Cornish-English Vocabulary

Scope and Content

Manuscript Cornish-English dictionary, containing approximately 5,000 words in Cornish and their English equivalents. There is a list of abbreviations at the front of the volume. Dating: pp. 1-48 are written on Whatman's paper watermarked 1826; pp. 49-108 are written on an inferior paperstock without watermarks.

Administrative / Biographical History

Cornish is a member of the Brythonic group of Celtic languages and is most closely related to the Bretton language of north-western France. Cornish was strongly influenced by English, even in medieval times, and later its orthography and vocabulary showed many English elements. By the beginning of the 17th century it was spoken only in the far western tip of Cornwall. The last fluent native speaker of Cornish is said to have died in 1777, although elements of the language continued to be used by a few people until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when a revival movement began. Warlinenn, the Cornish Language Board, was established in 1967.

Access Information

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the John Rylands Library from the bookseller J.E. Cornish in October 1910.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist, and John Hodgson, Keeper of Manuscripts and Archives, with reference to (last visited 12 September 2005).

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Hand-List of the Collection of English Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1928 (English MS 111).