St MICHAEL'S MOUNT MARAZION CORNWALL
St Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Cornwall is truly unique; a tiny, rocky island filled with astonishing history and natural beauty, yet still a living, working community of people.
Explore the amazing island world of St Michael’s Mount and discover legend, myth and over a thousand years of incredible history a place where ancient and modern sit side by side, and where nothing is quite as it seems.
Dominating Mounts Bay St Michael’s Mount, which rises majestically almost 230 feet from sea level to the tower, chapel and battlement of the castle. Situated approximately 500 yards offshore the Mount is reached by small ferry boats which ply between Marazion and the Mount's harbour or walk the causeway at low water.
Climb the ancient, cobbled path to the inspiring medieval castle, gaze down at the beautiful gardens and enjoy magnificent views across the bay to Penzance.
A medieval castle –that has played its part in many furious battles which is still home to a modern family of the St Aubyn family.
This quaint village can claim to be the oldest town in Britain, called Ictis by the Romans.
St Michaels Mount was once known as Cara Cowze in Clowze, or, The Hoar Rock in the Wood, which is seen by some as a folk memory of when the sea was much further back, and the area covered in woodland. The tradition was most probably passed on from written records when the mount was a monastic settlement linked with Mont St Michael in Brittany. St Michael's Mount is also not far from the legendary lost land of Lyonesse. The Mount was also the legendary abode of the giants Cormoran and his wife Cormelian. Jack the Giant killer eventually defeated Cormoran, after the giant terrorised the surrounding lands.
St Michael's Mount is also the starting point for the infamous St Michael's ley, a broad line linking the Mount, St Michael's Church Brentor, St Michael's Church Burrowbridge, St Michael's Church Othery, St Michael's Church, Glastonbury Tor and Stoke St Michael.
Old painting of St Michael's Mount.
c 2000 BC. Mount’s Bay, previously marsh forest, is flooded by the sea, and St. Michael’s Mount becomes an island.
c 400 BC to 400 AD. An important trading port for the export of tin and copper to Europe. Likely to be the island of Ictis, referred to in classical literature.
c 550. St Cadoc, one of the chief saints of Wales and a great traveller, unexpectedly meets his aunt, the Cornish St Keyne, when he visits the Mount.
c 900. Date of recently discovered Christian grave, indicating possible Saxon religious settlement on the island.
1075. Following Norman conquest, St. Michael’s Mount is granted to the French Mont St. Michel.
1135. Church built by Abbot Bernard of Mont St. Michel and consecrated by Bishop of Exeter in 1144.
1193. Priory seized by Henry de la Pomeray with his men disguised as pilgrims. Castle starts to be built. De la Pomeray dies by his own hand in fear of the consequences when Richard the Lionheart returns from the Crusades.
1262-3. Four miracles take place in the church, which encourages the growth of pilgrimages.
1385. Richard Auncell of Tavistock installed as first non - French prior.
1424. Henry VI confirmed the grant of the priory to Syon Abbey, following its appropriation from Mont St Michel in 1414 as an alien priory.
1472-3. During the War of the Roses, the Lancastrian Earl of Oxford takes and holds the Mount through a siege of six months.
1497. Perkin Warbeck refortifies the Mount and leaves his beautiful wife Katherine there for safety as he undertakes his ill-fated campaign for the throne.
1535. Steps towards dissolution of monasteries underway. Mount clergy finally pensioned off in 1548.
1549. Bloodthirsty Cornish rebels capture the Mount, where a number of nervous local families had taken refuge. Hostages released intact when Prayer Book Rebellion is defeated at Exeter.
1588. First beacon lit to warn of arrival of Spanish armada.
1642-6. New fortifications installed during the Civil War by Sir Francis Basset before Mount capitulates to parliamentarians in April 1646 after a valiant defence.
1659. Colonel St. Aubyn purchases the Mount, and his descendants still live in the castle twelve generations later.
1726. Harbour rebuilt – generating economic activity for next 150 years until Penzance improves its port. Village revitalised, reaching 300 people at its peak.
1812. French privateer disabled under fire from the South East battery, and its cannons captured.
1846.Queen Victoria and Prince Albert make an impromptu visit while cruising on the Brittannia, and in the absence of the family are entertained by the Housekeeper in the Blue Drawing Room.
1873-8. East Wing is built by John St. Aubyn, later made Lord St. Levan, with his cousin Piers St Aubyn, as architect.
1902. King Edward VII visits, and Lord St. Levan closes the St Aubyn Arms pub (now No. 1 Harbour View) when a tipsy fisherman spits at the King’s feet.
1954. St Michael’s Mount is given to the National Trust with a large endowment fund while the St. Aubyn family retain a 999 year lease to live in the castle and a licence to operate the visitor business.