebri, which elsewhere in Domesday Book is described as being “of the
honour[89] of St. Perann.” The Count of Mortain took from both all that
had formerly belonged to the saint. Dean and canons were swept away at
an early date and the church given by Henry I to the dean and chapter of
Exeter. When the vicarage was taxed in 1269, to the vicar was assigned
the altarage of the mother church of St. Piran and of the chapel,
together with all the offerings derived from the exposition of the
relics, the vicar rendering a yearly tribute of six marks to the dean
and chapter. The relics referred to were those of St. Piran the founder
of the church, concerning which some interesting particulars are
supplied in an inventory of the year 1281. Among other treasures mention
is made of a reliquary in which is kept the head of St. Pyeran, with the
rest of the relics secured with iron and a lock, a hearse in which the
body of Pyeran is placed for processions, a tooth of St. Brendan and a
tooth of St. Martin within a silver box, also a pastoral staff of St.
Pyeran adorned with silver and gold and precious stones. Two centuries
later when making St. Agnes parochial, the bishop ordained that if the
parishioners of St. Pyran should bring the saint’s relics to St. Agnes
in procession as formerly, on Rogation Tuesday, they should receive
honourable welcome and the oblations presented in the chapel of St.
Agnes according to custom.

There has been much doubt concerning the identity of St. Piran. From the
inventory of 1281 it would seem that at that time he was identified with
St. Kieran of Saighir in Ireland, otherwise it would be difficult to
account for the presence at Perranzabuloe of relics of St. Brendan, the
friend to whom the saint sent a supply of milk in the form of a milch
cow, and of those of St. Martin the founder of churches in Ossory, St.
Kieran’s native county, a person so highly esteemed by the saint that he
extracted a promise from him that when they died they should be buried
in the same grave. It is certain that in the thirteenth century, and a
fortiori in the eleventh century, the foundation of St. Piran was
regarded as Celtic and that the church claimed to have in its custody
the crozier of its episcopal founder.

“The canons of St. Probus have one manor which is called Lanbrabois
(Lamprobus. _Exch. D._) which King Edward held at the time of his
death.” Such is the testimony of Domesday Book. The name of the manor
suggests a monastic origin, but nothing whatever appears to be known of
the saint or of the founder of the prebendal church. Had St. Edward been
the founder it is probable that some use would have been made of the
circumstance by succeeding generations. King John confirmed the grants
of the church made by his ancestor (_avi_) Henry I and by his father
Henry II to the bishop and cathedral church of Exeter.[90] By Bishop
Briwer it was appropriated to the office of treasurer of the cathedral,
together with the patronage of the five prebends, but the patronage was
subsequently transferred to Bishop Bronescombe and exercised by him and
his successors until the suppression of the prebends by Edward VI.

Having briefly considered the religious houses—using that term in its
widest sense—concerning which mention is made in Domesday Book, it is
worth while to pass on to those whose endowments either excited not the
rapacity of the Norman, or were too slender to find a place in the Great
Survey, and to those which were evidently founded after the Norman
Conquest. Taking them in the order already indicated, we have the five
establishments dignified by the name of priories.

The priory of St. Cyricus or St. Cyriacus in the parish of St. Veep is
stated by Lysons to have been founded by William Count of Mortain, but
no authority is quoted for the statement. In 1236 Bishop Briwer wishing
to relieve the church of St. Nonn (probably the neighbouring church of
Pelynt) from a yearly charge of six marks, four shillings and three
pence heretofore payable to the little cell (_cellula_) of St. Cyricus,
granted to the latter out of the revenues of his see a yearly payment of
five marks. The cell was affiliated to the Cluniac priory of Montacute
in the county of Somerset and was for a long time in the patronage of
the family of that name. It is futile to speculate respecting its
origin, and it is not safe to say that it was of Saxon or Norman origin,
for St. Carreuc is found in three Breton parishes.[91]

The priory of Minster or Talkarn described as the church of St. Merthian
of Laminster was, somewhere about the year 1130, given by William, son
of Nicholas (Botreaux), to the monks of the Benedictine abbey of St.
Sergius at Angers. Here again we have monastic associations suggested by
the locality of the priory. Laminster was apparently already a
place-name when the gift was made little more than half a century after
the Norman Conquest. The priory, by reason of its connection with the
French abbey, was suppressed during the fourteenth century.

The priory or cell of St. Nicholas, situated on the island of Tresco,
Scilly, was probably Celtic in origin. The Charter of Henry I granting
to the abbot and church of Tavistock and to its monk Turold, the
churches and land in Scilly uses the following words to limit and
describe the tenure of the land—it is to be held “just as the monks or
rather hermits (_monachi aut heremite melius_) held it in the time of
King Edward of Burgald bishop of Cornwall.”

Tavistock was a Benedictine abbey founded in the latter half of the
tenth century. The rule of St. Benedict was broad and elastic, and
monasteries could and did embrace it without parting entirely with their
traditions.[92] It was, in fact, the only rule recognised in England
during the whole of the Saxon period. Admitting all this the phrase
“monks or rather hermits,” is so studiously vague as to imply a doubt as
to whether the brothers had in the Confessor’s day submitted to any
recognised rule whatever. It is certain that while bringing them into a
closer relationship with Tavistock the King intended to enforce a
stricter discipline, otherwise his further provision that they should,
like “the King’s own prebendaries” have his peace and protection, would
have been unnecessary. The King does not confirm any supposed charter of
Athelstan or of Edward, but gives the religious community at Scilly to
the abbey at Tavistock, and, apart from the reference to the latter
King, there is nothing to lead us to regard the monks as Benedictine or
as affiliated to the abbey until Henry’s charter was granted. As a cell
of Tavistock, the Scilly monastery appears to have existed until the
suppression of the mother house, but little is known of it subsequent to
the middle of the fifteenth century.

Tregony Priory. At an early date the churches of St. James, Tregony, and
of St. Cuby, appear to have accepted the rule of St. Augustine and to
have been constituted a cell of the abbey of de Valle in Normandy. When
and by whom this appropriation was made is unknown, but it is certain
that it was made after the Norman Conquest. In the year 1278 Bishop
Bronescombe gave his sanction to the transfer of the priory of Tregony
to the priory of Merton in the county of Surrey. This was in furtherance
of an arrangement between the prior of Merton and the abbot of de Valle,
whereby the possessions of the former in the diocese of Bayeux were
exchanged for those of the latter in England. Bishop Quivel confirmed
the sanction of his predecessor in 1282, and until the dissolution of
the religious houses the cell, which had become a vicarage, belonged to
the monastery of Merton.

Of Tywardreath Priory little need be said here. At the time of the
Domesday Survey, Tywardreath was one of the thirty manors in Cornwall
which had been given by the Conqueror to Richard Fitz Turold. By Richard
the priory was founded and affiliated to the great Benedictine abbey of
SS. Sergius and Bacchus at Angers. The list of charters recording
successive endowments is exceptionally complete, and for genealogical
purposes the charters are of very great value, but they afford no
suggestion of a pre-Norman foundation.

The cell of St. Anthony in Roseland represented a survival of an order
of things of which we have little recorded evidence. In the thirteenth
century it derived its main support from the church of St. Gerrans. In
the _Taxatio_ of Pope Nicholas IV the prior of St. Anthony is assessed
at the same amount for his portion in the church of St. Gerrans as the
rector himself. A little more than a century later, in the _Inquisitio
nonarum_, St. Anthony is described as a chapel (_capella_) of St.
Gerrans. Such information as we have points to a quasi-monastic
establishment of St. Gerrans, followed by a parish church at Gerrans and
a small monastery at St. Anthony. The latter was made, at an early date,
dependent on the Augustinian priory of Plympton, and in the earlier half
of the sixteenth century consisted of two canons.

The Cell of St. Michael of Lammana, situated in the parish of Talland
opposite Looe Island, which formed a portion of its possessions, was
given by John de Solenny in the twelfth century to the Benedictine abbey
of Glastonbury. Richard, Earl of Cornwall, granted to the abbot a
licence to farm out its revenues, and this probably accounts for the
scant information supplied by the public records respecting the cell.
The name Lammana points to Celtic monasticism.

The Convent of the Preaching Friars at Truro throws no light upon the
subject before us. The friars first came to England in the year 1221. It
is a striking proof of the rapidity with which the order spread that
Bishop Bronescombe should have dedicated their church at Truro in 1259.

The origin of the Collegiate Church of Endellion is obscure. In 1273 the
rectory belonged to the prior and convent of Bodmin; in 1342 Bodmin or
King’s prebend belonged to the same; in 1265 Marny’s prebend belonged to
the family of Bodrugan, and in 1266 Trehaverock prebend belonged to the
family of Modret. The parish of Endellion was not in St. Petrock’s
hundred of Pawton, nor do any of its three Domesday manors appear to
have belonged to the saint. It would therefore seem as if the advowson
or a moiety of it had been given to the priory after its reconstitution
on English lines. In any case it would be rash to claim a pre-Norman
origin for Endellion Collegiate Church.

The similar establishment at Glasney, near Penryn, owed its foundation
to Bishop Bronescombe, who in 1267 consecrated the church of St. Thomas
the Martyr and its churchyard. Glasney was an entirely new college, not
the rehabilitation of an earlier institution, and on that account it
does not enter into the present enquiry.[93]

The church of St. Michael Penkevil was made collegiate in 1319, as the
result of the benefaction of Sir John de Trejagu. It was to be
administered by an archpriest and three fellows who were to live under
the same roof and to dine at the same table. It had no early monastic

The date of the erection of St. Teath into a Collegiate Church is more
obscure. Between the years 1258 and 1264 Bishop Bronescombe founded two
prebends in St. Teath church, and, inasmuch as the number of prebends
does not appear ever to have exceeded two, it is probable that the
church owed its prebendal character solely to the bishop.

The Hospital of St. John the Baptist at Helston and the Lazar house at
Liskeard, being comparatively modern foundations, need not be examined.

Reference has been made to three churches or religious houses—it is not
clear which is the appropriate term—which are mentioned in Domesday
Book, but which are omitted in the _Monasticon_.

In the former document it is stated that St. Constantine has half a hide
of land which in the time of King Edward was free of all service, but
since the Count of Mortain received the land it has always rendered geld
unjustly like villeins’ land. This land, known as the manor of Tucoyes,
was bestowed upon Wihumar and henceforth lost to the Church. The
exemption from geld implies a monastic foundation, but no other trace of
monastic origin has been found in connection with the church of St.

Of St. Neot it is stated that the saint held a manor called Neotstou,
consisting of two hides of land in the time of the Confessor, Godric
being the priest in charge, and that the Count of Mortain has despoiled
the priests of all their land save one (Cornish) acre. It is also stated
that the two hides of land have never rendered geld. Monastic the church
of St. Neot undoubtedly was, but in this case we have trustworthy
historical evidence to prove that it was not Celtic but Saxon. St. Neot
had himself founded the house in Saxonised territory. No trace of its
original character is to be found in later documents. It would therefore
seem that it had already become (in 1086) purely parochial.

The honour of St. Cheus or Che, of which the manor of Tremaruustel was a
member at the time of the Domesday Survey, has hitherto resisted all
attempts at identification. It probably represents a moribund and
extinct monastic holding of considerable extent.

The Domesday manor of St. Mawnan (wrongly written Maiuian or Mawan in
both copies) had fallen into the King’s hand before the Conquest. But
the church of St. Mawnan is referred to in many subsequent translations
under the name of Minster, which suggests a monastic origin.

Manaccan, the monks’ church, calls for no comment.

A very interesting and convincing example of the conversion of a purely
Celtic monastic house to English uses is supplied by St. Kew. On
linguistic grounds alone Professor Loth arrived at the conclusion that
Docco, the monastery where St. Sampson made the acquaintance of St.
Winniau, was St. Kew. An examination of the various forms under which
the church is described in the Episcopal Registers revealed the forms
Landoho, Lanho and Lanow. A Patent Roll of 1307 furnished the following
statements, viz. that King Edgar (958-975) gave to the canons of
Plympton two carucates of land, 100s. of rent in Landoho and the church
there for the support of two canons celebrating divine service there and
dispensing alms and hospitality to the poor, to pilgrims and other
guests, that in a case tried before John de Berewyk and other justices
(circa 1300) it was shown that the prior and convent of Plympton had
failed to fulfil the above conditions and that, taking into account all
the circumstances, the King now (1307) grants to the prior and convent
the right to substitute a secular vicar and chaplain for the two canons
at Landoho.

An examination of the Plympton charters showed that Henry I gave the
church of Tohou to William Warelwast, bishop of Exeter, and that he gave
the church to the priory of canons regular which he founded at Plympton
in the year 1121. No one can doubt that Tohou and Docco are variants of
the same word, which is found in Brittany as Tohou and Ohou. It is not
difficult to follow the various acts of spoliation. King Edgar evidently
reduced the patrimony of the Celtic monastery to the amount specified
above while retaining the manor of Landoho, which until the Norman
Conquest embraced the manors of Poundstock and St. Gennys. The three
manors passed as an undivided whole to Earl Harold as demesne lands. By
the Conqueror they were given to the Count of Mortain. Henry I claimed
the remaining revenue of the monks and gave it to the bishop who
transferred it to Plympton priory. Edgar’s gift to Plympton was a legal
fiction which enabled the priory to evade responsibilities which were
implied in the charter of Henry I and explicitly stated in that of Henry
II when canons regular were substituted for secular canons.[94]

In brief, St. Kew was the site of an important Celtic monastery which,
visited by St. Sampson in the days of St. Winniau, despoiled by King
Edgar and stripped bare by Henry I, nevertheless retained some semblance
of its ancient glory until the latter half of the thirteenth century.

As the result of the above examination it will be observed that of the
twenty-six religious houses about one-half afford evidence of Celtic
origin. In some cases the evidence is convincing; in some it is of
itself insufficient to convince. Taken as a whole, it adds considerably
to the weight of the argument which is here advanced, namely, that in
Cornwall the Celtic form of Christianity had not wholly disappeared at
the time of the Norman Conquest. Of its secure and comprehensive hold
upon the religious life of the whole county at an earlier period there
is abundant proof in the names of the parishes. Excluding those which
have been considered, fifteen bear the prefix _Lan_, the mark of
monastic settlement. Others, like St. Erth (Lanudno), St. Madron
(Landithy), St. Just-in-Penwith (Lafrowda), Kea (Landegy), Gulval
(Lanisley), Lelant (Lananta), Lezant (Lansant), retained the prefix for
a time, in an _alias_, which in some cases suggests an earlier
dedication; or, as in the case of Lanherne, Langunnet, Lanyhorne and
Lanhadron still retain it in the name of the manor to which the advowson
of the church was appendant; while a very large number bear, without
prefix or affix, the names of Celtic saints, many of them unknown to the
outside world. From one end of the county to the other the impress of
Celtic Christianity can be clearly traced. It is monastic in character.
But it is not a monasticism which has intruded within the confines of
parishes already formed, but a monasticism which has occupied the whole
territory from the very first. This it is which, in the tenth and
eleventh centuries, either finds itself gradually superseded by the
newer parochialism, or which ensures, in some sort, its survival in
collegiate bodies or in recognised monastic orders by submitting to new
conditions and new ideas.


Footnote 86:

  Inspeximi is a convenient plural of the word _inspeximus_ (we have
  inspected). Royal grants of liberties and privileges are frequently
  based upon earlier grants which the Royal grantor declares he has
  _inspected_. The charters of these earlier grants in many instances no
  longer exist.

Footnote 87:

  _Jour. Arch. Assocn._, XXXIX, 282.

Footnote 88:

  Pat. Roll, 18 Edw. III, 1345.

