FROM:- Colin Murley, Save Cornwall, Camborne, Cornwall, TR14 0JG
17th November 2011
The Boundary Commission for England,
Parliamentary Boundaries, (South West),
35, Great Smith Street,
London, SW1P 3BQ (Reference Number received 9th December 2011)
Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011
Objection to any Tamar cross border Parliamentary Constituency
Please accept this my objection to any cross border Devon/Cornwall Tamar river constituency as is possible under the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, on the grounds that such a solution is based on the false assumption that there is currently no difference between the East side and the West side of the iconic natural traditional border of the river Tamar.
The Tamar river has evolved into a multi-purpose border. It is:-
1. A Cornish border 2. A Duchy of Cornwall border
3. An Economic border 4. An Environmental border
5. A Crown border 6. A Constitutional border
1. A Cornish border
The Tamar became the traditional and cultural border between the Celts and the Anglo-Saxons in 936AD when the Cornish in Devon were expelled by King Athelstan. “In the end the Britons of Cornwall were compelled to accept the river Tamar as their boundary”. (Anglo-Saxon England, 2nd.Ed., F.M.Stenton, Clarendon Press 1947, p.337).
“Nag usi par, A’n barth ma dhe bons Tamar”. From a Cornish language poem written c.1340. (Translated as: There is no equal on this side of the Tamar bridge). Published by Henry Jenner 1877.
The Tamar river was awarded to, and accepted by, the Duchy of Cornwall in 1869 at a time when it had long been recognised as a Cornish river and the natural Cornish border. After nearly seven centuries of association with Cornwall and its Tamar border there is an expectation that the Duchy of Cornwall would recognise the gift by supporting the status quo.
The distinctive Cornish flag of St. Piran has been generally recognised since c.1800, and is prominently displayed within the traditional borders of Cornwall, both privately and officially.
The Duke of Cornwall’s Benevolent Fund” (Reg.No.269183) collects income from intestate estates within the traditional borders of Cornwall but distributes it in “The United Kingdom and elsewhere” while the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund (Reg.No.1026752) restricts the distribution of its similar income to the same area, that is, within the same border area from which the income is acquired and collected.
2. A Duchy of Cornwall border
The third Duchy of Cornwall charter of 3rd January 1338 granted rights for the Duke, comprising; “the exercise the powers of the King’s Writ and Summons of Exchequer in Cornwall and any other official act there”. (Rowe v. Brenton, 8B & C737, 1828, Manning edition). This charter confines the validity of its powers to the area within the traditional borders of Cornwall and is now the basis for adding extra feudal powers and privileges not awarded in the original charter of 17th March 1337.
Additions include Duchy “possessions” extended to include “regalities”. (Duchy of Cornwall Management Act 1863, section 37). The definition of the word “regalities” includes: (a) jurisdiction conferred by the sovereign on a powerful subject” and (b) “a territory under such jurisdiction”. (Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged – from FARLEX – free online dictionary). ‘Regalities’ would be incompatible with the non-Monopoly duty imposed by legislation on the Crown Estate elsewhere in the UK East of the river Tamar. (Refer para.5 below).
The Tamar was one of the rivers of Cornwall awarded to the Duke of Cornwall in October 1869 by Sir John Taylor Coleridge “within the purview of the Cornwall Submarine Mines Act 1858” which had awarded the foreshore of Cornwall to the Duke as a territorial possession. (Halsbury’s Laws Vol. 12(1) para. 268). The Act in turn, was based on the third Duchy of Cornwall Charter.
The Tamar river has since attracted the interest of the Duke of Cornwall in the form of the Tamar Bridge Act 1998, which provides:
“Nothing in this Act affects prejudicially and estate, right power, privilege, authority or exemption of the Crown including the Duchy of Cornwall, and in particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, nothing in this Act authorises the Authorities to take, use, enter upon or in any manner interfere with any land or hereditaments or any rights whatsoever description , belonging to:- (a) Her Majesty in right of her Crown. (b) The Duchy of Cornwall, subject to the consent of the Duke of Cornwall. (c) A government department”. (Tamar Bridge Act 1998, s. 41).
Unless the law has been changed, this law reveals a principle in plain English that:- “nothing authorises the Authorities to interfere with” the Tamar border.
