The Cornish Questions: A Compendium of Historical, Ecclesiastical, Biographical, Philological, Geographic & Legendary Trivia of Cornwall by L.B.Ward, 1992. Amended May 1994. 99 pages. Contact Mr. Ward at Surfirs, Crackington Haven, Bude, Cornwall EX23 OJP, England.

If you have Cornish ancestry and need to find the lost place names, folklore, festivals and traditions, the national bird, meanings of mining terms, just for starters, then this is THE book to buy!

The foreword includes this paragraph: "Len Ward combines a fierce independence of mind, characteristic of the Cornish, with an insatiable curiosity about the origins, customs and events which shaped this land throughout thirty centuries of human settlement and struggle. The library of his Crackington Haven home contains one of the finest collections of source materials anywhere. There is no place in Cornwall that he has not observed with his own eyes, no festivals he does not know, and few archives and records he has not perused."

Ward himself states, "This compendium was compiled as an aid memoir for the Crackington team in the first Radio Cornwall Village Hall Quiz in 1989. It is not intended to give a comprehensive answer to all the questions posed but hopefully it may tempt readers to research further any item which attracts their interest."

The questions are those of identification, (Where is Banjo Pier?); ecclesiastical, (Which saint is the most popular patron saint of Cornish churches?); biography, (Who was Sir Francis Drake's wife and where was her native parish?); artistical and classical, (Who wrote "The Saffron Eaters"?); geographical, (What is Little Cornwall?); first, last and foremost questions, (Which is the highest village in Cornwall?).

Also, historical, (What was the "Grylls Act"?); food, drink and dress questions (What was the reputation of the Cornish Pie?); legends, customs and saying questions, (What had the witch, the conjurer and the charmer in common?); language, (What was a Cornish "Jerusalem"?). The maritime questions, (Which Cornish lighthouses are still operational?); mining questions, (Name the old Stannaries of Cornwall?) and this includes many mining terms.

The Appendices list facts and figures of: bridges, castles, cathedrals, civil commotions and Civil War, constituencies, county boundaries, festivals, railways, rivers, stone circles, ancient sites, natural features and much more.

The Appendices also includes biographical sketches of Cornish and non-Cornish born, with lists of names; Cornish churches and their peculiarities; peculiar place names, historic houses and dialect words and sayings.

Are you looking for some peculiar saying or name from your ancestors letters, a specific place, or possibly a saying which makes no sense? Check this book out, you just may find what you are looking for!

Reviewed by Peggy Gleich
BIGWILL v.3 no.1, 1996