A normal one-stop constitutional document is designed to prevent the abuse of power and government by unchallengeable grace and favour decisions. It provides a list of enforceable duties and responsibilities for those in power and an enforceable list of rights for individuals and minorities. Ultimately, everyone wants to be part of its impartiality and integrity and so everyone becomes a knowledgeable and willing defender of the Constitution.

The evidence suggests that the British Constitution is unprintable. By retaining so many "badges of Conquest" it has evolved into a form of Apartheid when defined as:-

"The abuse of the rule of law to deny an indigenous people the equality of rights".


1. The validity of the Cornish Charter of Pardon 1508

The Charter of Pardon 1508, which refers to the Duchy of Cornwall charters and the “heirs and successors” of the tinners of Cornwall, has been confirmed by the Royal Mines Act 1693, section 3 and the Constitutional Act of Settlement 1700, section 4, (The Charter is published as Appendix 54 to Rowe v. Brenton of 1828, (8B & C737) Concanen edition 1830).

King Henry the Seventh had granted the Charter of Pardon 1508 to the historic Britonic/Celtic tin mining community known as the Stannaries of Cornish speaking Cornwall. The Charter has become an unwanted part of British history for English people who have historically assumed an absolute right to leadership in all aspects of human endeavour in the British Isles even in matters of British culture and traditions.

The Act of Settlement 1700, a written part of the British constituiion, affirms: “All other laws and statutes securing the rights and liberties of the people ratified and confirmed”. The veto provision of the Cornish Stannary Charter of Pardon of 1508 to combat the abuse of power would have been duly confirmed as “securing a right and liberty”.

The right to exercise “Official Acts” and the “King’s Writ” to control “our Stannaries” in Cornwall under the three Duchy of Cornwall Charters of 1337/8 are clearly the public functions in Cornwall of the Duke of Cornwall, heir to the throne. These public functions of the Duke would qualify under the Act of Settlement as “securing rights and liberties” for the English national minority to refuse to contribute towards an income for the heir to the throne. There is abundant evidence that English people refused to pay for the heir to the throne and handed the burden to the indigenous Cornish who they described as “foreigners”. The Report of the Committee on Crown Lands, June 1955, Command 9483, page 15, reveals: “Historical background - Parliament, insistent that ‘the King should live of his own’ and (was) reluctant to supplement the hereditary revenues from taxation”. ‘The Royal Demesne (land) in English History’, by B.P.Wolffe, Allen & Unwin, London, 1971, p.53, puts the Duchy of Cornwall into context: “They began with the county of Cornwall”.

The Charter of Pardon 1508 was granted as a form of recognition of the provision by the Cornish mining industry (the Stannaries) of an income for the heir to the throne. Because the indigenous Cornish were considered to be foreign and spoke their own language it was easy to apply racially biased policies in 1337. Consequently, Duchy of Cornwall charters as constitutional law, could ignore Magna Charta in Cornwall and subject Cornwall to a separate code of laws to those prevailing in England in order to relieve the English population of providing an income for the heir to the throne by controlling Cornwall’s mineral wealth through taxation and mineral rights.

The Royal Commission on the Constitution 1973, para.329 has observed: “The creation of the Duchy of Cornwall in the fourteenth century may have been in some respects a mark of English overlordship, but it established a special and enduring relationship between Cornwall and the Crown”. The confession that: “They began with the county of Cornwall” exposes the “special relationship” as unwritten constitutional law which covers up the non-existence of a constitutionally guaranteed “equality of rights”.

The Cornish Charter of Pardon 1508 was intended to protect the indigenous British Cornish national minority from the abuse of power by the King, the Duke of Cornwall and ultimately, the Westminster Parliament through the right to exercise a veto.

With its veto, the Charter of Pardon 1508 stands for the equality of rights in a multi-cultural Britain.

2. The reciprocal agreement - Cornwall and the Duchy of Cornwall

The Royal Mines Act 1688 declared “no mine of copper, tin iron or lead shall be taken as a royal mine”. Although not specifically stated in the Act, Cornwall was excepted. The exemption of Cornwall (the source of 95% of all British tin produced) from the 1688 Act was clearly intended to permit Duchy/Crown access to Cornwall’s assets in minerals, land and archaeological sites to maximise the income of the Duke of Cornwall, heir to the throne.

