The name Cornwall comes from a combination of the Cornish tribal name ‘Cornovii’ followed by the Anglo – Saxon word ‘Wealas’ meaning ‘foreigner’ the same word that is used in Welsh.
The Cornish have maintained a presence in Britain long before the invasion of the Romans and their eventual departure. They also survived the invasion of the Angles & Saxons (today’s modern English) and certainly before the name ‘Angleland’ came into existence.
So it will no doubt come as a surprise to many, that while Scotland has its own qualification framework that teaches Scottish history, and the Welsh also have the their history included within the National Curriculum in Wales, Cornish history is not included within the English Schools Curriculum.
Parents, Cornish groups and campaigners, have tried to address the erasing of Cornish history from text books and the School Curriculum, but with very little or no success. Cornish children are having another people’s history imposed upon them whilst their own Cornish history is air-brushed out of existence. Consequently, our children are being brought up with an erroneous ‘English’ identity.
‘Worse still is the idea of a Roman Britain that gives way to an Anglo-Saxon England, a view of early history that leaves little room for consideration of indigenous continuity (not least in Cornwall), encourages the erroneous equation of Britain with England, and reduces British (and thus Cornish) experience to a succession of invasions Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans.
This is the approach of the so-called National Curriculum, the staple diet of schoolchildren in Cornwall as much as it is in Sussex or Hampshire, one that leaves pupils in many Cornish schools with little idea of the reality and issues of early Cornish history. We can only agree with Professor Charles Thomas when he expresses ‘sorrow and annoyance….at the undue extension of words like England, English or a philosophy of a taught British past underlying such book –titles as Everyday Life in Roman and Anglo-Saxon Times, Roman Britain and the English Settlements, or Roman Britain to Saxon England. There are still others of us, west of Offa’s Dyke and the river Tamar, and north of Hadrian’s Wall’.
(Taken from the book ‘Cornwall – A History’ by Professor Philip Payton)