Lundy Island (Old
Lundy Island , Devon
In the extremes of the Bristol Channel, off
Devon, is the Island of Lundy, 3.5 miles long by 0.75 miles wide and
said to have 20 miles of dangerous coastline. It is a rugged mass of
dark granite, surrounded by reefs of sharp rocks that make an approach to
the island difficult for those unfamiliar with it.
In 1819 Trinity House decided to build a
lighthouse on the rocky summit of Chapel Hill. The granite tower was 96ft
high with the keepers houses connected to it, it cost £10,276 19s.11d. The
builder was Joseph Nelson, the engineer Daniel Alexander and the
Superintendent of Works, James Turnbull.
|Two lights were shown from
the tower, the lower was a fixed white light and the upper was a white
quick flashing light, every 60 seconds. This was at the time an
innovation in lighthouse optics. However, the light revolved very
quickly and no period of darkness was detectable between the flashes by
most people, so in effect this also appeared as a fixed light. The
steady light was from an elevation of 508ft and the flashing at 538ft, being not greatly separated, resulted in the lights from a distance
of 5 miles or more appearing to be a single light.
Mistaking this for a single light was said
to have contributed a shipping disaster on an evening in November 1828. The
ship La Jeune Emma travelling from Martinique to Cherbourg, arrived in
Carmarthen Bay in thick fog, mistook the Lundy lights for the
fixed light of Ushant, and went onto the rocks. Of the 19 people on
board, 13 were lost including a niece of the Empress Josephine.
Continual complaints that the light was
completely lost in fog, resulted in the decision to replace it.
In 1897, two new lighthouses were built
on the North and South extremities of the island, and the original one
abandoned, but not demolished.
See the location guides for the
Lundy Island North Lighthouse and
Lundy Island South Lighthouse
for the rest of the story of Lundy's lighthouses.
The old lighthouse can be visited now, and you
can climb the tower. Those who choose to can stay in the lighthouse keepers
cottages as they are used as holiday accommodation.
Lundy Island is accessible by boat. For
information telephone, write or call the Lundy Sales Office: The Quay, Bideford,
North Devon, EX39 2LY, or phone: 01237 470422.
This old photo. from soon after
1900, shows this lighthouse has changed very little over time.
The fact that a postcard was produced of it, after it had been replaced, suggests it was a
tourist site from an early date.
Lighthouse information Grid
Lundy Island (Old Light),
Disused, it is open
to visitors, see below.
Inactive since 1897.
Granite tower with lantern and gallery, connected to two 2 storey keeper's
houses. An additional 1 storey keeper's cottage is nearby. The buildings are
unpainted stone, lantern painted white.
Current lighthouse built:
Height of Tower:
Height of light above mean sea level:
Higher than the two to replace it. The highest point on the island.
Character of light:
text above it had two lights one constant and one flashing fast
Character of fog signal:
some years in the 19th century canons were used as fog signals at this
Range of light:
Owned / run by:
Lundy is financed,
administered and maintained by the
manager/tourism boats etc.
Lundy Island Company
Located on Beacon Hill, the highest point of the island.
including for members – says you can
Site open, tower open for climbing, keeper's houses open to paying guests
see notes below.
Landmark Trust Holidays
Other Useful Websites:
Other Relevant pages:
For more articles, lists and other information
Lighthouse Map of England and Wales
Featured List of
Lighthouses - England and Wales
List of Minor Lighthouses and Lights - England and Wales
Lundy Island North Lighthouse
three keeper's houses are available for holiday rental.
Cottages at the Lundy Island Lighthouse are available for overnight stays.
For information, call 01271 863636 or email email@example.com
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