Stannary Law-From Latin "Stannum"= tin. A Legal system exclusive to the Celts of Cornwall dating back to pre-English and perhaps pre-Christian eras. The Westminster parliament has recognised "any lawful right, profit, privilege or easement to which the tinners of Cornwall are claimed to be entitled. (Constitutional Law 1993).
The legal system comprises "Grand Juries" regulated by the Parliament; Enactment's include Mining regulations, fines for infringement of the law, confiscation of business assets in certain cases; a social dimension, e.g. wages protection and the relief of "tinners" from certain taxes, human rights, e.g. family protection; ban on official disturbance of home at night, etc.
Bounding.-An established right of all Cornish tinners to mark out a define an area of land as a claim on which to dig for tin or other minerals.
Stannary Court-Any tinner or an heir or successor may plead or bring a case before the court and be adjudged according to current Stannary law. It is located in Truro and is a Court of Equity (i.e. develops its own body of precedent law). The Stannary Court is a court of Equity with final appeal. to the Council of the Duke of Cornwall. Recognised under current British constitutional law.
Stannary Parliament-Feature of Celtic government of Cornwall of great antiquity.
1150-A royal charter recognised the ancient customs and privileges of the "Stannaries of Cornwall"- originally four tin mining areas covering the geographic area of Cornwall.
1198-Within the research, the earliest documented letter from the Warden of the Stannaries was to the Justicar Hubert Walter, by which it is possible to deduce the previous status both of mines and miners.
1201-King John of England granted a charter to the Cornish Stannaries. The tinners were confirmed in their privileges of digging tin, and turfs for smelting it, at all times freely and peaceably and without hindrance from any man, everywhere in moors and in the fees of bishops, abbots and counts, and of buying faggots to smelt the tin without waste of forest, and diverting streams for their works, as by ancient usage they have been wont to do. Moreover, the only magistrate with jurisdiction over the tinners was to be their warden, and he alone might summon them from work for either civil or criminal matters.
1214-Production of tin had risen to six hundred tons, to the dismay of the manorial lords; all their villeins turning to tinners, although one of the clauses of Magna Carta was that no lord should lose the services of his men whether they dug tin or not.
(The Stannaries after at least 1214 were under the rule of the Earls of Cornwall)
1216-King John died, to be succeeded by his son Henry III .
Henry III was to confirm his fathers charter to the Cornish Tinners.
Cornwall thus became a state within a state. It had their its courts, its own laws and its own taxation. It acknowledged no lord, was subject to no manorial dues or restraints, and obeyed the king only when his orders were transmitted through its Warden (of the Stannaries).
For the remainder of the 13th Century the Stannaries were under the Earls of Cornwall.
About this time Lostwithiel, being in close proximity to Restormel Castle - the seat of Richard Earl of Cornwall and Edmund his son - became a stannary town. Edmund built a palace in Lostwithiel which became the Court for dealing with the tin industry.
1305-Edward confirmed King John's charter of 1201 to the stannary and thereby tinners had secured their strange privileges and independence: their rights of bounding, of trial before their own courts, and the exemption from ordinary taxation.
The mining areas were divided into four "Provinces" or Stannaries - tracts of unenclosed land on and around primeval granite bosses, where the tinners could set up their bounds and their stream works. Bodmin Moor, the source of the Fowey river, was known as Foweymore. The area centering on Hensbarrow Beacon was Blackmore. St Agnes on the north coast and the area of Carn Brea was Tywarnhayle The western granite peninsula from Hayle to Land's End, including the Godolphin Hills were the stannaries of Kerrier and Penwith.
1337-Thanks to bronze bells and brazen canons, symbols of peace and war, the production of tin in Cornwall reached a record figure in this year. It is perhaps allegorical that Edward the Black Prince, son of King Edward III, was created the first Duke of Cornwall on the 16th of March. The Stannaries were granted to the newly appointed Duke of Cornwall and his heirs of the Plantagenet dynasty, which ended in the death of Richard III. The Stannary until this date was an ancient Cornish Celtic system which included the regulation of its primary industry of tin mining.
Duchy of Cornwall Charter granted by Edward to his son the Black Prince. "We will and firmly command for us and our heirs the said Duke may have and hold to him and the eldest sons of the said Dukes, of the same place hereditary to succeed in the Kingdom of England" (the appointment of) "the Sheriff of Cornwall"(and to have)"manors tc., and, "the stannaries of Cornwall". The text also stipulates "to remain to the same for ever...........in no wise separated........nor to any other or others."
1338-Supreme control of the Stannaries was vested in the Duke of Cornwall (The Black Prince). At this time the output of tin had reached 700 tons and the revenue taken by the Crown from coinage dues was well over £2,000.
1413-The Parliament of Henry IV decreed the family of Beaufort to be excluded from inheriting the Crown (This Act had the effect of debarring Henry Tudor, the future Henry VII.)
1485-Charter by Henry VII, first of the Tudor dynasty,in the form of an agreement or treaty, granted the power to veto Westminster statutes etc., to 1500 Cornishmen, however intermeddling with tin or other minerals, and their heirs and successors. Five hundred years later this includes all Cornish families by descent.
1503-A Westminster Act of Parliament, Chapter X, agreed to pass "no Act prejudicial to any manner granted by the King our Lord Sovereign by his Letters Patent". (This was the last Parliament before the king's (Henry VII) death in 1509.
