Richard Carew's Survey of Cornwall, first published in 1602 and reissued every century since then, is widely regarded as the most important book ever written about the county. It gives a vivid picture of life in Elizabethan times, providing much detail about seine fishing, mining, tin industry, feast days and many other topics. He also mentions by name hundreds of Cornish people and families. In this edition the text is given unabridged but using modern spelling and punctuation.
Richard Carew (1555–1620) was a Cornish translator and antiquary. A county gentleman of Cornwall, he was educated at Christ Church, Oxford where he was a contemporary of Sir Philip Sydney and William Camden, and then at the Middle Temple. He made a translation of the first five cantos of Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered (1594), more correct than that of Edward Fairfax. Other works were The Survey of Cornwall (1602), and an Epistle concerning the Excellencies of the English Tongue (1605). He served as High Sheriff of Cornwall, and as MP for Saltash and later Mitchell. His son Richard Carew was created a Baronet in 1641 (see Carew Baronets).