These borders now thus straightned, did once extend so wide, as that they enabled their inclosed territorie, with the title of a kingdome. Polidore Virgil allotteth it the fourth part of the whole Iland, and the ancient Chronicles report, that Brute landed at Totnes in Cornwall, a Towne now seated in the midst of Deuon. Moreover, vntill Athelstanes time, the Cornish-men bare equal sway in Excester with the English: for hee it was who hemmed them within their present limits. Lastly, the encroaching Sea hath rauined from it, the whole Countrie of Lionnesse, together with diuers other parcels of no little circuite: and that such a Lionnesse there was, these proofes are yet remaining. The space between the lands end, and the Iles of Scilley, being about thirtie miles, to this day retaineth that name, in Cornish Lethowsow, and carrieth continually an equall depth of fortie or sixtie fathom (a thing not vsuall in the Seas proper Dominion) saue that about the midway, there lieth a Rocke, which at low water discouereth his head. They terme it the Gulfe, suiting thereby the other name of Scilla. Fishermen also casting their hookes thereabouts, haue drawn vp peeces of doores and windowes. Moreouer, the ancient name of Saint Michaels Mount, was Caraclowse in Cowse, in English, The hoare Rocke in the Wood: which now is at euerie floud incompassed by the Sea, and yet at some low ebbes, rootes of mightie trees are discryed in the sands about it. The like ouer- flowing hath happened in Plymmouth Hauen, and diuers other places.

In this situation, though nature hath shouldred out Cornwall into the farthest part of the Realme, and so besieged it with the Ocean, that, as a demie Iland in an Iland, the Inhabitants find but one way of issue by land: yet hath shee in some good measure, counteruailed such disaduantage, through placing it, both neere vnto, and in the trade way betweene Wales, Ireland, Spaine, France, & Netherland. The neerenesse helpeth them, with a shorter cut, lesse peril, and meaner charge, to vent forth and make returne of those commodities, which their [4] owne, or either of those Countries doe afford: the lying in the way, bringeth forraine shipping to claime succour at their harbours, when, either outward, or homeward bound, they are checked by an East, South, or South-east wind: and where the Horse walloweth, some haires will still remaine. Neither is it to bee passed ouer without regard, that these remote quarters, lie not so open to the inuasions of forraine enemies, or spoyles of ciuil tumults, as other more inward parts of the Realme, which being seated neerer the heart, are sooner sought, and earlyer ransacked in such troublesome times: or if the Countries long naked sides, offer occasion of landing to any aduerse shipping, her forementioned inward naturall strength, increased by so many Lanes and Inclosures, straightneth the same to a preying onely vpon the outward Skirts by some pettie fleetes: For the danger of farder piercing, will require the protection of a greater force for execution, then can there be counteruailed with the benefit of any bootie, or conquest, were they sure to preuaile. And if to bee free from a dammage, may passe for a commoditie, I can adde, that the far distance of this Countie from the Court, hath heretofore afforded it a Supersedeas from takers & Purueyours: for if they should fetch any prouision from thence, well it might be marked with the visard of her Highnes prerogatiue, but the same would verie slenderly turne to the benefit of her Majesties house keeping: for the foulenesse and vneasinesse of the waies, the little mould of Cornish cattel, and the great expence of driuing them, would defaulke as much from the iuft price to the Queene, at the deliuering, as it did from the owners at the taking. Besides that, her Highnesse shipping should heerethrough bee defrauded of often supplies, which these parts afford vnto them.

Vpon which reasons, some of the Purueyours attempts, heretofore through the suite of the Countrie, the sollicitation of Sir Richard Gremuile, the credite of the Lord Warden, and the graciousnesse of our Soueraigae, were reuoked and suppressed, and the same vnder her Highnesse priuie Seale confirmed.

The Survey of Cornwall Page 12

Richard Carew

16th Century Literature

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Richard Carew
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