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Title: Lighthouses and Lightships - A Descriptive and Historical Account of Their Mode of - Construction and Organization
Author: Adams, W. H. Davenport (William Henry Davenport)
Language: English
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                        W. H. DAVENPORT ADAMS,

                   ADRIATIC,” “EARTH AND SEA,” ETC.

       *       *       *       *       *

        With Illustrations from Photographs and other sources.

       *       *       *       *       *

                               NEW YORK:
                       CHARLES SCRIBNER AND CO.


                    Illustrated Library of Wonders.

                             PUBLISHED BY

                    Messrs. Charles Scribner & Co.,

                        654 BROADWAY, NEW YORK.

        Each one volume 12mo.               Price per volume, $1.50.

       *       *       *       *       *

        _Titles of Books._              _No. of Illustrations_

      Thunder and Lightning,                               39
      Wonders of Optics,                                   70
      Wonders of Heat,                                     90
      Intelligence of Animals,                             54
      Great Hunts,                                         22
      Egypt 3,300 Years Ago,                               40
      Wonders of Pompeii,                                  22
      The Sun, by A. Guillemin,                            58
      Sublime in Nature,                                   50
      Wonders of Glass-Making,                             63
      Wonders of Italian Art,                              28
      Wonders of the Human Body,                           45
      Wonders of Architecture,                             58
      Lighthouses and Lightships,                          60
  *   Bottom of the Ocean,                                 68
  *   Wonders of Bodily Strength and Skill,                70
  *   Wonderful Balloon Ascents,                           30
  *   Acoustics,                                          114
  *   Wonders of the Heavens,                              48
  *   The Moon, by A. Guillemin,                           60
  *   Wonders of Sculpture,                                61
  *   Wonders of Engraving,                                32
  *   Wonders of Vegetation,                               45
  *   Wonders of the Invisible World,                      97
  *   Celebrated Escapes,                                  26
  *   Water,                                               77
  *   Hydraulics,                                          40
  *   Electricity,                                         71
  *   Subterranean World,                                 27

             * In Press for early Publication.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The above works sent to any address, post paid, upon receipt of the
price by the publishers._



The importance of the Lighthouse system which protects our seamen
against the numerous dangers and difficulties of the British shores is
fully appreciated by every Englishman. But it may reasonably be doubted
whether the general public have any correct idea of its completeness,
of the administrative principles which regulate its management, or
of the steps by which it has attained its present development. They
know but little, moreover, of the engineering skill which has been so
successfully exercised in the construction of Lighthouses, or of the
scientific knowledge which has been brought to bear upon the perfection
of their illuminating apparatus. It may safely be said, that for a
large number of readers, the alpha of their information, on this
subject, is the Eddystone, and their omega the Bell Rock.

If such be the case, it may be presumed that the present volume will
be accepted as an honest attempt to supply an admitted deficiency. It
is based on the best authorities, and its pages have been revised by
competent critics. Its aim is to furnish in a popular and intelligible
form a description of the Lighthouse _as it is_ and _as it was_—of the
rude Roman pharos or old sea-tower, with its flickering fire of wood
or coal, and the modern pharos, shapely and yet substantial, with its
powerful illuminating apparatus of lamp and lenses, shining ten, or
twelve, or twenty miles across the waves. The gradual improvement of
this apparatus is concisely indicated. Sketches are furnished of the
most remarkable Lighthouses in Great Britain and France, and a detailed
account is given of the mode of life of their keepers, with full
particulars of the administrative systems adopted at home and abroad.
As auxiliaries in the noble work of guarding the seaman against the
perils of rock and shoal, the Lightship, the Buoy, and the Beacon, have
also found a place in our pages; and the volume closes with a list of
all the Lights existing on the coasts of England, Scotland, and Ireland
at the present time.

In my description of the _French_ Lighthouses I have been much indebted
to M. Renard’s book, “Les Phares.” The information given respecting
_British_ Lighthouses has been drawn from a variety of sources, the
more important of which are duly acknowledged. I have also derived many
particulars from personal examination; and some interesting data and
corrections have been supplied by Mr. Thomas Stevenson, the Engineer to
the Board of Northern Lights, and the worthy member of a family long
associated with lighthouse engineering.

The Illustrations are from photographs, unpublished sketches, and other
authentic originals. Those of the French Lighthouses are copied, by
permission, from M. Renard.

                                    W. H. Davenport Adams.

  _May 1870._



                                BOOK I.

I.   The Fire-towers of the Mediterranean,                           9
II.  The Pharos of Alexandria,                                      17
III. The “Tour d’Ordre” of Boulogne,                                30
IV.  The Tower at Dover,                                            38
V.   The Colossus of Rhodes,                                        43

                               BOOK II.
                      THE SCIENCE OF LIGHTHOUSES.

I.   How they are Administered,                                     49
II.  Geographical Distribution of Lighthouses,                      62
III. The Illuminating Apparatus of Lighthouses,                     68
IV.  The Interior of a Lighthouse,                                  95

                               BOOK III.
                     LIGHTHOUSES OF GREAT BRITAIN.

I.   The Story of the Eddystone: A.D. 1696, 1706, 1759,            108
II.  The Smalls Lighthouse,                                        133
III. The Bell Rock, A.D. 1807-1811,                                139
IV.  The Skerryvore Lighthouse,                                    171
V.   North Unst, 1854.—Sunderland, 1841,                           181
VI.  Lighthouses on the English Coast,                             180

                               BOOK IV.
                        LIGHTHOUSES IN FRANCE.

I.   The Tour de Cordouan,                                         212
II.  The Lighthouses of Cape La Hève,                              224
III. The Lighthouse of the Héaux of Bréhat,                        233
IV.  The Grand Barge d’Olonne, A.D. 1861,                          245
V.   The Lighthouses of Walde, the Enfant Perdu,
       and New Caledonia, A.D. 1859—1863—1865,                     249

                                BOOK V.

I.   Floating Lights: Lightships,                                  253
II.  Landmarks, Beacons, and Buoys,                                264

                               BOOK VI.
                        LIFE IN THE LIGHTHOUSE.

I.   The Lighthouse-keepers,                                       276


I.   A List of Lights on the British and Irish Coasts,             289
II.  A Night in a Lightship,                                       312

     Index,                                                        315










We are apt to look upon the lighthouse as completely a modern
invention, but a little reflection would convince us that the early
navigators, in their arduous struggle against the ocean, could not
have failed to establish some sure indications by which to guide their
adventurous course. Undoubtedly, the first rude signal would be no
more than a huge fire blazing on the wave-washed promontory, or on the
summit of hoary hill or grassy mound nearest to the more dangerous
parts of the shore. But it can easily be conceived that the difficulty
of keeping these fires kindled on stormy nights would soon suggest to
man’s ingenuity the idea of erecting a suitable structure for their

The value of this kind of coast defences was so apparent, that the
ancients felt unable to ascribe them to simple human invention. And
thus the Greeks attributed their origin to the demigod Hercules. But
there seems some reason to believe that, long before Greece became a
maritime nation, light-towers had been built by the Lybians and the
Cuthites along the coast-line of Lower Egypt. These towers, we are
told,[1] served as landmarks during the day, as beacons during the
night. Their purpose was a holy one, and accordingly they were also
used as temples, and each was dedicated to a divinity. The mariner, who
naturally held them in great veneration, enriched them with his votive
offerings. It has been conjectured by some authorities that their walls
at first were painted with charts of the Mediterranean coast and of the
navigation of the Nile; these charts being afterwards transferred to
papyrus. The priests of these singular but valuable institutions taught
the sciences of hydrography and pilotage, and the art of steering a
vessel’s course by the aid of the constellations. On the summit of
each tower a fire was continually burning; the fire being placed in a
machine of iron or bronze, composed of three or four branches, each
representing a dolphin or some other marine animal, and all bound
together by skilful decorative work. The machine was attached to the
extremity of a stout pole, and so placed that its radiance was directed

[1] Renard, “Les Phares” (Paris, 1867).

According to the Baron de Zach, in his “Correspondance Astronomique,”
the Lybian appellation for these towers was _tar_, or _tor_.[2] As
_is_ signifies “fire,” we thus obtain the compound _Tor-is_, or
“fire-tower;” whence the Greeks derived their τύῤῥις, and the Latins
their _turris_. In like manner, the Latin _columna_ comes, it is said,
from _Col-On_, the “pillar of the sun.”

[2] _Tor_ is Celtic for a height, as in the _tors_, or granite hills,
of Dartmoor.

[Illustration: THE BEACON FIRE.]

Some authorities boldly carry this etymological diversion a little
further. When the fire-towers were situated upon eminences outside
the boundaries of cities, and constructed of a circular form, they
were called _Tith_. The mythological Tithonus, so celebrated for his
longevity, seems, they assert, to have been one of these edifices
dedicated to the sun; and Thetis, the ancient ocean-goddess, simply
a fire-tower near the sea, called _Thit-is_. Nor have ingenious
theorists been wanting to maintain that the massacre of the Cyclops,
who, according to the old legend, were stricken by Apollo’s arrows,
was nothing but a poetical version of the manner in which the fires of
the Cyclopean towers, planted on the eastern coasts of Sicily, were
extinguished by the rays of the rising sun.[3]

[3] As Mr. Stevenson says (in his “Treatise on Lighthouses”), a notion
so fanciful as this deserves little consideration.

The impression which the light-tower produced on the popular
imagination is, however, more beautifully, as well as more certainly,
described by Homer in a well-known passage of the “Iliad” (bk. xix.

    “As to seamen o’er the wave is borne
    The watch-fire’s light, which, high among the hills,
    Some shepherd kindles in his lonely fold.”

In our English Bible the word _beacon_ occurs but once—namely in the
Prophecies of Isaiah (xxx. 17), who lived about two centuries later
than Homer; but in the Septuagint version, the same word is rendered as
a “flagstaff” or “perch,” and unquestionably refers to a _land_-signal
rather than to a maritime light.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first pharos which performed its duties in a regular manner seems
to have been that which Lesches, the author of the “Little Iliad”
(who flourished about the 9th Olympiad), erected on the promontory of
Sigeum, at the entrance of the Hellespont. It is figured in the Iliac

Though the most ancient in our records, the honour was not reserved
to it of bequeathing its name to its successors, any more than to
Columbus the glory of leaving _his_ name to the New World. This honour
was gained by the mighty tower elevated on the island of Pharos, at
Alexandria, which served as a model for some of the most celebrated
lighthouses erected in later times. Such was the case with the pharos
built by the Emperor Claudian at Ostia, which appears to have been
the most remarkable of any on the Latin coast. It was situated upon a
breakwater, or artificial island, which occupied the mid space between
the two huge moles that formed the harbour;[4] and its ruins were
extant as late as the fifteenth century, when they were visited by Pope
Pius II. Not less stately was the pharos which guided the seamen into
the port of Puteoli, the emporium of the foreign trade of Imperial
Rome; nor that which Augustus erected at the entrance of his new
harbour of Ravenna, and which Pliny describes with so much enthusiasm;
nor that, again, which shed its warning light from the mole of Messina
over the whirlpool of Charybdis and the rock of Scylla; nor that which
blazed in the island of Capreæ, and was destroyed by an earthquake
shortly before the death of Tiberius.

[4] Suetonius, “Claudian,” 20.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dionysius of Byzantium[5] describes a celebrated lighthouse planted
at the mouth of the river Chrysorrhoas, where the latter mingles its
waters with those of the Thracian Bosphorus (the modern channel of
Constantinople). “On the crest of the hill,” he says, “whose base
is washed by the Chrysorrhoas, may be seen the Timean tower, of an
extraordinary height; and from its summit the spectator beholds a vast
expanse of sea. It has been built for the safety of the navigator,
fires being kindled for their guidance; which was all the more
necessary because the shores of this sea are without ports, and no
anchor can reach its bottom. But the barbarians of the coast lighted
other fires on the loftiest points of the coast, to deceive the
mariner, and profit by his shipwreck. At present,” adds our author,
“the tower is partly ruined, and no lantern is lighted in it.”

[5] Author of an Αναπλους Βοσπόονρ, _circa_ A.D. 190.

Strabo refers in exaggerated terms to a superb pharos of stone at
Capio, or Apio, near the harbour of Menestheus—the modern Puerto de
Santa Maria. It stood on a rocky headland, nearly surrounded by the
sea, and served as a guide for vessels through the shallow channels at
the mouth of the Guadalquivir.[6]

[6] Strabo, Edit. Oxon., 1867, p. 184.

       *       *       *       *       *

What was the form of the Roman light-towers? This is a question not
easily answered, when we remember that Herodian compares them to the
catafalques of the emperors. The catafalques were square; but it is
certain that quadrangular lighthouses were very seldom constructed.
Montfaucon reproduces a medallion, from the famous cabinet of the
Maréchal d’Estrées, which represents a Roman lighthouse as a circular
tower, built in four stories of decreasing diameter. Another medal,
discovered at Apameia, in Bithynia, and also figured by Montfaucon,
likewise depicts a circular building. This medal bore the following
inscription:—“Colonia Augusta Apameia, Colonia Julia Concordia decreto


Murleia, in Bithynia, was founded by a colony from Colophon, but having
been captured by Philip of Macedonia, he gave it to Prusias, King of
Bithynia, who called it after his wife Apameia. It was situated on
the south coast of the Gulf of Cius, and to the north-west of Prusa.
The Romans converted it into a _colonia_, apparently about the time
of Julius Cæsar; certainly not later than that of Augustus.[7] And we
shall hereafter see that the pharos at Dover, as at Boulogne, was also
of this form.

[7] See Dr. Smith’s “Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography,” vol. i.,
_sub. nom._





One of the most famous lighthouses of antiquity, as I have already
pointed out, was the pharos of Alexandria, which ancient writers
included among the Seven Wonders of the World. It might naturally be
supposed that the founder of so remarkable a monument of architectural
skill would be well known; yet while Strabo and Pliny, Eusebius,
Suidas, and Lucian ascribe its erection to Ptolemæus Philadelphus, the
wisest and most benevolent of the Ptolemean kings of Egypt, by Tzetzes
and Ammianus Marcellinus the honour is given to Cleopatra; and other
authorities even attribute it to Alexander the Great.

All that can with certainty be affirmed is, that the architect was
named Sostrates. Montfaucon, in his great work, endeavours to explain
how it is that while we are thus informed as to the _architect_, we are
so doubtful as to the _founder_, whom, for his part, he believes to
have been Ptolemæus. Our ignorance, he says, is owing to the knavery
of Sostrates. He wished to immortalize his name; a blameless wish, if
at the same time he had not sought to suppress that of the founder,
whose glory it was to have suggested the erection. For this purpose
Sostrates devised a stratagem which proved successful; deep in the wall
of the tower he cut the following inscription: “Sostrates of Cnidos,
son of Dexiphanes, to the gods who Protect those who are upon the Sea.”
But, mistrustful that King Ptolemæus would scarcely be satisfied with
an inscription in which he was wholly ignored, he covered it with a
light coat of cement, which he knew would not long endure the action of
the atmosphere, and carved thereon the name of Ptolemæus. After a few
years the cement and the name of the king disappeared, and revealed the
inscription which gave all the glory to Sostrates.

Montfaucon, with genial credulity, adopts this anecdote as authentic,
and adds: Pliny pretends that Ptolemæus, out of the modesty and
greatness of his soul, desired the architect’s name to be engraved upon
the tower, and no reference to himself to be made. But this statement
is very dubious; it would have passed as incredible in those times, and
even to-day would be regarded as an ill-understood act of magnanimity.
We have never heard of any prince prohibiting the perpetuation of his
name upon magnificent works designed for the public utility, or being
content that the architect should usurp the entire honour.

To solve the difficulty, Champollion represents the pharos as
constructed by Ptolemæus Soter. But, as Edrisi solemnly remarks, “God
alone knows what is the truth.”

Much etymological erudition has been expended on the derivation of the
word _Pharos_. As far as the Alexandrian light-tower is concerned,
there can be no doubt that it was named from the islet on which it
stood; yet Isidore asserts that the word came from φὼς, “light,” and
ὁρἀν, “to see.” To quote again from Montfaucon: That numerous persons,
who have not read the Greek authors, should exercise their ingenuity to
no avail in the extraction of these etymologies, is far less surprising
than that so good a scholar as Isaac Vossius should seek the origin
of _Pharos_ in the Greek language. From ϕαἰνειν, “to shine,” he says,
comes ϕανερός, and from ϕανερός, ϕάρος.... But the island was called
_Pharos_ seven or eight hundred years before it possessed either tower
or beacon-light.

The most reasonable conjecture seems to be that the word is a Hellenic
form of _Phrah_, the Egyptian name of the sun, to whom the Alexandrian
lighthouse would naturally be compared by wondering spectators, or
dedicated by a devout prince.

At a later date we find the word applied to very different objects,
though always retaining the signification of _light_ or _brilliancy_.
A _pharos_ of fire—_i.e._, a ball or meteor—was seen, says Gregory
of Tours, to issue from the church of St. Hilaire, and descend
upon King Clovis. The same historian uses the word to describe a
conflagration:—“They (the barbarians) set fire to the church of St.
Hilaire, kindled a great pharos, and while the church was burning,
pillaged the monastery.” The old French historian frequently employs
the word in this sense, which leads us to suppose that in his time
an incendiary was probably designated “a maker of pharoses” (_un
faiseur de phares_). Still later, the term _pharos_ was applied to
certain machines in which a number of lamps or tapers were placed,
as in a candelabrum. A modern French writer quotes from Anastasius
the Librarian, that Pope Sylvester caused “a pharos of pure gold” to
be constructed; and that Pope Adrian I. made one, “in the form of a
cross,” capable of receiving one hundred and seventy candles or tapers.
And Leon of Ostia, in his “Chronicle of Monte Cassino,” says, that the
Abbot Didier had a pharos, or great silver crown, weighing one hundred
pounds, constructed, which was surmounted by twelve little turrets, and
from which were suspended six and thirty lamps.

We may add that the poets have employed the word “pharos” in a still
more metaphorical sense, to signify an object which instructs while it
illuminates, or those remarkable individuals whose genius becomes for
all time the light of the world, and a beacon to posterity. Says the
French poet Ronsard to Charles IX.:—

    “Soyez mon phare, et gardez d’abymer,
    Ma nef qui nage en si profonde mer.”

    My guide, my pharos be, and save from wreck
    My boat, which labours in so deep a sea.

But from this digression we return to the Alexandrian Wonder.

The long narrow island of Pharos lay in front of the city of
Alexandria, sheltering both its harbours—the Greater Harbour and the
Haven of Happy Return (Εὔνοστος)—from the fury of the north
wind and the occasional high tides of the Mediterranean.

It was a strip of white and dazzling calcareous rock, about a mile
from Alexandria, and 150 stadia from the Canobic mouth of the river
Nile. Its northern coast was fringed with small islets, which, in the
fourth and fifth centuries, became the resort of Christian anchorites.
A deep bay on the northern side was called the “Pirates’ Haven,”
because, in early times, it had been a place of refuge for the Carian
and Samian rovers. An artificial mound, or causeway, connected the
island with the mainland. From its extent (seven stadia, 4270 English
feet, or three-quarters of a mile), it was called the _Heptastadium_.
In its whole length two breaks occurred, to permit of the passage of
the water, and these breaks were crossed by drawbridges. At the insular
end stood a temple to Hephæstus, and at the other the great Gate of the
Moon. The famous lighthouse stood on a kind of peninsular rock at the
eastern end of the island; and as it was built of white stone, and rose
to a great height, it was scarcely a less conspicuous object from the
city than from the neighbouring waters.

Some remarkable discrepancies occur in the accounts of this noble
edifice, which have been handed down to us, but after all allowance
has been made for error and exaggeration, it remains obvious that
the wondering admiration bestowed upon it by the ancients was not
unjustified. The statements of the distance at which its light could be
seen are, however, most undeniably fictitious. That of Josephus, who
compares it to the second of Herod’s three towers at Jerusalem—called
Phasael, in honour of his brother—is the least incredible; yet even
he asserts that the fire which burned on its summit was visible
thirty-four English miles at sea! Such a range for a lighthouse on the
low shores of Egypt would require, says Mr. Alan Stevenson, a tower
about 550 feet in height.

Pliny affirms that its erection cost a sum of money equal, at the
present value, to about £390,000, and if this were true, we might not
dispute some of the assertions of ancient writers in reference to its
elevation and solidity. But the fact that it has entirely disappeared
seems to disprove the dimensions they have assigned to it. We are
wholly unable to decide whether the help it afforded to mariners was
from a common fire or from a more complete system of illumination. The
poet Lucan, in his “Pharsalia,” asserts that it indicated to Julius
Cæsar his approach to Egypt on the seventh night after he sailed from
Troy; and he makes use of the significant expression “lampada,” which
could hardly be applied, even poetically, to an _open_ fire. Pliny
expresses a fear lest its light, which, seen at a distance, had the
appearance of flames, should, from its steadiness, be mistaken for a
star (“periculum in continuatione ignium, ne sidus existimetur, quoniam
è longinquo similis flammarum aspectus est”[8]); but assuredly he would
not have spoken in such terms of the wavering, irregular, and fitful
light of an ordinary fire. We conclude, therefore, that its lighting
apparatus was more complete than has generally been supposed.

[8] Pliny, “Hist. Nat.,” xxxvi. 18.

When was this great monument destroyed?

The most probable supposition seems to be that it fell into decay in
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and that its ruin was hastened
or completed by the iconoclastic and barbarian hands of the Turkish
conquerors of Egypt. That it existed in the twelfth century, we know
from the graphic description of Edrisi; a description which will enable
the reader to reproduce it before his “mind’s eye” in all its pristine

“This pharos,” he says, “has not its like in the world for skill of
construction or for solidity; since, to say nothing of the fact
that it is built of excellent stone of the kind called _kedan_, the
layers of these stones are united by molten lead, and the joints are
so adherent that the whole is indissoluble, though the waves of the
sea from the north incessantly beat against it. From the ground to the
middle gallery or stage the measurement is exactly seventy fathoms, and
from this gallery to the summit, twenty-six.[9]


“We ascend to the summit by a staircase constructed in the interior,
which is as broad as those ordinarily erected in towers. This staircase
terminates at about half-way, and thence the building becomes much
narrower. In the interior, and under the staircase, some chambers have
been built. Starting from the gallery, the pharos rises to its summit
with a continually increasing contraction, until at last it may be
folded round by a man’s arms. From this same gallery we recommence
our ascent by a flight of steps of much narrower dimensions than the
lower staircase: in every part it is pierced with windows to give light
to persons making use of it, and to assist them in gaining a proper
footing as they ascend.

“This edifice,” adds Edrisi, “is singularly remarkable, as much on
account of its height as of its massiveness; it is of exceeding
utility, because its fire burns night and day for the guidance of
navigators: they are well acquainted with the fire, and steer their
course in consequence, for it is visible at the distance of a day’s
sail (!). During the night it shines like a star; by day you may
distinguish its smoke.”

[9] These measurements amount to 576 feet; but we fear the Arabian
writer was incorrect in his calculations.

This latter passage shows that if any better mode of illumination
had once been in use, as we are inclined to believe, it had been
discontinued, or its secret forgotten, by the degenerate successors of
the Alexandrian Greeks.

Edrisi remarks, in language resembling Pliny’s, that from a distance
the light of the pharos was so like a star which had risen upon the
horizon, that the mariners, mistaking it, directed their prows towards
the other coast, and were often wrecked upon the sands of Marmorica.

Montfaucon also records this unfortunate peculiarity, which, however,
is not unknown in our own days. More than one of the lighthouses
intended to warn the seaman as he approaches a dangerous rock or
headland now carries a couple of lights: one at the summit, and one
below; that the upper may not be mistaken for a star.[10]

[10] Renard, “Les Phares,” p. 16.

       *       *       *       *       *

In reference to the Alexandrian pharos, Montfaucon remarks that the
stories related by the Arabs and European travellers must be very
cautiously examined. For instance: we are told that Sostrates rested
its foundations on four huge crab-fish made of glass (_grands cancres
de verre_); a fable so gross, says one Benedictine, that it is not
worth the trouble of refuting it, though Isaac Vossius declares it to
be recorded in an ancient manuscript which he himself possessed.


Nor, continues Montfaucon, are we more disposed to credit the story
told by Martinus Crusius, in his _Turco-Græciæ_, book viii.—on the
authority of the Arabs—that Alexander the Great fixed on the summit of
the tower a mirror so skilfully made that it revealed the approach of
hostile fleets at a distance of one hundred leagues, and that after
the Macedonian hero’s death it was broken by a Greek, named Sodores,
while the guardians of the lighthouse slept. But, unfortunately for
this romantic fiction, the pharos was not built until after the time of
Alexander the Great.





Boulogne is the ancient _Bononia_ or _Gesoriacum_, “a naval place,”
says Ptolemæus, “of the Morini,” and distant from the British coast,
according to Pliny, about fifty _millia passuum_. Pliny probably
measured from Boulogne to _Rutupiæ_ (or Richborough), where the Romans
had a fortified port, and which was their usual landing-place from
Gallia. His measurement, however, exaggerates the actual distance
between these places.

It was from Boulogne the Emperor Claudius embarked on his expedition
to Britain; and it was at Boulogne the Emperor Caligula bade his
soldiers collect the shells as spoils of ocean, and decreed himself a
triumph for victories he had only won in imagination. As a more durable
monument of his achievements, he erected, according to Suetonius, a
lofty tower; the extraordinary structure which, under the name of the
_Tour d’Ordre_, for centuries extorted the admiration of men.

Built as a memorial of imperial vain-gloriousness, when was it first
converted into a work of public utility? When did the triumphal tower
become a lighthouse? To these questions we can offer no authoritative
reply. But it seems probable that in A.D. 191 a light was blazing
from its summit; for a bronze medal of Commodus—on which he is
entitled Britannicus, in memory of his lieutenant’s victories over the
Britons—represents the pharos and its fire, and the departure of a
Roman fleet.

Planted at the usual point of embarkation for Britain, the tower of
Boulogne was carefully preserved so long as the Roman sway endured.
In 811 it was repaired, according to Eginhard, by the great Western
emperor, Charles, who was then preparing an expedition against the
Norman pirates. As late as the seventeenth century it seems to have
been employed as a lighthouse; and thence, according to a popular
but certainly erroneous etymology, its ancient name of _Turris
ardens_ became, by corruption, _Tour d’Ordre_. It also served as a
fortress, for which it was well adapted by its admirable position and
extraordinary massiveness.