3. An Economic border
Duchy of Cornwall economic rights within the borders of Cornwall includes the right to invest outside Cornwall. The Cornwall income includes, intestacies, bona vacantia (the assets of bankrupt companies), under the Supreme Court Act 1981, section, 120, as well as a prerogative right to gold and silver mines by the Limitation Act 1980, section 37 (6), Treasure trove, mineral rights, manors, the foreshore and rivers of Cornwall and other undisclosed interests given priority under a statutory duty of the Treasury by virtue of the Duchy of Cornwall Management Act 1982, s. 8, and supports exemptions from planning and compulsory purchase laws.
“No formal title to the lands of the Duchy of Cornwall is vested in the Prince of Wales, he cannot dispose of the estates capital and is entitled only to the annual income”, as affirmed by the Prime Minister, Hansard,  25th March 1996.
The dedicated Duchy of Cornwall annual income from Cornwall was intended, and remains, to relieve the English population of being taxed to provide an income for the Heir to the Throne. A royal fortune was accumulated from the Cornish mining industry over a period of five centuries based on the English double tax for foreigners applied to Cornish tin production compared to that levied across the Tamar border in Devon. (The Stannaries, G.R.Lewis, Harvard, 1908)
The original principle of the conventions of English constitutional law was , apparently, that Parliament would raise the necessary taxes to provide an income for present and future Monarchs.
“The legal background to the Duchy (of Cornwall) makes it clear that it belongs to the Crown. What is invidious about the position of the Duchy is its compromising of the original principle of English constitutional law, that the Monarch should be dependent on Parliament for finance”. (Who Owns Britain, Kevin Cahill, Canongate, Edinburgh, 2002, page 91).
Before the creation of the English state in 1066, the Cornish border was created in 936 AD and should now, it is contended, be accepted and respected as an established right of the Cornish national minority by the English national majority inheritors of the Conquest.
4. An Environmental border
The Tamar is a natural border and an environmental symbol of the limits of Cornish
territory and represents a symbol of security to Cornwall and its people. The Tamar
border also stands for the protection of our “culture” and “the conditions of human
life” under the Aarhus Convention, Article 3(c)) and an indicator of policies adopted
under the Environmental Information Regulations (S.I. 2004/ 3391 and Directive
2004/4/EC) within the borders of both Celtic Cornwall and the constitutional public
authority of the Duchy of Cornwall.
The Tamar border also highlights the historic unexplained connection and divisions between Cornwall, the Duchy of Cornwall and the Crown Estate.
These connections and divisions require public participation (per Aarhus) to ensure that the Environmental Information Regulations for Cornwall’s border do not become another exemption award for the Duchy of Cornwall whether private or public.
By claiming the status of a private estate the Duchy extended that claim to include exemption from the Environmental Information Regulations (S.I. 2004/ 3391 and Directive 2004/4/EC) reflecting the all embracing UN Aarhus Convention. (Refer para. 6 below). In an UNECE Implementation Guide to the Aarhus Convention, 2000, Article 1 (2), it is noted: “Privatised solutions cannot take public services or activities out of the realm of public involvement, information and participation”.
It is contended that the cultural and environmental assets of Cornwall, including the Tamar border are under threat while the Duke of Cornwall enjoys the rights of exemption from the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, sections 54 and 102 and is exempted from the registration of its land under the Land Registration Act 2002, section 84, note 135, plus exemptions from the provisions of the Competition Act 1998, section 73, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 section 37 and the Planning Acts.
These exemptions have induced planning permission to accommodate Duchy of Cornwall “regalities” in land. A huge block of holiday flats on a World Heritage site at Hayle, a similar block on the foreshore of Carlyon Bay, St.Austell and green fields developments on the outskirts of Truro and another Poundbury in the pipeline near Newquay, all within the Tamar border area.
The Crown Estate web site includes its commitment to community involvement, a principle which is not encouraged on the West side of the Tamar border.
Awaiting to be applied are environmental regulations that state:- “Any enactment or rule of law that would prevent the disclosure of information in accordance with these regulations shall not apply”. (S.I. 2004/3391, section 5 (6)).
