On Youtube, a week or two back, was put this well-produced video (by 3 S films), as part of a Cornwall Record Office project, featuring William Scawen: pioneer Cornish/Kernewek language revivalist of the 1600/1700s.
One of his manuscripts on the subject is discussed at his home, Molenick near Saltash, by Chloe Phillips of the Cornwall Record Office and Prof. Mark Stoyle (University of Southampton), an early-modern historian of the south west of Britain and one who for long has been a significant factor in processing Cornish history of that period (for example he published an article, regarding early-modern Cornwall’s turmoils, in the BBC History Magazine in 1997, with many papers and books on similar themes since). Prof. Matthew Spriggs of Australian National University, Canberra, further developed that essay on Wm Scawen with a perceptive paper of his own.
It might surprise people (it did me) that in Matthew Spriggs’ paper (reiterated here by Mark Stoyle) it’s stated that Wm Scawen never became conversant in Cornish (although the Tonkins & Keigwins and others around Mounts Bay with whom he corresponded 300 years ago do seem to have been bilingual). Then again, striking too is Matthew Spriggs’ suggestion that Wm Scawen might have inspired Edward Lhuyd‘s founding study of Celtic linguistics.
Another thing puzzles me: pronunciation of the surname Scawen (and the surname Scown in, say, Stephens Scown) to rhyme with English ‘sawn’ (or ‘sewn’), instead of rhyming with how we d’say Boscawen (which rhymes with ‘crown’ in English). Perhaps our ‘elders’ can enlighten us. Explanations gratefully received ! 🙂
And finally, whether Wm Scawen’s “Antiquities Cornu-Brittanic” of around 1688 has ever yet actually been published (ideally, in electronic form) is unclear to me – hopefully by now copyright will not be a problem ! – perhaps someone in the know could … let us know. Mur ras !