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24 September 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > History > Features > St Michael's Mount

St Michaels Mount. Photo credit : NTPL/David Noton

St Michael's Mount

It's the stuff of fairytales. Perched majestically on an island of its very own, sits a castle that was supposedly built by a giant by the name of Cormoran. St Michael's Mount is every bit as mythical as you may think.

Legend has it that the Mount was built by a giant called Cormoran who would wade ashore to snatch up livestock from local farms and take them back with him.

A reward was offered in return for killing the giant and a young boy called Jack came forward. One night, when Cormoran was sleeping, Jack crept over to the Mount and dug a deep pit halfway up one side. In the morning, Jack blew on his horn to wake the giant from his slumber.

The giant came running down the side of the Mount but could not see Jack as the sun was in his eyes and, not noticing the hole, fell into it. Jack then filled the hole in. Jack became a local hero, and from then on was known as Jack the Giant Killer.

A view from the Mount

The beautiful gardens on the Mount

If you walk up to the castle you come across a heart-shaped stone on the pathway which is the Giant's heart. Rumour has it that if you stand on the heart shaped stone you can still hear the Giant's heart beat.

St.Michaels Mount is the jewel in Cornwall's crown and each year thousands of visitors flock to this ancient landmark to marvel at its beauty.

During its long history - the buildings date back to the 12th century - the Mount has been a priory, fortress, a place of pilgrimage and finally became a private home coming into the ownership of the St Aubyn family in 1659.

In 1954 the St Aubyn family went into partnership with the National Trust and the castle and its grounds were opened to the public.

It is possible to take a tour through the fascinating early rooms, an armoury, a rococo Gothick drawing room and, at the highest point, a 14th-century church.

The 'Giant's Heart'

The 'Giant's Heart'

The beautiful walk up to the castle also gives you the chance to absorb the breathtaking views surrounding this island. On particular days you can even see dolphins and seals in the waters below.

Along with the castle where the St Aubyns still live, the Mount is home to 25 residents in its village , has its own church, ancient harbour and beautiful gardens that are full of exotic flora.

There are also a couple of gift shops, restaurants and an audio-visual presentation on the history of the Mount.

The causeway is exposed at low tide allowing you to wander over by foot, otherwise there are small boats that run to and from the mainland. With this and the steep climb it is advisable to wear sturdy footwear.

last updated: 15/04/2008 at 12:46
created: 04/04/2007

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