Footnote 89:

  Another honour is mentioned in the same record, viz. that of St.
  Cheus, which awaits identification. The Exeter book reads correctly
  that Tremar uustel is _de honore S. Chei_, whereas the Exchequer
  version has belongs _ad honore S. Chei_. This led General James to
  translate the words “belongs to the honours of Chei”: _honore_ is
  probably an abbreviation for _honorem_ and the full stop after the _S_
  a contraction of _Sancti_.

Footnote 90:

  _Monasticon_, p. 72.

Footnote 91:

  Loth, _Les Noms des Saints bretons_, p. 19.

Footnote 92:

  Gasquet, _English Monastic Life_, p. 214.

Footnote 93:

  Mr. Thurstan C. Peter has written an interesting and reliable account
  of _Glasney Collegiate Church_ (Camborne, 1903).

Footnote 94:

  _Monasticon_, p. 135.



                            CORNISH HERMITS

The subject of English hermits and anchorites has been so exhaustively
dealt with by Miss Rotha M. Clay[95] that a writer may well hesitate
before he ventures to enter upon a small portion of the ground which she
has covered. Miss Clay has performed her task with great judgment,
learning and literary skill and with consummate diligence. So
conscientiously and so impartially has she performed her task that the
reader will seek in vain to discover whether she is in full sympathy
with the hermit’s vocation or the reverse. Her book will be read with
pleasure and with profit by all.

The present writer wishes to acknowledge his obligations to Miss Clay,
whose researches have both confirmed and supplemented conclusions
already formed. The titles of the several chapters of her book are
illuminating and suggestive, and the contents abundantly justify the
distinction she has made between one type and another. We find ourselves
introduced in succession to hermits of island and fen, forest and
hillside, cave, lighthouse, highway and bridge, town, church and

Unless the student keeps in mind the fact that the eremitical impulse
fulfilled itself in varied activities he will fail to understand its
true nature and purpose. Here was no lawless spirit, disdaining the
restraints of an ordered life, but “the fiery glow that whirls the
spirit from itself away” to make it the ready instrument in God’s hands
for works of mercy, charity, counsel and service while seeking by
prayer, meditation, vigil and fasting to attain unto perfection.

Again, while it is allowable to assume that the hermit who dwelt apart
and in solitude was the precursor of the conventual body—the word monk
implies as much—it nevertheless seems certain that, at the time when he
first emerges into the clear light of Celtic history he is not, as
popular fancy has imagined, a distraught enthusiast seeking refuge and
rest from an evil and adulterous generation, but a tried soldier who has
learnt in the convent by precept and by practice the art of war, and who
goes forth in all the panoply of celestial might to fight singly and
alone the enemies of his soul and to bring deliverance to others. No
sooner has he achieved his own salvation than he sets about the
salvation of his fellow-men. He has little in common with the
self-regarding Christian of the _Pilgrim’s Progress_. He is eager to be
of use. He becomes a minister to the dwellers amid untrodden ways and in
remote corners, it may be as a waywarden, a bridge repairer, or a light
keeper, but in any case as the guide, the counsellor, the friend of all.
Inevitably his sphere of influence widens out. Soon he has become
equally necessary to the pilgrim, the traveller and to those who are
round about him. As time goes on his cell and the little sanctuary where
he and they have met for worship become hallowed by association, and,
when he dies, a successor must be sought to carry on the tradition. The
hermitage thus remains as a memorial of its founder long after his name
has been forgotten.

Or, it may be, the hermit is joined by others like-minded and founds a
religious community, a _lan_ whose growth and permanence are promoted by
the industry and self-denial of its members. This would seem to have
been the normal course of events in Cornwall. In this case the
individual founder is often content to leave his work to be carried on
by others during his lifetime. He may be a bishop, priest, deacon or
layman who determines to undergo the hardships of the wilderness for a
season, but who has no intention of devoting his whole life to solitude.
Diversities of gifts under the spell of a common impulse give rise to
diversities of ministration and of operation.

Of the hermits of the Celtic period in Cornwall we have very little
historical evidence. Presumptive evidence we have which, if it told
against the traditional interpretation of early Christianity, would
doubtless be held to possess great value. For example, we have, in the
lives of the saints, references to ecclesiastical types and economic
conditions which had been obsolete for centuries when some of those
lives are held to have assumed their present literary form.

We have holy wells bearing the names of saints which are not the names
of the patron saints of the parishes in which the wells are situated. We
have legends which, for the purpose of comparative mythology, are highly
esteemed. There are, for example, holy wells at St. Ingunger, Chapel Uny
(St. Uny’s) and Jetwells, but these are not the patrons of the parishes,
though they are all three well-known Celtic saints. On the other hand,
there are wells bearing the names of St. Levan, St. Madron, St. Clether,
St. Keyne and St. Just (Venton—east) situated in the parishes which do
bear their names. If the ancient Cornish churches derived their names
from their founders or founders’ kin it seems probable that the holy
wells acquired their names from association with the saints whose names
they bear.

There would be the same inducement for a hermit to fix his abode near a
spring of water as there is for an Australian squatter to choose a
similar spot for the headquarters of his sheep or cattle station. So
late as A.D. 1086, when Domesday Book was compiled, the county of
Cornwall was very sparsely populated. In the place-names may be
recognised traces of a fauna long extinct but nevertheless extant in
Celtic times.[96] It is necessary to bear in mind the transformation of
the county, which during the last thirteen centuries has resulted from
increased settlement and the more extensive cultivation of land, in
order to be in a position to estimate the value of the evidence supplied
by the hagiographer.

Early in the sixth century St. Petrock succeeded St. Guron at Bodmin;
such is the tradition. Leland (circa 1540) thus records the event,[97]
_Bosmana, id est, mansio monachorum in valle, ubi St. Guronus solitarie
degens in parvo tugurio, quod reliquen(s) tradidit St. Petroco_. Guron
was doubtless a hermit. Petrock enlarged the hermitage, which was
situated in the valley where the town now stands and near the well which
still bears the hermit’s name, so as to make it capable of sheltering
himself and three brethren. Guron is probably the same as Goran, the
name-saint of the parish in the ancient deanery of Powder. Traces of the
name are to be found in Brittany.[98]

William of Worcester (1478) introduces us to three Cornish hermits,
Vylloc or Willow, Mybbard and Mancus. They were companions.

The first is described as a hermit and martyr born in Ireland and
beheaded by Melyn’s kinsfolk (_Melyn ys kynrede_) near the place (in
Lanteglos-by-Fowey) where Walter, bishop of Norwich, was born.

From this place to the bridge of St. Willow, a distance of half a mile,
he carried his (head) to a spot where the said church was built in his
honour.[99] Mybbard, otherwise Calrogus, is stated to have been a
hermit, the son of a King of Ireland, and his body is said to rest
within the shrine (_scrinio_) of Cardynham Church. Mancus, their
companion and a hermit, is said, on the authority of Robert Bracey, to
lie in the church of Lanreath, within two miles of Fowey, and, on the
authority of the canons of Launceston, in the parish of Lanteglos
presumably at Bodinnick. All three are said to be commemorated on the
same day, viz. the Thursday next before Whitsunday. William of
Worcester’s account of the three hermits is prefaced by the sentence
“there were three brothers under the name of St. Genesius and each
carried his head, one of them archbishop of Lismore.” Is it possible
that St. Gennys may be a corruption of a Latinised Greek word συγγενεις
(kinsmen)? It is curious, in any case, that the feast of Cardynham and
St. Gennys should be held on Whitsunday, that of Lanteglos having been
abandoned and that of Lanreath, whose patron is now given as Marnarch,
being kept on the third of August. Anciently there was a chapel at
Bodinnick bearing the name of St. John the Baptist. St. Willow is
regarded as the patron of Lanteglos and Mybbard as the patron of
Cardynham. When all due allowance has been made for accretions and
errors in transmission it seems impossible to doubt that three Irish
hermits were martyred at or near Lanteglos and commemorated by churches
built in their honour.

St. Neot represents a prevalent type of religious which, from the first
days of British Christianity until the eleventh century, combined the
habits and aspirations of the hermit with the practical usefulness of
the missionary. Neot was born in the earlier years of the ninth century
of parents who were nearly related in blood to the West-Saxon Kings.
Forsaking a military career for which he had been intended, he entered
the monastery of Glastonbury, where he received Holy Orders and became
eminent for piety, learning, wisdom and counsel. The fear of popular
applause drove him forth into the wilderness. He fixed his abode in the
Cornish parish which now bears his name, near to a hamlet then known as
Hamstoke and therefore apparently already a Saxon settlement. Here he
lived seven years. At the end of that time he visited Rome and was
advised by the Holy Father to renounce his habit of solitary devotion to
return home and scatter the word of God among the people of Cornwall.

He came back to Hamstoke and founded there the college of priests of
which mention is made in Domesday Book. At Hamstoke he was visited more
than once by his kinsman Alfred the Great, who hunted in the
neighbourhood and who is said to have been healed at the shrine of St.
Guerir of a malady which had afflicted him from boyhood.

St. Neot’s hermitage was near the spring which is about half a mile west
of the church and is known as St. Neot’s well. In his day there appear
to have been two pools, one of them with an unique unfailing supply of
three fishes, of which one only was to be caught in a day, and the
other, a pool in which the saint was wont to stand daily while repeating
the Psalter. Many stories are told of the saint’s sojourn by the well.
The fox which stole his shoe, the rescue of the doe from the hounds, the
theft of his working bullocks and the employment of stags for the
ploughing of his land are sufficiently well known.

By the advice of St. Neot King Alfred is said to have restored the
English school at Rome. The saint continued to be abbot of his own
foundation until his death, which took place on the 31st of July, 877.
He was buried in the church which he had built on the site of the chapel
of St. Guerir. About a century later his bones were fraudulently removed
to the monastery of Eynesbury in Huntingdonshire.

There are several points of interest. There does not appear to have been
any marked difference between St. Neot’s eremitical career and that of
others of Cornish origin. This may be owing to the late composition of
the lives of many of the saints. The substitution of St. Neot for St.
Guerir as the name-saint of the church has many precedents and would
call for no remark here did it not afford a good example of what was
also in Cornwall a fairly general practice, of which the proofs are not
abundant—that of calling churches after the names of their

At this point it is convenient to call attention to the story of
_Tristan and Iseult_, which has been shown to be of Cornish origin and
which assumed literary form probably towards the end of the eleventh
century. Most of the places mentioned in the story are found in Cornwall
and, although the actors in the drama are presumed to have lived some
five centuries before their deeds were committed to writing, there are
nevertheless inferences to be derived from the record of them which have
a direct bearing upon our subject even if we suppose the setting of the
story to have been, at the time, comparatively modern. The following
episode is an example. During the sojourn of Tristan and Iseult in the
forest of Morrois (Moreske), which then extended from the Fal to the
Helford river, they meet with a hermit, Ogrin by name, who does not
hesitate to give them some much-needed advice. He calls them to
repentance and then listens patiently to Tristan’s excuses. It is not
suggested that in admonishing them he is exceeding his duty. He is
described as a hermit with a hermitage in the forest, a personage quite
distinct from the parish priest, whose sphere of influence had already
become a recognised geographical unit, as is shown by the following

                    En Cornoualle n’a parroise
                    Ou la novele n’en angoise
                    Que, qui porroit Tristan trover
                    Qu’il en feïst le cri lever.

Ogrin, as a man of sense, advises the Queen to return home, and himself
undertakes the delicate task of reconciling the lovers to King Mark.

Throughout the narrative he is represented as a man of God. It does not
seem to have occurred to the romancer that there is something slightly
incongruous in selecting a hermit for a shopping expedition to the
market of St. Michael’s Mount, where, for the fair Iseult:

                    Assés achate ver et gris
                    Dras de soie et de porpre bis,
                    Escarlates et blanc chainsil,
                    Asez plus blanc que flor de lil,
                    Et palefroi souef amblant
                    Bien atorné d’or flanboiant.

The hermit, as a man of affairs, may have been familiar to those for
whose ears the romance was intended. It is difficult, otherwise, to
assign a reason why the writer exaggerated his character beyond the
bounds of recognition. The position which the hermit occupied in the
popular estimation, august as it undoubtedly was, was not more exalted
than that which was voluntarily conceded to him by those who were highly
placed. To this fact must doubtless be attributed the more or less
successful attempts to perpetuate the office when its occupant was
removed by death. It is therefore possible that in the hermit of
Colemanshegg, mentioned in a Roll of 1258, we have a reference to one of
Ogrin’s successors.[101] Of this latter personage we know nothing save
that Richard hermit of Colemanshegg received 50s. yearly to find a
chaplain to celebrate divine service for the soul of Catherine the
King’s daughter.

But for this mention of Richard of Colemanshegg the earliest notice of a
Cornish hermit after the Norman Conquest would have been that contained
in the Assize Roll of the 30th year of Edward I (1301-1302) in which it
is recorded that _Thomas de Penmargh noctanter intravit domum Andreae
Paugan heremitae infra capellam Divi Justi et eum occidit. Johannes
filius Andreae heremitae primus invenitor_. The entry is under the
heading of the hundred of Penwith. Penmargh is doubtless Penmarth in
Wendron. Pagan, of which Paugan may be a variant, is not uncommon as a
personal name in early records. We are not told why Thomas of Penmargh
killed Andrew, or how long it was before John discovered the dead body
of his father, but it looks as if Andrew had been seen alive the day
before his death and found dead by his son the day after. Where was the
hermitage? It is described as below the chapel of St. Just, but St. Just
was not a chapel (_capella_). It was a church (_ecclesia_), and the
terms are never used indiscriminately. If it be allowable to render the
passage “below a chapel of St. Just,” that is, below a chapel in the
parish of St. Just, the record is very significant.

For one of the most interesting spots in that parish is Chapel Carn
Brea, upon the summit of which stood until 1816 a chapel of which a
sketch was made by Dr. Borlase, who described it as being approached
from the south side by a large flight of steps and as being twenty feet
in height, and the roof arched with stone well wrought. Hals tells us it
was about ten feet wide and fourteen feet long, with a window in the
east end. Both writers speak of an immense heap of stones lying around
it, suggesting a large vault or hermitage underneath. The chapel was
pulled down in 1816 to build a barn elsewhere. When, in 1879, Mr. W. C.
Borlase made an examination of the confused mass of stones which
remained, and still remain, he failed to discover any trace of a
hermit’s cell, and concluded that the greater portion of the debris had
done service as a covering for the prehistoric chambered grave which was
found at a lower level. While it is not unlikely that the tumulus
suggested, at a very early period, the site for the chapel to the first
Christian solitary who found his way to that remote spot, the amount of
stone there at the present time is too great to warrant the conclusion,
unless the tumulus was of a type and size which has no rival in the

Some building doubtless existed besides the chapel, the size of which
was obviously too small for public worship.

The most striking feature of Chapel Carn Brea is the commanding view
which it affords not only of the Channel but of the whole of Penwith and
of a large portion of the Lizard. No better spot could be chosen for a

Within a couple of hundred yards is the ancient mule track from Marazion
to the Land’s End. After reading Miss Clay’s chapter on hermits as
light-keepers, it seems impossible to doubt that the hermit of Chapel
Carn Brea was one of those who in the day of small things performed that
function, and whose simple signal was to the seafarer no less than to
the traveller over the lonely moor a bright beacon of God. Andrew Paugan
was probably only one of a long line of hermits who dwelt on the hill. A
curious extract is found in Dr. Borlase’s collections which, as one of
the latest specimens of Cornish literature, has a value all its own and,
as the witness of a tradition extant in the latter half of the
seventeenth century, is useful for the present purpose. I am indebted to
Mr. Henry Jenner for a transcript and translation of it.

