Now, Cornwall being cast out into the Sea, with the shape of a horne, borrowed the one part of her name from her fashion, as Matthew of Westminster testifieth, and the other from her Inhabitants; both which conjoyned, make Cornwalliae, and contriued, Cornwall: in which sence, the Cornish people call it Kernow, deriued likewise from Kerne a home. Neither needeth this composition to be accompted any way vncouth, seeing the same is made familiar vnto vs by the like in other Countries, as of Herbipolis in Germanie, Lombardie in Italy, Paleocastrum in Crete, and Neoportus in Carniola: all which, with many other, are likewise compacted of double languages.

This ill-halfening hornie name, hath (as Corneto in Italy) opened a gap to the scoffes of many, who not knowing their owne present condition, or at least their future destinie, can be contented to draw an odious mirth from a publike infamie. But seeing the wisest Enditer, hath directed the penne of his holiest writers to vse this terme, not only in a good meaning, but also in a significant sense, and to sanctifie the thing itselfe in sundrie parts of his seruice: such iesters dishonest indiscretion is rather charitably to bee pittied, then their exception either angerly to be grieued at, or seriously to bee confuted.

I am not ignorant, how sorely the whole storie of Brute, is shaken by some of our late writers, and how stiffely supported by other some: as also that this wrastling pull betweene Corineus and Gogmagog, is reported to have befallen at Douer. For mine owne part, though I reuerence antiquitie, and reckon it a kind of wrong, to exact an ouer-strict reason for all that which vpon credite shee deliuereth; yet I rather incline to their side, who would warrant her authoritie by apparant veritie. Notwithstanding, in this question, I will not take on me the person of either Iudge, or stickler: and therefore if there bee any so plunged in the common floud, as they will still gripe fast, what they haue once caught hold on, let them sport themselves with these coniectures, vpon which mine auerment in behalf of Plymmouth is grounded. The place where Brute is said to haue first landed, was Totnes in Cornwall, and therefore this wrastling likely to haue chaunced there, sooner then elsewhere. The Prouince bestowed on Corineus for this exployt, was Cornwall. It may then be presumed, that he receiued in reward the place where hee made proofe of his worth, and whose prince (for so with others I take Gogmagog to have beene) hee had conquered, euen as Cyrus recompenced Zopirus with the Citie Babylon [Herodotus], which his policie had recouered. Againe, the actiuitie of Deuon and Cornishmen, in this facultie of wrastling, beyond those of other Shires, dooth seeme to deriue them a speciall pedigree, from that graund wrastler [3] Corineus. Moreouer, vpon the Hawe at Plymmouth, there is cut out in the ground, the pourtrayture of two men, the one bigger, the other lesser, with Clubbes in their hands, (whom they terme Gog-Magog) and (as I haue learned) it is renewed by order of the Townesmen, when cause requireth, which should inferre the same to bee a monument of some moment. And lastly the place, hauing a steepe cliffe adioyning, affordeth an oportunitie to the fact. But of this too much.

Cornwall is seated (as most men accompt) in the Latitude of fiftie degrees, and thirtie minutes; and in the Longitude of sixe.

The Shire extendeth in length to about seuentie miles: the breadth, as almost no where equall, so in the largest place, it passeth not thirtie, in the middle twentie, and in the narrowest of the West part, three. The whole compasse may hereby be coniectured.

It bordereth on the East with Deuon, divided therefrom, in most places, by the ryuer Tamer, which springing neere the North Sea, at Hartland in Deuon, runneth thorow Plymmouth Hauen, into the South. For the rest, the maine Ocean sundreth the same, on the North from Ireland, on the West from the Ilands of Scilley, and on the South from little Britaine.

The Survey of Cornwall Page 11

Richard Carew

16th Century Literature

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Richard Carew
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