The Cornish are indeed a mysterious people, and we needn't look any farther than our own Bawden Clan for an example. But, who are the Cornish? Historically, the Cornish stem from different roots than that of their neighbors, the English. The inhabitants of much of southern Britain (before it was invaded by the Germanic tribes of the Angles and the Saxons in the 5th century) were Brythonic Celts. A process of gradual English expansionism ensured that the Celtic inhabitants of Britain were killed, absorbed into a dominating Anglo-Saxon culture, or left to their own devices in the peripheral regions. Retaining a Celtic culture, these regions became known as Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall.

Although the Cornish homeland is now administered as if it were a part of England, it was never legally incorporated into England - unlike Wales in 1536 and Scotland in 1707. Today some say Cornwall is simply a county of England run by a County Council. Others assert Cornwall is a Duchy with a Duke as its head-of-state, and a Lord High Warden of the Stannaries who still oversees the Stannary Parliament. Still others say Cornwall is a Celtic nation with its own language, national flag and anthem, and Gorsedd (college of bards like Wales and Brittany).

Cornish Nationalist like to point to the fact Cornwall has never been a shire county of England, that maps up until the Reformation show Cornwall as one of the four nations of Britain, and that as late as 1856 the Duchy of Cornwall was busy asserting its rights by claiming that Cornwall had never been part of England. The fact that the Cornish people have always been delineated as such serves both as recognition of a distinct background and an affirmation of separate identity.

Historical revelations - which only until quite recently have become increasingly common knowledge - have reinforced the Cornish identity. Among these are the Cornish rising of 1497, which not only came close to toppling Henry VII from his throne, but which also marked the beginning of a remarkable series of insurrections. The 1497 rising also marked the first time that