In his introduction to Celtic Cornwall, the author writes:
“Observers have tried to debunk Cornish Celticity
over the years, claiming that after the Anglo-Saxon
invasions and the Norman Conquest then, in effect,
Cornwall ceased to be truly Celtic. This assertion is
wrong on several levels because fundamentally it
seems to lack recognition of the resistance of Cornish
people over time to reconfigure and re-negotiate
their Celtic identity. It is also assumes a kind of
assimilation and integration into England which has
clearly not fully occurred. Resistance has been there
in many different ways across the centuries, and it
is still there in the twenty-first century. The entries in
this book confirm this. They also deny the sceptics.”
The Celtic peoples of Europe, despite subjugation by
more powerful nations, have retained their essential
‘difference’, a remarkable tribute to their resilience and
a phenomenon celebrated in what today is known as
the Celtic Revival. Nowhere is this feeling stronger than
in Cornwall which, in spite of (or perhaps because of?)
losing its native language and parts of its distinctive
identity, marches at the head of this revivalism.
But who were the ‘real’ Celts and what actually
remains of their legacy in Cornwall? It is these questions
that Alan Kent sets out to answer in this book.
Exploring the sites associated with the Celts, both in
ancient and in more modern times, he provides the
reader with a fascinating insight into the landscape, life
and traditions that have made Cornwall and its people
The contemporary photography of Jan Beare,
combined with many historic images, adds immensely
to the visual impact of the book and provides for the
reader a ready-made guide to sites they can visit and
explore for themselves.
Alan M. Kent was born in St Austell,
Cornwall. He now lectures in Literature for
the Open University in South-West Britain.
He is a prize-winning poet, novelist and
dramatist. His most recent titles include
Proper Job, Charlie Curnow! (Halsgrove, 2005), Stannary
Parliament (2006), Nativitas Christi (2006)
and Oogly es Sin (2007) and Electric
Pastyland (Halsgrove, 2007) and Voodoo Pilchard
(Halsgrove, 2010). He has written extensively on the
literary and cultural history of Cornwall
and further titles include Cousin Jack’s
Mouth-organ: Travels in Cornish America
(2004), The Dreamt Sea: An Anthology of
Anglo-Cornish Poetry 1928-2004 (2004),
Assassin of Grammar (2005) and a new
verse translation of the trilogy of Cornish
mystery plays known as Ordinalia (2005).
Jan Beare is a Cornishman who, following
a career in teaching, devoted much of
his time to photography. His love of the
Cornish landscape and his impeccable eye
and patience in waiting for the best shot
add up to a portfolio of exceptional
images, each with his individual stamp.
He provided many of the photographs in
Craig Weatherhill’s award winning study
of Cornwall’s archaeological sites, Cornovia,
also published by Halsgrove.
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 078 7, hardback, 238x258mm, 288 pages. Published July 2012.