1508-The law was originally for tinners and their families, then representing over half the population of Cornwall. In this year it was extended to cover their heirs and successors. This was granted by the "Charter of Pardon to the tinners of Cornwall and their heirs and successors" by Henry VII. The Charter affirms these Letters Patent by the Authority of the Westminster Parliament and affirmed, "that no Statutes etc., by us our heirs and Successors shall be made unless by Assent and Consent of the aforesaid twenty-four Stannators."
Heirs and Successors-This can be defined as all Cornish people. Recognition of the charter of this year that by custom the Cornish people assumed the responsibility to implement and respect laws commensurate with the successful functioning of their own society, culture and national heritage.
This charter did not require a writ of Duke of Cornwall.
1568-There was no Duke of Cornwall in Elizabeth Tudor's reign. Sir Walter Raleigh was to be known as Knight, Lord Warden of the Stannaries, Lieutenant General of Cornwall. Elizabeth I confirmed the Charter of 1508 and re-constituted it with her own Letters Patent.
1571-The Letters Patent Act of Westminster confirms all Letters Patent sealed by Elizabeth I. (Letters Patent are still used today to give the Royal Assent to Westminster Acts of Parliament).
1650-The Stannary regulations were abolished by the Commonwealth, coinage duty as well as pre-emption, and there followed a decade of unprecedented prosperity when the price of tin doubled, mines flooded and abandoned during the civil war were reopened, and production reached a record level of a thousand tons of tin.
Charles I's reign: The Long Parliament went to work, and practically without dissension passed a series of Acts that reduced the Crown to financial dependence upon Parliament, and laid the foundation for a limited monarchy. This involved a form of the prerogative courts outside the common law, among them the stannary courts.
1688-Bill of Rights, section VIII. (Convention Parliament of England at Westminster.) (Baskett, Printers to the king, 1734.) "Provided that no charter, or Grant, or Pardon, granted before 20th October 1689, shall be in any ways impeached or invalidated by this Act, but the same shall remain of the same force and effect in Law, and no other than as if this Act had ever been made."
The Convention Parliament of 1688, not being legally convened, declared itself to be a Parliament, "notwithstanding any want of writ of summons or any other defect of form or default whatsoever, as if convened according to the usual form."
1752-Stannary Parliament convened by writ of Duke of Cornwall, comprising 24 Stannators and 24 assistants comparable with US Senators and representatives. The electorate has developed by custom to include tinners and their heirs and successors. Results are notified to the Duchy of Cornwall and the Mayors of the four coinage Towns (Lostwithiel, Truro, Helston and Launceston). It has the power to veto English legislation which it considers detrimental to Cornish interests.
1829-A report on the laws and jurisdiction of the Stannaries of Cornwall, by Sir George Harrison, Attorney-General of the Duchy of Cornwall.
1836-August. Passing of the Stannaries Courts Act. Until this, tin mines came under Stannery law and other mines under common law; however in this year it was extended to cover all minerals, a special separate court of law: a representative and legal system for the administration of the Stannaries.
British company law of this time refers to England, Scotland and the Stannaries.
1884-Duchy of Cornwall (2) Act, section 84 (HCL, para 1599.) "Provided always, and it be enacted, that nothing in this Act shall in anywise prejudice, affect, or extend to any lawful Right, Profit or Privilege, or Easement to which the Tinners of the County of Cornwall are, or claim to be entitled, as such Tinners under or by force of any statute, Custom, Prescription, or Royal Charter, but the same shall be and remain in full force and vigour as if the Act had neverbeen passed."
Para 1047-Because the Sovereign is a Corporation Sole, grants which she makes bind her successors even when those successors are not expressly named.
Para 1050-(a) the general rule of construction is capable of important relaxations in favour of the subject. Thus, if the intention is obvious, a fair and liberal interpretation must be given to the Grant to enable it to take effect; and the operative part, if plainly expressed, may take effect notwithstanding qualifications in the recitals.
Para 1050 (b) The Grant will also be constructed in favour of the subject where it is expressed: by special favour; certain knowledge and mere motion. (All of these expressions are contained in the Stannary Charter.)
1948-14th November Prince Charles born to The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh. The Duchy of Cornwall only passes to the son of a reigning Monarch, and therefore Prince Charles did not inherit the title at birth.
1953-3rd June With the succession of his Mother, the five year old prince Charles inherited the Dukedom of the Duchy of Cornwall.
1990-The problem for the cause of Cornish cultural autonomy before this was that Western Civilisation was locked in a scrum, in a united effort against communism. This anti-communism demanded unity of near war-time proportions to defeat what proved to be an imaginary enemy. Confrontation had held back the free development of national identities and their cultures.
1993-There is both a council and a incumbent Attorney General.
July The Bill of Rights of 1688 was held by the Speaker of the House of Commons, during the Maastricht debate, to be currently valid and unamended, when it was quoted in support of the "sovereignty" of the British Parliament at Westminster. It is self-evident that "sovereignty", in the hands of an absolute majority of English members in Parliament, were used to subsidise English culture and suppress a minority national culture.
The Maastricht Treaty which reveals under "Title IX CULTURE, article 128 (1) "The community shall contribute to the flowering of the cultures of the member states, while respecting their national and regional diversity"...................Etc.
Also, from European Constitutional Law contained in the Treaty of Rome as Amended by the Treaty on European Union 1993.
"The union shall respect fundamental rights ....without discrimination on the grounds such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status." (Treaty on European Union, Article F)