The Royal Mines Act of 1693 enshrines a reciprocal agreement in ultimate confirmation of the Cornish Charter of Pardon 1508 with: “Saving for the Stannaries” “The provisions relating to royal mines (The Royal Mines Act 1688) do not alter, determine or make void any of the liberties, privileges or franchises, or to alter, determine or make void the laws, customs or constitutions of the Stannaries of Devon or Cornwall or any of them”. (Quoted from Halsbury’s Laws Volume 12(1), Crown Property, para 220 with reference made to the Royal Mines Act 1693 Published by HMSO 1978, as “Constitutional Law”).

History reveals that it is the economic interests of the Duchy of Cornwall which excludes the public body, the Crown Estate from Cornwall because the ‘special relationship’, and the “quid pro quo” with the Stannaries of Cornwall would be under threat of public investigation.

Retained and “not to alter or make void” is the unique Cornish Royal Charter of Pardon 1508, guaranteed by the Royal Mines Act 1693, which, by any independent standard, is recognition of the civil rights of the indigenous Cornish national minority of British/Celtic origins and should appear in a written British constitution.

The Law Officers of the Crown stated in 1913:- “We are of the opinion that the same principles which render the provisions of an Act of Parliament inapplicable to the Crown, unless the Crown is expressly named, apply also to the Prince of Wales in his capacity as Duke of Cornwall”. “This result arises from the peculiar title of the Prince of Wales to the Duchy of Cornwall…..The Duke is not liable to taxation…” (National Archives ref:- LO3/467). “The Duchy of Cornwall may be understood as an institution without separate legal personality. As the Duke is an individual and not a corporation his actions are personal and can only bind a successor by virtue of statute”. (Halsbury’s Laws, Crown Property, Vol.12 (1) para. 320). “Inapplicable to the Crown” and “the peculiar title” and “no separate legal personality” would not be included in a written British constitution.

The Prince’s Teaching Institute (Prince Charles is Duke of Cornwall) exposes the ‘peculiar title’ by exercising an ‘English overlordship’ world view to prevent the teaching of Cornish and Duchy of Cornwall history in Cornish Schools. The English National Curriculum for history begins “Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in Britain”. The map of Cornwall contains 80% Cornish Celtic language place names.

The Cornish were recognised as a separate people by the Duchy ‘coinage’ or tax on tin production which was levied in Cornwall at twice the rate collected in Devon until 1838. This taxation difference was: “based on racial difference” that is:- “Celtic Cornwall and Anglo-Saxon Devon”. Cornish mining was researched by G.R. Lewis and published as: ‘The Stannaries’, Harvard, USA, 1908, page 85). The indigenous Cornish were clearly being treated as ‘foreigners’ with laws making Cornwall separate from England by the Duke’s exercise of the King’s Writ as authority to punish the Cornish with a double tax. (A double tax was standard English practice for foreigners - 4th Coke.Inst.32/33).

There has been a failure to maintain the break from the feudal past as shown by the lack of respect for the Tudor Charter of Pardon 1508 revealing royal acceptance of Cornish minority rights which should be given equal validity with the Tudor establishment of the Church of England in respect of religious rights.

3. Equality of Rights or the Badges of Conquest for Cornwall

“William the Conqueror and his descendants parcelled out the country and bribed some parts of it by what they called charters. This is the reason why so many of those charters abound in Cornwall. All the old charters are the badges of this conquest”. (‘The Rights of Man’, Thomas Paine, (Original, 1791), reprint, Pelican Classics, 1982, p.94).

The first Duchy of Cornwall Charter of 17th March 1337 was published in 1978 by HMSO as Statutes in Force, Constitutional law. The second Duchy Charter of 18th March 1337 granted the Duke “The King’s writ and summons of exchequer” in Cornwall only. While the third Duchy of Cornwall Charter of 3rd January 1338 granted the Duke, or when no Duke, the King, the right to exercise “Official Acts” in Cornwall only. The second and third charters have not been published by HMSO. The Chief Officer of the Duchy of Cornwall is the Lord Warden of the Stannaries. These “badges of conquest” have not been repealed.

Just as the monarch still claims to be the “only absolute owner of land in England and Wales” (Land Registration At 2002, section 4), and claims of “my government” so the Duchy of Cornwall charters include a claim to “our stannaries” (the tin mines of Cornwall of pre-England origins) and archaeological sites such as Tintagel castle.

Legally Cornwall had to be administered by the Duke as separate from England since by the Duchy Charters he had been granted the “King’s writ” i.e. the King’s prerogative in Cornwall, which would have been illegal and void for the Duke as heir to the throne to exercise in England. (Halsbury’s Vol.8, Constitutional law, para 902 – 3 Co.Inst.7).

