St Michael's Mount of Cornwall

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St. Michael's Mount is a tidal island located about 360 meters off the coast of Mount's Bay coast of Cornwall, England. Perched on top of a great granite crag is a castle that was once home to Benedictine monks under Edward the Confessor. Historically, St Michael's Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France, which shares the same tidal island characteristics and the same conical shape. Just like the French version, a cobbled causeway, that is passable only during low tides, connects the island to the mainland. Otherwise there are small boats that run during high tides.

The chapel was founded by Edward the Confessor in 1044 in a grant to the Benedictine Abbey of Mont Saint Michael in Brittany. Through the Middle Ages, the island was a major destination for pilgrims, and because of its location, it has seen several battles for its ownership. In 1659, St Michael’s Mount was purchased by Colonel John St Aubyn, who had been the last military governor of the island’s garrison, and it became his private home. In 1954, the Mount was gifted to the National Trust.

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Although the St Aubyn family still live there today, visitors are welcomed to take a tour through the fascinating early rooms where many relics, chiefly armour and antique furniture, are preserved. Along with the castle, the Mount is home to some twenty odd residents in a village that has its own church, ancient harbour and beautiful gardens that are full of exotic flora.

One of the most noteworthy points of interest on the island is the island's own underground railway, which is still used to transport goods from the harbour up to the castle. It was built by tin miners around 1900, replacing the pack horses which had previously been used. However, the railway is accessible to tourists.

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Sources: Wikipedia / Cornwall Online / BBC

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