St Michael's Mount is a tidal island in Mount's Bay, Cornwall, United Kingdom. The island is a civil parish and is linked to the town of Marazion by a causeway of granite setts, passable between mid-tide and low water. It is managed by the National Trust, and the castle and chapel have been the home of the St Aubyn family since approximately 1650.
Historically, St Michael's Mount was a Cornish counterpart of Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France, with which it shares the same tidal island characteristics and a similar conical shape, though Mont-Saint-Michel is much taller.
St Michael's Mount may have been the site of a monastery from the 8th to the early 11th centuries. Subsequently, it ceased to be a priory, but was reduced to being a secular chapel which was given to the Abbess and Convent of Syon at Isleworth, Middlesex, in 1424. It was a destination for pilgrims, whose devotions were encouraged by an indulgence granted by Pope Gregory in the 11th century. The earliest buildings on the summit, including a castle, date to the 12th century.
Various sources state that the earthquake of 1275 destroyed the original Priory Church, although this may be a misunderstanding of the term 'St Michael's on the Mount' which referred to the church of St Michael atop Glastonbury Tor. Syon Abbey, a monastery of the Bridgettine Order, acquired the Mount in 1424. Some 20 years later the Mount was granted by Henry VI to King's College, Cambridge on its foundation. However, when Edward IV took the throne during the Wars of the Roses the Mount was returned to the Syon Abbey in 1462.
John de Vere, 13th Earl of Oxford, seized and held it during a siege of 23 weeks against 6,000 of Edward IV's troops in 1473–74. Perkin Warbeck, a pretender to the English throne, occupied the Mount in 1497. Sir Humphrey Arundell, Governor of St Michael's Mount, led the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, it was given to Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, by whose son it was sold to Sir Francis Bassett. During the Civil War, Sir Arthur Bassett, brother of Sir Francis, held the Mount against the Parliament until July 1646.
The Mount was sold in 1659 to Colonel John St Aubyn. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the structure of the castle was romanticised. In the late 19th century, the remains of an anchorite were discovered in a tomb within the domestic chapel.References:
The Church of St Eustace was built between 1532-1632. St Eustace"s is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here in the 17th century. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.
The origins of Saint Eustache date back to 13th century. The church became a parish church in 1223, thanks to a man named Jean Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby, as granted by King Philip Augustus. To thank such divine generosity, Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name of the church refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general of the second century AD who was burned, along with his family, for converting to Christianity, and it is believed that it was the transfer of a relic of Saint Eustache from the Abbey to Saint-Denis to the Church of Saint Eustache which resulted in its naming. Jeanne Baptiste d"Albert de Luynes was baptised here.
According to tourist literature on-site, during the French Revolution the church, like most churches in Paris, was desecrated, looted, and used for a time as a barn. The church was restored after the Revolution had run its course and remains in use today. Several impressive paintings by Rubens remain in the church today. Each summer, organ concerts commemorate the premieres of Berlioz’s Te Deum and Liszt’s Christus here in 1886.
The church is an example of a Gothic structure clothed in Renaissance detail. The church is relatively short in length at 105m, but its interior is 33.45m high to the vaulting. At the main façade, the left tower has been completed in Renaissance style, while the right tower remains a stump. The front and rear aspects provide a remarkable contrast between the comparatively sober classical front and the exuberant rear, which integrates Gothic forms and organization with Classical details. The L"écoute sculpture by Henri de Miller appears outside the church, to the south. A Keith Haring sculpture stands in a chapel of the church.
The Chapel of the Virgin was built in 1640 and restored from 1801 to 1804. It was inaugurated by Pius VII on the 22nd of December, 1804 when he came to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon. The apse chapel, with a ribbed cul-de-four vault, has at its centre a sculpture of the Virgin and Child of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle that the painter Thomas Couture highlighted by three large paintings.
With 8,000 pipes, the organ is reputed to be the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organs of Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ originally constructed by P.-A. Ducroquet was powerful enough for the premiere of Hector Berlioz" titanic Te Deum to be performed at St-Eustache in 1855.