Cornish –Celtic Chronology.

160 ROMAN WORLD Tertullian to 250Persecuted Church looked first for change in Behaviour. then learn Belief,-Baptism. took 2years to Belong-worship.

312   Constantine-Emperor under flag of the Cross came to power

325   Church legalised-lead to Council Nicaea-creed –uniformity.

354   St Augustine to 430 Bishop of Hippo.-a leader 396 onwards. Quick Belief attend worship .Baptised. Then taught Belief/Behaviour. Church becomes lame on Behaviour.

387   St Patrick born Kilpatrick Scotland-or arrive 461?? uncertain.

398   St Ninian-first Christian Celt we know. Monastery Candida Casa. p7 “ The Celtic Way”.

5th   CENTURY to mid 10th century distinct Cornish identity emerges.

Christian presence. 5th century memorial stone at carnsew near hayle to Cunaide  is first    evidence of Christian. Hayle estuary important for trade. Chi-Rho on slabs at Phillack church.- Others at St Erth- not until 6century inroads made.

400 or 410 Romans legions withdraw. Dumnonia. p6. series of Celtic Kingdom’s, rich culture.  educated, Druids are leaders. Much altered by Irish settlement and arrival of Christianity/ mass migration to Brittany was further social upheaval and intrusion of English.

418   Council Carthage decreed heretic if question need of washing of baptism. Decreed.      Pelagius heretic, supported free will.

Church absorbed values of Empire/greek/platonic influences. Primacy of belief rather than Behaviour/Belonging. Church enculturation Faith and Grace inner experience.

Baptismal revolution had taken place. Children Baptised. Parent to exhort Belief and Behaviour.

425   St Illtyd born Gaul- major saint of South Wales

427   St German- first Cornish Celtic church – influenced.

As culture impact church and stress on Behaviour/Belief decreased, Monasteries arise..

431   Western Mission to Celts began Pope Celestine 1 sent envoy England root out Pelagiun influences, says Drayton.  Palladius, first Bishop to Irish.

433   CELTIC WORLD St Patrick arrived Ireland- worked pagan Irish-series of miraculous confrontations/ triumphs. 450 St Brigid born, died 523/5 –founded mixed monastery at Kidare. p15  “The Celtic Way” by Bradley. Also huge Celtic Migration from South Wales-lasts a century, cause; plague and Irish pirates.Many Saints from Llanitud Fawr.–see “An Forth Keltek”, Andy Phillips

457   St Winwaloe to 532.

475  St Brigid-formed first Monasteries Ireland.Later years of Patrick-explosion by time of Columba.Also St Iltud of Llanitud Fawr. Monasteries – not withdraw but missionteams intro to new behaviour/Belief. Light on hill.

476   Start of Medieval Period (unti1500) Roman Empire ended in Augustines time.Catholic  Church network left.

490   St Samson to 565 educated and ordained at Llantwit Magor. evangelises. central  Cornwall then Brittany, est. Monastry at Doll etc. see “An Forth Keltek”, Andy Phillips.p61.Also St Paul Aurelion to 550. Monastery demonstrates,Belief, Behaviour, Belonging community.

6th CENTURY. Cornwall largely pagan until 6th century. Anglo Saxons pushed Celts at Mount Badon. King Arthur halt Anglo Saxon advance for half century. Monastery Schools teach and live Christian faith to rising generation Belief, behaviour, community/ an alternative to Druids. Explosion of Monks in Monasteries in Egypt and withdraw world to avoid Christian enculturation.

500   St Petroc to 590 of Cornwall.

520   St Finian started Colonard Abbey central Ireland-3000 students.

531   St Columba to 597.died at Iona. A better recorded history that Brigid or Patrick.

547   St Benedict of Nursia wrot Benedictine Rule. Monks led by Abbot.Outposts of education/literacy.

563   St Columba set off from Derry-12 companions/no destination. Founded Iona. Benedictine Abbey built over Celtic site – later George McLeod.

577   Battle of Dyrham near Bath/Bristol. Those in Wales cut off (wedge) by land from southern Celts. British Wales, and South West. Period King Arthur drives out intruders.

Celts use sea routes. Trade Mediterranean, South France, Brittany, Ireland, Cornwall. p57 Badley.

597   St Augustine of Canterbury- received by King Ethelberg. Known as the Gregorian Mission- Benedictine Mission to Anglo.

7th& 8th CENTURY Production of,”Vita-Sancti”, book of Saints in Latin, 100 volumes, 60  Saints of 5th-6th century-already long dead.

Samson’s life. –founded Monasteries- of Dol Brittany. Gives insight of one Welsh monastic missionary active in Cornwall in early days Christianity. p78

600-800 Cults of Saints, in late 7th century Monastic industry emerges. p11.

664   Synod Whitby. -roots in Augustine/ Pelagius-over 380-418.

670   Synod Autun in France. Ruled Celtic Monasteries across Europe must adopt Roman  Benedictine Rule (milder, more human rule than Columban). To Rome Celtic Monasteries seem less learned, dif. theology, dif. attitude to culture.

