Scilly Islands (sĭlˈē) [key], officially Isles of Scilly, archipelago of more than 150 isles and rocky islets, off Cornwall, SW England, 28 mi (45 km) from Land's End. On the rocky coasts, marked by lighthouses and lightships, scores of ships were wrecked, notably Sir Clowdisley Shovell's fleet in 1707. The mild climate and heavy rainfall are a flourishing atmosphere for subtropical plants. Flower growing for Bristol and London markets is one of the leading occupations. Vegetable production and tourism are also economically important. Five of the isles are inhabited—St. Mary's, Tresco, St. Martin's, St. Agnes, and Bryher. On the largest, St. Mary's, is the capital, Hugh Town, with the 16th-century Star Castle at which Prince Charles (later Charles II) stopped in 1645 on his flight to Jersey. On Tresco are Oliver Cromwell's Tower, ruins of a 10th-century abbey, and the residence of the lord proprietor of the islands. The isle of Samson has ancient stone monuments.
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