In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described St Marys like this:
MARY (ST.), an island and a parish in the Scilly Islands, Cornwall. The island is the chief one of the Scilly islands; measures about 2½ miles in length, about 1½ mile in breadth, and about 1,600 acres in area; and contains the village of Hugh Town, which is noticed in its own alphabetical place, and has a post office, ‡ of the name of Scilly, under Penzance. Pop. in 1851,1,668; in 1861,1,532. Houses, 282. The surface rises, in some parts, into considerable elevations; and is, in general, rocky and barren; but includes fertile vales and hollows. ...
The rocks are granitic, and contain a large aggregate of valuable minerals. Buzza Hill commands a very fine view, and has a barrow. Peninnis Head is a splendid group of rocks, and adjoins a large rock basin, called the Kettle and Pans. Monk's Cowl is a granitic mass 100 feet high, over a natural amphitheatre. The Pulpit Rock exhibits disintegrated granite in horizontal joints, and has "a sounding board ''47 feet long and 12 feet broad. The Tower is an abrupt rock on a high base, rises 140 feet above sea-level, and was used as a station in the trigonometrically survey. Blue Carn, at the S extrenmity of the island, is a broken and intricate tabular mass of rocks, indented with basins. Giant's Castle is a carn, and was anciently used as a cliff fortalice. A logan stone, computed to be 45 tons in weight, and several barrows, are near Blue Carn. Porth Hellick bay was the place in which Sir Cloudesley Shovel's body came ashore after the wreck of three men of war in 1707, and the scene of a very remarkable escape from shipwreck in 1840. Sallakee Hill, to the S of this bay, has two ancient crosses, now placed in a stone fence. Inisidgen Point, at the NE extremity of the island, shows interesting rock features, and is crowned by a stone-covered barrow. The telegraph is near Inisidgen Point; rises to a height of 204 feet above sea-level; and commands a panoramic view. The beach of Permellin bay consists chiefly of very fine quartzose sand, once in much request for sprinkling on manuscripts; and a hill above that bay has remains of a fortification, called Harry's Walls, begun in the time of Henry VIII., but never completed. Other features are noticed in the article HUGH-TOWN.The parish comprises all the Scilly Islands, and will be noticed in the article SCILLY. The living is a p. curacy, united with the chapelries of St. Martin, St. Agnes, and Trescoe and Bryher, in the diocese of Exeter. Value, not reported. Patron, Aug. Smith, Esq. There are chapels for Baptists and Wesleyans, an endowed school, and a pilots' fund charity. A telegraph-cable to Lands-End was laid in Sep. 1869.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing St Marys has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Isles of Scilly. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering St Marys and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of St Marys, in Isles of Scilly and Cornwall | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 22nd May 2013
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