The town’s strategic location made it an important center during the medieval period, and it became the county town of Cornwall.
Bodmin | 0 to the 9th century AD
During the Roman occupation of Britain, from the first century BC to the fifth century AD, Bodmin was likely situated within the territory of the Dumnonii, a Celtic tribe in southwestern Britain. Roman roads passed through the region, connecting Roman settlements. While there isn’t specific evidence of a Roman settlement in Bodmin, the Romans had a significant presence in nearby areas.
Sub-Roman and Early Medieval Period | 5th – 7th centuries
With the decline and withdrawal of Roman forces from Britain in the early fifth century, the region entered a period often referred to as Sub-Roman Britain. The influence of Romano-British culture persisted, but political fragmentation and the arrival of Germanic and Celtic peoples contributed to changes in local governance. The Celtic Cornish language, related to Welsh and Breton, became the dominant language.
Christianization and Monasticism
The spread of Christianity during the sixth and seventh centuries had a significant impact on the region. Missionaries, including Celtic saints, played a role in converting the local population. Monastic communities were established, and some were associated with important ecclesiastical figures. It’s possible that Bodmin had ecclesiastical significance during this time.
Viking Incursions | 8th – 9th centuries
The late eighth and ninth centuries saw Viking incursions along the coasts of Britain, including Cornwall. Vikings targeted monasteries and other rich sites. It’s likely that Bodmin and the surrounding areas experienced the impact on Viking raids and the broader political upheavals of the time.
The early medieval period in Cornwall was characterized by political fragmentation. Local rulers and petty kings governed semi-autonomous regions. The emergence of local dynasties contributed to the complex political landscape.
The name “Bodmin” is believed to have Celtic origins, and its etymology is associated with the Cornish language. The exact meaning of the name is not universally agreed upon, and one interpretation is that “Bodmin” may be related to the Cornish words: bod, meaning dwelling or abode; men, myn, meaning stone or rock.