Isles of Scilly  Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly


In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Isles of Scilly like this:

Scilly Islands, island-group at the entrance of the English Channel, 25 miles SW. of Lands End, 3500 ac., pop. 2320; P.O., T.O., called Scilly. The islands constitute a parish of Cornwall, and are in the Western or St Ives Parliamentary Division of that county. They are about 30 miles in circumference and number 140, but only six of them are of any importance, viz., St Mary's, Tresco, St Martins, St Agnes, Bryher, and Samson. ...

Hugh Town (St Mary's) is the seat of government, which is managed by 12 of the principal inhabitants who constitute the Court of Twelve. The inhabitants are engaged in raising and exporting early vegetables for the London market, in the fisheries, and in sea-faring pursuits. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) The islands rise steeply from the sea, and have proved very dangerous to mariners. On St Mary's Island and on Bishop Rocks are lighthouses, with revolving and fixed lights seen 17 and 16 miles. The Scilly Islands are supposed to have been the Cassiterides of the Greeks, and the Sillinse of the Romans. After the withdrawal of the Romans they were occupied by a Celtic population, who have left stone circles, kistvaens, cromlechs, and other remains. In the 10th century they were annexed to Saxon England by Athelstan. During the Civil War they held out for the King, afforded temporary shelter to Prince Charles, and were captured by Blake. They now form part of the Duchy of Cornwall.

Isles of Scilly through time

Click here for graphs and data of how Isles of Scilly has changed over two centuries. For statistics for historical units named after Isles of Scilly go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Isles of Scilly in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 25th May 2024

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