In the sixteenth century, while Boulogne was occupied by an English
garrison—that is, from 1554 to 1559—the _Tour d’Ordre_ was enclosed
by two ramparts, one of brick, the other of earth, and both furnished
with artillery. This point was felicitously chosen for the attack or
defence of Boulogne, inasmuch as it dominated over the whole town, and
commanded both banks of the Liane. Yet the Tour d’Ordre suffered little
from the ravages of war, except that its lantern was several times
destroyed; and its ruin is wholly due to the neglect of successive
magistrates of Boulogne. Shaken at first by the waves, which in high
tides dashed furiously against the cliff—then by the subterranean
action of springs and watercourses—and, finally, by the imprudent
excavation of the adjoining quarries, both the fort and the tower
fell down—twice, according to some authorities—thrice, according to
others—between 1640 and 1645—along with the portion of the cliff on
which they were erected.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the interval between these sad events, says Egger, nothing was
attempted in preservation of the remains of our precious monument,
which, however, in its ruined condition, still served as a night-beacon
for ships entering the port. When at length it perished utterly, the
municipality of Boulogne considered themselves released from the dues
which, for this portion of their territory, they had paid, in virtue of
an ancient right, to the Seigneur de Bainethun. As the soil no longer
existed, the tenants thought themselves freed from all obligations
towards its proprietor. The latter resorted to legal proceedings, and
judgment was given in his favour, July the 1st, 1656. Inasmuch as
the wise men of Boulogne had by their own negligence caused the loss
which they put forward as an excuse for denying their debt, they were
condemned to pay, as before, two thousand herrings, fresh and dry,
to be delivered at Arras, Amiens, and other towns, according to the
seigneur’s pleasure—or to restore the ground to its ancient condition,
and abandon to the Seigneur de Bainethun the toll which they levy from
all fishermen entering the harbour. And there is reason to believe that
this tribute of two thousand herrings was paid by the corporation of
Boulogne down to the epoch of the French Revolution.


(_From an old drawing by Claude Châtillon._)]

There are little, if any, remains now extant of this ancient monument,
more glorious from the services which for generations it rendered to
humanity than from its origin, which only recalled the extravagance and
insane ostentation of Caligula; and M. Egger advises us to be cautious
how we place our confidence in the representations which have been
given of it. The most trustworthy seems to be the drawing executed by
Claude Châtillon, engineer to Henry IV., which we here reproduce.

The descriptions which are on record, says M. Renard, are equally
unsatisfactory. Still we can pick out of their rhodomontade some few
valuable and accurate particulars of its situation, dimensions, and
form, and of the materials employed in its construction. These were
simply gray and yellow stones, and red bricks, so arranged as to
compose an edifice of great solidity and yet of attractive appearance.
The tower was situated some two or three hundred yards from the
brink of the cliff; it was octagonal; 192 feet in circumference,
and about 64 feet in diameter: as with most of the Roman pharoses,
each of its twelve stories was a foot and a half narrower than the
story immediately below it, so that it assumed, on the whole, a
pyramidal shape. We are told that its height was about equal to its
circumference, or, in round numbers, 200 feet—which seems, as Egger
remarks, an extraordinary elevation for a lighthouse, already situated
on a cliff 100 feet above the sea-level. According to M. J. F. Henry,
its height was about 124 feet. However this may be, each story had on
the south side an opening like a gate. As late as the beginning of the
seventeenth century there might still be seen three vaulted chambers,
one above the other, connected by an inner flight of stairs, and
probably intended for the lodging of the keepers.

As for the place where the fire or light was kindled, we are entirely
left to conjecture; but from the fact that the chroniclers of the ninth
century assert that the summit was repaired with a view to prepare it
for the signal-fires, there seems reason to believe that before this
restoration they were kindled in a chamber on the uppermost story.

       *       *       *       *       *

M. Egger puts forward the supposition that carefully directed
excavations might lead to the discovery of important remains. And
looking to the arguments by which he supports his hypothesis, we
are disposed to accept it as very plausible. It is to be regretted
that France possesses no archæological associations to undertake the
superintendence and prosecute the study of her memorials of antiquity.
With all her passion for national aggrandizement, she proves herself
strangely neglectful of her past, and the educated classes of France
exhibit little of that interest in archæological and antiquarian
pursuits which is shown by the scholars and gentry of England. Yet
on every ground it is desirable that a nation’s past should never be
divorced from its present; that the continuity of national life should,
as far as possible, be preserved unbroken; and much may be done for the
furtherance of so desirable an object by a due regard to the monuments
erected by our forefathers.

The _Commission des Phares_ has raised, however, in the place of the
Tour d’Ordre, a worthy substitute. In 1835 it established at Boulogne a
red light, fixed, and two other fixed lights, the first of which shed
its radiance for four, and the second and third for nine miles; ample
illumination this for a portion of the French coast which is already
lighted, at Cape Grisnez, by a powerful apparatus, whose lustre extends
as far as twenty-two miles, and at Pointe d’Alpreck, by a lighthouse
visible for twelve miles.





The summit of the lofty down at Dover, now crowned by the famous
castle, with its Norman keep and towers, was used as a military post
from a very remote antiquity. There can be little doubt that the
Britons here kept watch and ward: that it was the site of a Roman
stronghold, we know from indisputable evidence. A circular entrenchment
of Roman work is still extant, and so too are the remains of the Roman
lighthouse, whose steady blaze lighted the imperial galleys as they
hovered about the port, or guided the British oyster-boats returning
from their market at Boulogne.

With the history of the stronghold, however, we have nothing to do. It
is the pharos which attracts our steps, and induces us to ascend the
steep acclivity. A recent antiquary is of opinion that there were _two_
lights; one on the eastern, and the other on the western edge of the
hill. The ruins of the latter are so shapeless and indistinct that no
description of them could interest the reader, or enable him to picture
to his “mind’s eye” the form and structure of the ancient edifice. Of
the former enough remains to assist our imagination very materially.

[Illustration: THE TOWER AT DOVER.]

It is still, says Mr. Puckle,[11] a massive shell: the inner face
of its walls vertical and squared, the outside with a tendency to
a conical form, which was probably at one time much more distinct,
allowing for the quantities of external masonry and facing which by
degrees must have fallen or been hewn away. The basement only is of
Roman work; the octagon chamber above having been added in the reign
of Henry VIII. The dimensions are about fourteen feet square.

[11] Rev. J. Puckle, “Church and Fortress of Dover Castle” (ed. 1864).

The following description we borrow from Mr. Puckle’s learned monogram:—

Except fragments here and there, he says, such as might have been
picked up along the shore, the materials used in the pharos are few
and uniform throughout; each having its own peculiar character, quite
distinct from any supposed similar materials of subsequent date.

“1. _Tufa_: A substance freely used by the Romans wherever obtainable,
and always considered to mark their work as certainly as if dated and
recorded in some historical document. Quantities of it may still be dug
in parts of the valley of Dover, by the river. It was squared up, and
used in tolerably regular courses of blocks; those inside showing a
fair and even facing, hard, and little friable either by age or weather.

“2. _The concrete, or mortar_: This is of two kinds, found at two
levels of the lower mass of the tower. A small portion has been laid in
a pale, tawny-coloured mortar, mixed in the proportion of four parts of
sharp grit to one of lime. The greater part, however, has been carried
up with the pink or salmon-coloured mortar, peculiar to Roman work, and
mixed in the proportion of one part of lime to four of more or less
finely-pounded Roman brick. It is nothing like so hard as the concrete
found (for instance) lining the Roman baths discovered under the west
end of the nave of St. Mary’s parish-church; but it is too peculiar
a material not to be recognized wherever it appears, identifying its
Roman make.

“3. _The red tile-brick_: This, again, is always esteemed a very
distinctive element in materials of Roman building; but it requires
some attention to distinguish justly between the genuine Roman
production and subsequent imitations of the same thing. Without
digressing into the habits of a Roman brick-yard, it may suffice just
to refer to what is described in well-known ancient authorities, as
the careful process observed in the making of Roman tile-brick. A
very pure and smooth clay was selected, and so treated as to expel as
much as possible all gritty and non-homogeneous ingredients. Reduced
to something like the fineness and consistency of dough, it underwent
a treatment not very different from that of the dough itself; being
laboriously wrought and tempered by hand or otherwise, like bread
being kneaded in its trough; it was then shaped off in flat blocks of
the various sizes employed. The sizes vary considerably as found in
different places; but those commonly seen along the Kentish coast in
bonding-courses, or the construction of arches, are something over a
foot square, by about two inches in thickness. They are generally more
or less deeply scored on the under face, either in a rude pattern, or
simply with straight or wavy lines, making their hold on hard mortar
very tenacious; though these are not unfailing marks of Roman brick.”

Such are the materials of which the Roman pharos was constructed;
materials identical with those which compose the Tour d’Ordre at
Boulogne. When it was first disused as a lighthouse, it is impossible,
to say; but as its elevation must have constantly enveloped it in
mists, and rendered its fires useless, we should opine that it was
not employed after the Conquest. In course of time it was devoted
to military purposes, its lower chamber being converted into a
guard-room; and of late years it has been appropriated as a government
store-house. Lights are now established on the piers of Dover Harbour,
and with those of the South Foreland on the English coast, and of Cape
Grisnez and Boulogne on the French coast, amply suffice for the due
illumination of the Straits.

It is much to be desired that every care should be taken for the
preservation from further injury of so interesting a relic of Roman
times as the pharos at Dover.





“Men receive with indifference from one another, and without
examination, the traditions of past events, even of events connected
with the history of their own country. Thus, for the most part, in
their indolence to search out the truth, they accept at once all the
fables and exaggerations forced upon their notice.”

It is thus that Thucydides expresses himself; and though his
observation is two thousand years old, it has lost nothing of its point
or truth.

A striking example of its applicability is afforded by the striking
illustration now before us;—a representation of the Colossus of Rhodes,
according to the generally received idea that this celebrated statue of
Apollo was planted at the entrance to the harbour of Rhodes, where it
served as a pharos; and that it was of such surpassing magnitude that
ships under full sail could pass between its gigantic limbs.

But there is no evidence that the Colossus ever served as a pharos; at
least, no ancient author asserts that such was its employment. The
first writer who converted it into a beacon-light was Urbain Chevreau,
an industrious but not particularly able compiler of the seventeenth
century; but he neglects to say from what source he obtained his

In the second place, the attitude traditionally ascribed to the
Rhodian Colossus—an attitude neither graceful nor dignified—is also
a pure conceit of comparatively modern times. It is, however, more
ancient than the former, since it dates from the sixteenth century,
when Blaise de Vigenère, the translator of Philostratus, transformed
the masterpiece of Chares, the pupil of Lysippus, into a fantastic
impossibility. Where he, too, obtained his information, no one can
ascertain; for on this important point he preserved the prudent silence
of Chevreau.

In an interesting paper, published by the French _Académie des
Inscriptions_, the Comte de Caylus proves—1st, That the Rhodian Apollo
was not constructed at the mouth of the harbour; and 2nd, That no ships
ever passed between its legs. He did not satisfy everybody, however,
and reference was made to the pages of the geographer Strabo. It was
found that he made no mention of the remarkable circumstance narrated
by Vigenère. He cites a fragment of an epigram in iambic metre, in
which the name of the sculptor, Chares of Lindos, is mentioned, and the
dimensions of his work—namely, seventy cubits—are given. Strabo adds
that the Colossus, in his time, lay prostrate on the ground—overthrown
by an earthquake, and with shattered knees; and that the Rhodians had
not restored it to its position because forbidden by an oracle.


Turning to Pliny, we find that he confirms all the statements of
Strabo, and fixes the date of the fall of the statue at fifty-six years
after its erection. Though overthrown, he says, it is still a marvel.
Few men can embrace its thumb; its fingers are larger than those of
statues. Its disfigured limbs appear so many vast caverns; and in
the interior the enormous stones are seen with which they had been
weighted. It cost, says Pliny, 300 talents; being exactly the sum of
money which the Rhodians plundered from the war-ships abandoned before
their city by Demetrius, when he raised the siege, after protracting it
for many months.

Philo of Byzantium, a mechanician who lived about the end of the third
century B.C., and to whom is attributed a brief treatise on the “Seven
Wonders of the World,” describes at some length the Rhodian Colossus,
but makes no allusion to its supposed straddling attitude, or to its
employment as a pharos. The same silence is preserved by another
historian of the Seven Wonders, Lucius Ampellius. But as he possessed,
like Chevreau and Vigenère, an inventive faculty, this author says: “At
Rhodes is the colossal statue of the Sun, placed on a marble column,
with a chariot drawn by four horses.”

Putting aside the embellishments of tradition, let us inquire what this
monument really was:—

The brazen statue of Helios, popularly called the Colossus, was seventy
cubits in height; its gigantic size may be inferred from the fact that
few could compass one of its thumbs with their arms.[12] Fifty-six
years after its erection it was overthrown by an earthquake (_circa_
B.C. 224), and as already related, the Rhodians would not attempt
its restoration, though Ptolemæus offered them a contribution of 3000
talents, because prohibited by an oracle. And yet later authorities
describe it as standing erect; and the Emperor Commodus, among his
other extravagances, ordered his bust to be set upon its summit.

[12] Strabo, xiv., p. 364; Pliny, xxxiv. 18.

In 672 Rhodes was captured by the Saracens, and their leader, one of
the lieutenants of Othman, sold the brass of which the famous statue
was composed, to a Jewish merchant of Edessa, for a sum, it is said, of
£36,000. The bargain must have been very profitable, if it be true that
the materials thus acquired loaded a thousand camels.

       *       *       *       *       *

A few words may be added in reference to the sculptor of the Colossus.
According to Pliny, he was a pupil of Lysippus, a native of Lindos, and
named Chares. Such, too, is the evidence of Strabo and the anonymous
author of the Greek epigram. But in the writings of the Pyrrhonist,
Sextus Empiricus, we find the honour of the achievement ascribed to one
Laches. According to Sextus, Chares, discovering that he was cheated
of half the sum of money promised for the completion of the statue,
killed himself in despair; and Laches, succeeding him, perfected the
glorious work. The authority of Pliny and Strabo, however, seems to
us preferable to that of Sextus: the Colossus was truly the work of
Chares, alone and unaided, and to him belongs the glory of having, as
Philo of Byzantium says, “Made a god like to a god, and endowed the
world with a second sun.”






From antiquity we return to our own time, with the view of examining
the present condition of our coast-defences, so far as they include the
lighthouse, the lightship, the beacon, and the buoy.

To England belongs the praise, among modern nations, of having first
understood all the importance of lighthouses, and of having made their
erection, mode of illumination, and maintenance, a matter of national

The direction of the Imperial lighthouses is confided to three
Boards—one for each of the three kingdoms:—

1st, The _Corporation of the Trinity House of Deptford Strand_, who
possess the control of all the English lighthouses;—

2nd, The _Corporation of the Commissioners of Northern Lights_, to
whom is intrusted the management of the lighthouses of Scotland; and,—

3rd, The _Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin_,
who administer the coast-illumination of Ireland.

       *       *       *       *       *

The history of the Trinity House is but imperfectly known, owing to
the destruction of a considerable portion of its archives by fire in
1714. It was founded by a charter of Henry VIII.—who may almost be
called the Father of English Navigation—on the 20th of March 1512,
and received the appellation of the “Brotherhood of the Trinity House
of Deptford of Strand and St. Clement,” This document opens with a
curious declaration:—“Out of the sincere and complete love and devotion
which we have for the very glorious and indivisible Trinity, and also
for Saint Clement the Confessor, His Majesty grants and gives license
for the establishment of a corporation, or perpetual brotherhood, to
certain of his subjects and their associates, men or women.”

At the outset, the duty of the members of the guild seems simply to
have been to pray for the souls of sailors drowned at sea, and for the
lives of those who were battling against the tempest. After a while
their functions increased in number, and, assuredly, in importance. The
charters which they received from Elizabeth, James I., Charles II., and
James II., placed in their hands the general control of the mercantile
marine, and even, under certain conditions, of the royal fleet. The
illumination of dangerous parts of the English coast necessarily became
a portion of their mission of patriotic beneficence. But the reader
must not suppose that no lighthouses burned along our shores until the
Trinity House was established. Rude signal-lights and beacon-fires
already blazed on rocky headlands, and at the mouths of the ports
most frequented by our shipping; but a greater number of lighthouses
became necessary, and on a more perfect system of organization, as
English commerce in the seventeenth century assumed its extraordinary

But this was not all. The constructors of private lights and beacons
were not animated by a pure unadulterated zeal for the public welfare;
they levied excessive tolls on the vessels which profited by their
guiding rays. To erect and maintain a lighthouse constituted an
industry of so profitable a character that the privileges in virtue of
which they existed, and which were nearly all found in the hands of
the Trinity House, excited a very widespread feeling of jealousy and
discontent. The legislation which had taken place on this subject was
rigorously examined, and as a result these privileges disappeared. This
important discovery was made in the reign of James I. The king found
himself specially interested in making it; for, by its return to the
crown, the monopoly of licensing the erection of lighthouses would have
largely increased his private income.

       *       *       *       *       *

The pretensions put forward by James I. greatly embarrassed the judges
charged with the examination of the rights of the Trinity House; and
the inquiry might have lasted for years had it not been abruptly
concluded, after our English fashion, by a compromise. It was decided
that the fraternity of the Trinity House should be authorized to erect
lighthouses, but that the crown should enjoy the same privilege in
virtue of the common law. From this decision it naturally came to pass
that, instead of remaining, as Elizabeth had designed, the exclusive
property of the Trinity House, the lease and monopoly of the fires
lighted on the coasts were granted or sold by the sovereign to certain
private individuals.

As a result of this decision, says M. Esquiros, in his lively manner,
there was not a bare and desolate angle of rock in the kingdom which
was not coveted by speculators as a site for a tower and a beacon-fire.
Lord Grenville, an able statesman and shrewd man of the world, wrote
in his diary in the form of a note or memorandum: “_Mem._ To watch the
moment when the King is in a good temper, to ask of him a lighthouse.”
It would be difficult to estimate the amount realized by those persons
whom the king favoured with such marks of his goodwill; but from the
luxurious state they maintained it is evident their profits must have
been immense.

       *       *       *       *       *

We may readily conjecture the evil results of such a system. Many of
the lights were deficient in power; others were never kindled; yet in
every case heavy tolls were exacted from passing vessels. At length the
scandal grew intolerable, and in the reign of William IV. Parliament
interfered to establish a certain uniformity in the administration of
lighthouses, and to provide for a considerable reduction of the dues.
All the interests of the Crown were made over to the Trinity House,
which, moreover, was empowered to buy up the lighthouses belonging
to private individuals; and the Corporation having always acted
with singular zeal, efficiency, and public spirit, the system of
our coast-defences has gradually attained to a remarkable degree of

       *       *       *       *       *

A word or two may now be said on the interior organization of the
Trinity House. It includes two bodies of associates: the _Elder_, and
the _Younger Brothers_. At first no such distinction existed; but the
pretext put forward to justify the exclusion of the Younger Brethren
from sharing in the conduct of the Society was, that they showed too
much fervour at its meetings. The Younger Brethren, now-a-days, are
chosen by the Council on the motion of one of the Elder Brethren. Their
number was formerly unlimited. It cannot be too large, say the ancient
charters, because our seamen represent the strength of the nation. At
the present time there are 360.

The Elder Brethren, 31 in number, are chosen from the Younger. No one
can offer himself as a candidate if he has not first undergone an
examination, and served for at least four years as captain on board
a Queen’s ship or a merchant-vessel. On his election he pays £30 as
a contribution to the poor-box, and an equal sum for a complimentary

The Elder Brethren, however, are divided into honorary and active
members. From a very early period, the Company recognized the advantage
of including in its ranks the most illustrious living Englishmen, even
though they should in no wise be concerned with navigation. In 1673,
the Bishop of Rochester, having preached before the Corporation on
Trinity Thursday, was admitted a member. For seventeen years William
Pitt occupied the honourable position of Master, which was afterwards
filled by William IV., when Duke of Clarence. Wellington, Prince
Albert, and Lord Palmerston, formerly belonged to the Corporation;
and, at present, the Prince of Wales, the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone,
and Earl Russell, are among its members, while the Duke of Edinburgh
officiates as Master. These honorary members, limited to eleven, do not
engage in the administrative duties of the Trinity House; but they add
to its dignity, and serve to connect it with the highest classes of
English society. In fact, it would be difficult to name an association
which is more truly national in character.

The twenty active members, on whom the real burden of the work of
the Corporation rests, are experienced captains of men-of-war or
merchant-ships, who have retired from service. They are formed into six
committees, each of which has its separate functions; for, in addition
to its superintendence of the lighting of our coasts, the Trinity Board
examines our pilots, and delivers them their certificates; watches over
the ballasting of ships in the Thames; establishes and keeps in order
the various sea-marks; examines the scholars of Christ’s Hospital,
who are intended for a maritime career; collects the revenues; and
superintends the boarders in the houses of refuge which belong to
the Corporation. Its charters, moreover, confer upon it the right of
punishing seamen for mutiny, ill conduct, or desertion; but this power
is now-a-days never exercised.

       *       *       *       *       *

The story of our two other Corporations may be briefly told. The
_Commission of Northern Lights_, incorporated in 1786, by an Act of
George III., is composed of two magistrates appointed by the Crown,
of the sheriffs of the sea-board counties, of the provosts of certain
royal burghs, and of the provost of Greenock.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Board of Ballast of Dublin_, which has under its charge the
lightage of the Irish coast, consists of merchants, bankers,
magistrates, railway directors; and the only seaman associated with
them is a coast-guard officer. It is subordinate to the Board of Trade.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Trinity House, Northern Lights, and Ballast Board are under the
control of the Board of Trade. Before new lighthouses are erected by
the Trinity House, they must be sanctioned by the Board of Trade; and
before Scotch or Irish lighthouses are erected, the Trinity House are
consulted, and in the event of that Board differing with the Irish or
Scotch, the Board of Trade give their decision, which is final. It is
to be regretted that there should still exist a considerable number
of lighthouses which are under the control of about one hundred and
seventy local authorities;[13] and every person who appreciates the
importance of securing a vigorous and able administration will join
us in expressing a hope that before long the lightage of the United
Kingdom may form the subject of efficacious legislative action.

[13] See Report of the Royal Commissioners on Lights, Buoys, and
Beacons, 1861.—_Edinburgh Review_, Jan. 1862, p. 173.

       *       *       *       *       *

The number and nature of the lights of the United Kingdom are as

    In England: lighthouses, lights on piers, harbour lights, &c.,
    237. Add 49 lightships—total, 286.

    In Scotland: lighthouses, lights on piers, harbour lights, &c.,
    134. Add 1 lightship—total, 135.

    In Ireland: lighthouses, lights on piers, harbour lights, &c.,
    85. Add 8 lightships—total, 93.

The general result for the United Kingdom is, that we have 456
lighthouses, harbour lights, local lights, &c., and 58 lightships.
Total, 514.

       *       *       *       *       *

We may compare these figures with those of the French lights.

  Coast-line of England measures 2405 nautical miles.
  Coast-line of Scotland   "     4467 nautical miles.
  Coast-line of Ireland    "     2518 nautical miles.
  Coast-line of France     "     2763 nautical miles.

Now France has 224 lighthouses, but no floating lights. The proportion
of lights to the coast-line is,[14] therefore, as follows:—

    In England       1 to every 8½ miles (nearly).
    In Scotland      1 to every 33 miles.
    In Ireland       1 to every 27 miles.
    In France        1 to every 12.3 miles.

[14] This proportion will be slightly modified, but not materially, if
we deduct the harbour and pier lights from the English, Scotch, and
Irish totals.

We may here explain the French system of administration, which,
however, cannot be said to equal our own in efficiency or
comprehensiveness, nor to surpass it in economy. At all events, the
foregoing figures show that the English coast is far more numerously
lighted than the French.

The French system dates from the beginning of the present century, and
is administered by the Department of _Ponts et Chaussées_, composed
of naval officers, hydrographic engineers, members of the French
Institute, and other persons acquainted with the sciences which bear
upon navigation. The general direction of the service is committed to
the Inspector-General of Ponts et Chaussées, who has under his orders
a certain number of engineers, in each maritime district, charged with
the supervision, construction, and administration of lighthouses.
This board or directorate has its own manufactories in Paris, where
experiments are tried with lighting apparatus, and where the artisan
receives all the information necessary to guide him in the construction
of every part of the apparatus, such as the calculation of angles,
prisms, curves, lenses, and the like. One of the best results of this
centralization is the economy it insures; the entire cost of the French
service not exceeding £40,000 per annum. It may be added, that to
France, as to the United States, belongs the praise of having looked
upon the lightage of her coasts, not as a source of public or private
revenue, but as a work of humanity. We trust that England, before
any long period has elapsed, will abolish the tolls now levied upon
shipping for the maintenance of her lighthouses. We admit that they
have been considerably reduced; but they still remain a burden upon
commerce, and a burden which commerce ought not to bear.

[Illustration: TRINITY HOUSE.]

Let us now pay a visit to the _Trinity House_, in London, taking as our
guide the shrewd and lively author of “The English at Home.”

Opposite the Tower of London, he says, or, more strictly speaking,
opposite the ancient fosses of that fortress, now converted into an
agreeable promenade, extends a fine open area of green turf, edged
round with shrubs; and, in the rear of this square, rises an edifice
which seems purposedly to isolate itself from the noise of the
multitude—it is the Trinity House.

The abode of this important maritime Society was formerly situated in
Water Lane, whence it was driven out by two successive conflagrations;
otherwise, could any better choice be made than the immediate
neighbourhood of the Thames, of the great docks, and of the forest of
masts which crowds it for many miles, like the parks or plantations of
great trees which surround at a distance the manorial mansions of the
English aristocracy?

The principal features of the edifice, erected in 1793 by James Wyatt,
are, a massive basement, surmounted by a single story enriched with
Doric columns and pilasters, the whole built of Portland stone. On
the façade, numerous genii, which, with round faces and puffed-out
cheeks, might be taken for so many cupids, hold in their hands anchors,
compasses, and marine charts. These emblems, however, sufficiently
indicate the character of the institution.

The ground-floor in the interior is occupied by offices; the upper
contains some noble apartments, to which admission can only be procured
by special favour. A noble vestibule leads to a double staircase of
stone, whose two branches, after ascending in different directions,
unite in a central landing-place, enriched with ornaments and
sculptures. On the right, in a semicircle described by the wall, is
framed a large oil painting, by Gainsborough’s nephew, representing
a body of _past_ “Elder Brethren,” grouped together, and in uniform.
On the left, in panels of glass, are inscribed the names of various
benefactors of the establishment, and the amount of their bequests.
Massive doors of mahogany introduce the visitor into the Board Room,
whose ceiling, painted in 1796, by a French artist named Rigaud, and
loaded with sprawling allegories, exhibits the Prosperity of England as
springing from Navigation and Commerce. The British Neptune advances
in triumph, surrounded by sea-horses, and attended by Tritons. In one
hand he carries a trident, in the other the shield of the United
Kingdom. His march is protected by cannons and other instruments of
war, while genii hovering round him wave the standard of Great Britain.
The standard may pass muster; but cannons! Is not this an abuse of
anachronism even for a picture? On the other side, Britannia, seated
on a rock, receives in her bosom the products of different countries.
Sea nymphs, bending under their weight of riches, hasten from every
quarter, and seamen spread upon the shores of England the fruits
of an extended commerce. Children wave to and fro their torches in
representation of the lights which encircle the coasts of the British
Isles, and during the darkness of night direct the movements of her

The walls of this saloon are decorated with portraits of George IV.,
William IV., and their queens, for royalty itself is no stranger to the
annals of the Trinity House, and monarchs honour themselves by figuring
among the insignia of the fraternity of which they have been the
members and the patrons. The Duke of Wellington’s portrait, by Lucas,
is considered the best in existence of the Conqueror of Waterloo. The
busts of the Queen and the late Prince Consort, in white marble, by
Noble—one of the few living sculptors who have attained to celebrity
in England—rest solemnly at the two corners of the mantelpiece.
Twenty arm-chairs ranged round a large table shaped like a crescent,
and covered with a green cloth, mark the places of the members of
the Council at their various meetings. The associates of the Trinity
House think, with Ben Jonson, that good repasts encourage brotherly
feeling. The dining-room, lighted by a kind of circular lantern which
surmounts the ceiling, displays what may very justly be called a quiet
and substantial luxury. Here we may remark the bust of William Pitt, by
Chantrey; portraits of the Earl of Sandwich, the Duke of Bedford, Sir
Francis Drake, and, especially, that of Sir Kenelm Digby, by Vandyke.
At regular intervals, some excellent models of lighthouses in relief,
preserved under glass, remind the visitor of the all-important object
of this ancient Corporation.

