My grandmother, Susie Josephine Quick, maintained that our ancestors had Spanish genes as a result of shipwrecked sailors from the 1588 Spanish Armada washing up in Cornwall and fathering families there.
To date I haven't noticed any Spanish names in browsing Cornish genealogy websites. Is there any evidence of such Spanish fathers in Cornwall?
I have heard it said of some photos I have of more recent ancestors (i.e. 1800's) that they bore a resemblance to people of Spanish origin.
And at some stage, I think the 1500's but possibly later, the Spanish sacked Mousehole (near Paul) and that this was where the Spanish influence originated.
Would need to find and check my books on this.
If 'rape and pillage' was in mind then there would be no need for them to have married as that would not have been their interest.
But it is possible that Cornish people of part-Spanish descent survived (and live today) as a result of that event.
Susie, my grandmother, backed up her reference to Spanish ancestors by pointing out that my father, Randall Dunstan Newton, had black hair, brown eyes and dark skin as compared other relatives and other Cornish children. A portait photo of Randall in his thirties costumed as a Spanish gypsy is quite convincing.
Hi! My grandfather also said he had spanish blood, either from the Armada or from those who traded tin in early history. My families are all from West Penwith. Grandfather had a rather large nose, and my hairdressers have at times told me that my hair was like Mediterranean hair- very strong. mnauen
Post by Cornish Terrier on Mar 23, 2008 19:47:53 GMT -5
Without searching for my books I decided to do an Internet search.
Here is part of the result of that search:-
Mousehole is a picturesque fishing village on the south coast of Cornwall between Penzance and Land’s End. It was sacked by the Spaniards in July 1595 when the entire village, apart from one house, was burnt to the ground. That house still stands today. A hundred years ago Mousehole was a bustling port, crowded with local fishing boats, landing pilchards. Each year, early in November, timber beams are laid across the narrow harbour entrance, to protect the village from the worst of the winter gales. Even so waves can still be seen breaking over the harbour wall at high tide.
This legend may in fact arise from an even earlier time, in fact before Christ and the Roman invasion. The people of Brittany (note the name) are derived from Cornish stock and their language is very closely related to the Cornish Celtic language. There may also be connections with the Basques of Northern Spain.
There is a but here, and that is the fact that the dark complexions and black hair found in many Mediterranean Countries is a result of the invasion by the Moores (Arabs). Not to mention the fact that the Basques have ALWAYS seen themselves as a distinct group divorced from the Mediterranean portion of Spain. This would be consistent with the relationship between the Cornish/Britains/Basques. I personally doubt that the rape of a few women would have significant impact on the appearance of a large number of Cornish folk.
Post by Cornish Terrier on Mar 24, 2008 9:24:13 GMT -5
Quite correct in this last comment and I must apologise for commenting 'off the top of my head' instead of trying to dig out my books.
However, the point was that the Spanish did make landfall in West Cornwall in 1595 and it is possible that some of them left some 'descendants'.
Again, without my books being readily available, I do not know much about the Basques. However, I can see your point and it is quite relevant - in fact these people may have been descendants of the people of Brittany.
The Celtic Nations as I recall are Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man.
Just for interest, I have had my DNA tested and the most common population I identify with is BASQUE. I take no more from that than it is most likely that my ancestors made their way to Cornwall from that general area in Europe.
The Glasson family appears in Cornwall during the 1600s and the surname seems almost specific to that area in that time.
I agree with roboats -- the Spanish claims are often heard about but are clearly legendary. I have seen no evidence for them.
Firstly, as I recall the Armada was in 1588. Penzance and Mousehole were sacked in 1595 . It was therefore a different raid.
Secondly, they were only present there for a few days at the most, and the towns involved would have been evacuated upon their arrival. Not much opportunity to father children there.
Thirdly, even if hypothetically some conceptions had happened around that time, the spanish genes would have been lost after a few more generations of repeated intermarriage of the offspring and their descendants with folk of purely Cornish stock.
Fourthly, Why also are there no references to children begotten of Spanish fathers in the PRs of that time?
Fifthly, Dark hair is not un-Celtic -- you see plenty of it in Wales and the Spanish never came there.
Sixthly, Bretons are definitely Celtic, which is no surprise because they were essentially early medieval refugees from Britain who crossed the Channel when fleeing from the Anglo-Savon expansion into England. Hence their new land was and still is known as Brittany for that reason. It was an independent duchy in medieval times, alternatively allied to either England or France, prior to its final incorporation into the French kingdom in the late 1400s. Breton as a language is closely related to Cornish.
I am going to throw some more trivia into the discussion backed up by some recent archaeology.
The links, and particularly mining links between the St Just area and Wales are particularly close and one can speculate that they were possibly co-operative in technology over the millenia.
I have a copy of a letter written 2 October 1585 and it starts;
"Vol. CLXXXIII, item 55. Oct 2, 1585, St Ives
John Otes to Wm. Carnsewe.
