St Michael's Mount, Cornwall
St Michael’s Mount is truly unique; a tiny, rocky island filled with astonishing history and natural beauty, yet still a living, working community of people.
St Michael's Mount (Cornish: Carrack Looz en Cooz) is a tidal island located 366 m (400 yd) off the Mount's Bay coast of Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is united with Marazion by a man-made causeway, passable only at mid to low tide, made of granite setts. The island exhibits a combination of slate and granite.
Its Cornish language name — literally, "the grey rock in the wood" — may represent a folk memory of a time before Mount's Bay was flooded.
Certainly, the Cornish name would be an accurate description of the Mount set in woodland. Remains of trees have been seen at low tides following storms on the beach at Perranuthnoe. The Cornish legend of Lyonesse, an ancient kingdom said to have extended from Penwith toward the Isles of Scilly, also talks of land being inundated by the sea.
Historically, St Michael's Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, France.
St Michael's Mount is known colloquially by locals as simply the Mount.
The chapel is extra-diocesan, and the castle is the official residence of Lord St Levan. Many relics, chiefly armour and antique furniture, are preserved in the castle. The chapel of St Michael, a fifteenth century building, has an embattled tower, in one angle of which is a small turret, which served for the guidance of ships. Chapel Rock, on the beach, marks the site of a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary, where pilgrims paused to worship before ascending the Mount. A few houses are built on the hillside facing Marazion, and a spring supplies them with water. The harbour, widened in 1823 to allow vessels of 500 tons to enter, has a pier dating from the fifteenth century and subsequently enlarged and restored.
Recent studies indicate that the rise in ocean waters from global warming are putting at risk much of the Cornwall coast, including St. Michael's Mount.
St Michael's Mount is still owned by the St Aubyn family, but visitor access is controlled by the National Trust.