       *       *       *       *       *

The French Lighthouses Commission is not so splendidly lodged as the
Trinity Board, nor is its Museum equal to the one at Edinburgh.[15]
But, side by side with models of modern lighthouses, are models of the
most ancient, from the ungainly tower whose summit was lit up with a
rude fire of sea-coal, to the elegant edifice of the Héaux de Bréhat.
It also contains numerous examples of all the catoptric or dioptric
apparatus which are, or have been, in use, as well as specimens of
clocks, buoys, and beacons. The Lighthouse Museum is, finally, the
central depôt where experiments are conducted in reference to all the
elements of maritime lightage, under the supreme direction of M. Emile
Allard, the engineer-in-chief.

[15] We refer to the Exhibition of Lighthouse Models in the Industrial





In reference to the military protection of our coasts, the civilian is
frequently warned of the necessity of maintaining more than one “line
of defence;” a similar necessity exists as regards their complete and
satisfactory lightage. We know, too, that at one point a battery is
erected; at another, a simple earthwork is pronounced sufficient; at a
third, the eye ranges over an intricate combination of forts. The same
variety exists in the disposition of those coast-defences which are
designed in the interests of secure and peaceful navigation. Follow,
with the mind’s eye, the long coast-line of our country, and how many
differences we shall note in the situation of its lighthouses, in their
mode of construction, their elevation, their system of illumination.
Each pharos has, as it were, a speech of its own; each addresses, in
significant language, the seaman who turns to it for advice or warning.
This points out the entrance to a commodious haven, where, after being
much tossed by unquiet waves, the weary mariner may repose in safety;
that indicates the site of a perilous rock or sand-bank, on which a
storm-driven vessel must assuredly perish. Here we see a noble tower,
whose genial rays are visible at a distance of twenty-seven nautical
miles; there burns a steady light, whose extent of illumination is
restricted to five miles. One is a fixed light, glowing constantly like
a brilliant star; another, more mysterious, suddenly flashes forth from
the deep darkness, flings over the sea its arrow of flame, and then
is again extinguished, to reappear, a few moments later, in the same
strange and impressive manner. Nor are all lights of an uniform colour.
Some are red, with an intense ruby-like splendour; others white;
others, again, are blue or green. This variety in the range and aspect
of the “beacon-fires” has, like the variety in the size and position of
our forts and batteries, a special object.

The system of lightage generally adopted, says M. Renard, consists in
surrounding the coast with _three_ lines of defence; the outmost being
composed of lighthouses with a very extensive range. It has justly
been deemed of the highest importance to signal to the mariner the
proximity of the land, since it is in the waters near the coast that
navigation is exposed to the greatest dangers. The littoral presents a
number of capes, promontories, and headlands, more or less projecting
beyond the general level, as well as islets, and reefs, and shallows,
which require to be carefully avoided. Now, lighthouses of the first
class, as we may call them, or “sea-lights,” are usually planted on
these promontories or rocks; and along the British shore they are so
arranged that it is impossible, except in a dense fog, to arrive in its
neighbourhood without catching sight of one or more of them.


When he has overpassed the first line of defence, the navigator
encounters a second circle—“secondary-lights”—composed of lighthouses
of the second and third orders, indicating secondary capes, reefs, and
sand-banks, to which it is prudent to give a good offing. When the
mouth of a river or the entrance of a port is only accessible by narrow
channels, whose direction an experienced and veteran pilot can hardly
determine by night, other lights of the same class are placed in the
line of the channel, and point out the exact course which should be

Finally, when the ship has arrived near the port which is the goal of
her voyage, she perceives lights—“harbour-lights”—upon its piers or
breakwaters, which guide her to her much-wished-for berth.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the best positions for illumination have been selected, the
most difficult task is, or rather was, to provide for their easy
distinction, so that the sailor may not be misled by too close a
resemblance of one to another. Suitable variations and modifications
have been, fortunately, supplied by the valuable labours of Fresnel,
and of the engineers who have followed in his track.

At first, however, the embarrassment was considerable. Thus, the code
laid down by the celebrated French Commission in 1825, admitted of only
three characters for lighthouses of the first order: the “fixed light,”
the “revolving minute light,” and the “revolving half-minute light.”
But it was soon discovered that merchant seamen did not sufficiently
heed the differences observed between the intervals of the appearance
and disappearance of the latter lights; and the number of lighthouses,
moreover, having multiplied beyond all prevision, it became absolutely
indispensable to allow of a greater number of distinctive characters.

Now-a-days we recognize five: the “fixed light,” the “flashing light,”
the “revolving,” the “intermittent,” and the “double lights in one

The “flashing light” is that which shows alternately two flashes and
two eclipses, or more, in the interval of a minute.

The “flashing light,” the “intermittent,” and the “double lights in one
tower” were all first proposed and introduced into Scotland by the late
Mr. R. Stevenson.

The lustre of the “revolving light” gradually increases to a maximum,
and diminishes to a minimum, until wholly eclipsed, at equal intervals
of half a minute, one, two, or three minutes, and sometimes thrice in a

We designate it an “intermittent light” when the ray suddenly appears,
remains visible for a moment, and afterwards is again suddenly eclipsed
for a brief interval.

       *       *       *       *       *

With this scientific arrangement before us, it seems strange to
recollect that even so lately as the year 1816, the Isle of May light,
in the Firth of Forth, consisted of nothing better than a coal-fire.
Nor had England made any greater progress in the art of illumination,
for the magnificent tower of the Eddystone, says Mr. Stevenson, about
fifty years after it came from the hands of Smeaton, could boast of no
better light than that derived from a few miserable tallow candles.
Nay, so lately as the year 1801, the light at Harwich, in addition to
the coal-fires, had a _flat plate_ of rough brass on the landward side,
to serve as a reflector! Such methods, continues Mr. Stevenson, were
most imperfect, not only in point of efficiency and power, but also as
respects the distinction of one light from another; an object which,
on a difficult and rugged coast, may be considered as of almost equal
importance with the distance at which the lights can be seen.[16]

[16] Stevenson, “On Lighthouses,” pp. 60, 61.

It must also be remembered that too great a multiplicity of lights
would not be less dangerous than a deficiency in number. Were the
littoral too abundantly illuminated, the effect produced on the
navigator would be that of a continuous and confused line of fire. He
would be dazzled by the blaze, and unable to determine the particular
point to which he should steer his vessel. Before the Royal Commission
of 1861, one witness actually gave it as his opinion that there
were too many lights on the English coast, and that the consequence
was an increase of collisions, a neglect of the lead, and continual
shipwrecks. He added, however, that without the increase of light,
steamers could not run in and out of ports at night. The extent of
illumination being necessary, the only method of reducing the danger
of confusion to a minimum is that adopted by our engineers—a clear and
distinct variety of lights.





It has very justly been said that the object of placing in a lighthouse
an illuminating apparatus is, that, whether it be constructed of
glass or of metal, it may _bend the rays_ (which would otherwise and
naturally proceed in straight lines), and illuminate a hollow sphere,
so that those rays which would otherwise be thrown upon the sky, and
thereby wasted, may be made to fall on points at sea, where they will
be clearly visible. If the light is to be a fixed one, intended to be
seen all round, and from the horizon to the base of the light-tower,
the upper rays issuing from an illuminating apparatus must be
directed downwards, and the lower rays upwards, so as to increase the
illumination. If it is desired to light up a narrow belt of the sea,
extending from the horizon to the base of the lighthouse, all the rays
must be bent laterally; or they may all be concentrated and thrown upon
one or more spots of larger or smaller size, according as the light may
be needed—as in the case of fixed lights placed at the end of narrow
channels, and of revolving lights which are made visible all round
by causing the lenses and reflectors to revolve about the source of
light, or with that source about a centre.[17]

[17] _Edinburgh Review_, Jan. 1862, pp. 178, 179.

Two methods have been employed for the purpose of throwing light in
the desired direction: first, by silvered parabolic reflectors, which
is called the _Catoptric System_; second, by the employment of lenses
of a peculiar construction, which is known as the _Dioptric_ (or
_Refracting_) _System_.

Occasionally these two systems are combined, as in the ordinary
_Catadioptric_, and in Mr. Stevenson’s admirable _Holophotal_
arrangement, whether Catoptric or Dioptric.

Before describing them, however, it will be desirable to offer a brief
history of lighthouse illumination.

It was at a comparatively recent epoch that wood and coal fires were
for the first time replaced by candles, and the open summit of the
tower covered in with glass. About the end of the eighteenth century,
for these insufficient producers of light, lamps were substituted,
whose lustre was directed to a distance by reflectors of polished
metal. Many of the lighthouses of this epoch were provided with the
species of apparatus here described; among others, those of Capes
de l’Ailly and de la Hève, the isles Rhé and Oléron. In 1782, an
identical mode of lightage was established at Cordouan; but though this
lighthouse did not include less than twenty-four lamps, accompanied
each by a reflector, it diffused so feeble a light, that the seamen
immediately insisted on a return to the barbarous system of the Middle

The apparatus of which they complained was, in truth, exceedingly
defective; its lamps, differing but little from those which the
seven foolish virgins suffered to die out, had broad wicks, and if
they produced but little light, by way of compensation they emitted
an enormous amount of smoke. It was natural, therefore, that men
of science should, with a view to improvement, first direct their
attention to the _lamp_. The pioneer in this course of inquiry was
Argand, who, about 1748, contrived to secure “a double current of air;”
which consists, as any one may see in the first lamp he meets with, of
a wick, shaped like a hollow cylinder, enclosed in a glass tube. The
heat caused by the combustion of the oil produces a vigorous draught,
which leads to an abundant circulation of air both internally and
externally; and air is for the lamp, as for man, the plant, and the

Various modifications and improvements of Argand’s system have been
successively introduced. The glass tube, for instance, by one inventor,
was contracted at a short distance above the burner, so as to project
more immediately the current of air upon the flame, and stimulate
combustion. In his turn, Carcel bethought himself of supplying the wick
with a superabundant quantity of oil, so as to avoid the heating of
the burner, and to render the flame more regular; he thus succeeded in
keeping the lamps burning for a longer period without a replenishment
of the wick.

There then remained the _reflectors_. Curved in the form of a
spherical segment, these received but a small portion of the luminous
rays, and rarely returned them in the proper direction. Teulère, the
engineer-in-chief of the province of Bordeaux, who was to distinguish
himself at a later period by the erection of the Cordouan Tower, was
ordered to make an examination of both the lamps and the reflectors,
and to study the best means of remedying the evils complained of. His
studies resulted in a paper of great interest, published in 1783. To
concentrate in a single direction a large portion of the rays which
were lost on all sides, he proposed the use of mirrors of perfect
polish and a better form. By causing these mirrors to revolve around
a lamp—that is, by projecting successively towards every point of the
horizon the lustre formed by a large portion of the rays thus collected
into a single sheaf—he invented at the same time the eclipse.

It was not at Cordouan, nevertheless, that the system was first
applied, but at Dieppe, where the celebrated Borda, having studied
Teulère’s paper, had a small revolving apparatus of five parabolic
reflectors made[18] in 1784. The apparatus of Cordouan, likewise
established by Borda, was not placed in the lighthouse tower until
after its restoration by Teulère—that is, in 1790.

[18] To be more exact than have been the majority of authors who have
written on lighthouses, we must add that a small revolving apparatus,
with three reverberators (probably with spherical shells), had been
planted at the mouth of the port of Marstrand, in Sweden, prior to
1783. The French engineer, however, had thought out the invention for
himself, in ignorance that it had been elsewhere realized, and his
was the merit of imagining a system so complete and so rational in
all its parts, that nothing has since been added to or taken from his

M. Leonel Reynard informs us that we are likewise wrong in attributing
to Argand the idea of a lamp with a double current of air. It is to
Teulère that it should, in the main, be attributed. However, this
engineer, who has asserted the priority of his claim to the invention
of the reflectors, and the system of eclipses, has not insisted upon
that of the lamp. He limits himself to saying that Argand entertained
the same idea as himself, and derived great profit from it.

       *       *       *       *       *

This method of lightage was obviously a great improvement, and all
the maritime powers hastened to adopt it. As the _Catoptric System_,
it was, until within the last few years, exclusively employed on the
coast of England. Though less esteemed in France, its use has not been
entirely abandoned; and the French still employ catoptric apparatus
for “the illumination of narrow channels, or for harbour-lights; to
strengthen in a given direction a light whose range is sufficient for
the maritime horizon generally; to illuminate lightships; and for
service as provisional appliances.”


In the accompanying design we represent a plan and elevation of a
catoptric apparatus, which is composed, as will be seen, of nine
reflectors arranged in groups of threes. A small rotatory machine sets
the system in motion, and eclipses at greater or shorter intervals are
obtained by the varying speed with which it is worked. The range of the
apparatus depends partly on its power, and partly on its position.

The reflectors, as used in the best lighthouses, are made, says Mr.
Stevenson,[19] of sheet copper, plated in the proportion of six
ounces of silver to sixteen ounces of copper. They are moulded to a
paraboloidal form by a delicate and laborious process of beating with
mallets and hammers of various forms and materials, and are frequently
tested during the operation by the application of a mould carefully
formed. After being brought to the curve, they are stiffened round
the edge by means of a strong bizzle, and a strap of brass which is
attached to it for the purpose of preventing any accidental alteration
of the figure of the reflector. Polishing powders are then applied, and
the instrument receives its latest finish.

[19] Stevenson, “On Lighthouses,” pp. 92, 93.

To prove the form of the reflector, two gauges of brass are employed.
One is for the back, and used by the workmen during the process of
hammering; the other—while the mirror undergoes its final touches—is
applied to the concave face. The mirror is then tested by trying a
burner in the focus, and measuring the intensity of the light at
various points of the reflected conical beam.

The flame generally used in reflectors is derived from an Argand lamp,
with wicks an inch in diameter. The burners are sometimes tipped with
silver to prevent the wick from being wasted by the great heat which
is evolved. They are also fitted, in many of the Scottish lighthouses,
with a sliding apparatus of accurate shape, by which they can be
removed from the interior of the mirror at cleaning time, returned
exactly to the same place, and locked by means of a key.

       *       *       *       *       *

Catoptric lights, we may add, are divided into _nine_ separate
classes, differing in some respect from those recognized by the French
authorities. The nine classes are called _fixed_, _revolving white_,
_revolving red and white_, _revolving red with two whites_, _revolving
white with two reds_, _flashing_, _intermittent_, _double fixed
lights_, and _double revolving white lights_.


The following account of the distinctive character of each class of
light is condensed from a valuable treatise by Mr. Alan Stevenson:—

The _fixed_ exhibits a regular and steady appearance, and is not
subject to any change; and the reflectors employed are smaller than
those required for revolving lights. This is necessary, in order
that they may be ranged round the circular frame, with their axes so
inclined as to admit of their illuminating every point of the horizon.

The _revolving light_ is produced by the revolution of a three or four
sided frame, having large reflectors grouped on each side, with their
axes parallel; and as the revolution exhibits once a minute, or once in
two minutes, a light gradually increasing to the maximum, and then just
as gradually decreasing to total darkness, its effect is remarkably

The _revolving red and white_ is obtained by the revolution of a frame
whose different sides present red and white lights, and exhibit the
following succession:—two white lights after one red, or two red
lights after one white.

The _flashing light_ is effected in the same manner as the revolving;
but, owing to a different construction of the frame, the reflectors
on each of the eight sides are arranged with their rims or faces
in one vertical plane, and their axes in a line inclined to the
perpendicular—a disposition of the mirrors which, together with the
greater quickness of the revolution, showing a flash once in five
seconds of time, produces an impressive effect, wholly different
from that of a revolving light, and presenting the appearance of an
alternating rising and sinking illumination. The brightest and darkest
periods being but momentary, this light is also characterized by a
rapid succession of bright flashes; whence its name.


The _intermittent light_ is distinguished by bursting suddenly into
view and continuing steady for a short time, after which it is suddenly
eclipsed for half a minute. This is due to the perpendicular motion
of circular shades in front of the reflectors, by which the light is
alternately revealed and hidden.

The _double lights_ (“which are seldom used except where exists a
necessity for a _leading_ line, as a guide for taking some channel
or avoiding some danger”) are generally exhibited from two towers,
one of which is higher than the other. At the Calf of Man, says
Mr. Stevenson,[20] a striking variety has been introduced into the
character of leading lights, by substituting for two _fixed_ lights,
two lights which revolve in the same periods, and exhibit their flashes
at the same instant; and these lights are, of course, susceptible of
the other variety enumerated above, that of the revolving red and white
lights, or flashing lights, coming into view at equal intervals of
time. The utility of all these distinctions is to be estimated with
reference to their property of at once striking the eye of an observer,
and being instantaneously obvious to strangers.

[20] Stevenson, “On Lighthouses,” pp. 105-107.

The introduction of _colour_ as a source of distinction, is the only
means of obtaining a sufficient number of varieties. Yet, in itself,
it is an evil of no small magnitude. The effect being produced by
interposing coloured media between the burner and the eye of the
observer, much light is lost by the absorption of those rays which are
retained in order to produce the desired appearance. Experiments have
been made with almost every colour; but only red, blue, and green have
proved useful, and the two latter merely at such short distances as
to unfit them for “sea-lights.” Owing to the depth of tint required to
produce a marked effect, the red shades generally absorb about from
six-sevenths to five-sevenths of the whole light; a loss so immense
as certainly to discourage their adoption whenever it can possibly be
avoided. The red glass used in France absorbs only four-sevenths of
the light; but then, as might be expected, its colour produces a much
less signal distinction to the seaman’s eye. In some of the British
lighthouses, the lights are very simply and conveniently coloured, by
the use of chimneys of red glass, instead of placing large discs in
front of the reflectors.

We come now to the _Dioptric_[21] _System of Lights_.

The application of lenses to lighthouses seems to have been proposed
in England, and essayed at the South Foreland, as far back as 1752;
but owing to mechanical imperfection, they were found to give a light
inferior to that of the paraboloidal reflectors, and consequently were
abandoned. Buffon, the great naturalist, suggested that a lens might
be constructed in concentric zones out of a solid piece of glass; but
the difficulties of the process have proved too great to be overcome.
In, or about 1773, Condorcet proposed that burning lenses should be
built up in separate pieces; and a similar method was described by Sir
David Brewster in 1811. The same construction was quite independently
discovered by the ingenious Fresnel in 1819; and soon afterwards
he constructed a lens, placed a powerful lamp in its focus, and
rendered it available for the practical purposes of a lighthouse. He
is therefore the author, if not the inventor, of the highly successful
system of illumination which bears his name.

[21] From the Greek δίοπτρον, an optical instrument with tube for
looking through. Δίοπτρον is from διἁ, through; and ὅπτομαι, I see.

But before entering into a minuter description of the work, let us
learn a few particulars of the man.

[Illustration: ANNULAR BUILT LENS.]

Jean Augustin Fresnel was born at Broglie, near Bernay, in the French
department of the Eure, on the 10th of May 1788. When eight years old
the future savant was still ignorant of his letters; a fact, says
one of his biographers, to be attributed not so much to his delicate
constitution as to a deep-rooted dislike for the study of languages,
and, in general, for all exercises dependent upon the memory. But, on
the other hand, at nine years of age, he was already distinguished by
the experimental researches he had made in the domain of physics; which
induced his parents to send him to the Polytechnic School. Here, rising
step by step with remarkable rapidity, he eventually became Engineer of
Ports et Chaussèes.

In 1819 he carried off the prize proposed by the Academy of Sciences on
the difficult question of the diffraction of light. His investigations
had long been directed to optical subjects, and hence, when the French
Government established the Lighthouse Commission, Arago, who was
nominated president, immediately appointed Fresnel to the important
post of secretary.

Fresnel recognized the peculiar advantages of a plano-convex lens to
refract in lines nearly parallel to their axis all the rays emanating
from their foci. Like Condorcet and Brewster, who, as we have seen, had
also turned their attention to the problem, though only for so far as
concerned burning instruments, he asked himself whether, by arranging
the lenses in stages, it was not possible to correct their spherical
aberration—a defect which becomes all the more signal as the size of
the lenses is enlarged—and, consequently, to obtain full command over
the rays of a lamp.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us now transport ourselves to the upper story of a lighthouse,
and putting aside the motive mechanism of the apparatus, let us
penetrate into the lantern. Cast your glance upon the interior of
that immense diamond which we call a _dioptric apparatus_. The first
object which strikes our attention is the lamp. As the fire which
shone on the summit of the edifice was the soul of the pharos, so the
lamp is the soul of the modern lighthouse. It was to this lamp Teulère
first directed his attention, when he brought the catoptric system to
perfection; and it was to this lamp that Arago and Fresnel addressed
themselves when engaged, in their time, in improving the work of
Teulère, Argand, and Borda. Only, every lighthouse does not employ
the same kind of lamp. In one, we meet with the Carcel lamp, where the
oil is elevated to the wick by a clock-work mechanism. In another, it
is the Moderator, in which the same function is discharged by a heavy
weight surrounding a roller. In others, whose range is limited, it
is the Permanent-level lamp, where the reservoir of oil is placed by
the side and on the level of the burner, which possesses the power of
regulating the supply.

Let us draw near, however, and carefully examine the lamp now before
us, because in several details it differs from those we have described.
It will specially interest us as an English invention.

At the epoch when Teulère and Argand had made the progress already
specified in the construction of a suitable lamp, Rumford, desirous
of effecting a still greater improvement, asked himself whether, by
adapting it to burners with several concentric wicks, it would not be
possible to increase its power of illumination. The attempt was made,
but did not prove successful; he experienced considerable difficulty in
regulating the flame of these multiple wicks, and in preventing their
carbonization under the action of the intense heat developed by their
combination. It was the study of this question which led Fresnel and
Arago to their beautiful experiments on the illumination of lighthouses.

After repeated essays, these two men of science decided on the type
of the lamp which we are now contemplating; an instrument remarkable
not only for the whiteness and intensity of its light, but also for
what I may call its power of endurance; it will burn for upwards of
twelve hours without requiring to be touched. And that this advantage
is most important the reader will apprehend, when he remembers that the
lighthouse-flame must be kept kindled throughout the longest nights of

       *       *       *       *       *

At the present day, lighthouses of the third class are illuminated by
lamps with two concentric wicks; which, in a certain sense, means two
lamps in one. In lighthouses of the second class, each lamp has three;
and in those of the first class, each has four wicks. In the latter
we obtain, with a single illuminating apparatus, the full power of
twenty-three Carcel lamps. The luminous focus, though gifted with so
much potency, presents, nevertheless, but a flame of moderate breadth,
and its light is as white as it is brilliant.

The oil employed in the lighthouses of Great Britain, Ireland, and
France is the colza, which has of late years entirely superseded
spermaceti oil, as producing an equal quantity of light at little more
than half the expense. The electric light has, however, been proposed
as a more powerful method of illumination. One system, in which the
light is produced between carbon points by the revolution of magnets
fixed on wheels, worked by a steam-engine, was tried with much success
by Professor Holmes at the South Foreland; and is still, we believe,
in use at Dungeness, as it is, in France, at the two lighthouses of
La Hève. In the latter case, the mechanism producing the currents
is composed of two steam-engines, each with a five-horse power, and
of four electro-magnetic machines of six discs, composed each of
sixteen bobbins. It is placed in a boat, adapted for the purpose, at
an equal distance from the two towers. Under ordinary atmospheric
conditions, a single steam-engine is kept in motion, communicating with
a magneto-electric machine for each lighthouse. During fogs and mists,
both engines are in activity, and each lighthouse receives the currents
of two magneto-electric batteries, which are then associated.


Both lighthouses are supplied with two lenticular apparatus, placed
one above another in the same lantern. The regulators of the progress
of the carbons were invented by M. Serrin, whose object has been to
augment their sensibility, and, consequently, the regularity of the
light; in which respect, now-a-days, little is left to be desired.
The mean intensity of the light produced by a machine of six discs is
computed as equal to 200 Carcel burners. The intensity of the cone of
light emanating from the lenticular apparatus, when illuminated in this
manner, rises to 5000 burners.

The electric light, as yet, is applied only to lighthouses with fixed
lights, for a special arrangement would be necessary in the lenticular
apparatus before it could be employed with the same advantage in the
production of intermittent lights (_feux à éclipses_). Experiments,
however, have been made in this direction, which promise good results.
Yet, in the present state of its mechanical conditions, the system
of electric illumination does not seem susceptible of any very great
development upon our shores. It cannot be applied economically to
lights which require no very great intensity,—and these lights are the
most numerous; and, on the other hand, the intricate constructions
which it necessitates, the chances of accident which it presents, and
the quantity of coal which it consumes, are obstacles to its employment
in lighthouses isolated at sea, whose communications with the mainland
are liable to interruption, and where it is of importance to reduce as
much as possible the dimensions of the edifice as well as the amount of
transport. However this may be, the electric light would seem destined
to render valuable services to navigation at every point where it
can be employed, and like the two great inventions which the history
of marine lightage signalizes—that of paraboloidal reflectors, and
next, that of the lenticular apparatus—it constitutes a special and
noteworthy progress, under the threefold aspect of intensity of light,
diversity of character, and the value of luminous unity.

We may add that Mr. Wilde, of Manchester, has invented a powerful
electro-magnetic apparatus for lighthouse illumination, which may
probably prove valuable. Modifications of the lime light, resulting
from the action of an oxy-hydrogen flame upon a surface of prepared
lime, have also been suggested; and the least powerful of these
surpasses in brilliancy the best oil-lamp, as that surpasses the open
coal-fire. We may, therefore, expect that as the latter barbarous mode
of illumination gave way to the catoptric, or _reflecting_ system,
so will the dioptric, before many years have passed, succumb to some
ingenious apparatus capable of utilizing either the lime or the
electric light.

       *       *       *       *       *

We now return to Fresnel’s system, the _dioptric_, which is pretty
generally adopted in the British lighthouses.

We must here premise that the system is based upon the laws of the
refraction of light.

But, says the non-scientific reader, what do you mean by the
_refraction_ of light? I know very well what reflection is; I am not so
clear as to refraction.

A ray of light, when transmitted _obliquely_ from one transparent
body to another of different density, undergoes, at the point where
it strikes the common surface of the two planes, a sudden change
of direction. This change of direction is called _refraction_. For
instance, plunge one half of a straight ruler into a basin of water.
The ruler no longer appears straight, but _bent back_ or _broken_
(_re_, and _fractum_) at the point where it enters the water.

