The first settlers on the site of Zurich were Neolithic pile-dwellers. In 15 BC the Romans built the fortified settlement of T uricum. In the Middle Ages the area experienced great days of chivalry. When the guilds were granted equal rights with the nobility the development of Zurich into a city was enhanced. In 1351 it joined the Swiss Confederation. During the 16th century Zwingli made it one of the most important cities of the Reformed Faith. Its silk and cotton industries laid the foundations of the city’s prosperity.
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63 miles from the nearest part of the mainland coast and about 600 metres seaward of Longstone. The island also has a large colony of grey seals that live on and around it. The medieval name of knavestone dates back to the time of st cuthbert and is still sometimes used by the people of the coastal villages. With its surrounding reefs, the knavestone has presented a serious hazard to shipping over the centuries and many dozens of people have perished in the swirling riptides surrounding it. The very sight of it must have struck terror into the hearts of those poor mariners as they struggled against the walls of pounding white water, especially during a storm. The combination of low water temperatures, even in the middle of summer, and the powerful swirling currents must have left them with very little chance of survival. The tide runs in a north-south direction, so even the strongest of swimmers could not have managed to swim to the nearest dry land, the craggy rocks of Longstone over 600 metres away, across the swirling waters of Seal Gut. More than sixty known vessels have come to grief here since the year 1800, but many more unrecorded ones must have vanished without trace. The following records are just a little sample of those unfortunate vessels that have come to grief on the Knavestone Rocks: In 1805 the sailing vessel Glasgow Packet foundered in heavy weather after striking the rocks and her crew was lost. The wooden sloop Sarah was en route to London from Leith with a cargo of beef, pork and wine when, at midday on 15 August 1815, she struck the Knavestone.
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