673   Bede to 735 Wrote history Church in UK from Roman view/ notes Columba growth.

682   Dumnonia begins collapse. Centwine drives British to sea, N/E Cornwall.

710   Cornish King Gereint defeated by King of Wessex.

722   Combined Cornish/ Danish force defeated at He Hil (Camel estuary).

750   From this time on issues from Whitby led to later Councils/ Benedictine obligatory in  Europe. After Whitby medieval Church focus on reason, doctrine rather than redeeming, Creator God, experience of God.

9th   CENTURYto 10th Century The pre-eminent monastery in Cornwall was St Germans.   Other communities in Cornwall  led by St Petroc, St Piran, St Carantoc etc. p8-11. Monasteries wealthy targets for Viking raiders. Pope Leo 111 decrees all clergy affiliate Augustine. Next 200 years little written.

815   Egbert harried Cornwall from east to west. (Phillip Payton)

838   Combined Cornish Viking force defeated battle of Hingston Down near Callington— soon after Cornish Bishop Kenestec compelled to acknowledge superiority of Canterbury.

10th  CENTURY  Celtic Golden Age. Saints in Wales, Brittany, Ireland, Cornwall rich in Holy Wells. St Petroc, earlier at Padstow now prominent at Bodmin. Cornish Monasteries listed p79. Crosses probably Middle Ages. St Piran’s date 960 and 10th century example in Sancreed church yard with makers name Ruho carved at bottom shaft p79.

900   Bodmin Gospels –texts containing Gospels appointed to be read at Mass-thus the rite  followed was Roman rather than Celtic.

909   Church restructure. Archbishop Canterbury create See of Exeter and support Cornish   Monasteries.

936   Athelstone fix River Tamar as border. Final separation- evicting Cornish from  Exeter.

Athelstone careful to ensure Cornish Bishop, Conan was made auxiliary Bishop under  Bishop of Crediton.

960   Pre this period. St Piran Cross at Perranzabuloe.

994   Bishop Ealdred (Aethelred) oversight all Cornwall, created Cornish Diocese seat at significant St Germans.( Phillip Payton)

11th CENTURY  Upsurge Celtic Christianity. This period of Norman conquest of Ireland,/Scot/Wales. Monastic gatherings /itinerant Celtic Church replaced by system of Parish Councils.

1043 Cornwall lost Civil and Church Independence.

1046  Independence lost and reincorporated into Crediton. On eve of Norman Conquest—had  been transformed from Western heartland Dumnonia to a recognized geo-political entity within English state. Territorially secure, ethnically secure into Middle Ages to develop literature in Cornish language-led to Dutchy of Cornwall/Stannary. (P.Payton)

1066  Anglo/Middle Ages/Medieval Period.( Some say from 5th century, collapse of West Rome Empire to Renaissance.) Battle of Hastings. Norman conquest. Building Norman Castles. Norman’s install Breton Bishops/clergy appointments. Romanizing weakened Celtic Church.

12th  CENTURY Revived. Anglo/Norman Bishops-new Cathedrals on Monastic sites.

13th  CENTURY King John granted a charter to tin miners of Cornwall and Devon. Miners met at Higston Down and ref to themselves as Parliament –Stannary divided by Edward 1.


1337  Edward 111 Creation of Dutchy of Cornwall—confirmed Cornish Stannery.

15th  CENTURY Tudor Period 1485-1547.

1485 Henry Tudor VII welcomed by Cornish. Battle Bosworthwith Cornish at side. Henry used Celtic connection but was claiming all Britain.

1495-6 Regulations-tin mining and taxes.. Revolution in Gov. Henry suspend Stannery Gov. in Cornwall and lost loyalty of Cornwall.

1497 Cornish RebellionStannery  suspended -Henry V11 restored for miners ₤1000 and Act of Pardon


1508 Charter of Pardon-Stannery restored.

1509 Henry VIII crowned by end of reign 1547 Celtic Monasteries/ church dismantled- leaders Anglo-Norman.

1536 Dissolution of smaller Monasteries – break with Rome. C of E resisted in Cornwall.

1547 Henry VIII died son Edward VI continue to dismantle Monasteries.

1548 William Brady came to Helston, removed all Popish images. St Keverrne killed.

1549 Act of Uniformity. New English book of Common Prayer / English as language met with hostility/ Cornish& Devon Tinners march on Exeter.–aftermath cruel, ruthless.

Closure of Glasney College part of dissolution of monasteries. This ended Cornish centre of learning and status/ loss of language. While Roman Catholicism hung on –Cornish slow conform to Protestant way.



Rev Matthew Curnow, “The Development of the Celtic Church and Spirituality

in Cornwall from 800 AD to the Tudor Age.”

Rev A.P. (Andy) Phillips, “An Forth Keltek”.

Rev Deane Drayton, “Mission to the Celts”.

  1. Bradley. “The Celtic Way.”

Phillip Payton, Triology Series.


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