We have already stated that the great object to be gained in lighthouse
illumination is this very _refraction_; that is, the rays of the lamp
must be refracted, or bent back, so as to strike and illuminate the

Fresnel saw that this object might be secured by the employment of
lenses to intercept, as it were, and refract the rays proceeding from
the lamp. What kind of lens possessed the greatest power of refraction?
He preferred the plano-convex lenses, which, instead of having two
curve surfaces, have one surface a curve, and the other a plane. And
the lens thus adopted he built up in separate pieces, for the still
greater economization and intensity of light; and, says Mr. Stevenson,
he has subdivided with so much judgment the whole surface of the lens
into a centre lens and concentric annular bands, and has so carefully
determined the elements of curvature for each, that it seems unlikely
any improvement will soon be effected in their construction.


The central disc of the lens, marked B in the accompanying diagram—as
employed in lights of the first order—is about 11 inches in diameter,
and the focus distance equals 920 millimètres, or 36.22 inches. The
annular rings surrounding it gradually decrease in breadth as they
recede from the centre, from 2¾ to 1¼ inches. The lens, we should add,
is made of crown glass.

A lens of this magnitude costs about £60. Its weight is about 109
lbs., and its surface consists of about 1300 square inches; but though
composed of so many parts, it is held together simply by two narrow
strips of polished glass, united by a thin film of cement.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following illustration, representing a segment of the profile
of a dioptric apparatus, will give the reader a sufficient idea of
the manner in which the rays proceeding from the focus of a lamp are
refracted on issuing from the lens; it also shows the central disc, and
the rings placed above and below it.

When the drum is circular instead of being polygonal, the lenses
are cylindrical and not annular; the luminous rays are uniformly
distributed in the horizontal plane, and act—in a meridian section—in
the same manner as those of the annular lenses.

Yet there is something more than lenses in a dioptric apparatus, for
this reason, that the lamp does something more than illuminate the
frame. The rays streaming below it vainly poured their light at the
foot of the tower, and those which rose above it were diffused in the
upper region of the atmosphere, and consequently, for all purposes of
marine illumination, would have been useless, had not Fresnel conceived
the idea of collecting, concentrating, and despatching them in the same
direction as the lenses threw the others. This he effected by means of
the cylindrical rings of glass which, above and beneath the lenses,
cover over the framework, as it were, or make use of it as a base, in
expanding themselves as they approach the centre of the apparatus.


The subjoined illustration represents the progress of a luminous ray
in one of the rings of glass, technically termed _catadioptric rings_.
Issuing from the focus F at the summit of the angle formed by the
lines G and I, it is refracted at A in the direction A B, undergoes a
complete reflection on the surface M N, takes the direction B C, and
finally emerges from the ring in the horizontal line C H.

At this solution of the difficulty Fresnel did not arrive all at once,
owing to the absolute want of workmen suitable for carrying out the
novel industry which his genius had created. But by degrees these
were trained and perfected; and the inventor had, moreover, the good
fortune of discovering in an able and ingenious optician, M. Soleil, an
efficient assistant in the construction on a large scale of the novel
instrument he required. Afterwards the erection of lighthouses becoming
an important branch of industry, he completed several edifices, which
prospered all the more that strangers immediately gave up any attempt
at rivalry, and left to him the work of supplying every maritime nation
with lenticular apparatus.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having said thus much of the central lens and its concentric rings of
glass, a few words become necessary in reference to the lamp which
feeds them, as it were, with light. Fresnel’s lamp may be shortly
described as containing four concentric burners, which are defended
from the excessive heat produced by their own combined flames by a
superabundant supply of oil. This oil is pumped up from a cistern below
by means of a clockwork movement, and overflows the wicks incessantly.
To supply fresh currents of air to each wick with a rapidity sufficient
to support the combustion, a very tall chimney-tube is found requisite.
And yet the wicks do not carbonize with the extreme speed that might be
supposed. It is even found, we are told, that after they have suffered
a good deal, the flame does not perceptibly decrease, because the
intense heat evolved from its mass encourages the rising of the oil in
the cotton. Mr. Stevenson informs us that he has seen the large lamp
in the Tour de Corduan burn for seven hours, and yet the wicks were
neither snuffed nor raised. In the Scotch lighthouses a full flame is
often maintained, with Colza oil, for no less a period than seventeen
hours, and yet the lamp is untouched.

       *       *       *       *       *

The only risk in using the Fresnel lamp, says Mr. Stevenson, arises
from the liability to occasional derangement of the leathern valves
that force up the oil by means of clockwork. Several lights on the
French coast, and, more especially, the Tour de Corduan, have been
extinguished by the failure of the lamp for a few minutes; an accident
which has never happened, and scarcely _can_ happen, with the fountain
lamps of the Catoptric system. To prevent such dangerous mishaps,
which, under some circumstances, might entail the loss of a “tall
ship,” various precautions have been adopted. The most efficacious
seems to be this: an alarum is attached to the lamp, consisting of a
small cup pierced in the bottom, which receives a portion of the oil
overflowing from the wicks, and is capable, when full, of balancing a
weight placed at the opposite end of a lever. The moment the machinery
stops, the cup ceases to receive the supply of oil, and the remainder
escaping at the bottom, the equilibrium of the lever is destroyed; it
falls, and disengages a spring, which rings a bell with sufficient
force to arouse a sleeping keeper. But, says Mr. Stevenson, shrewdly,
it may justly be doubted whether such an arrangement might not actually
tempt a keeper to relax in his vigilance, and rely on the alarum to
waken him in case of need. In all the dioptric lamps on the British
coast, therefore, the converse method is adopted of causing the bell to
cease when the clockwork stops.

Another and more important precaution consists in keeping always at
hand, in the light-room, a _spare lamp_, trimmed, and adjusted to the
proper height for the focus, and in every respect ready to act as a
substitute for the other if any accident occurs.

But while I am tracing these words, I read that experiments have been
successfully made with _gas_ for the illumination of the lenticular
apparatus, and that, if it will afford a steadier and fuller light, at
less expense, and with no risk of accident, it will probably be adopted.

       *       *       *       *       *

To continue:—

Once having acquired a full command of all the rays amplified from
the lamp, the next desideratum was to diversify the appearance of
the light which they constituted; for, as I have already said, it is
not enough to stretch a belt of warning fires around the coast,—we
must take care that each shall in some wise be distinguished from the
other, so as to afford the navigator a clue to its particular locality.
Hence arose the division into fixed, revolving, intermittent lights,
and so on, which I have already described, and which is secured in the
following manner:—


If a _fixed light_ be required, the apparatus as invented by Fresnel
takes the form of an annular glass frame produced by the revolution
of the section passing through the centre of a circular lens, and
reflecting prisms around a vertical elevated on the principal axis of
this section, as shown in the diagram.

For _revolving apparatus_, Fresnel’s apparatus, as employed in all
lighthouses prior to the introduction of the holophotal arrangement,
consisted, as may be seen in the diagram, of annular lenses, _L_, for
acting on the central part of the light, while the upper rays were
refracted by inclined hanging lenses, _a_, and ultimately reflected
into the proper direction by silvered mirrors marked _b_, placed above.
The lower rays were intercepted by fixed light prisms, _p p_ (_which
did not revolve_), and which, showing a fixed light all round, were,
of course, of very inferior power to the solid beams proceeding from
the large lenses =L=, and the smaller lenses and mirrors placed above.
Strictly speaking, Fresnel’s revolving light consisted of a _revolving_
and a weak _fixed_ light. As the frame revolved round the central
lamp, the mariner saw the luminous beam when the lenses were turned
towards him, and the number of flashes depended on the quickness of the


The apparatus adopted by Fresnel for the _fixed_ light may be regarded
as perfect; but his _revolving_ light has been now superseded by the
holophotal apparatus of Mr. Thomas Stevenson. The inclined mirrors
and lenses employed in Fresnel’s apparatus are done away with in Mr.
Stevenson’s, shown in the diagram, in which, by the single agency of
lenses, _L_, and totally reflecting prisms, _p_, all the rays are
rendered parallel. In this form the _whole_ glass frame, consisting
of lenses and reflecting prisms, revolves round the central lamp. As
Fresnel’s lighthouse prisms only gathered the light vertically, they
could not produce the sheaf of rays required for the revolving light
unless when combined with others which gathered the rays horizontally.
The first lighthouse in which single prisms were made to revolve
was the Horsburgh light, near Singapore, the apparatus of which was
designed by Mr. Stevenson in 1850. In this form of revolving light
apparatus the prisms are generated about a horizontal instead of a
vertical axis, as in fixed light. The forms of the beams of light
issuing forth from Fresnel and Stevenson’s apparatus are shown opposite
to the diagram of each, and marked _x, y_.


In France there is frequently employed what Fresnel called a “_fixed
light varied by flashes_.” This effect is produced, as already
explained, by causing panels of glass, curved horizontally but not
vertically, to revolve outside of Fresnel’s fixed apparatus, as shown
in the diagram. The ordinary fixed apparatus only acts in the vertical
plane, while the straight panels only act in the horizontal plane.
So that when the fixed apparatus is alone visible the rays are only
gathered from the vertical plane, and the light is comparatively weak;
but when the panels come opposite the eye, the rays are gathered from
both planes into one powerful beam, as in a revolving light. Here,
as in the former case, two agents are employed, causing great loss
of light and great unnecessary expense, where one, if of the proper
form, is sufficient. Mr. Stevenson’s modification of the holophotal
arrangement for this purpose is shown in the diagram. It consists of
alternate panels of the fixed light and holophotal apparatus; and thus,
by single agency, a weak fixed light and a stronger revolving light are
shown time-about to the mariner, which is the required characteristic.



If, for the sake of further diversity, the lights are to be coloured,
we content ourselves in the case of a fixed light, as already stated,
with enclosing the flame in a green or red tube. In the French
eclipsing apparatus, polished sheets of coloured glass are placed, on
one side or the other, against the lenses intended to emit the flashes
of colour.

While doing all honour to Fresnel and his great invention, we must not
forget that its present comparative perfection is due to Mr. Thomas
Stevenson, whose improvements, in truth, have eventuated in almost a
new system, now known as the _Holophotal_,[22] and already partially
described. By a peculiar combination of dioptric spherical mirrors and
other apparatus, it also succeeds in economizing and condensing into
one beam the whole of the rays thrown off from the burners; but I fear
that any explanation of it which could here be attempted would, from
its necessary introduction of technical language, prove unintelligible
to the non-scientific reader.

[22] From ὅλος, entire; and φὼς light.





After having devoted so many pages to what we have called—perhaps
somewhat fancifully—the _soul_ of the lighthouse, it becomes necessary
to say a few words in reference to the _body_ which encases it.

In building up this body, no less ingenuity and science have been
displayed than in perfecting and expanding the light which gives it
life and value. Whether the lighthouse-tower is situated on some
wave-washed rock surrounded by a hungry sea, or on the summit of
a conspicuous headland, the highest skill is exercised upon its
construction, and it becomes, in many instances, a monument of the
most brilliant architectural genius. Not, indeed, that it exhibits
those beautiful features of clustered columns and lofty arches, or that
elaboration of picturesque ornament, which delight us in the lordly
mansion and the ancient cathedral; but that an equal perfection of
art is revealed in its massive simplicity and impregnable solidity,
and in its admirable adaptation to the grand purposes for which it is

Two primary conditions, it is obvious, must always govern the
construction of a lighthouse: it must be raised to an elevation
suitable for the full display of its warning radiance, and it must be
built with a strength and solidity which will defy the assault of wind
or wave.

So far as the first condition is concerned, the proper height of a
lighthouse-tower is easily ascertained, when the distance is determined
at which its rays should be visible. This distance will necessarily
depend on the character of the neighbouring seas, and the nature of
the reef, rock, or shallow from which the lighthouse is to warn the
navigator; but, once determined, the elevation of the tower will easily
be calculated by means of the known relations existing between the form
of the earth, the effects of atmospheric refraction, and the proper
height of an object which is to be seen from a given distance. The
state of the atmosphere at any particular point is also an important
point of consideration. It is quite possible that the lighthouse, when
erected at what seems a suitable elevation, may be rendered useless by
a prevalence at that elevation of dense mists and heavy fogs. In 1785,
the Trinity Board commenced the erection of a lighthouse on the summit
of St. Catherine’s Down, in the Isle of Wight, and from so lofty an
altitude it might well be supposed that its radiance would illuminate
the Channel for leagues around. But, unfortunately, the crest of St.
Catherine’s is, for the greater part of the year, enveloped in cloud
and mist, which effectually prevents the escape of a single ray of
light; and, consequently, the Trinity Board were compelled to abandon
their design. The shell of the building still crowns the bleak summit
of the down, as a warning to future lighthouse-builders.

Still more recently, the lighthouse on the Needles Down (also in the
Isle of Wight), which for years had pointed out the dangerous character
of the western entrance to the Solent, has been abandoned on account
of the mists so frequently obscuring its lustre; and a new lighthouse
has been erected on the outermost of the celebrated Needle Rocks, in a
position of far greater utility.

The question regarding the _interior_ accommodation of the tower
must, in like manner, be answered by the nature of the locality where
it is erected. Where it is easily accessible, and its stores can be
replenished with ease at very short intervals, obviously the interior
accommodation may be reduced within very narrow limits. But in exposed
situations, as, for instance, on an isolated rock, whose communication
with the mainland may be cut off for weeks at a time, room must be
provided for ample supplies, and conveniences for the keepers must be
arranged on a liberal scale. In the long and dreary nights of winter,
where, in the northern parts of Great Britain, it is necessary to keep
the light burning for about seventeen hours, not even for a moment is
it left without the watchful care of at least one keeper; and thus, as
he will require an interval of repose, its superintendence will occupy
_two_ persons; but in open, exposed places like the Eddystone, the Bell
Rock, the Wolf, and the Skerryvore, where it is frequently impossible
to communicate with the mainland for three, four, and even six weeks,
circumstances have rendered it desirable that there should not be
fewer than _three_ men on duty. Hence, sleeping apartments have to be
provided, as well as receptacles for sufficient supplies of water,
food, fuel, and other matters.

       *       *       *       *       *

The second condition to which we have adverted is, that the building
shall be capable of resisting the force of the wind and waves. The wind
is baffled with comparative ease, but the sea is a far more formidable,
and, moreover, is an ever-present foe. Even in the summer months the
pressure of the waves is very considerable, averaging, perhaps, about
611 lbs. per square foot of surface exposed to it. In the winter,
however, the average rises to 2086 lbs. per square foot; while, during
stormy weather, the force has amounted to no less than 4335 lbs.[23]
To oppose this immense pressure, not only must the masonry be of the
solidest description, but such a form must be given to the building as
will expose that masonry to the least possible stress. From various
experiments it has been found that the most effective form is that
of the cylinder; and with certain modifications, the cylindrical
is now almost universally adopted in the erection of lighthouses.
Scientifically speaking, however, it is not so much a cylinder as
the union of frustra of different cones, with a curve osculating the
outline of the successive frustra. To the youthful reader this may not
be very intelligible, and we will, therefore, refer him to the form
of the Eddystone as an illustration of what we mean. Smeaton himself
relates that it was suggested to him by the trunk of an oak, but there
seems reason to believe that this was an after-thought, intended
for the benefit of the large class of minds which cannot appreciate
scientific reasonings.

[23] These figures are the results of experiments made with an
instrument invented by Mr. Thomas Stevenson, and called the Marine

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us now pass into the interior of a lighthouse, and take notice of
its general arrangements.

And, first, observe the massive door of bronze which opens to admit
us into the lowermost story. Here are collected the stores of wood,
cordage, oil, and water; and here too is placed the carpenter’s shop.
On the next story we find the kitchen and the dining-room. Then we
ascend to the sleeping-rooms of the three keepers; they are exquisitely
neat and clean, but in other respects do not call for notice. On the
highest story we enter that portion of the structure more particularly
destined for the special service of the tower. It contains numerous
vessels of oil, lenses, lamps, a thermometer, a barometer, and a
chronometer. The spiral staircase by which we have hitherto ascended
terminates at this point, and to reach the lantern we must climb a
ladder before us. Entering the cupola, which enshrines the magic
light, we are surprised by its exquisite propriety of arrangement. The
form of the lantern is light and graceful; and to avoid the necessity
of painting it, the framework is made of gun metal, and the dome of
copper. A lantern for a light of the first order is twelve feet in
diameter, and its glass frames are two feet high. The glazing is thick,
and great care is exercised in fixing it that the plates may not be
broken during high winds. Panes glazed in frames padded with cushions,
and capable of being temporarily fixed in a few minutes, are always
kept ready for use in Scotland. These are called _storm-panes_. The
total cost of a lantern such as we have been describing is about £1260.


To secure a good and efficient light it is necessary that the lantern
should be well ventilated. Otherwise its sides will be continually
covered by the water of condensation produced by the contact of the
ascending current of heated air, and the glass, thus obscured, impedes
the passage of the rays and diminishes their power. To prevent such an
evil an excellent system of mechanical ventilation was devised by the
late Professor Faraday.

The ventilating pipe or chimney is a copper tube four inches in
diameter, divided into three or four lengths; the lower end of each for
about an inch and a half being opened out into a conical form, about
five inches and a half in diameter at the lowest part. When the chimney
is put together, the upper end of the bottom piece is inserted about
half an inch into the cone of the next piece above, and fixed there by
three ties or pins, so that the two pieces are firmly held together;
but there is still plenty of airway or entrance into the chimney
between them. The same arrangement holds good with each succeeding
piece. When the ventilating chimney is fixed in its place, it is so
adjusted that the lamp chimney enters about half an inch into the lower
cone, and the top of the ventilating chimney into the cowl or head of
the lantern.

With this arrangement (I use the Professor’s own words) it is found
that the action of the ventilating flue is to carry up every portion
of the products of combustion into the cowl; none passes by the cone
apertures out of the flue into the air by the lantern, but a portion of
the air passes from the lantern by these apertures into the flue, and
so the lantern itself is in some degree ventilated.

The important use of these cone apertures is, that when a sudden gust
or eddy of wind strikes into the cowl of the lantern, it should not
have any effect in disturbing or altering the flame. It is found that
the wind may blow suddenly in at the cowl, and the effect never reaches
the lamp. The upper, or the second, or the third, or even the fourth
portion of the ventilating flue might be entirely closed, yet without
influencing the flame. The cone junctions in no way interfere with the
tube in carrying up all the products of combustion; but if any downward
current occurs, they dispose of the whole of it into the room without
ever affecting the lamp. The ventilating flue is, in fact, a tube
which, as regards the lamp, can carry everything up but conveys nothing

       *       *       *       *       *

The British lighthouses, as I have stated, are under the charge
of either two or three keepers, whose duties are to cleanse and
prepare the apparatus for nocturnal illumination, and to mount guard
alternately after the light is exhibited. The rule is, that under
no circumstance shall the keeper on duty leave the light-room until
relieved by his comrade; and that no pretence may exist for disobeying
this all-important regulation, the dwelling-houses are invariably built
in immediate proximity to the light-tower, and means are provided for
signaling directly from the light-room to the sleeping apartments below.

For greater security in all such exposed situations as the Eddystone or
the Bell Rock, _four_ keepers are provided for one light-room. One of
these is always ashore, on leave, with his family, and the other three
are on guard in the lighthouse, so that, in the case of the illness
of one light-keeper, an efficient establishment of two keepers for
watching the light may remain.

The following interesting details we borrow verbatim from Mr. Alan

[24] Alan Stevenson, “On Lighthouses,” Weale’s Series, pp. 169, 170.

Each of the two (or three) light-keepers has a house for himself and
family, both being under a common roof, but entering by separate doors.
The principal keeper’s house consists of six rooms, two of which are
at the disposal of the visiting officers of the Board, whose duty in
inspecting the lighthouse or superintending repairs may call them to
the station; and the assistant has four rooms, one of which is used as
a barrack-room for the workmen who, under the direction of the foreman
of the light-room works, execute the annual repairs of the apparatus.

The greatest care must be bestowed on securing the utmost cleanliness
in every detail connected with a lighthouse, whose optical apparatus is
peculiarly sensitive to the effect of dust. For this purpose covered
ash-pits are provided at all the dwelling-houses, in order that the
refuse of the fireplaces may not be carried on “the wings of the wind”
to the light-room; and, for similar reasons, iron floors are used in
the light-rooms instead of stone, which is often liable to abrasion,
and all the stonework near the lantern is regularly painted in oil.

If, in all that belongs to a lighthouse, the greatest cleanliness is
desirable, it is in a still higher degree necessary in every part of
the light-room apparatus, without which the optical instruments and
the machinery will neither last long nor work well. Every part of the
apparatus, whether lenses or reflectors, should be carefully freed
from dust before being either washed or burnished; and without such a
precaution the cleansing process would only serve to scratch them.

For burnishing the reflectors, prepared _rouge_ (tritoxide of iron)
of the finest description, which should be prepared in the state of
an impalpable powder of a deep orange-red colour, is applied by means
of soft chamois skins, as occasion may require; but the great art of
keeping reflectors clean consists in the daily patient and skilful
application of manual labour in rubbing the surface of the instrument
with a perfectly dry, soft, and clean skin, without rouge. The form
of the hollow paraboloid is such that some practice is necessary in
order to acquire a free movement of the hand in rubbing reflectors;
and its attainment forms one of the principal lessons in the course
of the preliminary instruction to which candidates for the situation
of a lighthouse-keeper are subjected. For cleansing the lenses and
glass-mirrors spirit of wine is used. Having washed the surface of
the instrument with a linen cloth steeped in spirit of wine, it is
carefully dried with a soft and dry linen rubber, and finally rubbed
with a fine chamois skin free from any dust, which would injure the
polish of the glass, as well as from grease. It is sometimes necessary
to use a little fine rouge with a chamois skin for restoring any
deficiency of polish which may occur from time to time; but in a
well-managed lighthouse this application will seldom, if ever, be

       *       *       *       *       *

Before we quit this subject, it may interest the reader to be informed
that the glass of the lantern is frequently broken, not by wind and
wave, but by the sea-birds which dash violently against it. In a single
night at Cape de Bréhat nine panes were shattered from this cause.
At the lighthouse of Bréhat a wild duck forced its way through two rows
of mirrors and fell upon the lamp. A thousand of these birds were on
one occasion caught by the crew of a British lightship, who made them
into a gigantic pie. It is necessary to defend with trellis-work the
lights most exposed to visits of this kind.


Fortunately, all sea-birds are not so dangerous. Some of them even
render to the navigator a service like that which the goose of the
capitol, according to Livy, once rendered to the Romans. At the South
Stock lighthouse, near Holyhead, which is situated in the middle of an
islet, tamed sea-birds are made use of as signals. The gulls perch on
the lighthouse walls and utter loud cries, which wave off approaching
seamen. This lighthouse possesses a bell and a cannon, but the natural
signal has been esteemed so superior that the cannon has been removed
to a distance from the rock, lest its discharge should alarm the birds.
The young gulls roam about the island among the white rabbits, living
in perfect harmony with them, and providing the keepers with society;
a pleasanter society than that of the wind and waves which incessantly
vent their fury on the solitary pharos.






THE STORY OF THE EDDYSTONE: A.D. 1696, 1706, 1759.

The first lighthouse of a regular character erected on the shores
of England seems to have been that of Lowestoft, in 1609. Among its
successors we may refer to those of Hunstanton Point, 1665, and of
the Scilly Islands, 1680. To the same epoch belong the lighthouses of
Dungeness, Orfordness, and the Eddystone; the latter being the most
important, the most remarkable, and the most interesting, as, I think,
the following brief narrative will not fail to show.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Eddystone_ is the name of the highest summit of a reef of rocks
which lie in deep water about fourteen miles to the south-west of
Plymouth harbour. As they are in a line with Lizard Head, in Cornwall,
and Start Point, in Devonshire, they are not only in the track of
vessels bound for the great Devonian seaport, but of vessels coasting
up and down the English Channel. At high water they are barely visible,
and their position could only be told by the waves which _eddy_ and
seethe above them; at low water several low, broken, and dismal-looking
ridges of gneiss become conspicuous. When the wind blows from the
south-west, they are the centre of “a hell of waters,” and no ship
involved in the vortex could hope to escape destruction.

It may readily be conceived that so perilous a reef, when unprotected
by any beacon, was a source of deep alarm to the mariner, who, to give
it the widest possible berth, was accustomed to enter the Channel in a
much more southerly latitude than is now done. But in avoiding Scylla
he often fell into Charybdis, and hence the numerous wrecks which
occurred on the French coast, and more particularly upon the dangerous
rocks surrounding the islands of Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney.

The erection of a lighthouse upon the Eddystone was, therefore, a
matter of national concern; yet no one could be found to undertake a
task whose accomplishment nature seemed to have rendered impossible,
until Henry Winstanley, a country gentleman of Littleberry, in Essex,
chivalrously came forward in the year 1696, and having obtained the
necessary legal powers, proceeded to carry his design into execution.
This same Winstanley was one of those eccentric geniuses who find a
pleasure in mystifying their friends, and in investing their daily life
with an air of legerdemain. He adapted science to practical jokes with
an ingenuity which, we think, has never been surpassed. If a guest in
his bedroom kicked an old slipper out of his way, immediately a ghost
started from the floor. If, in another, he threw himself into a chair,
it suddenly flung out its two arms, and held him fast as a prisoner. Or
if in the garden he retired into an arbour, and rested on a particular
seat, he was straightway set afloat in the middle of the adjoining

To the native eccentricity of the man, it has been justly remarked,
may be ascribed the fantastical character of the first Eddystone
Lighthouse. Its erection was begun in 1696. The first summer—and it
was only in summer the work could be carried on—was occupied in making
twelve holes in the rock, and fastening as many irons in them, to serve
as the superstructure.[25] The task progressed but slowly, for, as
Winstanley himself relates, though it was summer, the weather would at
times prove of such terrible violence, that for ten or fourteen days
together the sea would so rage about the rocks—agitated by out-winds
and the inrush of the ground-swell from the main ocean—as to mount and
leap upwards some two hundred feet, completely burying the works, and
preventing all approach to them.

[25] “Smeaton and Lighthouses” (ed. 1844), pp. 24, 25; Smiles, “Lives
of the Engineers,” ii. 17.

       *       *       *       *       *

The second summer was spent in constructing a solid round pillar twelve
feet high and fourteen feet in diameter. In the third year the pillar
was enlarged two feet at the base, and the edifice carried up to a
height of sixty feet. “Being all finished,” says the engineer, “with
the lantern, and all the rooms that were in it, we ventured to lodge
there soon after midsummer, for the greater dispatch of the work. But
the first night the weather came bad, and so continued, that it was
eleven days before any boats could come near us again; and not being
acquainted with the height of the sea’s rising, we were almost drowned
with wet, and our provisions in as bad a condition, though we worked
night and day as much as possible to make shelter for ourselves. In
this storm we lost some of our materials, although we did what we could
to save them; but the boat then returning, we all left the house to be
refreshed on shore: and as soon as the weather did permit we returned
and finished all, and put up the light on the 14th November 1698; which
being so late in the year, it was three days before Christmas before we
had relief to go on shore again, and were almost at the last extremity
for want of provisions; but, by good Providence, then two boats came
with provisions and the family that was to take care of the light; and
so ended this year’s work.”


