Letter 'S'

Sacred Bowl at Porth Hellick Down. How to find it

Sally Port - Entrance to a fortified area.  There are three in good condition on the Garrison and the remains of one.  See Garrison Sally Ports.

Salakee (St Mary's) - Farm/Hamlet

Salakee Down - Airport near southeast St Mary's.

Samhain - Celtic Festival, 31st October/November 1st.  (To return the sun)

Samphire, Rock

Crithmum maritimum.   Prolific and edible wild plant found in coastal regions of of Scilly, used for pickling.  Rock Samphire does not grow below the high-tide mark.  From the Parsley family, Umbelliferea. [snt7 p12].  This plant was once important to the economy of a few Scillonians in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  It was exported to the mainland where London wholesalers were reported to have paid four shillings per bushel (8 gallon capacity).  The quality was superior to that harvested in Cornwall.

Samson - Uninhabited Island Southwest of Bryher & Tresco.  Sixth largest of the islands.  [sah pages 45 to 47].  Made up of the North Hill & South Hill connected by Samson Neck.  First settled by one family c.1669 (Cosimo).  2 families c. 1750 (Borlase).  There were seven families recorded in 1822 with a total population of 34 (Woodley).  The island was depopulated c. 1854 by Augustus Smith.  See specific histories by Glynis Cooper & Zélide Cowan.  Best visited in the spring before it is overrun by bracken for those interested in the remaining archaeology.

Sandy Banks - Farm /Hamlet Telegraph Road.

Sea Panda - Island Police Boat, prior to 1990.

Sea-Stone - Old type of stone anchor.

Sepulchral Barrow - Ancient Grave.

Seymour, Lord Admiral Sir Thomas - Lord Proprietor of Scilly from 1547.  He unfortunately did deals with marauders and raiders and allowed the Islands to become a base for Pirates.  For this and activities in London he was beheaded in 1549.

Scad - Horse mackerel.  Eaten widely in the 'hard times'.

Scaddan - Old Scillonian name.

Schiller, S.S. - German passenger ship which was sailing from New York to Hamburg in 1875 when she was wrecked on the Retarrier Ledges, near the Bishop Rock Lighthouse, with the loss of about 330 lives.  More than 100 victims are buried in Old Town Churchyard.  See also Bibliography &  Shipwrecks

Scillonian Magazine - Launched in 1925 is a twice-yearly chronicle of life in the Isles of Scilly, it is still being published.  Founded by Geoffrey Fyson and Reverend C. L. T. Barclay.  The IOS Museum holds almost a complete set.  Images of the Baxter Index for Issues 1 to 200

Scillonian, Ships - A series of Scilly/Penzance packet ships that served/serve the islands. Scillonian III, 1255 tons, 16 knots and approximately 600 passengers.  See Bridge Over Lyonesse.   Web site of postcards and photographs of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company and other related ships which have served the Scilly Isles: simplonpc.co.uk/Isles_of Scilly.html

Scilly Radio - Unit 21 Porthmellon, St Mary's.  See Links

Scilly Rock - West of Bryher.  In 1899 two ships, the Erik Rikmers & the Parame sank within 150 metres of each other.

Scilly Shrew - Unique to Scilly, a sub species of the Lesser White Toothed Shrew (Crocidura cassiteridum) which was first identified in c. 1924..  Some times they are seen 'caravanning', when the mother shrew will lead her babies in a line, each holding the tail of the one in front.  Said to live up to one year.

Scurvy Grass - This hardy plant is found on the rocks and cliffs and is full of vitamin C.  It was gathered and eaten by sailors as a protection against Scurvy.

Seaplanes - There was a seaplane base behind Porth Mellon Bay during WW1.  This was relocated to Tresco in 1917.

Selby, Rev. Mr - Responsible for getting the crippling salt duty removed from supplies used for curing fish on the islands.

Select Vestry - Post, Council of Twelve and prior to the modern Town Council c. 1891.  Established in c.1832.  Carried on its function for looking after the islands poor till the 1930's.

Sevenstones Inn - St Martin's public house.

Shipbuilding - c.1750 the Scillonians built boats for their own use. In the later 1700's they are recorded as building boats for sale.  What was a new industry was to close down during the Napoleonic Wars.  The industry seems to restart after the arrival of Augustus Smith in 1834 giving employment to many islanders in several disciplines including blacksmiths, joiners, painters and sail makers. [Refs.]

