St Helens

St Helen’s is one of the Isles of Scilly, an archipelago that lies 45 kilometres off Lands End, Cornwall, in south-west England. St Helen’s is a rocky islet of just 0.2 square kilometres. Not surprisingly, it is uninhabited, though in the eighteenth century it was the site of a quarantine station. Terminally ill sailors were sometimes left to die on St Helen’s.

Unless they were planning to put an ailing sailor ashore, sea captains would probably have steered well clear of the Isles of Scilly, and it is likely that references in these sources to St Helen’s do not refer to this islet at all, but rather to the anchorage of the same name that was located between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

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