The fourth year was devoted to strengthening the foundations and
enlarging the structure, which, when completed, resembled nothing
so much as “a Chinese pagoda, with open galleries and fantastic
projections.” The gallery around the lantern was so wide and open, that
it was possible, when the sea ran high, for a six-oared boat to be
lifted by the waves and driven through it. Such an edifice could not
long resist the fury of the waters or the violence of the gale; but,
at least, it served to prove that a lighthouse _could_ be erected on
the rock, and its achievement was one of the most laudable enterprises
which any heroic mind could undertake, for it filled the breast of the
mariner with new hope.

Winstanley was proud of his work, and so convinced, it is said, of its
entire solidity, that he expressed a wish to be beneath its roof in
the greatest storm that ever blew under the face of heaven, convinced
that it could not shake one joist or beam. He had his presumptuous
wish fulfilled. With his workmen and keepers he had taken up his abode
in the lighthouse, when a terrible gale blew up, and on the 26th of
November attained to an unparalleled excess of fury. In truth, it was
of so frightful a character that contemporary annals vividly record its
destructive effects, and the alarm it produced.

All through that memorable night the tempest raged. As soon as morning
came the people of Plymouth hastened to the beach, and turned their
gaze instinctively towards the Eddystone. But no structure crowned the
rock, over which the waves were tossing and swirling all unchecked. The
lighthouse was swept away, and no vestiges remained of its adventurous

       *       *       *       *       *

The question now arose, Who was to rebuild the lighthouse? Three years
passed before it was answered; and then the task was taken up by one
Captain Lovet, who obtained a ninety-nine year‘ lease from the Trinity
Corporation, and immediately engaged as his architect a _silk-mercer_
on Ludgate Hill, named John Rudyerd. What reasons guided Lovet in his
curious choice we cannot ascertain; probably Rudyerd had given some
signal proofs of mechanical ingenuity; but, at all events, the choice
proved a felicitous one. Rudyerd submitted for the new building an
elegant and admirable design; instead of a polygon, he chose a circle
for the outline, and instead of the projections and ornaments with
which Winstanley had arrested every breeze that blew, he studied the
utmost simplicity, so as to offer wind or wave the slightest possible

He secured the foundation with the utmost care. He divided the
irregular surface of the rock into seven rather unequal stages, and
cut thirty-six holes in these, to the depth of from twenty to thirty
inches. These holes were six inches square at the top, gradually
narrowing to five inches, and then again expanding and flattening to
nine inches by three at the bottom. Into these dove-tailed holes strong
iron bolts or branches were keyed; each bolt being fitted exactly in
size to the hole it was intended to fill, and weighing from two to five
hundredweight, according to its length and structure.

The bolts made fast, Rudyerd proceeded to fix a course of squared oak
timbers lengthwise upon the lowest step, so as to reach the level of
the step above. Another set of timbers were then laid crosswise, so
as to cover those already laid, and to raise the level surface to
the height of the third stage. The third structure was again laid
lengthwise, the fourth crosswise, and so on, alternately, until a
basement of solid wood was secured, two courses higher than the highest
point of the rock; all being fitted together and to the rock, by means
of the bolts, as firmly as possible, and all, in their intersections
with one another, being closely trenailed.

The bolts originally let into the solid rock were perforated in their
upper parts—some with three, and some with four holes; so that in every
pair, collectively called a _branch_, there would be about seven holes.
As the branches numbered thirty-six, there would be 252 holes, each
about seven-eighths of an inch in diameter, and consequently as many
large “bearded spikes” or “jag-bolts,” which, being driven through the
branches into the solid timber, held the mass firmly down.

       *       *       *       *       *

Rudyerd’s lighthouse is generally described as a timber edifice. This
is not correct. Knowing that weight is best resisted and counteracted
by weight, and to insure a sufficient amount of resistance, he combined
with his courses of timber solid courses of Cornish granite, in this
manner: the foundation was of oak for two courses; then came five
courses of stone, each a foot in thickness, kept together by iron
cramps; and then two courses more of timber. Thus was completed the

The remainder of the edifice, which rose to an elevation of 69 feet, on
a base of 23 feet, was built of timber. The interior consisted of four
rooms, one above the other; and above the topmost was the lantern—an
octagon of 10 feet 6 inches in diameter, crowned by a ball of 2 feet 3
inches in diameter. The whole height of the lighthouse, from the lowest
side of the rock to the top of the ball, was 92 feet. It was completely
finished in 1709.

In connection with this ingenious structure an anecdote is always
related, illustrative of the kindly feeling which Louis XIV.
occasionally exhibited. There was war at the time between England and
France, and a French privateer seized the opportunity of carrying off
the workmen employed in building the lighthouse as prisoners. As soon
as their capture was made known to the king, he ordered their immediate
release, and that they should be sent back to their work, with some
presents to compensate for their detention. “Though at war with
England,” said the king, “I am not at war with mankind.” The Eddystone
lighthouse is so situated as to be of equal service to all nations
having occasion to navigate the Channel that separates France from

       *       *       *       *       *

Yet another anecdote: Some visitors to the lighthouse, after inspecting
its internal arrangements, observed to one of the keepers that he
thought it quite possible to live very comfortably in its quiet
seclusion. “That might be,” said the man, “if we had but the use of our
tongues; but it is now fully a month since my partner and I have spoken
to each other.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Rudyerd’s lighthouse continued to brave “the elemental fury,” and warn
the seamen from the fatal rocks, until the 2nd of December 1755, when
it fell before a most unexpected enemy. Through some unknown cause
the building caught fire. Three keepers at the time were within the
lighthouse; and when one of them, whose turn it was to watch, entered
the lantern, at about two o’clock in the morning, to snuff the candles,
he discovered it to be filled with smoke,[26] and on his opening the
door which led to the balcony, a flame instantly burst from the inside
of the cupola. He hastened to alarm his companions, and they used
every exertion to extinguish the fire; but, owing to the difficulty
of raising a sufficient supply of water to the top of the building,
and the dryness of the internal timber, they soon found their efforts
vain, and as the fire increased in force, were compelled to retreat
downwards from stage to stage.

[26] It is obvious that this could never have happened had the modern
regulation been in force which forbids the lantern, after the light is
once exhibited, being left without the presence of a keeper.

Early in the morning the fire was descried by some fishermen, who
carried the news ashore, and a well-manned boat was immediately
dispatched to the relief of the poor keepers.

It reached the Eddystone at ten o’clock, when the fire had been burning
eight hours. The light-keepers had been driven from the building to
avoid the falling beams, and molten lead and red-hot iron; and were
found, stupefied with terror, in a cave on the east side of the rock.
With difficulty they were removed into the boat, and carried ashore. No
sooner were they landed than one of them, strange to say, immediately
made off, and was never afterwards heard of. So singular a circumstance
naturally engendered a suspicion that he had originated the fire; but
when we remember that a lighthouse affords no means of retreat for its
inmates, and that the probability is they will perish with it, we can
barely believe it to be the place which an incendiary would choose
for his nefarious design. As Smeaton says, we would rather impute the
man’s sudden flight to that kind of panic which sometimes, on important
occasions, overpowers a weak mind; making it act without reason,
and influencing it to commit unwittingly the most preposterous and
injurious mistakes.

Of the other two light-keepers, one, named Henry Hall, met his death
in an extraordinary manner. While engaged in throwing some buckets of
water on the flaming roof of the cupola, he happened to look upwards,
and a quantity of lead, melted by the heat, descended suddenly from
the roof, and fell on his head, face, and shoulders, burning him
severely. His mouth was open at the time, and he persisted in declaring
that a portion of the lead had gone down his throat. The medical
practitioner who attended him after his removal ashore not unnaturally
regarded the story as incredible; but the man continued to grow worse,
and on the twelfth day of his illness, after some violent spasms,
expired. A post-mortem examination of his body was then made, and the
poor man’s assertion found to be literally true, for in the stomach lay
a flat oval piece of lead seven ounces and five drachms in weight.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before we quit the subject of Rudyerd’s Lighthouse, we must refer to
another romantic narrative of which it was the scene.

For some years after its establishment it was attended by two
custodians only, whose duty it was to keep the windows of the lantern
clean, and who were on guard for four hours alternately. Each at
the conclusion of his watch was bound to call the other, and before
he retired, to see that his successor took up his proper post. It
happened, however, that, on one occasion, when the keeper on duty went
to call his colleague, he found him—dead. Immediately he hoisted his
flag on the balcony, from whence it was visible at the Rame Head, near
Plymouth, and waited eagerly for the assistance this signal usually
brought. Unhappily, the weather became so boisterous that no boat
could put out from the shore, and the lonely keeper was reduced to the
miserable companionship of a dead body. It is difficult to conceive of
any situation more wretched or alarming; he dared not dispose of the
corpse; for if he flung it into the waves—his only means of getting
rid of it—he justly feared that he might be charged with the murder of
his companion; and yet, each day that it remained, his own life was
endangered by its extremely offensive condition. For nearly a month
this long agony lasted. When, at last, a boat succeeded in reaching the
rock, the building was found to be filled with an intolerable odour,
and the corpse in such a condition that it was impossible to remove it
to Plymouth for interment; it was therefore consigned to the deep.

This incident led to the employment thenceforward of three keepers, so
that in case one of them died, or was sick, there might always be two
on duty.

       *       *       *       *       *

The value of a lighthouse on the Eddystone had been so abundantly
proved, and, owing to the rapidly increasing commerce of the kingdom,
its necessity was now so absolute, that the authorities resolved
to lose no time in erecting a new one in the place of Rudyerd’s
unfortunate structure.

As on the two previous occasions, says Mr. Smiles, when, first,
a country gentleman, and, next, a London mercer, had been called
upon to undertake this difficult work, the person now appointed was
neither a builder, an architect, nor an engineer, but a mathematical
instrument maker. John Smeaton, however—to whom the difficult task was
entrusted—had already given proof of a signal capacity for mechanics,
and in the general estimation of scientific men no better or more
fortunate selection could possibly have been made.

At this time Smeaton was only thirty-two years of age, having been
born at Ansthorpe Lodge, near Leeds, on the 8th of June 1724. His
father was a respectable attorney, but, from his earliest youth, John
Smeaton had exhibited a natural predisposition for the engineer’s
business. In truth, he was a mechanic born; in his childhood his
playthings were mechanical tools; and before his sixth year he had
designed a windmill and the model of a pump. He was sent to school at
Leeds, but seems to have made no progress in any other branches than
geometry and arithmetic. He occupied his holidays with mechanical
pursuits, and on one occasion constructed a forcing-pump, which
exhausted all the water in his father’s fish-pond. At the age of
fourteen he was an adept at smithery and turnery. He forged his iron
and steel, and melted his metal. Tools had he in abundance, and of
every kind, for working in metals, wood, or ivory. What was to be done
with such a lad? His father wished him to be a “gentleman,” and follow
his own profession; Smeaton was content to become an “operative,”
and apprenticed himself to a mathematical instrument maker. He soon
attained to such proficiency, that, in 1750, he commenced business on
his own account. In 1751 he invented a machine to measure a ship’s
way at sea, as also a compass of peculiar construction. Enlarging the
range of his studies, he submitted to the Royal Society, in 1752, some
improvements which he had contrived in the air-pump, and experiments on
the natural power of water and wind to turn mills and other machines
dependent on circular motion.

Such was the man—ingenious, able, earnest, patient, and persevering—to
whom was entrusted the erection of the _third_ lighthouse upon the
Eddystone rock.

On examining into the nature of the work he was required to undertake,
his first conclusion was, that both Winstanley’s and Rudyerd’s
lighthouses had been deficient in want of _weight_, and he announced
it as his intention to build a structure of such solidity that the sea
should give way to the lighthouse, and not the lighthouse to the sea.
He therefore resolved to build it of stone.

His predecessors had lost much valuable time from the difficulty
of landing on the rock, and of working on it continuously for any
considerable period. To obviate this, Smeaton decided on mooring a
vessel within a quarter of a mile of it, which should accommodate the
workmen and their tools, and enable them to seize every favourable
opportunity of putting out their boat and carrying their materials to
the Eddystone, instead of making a long voyage from Plymouth on each

With respect to the _form_ of his intended erection, he resolved
to adopt Rudyerd’s idea of a cone, but to enlarge the diameter
considerably, and, on the whole, to keep before him as a model the
trunk of a stately oak tree.[27]

[27] This is Smeaton’s own statement, but the reader is referred, for
Mr. Alan Stevenson’s view of it, to p. 98.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first actual work done on the rock was in August 1756, but the
autumn was mainly occupied in the transportation and preparation of the
granite and other materials, and in excavating the steps or stages for
the reception of the foundation.

Early in June 1757 Smeaton resumed his task with great energy and
decision. On the 12th, the first stone was laid, weighing two tons and
a quarter. On the next day the first course was finished, consisting
of four stones. These were ingeniously dove-tailed together, and into
the rock, so as to form a compact mass, from which it was impossible to
separate any particular stone. The sloping form of the rock, remarks
Mr. Smiles,[28] to which the foundation of the building was adapted,
required but this small number of stones for the first course; the
diameter of the building increasing until it reached the level of the
rock. Then the second course, completed on the 30th of June, consisted
of thirteen stones; the third, completed on the 11th of July, of
twenty-five pieces; the fourth, on the 31st, of thirty-three. The
sixth course was finished on the 11th of August, and rose above the
general wash of the tide, so that Smeaton might fairly consider he had
surmounted the greatest difficulties of his task.

[28] Smiles, “Lives of the Engineers,” ii. 38.

Up to this level, the highest point of the rock, all the courses had
been begun by the stones that were securely dove-tailed into the rock,
and also made fast by oak wedges and cement. To receive these wedges, a
couple of grooves were cut in the waist of each stone, from the top to
the bottom of the course, an inch deep and three inches wide. We borrow
from Smeaton’s own narrative his description of the manner in which
each stone was laid:—

“The stone to be set being hung in the tackle, and its bed of mortar
spread, was then lowered into its place, and beaten with a heavy wooden
mall, and levelled with a spirit-level; and the stone being accurately
brought to its marks, it was then considered as set in its place. The
business now was to retain it exactly in that position, notwithstanding
the utmost violence of the sea might come upon it before the mortar
was hard enough to resist it. The carpenter now dropped into each
groove two of the oaken wedges, one upon its head, the other with its
point downwards, so that the two wedges in each groove would lie heads
and points. With a bar of iron about two inches and a half broad, a
quarter of an inch thick, and two feet and a half long, the ends being
square, he could easily (as with a rammer) drive down one wedge upon
the other; very gently at first, so that the opposite pairs of wedges,
being equally tightened, they would equally resist each other, and the
stone would therefore keep place. A couple of wedges were also, in like
manner, pitched at the top of each groove; the dormant wedge, or that
with the point upward, being held in the hand, while the drift-wedge,
or that with its point downward, was driven with a hammer. The whole
of what remained above the upper surface of the stone was then cut off
with a saw or chisel; and, generally, a couple of thin wedges were
driven very moderately at the butt-end of the stone; whose tendency
being to force it out of its dove-tail, they would, by moderate
driving, only tend to preserve the whole mass steady together, in
opposition to the violent agitation that might arise from the sea.”

When the stone was firmly secured, the next step was to liquefy a
certain portion of mortar; and the joints having been carefully
pointed, up to the upper surface, this mortar or cement was poured in
with iron ladles so as to occupy every empty space. The more consistent
parts of the cement naturally fell to the bottom, and the watery were
absorbed by the stone; the vacancy thus left at the top was repeatedly
refilled, until all remained solid; then the top was pointed, and,
where necessary, defended by a layer of plaster.

The whole of the foundation having thus been elevated to a proper
level, some other means was required to obtain a similar amount of
security for the substructure.

A hole of one foot square was accordingly cut right through the middle
of the central stone in the sixth course; and at equal distances in
the circumference were sunk eight other depressions of one foot square
and six inches deep. A strong plug of hard marble, from the rocks near
Plymouth, one foot square, and _twenty-two inches_ long, was set with
mortar in the central cavity, and driven firmly into it with wedges. As
this course was _thirteen inches high_, it is evident that the marble
plug which reached through it rose _nine inches_ above the surface.
Upon this was fixed the central stone of the next course, having a
similar bore in its middle, bedded with mortar, and wedged as before.
By this means, no force of the sea acting horizontally upon the central
stone, unless it was able to cut in two the marble plug, could move
it from its position; and the more effectually to prevent the stone
from being lifted, in case its bed of mortar should chance to be
destroyed, it was fixed down by four trenails. The stones surrounding
the central were dove-tailed to it in the same manner as before, and
thus one course rose above another, with no other interruption than the
occasional violence of the waves or inclemency of the weather.

In every stage of the laborious and difficult work Smeaton himself was
foremost. When it had proceeded so far as to present the appearance
of a level platform, he could not deny himself the gratification of
enjoying the limited promenade which it afforded; but making a false
step, and being unable to recover himself, he fell over the brink
of the work, and among the rocks on the west side. The tide having
retired, he sustained no very serious injury; but he dislocated his
thumb, and as no medical assistance could be procured, set it himself,
and returned to his work. The incident is characteristic of the courage
and tenacity of the man.

       *       *       *       *       *

The ninth course was laid on the 30th of September, and the weather
becoming boisterous, further operations were suspended for that year.

The following winter was very tempestuous, and it was the 12th of
May before Smeaton and his workmen again saw the Eddystone. To their
delight and surprise they found the entire work in the same condition
as when they left it. The cement appeared to have become as hard as the
stone itself, the whole being concreted into one solid mass.

Thenceforward the work made vigorous and successful progress, and,
by September, the twenty-fourth course was reached and laid. This
completed what is called “the Solid” part of the building, and formed
the floor of the store-room; so that Smeaton had no reason to be
dissatisfied with the operations of the season. But as he had long been
meditating on the advantage to the public which would accrue if a light
could be exhibited that very winter, he resolved on a vigorous effort
to complete the store-room and erect a light above it.

The building, says an accurate authority,[29] had hitherto been carried
up solid as high as there was any reason to imagine it would be
subjected to the heavy rush of the sea; that is, to 35 feet 4 inches
above its base, and 27 feet above the top of the rock, on the common
spring-tide high-water mark. At this elevation it was reduced to 16
feet 8 inches diameter; and it was needful to make the best use of this
space, and economize it to the utmost advantage consistent with the one
primary and indispensable condition of _strength_. The rooms were built
with a diameter of 12 feet 4 inches, having for the walls a thickness
of 2 feet 2 inches. These walls were made of single blocks, and so
shaped that a complete circle was formed by sixteen pieces, which were
cramped together with iron, and also secured to the lower courses by
marble plugs as before. To prevent any humidity penetrating through
the vertical joints, flat stones were introduced into each, in such
a manner as to be lodged partly in one stone and partly in another.
With all these ingenious precautions, the twenty-eighth course was
completely set on the 30th of September.

[29] “Smeaton and Lighthouses” (edit. 1844), pp. 57, 58.

This, and the next course, received the vaulted floor, which formed
at once the _ceiling_ of the store-room, and the _floor_ of the upper
store-room. For additional security, therefore, a groove was cut round
the upper surface of the course, in which was lodged a massive chain
of iron. Upon this chain, in the groove, melted lead was poured, until
the cavity was filled up. The next course was laid and completed in a
similar manner; and by the 10th of October Smeaton had nearly perfected
his arrangements for establishing a light and light-keepers at the
Eddystone, when his hopes were suddenly stricken by a prohibition from
the Trinity House, based upon legal difficulties. But this being at
last removed, the work was recommenced for the next and last season on
the 5th of July. On the 21st, the second floor was finished; on the
29th, the fortieth course was laid, and the third floor finished.


On the 17th of August 1759, the main column of the lighthouse was
completed. Forty-six courses of masonry had been laid, and the graceful
structure raised to its specified height of seventy feet. The last
work done, very appropriately, was the engraving of the words “Laus
Deo” (Praise be to God!) on the last stone set over the lantern. At
an earlier date, Smeaton, with devout humility, had inscribed on the
course beneath the ceiling of the upper store-room, “Except the Lord
build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” The iron-work
of the balcony and the lantern were next erected, and the whole was
surmounted by a gilt ball.

The internal arrangements of the lighthouse were as follow:—

First, the store-room, with a doorway, but no windows.

Second, the upper store-room.

Third, the kitchen, with a fireplace and sink, two settles with
lockers, a dresser with drawers, two cupboards, and a rack for dishes.

Fourth, the bedroom, with three cabin-beds, to hold one man in each,
with three drawers and two lockers in each to receive his separate

Fifth, the lantern, in which a seat was placed all round, except at the

       *       *       *       *       *

Besides the windows of the lantern, ten other windows were constructed
for the edifice—namely, for the store-room two, and for each of the
upper rooms four. In fixing their bars, an accident happened to
Smeaton, which was nearly attended with fatal results.

“After the boat was gone,” he says, “and it became so dark that
we could not see any longer to pursue our occupations, I ordered
a charcoal-fire to be made in the upper store-room, in one of the
iron pots we used for melting lead, for the purpose of annealing the
blank ends of the bars; and they were made red-hot altogether in the
charcoal. Most of the workmen were set round the fire, and by way of
making ourselves comfortable, by screening ourselves and the fire
from the wind, the windows were shut; and, as well as I remember,
the copper cover or hatch put over the man-hole of the floor of the
room where the fire was—the hatch above being left open for the heated
vapour to ascend. I remember to have looked into the fire attentively
to see that the iron was made hot enough, but not overheated: I also
remember I felt my head a very little giddy; but the next thing of
which I had any sensation or idea was finding myself upon the floor of
the room below, half drowned with water. It seems that, without being
further sensible of anything to give me warning, the effluvia of the
charcoal so suddenly overcame all sensation, that I dropped down upon
the floor; and had not the people hauled me down to the room below,
where they did not spare for cold water to throw in my face and upon
me, I certainly should have expired upon the spot.”

Escaping this and other perils, Smeaton saw his beautiful edifice
finally brought to completion; and on the 16th of October a light was
once more shown from the Eddystone rock.

The lighthouse has now, as Mr. Smiles remarks, withstood the storms of
upwards of a century—a solid monument to the genius of its architect
and builder. Sometimes, he says,[30] when the sea rolls in with more
than ordinary fury from the Atlantic, and the billows are driven up the
Channel by the force of a south-west wind, the lighthouse is enveloped
in spray, and its light momentarily obscured. But the shadow passes,
and once more it beams across the waters like a star, a signal and
a warning to the homeward bound. Occasionally, when a strong wave
strikes it, the central portion of the wave shoots up the perpendicular
shaft and leaps quite over the lantern. At other times, a colossal
billow hurls itself upon the lighthouse, as if to shake it from its
foundation; and to its inmates the shock is like that of a cannon;
the windows rattle, the doors jar, and the building trembles to its
very base. But the vibration felt throughout the lighthouse on such an
occasion, instead of being a sign of weakness, is the best evidence
that can be desired of the unity of the fabric and the cohesion of all
its parts.

[30] Smiles, “Lives of the Engineers,” ii. 45.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the Eddystone was built, scarcely any other light guided the
mariner in his intricate navigation of the Channel; but now it is
abundantly illuminated along its whole extent, and its course is
almost as easily tracked as that of a main thoroughfare in London.
First comes the St. Agnes Light, on one of the Scilly Isles, revolving
every minute, at an elevation of 138 feet above high water. Next are
made the two Lizard Lights, which crown the rugged cliffs at the
southernmost point of the English coast. In the deep curve between this
bold headland and the craggy promontories of Bolt Head and Start Point,
lie the revolving light on St Anthony’s Point, and the two lights on
Plymouth Breakwater; while out at sea, almost in front of Plymouth
Sound, and midway between the Lizard and the Start, the waves beat and
swirl around the Eddystone. On Start Point there are two lights: one
revolving, for the Channel; and another fixed, to guide ships inshore
clear of the Skerries.


Continuing our voyage up Channel, we see on the south, off the coast
of Jersey, the three Casquet Lights, and on the north the two fixed
lights of Portland Hill. If we make for Portsmouth, we are guided by
the light on the outermost Needle Rock and the harbour signals; but
keeping out at sea, we pass St. Catherine’s, on the extreme southerly
headland of the Isle of Wight, and next, the lights displayed at
different heights on the Nab, and the single fixed light on the Owers

At Beachy Head the light, which revolves in two minutes, is 285 feet
above high water. At Dungeness, the light, a red one of great power,
is situated on the low projection of Dungeness beach. Next are sighted
the harbour lights of Folkestone and Dover; whilst on the French coast
beams the flashing light of the Varne Bank, and the splendid revolving
light of Cape Grisnez.

We quit the Channel with the South Foreland Lights, one above the
other, on our left, and enter the historic waters of the Downs—so
often traversed by the keels of our victorious fleets—with the South
Sandhead floating light on the right. Then, on the one hand, our course
is guided by the floating lights of the Gull and the North Sandhead—on
the other by the friendly ray of the North Foreland lighthouse—until we
reach the broad estuary of the Thames, where the lightship of the Nore
marks the entrance of the greatest marine highway in the world.





The motive which inspired the founder of the Smalls Lighthouse was of
a higher order than those of most of his contemporaries. In erecting
a warning light upon these dangerous rocks, Mr. Philips (for this was
his name) proposed to himself, as his great and enduring recompense,
“to serve and save humanity.” But, in this instance, generosity met
with its due reward even upon earth; and when the descendants of the
philanthropist disposed of their establishment to the Trinity House,
they received, by way of compensation, a sum of £15,000.

The undertaking which Philips set himself was one of no ordinary
difficulty, of no common danger. The rock on which he resolved to erect
his lighthouse, in ordinary weather rose fully twelve feet above the
water; but when the waves were heavy—a very common occurrence in those
parts—it was completely submerged. And in Philips’s time engineers
were not so numerous as they are to-day; the professors and practical
expositors of science were then but few, were misunderstood, frequently
persecuted or slandered, notwithstanding the precious contributions
they were making yearly to the great sum of human knowledge and
human happiness. Philips, therefore, searched far and wide before he
discovered a man able to carry out his idea. At length he found him,
but neither among architects nor engineers; the assistant he chose was
named Whiteside, a musical instrument maker at Liverpool, and gifted
with a remarkable aptitude for mechanical pursuits.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was in the summer of 1772 that Whiteside first explored the maze
of rocks, with which it is no flight of fancy to say his name will be
ever associated. He landed on the Smalls with a gallant little band
of Cornish miners; but the obstacles which he encountered at the very
beginning might well have disgusted him with the enterprise. Scarcely
was the foundation begun, before the weather suddenly grew tempestuous,
and so furious was the gale, that the cutter which had disembarked them
was compelled to weigh anchor and put to sea. The unfortunate workmen
left upon the rock clung to it as best they might—clung to it as a
drowning seaman to the fragment of broken spar which alone interposes
between him and death; and in this wretched position they remained for
two days and nights. Yet even this rough prelude could not discourage
Whiteside, and he persevered through a long series of difficulties and
dangers until his task was finished.


One day the dwellers on the neighbouring coast picked up on the beach
what is so expressively called “a message from the sea”—namely, a strip
of paper enclosed in a bottle very carefully sealed—the bottle
itself being deposited in a cask or barrel. On the barrel were written
these words:—

        “Open this, and you will find a letter.”

The finders obeyed the injunction, and found the following:—

          “The Smalls, _February 1st, 1777_.

