Tuesday, 20 August 2013

St Michael's Mount

Today we headed for Penzance in the South West of Cornwall and stopped at Trebah Gardens on the way. This beautiful Cornish valley garden with over four miles of footpath bursting with exotic blooms. Vibrant tunnels of colour cascade down to a secluded beach on the Helford River. Rated among the 80 finest gardens in the world.

Gunnera Plantation (Giant Rhubarb)

We then drove to St Michael's Mount set on an island a few hundred yards off-shore from the ancient town of Marazion and in the heart of Mounts Bay, the castle has for centuries been the home of the St Aubyn family. Originally, the building was a Benedictine Priory dating back to the 12th century which had religious links with the equally famous Mont St Michel in Normandy, France. It has also been a fortress and a port prior to becoming the family home. Due to the high tide we caught the ferry boat to the island, it is then a short walk to the castle. Stepping foot on a land where giants once walked. Legend says that a mythical giant named Cormoran once lived on the Mount, and he used to wade ashore and steal cows and sheep from the villagers to feed his gargantuan appetite. One night, a local boy called Jack rowed out to the island and dug a deep pit while the giant was asleep. As the sun rose, Jack blew a horn to wake the angry giant who staggered down from the summit and blinded by the sunlight fell into the pit and died. It was here where an ancient stone chair stands at the entrance to the castle that according to legend, a vision of the Archangel St Michael appeared to some fishermen in the year 495. Skellig Michael, off the West coast of Ireland; St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall, UK; Then the greatest of them, Mont St Michel, off the coast of Normandy in France. Sacra St Michele, the Italian Alps, Monte Gargano, Southeast Italy. These are all in a straight line geographically and if you extend the line eastward it goes through Athens and ends up at Jerusalem which the medievals considered the center of the world. Others point out that Christian worship sites were often situated on the sites of former pagan sites and there are some churches in France on hilltops dedicated to ‘St Michel de Mercure’ thus linking St Michael with the winged pagan god Mercury.

The Dairy

The Pilgrim Steps

The Giants Well

Looking back to Marazion

Looking over to Penzance

The Library

The church built on the summit of the island after the Norman invasion, when St Michael's Mount was granted to the Benedictine Abbey of Mont St Michael in France.

Blue Drawing Room

Model made from Champagne Corks by Mr Lee Butler to 2nd Lord of Levan

Map Room

No comments: