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The massacre of thousands during the vicious suppression of a Cornish rebellion more than 450 years ago was an "enormous mistake" which the Church should be ashamed of, the Bishop of Truro said yesterday.

In acknowledging the "brutality and stupidity" of the atrocities on behalf of the Church, Bishop Bill Ind tried to heal much of the hurt felt by many Cornish people, who believe the Church of England has long tried to ignore the events of 1549 Prayerbook Rebellion.

In a wide-ranging address at Pelynt Parish Church in South East Cornwall, the man dubbed "The People's Bishop" attempted to draw a line under a moment in history which left one in ten of the Cornish population dead.

Bishop Bill, who was in Pelynt to be presented with the prestigious Trelawny Plate, said: "I am often asked about my attitude to the Prayerbook Rebellion and in my opinion, there is no doubt that the English Government behaved brutally and stupidly and killed many Cornish people. I don't think apologising for something that happened over 500 years ago helps, but I am sorry about what happened and I think it was an enormous mistake."

The Prayerbook Rebellion, sometimes called the Western Rising, was prompted by Edward VI's introduction of a range of legislation, including the use of English in all forms of worship. In Cornwall, where the vast majority of the population spoke only Cornish, the new measures effectively took away the means of worship. When the Cornish protested, English forces responded with a series of massacres. During one notorious incident, 900 bound and gagged prisoners had their throats slit in ten minutes.”

By Chy_Howlek Posted: July 07, 2012


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  • Chy_Howlek  |  July 07 2012, 3:37PM

    Figures representing all areas of Cornish life attended the special Trelawny Plate Service, where Lady Mary Holborow, the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Sir John Trelawny, Vice Lord Lieutenant Michael Galsworthy and others heaped praise on Bishop Bill for his contribution to the spirit of Cornwall during his ten years in office. There were prayers, songs from Pelynt Male Voice Choir and a reading in Cornish by the Grand Bard of the Gorsedd, Vanessa Beeman. Lady Mary said: "This is a very exciting and important occasion for Cornwall. It recognises the part Bishop Trelawny played in the history of Cornwall and in the modern life of Cornwall." She praised Sir John Trelawny and his team for their "hard work, generosity, commitment and patience" in creating Cornwall's "awards of awards". She said the plate would be presented every two years to the person judged by a panel to have contributed most to the spirit of Cornwall. Sir John, 13th Baronet Trelawny, spoke about his ancestor, Jonathan Trelawny, who was one of seven bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London. On the day of his release - exactly 319 years today - cannons were fired in celebration and ale provided for all. He said there was no better place than Pelynt Church to make the award because Jonathan Trelawny was interred there. "Jonathan Trelawny stood up for the Cornish - and so does Bishop Bill," he said. "There can be few in Cornwall who have not been touched by the influence of him. He is a man of modesty and firm opinions." Presenting him with the plate - which will be kept in Truro Museum - Sir John added: "Good can be a trite word, but Bill is a truly good man." It was left to Bishop Bill himself to sum up the importance of the day. In a lengthy address, he took the opportunity to speak his mind on a range of subjects affecting his adopted home, from Cornwall's distinctiveness and sense of place to deprivation, farming church unity and the role of a bishop. "Everything about Cornwall marks it as a place to be treasured and loved," he said. "It has never been an English shire, it has its own language and it reminds us, by its history, of links to Ireland, Wales, Brittany and a Celtic past." He touched on calls for Cornish independence, but said "for me this would lead to a denial of the complexity of our history", adding that like Ireland, Cornwall had been "saddled with the English problem" for 500 years - and not the other way round. He also spoke of his disappointment that there was not more interdenominational agreement between Anglicans and Methodists. "I am deeply sorry for, and indeed ashamed of, the division between the Anglican and Methodist churches. Christian disunity is always a scandal but the division between Anglicans and Methodists in Cornwall has a special significance in life and culture here." He concluded his address by saying: "And so we live in this marvellous place, believing moreover that England needs Cornwall. We need to talk ourselves up rather than down and make the most of our peninsularity." The service concluded with a rousing version of the Cornish anthem, Trelawny, led by Pelynt primary school children

  • Slimslad  |  July 07 2012, 3:50PM

    A religious massacre, only right a bishop of the church should be apologizing .

  • Slimslad  |  July 07 2012, 3:59PM

    I post this: by Slimslad Friday, July 06 2012, 7:28PM "Has anyone noticed that the "genocide" of 1549 has disappeared from the nationalist agenda? Not a peep." Then this "thread" appears. Its like having a very obedient poodle. LOL

  • H_Trevorrow  |  July 07 2012, 8:24PM

    Nothing is more cringeworthy than outsiders like the bish patronising the seperatists as he has here. Little grovelling toad.

  • Slimslad  |  July 07 2012, 8:57PM

    To be fair, it was his retirement address and the man has not been well.

  • H_Trevorrow  |  July 07 2012, 9:11PM

    ''has not been well''....the eternal last mutterings of the misguided....lol

  • Carvath  |  July 07 2012, 9:19PM

    Now, now boys, I realise that it might be hard to swallow for you, but keep it pleasant please.

  • Slimslad  |  July 08 2012, 8:57AM

    "I realise that it might be hard to swallow for you,Carvath "I think Cornwall is better placed as a Duchy of the UK than to be relegated to a County of England." Carvath, the royalist. LOL



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