Ancient Monuments

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The Old Lighthouse, Lundy

A Scheduled Monument in Area not comprised in any Parish-Lundy Island, Devon

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Latitude: 51.1672 / 51°10'2"N

Longitude: -4.6733 / 4°40'24"W

OS Eastings: 213192.156496

OS Northings: 144284.495392

OS Grid: SS131442

Mapcode National: GBR GTVL.S2R

Mapcode Global: VH2S3.YX7L

Entry Name: The Old Lighthouse, Lundy

Scheduled Date: 17 June 1970

Last Amended: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016039

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27650

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Area not comprised in any Parish-Lundy Island

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Lundy

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a disused lighthouse on the summit of Beacon Hill, the
highest point of Lundy. The monument is linked to the keeper's house and a
small complex of buildings within a walled enclosure. The keeper's house and
associated buildings, together with the enclosing wall, are not included in
the scheduling. The lighthouse was built in 1819 on a foundation laid in 1787.
The architect was Daniel Alexander and the builder Joseph Nelson for Trinity
House. The lighthouse is Listed Grade II*.
The tower is built of granite ashlar and stands about 30m high. A deep plinth
has weathered courses and a string course near the top projects as a canopy
over a partly blocked window on the west side. This window was built as an
opening for a fixed light which was never installed. Instead a glazed lantern
was constructed with a conical, copper-clad roof and ball finial on the top.
In 1829 a second lantern room was added to the base of the tower because the
top light was so often obscured by fog. This was also of granite ashlar and
had curved glass windows. The roof to this annexe is now missing.
Inside there is a stone spiral stair with 147 steps leading to the lantern.
This lighthouse was the highest above sea level in Britain and, because of
fog, a fog warning battery was built on the west coast of the island in 1861.
In 1897 the light was superceded by the construction of the North and South
The lighthouse is attached to the keeper's house by a short arched passage on
the east side. This is not included in the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Lundy is a small, steep sided island in the Bristol Channel, 16m north of
Hartland Point, north Devon. Aligned north-south, it is 6km long by 1km wide
and supports a predominately moorland vegetation. The 100m high cliffs and
tabular form give it a striking appearance, visible in clear weather from
parts of south west England and south Wales.
Lundy's remoteness and (until the 19th century construction of the Beach Road)
its inaccessibility, combined with a lack of shelter and cultivable soils, has
meant that it has escaped more recent occupation or development. It therefore
preserves a remarkable variety of archaeological sites from early prehistory
(c.8000 BC) onwards, representing evidence for habitation, fortification,
farming and industry. There are also archaeological remains in the waters
surrounding the island - over 150 shipwrecks are already recorded. Most of the
island's archaeology is well documented from detailed survey in the 1980s and

Lighthouses have been used to aid shipping around Britain since Roman times,
although only two of that date have been recognised. In the late Middle Ages
(AD 1066-1540), lights were simple structures, usually a fire in an iron
basket, or in a stone bowl called a cresset, placed on church towers. True
lighthouses in purpose-built towers began to be built by the early 17th
century. They were first fuelled by coal or wood, but oil lamps were in use
from the 1780s, to be replaced later by gas or electric lamps. Other
technological improvements wer made during the 19th century, including the
introduction of light reflectors, flashing lights, identification patterns and
sound signals for fog. Over the same period, tower design was improved,
including the provision of staff accommodation.
Lighthouses are found around the whole coast of Britain and, since 1698, on
offshore rocks and reefs. Numbers varied over time, and many were short-lived
or frequently replaced. Lighthouses were relatively rare until the 17th
century, relying on local or private initiatives. Few medieval examples
survive in recognisable form. From 1676, Trinity House, which had been first
established with limited duties in 1514, began to build lighthouses itself
rather than merely licensing their use by others. In c.1875, around 100 major
lighthouses existed, supported by many minor lights and lightstrips. By the
1970s Trinity House still maintained 90 major lights, with 30 manned light-
vessels and c.700m light-buoys. A number of private lights also existed.
All surviving Roman and medieval lighthouses and lights are nationally
important. Post-medieval examples retaining early fabric or fittings to a
significant extent are also considered likely to be of national importance.
The Old Lighthouse survives as an outstanding and well known example of its
class of monument. Details of its construction and use are well documented in
sources held in the Trinity House archive. This monument has been restored in
part by the Landmark Trust and is much enjoyed by visitors by Lundy.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langham, A, M, , Lundy, (1960)
Thackray, C, The National Trust Archaeological Survey, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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