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Death in the DiasporaBritish and Irish Gravestones$
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Nicholas Evans and Angela McCarthy

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474473781

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474473781.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Memorialising the Diasporic Cornish

Memorialising the Diasporic Cornish

(p.155) 7 Memorialising the Diasporic Cornish
Death in the Diaspora

Philip Payton

Edinburgh University Press

And Shall These Mute Stones Speak? asked Professor Charles Thomas in his seminal book of the same name (University of Wales Press, 1994), arguing that in the early medieval period, with its paucity of documentary records, the inscribed standing stones of Cornwall were the best evidence for the existence of early Cornish people. The inference was that, in the modern era, with its multiplicity of sources and data, it was hardly necessary to resort to such devices. However, the ‘mute stones’ of the nineteenth and early twentieth-century Cornish diaspora – the grave stones of Cornish emigrants in cemeteries as disparate as Pachuca in Mexico and Moonta in South Australia – are vivid insights into the Cornish diasporic experience. Their location in often remote areas are testament to the extent of Cornish diasporic dispersal, while the inscriptions on individual gravestones are themselves important sources of social and cultural history. Moreover, these cemeteries and gravestones have served collectively and individually as memorials to the diasporic Cornish, often organised into distinctive ‘Cornish’ sections in graveyards, and are today explicit sites of remembrance – as in the ‘Dressing the Graves’ ceremony performed at Moonta, Wallaroo and Kadina during the biennial ‘Kernewek Lowender’ Cornish festival on South Australia’s northern Yorke Peninsula.

Keywords:   Memorials, Cornwall, Cornish, migration, Australia, Mexico, miners, surnames, diaspora

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