  “The Accusation of the Hermit (who liv’d in Chapel Karn Bray in
  Buryan) address’d to ye Duchess.

                     Rag an Arlothus woolaes Kernow
                      Dreth ’guz kibmias beniggas.

  Why ra cavas dre eu an gwas Harry ma Poddrack broas.

  Kensa, wit a hagar-awal iggeva gweel do derevoll war ren ny Keniffer
  termen dre ra ny moas durt Pedden an woolaes do Sillan. Nessa, wit
  an skavoll Crack-an-codna iggava setha war en cres a’n awles ewhall
  (cries tutton Harry an Lader) heb drog veeth. Tregga, wit an gurroll
  iggeva gwell gen askern skooth Davas, etc.”

  To the Countess of the Dominion of Cornwall.

        By your sacred leave.

  You shall find by him that this fellow Harry is a great witch.

  First, from the stormy weather he does work to raise upon us every
  time that we do go from the end of the Land to Silly. Second, from
  the break-neck stool which he can (or does) sit upon in the middle
  of the high cliff (call’d The Chair of Harry the Thief), without any
  hurt. Thirdly, from a ship he does make with the bone of a shoulder
  of mutton.

Mr. Jenner is inclined to think that the “seat of Harry the thief”
(Tutton Harry an Lader) refers to a piece of cliff at Tol Pedn Penwith
called “Chair Ladder.” The whole passage as it stands detached from the
context (which has been lost) is little more than so much gibberish.
Possibly it may have been so intended, for the romance, of which it is a
fragment, was written by Mr. Boson for his children. But this
consideration, assuming it to be well founded, would not rob the
allusions of their evidential value. Quite the contrary. Every romance
requires some element of fact or vraisemblance to recommend it to the
popular imagination. Not more than half a mile from Chapel Carn Brea, at
the foot of the hill, is Crows-an-Wra, the Witch’s Cross, which may have
suggested the character personified by Harry the Wizard of the
break-neck stool. Some vague memories of the hermit who served the
little chapel, tended the beacon and directed the travellers across the
desolate moor doubtless still survived. Andrew Paugan was only one of
the occupants of the cell, one who like many others in various parts of
England spent his life in solitude, enduring privation and hardship and
cultivating piety by prayer, meditation and active philanthropy. He was
probably a widower when he gave himself to the career which Thomas of
Penmargh, in the stillness of night, for some unknown reason brought to
an untimely end.

The next mention of Cornish hermits is found in the _Inquisitio
post-mortem_ of Edmund, Earl of Cornwall.[102] Following the inventory
of honours, lands and services held by him at the time of his death
there is a list of the charges upon his estates and among them the
entry: “alms to St. Philip of Restormel, hermit, and St. Robert of
Penlyn, hermit.” The earldom and its possessions reverted to the King on
Earl Edmund’s death, and we are therefore not surprised to find an entry
in the Close Roll of the following year, 1301, which reads as follows:
“To the sheriff of Cornwall. Order to deliver to brother Robert of
Penlyn, hermit, the island surrounded (_inclusam_) by the water of Fawe
with a rent of 56s. 2d. from certain tenants of the manor of Penkneth,
to be held by him for life as he held them before the death of Edmund,
Earl of Cornwall, by reason of whose death the sheriff took them into
the King’s hands; on the same terms as the earl granted them, together
with the houses built on the island, to Robert by his charter which the
King has inspected.”[103]

All attempts to identify the island have hitherto failed. The manors of
Penlyn or Pelyn and Penkneth or Pennight are in the parish of Lanlivery,
of which the river Fowey is, roughly speaking, the eastern boundary, but
no island is now to be discovered in its course. The site of the
hermitage of Restormel is also uncertain. It may have been that of the
chapel of the Holy Trinity in the park, sometimes called the King’s free
chapel, to which frequent reference is made in the Rolls, and from
which, according to an inventory made in 1338, a bell weighing 100 lbs.
had been removed to the chapel within the castle walls of Restormel.
There is nothing to lead us to suppose that St. Philip and St. Robert
had successors. It is not improbable that royal chaplains were
substituted for them.

In 1339 the Patent Roll records the King’s protection granted to Roger
Godman, hermit of the chapel of St. Mary by Liskeard (Liskerith),
collecting about the realm the alms whereon he depends for
subsistence.[104] It is probable that the chapel of St. Mary was the
same as the King’s free chapel of St. Mary in the park of Liskeard to
which Edward II appointed Roger de Aqua his chaplain in 1316.[105] It
must be distinguished from that of the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen.
The former appears to have become a chantry, for, in 1378, a royal grant
was made to Richard Lagge, chaplain, that he might celebrate service in
it, and in the same year the bishop issued a licence to him in which it
is stated that he is to celebrate for the welfare of the King.[106] The
chantry was suppressed by Edward VI, and the “Chapel of our Laydye”
granted to Thomas Pomray in 1549.[107] It is interesting to compare the
fortunes of this chapel with that of the Holy Trinity in the park of
Restormel. Both of them appear to have been served originally by
hermits, to have been converted into royal chapels and to have shared
the same fate.

A little more than half a century later, in 1403, the following entry
occurs in Bishop Stafford’s register: “One Cecilia Moys, desiring to
lead the contemplative life of an anchorite[108] in a certain house in
the cemetery of Marhamchurch, the bishop on the 4th of May, 1403,
commissioned Philip, abbot of Hartland, and Walter Dollebeare, vicar of
Southill, to place her there under proper protection, assigning her till
Christmas as a time of probation.”

Churchyards were regarded as places specially suitable for the dwellings
of anchorites as being dead to the world. It was, moreover, an obvious
advantage to the parish priest that they should be near the church for
the purpose of Communion. A second entry in the same bishop’s register
probably refers to the same anchorite, though the name is given as that
of Lucy Moys, anchorite of Marhamchurch.

She receives on the 10th of October, 1405, a licence to choose her
confessor. Another entry in the same register records a bequest of 40s.
by Richard Tyttesburry, canon of Exeter, to the anchorite of
Marhamchurch. His will was made on the 24th of February, 1405, and
proved on the 7th of June, 1409.[109]

At St. Teath there was a hermit, name unknown, who in 1408, under the
will of Sir William Bonevylle, received 20s. to pray for the soul of the
testator: “al heremyte de Stetth pour prier pour moy.” In the Lambeth
manuscript the bequest is recorded “a lermytage de Stath,” suggesting,
but by no means proving, a permanent hermitage in the parish.[110]

Seven years later, in 1415: “Margaret an anchorite dwelling near Bodmin,
having asked permission to migrate to the monastery of St. Bridget by
Schene and to join the order settled there, is licensed by the bishop
accordingly.” To her or to her predecessor Richard Tyttesburry, whose
name has been already mentioned, bequeathed in 1405 the sum of 40s.[111]

It has been generally supposed that Roche Rock, a natural and rugged
monolith some 300 feet in height, situated in the parish which bears its
name, was formerly the seat of a hermitage, and there is much to favour
the supposition. Norden (1584) describes it as “a verie high, steepe and
craggie rock, upon the top whereof is placed a cell or hermitage, the
walls whereof are partly wroughte, and that with great labour out of the
obdurate rock.” In the illustration, which he gives, the building is
complete with roof, windows and door. A detailed account is supplied by
Davies Gilbert (1838), from which it appears that in his day the roof
and upper chamber (as shown in Norden’s plate) had already disappeared,
the beam holes of the chamber being the only evidence that such a
chamber had existed. The dimensions of what is supposed to have been the
chapel are given by him: the length 20 feet, the breadth 12 feet and the
height 10 feet.

There are apparently only two purposes for which a building, at such an
elevation and in so desolate and remote a spot, could serve—that of a
beacon house or of a hermitage. The former is the less probable
explanation because of more suitable sites in the neighbourhood. The
lack of documentary evidence in support of the latter hypothesis is not
surprising and will carry little weight with those who reflect that it
is only, as it were, by accident that we have any evidence at all
respecting the other hermitages in the county. Comparing the cell on
Roche Rock with other similar cells in various parts of England it may
be inferred that the building was at one and the same time used by its
occupants for both purposes.

The foregoing survey discloses no such secrets as might have been
expected. It leaves the story of Cornwall’s conversion where we found
it. The key of the position remains undiscovered—the key wherewith to
open and unroll the unwritten record of the struggles of those first
fateful days when the Christian faith gained a foothold in the land. We
are thrown back upon the witness of an age so late as to render the
witness of doubtful value. If we refer to it, it is with diffidence,
having little or no hope that, as evidence, it will receive the
consideration it deserves. Yet in spite of all that may be urged against
any particular legend, we must not forget that hagiographer and monk,
chronicler and poet, cross and cell, holy well and church, all proclaim
the same story and tell the same tale when they represent the heralds of
the good tidings as wandering in deserts and in mountains and in dens
and caves of the earth. The account of St. Sampson’s visit and the
legend of St. Petrock are but types of the rest.

It would doubtless help towards the solution of the problem if something
more definite could be known of the quarter whence the earliest of those
heralds came. Was it from Gaul, from Lerins, from the East or from Rome?
We know that St. Hilary of Poitiers, in the middle of the fourth
century, dedicated his treatise _De Synodis_ to the bishops of the
British provinces, that St. German of Auxerre accompanied by St. Lupus
of Troyes came over to Britain in 429 to assist in extirpating the
Pelagian heresy. Does this point to some closer and deeper connection
than that of mere propinquity between the Churches of Gaul and of

The intercourse between Rome and Britain, the Roman soldiers and
merchants who during the occupation were brought into daily contact with
the Britons could not fail to effect some change in the religious
attitude of the latter. It is not, however, this slow, silent, indirect
influence which excites our interest. It is rather of that direct attack
upon paganism which so far succeeded as to impress a definite character
and to make it possible to speak of Celtic Christianity as a distinct
type that we wish to hear.

We allow that the same truths when accepted by different races produce
different effects and find expression in different ways. An orthodox
Russian Churchman and an English Churchman profess the same creeds,
accept the same Scriptures, and are in all essentials of one heart and
of one soul; yet it will be some time before the latter can be got to
feel at home in the public worship of the former. Race, temperament and
tradition reveal themselves in external modes of worship. This is true,
but it is not sufficient to account for the rôle of isolation assumed by
the British Church and by the daughter Church of Brittany. Some external
influence appears to have been at work at a very early period, monastic
in character, which was unfavourable to the cultivation of close
relations with the rest of Western Christianity. It could hardly have
been either of Roman or of Gaulish origin. Had it been Roman it would
have constituted a bond of union instead of being, as it was, a barrier
against which Augustine could not prevail; had it been Gaulish it would
probably have been attempered by intercourse with the source of its
inspiration. Possibly it came from the Mediterranean or from the East by
way of Marseilles.


Footnote 95:

  _Hermits and Anchorites of England_, Methuen & Co.

Footnote 96:

  Nancherrow and Carnyorth, two neighbouring hamlets in St.
  Just-in-Penwith, denote respectively the _valley of the stag_ and _the
  hill of the roebuck_.

Footnote 97:

  Leland, _Collectanea_, i, 75.

Footnote 98:

  Loth, _Les Noms des Saints bretons_, p. 48.

Footnote 99:

  _Parochial History of Cornwall_, Supplement, pp. 102, 110.

Footnote 100:

  The name of Neot’s predecessor, like that of Veronica, may have been
  suggested to Asser by the reputed miracle; but, if so, it would not
  invalidate the truth of the narrative so far as it relates to the
  successive founders of the church.

Footnote 101:

  Colemanshegg is probably Kelmonseg (1308)=Kilmonseg (1332)=Kilmonsek
  (1427)=Kyllymansak (1442)=Calamansack (hodie), in Constantine parish,
  which in the eleventh century was embraced in the forest of Morrois.

Footnote 102:

  Inq. p.m., 28 Edw. I, 44 (4).

Footnote 103:

  _Calendar of Close Rolls_, 20 May, 1301, p. 488.

Footnote 104:

  Pat. R., 13 Edw. III, 1339.

Footnote 105:

  _Ibid._, 9 Edw. II, 1316.

Footnote 106:

  _Ibid._, 1 Rich. II, 1378, and _Reg. Brantyngham_, p. 387.

Footnote 107:

  Pat. R., 3 Edw. VI, 1549.

Footnote 108:

  Hermit (Gr. Eremites, L. Heremita), one who lives in the desert;
  Anchorite (Gr. Anachoretes, L. Anchorita), one withdrawn from the
  world; Monk (Gr. Monachos, L. Monachus), one who dwells alone. The
  difference between a hermit and an anchorite was that the former was
  free to move from place to place, the latter was confined. The monk
  who had at first been a solitary soon became a member of an ordered
  and celibate community.

  It is curious to notice that the impulse which created the hermit
  produced the monastery, and that, at a later date, the monastery
  incidentally produced the hermit.

Footnote 109:

  _Register Stafford_, pp. 25, 251, 294.

Footnote 110:

  _Ibid._, p. 391.

Footnote 111:

  _Ibid._, pp. 25, 294.



                          ST. MICHAEL’S MOUNT

It is of little consequence to consider when and by whom the suggestion
was first put forward, but it was one which captivated all who were
anxious to endow their native county with a unique distinction. The
suggestion was that St. Michael’s Mount was identical with the island of
Ictis, mentioned by Diodorus Siculus about the beginning of the first
century before the Christian era.

Assuming the truth of this hypothesis, for which, indeed, many cogent
arguments could be urged, historical writers were enabled to make a
better start in the case of Cornwall than in the case of any other
English county.

It is therefore somewhat disquieting to find a distinguished geologist
staking a great reputation upon a counter-theory which, though promulged
so recently as the year 1905, has at the present moment the support of
the majority of those who are competent to form a judgment of its
scientific value. Mr. Clement Reid, F.R.S., basing his arguments upon
the evidence of geology and physical geography, has been able to
show[112] that, nineteen hundred years ago, the Isle of Wight was, at
high water, an island and, at low water, a peninsula answering exactly
to the description of the island of Ictis given by Diodorus, whereas St.
Michael’s Mount was at that time “an isolated rock rising out of a
swampy wood.” On the other hand, however, it is only fair to say that
Prof. Oman, who has doubtless examined and weighed, with his accustomed
acumen, Mr. Reid’s reasoning and conclusions, remains unconvinced. The
Rev. H. R. Coulthard has broached a new theory, which has perhaps not
yet received the attention it deserves; it is that Ictis was the entire
peninsula of Western Penwith. As against this, there is the evidence of
Pliny who, on the authority of Timæus, states that the island of Mictis,
apparently only another form of Ictis, was distant six days’ sail along
the British coast, a statement which is as fatal to the claims of
Penwith as to those of the Mount itself.

The question can hardly be said to be finally decided, but the
prevailing opinion is in favour of the Isle of Wight.

The Mount has had several names. In the life of St. Cadoc[113] it is
called Dinsul, which probably means the citadel of the sun.

St. Cadoc is said to have visited his aunt St. Keyne there, and to have
miraculously provided the Mount with a supply of water.

By the Cornish it was called Careg Cowse, or Karrek-luz-en-Kuz, which
William of Worcester correctly translates “Hoar Rock in the Wood.” It
would be interesting to discover earlier evidence of this name. Its
survival in the fifteenth century[114]—in spite of the monastic and
military occupation of the Mount for many centuries—is very remarkable
and seems to carry us back to the time when Mr. Reid’s description was
exactly realised.

At some period, very difficult to determine, the Mount became known as
Mons Tumba.[115] A charter in the Otterton custumal recording the
reconstitution of St. Michael’s priory, in the reigns of Henry I, and
Stephen, enjoins that the Cornish monks shall receive the blessing of
their abbot at Monte Tumba unless, perchance, it shall please him to
come into Cornwall and bless them there; from which it may be inferred
that the religious house in Monte Tumba was at that time identified with
Mont St. Michel in Normandy, although the latter was then, at an earlier
date and long afterwards, commonly described as St. Michael in Periculo
Maris.[116] When dealing with the medley of notes collected by William
of Worcester it will be necessary to bear this in mind.

