St Michaelís Mount lies at the summit of its own island. The island is reached, at low tide, by a causeway. At high tide a shuttle boat service connects the island with the mainland. A Tour of the rooms on view
In the 12th century St Michaelís served as a Benedictine priory and was a place of pilgrimage. After the civil war the St Aubyn family acquired the island, and their descendants still live in the buildings which were converted to a castle and used as a mansion house.
A terraced garden with subtropical plants was created on the sloping sides of the island.
From the top of the island there are far reaching views in all directions. One view from the top of the island is of the town of Marizon, where the causeway begins.
The west door: The Tudor doorway has the family coat of arms impaling that of the Godolphin family. This part of the building is 14th century.
The hall: This was the living quarters of the captain of the mount in the 16th and 17th centuries but was redone in 1877. An oak chest belonging to a family member, one of Cromwellís officers, is located along the right hand wall. The frieze, once in the bedrooms, is late 17th century.
Sir Johnís room: a private sitting room of the owner of the Mount.
The armoury: sporting weapons and military trophies on display.
The library: This room, altered c1760, was once the breakfast room. It is oldest part of the castle with the lancet windows dating from c12th century.
Chevy Chase: once the monksí refectory; the plaster frieze which gives the room its name (hunting scenes based on the ballad of the same name) dates from the early 17th century; main roof timbers date from the 15th century.
Smoking room: once the butlerís serving room; oriel window dates from 1877.
South terrace: the roof of the Victorian wing of the castle; circular turret on east side is staircase tower leading to private family quarters that encompass five floors below. Steps lead to an 1826 balustraded walk that lead to former Lady Chapel of 1478; chapel converted into two small drawing rooms c1740.
North terrace: service quarters of house located below the terrace.
Priory church: used for public worship; rebuilt in late 14th century; windows altered in 15th century; church restored in 1811; 15th century Flemish gilt brass chandelier; early 15th century English alabaster panels set in reredos behind altar.
Blue drawing rooms: ante room with vaulted ceiling; Rocco interior with George II plasterwork; 1760 gothic style chairs; portraits of family.
Map room: maps of Cornwall county, part of large family collection; model of St Michaelís Mount carved from champagne corks by family butler.
Corridor: drawings and prints of Cornish manor houses dated 1750-1800.
Kitchen staircase: granite staircase built 1870s leads into oldest part of castle; family portraits on wall. At bottom of staircase is brick lined tunnel cut through rock which leads to museum.
Museum: once the kitchen; 1748 map of Cornwall; costumes of 1750s-1800; door from here leaves the castle.
The battery: guns from wreck of French frigate of Napoleonic wars.
St Michaelís Mount
On its own island, reached by causeway at low tide or shuttle boat at high tide
Marazion, near Penzance, Cornwall
Tel. 0 1736 710 507 (tide information); 0 1736 710 265 (info line)
Open: April-end June and Sep-end Oct, Sun-Fri, 10.30am-5pm; July-end Aug, Sun-Fri, 10.30am-5.30pm; visits depend on the weather
Under the care of the National Trust; pay parking at Marazion; NT shop; shop; restaurant; cafť
Note: It is a steep climb from the boat/causeway to the top of the island.
Photos © by Barbara Ballard and closeup courtesy Cornwall Cam
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