St Michael's Mount


Its Cornish name is, Karrek Loes y’n Koes ‘Grey rock in the woods’. The mount is a tidal island, 400 yds (366m) off the south Cornish coast.

It may have been the mount (Mictis) mention by the Greek historian Timaeus in the fourth century BC, when he and a friend visited the place which was then part of the mainland and it is believed was surrounded by a wood. Nearby was a port for the export of tin.

Before the 8th century there was an established monastery here and by the 11th century Edward the Confessor had granted it to the Norman Benedictine abbey of Mont Saint-Michel.

Henry Pomeroy captured the mount in 1193, on behalf of Prince John, in the reign of King Richard I. It was during this period that a stone defensive castle structure was built on its summit. The castle layout incorporated, square towers.

John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, seized it and held on to the mount’s fortress, during a siege of some 23 weeks, against King Edward IV and his 6,000 troops in 1473. The mount continued to changed hands until the Civil War when Sir Arthur Basset and his Royalist garrison held it until July 1646.

In the early 18th century the mount had a flourishing community and seaport. When nearby Penzance improved its harbour, with the extension of the railway in 1852, the mount went into decline.

In 1954, the 3rd Baron St Levan gave most of St Michael’s Mount to the National Trust.

This is now managed in conjunction with St Aubyn’s family and the National Trust and is open to the public.

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