Fierce independence, a collective determination and
a conviction in their individuality, sets the Cornish
people apart. In his poem Song of the Western
Men, Parson Hawker celebrated the anger felt in the
county in 1688 by supporters of Bishop Trelawny
who was unjustly imprisoned in the Tower by King
James. The song is still sung with pride and passion as
the ‘Cornish National Anthem’, encapsulating the
indomitable spirit of the Cornish character and their
instinct to protect their own.
Along with the Trelawnys, each of the principal
Cornish families has its own fascinating story which
forms part of the rich heritage of Cornwall
confirming its distinctiveness from its neighbours.
The Great Cornish Families relates the history of
twenty-two families, their houses and estates, and
describes within the context of national history the
part each has played in the politics, commerce and
the arts of their day.
Great Cornish Families is dedicated to that great
historian and man of letters, Dr A.L. Rowse, himself
pre-eminent among the sons of Cornwall, and who
was instrumental in persuading the author to undertake
this much-needed book upon its original publication.
Here, presented in a new edition, is an
accessible study of the vital role played by the great
families of Cornwall in shaping the affairs of the
county and the nation, studying their ups and downs;
their great men and women as well as the odd black
The late Crispin Gill came from
Cornish stock, although he was born
and educated in Plymouth, and from
school went straight to the editorial
staff of the Western Morning News, of
which he was Assistant Editor for over
twenty years. During his lifetime he
produced many books of which
The Great Cornish Families is among
the most enduring.
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 083 1, hardback, 214x230mm, 144 pages. Published 1995, reprinted 2000 and May 2011.