Order Inspection Copy

To order an inspection copy of this book you must be an Academic or Teacher. Please complete this form before adding to cart. To fulfill your inspection copy request, we require the following information about your position and campus.

* Required Fields

To complete your Inspection Copy Request you will need to click the Checkout button in the right margin and complete the checkout formalities. You can include Inspection Copies and purchased items in the same shopping cart, see our Inspection Copy terms for further information.

Any Questions? Please email our text Support Team on text@footprint.com.au


Email this to a friend

* ALL required Fields

Order Inspection Copy

An inspection copy has been added to your shopping cart

Cornwall: A History (Revised and updated edition)

by Philip Payton University of Chicago Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 392 pages
AU$43.99 NZ$46.95
Product Status: Available in Approx 7 days
add to your cart

Other Available Formats:

A new edition of Philip Payton’s modern classic Cornwall: A History, published now by University of Exeter Press, this book tells the story of Cornwall from earliest times to the present day.


Drawing upon a wide range of original and secondary sources, it begins with Cornwall’s geology and prehistory, moving through Celtic times to the creation of the kingdom of Kernow and its relationship with neighbouring England. The political accommodation of medieval Cornwall by the expanding English state through the twin institutions of the Duchy and Stannaries is examined, as is the flowering in the middle ages of literature in the Cornish language. Resistance to English intrusion – in the rebellions of 1497 and 1549 and in the Civil War – is explored. So too is Cornwall’s role in the subsequent expansion of Britain’s global influence, and Cornwall as an early centre of the industrial revolution is also discussed.


Mining and Methodism became twin strands of an assertive transnational identity which emigrant Cornish transplanted across the globe in the nineteenth-century. Thereafter, as the book shows, a vigorous Celtic revivalist movement championed the rebirth of the Cornish language and Cornwall’s status as a Celtic nation. At the same time, tourism, with its emphasis on Cornish distinctiveness, moved in the twentieth century to fill the gap left by the decline of mining.


The book concludes by examining the nature of twenty-first century Cornwall, contrasting an apparent heightening of Cornish consciousness with the increasing threats to Cornwall’s environment and identity.


As the only full-length study of Cornwall to have been written for many years, Cornwall: A History is essential reading for everyone with a passion for, or a passing interest in, Cornwall. Taking into consideration the new research outputs and perspectives of recent years, this revised and updated edition reflects the growing interest in Cornish studies as an academic field and supports that interest.

‘It is a key text for anyone working on the history of the Celtic nations, peoples and languages and a very valuable addition to the literature on modern British and Irish history, especially given the increasing tendency to adopt a ‘four nations’ approach investigating the multiple national and ethnic cultures of the British Isles. As Cornish studies has seen such significant expansion in terms of research outputs and new perspectives in recent years I am sure a new edition that could take these things into account would be extremely valuable.’ (Christopher Williams, Professor of History, Cardiff University)


Reviews of the first edition 1996:

‘The publication of his sumptuously illustrated book should help to ensure that the neglected question of Cornish identity at last begins to receive the wider scholarly attention which it deserves.’ (Mark Stoyle, Professor of Early Modern History, University of Southampton)


‘Awesomely researched… the essential book for anyone who loves the county.’ The Observer


‘Payton brilliantly brings together myth, fact, people, places, events…gripping.’ The Times


‘Will rank among the classic books on Cornwall, if not the finest ever published.’ Western Morning News


‘One of the most comprehensive studies (by one of the most learned scholars) of Cornwall and the nature of Cornish identity ever undertaken.’ Cornwall Today

Philip Payton is Emeritus Professor of Cornish & Australian Studies in the University of Exeter and Professor of History at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the former Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter. He edited Cornish Studies, published annually from 1993-2013, the only series of publications that seeks to investigate and understand the complex nature of Cornish identity, as well as to discuss its implications for society and governance in contemporary Cornwall.