    “Sir,—Being now in a most dangerous and distressed condition
    upon the Smalls, do hereby trust Providence will bring to your
    hand this, which prayeth for your immediate assistance to fetch
    us off the Smalls before the next spring, or we fear we shall
    perish; our water near all gone, our fire quite gone, and our
    house in a most melancholy manner. I doubt not but you will
    fetch us from here as fast as possible; we can be got off at
    some part of the tide almost any weather. I need say no more,
    but remain your distressed,

          “Humble servant,
              “H. Whiteside.”

Beneath this signature a postscript had been added:—

    “We were distressed in a gale of wind upon the 13th of January,
    since which have not been able to keep any light; but we could
    not have kept any light above sixteen nights longer for want
    of oil and candles, which makes us murmur and think we are

          “Edward Edwards, G. Adams, J. Price.

    “_P.S._—We doubt not that whoever takes up this will be so
    merciful as to cause it to be sent to Thomas Williams, Esq.,
    Trelethin, near St. David’s, Wales.”

There are sadder pages than this, however, in the brief chronicle
of the Smalls, and one bears a close resemblance to a painful
incident associated with the Eddystone. It is said that early in the
present century, and in a stormy winter of peculiar severity, the
light-keepers were deprived of all communication with the land for
a period of four months. It was in vain that ships were dispatched
towards the rocks; a raging sea invariably prevented their approach.
One of them returned, on a certain occasion, with the singular
intelligence that her crew had observed a man standing upright and
motionless, in a corner of the outer gallery, with a flag of distress
floating beside him. But whether he was alive or dead, none could say,
or even imagine. Every night the gaze of the inhabitants of the shore
was anxiously directed towards the lighthouse, to see if the lamp was
kindled; and every night the welcome ray shone punctually—a proof that
there was still a keeper at the Smalls. But were the two guardians
living; and if only one, which of the two survived? The curiosity of
all, and the deep anxiety of some, daily increased, as day after day
passed without further intelligence from the sea-girt rock.

One evening a fisherman of Milford contrived to land on the lighthouse
rock in an interval of calm, and to carry back to Solva the two
keepers; but of the two one was a corpse. The survivor had made
a kind of shroud for his dead comrade, and afterwards placed him
upright in the gallery, and securely bound him. This he did to avoid
the odour which would have arisen from a dead body preserved within
the lighthouse, and yet to let it remain for the examination of the
surgeons, lest any suspicion of foul play should attach to him.



THE BELL ROCK, A.D. 1807-1811.

In the arts of peace a noble rivalry exists between the sister kingdoms
of Great Britain; and as England may boast in her Eddystone tower of
a splendid work of science and philanthropy, and in her Smeaton of
an engineer not less remarkable for genius than resolution, so may
Scotland proudly point to the lighthouse on the Bell Rock as a national
monument, and to her Robert Stevenson as scarcely inferior to Smeaton
in skill and intrepidity.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have already stated that the charge of lighting the Scottish
coast—which, owing to its exposure to heavy seas and furious winds,
to its numerous rocks and islands and rugged promontories, is one of
the most dangerous in Europe, perhaps in the world—is intrusted to
a body called the “Commissioners of Northern Lights,” incorporated
by Act of Parliament in 1786. At first the erection of only _four_
lights was contemplated: at Kinnaird Head, in Aberdeenshire; on the
Orkney Islands; on the Harris Islands; and at the Mull of Kintyre, in
Argyleshire. But the vast development of the commerce of Scotland soon
called for additional assistance to the navigators of her waters, and
at the present time her shores are surrounded with a ring of warning

The most ancient public light on the Scottish coast is that situated on
the Isle of May; an island which, like a natural breakwater, lies off
the mouth of the Firth of Forth, and commands, as it were, the great
highway to the Scotch capital and its prosperous port. It seems to have
been erected at a very early period; and over the entrance-door of the
weather-beaten tower is cut the figure of the sun, with the date of

After the Union, very considerable discontent was expressed by the
English and Irish merchants that, for the maintenance of this beacon,
they were charged exactly double the rate paid by Scottish vessels.
They also complained of the insufficiency of the light, which was
simply a coal-fire exposed in an open chauffer, or brazier. The
Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce taking up the matter, the proprietor
of the light consented to increase its magnitude, and accordingly
enlarged his chauffer to three feet square, doubling the consumption
of coal, which had formerly been about 200 tons per annum. Thenceforth
it became the “most powerful coal-light in the kingdom;” but, owing
to its exposure, was frequently unsteady in foul weather; and,
moreover, was apt to be confused with the lime-kilns and accidental
fires on the neighbouring coast. The Duke of Portland had by this
time become proprietor—through marriage—of the light and the island;
but to repeated applications that he would substitute an oil-light
and reflectors for the wavering and uncertain coal-fire, he turned a
deaf ear. At length, on the 19th of December 1810, two men-of-war were
wrecked near Dunbar, in consequence, it was believed, of a lime-kiln
on the Haddingtonshire coast being mistaken for the Isle of May light.
The Admiralty were thus led to interfere, and, after some negotiations
with the Duke of Portland, an Act of Parliament was passed in 1814
empowering the Commissioners of Northern Lights to purchase the island
and its lighthouse for a sum of £60,000. The tolls were then reduced to
an uniform scale, a new tower was erected, and a light on the catoptric
system was first exhibited on the 1st of February 1816.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile, the progress made in lighting other important points of the
Scottish coast had been considerable.

The lighthouse at Grass Island in Harris was completed on the 10th of
October 1789. On the same date was kindled a light at North Ronaldshay,
in Orkney. In 1790, on the 1st of October, a light was exhibited at
Pladda, a small island south-west of Arran, in the Firth of Clyde.
As a guide to the Pentland Firth a lighthouse was erected on the
Pentland Skerries in 1794. The Skerries are a couple of desolate
islands, exposed to the stress of the North Sea and the currents of
the Pentland Firth; and the works here consist of an upper and lower
lighthouse, respectively 100 and 80 feet above the sea-level, and 60
feet apart. They deserve our special notice as the first memorials of
the skill and energy of Robert Stevenson as an engineer. He was on the
spot when the two lights were first exhibited, October 1, 1794; and,
his task completed, sailed from Orkney on the 9th of October in the
sloop _Elizabeth_. On the following day he landed within a few miles
of Kinnaird Head lighthouse, and continued his journey to Edinburgh
by road, reaching the capital in safety. A different fate, however,
awaited his former companions; the sloop having put back to Cromarty
Roads, was afterwards driven to Orkney, and ultimately lost, when all
on board perished.[31]

[31] Robert Stevenson, “Account of the Bell Rock Lighthouse,” p. 17
(Edit. 1824).

       *       *       *       *       *

We have spoken of a lighthouse erected on North Ronaldshay in 1789.
An experience of twelve years showed that its position had been
unfortunately selected, and that it by no means assisted the mariner
in navigating the difficult straits of the Orkney archipelago. Every
winter ships were cast away, and precious lives were lost, on the
islands of Stronsay and Sanday, though the latter is only eight miles
distant from North Ronaldshay. In 1796 three homeward-bound vessels
were lost on this fatal island, and eight more in the next three years.
It was therefore resolved, in 1801, that a beacon, or tower of masonry,
should be erected upon the Start Point, or eastern extremity of the low
shores of the island of Sanday; and erected in such a manner that, if
found necessary, it might be converted into a lighthouse.

In 1802 Mr. Stevenson sailed on his annual voyage of inspection to
the Northern Lighthouses, carrying with him a foreman and sixteen
artificers to commence the works on Start Point. It was the month of
April, but, even at this advanced period of the season, the Orkney
Islands were found covered to the depth of six inches with snow.
Operations were commenced, however, without a day’s delay: a sandstone
quarry was opened on the adjacent island of Edda; and by the middle of
May sufficient materials were collected for the commencement of the
edifice. The foundation-stone was laid, with masonic ceremonies, on the
15th of May, when an address was delivered by Mr. Traill, the minister
of the parish, some portions of which may be preserved in these pages:—

“The moment is auspicious. The foundation-stone is laid of a building
of incalculable value;—a work of use, not of luxury. Pyramids were
erected by the pride of kings to perpetuate the memory of men whose
ambition enslaved and desolated the world. But it is the benevolent
intention of our Government on this spot to erect a tower—not to
exhaust, but—to increase the wealth and protect the commerce of this
happy kingdom....

“Consider the great national objects for which this building will be
erected. To protect commerce, and to guard the lives of those intrepid
men who for us cheerfully brave the fury of the waves and the rage of
the battle. The mariner, when he returns to the embraces of his wife
and children, after ascribing praise to the great Giver of safety,
shall bless the friendly light which guided him over the deep, and
recommend to the protection of Heaven those who urged, who planned, and
who executed the work. This day shall be remembered with gratitude. It
shall be recorded that, at the beginning of a new century, the pious
care of Government was extended to this remote island. These rocks, so
fatal to the most brave and honourable part of the community, shall
lose their terror, and safety and life shall spring from danger and

[32] Stevenson, “Account of the Bell Rock Lighthouse,” p. 23.

       *       *       *       *       *

By steadily prosecuting the works throughout the summer, they were
brought to a fortunate completion in the month of September. The beacon
rose to a height of 100 feet, and terminated with a massive ball of
masonry, measuring fifteen feet in circumference.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was found, however, that the construction of this beacon did not
prevent the occurrence of frequent wrecks upon the island. It was
proverbial with its inhabitants to observe, that if wrecks were to
happen, they might as well be sent to the poor island of Sanday as
anywhere else. In fact, the inhabitants of this and the neighbouring
islands lived upon the proceeds of their wreckage, and melancholy
remains of many a “tall ship” met the eye in every direction.

For example, says Mr. Stevenson, although quarries are to be generally
met with in these islands, and the stones are very suitable for
building dykes, yet instances occur of the land being enclosed, even
to a considerable extent, with ship-timbers. A park[33] might be seen
paled round, chiefly with cedar-wood and mahogany from the wreck of a
Honduras-built ship;[34] and in one island, after the loss of a ship
laden with wine, the inhabitants took claret to their barley-meal
porridge, instead of their usual beverage. When Mr. Stevenson
complained to one of the pilots of the badness of his boat’s sails,
he replied, with grim humour, “Had it been God’s will that you came na
here wi’ these lights, we might a’ had better sails to our boats, and
more o’ other things.” A much higher rent was given for the farms than
they were absolutely worth, in consideration of the profits that would
probably accrue from wrecks on their respective shores.

[33] A “park,” _Scottice_ for a “field.”

[34] Is it necessary to remind the reader that Honduras, on the Bay of
Campeachy, is famous for its mahogany?

Under these circumstances it was deemed advisable to convert the North
Ronaldshay lighthouse into a beacon, and the Start Point beacon into
a lighthouse, both transformations being successfully effected in
the course of the year 1805; and the light exhibited on Start Point,
January 1st, 1806.

       *       *       *       *       *

Continuing our brief chronological resumé, we find that, for the better
navigation of the noble estuary of the Forth, a lighthouse was erected
on the island of Inchkeith—which lies nearly opposite the town of
Portobello on the south shore, and Burntisland on the north—in 1805.
Its base is 175 feet above the sea, and the building itself measures 45
feet in height. The light is a revolving one.

We now come to a description and historical account of the celebrated
lighthouse to which this chapter is more particularly devoted.

Pharos _loquitur_.

    “Far in the bosom of the deep
    O’er these wild shelves my watch I keep,
    A ruddy gem of changeful light,
    Bound on the dusky brow of Night:
    The seaman bids my lustre hail,
    And scorns to strike his timorous sail.”

          Sir Walter Scott.[35]

[35] Written by the great novelist in the Album of the Lighthouse, when
he visited it in 1816.


The Inch Cape, or Bell Rock, is a “dangerous sunken reef,” situated on
the northern side of the entrance of the Firth of Forth, at a distance
of eleven miles from the promontory of the Red Head, in Forfarshire;
of seventeen miles from the island of May; and of thirty miles from
St. Abb’s Head, in Berwickshire. Its exact position is in lat. 56°
29´ N., and long. 2° 22´ E. Its extreme length is estimated by Mr.
Stevenson at 1427 feet, and its extreme breadth at about 30 feet, but
its configuration or margin is extremely irregular. The geological
formation of the rock is a reddish sandstone, which in some places
contains whitish and greenish spots of circular and oval forms. Its
lower portions are covered with various aquatic plants, such as the
great tangle (_fucus digitatus_), and the badderlock, or hen-ware
(_fucus esculentus_); while the higher parts are clothed with the
smaller fuci, such as _fucus marmillosus_, and _fucus palmatus_, or
common dulse.

The name “Inch Cape” occurs in a chart published in 1583, and refers,
we suppose, to its situation as an “inch,” or island, off the Red
Head promontory. Its better known appellation, “the Bell Rock,” _may_
allude to its bell-like figure, but more probably originated in the
circumstance that a bell with a float was fixed upon it by a former
abbot of Aberbrothock (Arbroath), in such a manner that it was set
in motion by the winds and waves, and by its deep tones afforded a
much-needed warning to navigators of the dangerous character of the

In connection with this humane device—whose actual existence there
seems no good reason to doubt—an old tradition has long been current,
which Southey embodies with much picturesque effect in his well-known
ballad of “Sir Ralph the Rover”:—

    “No stir in the air, no stir in the sea,
    The ship was still as she could be;
    Her sails from heaven received no motion,
    Her keel was steady in the ocean.

    “Without either sign or sound of their shock,
    The waves flowed over the Inchcape Rock;
    So little they rose, so little they fell,
    They did not move the Inchcape Bell.

    “The Abbot of Aberbrothok
    Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock;
    On a buoy in the storm it floated and swung,
    And over the waves its warning rung.

    “When the rock was hid by the surge’s swell,
    The mariners heard the warning bell;
    And then they knew the perilous rock,
    And blessed the Abbot of Aberbrothok.

    “The sun in heaven was shining gay,
    All things were joyful on that day;
    The sea-birds screamed as they wheeled around,
    And there was joyaunce in their sound.

    “The buoy of the Inchcape bell was seen,
    A darker speck on the ocean green;
    Sir Ralph the Rover walked his deck,
    And he fixed his eye on the darker speck.

    “He felt the cheering power of spring,
    It made him whistle, it made him sing;
    His heart was mirthful to excess,
    But the Rover’s mirth was wickedness.

    “His eye was on the Inchcape float;
    Quoth he, ‘My men, put out the boat,
    And row me to the Inchcape Rock,
    And I’ll plague the Abbot of Aberbrothok.’

    “The boat is lowered, the boatmen row,
    And to the Inchcape Rock they go;
    Sir Ralph bent over from the boat,
    And he cut the bell from the Inchcape float.

    “Down sunk the bell with a gurgling sound,
    The bubbles rose and burst around;
    Quoth Sir Ralph, ‘The next who comes to the rock
    Won’t bless the Abbot of Aberbrothok.’

    “Sir Ralph the Rover sailed away,
    He scoured the seas for many a day;
    And now grown rich with plundered store,
    He steers his course for Scotland’s shore.

    “So thick a haze o’erspreads the sky,
    They cannot see the sun on high;
    And the wind hath blown a gale all day,—
    At evening it hath died away.

    “On the deck the Rover takes his stand,
    So dark it is they see no land:
    Quoth Sir Ralph, ‘It will be lighter soon,
    For there is the dawn of the rising moon.’

    “‘Canst hear,’ said one, ‘the breakers roar?
    For methinks we should be near the shore;’
    ‘Now where we are I cannot tell,
    But I wish I could hear the Inchcape bell!’

    “They hear no sound, the swell is strong;
    Though the wind hath fallen they drift along,
    Till the vessel strikes with a shivering shock,—
    ‘O Christ! it is the Inchcape Rock.’

    “Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair,
    He curst himself in his despair;
    The waves rush in on every side,
    The ship is sinking beneath the tide.

    “But even in his dying fear
    One dreadful sound could the Rover hear,—
    A sound as if with the Inchcape bell
    The devil below was ringing his knell.”

It would be difficult to name a position on the Scottish coast where
a lighthouse was more a matter of necessity for the safety of ships
than this long-famous rock. The beacons which, one after another,
had been erected upon it, the furious waves had swept away; and a
structure was needed not less solid and permanent than that of the
Eddystone. To design such a structure, and to plant it solidly amid
the waves, became, in 1806, the task of Mr. Robert Stevenson. As the
rock was frequently under water to the depth of twelve feet, the task
was scarcely less difficult than that whose successful achievement has
helped to perpetuate the name and fame of Smeaton.

On the 7th of August 1807 the work was begun. The first stage was
the erection of a wooden workshop and residence for the artificers,
and this apparently simple operation occupied the whole season, the
supports having to be firmly fixed in holes dug out of the solid
rock. The hardness and compactness of the sandstone, however, soon
blunted their tools, and rendered necessary the constant employment
of a smith with his forge. But it often happened, says Mr. Stevenson,
to our annoyance and disappointment, in the early state of the work,
when the smith was in the middle of “a favourite heat,” and fashioning
some useful article, or sharpening the tools, after the flood-tide had
compelled the men to strike work, a sea would come rolling over the
rocks, dash out the fire, and endanger that indispensable implement,
the bellows; or, if the sea were smooth, while the smith often stood at
work knee-deep in the water, the tide rose imperceptibly, first cooling
the exterior of the fireplace, or hearth, and then quietly blackening
and extinguishing the fire from below. Mr. Stevenson was frequently
amused at the anxiety and perplexity of the unfortunate smith when
coaxing his fire, and endeavouring in vain to contend against the
rising tide. Obviously the work would go on but slowly, until the
workshop (also intended to serve as a beacon) was completed, and the
smith protected against the insidious waters.[36]

[36] Stevenson, “Account of the Bell Rock Lighthouse,” p. 125. To
prevent the repetition of useless references, we would here acknowledge
that in the following pages we have closely followed Mr. Stevenson’s
own narrative.

Dangers of a far more serious kind also beset the patient founders of
the Bell Rock Lighthouse.

On the 2nd of September, after the first cargo of stones had been
landed, and while thirty-two artificers were busily occupied in
their various departments of labour, a gale arose, and the attendant
vessel—named the _Smeaton_, after the great English engineer—broke
adrift from her moorings. This unfortunate circumstance, at first,
was known only to Mr. Stevenson and his landing-master, who fully
appreciated the gravity of the situation—thirty-two men on an insulated
rock, which, at flood-tide, lay twelve feet under water, with only two
boats at hand, and these not capable in foul weather of carrying more
than eight men each.

While the artisans were at work, chiefly in sitting and kneeling
postures, excavating the rock, or boring with the tools, and while the
din of their hammers and the clang of the smith’s forge filled the air,
there was sufficient life and motion in the scene to keep Stevenson’s
mind from fully realizing the dangers of his position. But by degrees
the water began to rise, and with slowly-swelling waves it gained upon
those engaged in work on the lower portions of the sites of the beacon
and lighthouse. From the run of the sea upon the rock, the forge-fire
was more quickly extinguished than usual; and the volumes of smoke
having ceased, the men at work could examine every object around.
After having had about three hour‘ work, the majority began to make
towards their respective boats for their jackets and stockings, when,
to their astonishment, instead of three boats, they found only two, the
third being adrift with the _Smeaton_. Not a word was uttered, but all
appeared to be silently calculating their numbers, while they gazed
from one to another with dismay and perplexity plainly painted on their
countenances. The landing-master, conceiving that he might be censured
for allowing the boat to quit the rock, remained at a distance, while
Mr. Stevenson placed himself on the most elevated crag, endeavouring to
track the progress of the _Smeaton_, and surprised that the crew did
not cut her boat adrift, as it greatly retarded her way. The workmen
looked steadfastly upon their engineer, occasionally turning towards
the vessel, which was still far to leeward.

All this took place in the most perfect silence, and the melancholy
solemnity of the scene was such that it produced an ineffaceable
impression on Mr. Stevenson’s mind.

In the meantime the engineer was meditating various schemes which might
be adopted for the general safety of the party. The most feasible
seemed to be, that as soon as the waves should reach the highest
summit of the rock, all should disembarrass themselves of their upper
garments; and while a certain number went on board each boat, the
remainder should hang by the gunwales, and the boats should row gently
towards the _Smeaton_, as the _Pharos_, or floating-light, lay too much
to the windward of the rock. Stevenson wished to propose this plan;
but, on attempting to speak, his mouth was so parched that his tongue
refused utterance, and he now learned by experience that the saliva is
as necessary as the tongue itself for speech. Turning to one of the
rock-pools, he lapped a little water, and obtained immediate relief.
But great was his joy, when, on rising from this unpleasant beverage, a
voice called out, “A boat! a boat!” and, on looking around, at no great
distance a large boat loomed through the deep, and was evidently making
for the rock. She proved to be a pilot-boat from Arbroath, express
with letters; and willingly taking on board Stevenson and his company,
rescued them from their critical position. In return for this service,
the pilot was pensioned by the Lighthouse Commissioners in his old age.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 6th of September, the whole company on board of the light-ship,
or _Pharos_, was surprised by a tremendous gale, which prevented them
from approaching the rock for ten days, and exposed them to real danger.

About two o’clock P.M., says Stevenson, a very heavy sea struck the
ship, flooded the deck, and poured into the berths below. Everybody
thought that she had foundered, and that their last moment had come.
Below deck total darkness prevailed; several of the artificers were
at prayer, repeating hymns, or uttering devout ejaculations; others
protested that if they should be fortunately spared to reach land once
more, no one would induce them to tempt the treacherous waves again.
Through the confusion Stevenson made his way upon deck. An astounding
spectacle met his gaze. The billows appeared to be ten or fifteen feet
in height of unbroken water, and each threatened the little vessel
with immediate destruction; but still, with wonderful buoyancy, she
continued to rise upon the waves, and escape their worst violence.

“On deck,” we are told,[37] “there was only one solitary individual
looking out to give the alarm, in the event of the ship breaking from
her moorings. The seamen on watch continued only two hours; he who kept
watch at this time was a tall, slender man of a black complexion; he
had no great-coat nor over-all of any kind, but was simply dressed in
his ordinary jacket and trousers; his hat was tied under his chin with
a napkin, and he stood aft the foremast, to which he had lashed himself
with a gasket, or small rope round his waist, to prevent his falling
upon deck or being washed overboard. When Mr. Stevenson looked up he
appeared to smile, which afforded a further symptom of the confidence
of the crew in their ship.”

[37] Stevenson, “Account of the Bell Rock Lighthouse,” p. 157.

About six o’clock in the evening the gale abated, and the sun rose the
next morning in a comparatively serene sky. The waves still rolled very
heavily, and at the Bell Rock they threw up their spray in columns of
from forty to fifty feet in height. When Mr. Stevenson was able to
visit the rock, he found abundant evidence of their force: six large
blocks of granite had been removed from their places and flung over
a rising ledge into a hole some twelve or fifteen paces distant. The
ash-pan of the smith’s forge, with its weighty cast-iron back, had
also been washed from their places of supposed security; the chain of
attachment had been broken, and these ponderous articles were found on
the very opposite side of the rock.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such incidents as these stimulated Stevenson’s desire to complete the
erection of the beacon, which would serve as a warning to the mariner,
and as an asylum for the artificers on the rock. By dint of persevering
exertions, it was at length completed; and soon afterwards, on the 6th
of October 1807, the works were relinquished for the season. Though
only about one hundred and thirty-three hours had been actually devoted
to them, enough had been effected to afford an example of what may be
accomplished under similar circumstances, when every heart and hand
labour with conscientious zeal; for the artificers had wrought at the
construction of the beacon as if for life, or like men stopping a
breach in a wall to repress the inroads of a destroying flood.[38]

[38] Stevenson, “Account of the Bell Rock Lighthouse,” p. 180.

       *       *       *       *       *

During the winter the men were engaged in quarrying and preparing the
stones, and collecting divers materials. The stones were laid down in
courses in the positions they would occupy in the future lighthouse;
they were then carefully numbered and marked, bored or fixed with
oaken trenails and stone joggles, after the plan adopted by Smeaton
in building the Eddystone lighthouse; and in this state laid aside for
trans-shipment to the rock.

       *       *       *       *       *

The operations of the second season (1808) were commenced at as early
a date as the weather permitted. A new tender, the _Sir Joseph Banks_,
was provided for the reception of the men when not at work, and as
it lay alongside the rock, protected from the winds, the process of
landing or embarkation was conducted with very great facility.

The mode in which the different artificers were employed is thus
described by Mr. Stevenson[39]:—

“Preparations having been made for a second forge upon the beacon,
the smiths commenced their operations both upon the higher and lower
platforms, where forges had been erected. They were employed in
sharpening the picks and irons for the masons, and in making _bats_,
movable cranes, and other apparatus of various descriptions connected
with the railways. The landing-master’s crew were occupied in assisting
the mill-wrights in laying the railways to land. Sailors, of all
descriptions of men, are the most accommodating in the use of their
hands. They worked freely with the boring irons, and assisted in all
the operations of the railways, acting by turns as boatmen, seamen,
and artificers. We had no such character on the Bell Rock as the
common labourer. All the operations of this department were cheerfully
undertaken by the seamen, who, both on the rock and on shipboard, were
the inseparable companions of every work connected with the erection
of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. It will naturally be supposed, that
about twenty-five masons, occupied with their picks in executing and
preparing the foundation of the lighthouse, in the course of a tide of
about three hours, would make a considerable impression upon an area
even of forty-two feet in diameter. But in proportion as the foundation
was deepened, the rock was found to be much more hard and difficult
to work, while the baling and pumping of water became much more
troublesome. A joiner was kept almost constantly employed in fitting
the picks to their handles, which, as well as the points of the irons,
were very frequently broken. At eight o’clock the water overflowed the
site of the building, and the boats left the rock with all hands for

[39] Stevenson, “Account of the Bell Rock Lighthouse,” pp. 222, 223.

The appearance of the rock at this time was very curious, and with its
effects of light and shade would have pleased the eye of a Rembrandt.
Its surface was thronged with men; the two forges flamed, one above the
other, like Cyclopean furnaces; while the anvils thundered with the
rebounding clash of their wooden supports, in strange contrast with the
noisy clamour of the ocean-surge. During the night, if the men were
at work, the spectacle presented to a passing vessel was of the most
picturesque character. To the artificers themselves, the effect of
extinguishing the torches was sometimes startling, and made terrible
the darkness of the night; while the sea, lit up with a phosphoric
glow, rolled in upon the rock like waves of fire.

As the enterprise proceeded, the smiths were sometimes left on the
beacon throughout the day, and the din of their anvils formed, in
foggy weather, an excellent guide for the boats. This circumstance
confirmed Mr. Stevenson’s opinion as to the propriety of erecting in
the lighthouse large bells to be rung by machinery, and tolled day and
night during the continuance of hazy weather, so as to prevent the
mariner from drawing too near the dangerous rock.

       *       *       *       *       *

So much progress had been made in the preliminary operations by
the 10th of July, that on that day it was determined to lay the
foundation-stone. The ceremony attending it was very simple. Mr.
Stevenson, attended by his three assistants, applied the square,
the level, and the mallet in due form, and pronounced the following
benediction:—“May the Great Architect of the Universe complete and
bless this building!” Three earnest cheers were then given, and success
to the future operations was drunk with the greatest enthusiasm.

