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St Michael's Mount

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Dominating Mount's Bay is St Michael's Mount, (Cornish: Karrek Loes yn Koes), which rises majestically almost 230 feet from sea level to the tower, chapel and battlement of the castle. Situated approximately 500 yards offshore the Mount is reached by small ferry boats which ply between Marazion and the Mount's harbour at high tide, or a causeway which enables pedestrian and service traffic at low water. At its base, the Mount is rather more than a mile in circuit, and occupies a horizontal area of about 7 acres.

The grandeur and wealth of history of St Michael's Mount, with its fairy tale castle, make it a unique attraction in Britain. An island at high tide, originalting from the great flood in 3000 BC, the Mount is now a treasure of the National Trust. It features a harbour, shops and a restaurant, "The Sail Loft". The castle and gardens are open to the public some days and details can be obtained from the Tourist Information Centres.

According to one legend St Michael is believed to have appeared here in AD 710. The Mount is a small island on the south-west coast of Cornwall connected at low tide by a causeway to the Mainland. In the 11th century it was given to the monks of Mont St Michel in France who founded a priory here. At the dissolution in 1539, the revenues were given to Henry Arundell who was appointed Governor. The Mount, on the orders of Sir Francis Basset, then Sheriff of Cornwall, remained loyal to the King during the English Civil War but it was attacked and taken by Parliamentary forces, under the command of Colonel Hammond, in April 1646. Major Ceeley was appointed Governor in 1659, by Richard Cromwell who had briefly succeeded his father as Lord Protector. At the Restoration in 1660, John St Aubyn became the proprietor, and the Mount has continued in that family ever since. The nunnery and house for the monks were placed below the church to the east, south and west; they were much altered during work in 1720 to convert the buildings into a family residence for the St Aubyn family. Further alterations were made in 1826. Since 1660 it has been in the possession of the St Aubyn family and a small village has grown up near the harbour. In 1811, there were fifty houses, eight of which were uninhabited. By 1820 the little town of St Michael had two or three small Inns, and about seventy dwellings. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the Mount on 6th September 1846.

The Mount is now owned by the National Trust; it is a popular tourist attraction and can be reached by walking across the causeway at low tide or taking the boat at other times. There is a steep walk to the priory with an abundance of magnificent views.



Census information for this parish (1841 - 1901) is held in the Cornwall Record Office. The Cornwall Family History Society offers a census search service for its members. The Cornwall Family History Society have also published on-line census detail by surname on the FamilyHistoryonLine site.

Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:

Church History

Church Records

Civil Registration

The parish of St Michael's Mount has been in the Penzance Registration District continuously from 1st July 1837. There were originally sub-districts at Marazion, Penzance, St Buryan, St Just, St Ives and Uny-Lelant but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Gulval, Ludgvan, Madron, Marazion, Morvah, Penzance, Perranuthnoe, St. Buryan, St. Erth, St. Hilary, St. Ives, St. Just in Penwith, St. Levan, St. Michael's Mount, St. Paul, Sancreed, Sennen, Towednack, Uny-Lelant, Wolfe Rock Lighthouse, and Zennor. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Alphington House, Alverton Place, Penzance, TR18 4JJ. Tel: 01736 330093.

Description & Travel


Historical Geography

The Domesday Settlements of Cornwall, a study undertaken by the Cornwall Branch of the Historical Association, has identified and located settlements listed in the Exeter and Exchequer Domesday Survey of AD 1086. The following places have been identified in St Michael's Mount ecclesiastical parish:


Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc.

St Michael's Mount parish was part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.


  • Population in 1801 - 125? persons
  • Population in 1811 - 125 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 223 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 161 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 163 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 147 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 132 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 127 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 94 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 81 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 111 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 74 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 59 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 71 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 52 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 47 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 43 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 25 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 35 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 19 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 35 persons


The parish comprises 21 acres of land and 47 acres of foreshore.

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