5. A Crown border
The Crown Estate, a recognised public body, is confined to the East of the Tamar border. The Crown Estate is required, under the Crown Estate Act 1961 sections 3 & 4, to implement: “Grants for public purposes” and “excluding any element of
Monopoly”. However, these public spirited provisions do not apply to Cornwall in
any Act of Parliament. This has been confirmed.
The Crown Estate, in its response to a Freedom of Information request in a letter to
the undersigned of 7th January 2005, gave this information: “The Crown Estate has
no holdings within the boundaries of Cornwall. The analogous landowner in
Cornwall is the Duchy of Cornwall”.
With no similar Crown Estate provisions in the Duchy of Cornwall Management
Acts 1863 and 1982, or elsewhere, the evidence suggests that the Tamar border
defines Cornwall as being an area reserved by the government as a Duchy
monopoly separate from the remainder of the United Kingdom.
6. A Constitutional border
The territorial integrity of the Cornish Tamar border was obviously recognised by the
Royal Commission on the Constitution of 1973, in its para.329, which noted:
“The creation of the Duchy of Cornwall in the fourteenth century may have been in
some respects a mark of English overlordship. Use of the designation (Duchy) on all
appropriate occasions would serve to recognise both the special relationship and the
territorial integrity of Cornwall”.
An innocent observer might well expect constitutional support for ‘the territorial
integrity of Cornwall’ to embrace the integrity of the Tamar border itself.
The Tamar border was not called into question by a former high ranking official of
the Duchy who observed, in respect of Charles the First as Duke of Cornwall:- “The
Prince may have become the victim of his own success, believing that he could
govern the realm as he had the Duchy”. (The Estates of the English Crown 1558 –
1640, (Ed. R.W.Hoyle), Graham Haslam, Cambridge University 1992, p.296).
In the Port Navas oysters case an Information Tribunal of 4th November 2011, (Case No: EA/2010/0182) ruled that the Duchy of Cornwall is to be classified as a public body on the grounds that: “the provision of an income for the Duke is a function of public administration” (para.110), and, “an extremely important constitutional role for the UK”. (para.109).
There has been no public consultation on the differing environmental and economic
policies of the constitutional Crown Estate to the East of the Tamar and those of the
‘analogous’ constitutional Duchy of Cornwall to the West of the Tamar river.
With no constitutional provision for the protection of indigenous minorities and no written constitution to control people in power, the innocent observer might reasonably conclude that the English language has serious limitations when it comes to a debate on, or an explanation of, the official UK title of ‘Constitutional Monarchy’. There is certainly a Monarchy but, does the constitutional bit belong to the Monarchy?
In a “split” or “Cross Tamar” constituency the awareness of the “conditions of human
life” as an environmental condition applied by the Crown Estate to the East of the
river Tamar and protected under the Aarhus Convention Article 2 (3c), will
undoubtedly encourage the electorate in any Eastern part to adopt an attitude of racial
superiority, secure in their freedom from any “Crown Estate Monopoly” and their
enjoyment of “grants for public purposes”. (Refer para.5 above).
On the other side, in the Western part of any such constituency, with Duchy
exceptions, differences of treatment, and the legacy of possible cases of bias and
racial discrimination, the people will undoubtedly recall the humiliation of the
“English overlordship” identified by the Royal Commission on the Constitution 1973.
‘Overlordship’, is indicative of policies of conquest and collective punishment retained to hide the unpalatable facts, and points to a possible reason as to why the Cornish have been excluded from the Human Rights Framework Convention for National Minorities for the past ten years without offering a reason in plain English.
For Cornwall, the Boundary Commission can hardly describe itself as being involved
in the democratic process while the Duchy of Cornwall charters remain in force with
their ever expanding tributaries flowing through the system and muddying the
We ought to be able to learn from the Constitutions of our European neighbours such
as Switzerland, where: “All humans are equal before the law”. (Article 8). There
appears to be no reason, therefore, for the Boundary Commission to confine itself
exclusively to the constitutional consideration of maintaining the integrity of
Welsh and Scottish borders.
Should this objection not fall within the remit of the Boundary Commission to decide
its merits, may I respectfully request the establishment of a Public Inquiry with a
remit to at last publicly and transparently define the meaning given to the principle of
the rule of law by the English national majority and made applicable for Cornwall,
home of the Cornish Celtic national minority, to the West of the Tamar boundary.
© Save Cornwall 01.01.2012