Shipman Head (Bryher) - Northern most promontory of Bryher, cut off from the main part of the island by the The Gulf.

Shipman Head Down (Bryher) - South of Shipman Head.  Site of Bronze Age settlement including visible field walls.

Shipwrecks - See Shipwreck section.

Shovell, Sir Clowdisley (Admiral) - See Bibliography.

Shovell Memorial - Porth Hellick.  Two blocks of quartz cemented together, placed there by Mr. W. Trevillick of Rocky Hill

Silures - A people reputed to have inhabited Lyonesse.

Sleeps Abode - Peninnis Head.

Slippen - St Mary's Gig built 1830.

Smith, Augustus John- Lord Proprietor of Scilly 1804 to 1872. 

Was governor of the Isles of Scilly for over thirty years, and was largely responsible for the economy of the islands as it is today.
Smith was born at Ashlyns Hall, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England, and went into banking. He became known locally as a philanthropist, doing his best to improve educational standards in his home district. In 1834 he acquired the lease on the Isles of Scilly from the Duchy of Cornwall for £20,000, and set about changing the islanders' way of life, expelling those who could not find a job locally and evacuating some of the smaller islands, where small populations were farming at barely subsistence level.

Smith gave himself the title Lord Proprietor, and, though many of his actions were unpopular, his motives are now generally recognised as having been good ones. Besides building a new quay at Hugh Town on St. Mary's, he sowed gorse and trees to provide shelter for the agricultural land. He built schools on the well-inhabited islands. Having cleared the island of Samson of the one or two families that inhabited it, he attempted to turn it into a deer park, but the experiment failed.

Smith, Bosun - Penzance Methodist lay-preacher who founded the Isle of Scilly Industrious Society in 1825 which practically encouraged island industry by providing equipment and expertise.

Smith-Dorrien-Smith, T. Algernon - Nephew of Augustus Smith.  His name was originally  T. Algernon Smith-Dorrien.   But to inherit Scilly the Will of Augustus stated he must assume the name of Smith.  He later dropped his original Smith to become Dorrien-Smith.

Smith Monument - SV 891 143 South side of Abbey Hill, Tresco.  Rough-hewn granite structure designed by Augustus Smith himself as, I assume, the official 'Family' monument. He is buried in St Buryan in Cornwall.  There is also a memorial obelisk and marble plaque to his memory  in Old Town Churchyard.

Smith, Thomas - Scilly Agent c. 1750.  See Borlase.

Smuggling - See Notes on Smuggling

Smugglers Cache - Tresco, near a timeshare cottage called Smugglers  (near the Blockhouse).  Late eighteenth or early nineteenth century.  There is a photograph of the 'cache' by James Gibson [iosgfm op p62].

Smutt - A long period of calm weather.

Soay - Breed of sheep present on the isles of Harris & Faroe which survive on eating seaweed.  Similar breeds may have been brought to Scilly in the past.

Soda-Ash - Sodium Carbonate.  Produced by the kelp industry and used to make glass, soap and bleach.

Soleil d'Or - One of the first narcissus grown for profit on the Isle of Scilly.

Sorlinges - The old Dutch name for the Isles of Scilly.  Found on many of the early Dutch Charts.

South Hill (Samson) - Entrance graves, round houses and deer park [sah 60]

Southward Wells - Rock Outcrop off Sampson.

Southward Well Point - Southeast Sampson.

Spanish Armada - The Isles of Scilly were a possible rendezvous point planned by Philip of Spain.

Spanish Ledges -

S.P.C.K. - The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, founded in 1698, is one of the oldest Anglican societies, dedicated to communicating the Christian faith by means of education. Founded by Thomas Bray.  The first missionary, based on Tresco, was  Reverend Coxon in 1775.  Tresco described as a desolate place he only lasted just over a year and was replaced by Reverend John Troutbeck in 1779.  The Society had a significant and positive influence on schooling in Scilly.

Spirit of wit and drollery - Girls dressing as men and men dressing as girls [ist]

Spurge - Family of plants, e.g. Sea Spurge & Portland Spurge.

Standing Stones - Also called Menhirs.  There is no clear understanding of their use.  Best known is the Old Man Gugh and the Long Rock at McFarland Down.  See also Priest Stone, Perigilis and Harry's Walls Stone. [snt21p11]


Left: Star Castle c. 1874, ILN.

