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Cornwall and the Cross: Christianity, 500-1560 Paperback – 1 Sep 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Phillimore & Co Ltd; First Edition edition (1 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860774687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860774683
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 1 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 780,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Nicholas Orme is Emeritus Professor of History at Exeter University and an Honorary Canon of Truro Cathedral. He has written nearly twenty books on the hisotry of the Church and society in England, and in Cornwall in particular.

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. J. O'Connor on 10 Dec 2007
Format: Paperback
'Cornwall and the Cross' is a short but welcome overview of a topic inadequately described in the past. Indeed, Cornish medieval history as a whole has received insufficient writing that is both credible, objective and popularly available.

Source data is limited, and since antiquarian times interpretation have been offered that are not always easy to justify. In contrast Nicholas Orme provides a studied and evidence-based approach, avoiding speculation. It may surprise some to learn how many cherished views derive from late medieval hagiography or poorly supported assertions.

Orme gives a minimum of political and social context in which to situate his overview. His remarks are largely directed at the fabric of the church and its institutions, focusing on `what' than `why', which in a book of 166 pages is probably an essential discipline.

The length, probably an editorial constraint, does not give scope for Orme's considerable scholarship. There is more that could and should be said. Medieval Cornwall is a fascinating and important world which we should strive to understand and celebrate. For those interested in hagiography I recommend Orme's 'The Saints of Cornwall'. For those starting to explore Christianity in Cornwall I recommend 'Cornwall and the Cross'. The main body text provides a succinct overview, and the bibliography and endnotes are an invaluable reference.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bill Harrison on 10 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This colour-illustrated paperback covers just what its title implies, from the first incursions of Celtic missionaries to the start of the Elizabethan settlement. It explains things in a very clear way and doesn't assume knowledge of technical terms that a more academic book might. If you're not sure of the difference between a secular canon and a mendicant friar or a Friary and a Collegiate Church and you want to know more about the cradle of English Christianity, this book is for you...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr. J. Mattingly on 23 Dec 2007
Format: Paperback
Cornwall and the Cross is a paperback book of 198 pages which comes from a well-known academic stable. Research is up-to-date and rigorous: the author has made many new discoveries in archive collections across the British Isles. For this alone researchers into medieval history should be extremely grateful.

The book is arranged chronologically in six chapters. Early, middle, and later middle ages cover the periods 500-1100, 1100-1300 and 1300-1500 and two chapters are devoted to the last, better-documented, period. The Reformation comes after this and is followed by a concluding chapter: 'Cornwall: Heir of the Ages'. This looks at whether the church was Celtic or Catholic and at the medieval achievement overall. There are also five panels on key Cornish themes: St Piran (his flag with its distinctive cross appearing on the back cover), monasteries, friars, devotion to Jesus, and the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549.

Clergy feature large, as might be expected. The contribution of Cornish clergymen to the wider church is also covered. Cornwall was part of the culture of medieval Europe - indeed a 14th century priest, John Trevisa, promoted the English language, while remaining proud of his Cornish roots. It is salutary to remember that for half the period of this study Cornwall was part of the Diocese of Exeter.

Unusually, for an academic book, Cornwall and the Cross is copiously illustrated. Professionally taken colour photographs of church buildings and manuscripts abound and great care has been taken in their selection. The artistic flowering of Cornwall in the late middle ages is particularly apparent in panel 4 which features a recently restored stained glass window at St Kew. This is a book that can be read in many ways: via the text, pictures and maps, or even the index. It is also a taster to a more detailed and eagerly awaited Victoria County History of Cornwall study of the Cornish church due to appear in 2008.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cornish history on 8 Nov 2014
Format: Paperback
History books are written by people with prejudice and pre-determined ways of thinking and this is no exception. Like most Cornish people - the fact that this book has 'England's Past' on the cover upset me from the start - Can you imagine a book about the church in Wales or Scotland with this logo on the cover - no neither can I.

On the plus side, it is a well written, well illustrated and a clear account of the subject, but it is written by a Englishman with a 'looking-in at the Cornish' mentality. What Orme side lines is the fact that King Athelstan said the Tamar was the boundary of England, but this does not stop him repeating several times that Cornwall was annexed into England - making it an English county - NOTE TO AUTHOR: this is factually inaccurate - perhaps he could reference when and where this happened? He would have a problem, because there has never been any legal instrument doing this. Henry VIII took his Oath at his Coronation - to be King of England and Cornwall etc. Note to author Just saying something does not make it real you must reference your sources. This is a disappointing book, deeply flawed and is based on an inaccurate assumption that the Cornwall described is the place of childhood holidays and a funny little place that the English think and repeatedly say belongs to them - Let's be clear - it does not. (You don't have to be a Cornish Nationalist to find it irritating that this author rubbishes your culture, ethnicity and history).

I am sorry to say this inaccurate assumption spoils this book.
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