The first course of masonry was now laid down. It was only one foot
in thickness, yet it contained 508 cubic feet of granite in outward
casing; 8076 cubic feet of Mylnefield stone in the hearting; 104 tons
of solid contents; 132 superficial feet of hewing in the face-work;
4519 superficial feet of hewing in the beds, joints, and joggles;
420 lineal feet boring of trenail holes; 378 feet lineal cutting for
wedges; 246 oaken trenails; 378 oak wedges in pairs.

By the end of the season the lighthouse was raised to a level with the
highest part of the margin of the foundation-pit, or about 5½ feet
above the lower bed of the foundation-stone. Work was discontinued on
the 21st of September.

       *       *       *       *       *

Months rolled away, and the third season in due time came round. The
artificers resumed their building operations, in 1809, on Saturday,
the 27th of May; and in spite of various accidents and delays, and
considerable obstruction from the inclemency of the weather, had so
far progressed by the end of June as to be able to continue their
labours on the masonry while the rock was under water. On the 8th of
July, it was remarked, with no small demonstrations of joy, that the
tide (a neap one) ceased for the first time to overflow the building
at high-water. Flags were accordingly hoisted at every vantage-point,
as well as on board the yacht, the tender, the stone-praams, and the
floating light; a salute of three guns was fired; and, we need hardly
say, the loudest and heartiest cheers pealed through the air and
mingled with the music of the waves.

It is unnecessary to follow, step by step, the operations of Stevenson
and his “undaunted band.” Such details would possess no interest for
the general reader; but he will understand how great must have been the
skill and perseverance of the engineer, how arduous the industry of all
engaged, when we record that by the 25th of August the solid part of
the building had been raised to the height of 31½ feet above the rock,
and of 17 feet above high-water of spring tides.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having during two seasons landed and built up more than one thousand
four hundred tons of stone, while the work was low down in the water,
and before the beacon had been rendered inhabitable, and as not more
than seven hundred tons were required to complete the masonry, Mr.
Stevenson had good reason to conclude that another season would
consummate his enterprise. But the success of the work absolutely
depending on the stability of the beacon, he paid frequent visits to
the rock in the course of the winter, to see that it braved unhurt the
fury of winds and waves.


The operations of the fourth and last season were commenced on the 10th
of May. The artificers took permanent possession of the beacon, which
consisted at this time of three floors—one occupied as the cook-house
and provision store; the second divided into two cabins, one for the
engineer and the other for the foreman; and the third provided with
three rows or tiers of beds, capable of accommodating about thirty
men. Below these three floors was a temporary floor, at the height of
twenty-five feet above the rock, used for preparing mortar, and for the
smith’s workshop. The beacon was connected with the lighthouse by a
bridge of timber.

The apartment which Mr. Stevenson himself occupied he has described in
characteristic language.

It measured, he says, not more than four feet three inches in breadth
on the floor; and though, from the oblique direction of the beams of
the building, it widened towards the top, yet it did not admit of
the full extension of his arms when he stood on the floor; while its
length was little more than sufficient for suspending a cot-bed during
the night. This was tied up to the roof during the day, leaving free
room for the admission of occasional visitants. His folding-table
was attached with hinges immediately under the small window of the
apartment, and his boots, barometer, thermometer, portmanteau, and two
or three camp-stools, formed the bulk of his movables. His diet being
plain, the paraphernalia of the table were proportionately simple;
though everything had the appearance of comfort, and even of neatness,
the walls being covered with green cloth, formed into panels with red
tape, and his bed festooned with curtains of yellow cotton-stuff. If,
in speculating upon the abstract wants of man in such a seclusion, one
were reduced to a single book, the Sacred Volume, whether considered
for the striking diversity of its story, the morality of its doctrines,
or the important truths of its gospel, would have proved by far the
greatest treasure.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the early part of July, a visit was paid to the works by Mrs.
Dickson, the only daughter and surviving relative of Smeaton, the
great engineer. She was conveyed to the rock on board the _Smeaton_
tender, which had been so named by Stevenson from a sense of the deep
obligation he owed to the labours and abilities of his predecessor. It
is unnecessary to say that she was exceedingly gratified by her visit.

       *       *       *       *       *

Passing over the daily details of the work, we arrive at the 29th of
July, as one of the epoch days of the undertaking. The _last stone_
was landed on the Bell Rock, and you may be sure such an occasion was
duly celebrated. On the 30th, the _last course_ (the 90th) of the
building was laid, finishing the exterior wall, and the engineer then
solemnly pronounced a suitable benediction: “May the Great Architect of
the Universe, under whose blessing this perilous work has prospered,
preserve it as a guide to the mariner!”


With the minute particulars recorded by Stevenson of the completion of
the interior of the building, it is needless to weary the reader. Their
technicalities would puzzle him, and in their prolonged detail we can
find nothing to excite his interest. He will understand that Stevenson
neglected nothing which could ensure the safety and efficiency of
his structure, and on the 17th of December 1810, the following
advertisement intimated to the public that his enterprise had been
successful, and that thenceforth the perils of the Bell Rock would
virtually cease to exist:—

“A lighthouse having been erected upon the Inch Cape, or Bell Rock,
situated at the entrance of the Firths of Forth and Tay, in north
latitude 56° 29´ and west longitude 2° 22´,—The Commissioners of the
Northern Lighthouses hereby give notice, that the light will be from
oil, with reflectors, placed at the height of about 108 feet above
the medium level of the sea. The light will be exhibited on the night
of Friday, the 1st day of February 1811, and each night thereafter,
from the going away of daylight in the evening until the return of
daylight in the morning. To distinguish this light from others on the
coast, it is made to revolve horizontally, and to exhibit a bright
light of the natural appearance, and a red-coloured light alternately,
both respectively attaining their greatest strength, or most luminous
effect, in the space of every four minutes; during that period the
bright light will, to a distant observer, appear like a star of the
first magnitude, which after attaining its full strength is gradually
eclipsed to total darkness, and is succeeded by the red-coloured light,
which in like manner increases to full strength, and again diminishes
and disappears. The coloured light, however, being less powerful, may
not be seen for a time after the bright light is first observed. During
the continuance of foggy weather, and showers of snow, a bell will be
tolled by machinery, night and day, at intervals of half a minute.”

It was found that this light could be clearly seen and recognized, in
fair weather, at a distance of seven leagues.

The Bell Rock Lighthouse, thus happily completed, is a circular
building, 42 feet in diameter at the base, and 13 feet at the top.
The masonry is 100 feet high, and the whole structure, including the
light-room, 115 feet. From the entrance door, a circular stair leads to
the first apartment, which is used as a store-room. Wooden steps ascend
to the other apartments, which are appropriated to the light-keepers,
and to the appurtenances of the lighting apparatus. The light-room,
which is formed of cast iron, and glazed with polished glass, is
octagonal in shape, 12 feet in diameter, and 15 feet in height. It is
covered with a dome, and terminates in a ball.

The manner in which this noble structure braves the assault of waters
has been graphically described by Mr. Stevenson. It is during the
winter’s storms, he says, and when viewed from the Forfarshire coast,
that it appears in one of its most interesting aspects, standing
proudly among the waves, while the sea around it is in the wildest
state of agitation. The light-keepers do not seem to be in motion,
but the scene is by no means still, as the clang and clamour, the
motion and fury of the waves, are incessant. The seas rise in the most
surprising fashion to the height of about seventy feet above the rock,
and after expending their force in a perpendicular direction, fall in
foaming masses round the base of the lighthouse, while considerable
portions of the spray seem to adhere, as it were, to the building, and
gather down its sides in the condition of froth as white as snow. Some
of the great waves burst and are expended upon the rock before they
reach the lighthouse; while others strike the base, and embracing the
walls, meet on the western side, where the violent collision churns
the eddying waters into the wildest foam.

       *       *       *       *       *

The management of the Bell Rock lighthouse is provided for as
follows:—The nearest town is Arbroath, about eleven miles distant,
where a cutter called the _Pharos_ is stationed as the lighthouse
tender. Once a fortnight, or in the course of each set of spring-tides,
she visits the rock, to relieve the light-keepers and replenish their
store of provisions and fuel. The keepers are four in number, three
of whom are always on duty, while one is ashore. If the weather be
favourable, each light-keeper is six weeks on the rock, and a fortnight
on land with his family. The pay is from £50 to £60 per annum, with a
stated allowance of bread, beef, butter, oatmeal, vegetables, and small
beer, and fourpence a day extra for tea. A suit of uniform is also
provided once in three years.

The watches in the light-room are relieved with as much punctuality
as on board a man-of-war, no keeper being allowed to leave until his
successor presents himself, under the penalty of immediate dismissal.
To ensure the strictest regularity in this respect, a timepiece is
placed in each light-room, and bells are hung in the bed-rooms of the
dwelling-houses, which, being connected by mechanical appliances with
the lighthouse, can be rung as necessity requires.

At Arbroath, as at other stations, the light-keeper‘ dwellings are
very neatly built and comfortably arranged, each having its little
garden attached. There are also suitable storehouses provided, a room
for the master and crew of the lighthouse tender, and a signal-tower
fifty feet high, on whose summit a small observatory is erected,
with an excellent achromatic telescope, a flag-staff, and a copper
signal-ball measuring eighteen feet in diameter. A similar ball crowns
the lighthouse dome, and by these means daily signals are exchanged,
to signify that all is well. Should the ball at the top be allowed to
remain down, as is the case when particular supplies are needed, or
either of the light-keepers have been seized with illness, assistance
is immediately dispatched in the tender.

The total cost of the lighthouse, of the buildings at Arbroath, of the
tender, and the first year’s stores, was £61,350.

A curious accident is recorded in connection with the lighthouse as
having occurred on the 9th of February 1832, about ten o’clock P.M.

A large herring-gull flew against one of the south-eastern mullions of
the light-room with so much violence that two of the polished plates of
glass, measuring each about two feet square and a quarter of an inch
thick, were dashed to atoms, and scattered over the floor, to the great
alarm of the keeper on watch, and of his two associates, who rushed
instantly into the light-room. It happened, fortunately, that although
one of the red-shaded sides of the reflector-frame was passing in its
revolution at the moment, the fragments were so minute that no injury
was done to the valuable red glass. The gull was found to measure five
feet from tip to tip of its expanded wings. A large herring was found
in its gullet, and in its throat a piece of plate glass about an inch
in length.[40]

[40] “Smeaton and Lighthouses,” p. 97.

Before quitting the subject of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, it is
desirable we should refer to another of Mr. Stevenson’s achievements,
the Beacon on the Carr rock. The Carr is the seaward extremity of a
sunken reef, visible only at low water, which extends about two miles
from the shore of Fifeness, on the northern side of the mouth of the
Forth estuary. Its position is unusually dangerous, as it lies in the
track of shipping ascending and descending Scotland’s great eastern
river. In the course of nine years it proved fatal to no fewer than
sixteen vessels. As all attempts had failed to mark its position by a
floating buoy, the authorities resolved to erect a beacon of masonry
upon it, and in 1813 the difficult work was commenced under Mr.
Stevenson’s direction. The dimensions of the Carr are only 23 feet in
breadth by 15 feet in length, and it was impossible, therefore, to
obtain a base for a building of greater diameter than 18 feet.

Five seasons were spent in the erection of the beacon, so many were
the obstacles which the workmen had to conquer, especially from the
prevalence of rolling seas and stormy winds. In the fifth year, when
the whole of the masonry had been completed, a November hurricane swept
away the upper part of the structure. A modification of the original
design was then adopted; and on the courses of masonry left intact by
wind and waves six columns of cast iron were planted, terminating in a
cast iron ball of three feet in diameter, which rose about twenty-five
feet above the average sea-level. The whole was completed in the sixth
season (September 1821).[41]

[41] Stevenson’s “Account of the Bell Rock Lighthouse,” pp. 52-57.

The Carr rock is about six miles north-north-east of the Isle of May
lighthouse, and twelve miles south-west of the Bell Rock.

In a recent pamphlet,[42] Mr. Thomas Stevenson, the engineer to the
Board of Northern Lights—who has an hereditary as well as an individual
claim to be heard on all matters of this kind—has suggested various
modes of lighting beacons and buoys. As he observes, the importance of
raising them to the rank of illuminated night-marks must be apparent
to all who know anything of coast navigation; and he is certainly
justified in thinking that the subject is worthy of more attention than
has hitherto been given to it.

[42] Stevenson, “Proposals for the Illumination of Beacons and Buoys”
(ed. 1870).

He speaks, in the first place, of _apparent_ or _borrowed lights_,
where a ray is thrown on a buoy or beacon—as in the case of the Arnish
Rock, referred to on page 274,—from a neighbouring lighthouse. The
only other existing example of an apparent light is to be found at the
harbour of Odessa, in the Black Sea. It was constructed in 1866, and is
situated three hundred feet from the shore.

Mr. Stevenson’s next suggestion applies to _dipping lights for sunk
rocks_, where it would be difficult or impossible to erect a beacon for
containing the necessary optical apparatus. Here he would so arrange
the lamp and reflectors of the lighthouse as to dip vertically, and
thus project a cone of rays upon the sea for a considerable area round
the secret danger. On seeing the illuminated wave-space the mariner
would alter his course, and give the sunken rock a “wide berth.”

The other methods proposed by Mr. Stevenson are:—

The conduction either of voltaic, magnetic, or frictional electricity,
singly or combined, to the buoy or beacon, through wires, submarine,
or, where practicable, suspended in the air, so as to produce a spark
either with or without vacuum tubes, or by means of an electro-magnet
and the deflagration of mercury.

The conduction of gas from the shore in submarine pipes.

Self-acting electrical apparatus, produced by the action of sea-water
or otherwise at the beacon itself, so as to require no connection with
the shore.

And, finally, Mr. Stevenson recommends different applications of sound,
so as to produce distinct and powerfully audible warnings during the
prevalence of a thick fog or mist:—

The propagation of sound during fogs through pipes communicating with
the shore,[43] or the origination of sound at the beacon or buoy
itself, by condensing the column of air, or by acting on a column of
water contained in the pipe.

[43] In one of the Paris water-pipes, 3120 feet long, M. Biot was able
to keep up a conversation, in a very low tone, with a person at the
other end.

Bells rung by electricity. Mr. Wilde, of Manchester, states that bells
twelve or eighteen inches in diameter, placed on different beacons, and
as far off as ten miles from the shore, could be tolled a hundred times
a-minute by means of a three and a half or four inch electro-magnetic
machine worked by an engine of about two-horse power.

And, finally, bells may be rung by the simple pressure of the waves
through the agency of a float, which would sink or rise according as
the tide sunk or rose. This was proposed for the beacon at the Carr
Rock by the late Mr. Stevenson in 1810.

By the adoption of one or other of these suggestions, according to the
conditions of the locality, there can be no doubt that the subsidiary
illumination of our shores and their contiguous waters would be very
considerably improved.




The full details which we have given of the erection of the Bell Rock
Lighthouse will render unnecessary any elaborate account of the mode of
construction of later edifices. There are some, however, which we are
unwilling to pass over without at least a cursory notice, owing either
to their romantic position or to their special interest as examples of
engineering skill. One of the most important of these is the Lighthouse
of the Skerryvore, situated on a reef which, in all leading features,
is a counterpart of the Bell Rock. It is placed in the same parallel
of latitude, and occupies the identical position on the west coast of
Scotland which the latter occupies on the eastern. Nor was it of old
less fatal or less ominous to the mariner, but annually exacted its
tribute of precious lives and wrecked vessels. A few minutes sufficed
for the total loss of any unfortunate ship which dashed against the
gneiss crags of the Skerryvore, and its rent and shattered timbers were
quickly carried by the tide to the fishermen of the island of Tyree.
Not that this formidable memorial of past volcanic convulsions was
totally submerged—some of its higher points rose above the level of the
highest tides: but the extent of its foundations was considerable; and
even in the summer season latent dangers beset the difficult channel
between its eastern extremity and the island of Tyree, which lies about
eleven miles distant.[44]

[44] Alan Stevenson, “Account of the Skerryvore Lighthouse” (ed. 1848),
p. 41.

For various reasons the attention of the Commissioners of Northern
Lights had been early directed to this formidable reef; and in
1814 they had determined to mark its locality by the erection of a
lighthouse. It was visited in this same year by some of the members of
the Commission, accompanied by one whose name alone is sufficient to
render the visit ever memorable—Sir Walter Scott. He was much struck
with the desolateness of the situation, which he thought infinitely
surpassed that of the Bell Rock or the Eddystone.

Owing, perhaps, to the difficulty of the enterprise, it was deferred
until the autumn of 1834, when Mr. Alan Stevenson was authorized to
commence a preliminary inspection, which he did not complete until
1835. This difficulty proceeded not only from the position, but from
the nature of the reef itself.

It is true that the distance from the mainland was three miles less in
the case of Skerryvore than in that of the Bell Rock; but the barren
and over-populated island of Tyree did not offer the resources of the
eastern coast, nor a safe and commodious port like that of Arbroath.
The engineers were therefore compelled to erect, at the nearest and
most favourable point of Tyree, a quay and a small harbour, with
temporary cabins for the workmen, and storehouses of every kind; all
whose materials, excepting only stone—and even the supply of _that_
failed after awhile—required to be transported from distant parts.

The first and most embarrassing, perhaps, of the numerous questions
which present themselves to the engineer when entering upon the
construction of a lighthouse, are those of the _height_ and the _mass_.
In the days of Smeaton, when the best light in use was that of common
candles, the elevation beyond a certain point could not be of any
utility; while in 1835 the application of the reflector and the lens,
by assisting in the extension and diffusion of the light, rendered, on
the contrary, a considerable elevation both necessary and desirable.

It was therefore decided that the height of the Skerryvore should be
135 feet above the highest tides, so as to command a horizon visible
for a radius of eighteen miles. The diameter of the base was fixed at
42 feet, and that of the topmost story at 16 feet; consequently the
masonry of the tower would be double that of the Bell Rock, and four
and a half times that of the Eddystone.

Another peculiarity distinguishes the Skerryvore from the Bell Rock.
The sandstone of the latter is wave-worn, and broken up into a thousand
rugged inequalities: the action of the sea on the igneous formation of
the Skerryvore has, on the contrary, communicated to it the appearance
and polish of a mass of dark-coloured crystal. It is so compact and
smooth that the foreman of the masons, when he landed on it, said it
was like climbing up the neck of a bottle. Moreover, notwithstanding
its durability, the gneiss of Skerryvore is excavated into caverns,
which considerably limit the area adapted for building operations.
One of these caverns, we are told, terminates in a narrow spherical
chamber, with an upper opening; through which, from time to time,
springs a bright, luminous shaft of water, 20 feet high, and white as
snow, except when the sun wreathes it with a thousand rainbows.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Alan Stevenson commenced actual operations in 1838 by the erection
of a provisional barrack on piles, at such a height as to be beyond
the reach of all average tides. This was designed to shelter the men
at night, saving them the voyage to and from the mainland; and also
to accommodate them when their work was suspended by bad weather. The
first erection was swept away in a great gale on the night of November
3; but happily the labours of the season were then ended, and there
were no occupants. On this occasion the grindstone was deposited in a
hole 36 feet deep; the iron anvil was transported 13 yards from the
place where it had been left; the iron stanchions were bent and twisted
like corkscrews; and, finally, a stone weighing half a hundred-weight,
lying at the bottom of an excavation, was carried to the highest
surface of the rock.

       *       *       *       *       *

Conquering all feelings of discouragement, Mr. Stevenson, in the
following year, renewed his operations. A second barrack was completed
by the 3rd of September. It was built of timber, and consisted of three
stories: the first was appropriated as a kitchen; the second divided
into two cabins, one for the engineer and one for the master of the
works; and the third belonged to the thirty workmen engaged in the
erection of the lighthouse.

A more remarkable habitation than this was never dwelt in by human
beings. It was an oasis in a wide waste of waters—a rude asylum
suspended between sea and sky. Perched forty feet above the wave-beaten
crag, Mr. Stevenson, with a goodly company of thirty men, in this
singular abode, spent many a weary day and night at those times
when the sea prevented a descent to the rock; anxiously looking for
supplies from the shore, and earnestly longing for a change of weather
favourable to the recommencement of the works. For miles around nothing
could be seen but white foaming breakers, and nothing heard but howling
winds and lashing waves.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the erection of the lighthouse itself, the first important
operation, and one which occupied the whole of the season of 1839—from
the 6th of May to the 30th of September—was the excavation of a
suitable foundation. When building the Eddystone, Mr. Smeaton had
been compelled to take into consideration the peculiar structure of
the rock, and to adapt his lower courses of masonry, as we have seen,
to a series of gradually ascending terraces formed by the successive
ledges of the rock itself. This difficult and expensive process was
rendered unnecessary by the geodesical formation of the Skerryvore. Mr.
Stevenson, therefore, began work by hollowing out a base of forty feet
diameter—the largest area he could obtain without any change of level.
This portion of his enterprise occupied twenty men for two hundred and
seventeen days; two hundred and ninety-six charges of gunpowder were
made use of; and two thousand tons of débris and refuse were cast into
the sea. The mining or blasting operations were not carried on without
great difficulty, on account of the absence of any shelter for the
miners, who were unable to retire more than ten or twelve paces, at
the furthest, from the spot where the charge was fired. The quantities
of gunpowder, therefore, were measured with the utmost nicety; a few
grains too many, and the whole company of engineers and workmen would
have been blown into the air. Mr. Stevenson himself generally fired the
train, or it was done under his superintendence and in his presence;
and from the precautions suggested by his skill and prudence, happily
no accident occurred.

During the first month of their residence in the barrack, he informs
us[45] that he and his men suffered much inconvenience from the
inundation of their apartments. On one occasion, moreover, they were
a fortnight without receiving any communication from the mainland, or
from the steam-tug attached to the works; and during the greater part
of this time they saw nothing but white plains of foam spreading as
far as the eye could reach, and the only sounds were the whistling
of the wind and the thunderous roar of the billows, which ever and
anon swelled into such a tumult that it was almost impossible to
hear one another speak. We may well conceive that a scene so awful,
with the ruins of their first barrack lying within a few feet of
them, was calculated to fill their minds with the most discouraging
apprehensions. Mr. Stevenson records, in simple but graphic language,
the indefinite sensations of terror with which he was aroused one night
when a tremendous wave broke against the timber structure, and all the
occupants of the chamber beneath him involuntarily uttered a terrible
cry. They sprang from their beds in the conviction that the whole
building had been precipitated to the depths of ocean.

[45] A. Stevenson, “Account of the Skerryvore Lighthouse,” p. 143.

Up to the 20th of June no materials had been landed on the rock but
iron and timber; next arrived the great stones, all ready cut and hewn,
and weighing not less than eight hundred tons. But the disembarkation
of these very essential supplies entailed serious risks, which were
renewed with every block, for the loss of a single one would have
delayed the works. At length the foundation-stone was fixed in its
place; the Duke of Argyle presiding over the ceremony, accompanied by
his duchess, his daughter, and a numerous retinue.

       *       *       *       *       *

The summer of 1840 was a summer of tempests. Nevertheless, in the midst
of incessant fears, and dangers, and wearying accidents, and every
kind of privation, the devoted band of workers prosecuted their noble
enterprise; and such, says Mr. Stevenson, was their profound sense of
duty—such the desire of every one that full and complete success should
crown their efforts—that not a man expressed a wish to retreat from the
battle-field where he was exposed to so many enemies.


The day’s occupations were thus divided. At half-past three in the
morning they were awakened, and from four o’clock to eight they
laboured without a pause; at eight they were allowed half an hour
for dinner. Work was then resumed, and continued for seven or eight,
or, if it were very urgent, even for nine hours. Next came supper,
which was eaten leisurely and comfortably in the cool of the evening.
This prolonged toil produced a continual sleepiness, so that those
who stood still for any time invariably fell off into a profound
slumber; which, adds Mr. Stevenson, frequently happened to himself
during breakfast and dinner. Several times, also, he woke up, pen
in hand, with a word begun on the page of his diary. Life, however,
on the desert rock of the Skerryvore seems not to have been without
its peculiar pleasures. The grandeur of ocean’s angry outbursts—the
hoarse murmur of the waters—the shrill harsh cries of the sea-birds
who incessantly hovered round them—the splendour of a sea polished
like a mirror—the glory of a cloudless sky—the solemn silence of azure
nights, sometimes sown thick with stars, sometimes illuminated by the
full moon,—were scenes of a panorama as novel as it was wonderful, and
which could not fail to awaken thought even in the dullest and most
indifferent minds. Consider, too—when we think of Mr. Stevenson and his
devoted company—the continual emotions which they experienced of hope
and anxiety; the necessity, on the part of their leader, of incessant
watchfulness, and of readiness of resource to grapple with every
difficulty; the gratification with which each man regarded the gradual
growth, under his laborious hands, of a noble and beneficent work; and
we think the reader will admit that life upon the Skerryvore, if it had
its troubles and its perils, was not without its rewards and happiness.

       *       *       *       *       *

In July 1841 the masonry had been carried to an elevation which
rendered impossible the further employment of the stationary crane. As
a substitute the balance crane was introduced—that beautiful machine,
invented at the Bell Rock, which rises simultaneously with the edifice
it assists to raise.

Thanks to this new auxiliary, the mass of masonry completed in the
season of 1841 amounted to 30,000 cubic feet, more than double the mass
of the Eddystone, and exceeding that of the Bell Rock lighthouse. Such
was the delicate precision observed in the previous shaping and fitting
of the stones, that after they had been regularly fixed in their
respective places, the diameter of each course did not vary one-sixth
of an inch from the prescribed dimensions, and the height was only one
inch more than had been determined by the architect in his previous

On the 21st of July, the steamer saluted with its one gun the
disembarkation of the last cargo of stones intended for the lighthouse.
On the 10th of August the lantern arrived, which was hauled up to its
position, and duly fixed; a temporary shelter from the weather being
also erected for it.

The summer of 1843 was devoted to pointing the external masonry—a
wearisome operation, conducted by means of suspended scaffolds—and to
the completion of the internal arrangements. And at length, on the 1st
of February 1844, the welcome light of the Skerryvore pharos blazed
across the waters of the stormy sea.

The illuminating apparatus adopted was the dioptric, and identical in
all respects with the apparatus supplied a few years before to the
Tower of Cordova. It is a revolving light, whose full brilliancy is
apparent only once in a minute. Elevated 150 feet above the sea level,
it is visible at a distance of eighteen miles.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is the stirring history of the Skerryvore lighthouse. The reader
will think, perhaps, that it differs but little from that of the Bell
Rock and the Eddystone. Nevertheless we could not pass over it in
silence, for it completed a work which may fitly be called “the art of
building lighthouses in the open sea”—an art entirely unknown before
the days of Smeaton, and Robert and Alan Stevenson—three men of whom
Ocean, if it could translate into words the “rhythmical smile” of its
summer calm, or the harsher accents of its equinoctial wrath, might say
with the poet,—

           “Great I must call them, for they conquered me!”




The erection of the North Unst tower, completed in 1854, offered
no difficulties comparable to those which tested the skill and
perseverance of the builder of the Bell Rock; yet, not the less, it
is interesting as one of the most important results obtained by our
English engineers. As our illustration shows, it stands rooted on an
isolated reef, near the Shetland Isles, whose elevation above the sea
is estimated at 200 feet.