Star Castle (Stella Mariæ or Star of Mary) - Built under the orders of Frances Godolphin because he had been instructed by Queen Elizabeth to defend the islands against the Spanish.  Built by Robert Adams 1593 to 1594 the fort is an eight pointed star within an eight pointed rampart.  It cost about £1000, quite a large amount in that period.  As guns were developing the high position of the castle was not favourable but it provided a temporary  stronghold for the Royalists during the Civil War in 1646.  Opened as a hotel in1933 following the occupancy by the Scilly Land Steward.

Stern board, Association - [SM266p55-56]

Steval - Rocks at the western tip of the Garrison.

Steval Battery - The tip of the Steval Point is thought to have had, in the seventeenth century, a platform with barracks. Most of this has since eroded away.  In the late eighteenth century there may have been a traversing carriage here for a 24 pounder muzzle loaded cannon (EH).  Later c. 1900 the site was used for a Defence Electric Light (DEL) which still stands.  There was another DEL behind, which was converted to a pillbox c. 1940.

Behind the pillbox (converted DEL) there is the Steval Point Battery which was used for two 12 pounder breech loading pedestal mounted guns.  This is a private dwelling.  This may have replaced an earlier muzzle loaded gun battery?

Further up the Garrison Hill is the Steval Battery, part of a 6 inch gun defence complex which includes the Woolpack Battery, artificer's workshop, Battery Caretaker's House, small arms magazine stores and barracks.  These 6 inch guns had a range of seven miles.  Most of this complex is not open to the public being integrated with the campsite.   Note:  Granite Gun Datum Posts (x3 ) can still be found on the southeast shore of Samson which would have been used by the Steval guns.  See also Named Batteries & Earthworks.

Stideford, Mrs - Well known botanist who once lived at Lunnon Farm, St Mary's.

Stones, Line of 3 - Higher Town beach, St. Martin's.  SV 9330, 1530.

Stone Figurine, Stone Idol or Statue-Menhir - Chapel Down, St. Martin's. SV 9425, 1595.

Stoneship Porth, Bryher - Probably named when the Charming Molly, carrying Portland stone was wrecked here.  Not to be confused with Stony Porth nearby.

Stoney Porth (St Mary's) - East Porth Cressa Bay.

Strangers Cemetery - Western side of Carn Thomas, not used since the Gryll's Act, 1807.

Strewer - May Queen Attendee.

Sturlusson, Snorri - Wrote the saga about Olaf Tryggvessön c. 1222. The events of which were said to have taken place in 989.

St Agnes, Island - Linked to Gugh.  Three quarters of a mile long and half a mile wide.  Combined acreage with Gugh 358 acres.

St Agnes Church - Built in 1827.


St Agnes Lighthouse - Built c. 1680. See Lighthouses & description of St Agnes Lighthouse by Robert Heath.

Left: St. Agnes Lighthouse, c. 1874, ILN.

St Buryan , Cornwall - Named after a female Saint Burien, a saint reputed to have come from Ireland.

St Elidius Hermitage, St Helen's Island - SV 901168. Ecclesiastical complex started in the 8th century and extended in the 11th and 12th centuries. Detail by O'Neil.  Also [sa24]

St Helens, Island - The site consists of an early Christian Hermitage thought to have been founded by St Elidius somewhere between the eighth or tenth century and there is the Pest House c. xxxx.  St Helen's is a corruption of St Elidius, by the Flemish mapmaker, Mercator: if you add a silent 'h', and emphasis the last syllable, you get 'helen-es'.
The Hermitage - There are some written references probably referring to this viz;   It was reported that William of Worcester, a "landowner's riding servant and clerk" who learnt from the monks at Tavistok in 1478 that "Seynt Lyda was the son of a King and buried in Scilly"  His name is mentioned in the Calender of Tavistock with a feast day of 8th August.  Later, John Leland, 1548, wrote "Saynt Lides Isle, wher yn tymes past her sepulchre was gret superstition"  For further detail see [snt21p6].
The Pest House [sa26]  Article Islander Magazine.

St Helen's Field System - SV 900, 170. A field system providing food for the Hermitage/Chapel and later the Pest House residents. [sa25]

St Just - Small village at Lands End, Cornwall with an airport service to Isles of Scilly.