Sir, my duty remembered unto Your Worship. The pickmen you spake for came to St ---- 9th October and brought with them 2 letters from Your Worship, the one to Hance hearing, the other to myself. At the same time I had some occasion to be from St Ives. But the Wednesday I came to St Ives again and received 2 letters of my host. So the Friday I went to St Just and carried hances letter with me, thinking that the said Rodger Richard was thither to work so we marvelled that he did not come, but brought the letters to St Ives, and heared no more of him, at this present. The 14th October I am for Barnstaple and of Wales with his bark for a freight of the copper ore and did deliver them the 22nd October: 15 :tons 8 hundred of copper ore for Wales. The 15th October came one Thomas Robert from Wales from the Company with a freight of timber and necessaries for the workmen. I received this freight at St Ives, and for my life I could not get any ore from St Just to St Ives to freight them for Wales but went away without any to Barnstaple. Would carry more ore if I had it at St Ives. Mr Denham must take, your order, to have ore brought in the summer to St Ives. for men will not deal now in the winter time, unless it be very fair weather, which I pray God to send us and bless us and to send us his grace. Giving Your Worship thanks for your good letter. More to certify Your Worship for the western work at St Ives. There was 2 men of ours wroght one whole week, and wrought 2 fathom, from the place Mr Denham did appoint, forth right in the lode, and found nothing, but at the place they began. More the cliff is so loose that it falls so that the men would not work but one week. So it is given over, till Mr Denham's return."
Then we have very early archaeological evidence (2500 - 2000 BC) that bronze as we know it today was developed co-operatively between the Welsh at Great Orme and the tin miners of Penwith. The reference to the whole document;
"It is perhaps not strictly true to say that bronze was invented in Britain. The very earliest combination of tin and copper is found in Anatolia, but Near Eastern bronze contained less tin, in less standardised quantities, than was found in British bronze. Put simply, it was inferior bronze. In Britain, bronze was produced from the outset with an almost standard composition of 8 to 12 per cent tin, ensuring the optimum mix of qualities. For archaeologists the rapid establishment and spectacular success of metallurgy in the British Early Bronze Age, from 2500-2000 BC, is something of a quandary. How did metallurgy arrive in an apparently advanced state? Who brought it and why did it take off here so well?
If Aegean prospectors could be ruled out as the fathers of British metal making - and there is simply no evidence in Britain of contact with Aegean civilisations - could metal tools and weapons have filtered across the Channel, followed perhaps by those skilled in their manufacture? If this latter scenario were true, we might expect to see a cluster of early metal finds in south-eastern England, but we do not."
and then later in this document;
"But what of the development of bronze? Some of the copper alloy tools made around 2000 BC, including two of the Castell Coch finds, contained significant traces of nickel. We have now tracked down the source of this distinctive ore, and it provides us with the missing link between copper alloys and the development of the new metal made with tin. Different ore sources have distinctive lead isotope ratios which can be used to provenance archaeological artefacts, and the Castell Coch artefacts were highly unusual in having very high lead isotope ratios of a sort that can only occur when uranium is present within the ore. Further analysis of the ratios provided the geological age of the deposit which allowed us to pinpoint the source of the ore even more accurately. Taken together, the data showed that these particular artefacts were made from copper ore that could only have come from one place in north-western Europe - Cornwall.
The Cornish provenance of the Castell Coch hoard and other non-Irish tools and weapons leads us directly to the pioneers of bronze, because it confirms that a mining tradition was established in Cornwall at the time of the invention of bronze, in an area that contains one of the richest tin fields in the world. Along with Afghanistan, Cornwall is one of only two possible major sources of the tin used in bronze throughout Europe after about 2000 BC. No prehistoric mines have yet been found in Cornwall but this is hardly surprising: the landscape has been eaten away by coastal erosion and turned upside down by the vast scale of the post-medieval tin industry. All prehistoric evidence may have been destroyed.
It is unlikely that bronze tools were actually made in Cornwall. Metallurgy probably took place nearer the copper mines of Great Orme and elsewhere, with smelted tin or (more likely) tin ore traded up from Cornwall to be mixed in with molten copper. Strangely enough, as the source of one of Europe's most valuable commodities, Cornwall contains few signs of conspicuous wealth in the Bronze Age period. There are few great monuments or burials.
This has led some archaeologists to speculate that it was not locals but middlemen who made most of the profit out of this exceptionally lucrative international trade in tin. And who were the middlemen? The most impressive signs of wealth in the Bronze Age are found in the barrows and monuments of Wessex. Were the Wessex chieftains the `barrow boys' of the Bronze Age economy? It is an intriguing thought, and it may just be true."
We have historical texts that indicate that the Phoenicians (now the Lebanon) had been trading with the Cornish and there are descriptions of a landing point on the Cornish coast where transactions occurred that match Mounts Bay. Then we have the enigma of Marazion. Is it possible that Marazion was a trading post established by the Phoenicians and people of Jewish extraction? Are they not possibly the reason why we get Cornish people who have black hair and dark complexions.
We also move into the realm of speculation of the relationship between Joseph of Aramethia (Uncle of Jesus Christ) and Cornwall. He was a metal trader who fled Israel following the crucifixion and established the first Christian Church at Glastonbury. Christ's body was released to Joseph (brother of Mary) and buried in a tomb he had built.
Realistically our knowledge of the region and history has been too focussed on what Rome did rather that what our early ancestors achieved and what that interaction may have meant in regards to our heritage, customs and genealogy.
Just food for thought and thinking outside the conventional box. We have been subjugated by Rome for too long!!
Last Edit: Mar 25, 2008 12:43:02 GMT -5 by RobOats
Post by myghaelangof on Mar 25, 2008 11:23:35 GMT -5
From the above conversation we are reminded of the constant inter-connection between different communities that makes us all a bit of a mix genetically, however slight. Within my Cornish lines I know of Breton, Irish, and a possible Spanish link (Santo) plus interaction with The Americas.
I have come across various accounts in medieval times, even into the 17th and poss early 18th centuries of numerous raids by Moorish pirates kidnapping people from English and Cornish villages to ransom them back for profit.
Many shipwrecked sailors may have settled in Cornwall, finding it easier than getting home.
Its just one big melting pot
"A name perpetual, and a fame permanent and immortal"