The Mount was associated with St. Michael before the Norman Conquest, in
all probability before the Saxon invasion of Cornwall.

As Professor Loth has pointed out,[117] the name-saints
(_hagio-onomastique_) of ancient Brittany are entirely national. “With
the exceptions of some apostles, of St. Michael, St. Matthew, of St.
Peter who has given his name to Ploubezre, it is useless to seek for
them in Gaul and the Roman Church: they are all of them insular (British
or Irish) or native Breton.” The same may be said of Cornwall with very
few exceptions. The position assigned to St. Michael was everywhere
unique. At some time subsequent to the Babylonish captivity St. Michael
came to be had in special veneration of the Jews. From apostolic times
in the East and from the fifth century, at least, in the West, he was
received into the devotional system of the Christian Church. Nothing
could have been more sane or scriptural than the honour paid to St.
Michael. As the Prince of God’s people and the Captain of the heavenly
hosts[118] (_militiae celestis signifer_) he, who had prevailed against
the Spirit of evil, might well be expected to lend his aid when the
wrestling was against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly
places. And what spot so worthy to be the site of an earthly fane for
one whose warring is in the regions above man’s head, as the lonely
mountain’s top. There is a sense of security felt by those who live on,
or surrounded by, hills even now when so many ages have run since they
were remotely responsible for it. The proper seat of the Archangel was
clearly on the hill-top. They “found him an house” accordingly on the
Cornish Mount, on Rowtor, on Rame Head, on Penkevil, on Caerhayes and on
the western Carn Brea. Whether the cult of St. Michael superseded some
earlier pagan cult in Cornwall it is impossible to say. Until some
evidence is forthcoming it can serve no useful purpose to dilate upon
the possible identity of Michael, Elias and Helios, or upon the
possibility of one whose most notable achievement was the destruction of
sun worship on Mount Carmel, being himself its personification to after

That there was a religious community at the Mount bearing the name of
St. Michael before the Norman Conquest hardly admits of doubt. All the
saints, with three exceptions, found there by William of Worcester, in
the Calendar, were Celtic and insular.

The late Professor Freeman and Mr. Horace Round have, however, expressed
a contrary opinion based upon the doubtful authenticity of two charters,
certain particulars of which, connected chiefly with their attestation,
are admittedly and obviously inaccurate.

The first of these charters[119] purports to be a grant made by Edward
the Confessor, “King of the English, to Michael the Archangel for the
use of the brethren serving God in that place, of St. Michael near the
Sea, of the whole of the lands of Vennefire and of the port called
Ruminella with its mills and fisheries.” This charter bears the
signatures of Edward the King, Robert archbishop of Rouen, Herbert
bishop of Lisieux, Robert bishop of Coutances, Ralph, Vinfred, Nigell
the sheriff, Anschitill, Choschet and Turstin. The second charter[120]
claims to be a grant by Robert Count of Mortain to the monks of St.
Michael in Periculo Maris (Normandy), of St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall
with half a hide of land and a market on Thursdays; and three (Cornish)
acres of land in Amaneth, namely Trevelaboth, Lismanoch, Trequaners and
Carmailoc, the signatories being King William (the Conqueror), Queen
Matilda, Count Robert, William Rufus the King’s son, Henry the Boy
(prince), Robert Count of Mortain, Matilda (his) countess, their son
William, William Fitz Osborn, Roger de Montgomery, Tossetin the sheriff,
Warin and Turulf.

To the grant there are added, 1—a confirmation of it by Livric
(Leofric), bishop of Exeter, bearing date 1085; and 2—a postscript
signed by the bishop, exempting by command of Pope Gregory, the church
of St. Michael in Cornwall from episcopal control and conveying a
remission of one-third of their penance to those who should enrich,
endow or visit the said church.

With regard to Edward’s charter, it has been pointed out by more than
one writer that Edward probably did not assume the title of King of the
English until after the death of Hardicanute in 1042, and that Robert,
archbishop of Rouen, died in 1037. It is not stated whence Dugdale
obtained his copy of the charter, but a footnote by Oliver informs us
that the MSS. of the _abbey_ of St. Michael are preserved in the public
library at Avranches; and it is noteworthy that the charter in his
_Monasticon_ is labelled Carta Edwardi regis Anglorum pro _abbatia_
Sancti Michaelis, and that the three episcopal signatories are _Norman_
ecclesiastics. It is therefore possible that during his sojourn in
Normandy Edward who:

                   ... loved the holy company
                   Of people of religion,
                   Who loved only all that was good;
                   Especially a monk who led
                   A high and heavenly life

may have been induced to promise or to give Cornish lands to the Norman
St. Michael and that his friends may have styled him Rex Anglorum,
knowing that only when he became de facto King of the English could any
benefit accrue to the abbey. But it seems more probable that a gift of
lands was made by him to the Cornish St. Michael after Hardicanute’s
death and that after the Norman Conquest when the two religious houses
were united by the cession of the Cornish priory to the Norman abbey the
deed which may have borne the signature of Robert, archbishop of
Canterbury, was altered so as to bear that of Robert, archbishop of
Rouen. In that case the grant would have been made between 1050 and
1066. There were undoubtedly bold and fruitless attempts made on the
part of the Norman abbots to enrich the Norman at the expense of the
Cornish house, just as at a later period there were bold and successful
attempts made to enrich the latter by borrowing the legends and
traditions of the former.

The substantial genuineness of Edward’s charter will be regarded as
probable when it is remembered that no ultimate advantage can be shown
to have accrued from it to either house. A spurious document would
hardly have been preserved in the face of facts witnessing to its
failure. Neither Domesday Book nor the _Inquisitio Geldi_ makes mention
of any possessions in Meneage belonging to St. Michael.

The suggestion offered in Chapter VI, viz. that the Meneage was at an
early period monks’ land both in name and in fact, may possibly account
for the entire series of transactions. Grants to religious houses and
for religious purposes have not infrequently been a trifling recompense
made to Paul for the spoiling of Peter. It was notably so in the reign
of King Henry VIII. If in the early part of the eleventh century the
Meneage represented alienated, that is, usurped monastic land, no one
would have been more disposed than King Edward to make restoration or to
honour St. Michael by granting it to the Mount. It is not unlikely that
the grant remained inoperative owing to the difficulty of making terms
with the layfolk in possession.

In the appendix[121] to volume iv. of his _Norman Conquest_, Mr.
Freeman, after referring to the doubtful authenticity of Edward the
Confessor’s charter, goes on: “doubtful as this charter is, the
spuriousness of that which accompanies it (the charter of Robert Count
of Mortain) is still more manifest.” He then recites the fact that
whereas the latter charter is dated 1085, it bears the signatures of
Queen Matilda, who died in 1083, and of Bishop Leofric, who died in
1072; also the exemption from ecclesiastical jurisdiction granted by
Leofric at the instance of Pope Gregory, who did not become Pope until
after Leofric’s death—altogether a most formidable indictment—and he
proceeds to quote from the Exeter Domesday, with a view of establishing
the real date of the foundation of St. Michael, the following passage
(which will also be found below labelled A.):

“Sanctus Michahel habet i. mansionem quae vocatur Treiwal quam tenuit
Brismarus eâ die qua Rex E. fuit vivus et mortuus.... De hac mansione
abstulit Comes de Moritonio i. de praedictis ii. hidis quae erat de
dominicatu beati Michahelis.”

“This,” he says, “is the only mention of the house I can find, and it
would seem to imply a foundation between 1066 and 1085. Brismar was a
man of large property in all the three shires. He is not unlikely to
have been the founder of the Cornish Saint Michael, and if so he must
have founded it, or at least have given the estate, after Edward’s
death.” “It seems plain ... that whoever was the founder of the Cornish
house it was not Earl Robert.” And he concludes, “a note in the
_Monasticon_ (vii. 989) speaks of another tradition as naming Robert’s
son William as the person who gave the Cornish house to the Norman one.
Here we most likely have the clue to the mistake.”

When therefore Mr. Round is found endorsing Mr. Freeman’s opinion[122]
that “Treiwal was given to St. Michael between the death of Edward the
Confessor and the making of the great Survey,” and suggesting that Earl
Brian (who could have had no footing in England before the Conquest) may
have been the founder, it may seem presumption to express an opinion
clean contrary to both. But let Domesday Book tell its own story. There
are three references in the Exeter Book and two in the Exchequer Book
which bear upon the subject. They are given below and labelled A, B, C,
D, E for convenience of reference—those portions only being omitted
which do not concern the present discussion. The extensions are for the
use of those who are not familiar with the abbreviated Latin text.

           A. Exeter Domesday, fol. 208b. (Ed. 1816, p. 189).

mansionem quae vocatur Treiwal quam tenuit Brismarus eâ die qua rex
Edwardus fuit vivus et mortuus. In ea sunt ii hidae terrae quae nonquam
reddiderunt gildam. Has possunt arare viii carrucae. Ibi habet Sanctus
Michahel i carrucam.... De hac mansione abstulit comes de Moritonio i de
praedictis ii hidis quae erat de dominicatu beati Michahelis.

                B. _Ibid._, fol. 508 (Ed. 1816, p. 471).

Sanctus Michael habet i mansionem quae vocatur Treiwal de qua abstulit
comes de Moritonio i hidam, quae erat in dominicatu Sancti die qua rex
Edwardus fuit vivus et mortuus.

               C. _Ibid._, fol. 258b (Ed. 1816, p. 138).

Comes habet i mansionem quae vocatur Treuthal quam tenuit Brismarus
sacerdos eâ die qua rex Edwardus fuit vivus et mortuus. In ea est i hida
terrae et reddit gildum (sic) Sancto Michaele (sic). Hanc abstulit comes
Sancto. Bluhidus Brito tenet eam de comite.

               D. Exchequer Domesday, page ii, column 2.

Terra Sancti Michaelis. Ecclesia Sancti Michaelis tenet Treiwal. Brismar
tenebat tempore Regis Edwardi. Ibi sunt ii hidae quae nunquam
geldaverunt.... De his ii hidis abstulit comes Moritoniensis i hidam.

               E. _Ibid._, columns 1 and 2, 125 a and b.

Idem (Blohiu) tenet Trevthal. Brismar tenebat tempore Regis Edwardi....
Hanc terram abstulit comes aecclesiae Sancti Michaelis.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The very title which introduces extract A is suggestive. The land of St.
Michael “of Cornwall” implies another St. Michael just as “St. Ives in
Cornwall” implies a St. Ives elsewhere. And it is this St. Michael of
Cornwall and no other who “has one manor which is called Treiwal which
Brismar held at the time of Edward the Confessor’s death. There are two
hides of land which have never paid geld. From this manor the Earl of
Mortain has taken away one of the aforesaid two hides which was of
Blessed Michael’s demesne.” If St. Michael of Cornwall did not exist
before the Conquest it is difficult to understand how he could have had
lands in demesne in the time of the Confessor. But it may be objected
there is here no mention of the saint holding lands in the time of the
Confessor. Accepting the correction for what it is worth, which is
probably infinitesimal, because the whole tenor of the Domesday
assessment—both as regards its ruling principle and its literary
flavour—is found in the reiteration of the contrast or comparison of the
land values as determined in the days of King Edward and at the time of
the Survey, admitting the correction, let the reader refer to extract B.
This reads, “St. Michael has one manor, which is called Treiwal, from
which the Count of Mortain has taken away one hide which was in the
demesne of the saint on the day upon which King Edward was alive and
dead.” St. Michael (of Cornwall) was, therefore, quite as truly alive at
the decease of the Confessor as Edward was dead. In the light of what
has been said consider extract C. This is important, because it tells us
that Brismar was a priest and a very different person from the magnate
described by Mr. Freeman who held lands in three shires.

Extract C also introduces us to Treuthal, which Brismar the priest held
at the Confessor’s death. “Therein is one hide and it renders geld to
St. Michael.” (The Domesday scribe, not the printer, is responsible for
“gildum” and “Michaele.”) “This the Count has taken away from the saint.
Bluhid Brito (Blohiu of Brittany) holds it of the Count.” No one who is
acquainted with the history of Treuthal, with its almost endless variety
of spellings, can doubt either where it was or what it was. It was the
patrimony and the place of residence in the parish of Ludgvan of the
Bloyou family, the descendants of Bluhid Brito (Ralph Bloyou was born
there[123] on the Feast of the Nativity of the B.V.M. 21 Edward I) until
1354, when Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Alan Bloyou, sold it to Sir
Nigel Loring.[124] It is still the name of a village and the name of a
manor. While Treiwal, by which name the Domesday compiler seeks to
distinguish St. Michael’s land from Blohiu’s, is almost, if not quite,
forgotten, the variant Truthwall survives. But to revert to Brismar.
Comparing A, B, and C, it is clear that one hide was taken away from
Treiwal, that it was of Blessed Michael’s demesne in the time of King
Edward, that Brismar the priest held it in the time of King Edward, that
the Count of Mortain took it away from St. Michael, that it,
nevertheless, paid geld to St. Michael at the time of the Survey, that
Blohiu held it of the Count at the time of the Survey, and that it was
called Treuthal to distinguish it from Treiwal, the name of the parent
manor. With these facts before us it is impossible to doubt that for
fiscal purposes Brismar the priest and St. Michael the archangel were
regarded as identical in the time of King Edward—in other words, Brismar
was the visible representative of the invisible archangel. This explains
why in extract D Brismar held Treuthal in the time of Edward, and why in
extract E Brismar held, in Edward’s time, that which “the Earl has taken
away from the church of St. Michael.”

There are two further considerations which may be adduced in support of
the contention that St. Michael of Cornwall was the name of a religious
community which was not, at the time of the Survey, identical with St.
Michael of Normandy. It will strike every careful reader of that part of
Domesday which relates to Cornwall that wherever a church or a saint is
mentioned the reference is to what we now call either a conventual or a
collegiate church.

St. Aliquis holds a manor which is called Quidvis, the church of St.
Aliquis holds a manor which is called Quidvis—these are only different
ways of saying that the manor of Quidvis belongs to the community of St.
Aliquis. When, therefore, we read that one hide of Treiwal was of the
demesne of St. Michael in the days of the Confessor, we know that the
land belonged to a body of religious.

The second consideration is this: It has been pointed out to me that the
phrase “nunquam geldaverunt” (have never paid geld) is also peculiar, in
Cornwall, to quasi-monastic lands. But St. Michael not only did not pay
geld, he received geld, and received it from that hide of land of which
he had been despoiled by the Count.

Excluding St. German, who fared badly, the Count usurping all his
demesne lands, and whose only dues had consisted of a cask of beer and
30d. paid to the church, there were ten such communities in Cornwall at
the time of the Survey. Of these only three, St. Michael, St. Petrock
and St. Stephen, ever became affiliated to the larger monastic bodies.
The rest remained what they then were, collegiate churches, served by a
body of secular canons, who in course of time disappeared, giving place
to a rector. St. Buryan was apparently the last of these communities to
be dissolved. To sum up the results. It will, I think, be admitted that
extract A is not the only mention of the house of St. Michael to be
found in Domesday, that it was not founded between 1066 and 1085, that
Brismar—the Brismar of St. Michael—was not a man of large property but a
priest representing St. Michael, that if he founded the house it was
before and not after the Conquest, and, finally, that for reasons
already stated, Earl Brian was not the founder. Moreover, it is hardly
likely that a body of ecclesiastics, either at Mont Michel or at St.
Michael’s Mount, would have cited Edward as the patron of the Cornish
house if there had been some earlier patron to cite. It would rather
seem that what Mr. Round says of Count Robert’s charter is not far from
the truth, viz. “the fact that the form of the charter as we have it is
probably not genuine does not of necessity invalidate its substance.”