St Martin's, Island - (Cornish Name: Brechiek, meaning dappled island, a name which appears in fourteenth century documents [tsigg p23].) Northern most inhabited island and noted for its beaches.  The name St Martin's seems to be unrecorded before Leland's publication.  Area 237 hectares.

St Martins Head - The most northerly point on the Isles of Scilly.  First sighting when coming west from the Wolf Rock Lighthouse.

St Mary's - Largest main island of Scilly at just over 1600 acres.  Population usually just under 2000.  The island consists of two main sections connected by a narrow sandy isthmus on which most of Hugh Town has been built.  The area to the west of the isthmus is the Hugh but because it houses the the various military defence structures it now days referred to as 'The Garrison'.  The Garrison has its own section because of its significant history. 25 miles west of Lands End in LAT 49 degrees, 55minutes North/LONG 6 degrees, 19 minutes West.

St Marys Hall - From its romantic beginnings in the early part of the 20th Century when St Mary’s Hall was originally built as a private house and before being converted to an hotel in 1967.

St Marys, Harbour - North side of the main island.   The harbour is formed by the granite quay which extends from the Old Quay to Rat Island and beyond.  St Mary's Harbour is the maritime working centre of the Isles of Scilly and is the arrival point of the daily ferry from Penzance. The Scillonian III arrives at mid-day Monday to Friday and 13.30 on Saturdays through the summer. The quay is also used for local moorings, but visitors may moor in the area to the east of the lifeboat and lifeboat slip where there are 39 moorings currently available.  Owned and run by the Duchy of Cornwall.

St Nicholas Church - Church built in 1879.  St Nicholas is the Patron Saint of Mariners.  See Churches.

St Nicholas Priory - Established on Tresco c. 1114 when all religious establishments came under the control of Tavistock Abbey. It is about this period that mention of the Isles of Scilly are first mentioned in writings.

St Sampson - Later just Samson.

St Theona - Island, Later Teän.

(St) Santa Warner, Santa Warner's Well and Santa Warner's Cove, St Agnes {SV879, 078} - The legend states that St Warner came from Ireland in a coracle.  It was said she would lure ships onto the Western Rocks.  Her shine was near a well facing these terrible rocks in what is called St Warner's Bay.  It is also said that the well became a wishing well where an islander would drop a pin asking the saint in prayer for a 'good wreck'.  [vyvy pp68-69]  It is said that the inhabitants pay their annual devotion at the Well on the day after the Twelfth Day by cleaning it out and then giving thanks using certain superstitious ceremonies.  Once done there is feasting and rejoicing.  Problem is, it is very difficult to get an invite!

"We pray thee, O Lord, not that wrecks should happen, but that if they should happen, that thou wilt guide them into the Scillies for the benefit of the poore inhabitants"

[Probably one of the most reproduced quotations in the historical literature of Scilly, attributed to the Reverend John Troutbeck c.1790]

Strand - Road behind Holgates Green, St Mary's.

Sugar-loaf Island - Nick name for the islet of Hanjague.

Sulleh - British word meaning 'rocks consecrated to to sun' or Cornish meaning 'divided'. [iosjm]

Sun Rise & Sunset Orientations (Solstice/Equinox) - East: Spring and Autumn Equinox Sunrise; South East: Mid-Winter Sunrise; North East: Mid-Summer Sunrise; North West: Mid-Summer Sunset.

Superstitions - Most historical books on Scilly suggest, probably correctly, that the Scillonian were far too concerned with matters of survival to indulge in much superstition.  Apart from the legend of Santa Warner on St Agnes.  They must have been very  hardened when it came to death considering number dead resulting from shipwreck.

Surplice Fees - Money paid to the senior Chaplin.

Sussex - Scilly Gig built in 1899, the only gig on the east side of Bryher. This gig was involved in the rescue of the crew from the Mando which was wrecked on the Golden Ball Bar in 1955.  This was the last time a gig was used for shipwreck.  See also Sussex after which it is named.

Sussex Gig Shed - East Bryher was, until recently, used as a shelter near Anneker's Quay.

Swifts House - Remains of a Gig Shed near the Blockhouse, Old Grimsby, Tresco.

S.O.E. - Special Operations Executive.  Ran clandestine trips from Tresco during the second world war.  Information board in the IOS Museum.  See also NOTE: