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Abstract

The cementing of English political control over Cornwall and the British of the south-west in the tenth century falls between the creation of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms between the sixth and seventh centuries, and the burst of English expansionism at the expense of the Welsh, Scots and Irish that occupied the two centuries following the Norman Conquest of England. Consequently, the absorption of Cornwall into the English state tends to be a rather neglected subject. This article provides some redress of this neglect and examines, through a consideration of not just the historical narratives but also charters and manumissions, the way in which the kings of the English and their agents extended royal control over Cornwall between the late ninth century and the mid-eleventh. These processes, while making Cornwall part of the new kingdom of the English, also allowed the maintenance of a highly distinctive local identity well into the later medieval period and beyond.