Mounts Bay, Cornwall

Historical Description

Mounts Bay, a large bay in the S of Cornwall, indenting the coast between the Lizard on the E and Tol Pedn Pen-with on the W. It measures 19½ miles across the entrance, penetrates 8½ miles north-north-eastward on the W side to Marazion, makes a gentle semicircular sweep at the NW extremity round Penzance, and curves somewhat regularly, in crescental form, from Marazion to the Lizard. Its most noted feature is St Michael's Mount, at the head, in the vicinity of Marazion, and described in the article MICHAEL'S MOUNT, ST; but its shores in general possess deep interest at once for highly picturesque scenery, for marked evidence of sea-encroachment, and for remarkable mildness of climate, while its waters are famous as a chief station of the pilchard fishery. Its shores include the towns of Penzance, Marazion, and Helston, and parts of the parishes of St Buryan, Madron, Gulval, St Hilary, Perrannthnoe, Germoe, Breage, Gunwalloe, and Mullion, and are noticed in the articles on these places and in other articles. Many eminences on the shores command most delightful prospects over sea and land. The portion of the bay within a line drawn from Cuddan Point to Mousehole is traditionally said to have been dry land covered with wood; is thought to have been submerged by a great oceanic inundation, recorded to have happened in 1099; and retains in its bottom beneath a layer of sand, a deposit of black vegetable mould abounding with roots and trunks of trees, and with the detritus of branches, nuts, and leaves. A tract on the shore, forming part of what is called the Western Green, and now a bare sandy beach, was described in the time of Charles II. as rich pasturage; and the shore-tract, called the Eastern Green, between Penzance and Marazion, has been considerably diminished within the last sixty years.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5