In justice to Mr. Round it must be added that after reading the
arguments here put forward, he would, in support of his contention, read
the concluding words of extract B elliptically: “one hide which was in
(what became) the saint’s demesne on the day on which King Edward was
alive or dead (i.e. after the Confessor’s death).” It is clear that such
a method of interpreting Domesday Book can only be allowable when there
is overwhelming evidence in its favour. In this case the evidence does
not seem to warrant its application.

As we have seen, Count Robert by his charter gives to the Norman house,
St. Michael’s Mount with half a hide of land and a market on Thursdays
and lands in Amaneth. Comparing this statement with that of Domesday
Book, it will be observed that in the latter there is no mention of
lands in Amaneth and no mention of the market, although in Domesday
markets are frequently mentioned, while on the other hand there is
mention made of two hides of land, one of which, Treuthal, the Count has
taken from St. Michael to be held of him by Bloyou, the other being held
by St. Michael in demesne. The question which arises is: Did the Count
restore one half of the usurped lands or, assuming the charter to have
been made before Domesday Book (1086) was compiled, did he by a later
instrument add half a hide, thereby endowing St. Michael with a moiety
of the hide held in demesne? We know from the subsequent history of the
lands under discussion that the Bloyous remained in possession of
Truthall, which never had a market, and we know that a market was held
at Marazion or thereabouts within the Domesday manor of Treiwal. We
therefore conclude that the Count’s gift to the Norman abbey was a
further act of spoliation, which by connivance of the Conqueror he was
allowed to practise against the Cornish monks, and also that his charter
was executed subsequent to 1086. The presence of Queen Matilda’s name
among the witnesses is the only invalidating element in what we have
every reason to regard as an authentic document. Its confirmation by
Bishop Leofric, and also the bishop’s postscript, are probably both of
them forgeries. To give them the appearance of genuineness the Queen’s
name may have been added to the authentic document. Be that as it may,
the alleged date, 1085, supposed to have been supplied by the bishop, is
impossible, inasmuch as the fourteenth year of indiction with which it
is made to synchronise would be either 1070 or 1094.

In 1094 the Conqueror was dead, and in 1070 “Henricus puer” was in the
second year of his age. It must also be added that the date does not
occur in the charter, but is supplied from the cartulary.

The composite character of the postscript to which also Leofric’s
signature is appended is seen in the wild statement to which it bears
witness. In it we are informed that by command and counsel of Pope
Gregory and of the King, Queen and Nobles of England, the bishop grants
immunity from all episcopal control to the church of Blessed Michael the
Archangel of Cornwall, and a remission of one-third of their penance to
all who shall enrich, endow or visit it. Pope Gregory (Hildebrand) was
not elected till 1073, the year after Leofric’s death, and the
indulgence which the postscript contains and which constitutes its
_raison d’être_ was manifestly only an expedient to foster pilgrimages
to St. Michael’s Mount which, supposing the monastery to have been
founded after the Conquest, would have been too obvious to achieve its
object. Something more will be said under this head when dealing with
the testimony of William of Worcester.

When allowance has been made for clerical errors and for the
interpolations and additions to which attention has been drawn, there is
no sufficient reason to reject either the literal interpretation of
Domesday or the authenticity of Edward’s charter, or the substantial
accuracy of Count Robert’s. The date of the latter would probably be
1086, or a little later, probably in the last year of the Conqueror’s
reign. A third charter of the reign of William Rufus records the grant
to the Norman St. Michael, by Count Robert of Mortain and Almodis his
Countess of the manor of Ludgvan held by Richard Fitz Turold, also that
which Bloyou formerly held in Truthwall (Treiuhalo), and both the fairs
(_ferias_) of the Mount, the monks paying to the grantors the sum of
sixty pounds.

Now it is worthy of remark that neither of these manors ever became
permanently attached to either religious house. Though it is impossible
to speak with certainty, it looks as if the Count had wrested Ludgvan
from Richard, had claimed Truthwall on the death of Bloyou and had sold
them both to the Norman abbot, who afterwards found it impossible to
resist the claims of the rightful heirs.

The Cornish St. Michael had assuredly no cause to hold the Count in
grateful remembrance. From first to last he acted the part of a robber.
On this occasion one is inclined to suspect that the possessions of the
brethren serving God at the Mount were much more extensive before than
after the Norman Conquest. Assuming the Confessor’s charter to be
genuine it would almost appear that the Meneage district had, at a
remote period, become attached to a Celtic monastery at the Mount, and
that he was merely ratifying the title while perhaps limiting the extent
of its possessions.

There is yet another document of great importance. It is described in
the Otterton custumal[125] as the Erection (_Constructio_) of the Priory
of St. Michael in Cornwall. It is, in reality, a notification by
Bernard, abbot of the Norman house, that the church of Blessed Michael
of Cornwall, built by him in 1135, was consecrated in his presence by
Robert (Chichester), bishop of Exeter, that, with the advice of the said
Pontiff and of Count Raner, and with the approbation of the barons of
the province, he has got together thirteen brethren and has made
provision for them out of old endowments and current contributions, that
he has enacted that he who shall be selected by the parent house to be
prior of St. Michael’s Mount shall not fail to make a return to it of 16
marks yearly, that if he shall prove refractory he shall be degraded and
another prior appointed by the abbot with the abbey’s consent, and so
on. Moreover, the Cornish brethren are to receive the benediction of the
monastic order from the abbot _in Monte Tumba_ unless perchance it
please him to come to Cornwall and bless them there. At the end of the
instrument there is a list of the possessions of the Blessed Michael of
Cornwall, given to the archangel by Count Robert of Mortain, viz.
Tremaine, where there is sufficient land for two ploughs, Trahorabohc
for three, Listyahavehet for three, Treganeis for two, Carmahelech for

The entire document is needlessly defiant and menacing. The Cornish
house is reduced to a mere appanage of the abbey and the prior to a mere
collector of 16 marks for its benefit. Every vestige of independence is
swept away, and that, too, in subversion of the primary principle of the
saintly founder of the order. One hardly expected to find evidence in
Cornwall in confirmation of Dante’s description given more than a
century later.

      The walls, for abbey reared, turned into dens (of thieves),
      The cowls to sacks, choked up with musty meal.

It is therefore satisfactory to note that the priory could only reckon
among its possessions the lands given by the Count of Mortain, the rest
of St. Michael’s lands having either been confiscated or alienated
between the date of the Domesday Survey (1086) and that of the document

To identify the several grants of land a more or less careful
examination of the places mentioned in the charters becomes necessary.
Taking them in order of date, the Confessor by his charter gives to St.
Michael for the use of the brothers serving God the place known as St.
Michael, which is by the sea, with all that belongs to it, and he adds
the whole land of Vennefire, with its towns, vills and lands; also the
port of Ruminella, with its mills and fisheries. One of the witnesses is
Vinfred, or, as the name is commonly written, Winfred. We are therefore
justified in substituting “W” for “V” in Vennefire, and “s” for “f”
according to the Avranches cartulary. Vennefire becomes Wenneshire. A
glance at the Feudal Aids reminds us that the hundreds of Cornwall were
entered as Poudreschir (Powder), Pydrisire,[126] Pydar, Trigrishire,
etc. It is therefore safe to regard Vennefire as the equivalent of
Wenneshire. But the name of the hundred in Domesday Book is Wineton, a
correlative, in this case the equivalent of Wenneshire. Vennefire is
therefore the hundred of Kerrier. Ruminella is the diminutive or
feminine, not only in Latin but in Welsh,[127] of Rumin or Rumon. The
port of Ruminella thus becomes the port of Ruan Minor, i.e. Cadgwith.
One or more mills still exist in the valley and at no great distance
from the port. If, as we have already suggested, the Meneage district
was, like the hundred of Pydar, settled by Celtic monks, the Confessor’s
grant would mean little more than the confirmation to them of their
ancient patrimony, focussed at St. Michael’s Mount.

Edward can hardly be supposed to have had an intimate knowledge of the
locality or of its conditions. Under the influence of men like Robert of
Jumièges he may well have given more than he had at his disposal. The
futility of the attempt is the best proof of its having been made. It is
certain that at the time of his death the monks of St. Michael had no
considerable holding in Kerrier. Earl Harold had become overlord of the
manor of Wineton, seventeen thegns holding eleven hides of him, the rest
being held by him in demesne. After the Conquest Wineton fell to the
King, who gave the whole to Robert Count of Mortain, to be held of the
Count by sub-tenants. It may have been in some measure as an act of
reparation, but it was chiefly in order to augment the influence and
revenue of St. Michael of Normandy that he granted to that abbey St.
Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, with half a hide of land and three
(Cornish) acres of land in Amaneth, to wit Trevelaboth, Lismanoch,
Trequaners and Carmailoc. No conditions of tenure are specified except
freedom from the King’s jurisdiction in all matters but homicide. It is
not stated, for example, whether the lands shall be held of the Cornish
or of the Norman St. Michael. In some sense no doubt the community at
the Mount became henceforth an alien priory of Mont St. Michel, but
there does not seem to have been any definition of the relations between
the two houses until 1135.

The identification of the names Amaneth, Trevelaboth, Lismanoch,
Trequaners and Carmailoc is not free from difficulty. The word Amaneth
is probably for An-maneth, i.e. An-manech, the monastic (territory) and
equivalent to Meneage.[128] Manaccan the monk’s (church) (cf.
Plou-manach in Brittany, the monk’s parish) is situated in the northern
portion of what is still known as the Meneage district, which Leland
(1533-1552) calls the land of Meneke or Menegland.

The next name—Trevelaboth—presents no difficulty. There is a continuous
chain of evidence to show that it is identical with Traboe, a small
manor in the parish of St. Keverne. In order to equate the three
holdings which remain, viz. Lismanoch, Trequaners and Carmailoc, it will
be necessary to refer to a document in the Otterton custumal[129] in
which they appear as Tremain, Listyavehet, Treganeis and Carmaheleck.
Carmailoc is obviously Carmaheleck or Carvallack, a holding in St.
Martin’s parish which derives its name from the prehistoric earthwork in
that parish. If we suppose the “n” in Trequaners and Treganeis to be a
false reading for “u”—a pardonable blunder of constant occurrence—we
have the modern tenement of Tregevas or Tregevis also in St. Martin’s.
We are thus left with Lismanoch as the equivalent of Tremain (the modern
Tremayne) and Listyavehet. Tremain calls for no remark in this
connection: everyone knows where it is. Lismanoch, of which it appears
to have formed a portion, presents some difficulty, because in that form
the name is now unknown. As Lesmanaoc it occurs in a grant of King Edgar
in 967 to Wulfnod Rumancant. In that grant its boundaries are minutely
described, but unfortunately to little purpose owing to the fact that
many of the place-names in it are either purely descriptive or have
become so altered during the ten centuries which have elapsed since the
grant was made as to be incapable of recognition. One or two points are
clear. Lesmanaoc was of considerable extent. For some distance it lay
along the river which empties itself at Porthallow. It must have reached
well towards the south of St. Keverne parish if “Castell Merit” and
“Crouswrah” (two places mentioned in the charter) are, as seems
probable, the modern tenement of Kestlemerris and Crousa Downs. At the
time of Count Robert’s charter its area had evidently been contracted,
otherwise it could hardly have escaped mention in Domesday Book. The
portion which had been lost was probably the southern portion, for no
mention is made of any possessions south of Traboe in the grants of the
priory lands after its dissolution.

These considerations lend support to what is something more than a
conjecture of Mr. Henry Jenner, viz. that in the two tenements now known
as Lesneage we have the site of Lesmanaoc. Lesneage, as he points out,
may well be a contracted form of Lesmeneage, which in turn may be only
another form of Lesmanaoc, on the same principle as Treveneage in St.
Hilary can be shown by an unbroken series of documents to have been
derived from Trevanaek.

It is worthy of remark that within a short distance of Lesneage is Mill
Mehal or St. Michael’s Mill. If this be the true etymology then the name
Listyavehet becomes less formidable than it looks.

The final “t” is the only difficulty. If we may regard it as a false
reading for “l,” Listyavehet becomes Lis-ty-amehel, the “court of the
house of St. Michael,” Lesmanaoc being the “Monk’s Court,” and the
change of name easily accounted for by the transfer of the monks’
possessions in Menegland (monastic land) to the house at St. Michael’s

The _Itinerary_ of William of Worcester deserves attention. It is a
curious assortment of undigested and ill-arranged odds and ends of
information compiled in the year 1478, that is to say about half a
century after the expulsion of the Benedictines from the Mount and the
introduction of the Bridgettines, only five years after the Mount was
seized by John de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and surrendered by him to the
King’s troops after a siege of twenty-three weeks. The _Itinerary_ is
properly speaking a note-book. For the most part William confines
himself to matters of topography, genealogy and hagiology.

Once and again he condescends to men of low estate, as, for example,
when he tells us that about the year 1476 one Thomas Clerk, of Ware,
left Ware on the Octave of St. John the Baptist and rode to the Mount
within ten days and then returned to Ware at the end of another ten
days, thereby covering, according to the route bill which is given,
something over thirty-two miles a day for twenty consecutive days.
William himself rode more leisurely. Leaving Norwich on the 16th of
August, 1478, travelling by way of Truro, he reached Marazion on the
16th of September. The next day he heard Mass at the Mount and in the
afternoon of the same day he began the return journey to Penryn. The
time spent by him in Cornwall was just over a week.

That he should have gathered as much material as he did is therefore a
matter for surprise. Towards this harvest St. Michael’s Mount
contributed its full share, which is scattered without any regard for
convenience or context throughout the work. After describing the
tributaries of the river Fal, and à propos of nothing whatever, he
inserts a (supposed) indulgence of Pope Gregory, said to have been
granted by him in 1070, although Hildebrand did not become Pope until
three years later. The indulgence is addressed to the church of Mount
St. Michael in Tumba in the County of Cornwall, and of it, all but the
opening words are a verbatim copy of the spurious postscript to the
Count of Mortain’s charter, of which mention has been already made. It
is followed by a notice added by the Community at the Mount stating that
the document, having been recently discovered in the old registers, is
placed on the church door and, being unknown to most men, they, the
ministers and servants of God, require and beg all who have the guidance
of souls to do all in their power to publish it in their churches so
that their subjects may be moved to greater devotion and may, by
pilgrimage, frequent that place and obtain the said gifts and
indulgences. William next mentions the apparition of St. Michael in
Mount Tumba, formerly called the “Hore-rok in the Wodd,” which happened
at a time when woodland and meadow and plough land lay between the said
Mount and the islands of Scilly, and there were 240 parish churches now

He observes that the first apparition of St. Michael in Mount Gorgon in
the Kingdom of Apulia took place in A.D. 391; the second, in Tumba in
Cornwall, near the sea, about A.D. 710; the third, in the days of Pope
Gregory at a time of a great pestilence; the fourth being _in ierarchiis
nostrorum angelorum_. The next paragraph appears to be the fragment of a
description of Mont St. Michel and its foundation by St. Aubert, bishop
of Avranches.

