The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868


[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2013

"LOOS ISLAND, an extra parochial place in the hundred of West, county Cornwall, and lying off the mainland S.W. of West Loos. It is about half a mile distant from the shore, and the same in circumference. It is the property of the Trelawney family, and is the resort of wild fowl. Here are some rums of an ancient chapel. Outside the island is a dangerous reef known as Rennies Rocks."

"ST. MICHAEL'S MOUNT, an extra parochial place in the hundred of Penwith, county Cornwall, a quarter of a mile S. of Marazion. It is a remarkable granite rock, about 1 mile in circumference, and 250 feet high, in Mount's Bay, and connected with the shore by a kind of causeway of sand and rocks, which are submerged by every rising, tide, and are dry only at low water. It is called by Ptolemy Ocrium, and is supposed to have been the island Iclis, or Iktas, of the Greeks, noticed by Diodones Siculus as the place near the promontory of Belerium to which the tin, when refined, was brought in carts by the Britons, to be exchanged with the Phoenician merchants. Its British name was Careg-ludgh-en-loos, rendered into the Cornish, Cara-Couzin-Clouze, signifying "the grey or hoary rock in the woods," a tradition apparently confirmed by the discovery of a submarine forest, extending for some miles around the base of the mount, and covered with gravel and sand. The sublimity of the spot caused it to be selected by the ancient Britons as a favourite resort for worship; and shortly after the introduction of Christianity it became a place of pilgrimage, and was' visited in the 5th century by St. Kelna, a princess of British royal blood, who founded a hermitage, which subsequently became the site of a Benedictine priory, to which Edward the Confessor granted the whole island, with the castle and other buildings. It was made by Robert, Earl of Mortaigne, a cell to the abbey of St. Maria de Pericula, in Normandy, and was seized in 1194 by Henry de la Pomeroy for Prince John. Upon the suppression of alien priories, Henry V. gave it to King's College, Cambridge; but in 1471, being surprised by John de Vere, in a pilgrim's disguise, it was recovered by Edward IV., and presented to Syon Abbey. It was seized by the Cornishmen during the rebellion of 1548, and in the civil- war of the 17th century, having been fortified for the king, it was taken in 1646 by Colonel Hammond, the Parliamentary general. After the Restoration it became the property of the Arundells, Bassets, and others, from whom it has descended to the St. Aubyns of Devonport. The mount, which has more the appearance of a work of art than of nature, is exceedingly rugged, consisting of large masses of granite overhanging its base, and crowned with an embattled and turreted building called the chapel tower, which has been restored, and now forms part of the residence of Sir J. St. Aubyn, Bart., whose dining-room is formed out' of the refectory of the ancient priory, and is adorned with carvings of field-sports, from which it is known as the "Chevy-chase" room. On the slope, but towards the top, are two batteries, and an old lantern beacon. The houses are situated at the bottom of the rock, where is a fishing-pier; but the population of the whole island is scarcely above 150 persons. A considerable portion of the surface, which comprises about 70 acres, is in rabbit-warrens; the remainder either a barren crag, or covered with a sparse herbage, scarcely sufficient to pasture a score of sheep for the whole year. It has also some plantations of fir scattered over its surface, and many rare plants are met with. The mount itself consists of a hard granite, in which transparent quartz is the preponderating substance. Among the minerals found are tin, copper, antimony, lead, mica, felspar, fluor spar, malachite, topaz, wolfram, and the triple sulphuret of copper. There is also slate interspersed with granitic veins. Sir Humphrey Davy, who was a native of Penzance, has celebrated St. Michael's Mount in his poem of "Mount's Bay."

"TREGAVETHAN, an extra parochial place in the W. division of Powder hundred, county Cornwall, 3 miles N.W. of Truro."