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From the atlas ‘The Theatre and Empire of Great Britain‘ Published in 1614
John Speede wrote ‘Touching the temperature, the air thereof is cleansed with bellows, by the billows that ever work off her environing seas, where though it cometh pure and subtle, and is made thereby very healthy, but withall so piercing and sharp, that it is apter to preserve than recover life’ The deep valley of the river Tamar almost makes Cornwall an island from mainland or ‘up-country’ England.
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The numerous ports, coves and rivers featured on the map effect every aspect of the county In 1610 Cornwall’s soil was hard to work and the landscape was bleak. Cornwall’s early farmers added seaweed and sand to soil in an attempt to improve its fertility, but with little success. Cereal crops were poor and livestock did not thrive either – sheep were small and produced coarse wool which was not ideal for weaving. Cornish clothiers and weavers often had to request government help to protect their livelihoods. However fruits cropping in late summer did well. These factors had interesting effects on the growth of the Cornish community – and the landscape developed into one of small hamlets and scattered farmsteads. The open fields method of small strips of land came to an end in the early 1700’s by mutual arrangement with tenant farmers and landowners. Cornwall was however rich in minerals – tin, copper silver.
In 1603 James was King of Scotland prior to taking the throne of England, and was to become the first sovereign who could actually call himself King of England. One of the main members of the commission who arranged this treaty of rule with Scotland was a Cornishman – George Carew – knighted for his involvement, later becoming Ambassador to the court of France and afterwards writing Relation of the State of France a much referenced work. George Carew died in 1612 leaving the enormous sum in those times of £10,000, and a widow, Thomasine  the daughter of Sir Francis Godolphin.
A Duke of Cornwall was invested – James’s eldest son Henry of whom John Norden wrote in his Description of Cornwall ‘that most virtuous prince of most blessed towardness’. So in 1610 an investiture occurred in London but sadly the Duke was never to become King, his death occurring just two years later and the Dukedom was passed to James’s second son Charles. During his short Dukedom, Henry was to find the County of Cornwall in a depleted state for Queen Elizabeth being in dire financial straits had sold no less than eighteen of Cornwall’s manors in 1601, the more notable including Trematon, Tintagel and Restormel James considered this action to have been unlawful and regained ownership through an act of parliament.
This fine historical map is a wonderfully illuminating source of information for any study of Cornwall history.