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Thread: Saxon Cornwall?

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    Saxon Cornwall?

    Cornwall is usually sited as one of the chief areas of Celtic survival within the borders of modern day England. It's a view pretty much accepted by all on both sides of the debate. Recently however i found an article that states that a genetic survey of the current Cornish shows that they have more in common with the average Englishman than with the average Welshman.

    NEARLY 500 years after the Act of Union, genetic research shows that the people of Wales remain markedly different from the English.

    Geneticist Prof Steve Jones says the Welsh and the Irish are among the most homogenous people in the world.

    He and colleagues at University College, London, have spent years creating a genetic map of the Y chromosome, which is passed by males from generation to generation.

    The results show that the Welsh are related to the Basques of northern Spain and southern France and to native Americans. All are descended from the Kets people of western Siberia.

    Prof Jones, who was born in Aberystwyth, said the Y chromosomes showed a marked difference between males on the Welsh and English side of the border.

    "This shows that in the Dark Ages, when the Anglo-Saxons turned up, there was the most horrible massacre on the English side. They killed everybody and replaced them.

    "The Welsh Y chromosome is similar to that of the Basques. In the male line, at least, the Welsh and the Basques are survivors or relics of a period before huge numbers of farmers filled Europe from the Middle East.

    "There has been much less interbreeding in Wales than you might expect. Wales and Ireland have the most homogenous group of males of anywhere in the world, from the research that's been done so far."

    Surprisingly perhaps, the genetics show that the Welsh are not related to the Cornish, despite the similarity of their languages.
    http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100n...name_page.html

    What do you make of it? Is it likely to be true?
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    Re: Saxon Cornwall??

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamopy
    Cornwall is usually sited as one of the chief areas of Celtic survival within the borders of modern day England. It's a view pretty much accepted by all on both sides of the debate. Recently however i found an article that states that a genetic survey of the current Cornish shows that they have more in common with the average Englishman than with the average Welshman.
    http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100n...name_page.html

    What do you make of it? Is it likely to be true?
    I don't see why not.

    Earlier absorption into the English sphere would obviously have helped. But then again, how have they chosen their 'average Cornishman" or Englishman? The two populations might well be expected to have approached each other in the last millenia.

    But even a more historical approach doesn't make these 'findings' seem too unlikely.
    The old C19th orthodoxy on such matters was that Wales represented rather a refuge for preCeltic Britons than a freeze-frame picture of preSaxon Provincia Britannia as a whole, and it was also largely Goidelic in speech before becoming Brythonised.
    See Rhys's delightful book;
    http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/cfwm/index.htm
    Cornwall, on the other hand, was thought of as a remnant of Locrian Britain [Lloegyr is Welsh for England], i.e. being of the same racial stock as modern England was prior to Germanic settlement.

    As usual, there's a few things that need modifying in these old ideas, but also much left that's worth a look at.

    Cornwall is a natural extension of the Dumnonian Peninsula, which itself is not blocked off from the remainder of the mainland by any serious obstacles, and is well provided for in terms of maritime connections. Wales, however, is a mountain fastness, with different valleys holding a great variety of anthropological types.
    See Coon;
    On the whole, Wales, in accordance with its mountainous character and its general preservation of ancient cultural traits, is a region of strong local variability,
    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=55158


    As ever, it all comes down to what you mean by 'Celt'. Who is closest to the original Central European speakers of Celtic? Obviously the people of southern England [minus the areas of most intensive Germanic incursion], i.e. Cornwall.

    Prof. Jones's more extreme statements, e.g. of massacres, obviously need to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt, though...

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    Re: Saxon Cornwall??

    Prof. Jones's more extreme statements, e.g. of massacres, obviously need to be taken with a hefty pinch of salt, though...

    Especially since he is only dealing with the Y chromosome. Our A-S ancestors may have run the blokes off and kept the crumpet.
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    Re: Saxon Cornwall??

    With genetic surveys one can't really state things in such a black-and-white" way. It's really a matter of frequency; the commonest genetic type in Wales (R1b) is also quite common even in Continental northern Europe, so we certainly can't say the Cornish are "unrelated" to the Welsh. It has to be relative.

    Jones may be referring to a survey which found no significant difference between Cornish and Devonians.

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    AW: Saxon Cornwall?

    I think the reason for the view that Cornwall would be the chief area of celtic survival is, that cornwall has many features that doean't speaks for the most english. Cornwall has for example the darkest pigmented population of England.
    So I would say, that Cornwall isn't a homogen celtic nation by ancestry, but most celtic by heritage and the most celtic area in modern day england (Cumbria, some areas at the welsh border, Lancashire, Elmet, etc. are in my opinion very celtic too).
    Last edited by Bluterbe; Saturday, July 8th, 2006 at 03:34 PM.
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    Re: AW: Saxon Cornwall?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluterbe
    I think the reason for the view that Cornwall would be the chief area of celtic survival is, that cornwall has many features that doean't speaks for the most english. Cornwall has for example the darkest pigmented population of England.
    So I would say, that Cornwall isn't a homogen celtic nation by ancestry, but most celtic by heritage and the most celtic area in modern day england (Cumbria, some areas at the welsh border, etc. are in my opinion very celtic too).
    I think basically what it comes down to is that the Celtic language survived there the longest, because it's the furthest west. But its historical culture is much the same as other parts of the West country, and it was incorporated into Wessex only one or two hundred years after Devon. The latter county is also known for its dark pigmented people.

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