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St Mary, Cornwall

Historical Description

Mary, St, an island and a parish in the Scilly Islands, Cornwall. The island is the chief one of the Scilly Islands; measures about 2½ miles in length, about 1¼ mile in breadth, and about 1600 acres in area; and contains the village of Hugh Town, which is noticed in its own alphabetical place, and has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Penzance. The surface rises in some parts into considerable elevations, and is in general rocky and barren, but includes fertile vales and hollows. The rocks are granitic, and contain a large aggregate of valuable minerals. Buzza Hill commands a very fine view, and has a barrow. Peninnis Head is a splendid group of rocks, and adjoins a large rock basin, called the Kettle and Pans. Monk's Cowl is a granitic mass 100 feet high, over a natural amphitheatre. The Pulpit Rock exhibits disintegrated granite in horizontal joints, and has " a sounding board " 47 feet long and 12 broad. The Tower is an abrupt rock on a high base, rises 140 feet above sea-level, and was used as a station in the trigonometrical survey. Blue Cam, at the S extremity of the island, is a broken and intricate tabular mass of rocks, indented with basins. Giant's Castle is a earn, and was anciently used as a cliff fortaliee. A logan stone, computed to be 45 tons in weight, and several barrows, are near Blue Cam. Forth Hellick Bay was the place in which Sir Cloudesley Shovel's body came ashore after the wreck of three men of war in 1707, and the scene of a very remarkable escape from shipwreck in 1840. Sallakee Hill, to the S of this bay, has two ancient crosses, now placed in a stone fence. Inisidgen Point, at the NE extremity of the island, shows interesting rock features, and is crowned by a stone-covered barrow. The telegraph is near Inisidgen Point; rises to a height of 204 feet above sea-level; and commands a panoramic view. The beach of Permellin Bay consists chiefly of very fine quartzose sand, once in much request for sprinkling on manuscripts; and a hill above that bay has remains of a fortification called Harry's Walls, begun in the time of Henry VIIL, but never completed. Other features are noticed in the article Hugh Town. The parish comprises all the Scilly Islands, and will be noticed in the article Scilly. Population of the civil parish, 1201; of the ecclesiastical, 1911. The living is a perpetual curacy, united with the chapelries of St Martin, St Agnes, and Trescoe and Bryher, in the diocese of Truro; net value, £160 with residence. There are Baptist, Wesleyan, and Bible Christian chapels, and a pilots' fund charity.

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

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Cornwall papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

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