Page:A book of the west; being an introduction to Devon and Cornwall.djvu/23

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DEVON


CHAPTER I.


THE WESTERN FOLK


Ethnology of the Western Folk—The earliest men—The Ivernian race—The arrival of the Britons—Mixture of races in Ireland—The Attacottic revolt—The Dumnonii—The Scottic invasion of Dumnonia—The story of the Slave of the Haft—Athelstan drives the Britons across the Tamar—Growth of towns—The yeomen represent the Saxon element—The peasantry the earlier races—The Devonshire dialect—Courtesy—Use of Christian names—Love of funerals—Good looks among the girls—Dislike of "Foreigners"—The Cornish people—Mr. Havelock Ellis on them—The types—A Cornish girl—Religion—The unpardonable sin—Folk-music—Difference between that of Devon and Cornwall and that of Somersetshire.


IT is commonly supposed that the bulk of the Devonshire people are Saxons, and that the Cornish are almost pure Celts.

In my opinion neither supposition is correct. Let us see who were the primitive occupants of the Dumnonian peninsula. In the first place there were the men who left their rude flint tools in the Brixham and Kent's caverns, the same people who have deposited such vast accumulations in the lime and chalk caves and shelters of the Vezere and Dordogne. Their