St Michael's Mount


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.

Most parish and church description(s) on these pages are from Lake's Parochial History of the County of Cornwall by J Polsue (Truro, 1867 - 1873)



  • The Cornwall Family History Society have not yet published Monumental Inscriptions for this parish.


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.
Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:

  • 1841. The 1841 Census of St Michael's Mount (HO107/144), Enumeration District 4, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1851.
    • The 1851 Census of St Michael's Mount (HO107/1918), Enumeration District 4b, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
    • The New Zealand Society of Genealogists have compiled separate surname indexes of the 1851 Census for each Cornish registration district; St Michael's Mount is listed in Volume 26. The booklets are available in Cornwall at the Cornwall Centre, (formerly known as the Cornish Studies Library), and is also available in the Cornwall FHS Library.
  • 1861. The 1861 Census of St Michael's Mount (RG9/1591), Enumeration District 4, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1871. The 1871 Census of St Michael's Mount (RG10/2336), Enumeration District 4, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1881. The 1881 Census of St Michael's Mount (RG11/2343), Enumeration District 4, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
  • 1891. The 1891 Census of St Michael's Mount (RG12/1855) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:

Church History

  • Anglican. The civil parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW5129 (an island); it is dedicated to St Michael.
    In the 11th century a priory was founded here, and the church originally served the order. Upon the summit of this pyramidal hill stands the church, having a tower in the middle. It was built by Edward the Confessor, who was the first to consecrate the Mount to religion. It was then consecrated again in 1135 By William Warlewast, bishop of Exeter, assisted by Bernard the eleveth abbott of St Michael' in Normandy. It was suppressed as an independent religious order during the reign of Henry V in the 14th century, when it was transferred to the new monastery of Syon, near Brentford, Middlesex.
    In 1720 the church of St Michael comprised a nave divided by the rood screen into an aisle and a choir. It was renovated in 1804.
    In all matters ecclesiastical it has always been extra-parochial to St Hilary, and it is now united with St Hilary.
  • Non-Conformist. There are no Non-Conformist facilities on St Michael's Mount nor have there ever been.

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

You can see pictures of St Michael's Mount which are provided by:





  • OPC Assistance. The On-line Parish Clerk (OPC) scheme operates a service to help family historians; the OPC page for this parish is available on-line, from where the OPC can be contacted by email.
  • There is a genealogical website which covers St Michael's Mount.
  • There is also a a message board on the website. It is only for those with a genealogical interest within the area of St Hilary, Germoe, Marazion and St Michael's Mount.

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:



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW516301 (Lat/Lon: 50.118727, -5.476727), St Michael's Mount which are provided by:


Poor Houses, Poor Law

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.