The separation of Cornwall from England for the benefit of the Duke of Cornwall’s income on ‘foreign territory’ has been confirmed as successful for the Duke by Adam Smith, in his world renowned standard text-book for economists, ‘The Wealth of Nations’ 1776, Chapter 11, Pt.2, explains: “The tax of the King of Spain is said to be very ill paid, and that of the Duke of Cornwall very well”. “Rent, therefore, makes a greater part of the price of tin at the tin mines of Cornwall the most fertile known in the world than it does of silver at the most fertile silver mines in the world”. (‘Rent’ equates with the Duchy double tax).

The problem with racial bias in 1337 is that King Edward III included in his Duchy of Cornwall Charters the proviso of “for ever”, a principle which, unlike for Magna Charter, has been observed as a hereditary right. The hereditary right principle has also not been extended to the “heirs and successors” of the Charter of Pardon 1508.

Even so, the constitutional ‘for ever’ or hereditary right of the Duchy Charters was found in need of support by the passing of the Duchy of Cornwall Management Act 1982, which provides, at section 8, “The Treasury shall have regard to the interests of both present and future Dukes of Cornwall or possessors of the Duchy”. A future hereditary right.

An hereditary right is also a national minority right. The right to associate as a national minority is given at Articles 10 and 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights but the government refuses to recognise the Cornish under the Council of Europe’s human rights Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities after ten years of submitting evidence by many Cornish organisations. No viable reason has been given.

English politicians and civil servants are apparently expected to demonstrate their “badges of conquest” by professing not to know that the Cornish were in Britain centuries before the English came and declared King Arthur to be their enemy. They do not know that, for the past six hundred years and more, these Cornish Celtic survivors have been at the centre of the provision of an income for the heir to the throne without any official recognition.

4. The public sector and the “equality of rights”

The Statutory Instruments for the commencement of the various sections of the Equality Act 2010, SI.1736;1966; 2191 & 2317 do not include sections 1, 2 and 3 covering socio-economic inequalities, the central feature of the Act. Can effective measures to combat socio-economic inequalities be intended if Parliament itself is exempt from equality under the Equality Act 2010 Schedule 3, while the Duke of Cornwall is exempt from equality under section 205 (6) of the Act? Section 3 reads similarly to section 156:- “Public sector equality duty; Enforcement; A failure in respect of a performance of a duty imposed by or under this Chapter does not confer a cause of action at private law”.

The rule of law in Britain in 2010, ignores the “equality of rights”.
The English education system ignores and denies British history. No reference is made to the Greek who discovered Britain (c.300BC) and reported that the people of Belerion, (West Cornwall) “extracted tin from rock in an ingenious way” and were “civilised owing to their contact with traders from other places”. (The Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek, Professor Barry Cunliffe, Oxen, Walker & Co, New York, 2002). Similarly, the Duchy of Cornwall denies British history by claiming private estate status. On 22nd February 2005 the Duchy claimed exemption from the Freedom of Information Act and refused to divulge the date on which it handed Tintagel Castle, a legendary pre-England site, to English Heritage.

A House of Commons Library response regarding the Duchy of Cornwall stated: “There are restrictions on any question which casts reflections upon the Sovereign or the royal family”. (Letter to Andrew George M.P., 16th June 1997).
These examples of action and inaction by the public sector suggests that Cornwall and the Cornish are being subjected to official acts of discrimination and bias, without written constitutional authority. A deliberate policy of the exclusion of United Nations law, “English overlordship” in education, the retention of “the badges of conquest” by the exclusion of the Crown Estate from Cornwall and the failure to officially recognise the Cornish as a national minority expose a policy to protect the English public from the unpalatable constitutional history of the Duchy of Cornwall.

If English law is designed to give priority to English interests, it follows “ipso facto”, that everyone else in the United Kingdom is a second class citizen.

5. Conclusion

No answers have been received in respect of our communication, claiming the legal right to veto the Cross Border Parliamentary Constituencies Bill and other urgent matters, from the Clerk to the House of Commons Constitutional Committee sent on 4th October 2010 or the Clerk to the Constitutional Committee of the House of Lords sent on 6th October 2010.

The evidence suggests that the British Constitution is unprintable. By retaining so many “badges of Conquest” it has evolved into a form of Apartheid when defined as:-

The abuse of the rule of law to deny an indigenous people the “equality of rights”.

Will the new British coalition government investigate the Charter of Pardon 1508, transpose UN international human rights law for national minorities into British law, apply all relevant rights to the indigenous Cornish and include Celtic, and Duchy of Cornwall history in the schools’ history curriculum?

© Cornish Stannary Parliament – November 2010.

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