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Listed Building
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1/56 (was part of 9/157) St Michael's Mount


Priory castle, lady chapel and later private house. Circa 1135 built for Bernard of Le Bec, remodelled in the C14, C15 and remodelled and extended in the circa 1870s by Piers St Aubyn. Granite rubble with granite dressings. Scantle slate and dry Delabole slate roofs with gable ends; embattled parapets to most roofs. Dressed granite chimneys mostly C19, irregularly disposed. Flat roof terraces over much of the C19 extensions carried on brick vaults. Plan: irregular plan largely determined by the rocky outcrop on which the building stands. The earlier domestic parts are within an L-shaped block comprising a south range perched over a precipitous slope and the west entrance range. The west range has a projecting tower at either end with the entrance on the left hand side of the range between the towers. The entrance is within the thickest walling of the castle and has a portcullis. To the right of the entrance is the Armoury (formerly a hall) behind which at right angles is the Church of Saint Michael qv (separate item). Projecting from the left hand tower is a thick buttress, possibly the truncated remains of an outer entrance or gatehouse. In the outer angle between the west range and the south range is a square block, probably formerly a tower, with a garderobe on corbels or machicolations on its left hand side. Behind this block (now Sir John's Room) is a lobby and behind the lobby, the Library, a C18 remodelling of probably a former tower with access from it to the church. Adjoining the rear right hand corner of the Breakfast Room is the former monks refectory, reroofed in the C15, embellished in the C17 and the C18 and since the C17 known as the Chevy Chase Room. Under this room is the Garrison room. Throughout the building are varied floor levels and several straight flights and granite newel stairs linking the floors. In circa the late C15 a Lady Chapel was built adjoining the north-east corner of the church; this was remodelled in circa the 1760s and contains the Blue Drawing Rooms. In circa 1826 the outer defences on the east and north sides were remodelled to provide walks with granite balustrades around the lady chapel and in front of the north doorway of the church. This theme of extending the outer walls was continued in the 1870s when terraces were added filling the south east angles and north and north west of the church. In this way, using the steep slopes of the Mount, greatly increased accommodation was provided (5 floors high at the south east corner, all below the floor level of the Chevy Chase Room). The south east block comprises reception rooms and chambers over a basement entrance floor with the floor levels linked by round newel stair turret. The area north of the church was the service wing, including the kitchen (now the Museum). Also at this time much of the old fabric was refloored and reroofed with some new Gothic style windows added to existing openings or to newly cut or enlarged openings. Above the terrace level there is a link building from the Blue Rooms to the Long Passage south of the church which leads to a large stair turret in the angle between the church, the Breakfast Room and the Chevy Chase Room. At the east end of the Chevy Chase Room (the Smoking Room) there is also some Cl9 rebuilding, including the addition of an oriel window in the south wall. Exterior : the west wall contains much early masonry, the central wall is battered half way up with granite weathering and there is the remains of a corbelled parapet above the C19 windows. The 4-centred arched doorway is probably C16 and there is a pistol loop in the tower left of the doorway. Above the doorway are the St Aubyn Arms (St Aubyn impaling Godolphin) dated 1660. In front of the doorway is an impressive flight of granite steps. The south wall is the least altered elevation, rising sheer from the steep side slope of the mount. The window openings are mostly small with C15 or C19 windows replacing earlier lancets. To the right of the Garrison Room is an arched opening possibly a former garderobe outlet. The rear (east) wall of the west range has some earlier mullioned windows. The north wall of the Chevy Chase Room has 1 C15 window to the main wall, right, and C15 window to either side of a small north transept otherwise later windows, the middle window fitted with fine glass of C15 and later, brought to the Mount in the C18. The former Lady Chapel has Y-traceried windows fitted with C18 sashes with wide geometric glazing bars. There are other C18 sashes on the Mount, however, the similar ones to the library are C19 copies. Some late C19 plaster embellishments over the windows and to the parapet. Interior : well described in the National Trust guide pamphlets and in St Michael's Mount by John St Aubyn, but the principal features are: Chevy Chase Room : fine C15 arch-braced roof structure; C17 plaster frieze depicting the Chevy Chase; C17 coat of arms and some fine C18 Gothic style plasterwork. C16 doorway between this room and the Breakfast Room and a doorway to a probably C15 newel stair down to the garrison room below. The Blue Drawing Rooms have fine C18 Gothic style plasterwork and other Gothic style details: entrance hall: quatrefoil-on-square plan with vaulted plasterwork. Large Drawing room: barrel-vaulted ceiling; trefoiled arcade to the cornice; chimneypiece with ramped pediment to the overmantle and ogee-headed architraves. Small drawing room: panelled plaster ceiling with modillioned cornice; vaulted plasterwork to the bay window (east gable end) and unusual chimneypiece with latticed detail and breaks in the entablature. For History see : St Michael's Mount, by John St Aubyn. Other useful sources : the National Trust guide pamphlets; report by Colonel Drewitt; Borlase drawings and other old pictures displayed at the Mount; History of St Michael's Mount, by Canon Thomas Taylor (1932); a history of St Michael's Mount by Canon J.R. Fletcher, edited and completed by Dom John Stephan (1952) and A Guide to St Michael's Mount with a summary of its history from legendary times, by Miss Joan Wake, O.B.E. (1934). St Michael's Mount is unique, there is no other building in England which has such a remarkable situation. The medieval core is still very prominent and largely intact in spite of the C19 accretions.

Listing NGR: SW5148229829


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
St Michaels Mount Guide
Fletcher, J R, Stephan, D J, A History of St Michaels Mount, (1952)
Taylor, T, History of St Michaels Mount, (1932)
Wake, J, A Guide to St Michaels Mount, (1934)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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