In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Cornwall like this:
Cornwall.-- maritime co. of England, forming its SW. extremity; is bounded by Devon on the E., and washed on all the other sides by the sea; length, NE. and SW., 75 miles; average breadth, 22 miles; coastline, about 200 miles; area, 863,665 ac., pop. 330,686. The S. coast is much and deeply indented, and has some good harbours. The principal openings from W. to E. are Mounts Bay, Falmouth Bay and Harbour, St Austell Bay, Fowey Harbour, Whitsand Bay, and Plymouth Sound. Falmouth is one of the finest harbours in Britain. ...
The indentations on the N. consist of shallow bays with few or no harbours. The chief promontories are Land's End, where the granite cliffs are about 60 ft. high; and the Lizard, the most S. point of England. The Scilly Isles lie off Land's End, 25 miles to the SW. The Devonian range extends NE. and SW., rising in Brown Willy to an alt. of 1368 ft. The streams are numerous, but small. The principal are the Tamar (which forms the boundary with Devon), Lyhner, Fowey, and Camel. There is much barren moorland, but the soil in the valleys is fertile. (For agricultural statistics, see Appendix.) The prevailing rock is granite, of a grey or bluish-grey colour, which often rises above the surface in huge, rugged masses; clay slate also abounds. The tin and copper mines of Cornwall have been celebrated from remote ages, having been known, it is supposed, to the Phoenicians. Some of them are of very great depth, and have been carried beneath the sea. Silver, lead, zinc, arsenic, antimony, and bismuth are also found in considerable quantities. The fisheries, especially of pilchard and mackerel, are extensive and valuable. The co. comprises 9 hundreds, the Scilly Islands, 219 pars., the parl. bor. of Penryn and Falmouth (1 member), and the mun. bors. of Bodmin, Falmouth, Helston, Launceston, Liskeard, Penryn, Penzance, St Ives, and Truro. It is entirely in the diocese of Truro. For parl. purposes it is divided into 6 divisions, viz., Western or St Ives, North-Western or Camborne, Truro, Mid or St Austell, South-Eastern or Bodmin, and North-Eastern or Launceston, 1 member for each division.
For an overview of how the county has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern of Cornwall -- but you should check this covers the area you are interested in.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Cornwall | Map and description for the county, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 20th June 2013
Click here for more detailed advice on finding places within A Vision of Britain through Time, and maybe some references to other places called "Cornwall".