Legend has it that there was once a stretch of land going from the Western tip of Cornwall all the way to the Isles of Scilly, and on this beautiful piece of land lived a race of powerful and handsome people who worked on the plains of this fertile land.
The people built around 140 churches, as well as the City of Lions, which is said to have been very beautiful.
The main attraction of the Kingdom was a cathedral (some say it may have been a castle), which was built on top of the Seven Stones, which is a reef between Land’s End and the Isles of Scilly.
It was called Lyonesse and the legend says that the ocean engulfed it in one night, but there are various myths and legends doing the rounds and it has been said that on a calm day you may hear the church bells ringing off the Cornish Coast.
Legends Surrounding Lyonesse
It has been said that the people of Lyonesse did something terrible, but it is not known what crime thy committed, to be subject to such vengeance.
During the night a dreadful storm occurred which resulted in an enormous wave that swallowed everything in its path and so the Kingdom of Lyonesse was lost forever in the flash of an eye and disappeared from the face of the earth leaving no trace that it had ever existed.
The legend says that one man escaped the wrath of the storm riding a white horse and managed to escape the enormous wave.
The man who escaped was as lucky as an online Blackjack Canada winner. He had been hunting and had fallen asleep when he was woken up by the sound of the storm. He rode east to higher ground, which is now Land’s End, and his horse lost a shoe in the turmoil.
It is thought that the man’s name was Trevelyan (or Trevillian) and many local families have used the crest of three horseshoes. The Vyvyans family have a crest with a white horse on it and say that they are the sole survivors of Trevelyan, although the origin of Lyonesse is not certain.
Myths and Legends
There are also connections to the legend of King Arthur in that it may have been the Kingdom of Tristan’s father and that it has links to Celtic mythology.
Another source is the flood of the Isles of Scilly and Mount’s Bay which is near Penzance when the sea levels rose during the Bronze Age and there is evidence of this. St Michael’s Mount, which in Cornish translates to “the grey rock in the wood”, indicates that the bay may have been a forest once.
Evidence of settlements from the Bronze Age has also been found in certain parts between the Isles of Sicily that used to be above sea level.
The famous poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, references Lyonesse in his epic Idylls of the King and here he references the Kingdom as the place where Arthur and Mordred had their final battle and also refers to it sinking into the abyss.