Then follow various measurements. The length of the church of Mount St.
Michael is stated to be 30 “steppys,” its breadth 12 steppys; the length
of the chapel newly built is 40 feet, i.e. 20 steppys; its breadth about
10 steppys; from the church to the foot of the Mount, to the sea-water,
14 times 60 steppys; the distance by sea between Marazion and the foot
of the Mount is estimated at 1200 (feet), i.e. 700 steppys, in English
10 times 70 steppys. It is difficult to reconcile the last of these
measurements with the former and to connect the “step” with a modern
equivalent. The “step” was not a “pace,” for speaking of the dimensions
of Bodmin Church, William says in length it is 57 paces (_passus_) and
in breadth 30 steppys. It was apparently two feet (_pedes_), but whether
two modern feet of 12 inches we are unable to say. A little further on
William tells us that the island of St. Michael’s Mount is about a mile
in diameter and is distant from the mainland the length of a bow-shot.
It lies north of the island of Ushant in Brittany.

After dealing with the Bodmin martyrology, information given by Robert
Bracey at Fowey and the kalendar of Tavistock, he mentions the capture
and surrender of the Mount by the Earl of Oxford five years before the
time of his writing. A fuller notice occurs towards the end of his work
where, after some further details respecting the Mount’s geographical
position, he gives us the kalendar of the church. The saints
commemorated are, as has been already remarked, with three exceptions
all Celtic. Of one of them, Brokan (Brychan) and his twenty-four
children, he supplies an account taken, as it would seem, from the
Legenda. For in the enumeration the saint is described as Brokannus in
partibus Walliarum _regulus fide et morum_, and in the account of the
saint which follows the opening sentence is Fuit in ultinus (ultimis)
Walliarum partibus vir dignitate _regulus fide et morum_ honestate
praeclarus, nomine Brokannus. A similar explanation may account for the
fourth apparition of St. Michael being described by William as apparicio
in ierarchiis nostrorum angelorum, a phrase which is meaningless as it
stands, but assuming it to be a quotation from the Legenda may have been
familiar and intelligible to William’s readers.

From the foregoing abstracts from the _Itinerary_ two conclusions appear
to be inevitable. In the first place, whether of design or by
inadvertence, the name Mons Tumba which had been exclusively used of the
Norman Mount came to be also applied to the Cornish Mount and, in the
second place, the associations of the former came to be adopted by the
latter. The postscript to the Count of Mortain’s charter and the newly
discovered indulgence mentioned by William, the one an almost verbatim
copy of the other, probably bear witness to a fact, namely, that an
indulgence was actually granted by Pope Gregory, but that it was granted
not to St. Michael’s Mount but to Mont St. Michel. When once the
indulgence had been appropriated by the Cornish house it became
necessary to account for the allusions contained in it. The ecclesia
quae ministerio angelico creditur et comprobatur consecrari et
sanctificari demanded some point d’appui, and this could only be
obtained by increasing the number of apparitions vouchsafed by St.

The three apparitions generally accepted by Western Christendom, viz.
the appearance in the fifth century to Garganus, that in the sixth
century to St. Gregory at Rome, and that in the eighth century (A.D.
706) to St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches (probably identical with the
apparicio in ierarchiis nostrorum angelorum), were supplemented by an
appearance (A.D. 710) in Tumba in Cornwall. It is impossible to say when
this claim was formulated, whether before or after the expulsion of the
Benedictines in the fifteenth century. The object was evidently to
stimulate pilgrimages, concerning which, however, very little is
recorded. Norden, writing in 1584, states that the Mount “hath bene
muche resorted unto by Pylgrims in devotion to St. Michaell whose chayre
is fabled to be in the Mount, on the south syde, of verie Daungerous

When William of Worcester visited the Mount the priory was in possession
of Augustinian nuns known as Bridgettines. Of them William says nothing.

So long as it was Benedictine and under the control of the abbot of Mont
St. Michel, successive Kings of England felt constrained, on the
declaration of war with France, to take it into their own hands and to
administer its preferment. From 1337 onwards the rolls contain numerous
entries dealing with the patronage of alien priories. During his war
with France Henry IV required the prior of St. Michael’s Mount to hold
the priory at farm for a yearly rent of £10. Henry V, having founded the
abbey of Syon in Middlesex, transferred the priory to it, the provost
and scholars of the college of St. Mary and St. Nicholas at Cambridge,
to whom an earlier grant of it seems to have been made, surrendering all
their rights in 1462.

Thenceforth until 1536 it remained a Bridgettine nunnery. After the
suppression of the monasteries several grants were made of it for terms
of years. Eventually Queen Elizabeth sold it to Robert, Earl of
Salisbury, by whose son, the second earl, it was conveyed to Sir Francis
Basset. By his son, John Basset, it was sold in 1659 to Colonel St.
Aubyn. Since that time it has remained in the St. Aubyn family, its
present owner and occupier being General John Townshend St. Aubyn,
second Lord St. Levan.

With its religious history alone are we here concerned. That the Mount
was the home of a Celtic religious community in pre-Norman times hardly
admits of doubt. As we have shown, there was some strong bond of
attachment between it and the Meneage, a bond which, though weakened and
attenuated, was not completely sundered until the dissolution of the
monasteries in the sixteenth century. The main proposition here advanced
is that the Mount was at a remote period, probably as early as the days
of St. Cadoc, the focus of Celtic religious activity for the greater
part, if not for the whole, of the Lizard peninsula.


Footnote 112:

  Archæologia, LIX (2), 281 _et seq._

Footnote 113:

  Cott. MS. Vesp. A. XIV.

Footnote 114:

  The name survived until the Cornish language was obsolete. Boson
  (1702) uses it.

Footnote 115:

  See dispensation granted by Thomas (Cranmer) to John Arscott,
  archpriest of St. Michael _de Monte Tumba Exoniensis diocesis_
  (_Monasticon_, p. 30).

Footnote 116:

  The statue of the Blessed Virgin in the parish church of Mont St.
  Michel, known as the black virgin, also bears the name of Notre Dame
  de Mont Tombe and the small island in the bay about two miles from
  Mont St. Michel is called Tombelaine. Tumba (_twmp_ in Welsh from
  Latin _tumulus_) and Tombelaine (the Teutonic diminutive of Tumba) are
  probably derived from the prehistoric remains of which there is now no

Footnote 117:

  _Les Noms des Saints bretons_, p. 5.

Footnote 118:

  Dan. x. 13, 21; xii. 1; Rev. xii. 7.

Footnote 119:

  See appendix, p. 172.

Footnote 120:

  _Ibid._, p. 173.

Footnote 121:

  _Norman Conquest_, pp. 766, 767.

Footnote 122:

  _Genealogist, N.S._, XVII, 2.

Footnote 123:

  Chan. inq. p.m., 12 Edw. II, No 16.

Footnote 124:

  De Banco, 12 Henry VI, Hilary, m. 443.

Footnote 125:

  Oliver, _Monasticon_, p. 414.

Footnote 126:

  Feudal Aids, 1303, 1306, etc.

Footnote 127:

  Loth, _Vie de Saint Samson_, p. 15.

Footnote 128:

  Anmaneth may be an Anglicised form of An-manegh (cf. Carnyorth and
  Respeth for Carnyorgh and Respegh), but it is more likely that Amaneth
  is an adjectival form, viz. Manéghek or Menaghek, which became
  successively Menéhek, Meneck, Menek, Meneage (cf. _infra_ Trevanaek).
  I am indebted to Mr. Henry Jenner for this suggestion and for some
  other notes on the derivation of Cornish place-names.

Footnote 129:

  See appendix, p. 175.


                               APPENDIX A

                      (Ed. by Fawtier, pp. 143-5)

Quadam autem die, cum per quendam pagum quem Tricurium vocant
deambularet, audivit, ut verum esset, in sinistra parte de eo, homines
baccantum ritu quoddam phanum per imaginariam ludum adorantes; atque
ille annuens fratribus ut starent et silerent dumque quiete, et ipse de
curru ad terram descendens et ad pedes stans, intendensque in his qui
idolum colebant, vidit ante eos in cujusdam vertice montis, simulacrum
abominabile adsistere; in quo monte et ego fui, signumque crucis quod
sanctus Samson sua manu cum quodam ferro in lapide stante sculpsit
adoravi et mea manu palpavi; quod sanctus Samson, ut vidit, festine ad
eos, duos apud se tantum fratres eligens, properavit atque ne idolum,
unum Deum qui creavit omnia, relinquentes, colere deberent, suaviter
commonuit, adstante ante eos eorum comite Guediano; atque excusantibus
illis malum non esse mathematicum eorum parentum in ludo servare, aliis
furentibus, aliis deridentibus, non nullis autem quibus mens erat sanior
ut abiret hortantibus, continuo adest virtus Dei publice ostensa. Nam
puer quidam equos in cursu dirigens a quodam veloci equo ad terram
cecidit collumque ejus subtus se praecipitem plicans, exanimum paene
corpus in jecturam tantum remansit.

Flentibus autem circa illum vicinis suis, sanctus Samson dixit “Videtis
quod simulacrum vestrum non potest huic mortuo adjutorium dare? Si autem
promittitis vos hoc idolum penitus destruere et non amplius adorare ego
illum, Deo in me operante, redivivum resuscitabo.” Adquiescentibus autem
illis, jussit eos paulo longius secedere, atque illo orante super
exanimem per binas ferme horas, illum qui expiratus fuerat redivivum
palam omnibus atque incolumem redidit. Videntibus autem illis, unanimes
omnes una cum supradicto comite, procidentes ad sancti Samsonis pedes,
idolum penitus destruxerunt.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The Reverend F. W. Paul, M.A., whose friendship it has been my privilege
to share for half a century, has revised the translation on page 33. He
has done so under protest. Incompetence, ignorance of monkish Latin and
the corruptness of the text have been his pleas. The first no one will
allow who knows him; the second is by no means uncommon; the third
everyone will admit. L’Abbé Duine truly says of the _Vita Samsonis_ that
_plusieurs constructions grammatical sont absolument barbares_. Mr. Paul
has suggested the following emendations of the passage before us.
Although drastic they appear worthy of consideration, unless they can be
shown to run clean contrary to the habits of thought, the terminology
and the rules of composition observed by writers of the seventh century.
For quoddam phanum he would read _quendam phallum_; for mathematicum,
_matrimonium_; for injecturam, _jecturâ_. We should then have in the
latter part of the first sentence “he saw men worshipping a certain
phallus after the custom of the Bacchantes by means of a lewd play,” and
for _atque excusantibus illis malum non esse mathematicum eorum parentum
in ludo servare_, “and when they said that there was no harm in their
commemorating their parents’ wedlock in a play.” I have accepted
_jecturâ_ for in jecturam and his translation of it. It is unfortunate
that a critical edition of the _Vita Samsonis_ has not yet been
prepared. L’Abbé Duine has indeed furnished some useful notes—only too
few—on the syntax and the peculiar use of certain pronouns, prepositions
and adjectives.[130] But, as Professor Loth truly observes, to produce
such an edition a minute study of the syntax is required and also a
glossary of all the words which in form or in meaning are peculiar—a
glossary in which all the idioms should be exhibited. The task requires
special qualifications and will not perhaps appeal strongly to those who
have them. Sooner or later someone will doubtless be found to undertake
it, someone, it is hoped, who is not only a scholar but who is familiar
with the religious literature of the seventh and eighth centuries.


Footnote 130:

  Duine, _Saints de Domnonée_, pp. 5-12.


                               APPENDIX B

                     (Oliver’s _Monasticon_, p. 31)

_Carta Edwardi regis Anglorum pro abbatiâ sancti Michaelis_ (Ex
autographo apud S. Michaelem in Normannia).

In nomine sanctae et individuae Trinitatis, ego Edwardus Dei gratia
Anglorum rex, dare volens pretium redemptionis animae meae, vel parentum
meorum, sub consensu et testimonio bonorum virorum, tradidi sancto
Michaeli archangelo in usum fratrum Deo servientium in eodem loco
sanctum Michaelem qui est juxta mare, cum omnibus appendenciis, villis
scilicet, castellis, agris et caeteris attinentibus. Addidi etiam totam
terram de Vennefire,[131] cum oppidis, villis, agris, pratis, terris
cultis et incultis, et cum horum redditibus. Adjunxi quoque datis portum
addere qui vocatur Ruminella cum omnibus quae ad eum pertinent, hoc est
molendinis et piscatoriis et cum omni territorio illius culto et
inculto, et eorum redditibus.

Si quis autem his donis conatus fuerit ponere calumpniam anathema
factus, iram Dei incurrat perpetuam. Utque nostrae donationis auctoritas
verius firmiusque teneatur in posterum, manu meâ firmando subterscripsi,
quod et plures fecere testium.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Signum regis Edwardi ✠ Signum Roberti archiepiscopi Rothomagensis ✠
Hereberti episcopi Lexoviensis. Roberti episcopi Constantiensis. Signum
Radulphi ✠ Signum Vinfredi ✠ Nigelli vicecomitis. Anschitilli. Choschet.


Footnote 131:

  “Vennesire” in the cartulary at Avranches.


                               APPENDIX C

                         (_Monasticon_, p. 31)

_Carta Roberti, Comitis, pro monachis S. Michaelis._

In nomine sanctae et individuae Trinitatis, Patris et Filii et Spiritus
Sancti, amen. Ego Robertus Dei gratiâ Moritonii comes, igne divini
amoris succensus, notifico omnibus sanctae ecclesiae matris nostrae
filiis, habens in bello sancti Michaelis vexillum, quoniam pro animae
meae salute atque meae conjugis, seu pro salute, prosperitate,
incolumitate Gulielmi gloriosissimi regis, atque pro adipiscendo vitae
aeternae premio, do et concedo Montem Sancti Michaelis de Cornubia Deo
et monachis ecclesiae Sancti Michaelis de Periculo Maris servientibus,
cum dimidiâ terrae hidâ, ita solutam et quietam ac liberam, ut ego
tenebam, ab omnibus consuetudinibus querelis et placitis; et constituo
etiam ut ipsi monachi, concedente domino meo rege, ibidem mercatum die
quintae feriae habeant. Postea autem, ut certissimè comperi beati
Michaelis meritis monachorumque suffragiis michi a Deo ex propriâ
conjuge meâ filio concesso, auxi donum ipsi beato militiae celestis
Principi, dedi et dono in Amaneth tres acras terrae, Trevelaboth
videlicet, Lismanoch, Trequaners, Carmailoc, annuente piissimo domino
meo Gulielmo rege cum Mathilde reginâ atque nobilibus illorum filiis
Roberto comite, Gulielmo Rufo, Henrico adhuc puero, ita quietam ac
liberam de omnibus placitis querelis atque forisfactis, ut de nullâ re
regiae justitiae monachi respondebunt nisi de solo homicidio. Hanc autem
donationem feci ego Robertus comes Moritonii, quam concesserunt
gloriosus rex Anglorum Willielmus atque regina et filii eorum, sub
testimonio istorum.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Signum Willielmi regis ✠. Signum reginae Mathildis ✠. Roberti comitis ✠.
Willielmi Rufi filii regis ✠. Henrici pueri ✠. Roberti comitis Moritonii
✠. Matildis Comitissae ✠. Willielmi filii eorum ✠. Signum Willielmi
filii Osberni ✠. Signum Rogeri de Monte-gomeri ✠. Tossetini vicecomitis
✠. Guarini ✠. Turulfi ✠.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Firmata atque roborata est hec carta, anno millessimo octuagesimo quinto
ab incarnatione Domini indictione decimâ quartâ, concurrente tertiâ,
lunâ octavâ, apud Pevenesel.

Signum Liurici Essecestriae Episcopi ✠.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Ego quidem Liuricus Dei dono Essecestriae episcopus, jussione et
exhortatione domini mei reverentissimi Gregorii (VI) papae regisque
nostri et reginae omniumque optimatum totius regni Angliae exhortatus ut
ecclesiam beati Michaelis archangeli de Cornubia, utpote quae officio et
ministerio angelico creditur atque comprobatur consecrari ac
sanctificari, quatenus eam ab omni episcopali jure, potestate, seu
subjectione liberarem atque exuerem, quod et facere totius cleri nostri
consensu et hortatu non distuli, libero igitur eam et exuo ab omni
episcopali dominatione, subjectione, inquietudine, et omnibus illis qui
illam ecclesiam suis cum beneficiis et elemosinis expetierint, et
visitaverint, tertiam partem penitentiarum condonamus. Et ut hoc
inconcussum et immobile et etiam inviolabile fine tenus permaneat, ex
authoritate Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti omnibus nostris
successoribus interdicimus ne aliquid contra hoc decretum usurpare

Signum ejusdem Liurici Essecestriae episcopi ✠.


                               APPENDIX D

                         (_Monasticon_, p. 414)

_Prioratûs St. Michaelis in Cornubiâ constructio_ (Ex custumali
Prioratûs de Otterton, fol. 58).

Omnibus Sancte Dei ecclesie filiis notificare dignum duximus quod
ecclesia beati Michaelis de Cornubia a venerabili Bernardo, ecclesie
prefati archangeli de Periculo Maris abbate, in anno quo hominem exuit
rex Henricus constructa, et in anno regis Stephani a religioso viro
Roberto Exoniensi presule prestito abbate, qui presens aderat, id
impetrante, Domino est consecrata. Idem vero abbas sagaci mente
pertractans celestis militie principem locum eundem Deo ad serviendum et
sibi ad inhabitandum delegisse, predicti pontificis consilio et comitis
Raneri et baronum provincie suffragio, ut divinitati honor perpetuus
impenderetur, officinas religioni idoneas construere et fratres xiii in
honorem Christi Jhesu et apostolorum ejus, ut, videlicet, pro modulo suo
in fide que per dilectionem operatur et spe in cultura vinee Domini
Sabbaoth desudantis denarium mereretur retributionis, aggregare curavit;
de redditibus ecclesie tam antiquitus datis quam a viris provincie in
presentia sua ad hoc attributis victui eorum necessario sufficienter

Constituit autem ut vel per se vel per alium e fratribus ecclesiam de
Monte in Normannia qui ex abbatis loci ejusdem precepto prioris in
Cornubia fungetur officio annis singulis invisere non negligat, et
argenti marchas xvi finetenus reddat. Quod si constitutioni huic
obviare, vel contra abbatem suum vel conventum in aliquo presumpserit
contraire, de prioratu suo degradetur, et alius pro abbatis arbitrio et
conventus abbatie consilio subrogetur. Si vero superbus fuerit et
contumax et prelatis ecclesie de Monte in Normannia inobediens
extiterit, omni participatione totius beneficii ecclesie totius dicte,
omniumque ecclesiarum ipsi societate aliqua connexarum, excommunicationi
se deleat. Frates quidem, qui in Cornubia sancte conversationis habitum
susceperint, monochatus jura in Monte Tumba profitentes, benedictionem
monastici ordinis ab abbate suo ibidem suscepturos se noverint, nisi
forte ei in Cornubiam venienti eos illuc benedicere placuerit. Hoc
itaque tam justa Dei dispensatione tamque virorum sapientum discretione
patratum, quicunque sive princeps sive potestas aliquam infringere
presumpserit, videlicet, monachorum numerum qui pro facultatum
ampliatione, et ipse ampliandus est, imminuat, et jam dicti loci
possessiones in usus alteros convertat, ipsum, in quantum nobis a Domino
collata est potestas, anathematis innodamus vinculo et hujus
retributionem sceleris a justo judice suscipiat in futuro. Quicunque
autem possessiones easdem conservare et pro suarum modulo facultatum,
quia valuit Zachee rerum suarum multa distributio, valuerunt etiam vidue
minuta duo, et regnum Dei tantum valet quantum homines, augmentare
curaverunt, omnium se orationum totiusque beneficii ecclesie beate
Michaelis de Monte in Normannia participes esse sciant.

He sunt possessiones quas ex dono comitis Roberti de Mortenio ecclesia
beati Michaelis de Cornubia tenet: Tremaine, ubi ad duas carucas terra
sufficiens habetur: Trahorabohc, ubi ad tres; Listyavehet, ubi ad tres;
Treganeis, ubi ad duas; Carmahelech, ubi ad duas. Adjacet terra preter
pascua ad omnia animalia necessaria; que simul caruce xii faciunt.


                             GENERAL INDEX

 Aethelred, Bp., 67

 Aethelred, King, 68

 _Age of the Saints_, 38

 Agnes, St., 111, 115

 Aldestow (Padstow), 56

 Aldhelm, St., 56, 57, 80

 Alet, 78 n.

 Alfred, King, 56, 64, 82, 128

 Allen, St. (Alun), 90, 91, 92

 Almodis, Countess, 157

 Aluuarton (Alverton), 67 n.

 Amaneth, 82, 145, 154, 160, 173

 Amber traffic, 23, 26

 Ancestors, direct and collateral, 16

 Angers, 113

 Anglesey, 32, 80

 Anne, St., d’Auray, 48

 Annunciation, Feast of, 13 n.

 Anschitill, 145, 172

 Anthony, St., in R., 81, 105, 115

 Anwyl, Prof., 31 n.

 Apollo, 29

 Apparitions of St. Michael, 165, 167

 Aqua, De, Roger, 136

 Armorica, 44, 50, 51, 52, 82, 95

 Armorican parishes, 54

 Arscott, John, 143 n.

 Arthurian romances, 42.

 Ascension, Feast of, 13 n.

 Asser, 64, 81, 129 n.

 Athelgeard, Bp., 67

 Athelstan, King, 65, 66, 85, 88, 94, 108

 Athens, 95

 Attis, 6

 Aubert, St., 167

 Aubyn, St., Col., 168

 Augustine, St., of Canterbury, 58

 Augustinian Order, 58, 60, 60 n., 107, 108, 115, 116

 Australia, 9

 Avebury, Lord, 26 n.

 Avranches, 146, 167

 Axe, sacred, 23, 24

 Aztec communion, 5

 Bacchantes, 33

 Bacchus, St., 115

 Baltic, 26

 Bangor in Ireland, 71

 Bangor Iscoed, 53, 58

 Baring-Gould, S., 80

 Basset, Sir Francis, 168

 Bayeux, 115

 Bayon, Le, Abbé, 49

 Beaulieu, Convent of, 109

 Bede, 50, 53, 57

 Beltane, 6

 Benedictine Order, 58, 59, 114, 116, 163, 167

 Berewyk, De, John, 119

 Bernard, Abbot, 157, 175

 Berner, 110

 Berrien, 95

 Bertrand, Alexandre, 29

 Bethel, 21

 _Beunans Meriasek_, 46, 47

 Birch, Dr., 28

 Black Canons, 60

 Bleu Bridge, 39

 Blohiu (Bloyou), 41, 150, 152, 155

 Bodinnick, 126

 Bodmin, 42, 60, 125, 137, 165

 Bodmin Gospels, 67

 Bodmin prebend, 116

 Bodrugan family, 116

 _Boéh-er-goèd_, 48

 Bonevylle, Sir W., 137

 Borlase, Dr. W., 37, 131, 132

 Borlase, W. C., 22 n., 38, 85, 132

 Boson, John, 134, 142 n.

 Botreaux, Wm., 113

 Bracey, Robt., 126, 165

 Breage, St., 77, 85

 Brendan, St., 111

 Breock, St., 73

 Breton immigrants, 43-45

 Breton nobles, 41

 Brian, Earl, 154

 Bridget, St., 60

 Bridget, St., Convent of, 137

 Bridgettines, 163, 168

 Brient, 41

 Brismar, 148, 150, 151, 154

 British saints, 52

 Brittany, 37-49, 82, 86

 Britton, surname, 45

 Briwer, Bp., 109, 112, 113

 Bronescombe, Bp., 88, 107, 109, 112, 115, 116, 117

 Bronze Age, 20, 24

 Bronze bull, 24, 28

 Bronze celts, 22

 Bronze disc, 23

 Brychan, St. (Brokan), 166

 Budock, 39, 73

 Bulgaroo, 10

 Bull, sacred, 23, 24

 Burgald, Bp., 114

 Burhwold (Burthwold), 67, 68, 75, 76, 76 n.

 Burneir, 71, 73

 Buryan, St., 21, 22 n., 47, 65, 66, 85, 90, 91, 93, 94, 105, 108, 154

 Buttel-Reepen, Dr., 11

 Cadgwith, 159

 Cadoc, St., 30 n., 142, 148

 Caer, 70

 Caerhayes, 144

 Calamansack (Colemanshegg), 130

 Callestock, 65 n.

 Callington, 65

 Camborne, 44

 Cambridge, 168

 Canterbury, 64, 147

 Cardinan, 41, 92

 Cardynham, 126

 Careg Cowse, 142

 Carew, Richard, 7, 47

 Cargol, 72

 Carnarvon, 92

 Carnyorth, 125 n., 161 n.

 Carthage, 28

 Carvallack (Carmailoc), 145, 158, 160, 161, 173, 176

 Carzou (Carthew), 44

 Cassiterides, 28

 Ceen Cruaich, 33

 Celtic invasion, 25

 Celtic monastery, 63

 Celts, the, 18-30

 Ceolnoth, Abp., 64, 79

 Ceres, 94

 Chad, St., 62

 Chapel Carn Brea, 131, 132, 133, 144

 Chapel Uny, 124

 Cheus, St., 105, 110 n., 118

 Chichester, Bp. Robert, 158

 Chittlehampton, 91

 Choschet, 145, 172

 Christianisation of stones, 35

 Christmas, 12

 Chûn Quoit, 20

 Church and foreign rites, 16

 Chysauster, 63 n.

 Clay, R. M., 122, 132

 Clement, St., of Alexandria, 13

 Clerk, Thomas, 163

 Clether, St., 125

 Clonard, 53, 59

 Cnut, King, 67, 68, 69, 75, 76, 76 n.

 Coelling, 64, 65

 Coincidence, 1-17

 Columba, St., 52

 Comoere, Bp., 63, 67

 Conan, Bp., 63, 65, 66

 Conarton, 84

 Constantine, St., 105, 118

 Corentin, St. (Cury), 53, 85

 Corlay (Côtes du Nord), 92

 Cornish dedications, 55

 Cornish drama, 39

 _Cornish Grammar_, 39

 Cornish language, 51

 Cornouaille, 52, 93

 Cornwall, Royal Institution of, 38, 48 n.

 Côtes du Nord, 51, 91

 Coulthard, Rev. H. R., 142

 Coutances, Robert, Bp. of, 145, 172

 Cranmer, Abp., 143 n.

 Crantock, St., 105, 108, 109

 Crediton, 64, 67, 68, 73, 74, 76, 87, 88

 Cromwell, T., 44

 Cross, 35

 Crosses, Cornish, 36

 Crousa Downs, 162

 Crows-an-Wra, 134

 Cuby, St., 80, 115

 Cypris, 94

 Cyprus, 95

 Cyriacus Priory, St., 105, 113

 Daniel, Bp., 63

 Dante, 158

 David, St., 58

 Davies Gilbert, 138

 Déchelette, M. Joseph, xii, xiii, 24, 26 n., 29, 35 n.

 Deduction, 4

 _De Excidio_, 62

 Denmark, 23

 Dennis, Little, 85 n.

 Dennis (Denys), St., 90, 91, 92

 Derbyshire Dedications, 55

 Dê Zil, 30

 Dinan, 92

 Dinan, De, Roland, 42

 Dinas, 91

 Dinoot, 58

 Diusul, 30 n., 142

 Dinuurrin (Dingerein), 64, 79, 80

 Diodorus Siculus, 23, 141

 Dionysius, 92

 Dis Pater, 29

 Dissolution of religious houses, 108

 Docco, 33, 119

 Dol, 59

 Dollebeare, Walter, 136

 Domesday Book, 59, 76, 77, 79, 81, 83, 90, 105, 112, 147

 Donan, Bp., 66

 Druidical worship, 32

 Druids, 31, 57

 Drycarn, 21

 Duchesne, Mgr., 97

 Dugdale, Sir W., 104, 146

 Duine, L’Abbé, 97 n., 170

 Dumnonia, 51, 52, 56, 80

 Dumnonian exodus, 41, 51

 Eadulf, Bp., 64, 65, 73

 Ealdred, Bp., 67, 68

 Easter, 8

 Easter controversy, 56, 80

 Ebenezer, 21

 Edgar, King, 119, 162

 Edmund, Earl, 134

 Edward the Confessor, 69, 75, 76, 77, 81, 82, 85, 88, 109, 112, 145,

 Edward the Elder, 73

 Edward, King, 114

 Egbert, King, 54, 64

 Eglos, 39

 Eglosberria (Eglosveryan), 93, 94

 Egloshayle, 73, 74, 91

 Egloskerry, 39

 Eglosrôs, 91

 Eglostudic, 79 n., 90

 Egyptians, 30

 Endellion, 105, 116, 117

 Epiphany, 13

 Eponyms, 94

 Erth, St., 86, 91, 121

 Ervan, St., 73

 Escop, 39

 Eucharist, 5

 Eval, St., 73, 79

 Evans, Sir A., 21

 Evolution, 3

 Evolution of Dio. B’pric., 70-89

 Exeter, 64, 65, 69, 112

 Exeter, D. and C. of, 72, 77, 78, 111

 Eynesbury, 128

 Ezekiel, 27 n.

 Falmouth, 73

 Fauna, pre-glacial, 11

 Fawtier, M., 33 n., 96 n., 97 n., 169

 Fentongollen, 72

 Fetich, 35

 Finistère, 51, 91, 99

 Finnian, St., 53

 Fisherman’s proverb, 2

 Fitz Ive family, 77

 Fitz Turold, R., 41, 71, 115

 Forsnewth, 74

 Fowey, 165

 Freeman, Prof., 145, 148

 Fulcard, 72, 78

 Gades, 27

 Galatia, 25

 Galicia, 57

 Garganus, 167

 Gasquet, Card., 60

 Gennys, St., 120, 126

 Gerecrist (Kergrist), 44, 45

 German, St., 58, 59, 69, 139

 Germans, St., 65, 66, 68, 71, 74, 75, 79, 81, 87, 88, 105, 107, 153

 Gerrans, 72, 73, 79, 80, 81, 87, 105, 115, 116

 Geruntius (Geraint, Gerennius), 56, 79, 80

 Gildas, 50, 58, 62

 Glasney, 105, 117

 Glastonbury, 116, 127

 Gluvias, St., 73

 Godfrey, 72

 Godman, Roger, 135

 Godric the priest, 118

 Goran, St. (Guron), 105

 Gorgon, Mount, 165

 Gougaud, Dom, 26 n., 33 n., 39

 Grade, 82

 Grandisson, Bp., 107

 Gregory, Pope, 146, 148, 156, 164, 165, 166

 Gregory, St., 167

 Guenoc, St., 84

 Guerir, St., 82, 128

 Gulval, 63 n., 75, 77, 86, 121

 Gunwalloe (_see_ Winwaloe), 85

 Guron (Goran), 125

 Gwavas, Lake, 93

 Gwethnoc (Guethnoc), 98, 99

 Gwinear, 22

 Gwithian, 63

 Haddan, Mr., 38, 62, 76 n.

 Haddan and Stubbs, 66, 67, 78 n.

 Hadton, Dom, 46

 Hals, 131

 Hamelin, 75

 Hamstoke, 75

 Hardicanute, 146

 Harold, Earl, 82, 160

 Hartland, Abbot Philip of, 136

 Hecatæus, 25, 26

 Helston, 105, 117

 Hengestisdun, 66

 Henoc, 33

 Henry I, 112, 113, 119, 145, 156, 173, 174

 Henry II, 112, 120

 Henry IV, 168

 Henry V, 168

 Heresy, 17

 Hermit of Chapel Carn Brea, 133

 Hermits, 122-140

 Hilary, St., 22, 30 n., 40, 139

 Hingeston-Randolph, F. C., 38, 76 n.

