St Michaels Mount, Cornwall

Historical Description

Michael's Mount, St, a parish in Cornwall, in Mounts Bay, three-quarters of a mile S of Marazion, and 1 from Marazion Road station on the G.W.R. It is an island about 1 mile in circumference and 250 feet high, and is connected with the mainland by a natural causeway 400 yards long, flooded eight hours in every twelve by the tide. It probably formed part of an ancient forest, continuous with the mainland, and extending some distance into what is now called Mounts Bay, and it was called by the ancient British Carreg-Ludgh-en-Loos and by the ancient Cornish men Caraclowse-iu-Gowse-names which signify "the Hoar Rock in the Wood." A charter of Edward the Confessor speaks of it as " nigh the sea," and a statement of William of Worcester says that it was " originally enclosed within a very thick wood, distant from the ocean 6 miles, affording the finest shelter to wild beasts." The catastrophe which insulated it is thought to have been a sudden subsidence of land; may possibly have happened so late as the year 1099, when a remarkable inundation is recorded by the Saxon Chronicle to have occurred at the place; and appears to be verified by great abundance of vegetable remains, including leaves, nuts, branches, trunks, and roots of large trees, in a deposit of black mould over the bed of the bay to the limits of ebb tide. The contour of the island is somewhat pyramidal, the outlines are picturesque, and the ascents exhibit much romantic rock scenery. The surface is partly rabbit-warren, partly sparse pasturage, and partly naked crag, and it includes, at the N base of the ascent, the site of a fishing village with a pier. Some planted firs diversify the surface, and a number of rare plants are found. The rocks are chiefly greenstone and granite, resting on clay slate; they include quartz, wolfram, oxide of tin, topazes, apatite, schorl, tin pyrites, and other minerals; and they have been the subject of more geological controversy than any other equal mass of rocks in the world.

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

Newspapers and Periodicals

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Visitations Heraldic

We have a copy of The Visitations of Cornwall, by Lieut.-Col. J.L. Vivian online.