A Castle Built on A Rock – St. Michael’s Mount

Tuesday August 1, 2017

Enjoy the most of summer in England. Let’s go farther than London and one destination you will truly enjoy is Cornwall. There are a lot of exciting places to visit in Cornwall that we might give space to write about in the future like Lands’ End, 200-foot-high granite cliffs that rise out of the Atlantic Ocean that you can gaze across to the Longships, Lighthouse, the Isles of Scilly and beyond that, North America; Eden Project the world’s largest indoor rainforest a forerunner in architecture; and Fistral Beach, the surfing capital of United Kingdom.

Let us consider St. Michael’s Mount in Marazion Cornwall for now. Come join me in exploring the marvelous, legendary and castle of antiquity, more than a thousand years old. Back when I was in the Philippines movies having a castle, palace, prince and princess enthralled me. Imagine the excitement of seeing one with my own almond shaped eyes. My heart is leaping out of my chest that only I can feel.

First, what is the difference between a castle and a palace? A castle is a structure built for safety and protection. It is fortified against attacks with thick walls, battlements and towers. Palaces on the other hand are the official residences of a sovereign, royalty, archbishop, bishop, or presidents built for luxury, comfort, prestige and security. St. Michael’s Mount in Marazion is a castle. A castle built on a rock. The mount is made of the uppermost part of a granite- the strongest, most durable and hardest natural stone. At low tide, from afar the castle looked like it is on top of a steep mountain rock. As we walked on the causeway, we found that it is surrounded with sea weeds and rocks. We spotted some oysters. After enjoying the breathtaking sight, we saw a few doors that looked like apartments. The Mount is home to about 25 residents in its village and has its own ancient harbour and sub-tropical garden. We passed through the heavy medieval doorway. Finally, we reached the entrance hall and what unfolded before our eyes was the history of the St. Aubyn family, who have lived there since the 17th century.

Colonel St. Aubyn was appointed Governor of the island in 1647 to keep the surrounding neighbourhood peaceful after the Civil War. St. Aubyn’s coats of arms were hanging on the wall along with a collection of muskets, weapons and many more items on display. There are so many rooms to see but the most thrilling for me were the Priory Church and Blue Drawing Rooms. The Church has been standing confidently and placidly at the highest point since the 12th century. Despite the challenges and changes in different places in England where churches were converted into other types of establishment, it is still used for Sunday services to this day. There is a 15th century granite Lantern Cross in the priory walls. I liked the Blue Drawing Rooms because that was where Queen Victoria sat to sip tea with a housekeeper in 1846. How cool of Queen Victoria to do that.

When you are on top of castle you can feel the ocean breeze. They say, there are days you can even see dolphins and seals in the waters below. As I looked at the blue waters it was like looking at an infinite measure of my favourite gem, blue sapphire. (Sapphire is a tough and durable gem yet subject to chipping and fracture when handled roughly). The blue ocean gives me the feeling of security that the ‘One’ who created this enchanting body of water is the ‘One’ who holds me in His palm. With any chipping and fracture experienced in life’s journey, He is the only One who can give me back a perfect lustre and kaleidoscopic exploit during a wearisome battle. Our trip was almost over but I was still looking for a part of a castle that would exhilarate me like when I was watching a castle movie, the secret passages. That is what I saw in the movie like “The Man in the Iron Mask” with Leonardo Di Carpio but I didn’t see any secret passages in this castle. I consoled myself thinking that is why it’s called a secret one is not allowed to see it.

It was getting late and suddenly the causeway was starting to disappear. The water was rising rapidly. We hurried to go down and took a boat to go back where we started from. The castle that appeared to be standing on top of the rock now looked like a floating fiery castle in the middle of the night. The reflection of the castle in the water brought by intense light brings another mystique. How they lighted it in the 12th century and how gracious God is that He gave men brilliant minds to explore His creation, to build and light a magnificent castle on top of the rock, the jewel of Cornwall, St. Michael’s Mount. There are cafés, restaurants and gift shops to check in at the end of the day. Enjoy Cornish pastries or fuggan scones with clotted cream.

HISTORY. Some of my friends who travelled to France were wondering why St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall England is very much like Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy France. Only history can explain that.

The island of Marazion in Cornwall was a busy port trading tin with Europe thousands of years ago. St. Michael Mount was modelled after the Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy France to support William the Conqueror in his claim to the throne of England in 1067 (Norman conquest of England was the invasion and occupation of England by French soldiers led by William the Conqueror). Apparently, if not coincidentally, according to legend, the archangel Michael appeared in 708 to the bishop of Avranches, and instructed him to build a church on the rocky islet and called it Mont Saint-Michel in France, whereas legend says that in 495, St Michael is said to have been seen by fishermen on top of the island Marazion where St. Michael’s Mount-England was to be built about 500 years later). Just imagine the period covered by the folklore of supposed apparitions of St. Michael. These were 500 to 1,000 years after the death of Jesus Christ. In a less complicated world though wars and invasions were prevalent within the Western Hemisphere or Europe came under Christendom, meaning, that at about this period Europe had a love and fear of God above all. Despite political conflicts these strong political powers agreed and submitted to the sovereign power of the unseen and supernatural. Michael is not a saint but an Archangel we read in the book of Daniel. Today, England and France are experiencing all kinds of challenges especially in England. It is my personal opinion, however, that they wait for Archangel Michael to realize their need of God. I don’t think St. Michael will appear. Because Daniel was praying and fasting when he appeared to Daniel to give him the message of God. We need to pray and fast to know the wisdom of God. There is one and only Rock we can depend on that the enemy could not prevail against. He is the Rock and foundation worth building our castle on.

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/st-michael-s-mount-cornwall-england-721913/

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