 Houl, 30

 Hyperboreans, 25

 Ia, St., 86, 90, 91

 Iberians, 23

 Ictis, 141

 Illogan, 86

 Iltut, 58, 92

 Induction, 4

 Ingunger, St., 124

 _Inquisitio Geldi_, 93, 147

 _Inquisitio Nonarum_, 92, 108, 116

 _Inspeximi_, 104 n.

 Iona, 60

 Ireland, 61, 64

 Irish influence, 85

 Irish missionaries, 86

 Iron Age, 24

 Issey, St., 73

 Ives, St., 91, 95

 Jacobstow, 56

 Jenner, H., 30 n., 37, 39, 63 n., 84, 133, 162

 Jetwells, 124

 John, King, 112

 John the Baptist, St., 13

 Jordan, 21

 Jovin, 41

 Judhel, 41

 Julius Cæsar, 29

 Jumièges, Robert of, 160

 Just, St., in Penwith, 22, 30 n., 47, 48, 86, 121, 124, 131

 Just, St., in Roseland, 73, 80

 Kea, St., 121

 Kenstec, Bp., 63, 64, 79, 80, 87, 88

 Kerrier, 84, 159, 160

 Kestlemerris, 162

 Keverne, St., (Achebran), 82, 85, 109, 110, 162

 Kew, St., 33, 98, 105, 119, 120

 Keyne, St., 125, 142

 Kieran, St., 85, 111

 Kildare, 60

 Kilter’s insurrection, 85 n.

 Lafrowda, 86, 121

 Lagge, Richard, 136

 Laminster, 113

 Lammana, 116

 Lamprobus (Lanbrabois), 112

 Lan, 40, 53, 70, 121

 Lanadleth, 78 n.

 Landegy, 53, 121

 Landévennec, 71, 84

 Landewednack, 82, 84

 Landithy, 53, 86, 121

 Landivick, 82

 Landrake, 68, 75

 Land’s End, 81, 132

 Landulph, 75

 Langorock, 109

 Languihenoc, 98, 99, 105

 Langunnet, 121

 Langweath, 82

 Lanhadron, 121

 Lanherne (Lanherneu), 53, 71, 72, 78, 121

 Lanhydrock, 53, 79

 Lanisley (Landicla), 53, 71, 75, 77, 78, 86, 87, 121

 Lanlivery, 135

 Lanow (Landoho, Tohou), 119, 120

 Lanpiran, 110

 Lanreath, 126

 Lanteglos-by-Fowey, 26, 39

 Lantenning, 82

 Lanudno, 86, 121

 Lanverrien, 95

 Lanyhorne, 121

 Lanyon Quoit, 20

 Lawhitton (Landuuithan), 64, 65, 71, 74, 79, 81

 Leland, 65, 109, 125, 161

 Lelant (Lananta), 22, 91, 95, 121

 Leo III, Pope, 60 n.

 Leofric, Bp., 57, 69, 75, 76, 76 n., 78, 107, 146, 148, 156, 174

 Leoghaire, 14

 Léon, 59, 95

 Lerins, 139

 Lesneage (_see_ Lismanoch), 162

 Levan, St., 86, 125

 Levan, St., Lord, 168

 Lezant (Lansant), 74, 121

 Ligurians, 23

 Lisieux, Herbert, Bp. of, 145, 172

 Liskeard, 105, 117, 135

 Lismanoch, 145, 160, 161, 162, 173

 Listyavehet, 161, 163, 176

 Lives of the Saints, 95-99

 Lizard, 81, 82, 85

 Llantwit, 58, 70

 Looe Island, 116

 Loring, Sir Nigel, 152

 Lostwithiel, 7

 Loth, J., 37, 39, 42, 51, 54, 82 n., 91, 94, 96 n., 97 n., 119, 143,

 Lucy, St., 68

 Ludgvan, 152, 157

 Lunaire, 52

 Lupus, St., 139

 Lyfing, Bp., 67, 68, 76

 Lysons, Messrs., 113

 Mabe, 73

 Maclean, Sir J., 58, 60 n., 107

 Madron, 44, 45, 63, 86, 121, 125

 Magloire, 52

 Magpie, 1

 Mainen Escop, 39

 Maitland, F. W., 84

 Malmesbury, William of, 67

 Malo, St., 52, 97

 Manaccan, 82, 105, 119, 161

 Mancant (Maucant), 66

 Mancus, St., 126

 Manumissions, 67

 Map of Bishop’s manors, 83

 Marazion, 132, 155, 165

 Marhamchurch, 136, 137

 Marnarch, St., 127

 Marny’s prebend, 116

 Mars, 29

 Marseilles, 28, 140

 Martin of Ossory, St., 111

 Martin in Meneage, St., 161

 Matilda, Queen, 145, 148, 155, 173, 174

 Matthews, J. H., 43 n.

 Mawgan, St., in M., 22

 Mawgan, St., in P., 78

 Mawnan (Minster), 105, 116, 119

 May-day, 6

 Megalithic remains, 20

 Melyn, 126

 Meneage, 82, 85, 147, 161

 Men-er-Hroeck, 21

 Mercury, 29

 Meriasek, St., 46, 53

 Merther, 73

 Merthian, St., 113

 Merton Priory, 115

 Methleigh (Matela), 71, 72, 77, 85

 Methodism, 102

 Mewan, St., 42, 52

 Michael of Lammana, St., 105, 116

 Michael Penkevil, St., 105, 117, 144

 Michael in Periculo Maris, St., 143, 145

 Michael’s Mount, St., 30 n., 82, 85, 105, 107, 130, 141-168, 172-176

 Midsummer fires, 13

 Mill Mehal, 163

 Minerva, 29

 Minoan symbolism, 35

 Minster (Talkarn), 105, 113

 Modret family, 116

 Monastery-bishoprics, 58-69

 _Monasticon_, 76 n., 104, 172-176

 Mons Tumba, 143

 Montacute Priory, 109, 113

 Montgomery, De, Roger, 146, 174

 Mont St. Michel, 143, 146, 158

 Moreske, 129

 Mortain, Count Robert of, 75, 82, 84, 108, 109, 118, 145, 149, 157,
    160, 173, 174

 Mortain, Count William of, 109, 113, 145, 148, 149, 174

 Mortain, Countess Matilda of, 145, 174

 Morwinstow, 56

 Moys, Cecilia, 136;
   Lucy, 137

 Mybbard, St., 126

 Mylor, 73

 Mystery and miracle plays, 46, 47

 Nan, 53

 Nancekuke (Lancichuc), 53, 74, 86

 Nancherrow, 125 n.

 Nansladron (_see_ Lanhadron), 53, 77

 Nature worship, 22, 22 n.

 Neolithic period, 20

 Neot, St., 81, 82, 105, 118, 127, 128

 Neotstou, 56, 118

 Newlyn, 72

 Nigell the sheriff, 145, 172

 Nodens, 29

 Nominoë, 64

 Nonn, St., 113

 Norden, John, 138, 167

 Norris, E., 39

 Norwich, 163

 Norwich, Walter Bp. of, 126

 Noyal-Pontivy, 47

 Odo, 110

 Ogrin, 129

 Oliver, Dr., 104, 146

 Olympus, 29

 Oman, Prof., 32 n., 35 n.

 _Ordinalia_, 46

 Osborn, Fitz, Wm., 146, 174

 Otterton, 143, 161, 175

 Pace eggs, 8

 Padstow, 73

 Palæolithic age, 19

 Pallas Athene, 94

 Pares, 40

 Parish Registers, 38

 Pascha, 7

 Paschal fire, 14

 Pask-bian, 6

 Passover, the Christian, 5-9

 Passover, the Jewish, 7

 Patrick, St., 33, 53, 58, 59

 Patrick’s fire, St., 14

 Paugan, Andrew, 131

 Paul (Pol Aurelian), St., 52, 58, 86, 90, 91, 93, 97

 Paul, Rev. F. W., 170

 Pawton (Pollton), 64, 65, 71, 73, 74, 79, 81, 87, 117

 Pedngwinion, 84

 Pelagian heresy, 139

 Pelyn (Penlyn), 135

 Pelynt (Plunent), 39, 113

 Penmargh, Thomas, 131

 Pennight (Penkneth), 135

 Penryn, 72, 77, 79, 80, 164

 Pentecost, 13 n.

 Penwerris (Camwerris), 72

 Penwith, 43-45, 85, 86

 Penzance, 92

 Peran (Piran), St., 59, 85, 105, 110

 Perranuthnoe, 86

 Perranzabuloe, 47, 63, 65 n.

 Peter, Thurstan C., 47, 48 n., 117 n.

 Petherick, Little, 73

 Petherwyn, South, 74, 75

 Petrock, St., 42, 59, 60 n., 68, 69, 73, 78, 79, 84, 88, 98, 105-107,
    125, 153

 Philip, St., of Restormel, 134, 135

 Philleigh, 91

 Phœnicians, 27, 30

 Pilgrims, 167

 Piran, St. (_see_ St. Peran)

 Plegmund, Abp., 64, 88

 Pleu, 39

 Plevin, 91, 95

 Pliny, 142

 Ploubezre, 143

 Plougasnou, 47

 Plouyé, 95

 Plumergat, 47

 Pluneret, 47

 Pluvathack, 39

 Pluvigner, 47

 Plympton, 116, 119, 120

 Polycarp, 8

 Porthallow, 162

 Poundstock, 126

 Powder, 72, 126

 Prah Sands, 19

 Pridden, 22 n.

 Probus, St., 59, 105, 112

 Propithecanthropi, 11

 Proteus animalcule, 2

 Pydar (Pider), 74, 81

 Pytheas, 26

 Queensland, 10

 _Quia emptores_, 77

 Quivel, Bp., 115

 Ralph, 145, 172

 Rame Head, 144

 Raner, Count, 158

 Redon cartulary, 92

 Redruth, 47, 91

 Reginald, Earl of C., 108

 Reid, Clement, 19, 141, 142

 Relics of St. Piran, 111

 Resemblance, 1-17

 Respeth (Respegh), 161 n.

 Restormel, 135

 _Revue Celtique_, 38

 Rhys, Sir John, 31

 Rialton, 73 n.

 Richard, hermit, 130

 Richard, King of the Romans, 108, 109, 116

 Richard II, 76 n.

 Rillaton (Rieltone), 73

 Robert of Pelyn, St., 134, 135

 Roche Rock, 137, 138

 Rolland, Archdn., 77

 Roman milestone, 30 n.

 Rome, 95

 Romulus, 94

 Roseworthy, 86 n.

 Rouen, Robert, Abp. of, 145, 146, 172

 Round, J. H., 145, 149, 154

 Rowtor, 144

 Ruan Lanyhorne, 73

 Ruan Minor, 159

 Ruminella, 145, 159, 172

 Sainguilant, 90

 Sainguinas, 90

 Saints, Cornish, 90-103

 Saints, Lives of, 96-99

 Salisbury, Earl of, 168

 Salvation Army, 3

 Sampson, St., 33, 52, 58, 59, 93, 97, 98, 119, 169

 Sancreed, 22 n.

 Saxon invasion, 50, 51

 Scandinavia, 23

 Scilly, 28, 39, 105, 113, 114, 133

 Selyf, 80, 86

 Sergius, St., 113, 115

 Shepherd’s proverb, 2

 Sherborne, 64

 Sicily, 95

 Solenny, De, John, 116

 Southill, 136

 Stafford, Bp., 136

 Stephen’s in B., St., 92

 Stephen’s by L., St., 59, 74, 79, 82, 105, 107, 108, 153

 Stephens, W. J., 43 n.

 Stival, 47

 Stokes, Whitley, 37

 Stubbs, W., 38

 Subsidy Roll, 43

 Suetonius Paulinus, 32

 Sunday, 30

 Sun worship, 23, 26, 30, 95

 Swan, 23

 Swastika, 35

 Tacitus, 32

 Talkarn or Minster, 105

 Talland, 116

 Tammuz, 6, 9

 Tara, 14

 Tarshish, 27

 Tavistock abbey, 114, 165

 _Taxatio_ of Pope Nicholas IV., 72, 75, 77, 78, 79, 81, 115

 Teath, St., 105, 117, 137

 Tedinton, 84

 Teilo, St., 80

 Thegns, 84, 160

 Theodore, Abp., 54

 Thirteen, the number, 1

 Timæus, 142

 Tiniel, 68, 75

 Tinten, 71, 79

 Tol Pedn Penwith, 133

 Tolverne, 72

 Tombelaine, 143 n.

 Tonsure controversy, 56, 80

 Traboe (Trevelaboth), 145, 158, 160, 161, 173, 176

 Treganeis (_see_ Trequaners), 158, 161, 176

 Tregeare (Tregaher, Trocair), 72, 79, 80

 Tregebri, 110

 Tregeseal, 30 n.

 Tregevas (_see_ Trequaners), 161

 Tregony, 105, 114, 115

 Tréguier, 52, 59

 Trehaverock prebend, 116

 Treiwal, 149, 150, 151, 152

 Trejagu, De, Sir John, 117

 Trelew, 22 n.

 Trelonk, 72

 Treluswell (Treliuel), 71, 72

 Tremaruustel, 118

 Trematon Castle, 75

 Tremayne (Tremaine), 158, 161, 176

 Trengwainton, 86 n.

 Trenuggo, 22 n.

 Trequaners, 145, 160, 161, 173

 Trescobeas, 39

 Trethewell, 79

 Treveneage (Trevanaek), 82 n., 162

 Trevennal, 72

 Trewell (Tregel), 71, 72

 Trigg, 33, 56, 64, 98

 Tripcony, John, 77

 _Tristan and Iseult_, 42, 129

 Truro, 105, 106

 _Truro Diocesan Kalendar_, 63

 Truthall (Treuthal, Truthwall), 151, 155, 157

 Tucoyes, 118

 Tudy, St., 79

 Turold of Tavistock, 114

 Turstin, 145, 146, 172, 174

 Turulf, 146, 174

 Tutwal, St., 52, 59, 93, 97

 Tyre, 27

 Tyttesburry, Richard, 137

 Tywardreath, 105, 115

 Udno (Goueznou), 86

 Uny, St., 90, 91, 124

 Ushant, 165

 Valle, De, abbey of, 115

 Valletort, Reginald, 75

 _Valor Ecclesiasticus_, 75, 78

 Vannes, 47

 Veep, St., 113

 Vennefire, 145, 159, 172

 Venton—east, 125

 Vere, De, John, 163

 Veryan, St., 94

 Vinfred, 145, 159, 172

 Vyvyan, Sir Richard, 85 n.

 Wales, 64

 Ware, 163

 Warelwast, Bp. Robert, 72

 Warelwast, Bp. Wm., 60, 107, 108, 119

 Warin, 146, 174

 Wessex, kingdom of, 52, 57, 62

 Wihumar, 41, 118

 Wilfrid, St., 81

 William the Conqueror, 145, 173, 174

 William Rufus, 145, 156, 173, 174

 William of Worcester, 126, 142, 143, 145, 163-167

 Willow, St. (Vylloc), 126

 Wini, Bp., 62

 Winniau, St., 119, 120

 Winnington (Wineton, Winianton), 84, 159, 160

 Winnow, St. (Winnuc), 71, 78

 Winwaloe, St., 84, 86, 97

 Woodward, Dr. A. S., 12, 19 n.

 Wulfnod Rumancant, 162

 Wulfsige, Bp., 67


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