Its northern front is almost perpendicular, and exposed to the most
violent assaults of Ocean; on the south the declivity is less abrupt,
but scarcely easier of access; and its summit is only of breadth
sufficient to receive the foundation of the tower. This is 50 feet
in height, and contains, besides the light-room, a sleeping chamber,
a kitchen, and a store-room. At its base is built an additional
store-room for the supplies of oil, charcoal, and fresh water. It is
only accessible in fine weather.

The North Unst lighthouse is provided with a staff of four keepers,
whose habitations are situated on the island of Unst (one of the
Shetland group), about four miles distant.

It has justly been said that one of the strangest operations recorded
in the history of lighthouses is, undoubtedly, the work undertaken
and successfully accomplished at Sunderland in 1841. Some important
improvements had been effected in its harbour; and a jetty had been
constructed which rendered useless the old pier, and the lighthouse
built upon it. Consequently, preparations were made for the demolition
of the latter. An engineer, of the name of Murray, however, conceived
the idea of transporting the monument, in one piece, to the intended
site of the new lighthouse, a distance of about 475 feet. His proposal
was favourably received; for the removal of great masses of masonry,
in Europe at least, is an enterprise which always excites a very
general curiosity. In the United States, that “go-ahead” land of bold
projects and daring inventions, such enterprises are more frequent,
and the process has been several times applied to houses (as recently
at Chicago) and factories, for which it was desirable to secure a more
convenient or a securer site. In such cases a series of openings is
made in the walls, and through these openings beams are introduced,
united together by cross beams so as to form a kind of flooring; then
the lowest part of the base of the walls is destroyed, leaving the
building to rest upon the timber platform, which is afterwards set in
motion by a system of grooves.


So far as concerned the Sunderland lighthouse, the enterprise was
much more arduous; for its narrow base supported a burden relatively
more considerable than that of a house, and one which apparently must
crush all machines interposed between it and the ground. The weight
of the lighthouse was 757,000 lbs.; it consisted of an octagonal
tower 64 feet high, and 15 feet in diameter at the base. We must add
that the new pier was 19 inches higher than the old, and that its
direction was entirely different; which rendered it necessary that the
building should be turned upon its axis, at the same time that it had
to traverse a broken line, one of whose sections, from north to south,
measured 28 feet, and the other, from west to east, 447 feet.

The accompanying illustration will afford an idea of the manner in
which this difficult engineering problem was solved. By means of a
series of openings made in the base of the tower, as above described,
the latter was raised on a solid platform of oaken planks; while it
was surrounded from base to summit by a framework of stays or props,
strengthened by cross beams. The platform rested on one hundred and
forty-four cast-iron wheels, grooved like those of a locomotive, and
running on eight parallel rails, likewise of cast-iron, which, with
their “sleepers,” were laid along the masonry of the pier and jetty.
When the mass had moved a few feet, the rails were lifted, and laid
down again in front of the machinery, and this process was repeated
until the new site of the lighthouse was reached. Iron chains attached
to the platform were wound upon windlasses, worked by a band of sturdy

The various stages of the operation were accomplished in thirteen
hours and twenty-four minutes. The combined efforts of forty men were
required for five hours to carry the apparatus over the 28 feet of the
first section, while eighteen men sufficed to carry it in eight hours
and twenty-four minutes over the 447 feet of the second.

In this latter part the rails were at first laid down on a curve, so as
to bring the pharos into a symmetrical position with the jetty, then
it advanced parallel to itself, following a slightly inclined plane.
It was prevented by wedges from deviating during this ascent from a
perpendicular line. The object of this twofold disposition was to
veer the pharos round, and to raise it to a higher level—which, as we
have seen, was an indispensable condition. The removal was eventually
accomplished with so much success, and so little interruption to the
business of the harbour, that the lamp was lighted in the evening at
the usual hour.






We propose, in the present chapter, to glance at a few of the best
known pharoses which illuminate our home-waters, but without observing
any particular order. Our description of each will be brief, for it
is needless to say that, as a rule, lighthouses closely resemble
one another in their principles of construction as in their general
arrangements, and that the differences between them are simply matters
of detail.

       *       *       *       *       *

Upon _Needles Point_, the westernmost extremity of the Isle of Wight,
at an elevation of 474 feet, a lighthouse was erected early in the last
century. Notwithstanding its great height, it is recorded that its
windows were sometimes shattered by stones flung up by the mounting and
raging billows.[46] It had ten Argand lamps, and the same number of
plated reflectors; and its light, on clear and cloudless nights, was
visible at a distance of eleven leagues. Seven hundred gallons of oil,
we are told, were consumed annually; and in stormy nights the blaze
attracted hundreds of small birds, which dashed themselves against the
glass reflectors, and were killed.

[46] We think, however, that this statement is in great need of


Owing to its great elevation, however, this lighthouse was of little
service in hazy and foggy weather. The Trinity House, therefore, in
1859, caused a new one to be constructed on the outer part of the
farthest of the celebrated chalk rocks, called the Needles, which was
previously cut down and levelled almost to the water’s edge. This
lighthouse is about 109 feet in height from the base to the top of the
ball, and possesses only one light, with three concentrated wicks,
whose brilliancy, however, is so great that it can be seen fourteen
miles at sea. The shades are alternately white and red. A fog bell is
rung by mechanical agency during stormy weather; its sounds may be
heard at a distance of five miles. The base of the building is 38 feet
in diameter.

       *       *       *       *       *

Near the south shore of the Isle of Wight rises the remarkable and
picturesque eminence of _St. Catherine’s Hill_, 769 feet above the
level of the sea. It looks down upon the rock-bound sweep of Chale
Bay, which has been the scene of many deplorable catastrophes. From
its summit the traveller commands a prospect of singular beauty,
as remarkable for its extent as for its variety; since it not only
includes by far the larger part of the “garden-isle,” but the green
masses of the New Forest, the blue line of the misty Hampshire hills,
and the undulating range of the coast of Sussex as far as the bold
bluff promontory of Beachy Head. It is said that, in an opposite
direction, the high lands about Cherbourg have occasionally been seen.
On a calm, clear day the island lies at your feet like an open map, and
you can trace each bare bold hill; each valley, dusky with its wealth
of foliage; each village church and manor-house, girt with venerable
trees; each distant town, with its floating canopy of smoke; each
stream that trails like a silver snake through the emerald pastures;
and all around and about, the mighty ocean, heaving with a flood of
glorious light.

On the lofty summit of this hill, one Walter de Godyton, in 1323,
erected a chantry, and dedicated it to St. Catherine, who, in the Roman
Hagiology, is the invariable patroness of hills and mountains. He also
provided an endowment for a priest, who should chant masses, and keep
up a burning light through the hours of darkness, for the safety of
mariners approaching this dangerous coast. This duty was regularly
performed until the suppression of the minor religious houses, when
the priest and his endowment disappeared; though the chantry, built of
solid masonry, remained, and is still to be inspected by the curious.
Many years ago it was carefully repaired, in consideration of its value
as a landmark. The foundation of the whole chapel was then cleared and
levelled, a process revealing not only its ground-plan, but also the
floor and stone hearth of the priest’s little cell at the south-west
corner. Its height is 35 feet 6 inches; its form, octagonal.

Almost adjoining stands the shell of a lighthouse erected in 1785 by
the Trinity Board; but discontinued when it was discovered, as might at
the outset have been surmised, that the mists so often gathering about
the crown of the hill would render it of little service.

The dangerous character of the coast, however, was so widely known,
that the Trinity Board felt it necessary to provide for its better
protection, and in 1838 a lighthouse was commenced on _St. Catherine’s
Point_, at the base of the hill, which was completed in 1840, and
lighted for the first time on the 25th of March. Its dimensions
are:—From the water-mark to the level of terrace, 81 feet. From the
terrace to the top of the stone-work, 100 feet. Height of lantern and
pedestal, 1 foot 6 inches. Extension of glass frame, 10 feet. Roof,
ball, vane, and lightning conductor, 11½ feet. Height of tower, 122
feet. The diameter of the interior is 14 feet; and the staircase to the
lantern-room numbers one hundred and fifty-two steps. The illuminating
apparatus consists of one lamp, 3½ inches diameter, with four
concentrated wicks, reflected through a lens surmounted by two hundred
and fifty mirrors.

St. Catherine’s lighthouse is a graceful structure, and the visitor,
comparing it with the rude chantry on the brow of the hill, where the
solitary priest muttered his orisons and fed his flickering fire, will
obtain a vivid conception of the vast strides made by practical science
in five centuries.

       *       *       *       *       *

A graphic writer[47] describes the extreme south-western point of
England, the Land’s End, in the following language:—

“Those,” he says, “who expect to see a towering or far-stretching
promontory will be disappointed. We form our ideas from ordinary maps,
and imagine England’s utmost cape to be a narrow tongue thrust out from
the firm shore, along which we may walk to meet the advancing waves.
But we find the reality to be merely a protruding shoulder or buttress
of the vast irregular bluff that terminates the county. Cape Cornwall,
which looks so grand about two miles distant, appears to extend further
to the west than the Land’s End.

“Sit still and gaze: the scene grows upon you. Here the two channels
commingle with the ocean; and far out as eye can reach, and round
on either hand till it meets the remotest point of the rugged shore,
stretches the watery expanse. The billows come tumbling in, and break
in thunder at the base of the cliffs, dashing the impatient spray
well-nigh to their summit. You may descend by steep paths to a lower
level, and see the cavernous opening which their plunging assaults have
worn through from one side of the buttress to the other. With what fury
they rush into the recess, and make horrid whirlpools behind the mass
which some day will be an isolated member of the rocky group scattered
along the shore! There, on the largest of the cluster, nearly two miles
from shore, stands the _Longships Lighthouse_, and all between is foam
and swirl; waves running together, and leaping high with the shock:
a dangerous channel known as the Kettle’s Bottom. See how the water
chafes around the Armed Knight there on the left, and the Irish Lady on
the right, and all the nameless lumps! Yonder, under the cape, at the
extremity of Whitesand Bay, are the Brisons, invested by shipwreck with
a fearful interest.”

[47] Walter White, “A Londoner’s Walk to the Land’s End,” pp. 192, 193.

The _Longships Lighthouse_, mentioned in the foregoing extract, was
erected in 1795 by a Mr. Smith, who received as his reward the right
to level a toll upon shipping for a limited number of years. It was
afterwards purchased of his representatives by the Trinity House.
The tower is built of granite, and the stones are trenailed upon
Smeaton’s plan, as introduced in his great monument of the Eddystone.
The circumference at the base is 62 feet, the height from the base to
the vane of the lantern, and from the sea to the foot of the building,
51 feet. The total height, therefore, exceeds 100 feet. Yet the
lantern-panes, it is said, have been frequently shattered by the waves.

       *       *       *       *       *


About eight miles from this part of the Cornish coast lies a dangerous
rock of greenstone, called the _Wolf’s Crag_, in the midst of a
turbulent swirl and eddy of waters. An attempt was once made to plant
on its summit the figure of an enormous wolf, constructed of copper,
and hollow within, and so constructed that the mouth receiving the
blasts of the gale should emit a loud hoarse sound to warn the seaman
of his peril. The project, however, was rendered abortive by the
violence of the elements.

In 1870 a lighthouse was successfully erected on the Wolf’s Crag;—a
circular tower, 100 feet high.

       *       *       *       *       *

The uninhabited island of Annette, one of the Scilly group, is
literally surrounded with reefs and rocks, each of which is associated
with some melancholy tale of suffering and death. It has been well
said that they are the “dogs” of Scilly, and fierce as those which,
according to the old fable, howled round the monster of the Italian

    “But Scylla crouches in the gloom,
    Deep in a cavern’s monstrous womb;
    Thence darts her ravening mouth, and drags
    The helpless vessel on the crags.“[48]

[48] Virgil, “Æneid,” transl. by Conington, bk. iii. 420.

On the Gilstone Sir Cloudesley Shovel, the gallant old sea-captain of
Queen Anne’s reign, was wrecked in 1707; on the Crebawethan perished
the “Douro,” and all hands, in 1843; and on Jacky’s Rock, in 1841,
the “Thames” steamer went to pieces, and out of sixty-five on board
only three were saved. The westernmost of those terrible rocks is
the _Bishop Rock_, and here a lighthouse was erected in 1858, from
the design of Mr. James Walker. It is built of granite, and the vane
is 147 feet above high water mark. The first stone, one of the fifth
course, was laid on the 16th of July 1852; and on the 30th of the same
month was laid the lowest stone, one foot below the level of low water
spring-tides, in the chasm of the rock. The stone-work of the tower
was finished on the 28th of August 1857; and the light, a fixed bright
dioptric light of the first order, illuminating the entire circle,
and visible, in clear weather, at a distance of fourteen miles, was
exhibited on the 1st of September 1858.


It is satisfactory to add, that this difficult enterprise was carried
to a successful termination without loss of life or serious accident to
any person employed.

       *       *       *       *       *


One of our most famous English headlands is _Lizard Point_, the
_Ocrinum_ of Ptolemy, the ancient geographer, and the most southerly
promontory of England. Here are two large and massive lighthouses,
whose bases are 168 feet above the sea, and 212 feet apart. Each tower
is 61 feet high, and each lantern contains nineteen reflectors, which
can be seen at a distance of twenty-one miles. Between the two, which
were erected by Mr. Fonnereau, in 1751, and worked with coal-fires up
to the year 1813, are built the residence and offices; so contrived
that a long passage leads from one to the other, whereby the keepers
communicate without going out of doors. “These beacons,” says a recent
writer, “display two lights, to distinguish the Lizard from Scilly,
known to mariners by one, and from Guernsey, which exhibits three.
Notwithstanding, however, the brilliant illumination which is hence
thrown for miles over the sea, ships, embayed in thick weather between
the Lizard and Tol Pedn Penwith, are frequently lost in the vicinity
of this headland, and the cliffs are of such a character that it is
almost impossible to render from them the slightest assistance.”

       *       *       *       *       *


The _Plymouth Breakwater_, which protects the great Devonshire harbour
from the furious gales of the Channel, carries on its western arm an
important lighthouse, erected in 1841 to 1844, from the designs of
Messrs. Walker and Burges. It consists of a circular tower, 126 feet in
height from the base of the breakwater, 71 feet above high-water mark,
and 18 feet in diameter at its widest part. It is built of the finest
Cornish granite, and divided into five stories; the highest of which,
the lantern, has a floor of polished slate; the others, of stone. The
light, a dioptric one, has a range of nine miles.

On the dark craggy headland of _Start Point_, about 112 feet above
high-water mark, is situated a lighthouse exhibiting _two_ lights;
a revolving light for the Channel, and a fixed light to guide ships
inshore clear of the Skerries shoal. Mr. White thus describes the tower
and its “belongings:“—

“A substantial house, connected with the tall circular tower, in
a walled enclosure, all nicely whitened, is the residence of the
light-keepers. The buildings stand within a few yards of the verge of
the cliff, the wall serving as parapet, from which you look down on the
craggy slope outside and the jutting rocks beyond—the outermost point.
You may descend by the narrow path, protected also by a low white wall,
and stride and scramble from rock to rock, with but little risk of
slipping, so rough are the surfaces with minute shells.

“A rude steep stair, chopped in the rock, leads down still lower to a
little cove and a narrow strip of beach at the foot of the cliffs. It
is the landing-place for the lighthouse-keepers when they go fishing;
but can only be used in calm weather.

“The assistant-keeper spoke of the arrival of a visitor as a pleasure
in the monotonous life of the establishment. Winter, he said, was a
dreary time, not so much on account of cold, as of storms, fogs, and
wild weather generally. In easterly gales the fury of the wind would
be often such that to walk across the yard was impossible; they had to
crawl under shelter of the wall, and the spray flew from one side of
the Point to the other. But indoors there was no lack of comfort, for
the house was solidly built and conveniently fitted, and the Trinity
Board kept a small collection of books circulating from lighthouse to

       *       *       *       *       *

There are two lighthouses at _Portland Bill_; the lantern of one 136,
and that of the other 210 feet above the sea. Between the chalk cliffs
and a bank called the _Shambles_, foams the wild impetuous current of
the Race of Portland.

       *       *       *       *       *

The celebrated chalky range of the South Downs terminates on the
Sussex coast in _Beachy Head_, an abrupt precipitous promontory, 575
feet above the sea-level. On a point considerably lower than this
lofty headland, and projecting much further into the sea, stands the
celebrated Belle Tout Lighthouse, erected in 1831.

       *       *       *       *       *


The _North Foreland_, one of the great Kentish promontories, is also
crowned by its lighthouse, which dates from 1790. The light is visible
at the Nore, a distance of twenty miles.


At the _South Foreland_ lighthouse, a few miles from Dover, the
electric light is used; the electric current being originated by a set
of enormous horse-shoe magnets fixed in a stand, before which a wheel
revolves, loaded with a number of solid iron cylinders. The whole
apparatus is set in motion by a steam-engine.

       *       *       *       *       *


Both the east and west coasts of our “sea-girt island” are well
provided with warning lights, but a mere enumeration of them would
scarcely be satisfactory to the reader, and a description would prove
as wearisome as a twice-told tale, for the reason stated at the
beginning of this chapter. If we traced the coast-line of Scotland, we
should find it equally well defended; or if we crossed to the Isle of
Man, we should still meet with the monuments of man’s warfare against
the ocean. Then, again, if we cross from Holyhead to Dublin, our
vessel is guided by the stately light which glows upon the Stack Rock,
and by the Bailey Lighthouse at the extremity of the Howth peninsula.
The Bailey on the south, and the Kish Lightship on the north, mark
the extreme points of the beautiful Bay of Dublin. Keeping southward,
along the eastern coast, we descry the lighthouses on the rugged
cliffs of Wicklow Head, and in Tuskar Rock; and, on the south coast,
at Hook Tower, marking the eastern side of the entrance to the port of
Waterford; at Ballinacourty, as a guide to ships entering Dungarvan
Harbour; at Mine Head, and Ballycottin Point, and Roche Point, the
north-eastern boundary of Cork Harbour; and at the Old Head of Kinsale,
whose light is visible for twenty-one nautical miles, and proves
immeasurably welcome to the Briton home-bound from the New World,
because it is the first he sees after his departure from American


A revolving light, which gradually increases and decreases every two
minutes, is exhibited on the _Fastnet Rock_, a few miles off the
southernmost point of Ireland.

Of iron lighthouses the British coast presents but few examples. The
reader will, therefore, be not unwilling to gain some particulars of
the tower on this well-known rock; a rock rising about 60 feet above
high-water mark. Its iron structure consists, in the main, of the
following parts:[49]—The shell, composed of cast-iron plates; the
hollow cast-iron central column; five cast-iron floors, the uppermost
of which is the platform at the top of the tower, supporting the
lantern; a projecting cast-iron gallery, level with the platform,
sustained by cast-iron brackets, and having a balustrade; an external
iron stair, for access to the doors on the first floor; internal iron
stairs to connect the several floors; a lining of masonry in the
basement, and of brick in the upper stories; and a cut stone moulding
round the base.

[49] Practical Mechanic’s Journal for 1842, p. 265.


The principal dimensions are as follows:—

                                                         Feet.  In.
  Height of tower from the base to the gallery             63    9
  Height of lamp above the gallery                         11    0
  Total height of the lantern                              30    0
  Outside diameter at base, over stone moulding            23    0
  Outside diameter over cast-iron shell                    19    0
  Outside diameter just below the cornice                  13   11¼
  Outside diameter of tower casing at light-room floor     13    8¼
  Outside diameter of gallery, to outer ends of brackets   19   10¼
  Inside diameter of cellar, or basement story              9    0
  Inside diameter of each of the other four stories        12    0
  Clear height of cellar                                    9    0
  Clear height of each of the other four stories           12    0
  Total thickness of each floor                             0    9

The plates composing the cast-iron shell are curved, oblong,
rectangular, and 1⅜ inch thick at the base, diminishing gradually to ⅞
inch at the top of the tower.


This lighthouse was erected in 1848, from the design of Mr. Halpin,
engineer to the Corporation of Dublin.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of lighthouses on piles we shall take as an example the _Maplin
Sands Lighthouse_, designed by Mr. Walker, for the Trinity House
Corporation, and erected in 1841.

It stands upon nine piles of wrought-iron, each 26 feet long and 5
inches in diameter: these are screwed 14 feet 6 inches deep into
the sand, and secured by screw-blades of cast-iron, each 4 feet in
diameter. One pile forms the centre of an octagon; the others are
placed one at each of the eight angles. To the tops of the piles are
firmly fitted hollow iron columns; the central one being perpendicular,
the others bent, so that they incline inwards. They are braced together
by radiating, diagonal, and horizontal rods. Each terminates at the
top in a socket, into which is fitted a timber post of about one foot
square. The posts, like the columns, are braced together, and form the
foundation of the house, platform, and lantern.

The principal dimensions are as follows:—

Feet. In.

  Depth of the screw-blades below the sand, about              14    6
  Depth of the screw-blades below low-water mark spring-tides  21    0
  Rise of spring-tides                                         15    0
  Height from high-water mark spring-tides to floor of house   20    6
  Height from high-water mark to floor of light-room           29    6
  Height from high-water mark to lamp                          38    6
  Height from high-water mark to top of vane spindle           54    0
  Diameter of floor of house                                   27    0
  Diameter of platform                                         21    0
  Diameter of light-room                                       12    0

A lighthouse of this kind is excellently adapted for any locality where
the light does not require to be seen at a great distance. The piles
offer no appreciable opposition to the waves, which pass through the
open spaces without rising higher than out at sea.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Gunfleet Lighthouse_ stands on seven screw piles, screwed 40 feet
deep into the sand. The _Point of Ayre Lighthouse_, on nine, screwed 12
feet into the sand.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before we conclude these desultory notes, it seems desirable to refer
to a lighthouse now in course of erection, which is not unworthy to
rank with the finest of its predecessors.

About midway between the famous Skerryvore Lighthouse and that of the
Rhins of Islay—or 20 miles from Islay, 18 miles from Colonsay, 15 miles
from Iona, and 15 miles from Mull—in the centre of an archipelago
which ancient legend, and ecclesiastical history, and modern romance
have done their best to render celebrated—lies the _Dubhe Artach_ (or
_St. John’s_) _Rock_. It forms an isolated mass of augite about 240
feet in length by 43 feet in breadth, whose rounded summit rises 47
feet above high-water mark. In stormy weather the sea sweeps over it
with terrific violence, and for miles around it boils and seethes with
counter-currents and opposing waves. During the severe gales of the
winter of 1865-66 many ships were lost in this dangerous neighbourhood,
and it was therefore determined by the Commissioners of Northern
Lighthouses, with the sanction of the Trinity House and Board of Trade,
to erect a lighthouse on the Dubhe Artach.

The material of the rock is so excessively hard that the works, at
first, could not be carried forward with much rapidity. Neither in the
building of the Eddystone nor of the Skerryvore could the engineers
have had greater difficulties to contend with. A foundation has,
however, been at last obtained, and several courses of the masonry
securely laid, so that the elegant structure, designed by Messrs.
D. and T. Stevenson of Edinburgh, will, in another twelvemonth, be
completed. Its estimated cost is £56,900. It consists of a parabolic
frustrum, whose topmost course is 109 feet above its base. The diameter
at the bottom measures 36 feet, at the top 16 feet. There will be seven
apartments besides the light-room. The total height of the lantern
above the sea will be 154 feet, commanding a range of about eighteen

       *       *       *       *       *


Lastly, we propose to wander away from the shores of the United
Kingdom, though not to trespass beyond the confines of British
territory. Had our limits permitted, we might have entered upon a
description of the Australian and North American pharoses, of the
lighthouse at Perim, of the lighthouses on the coast of Hindustan; but
such a multiplicity of details would assuredly have wearied the reader.
Yet, as a proof that our engineering operations in this department are
not less skilfully and boldly executed abroad than at home, we shall
adduce, in terminating this chapter, the noble structure situated on
the Alguada Reef.

This reef lies a few miles to the southward of Cape Negrais, the
south-west promontory of Pegu, near one of the mouths of the great
Irrawady river. Being thrown, as it were, directly in the track of
vessels sailing from Calcutta to the thriving ports of Moulmein and
Rangoon, it was a constant danger to the mariner; for the sea, except
in the calmest weather, always dashes against it with restless fury,
and no vessel cast upon it can hope to escape. The late Marquis of
Dalhousie, appreciating its perilous character, designed to erect a
lighthouse upon it; but no action was taken in the matter until 1856,
when the loss of a coolie ship and 286 lives induced Lord Canning to
resume his predecessor’s project.

The stone had to be brought from Pulo Obin, near Singapore, a distance
of 1200 miles; and it was not until January 1860 that the work of
excavating the foundation was commenced. On February 14, 1861, the
first stone was laid, and thenceforth the work proceeded bravely,
though entirely carried on by Coolie labour. The light, a first-class
holophotal light, designed by Messrs. D. and T. Stevenson of Edinburgh,
was first kindled on April 23, 1865, at an elevation of 144 feet above
high-water mark. It commands a range of twenty nautical miles.

In general appearance the Alguada Reef Lighthouse resembles the
Skerryvore, after which, indeed, it was designed, by Captain Fraser;
but it surpasses its model in its dimensions.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Here we conclude our sketches of celebrated lighthouses; structures,
we think, scarcely less deserving of the public interest and
admiration, than the triumphal arches and stately columns erected
to the memory of successful generals, or the superb palaces which
enshrine the magnificence of kings and princes. For every lighthouse,
be it remembered, is a proof of formidable engineering difficulties
successfully overcome, and, therefore, rises before us as an impressive
monument of human ingenuity, skill, and perseverance, exerted, for
the noblest of purposes—for the preservation of human life, for the
prevention of that misery and grief and deep-abiding sorrow which are
the invariable consequences of the “wreck ashore.“]







“Truly mysterious is the Channel, in that narrow gullet where it
engulfs the waves of the North Sea. Violent are the waters of Brittany,
as they eddy to and fro in the ravines of its basaltic coast. But the
Gulf of Gascony, from Cordouan to Biarritz, is a sea of contradictions;
an enigma of strife and struggle. As it stretches southward, it
suddenly acquires an extraordinary depth, and becomes an abyss in which
the waters are swallowed up. An ingenious naturalist has compared it
to a gigantic funnel, which abruptly absorbs all that is poured into
it. The flood, escaping from it under an awful pressure, remounts to a
height of which our seas afford no other example.”[51]

[50] Our account of the French lighthouses is mainly taken from M.
Rénard’s interesting brochure, “Les Phares” (Hachette, 1867).

[51] Michelet, “La Mer.”

The eloquent historian of the sea does not paint in colours too vivid
the raging excesses of the Gulf of Gascony; and, therefore, from a
remote epoch, the French government have sought to guard against its
dangers by securing a proper lightage of the entrance of the Gironde.
To trace the origin of the Lighthouse of Cordouan we must go back to
a very distant antiquity. Unfortunately we know little of the history
of this marvellous erection on a craggy platform, which is alternately
covered and exposed by the waves at every tide. It is certain that
the present structure had, at least, two predecessors. If tradition
may be credited, the first was raised by Louis the Débonnair. But as
no document is extant to support this hypothesis, we are inclined
to believe that no lighthouse was built there until the thirteenth
century, and that it was then erected in compliance with the urgent
request of the merchants of Cordova, and foreign merchants trading
in the wines of Bordeaux. Matthew Paris records, in his well-known
“Chronicles,” that the Moors having been driven back to the extreme
south of Spain, extensive commercial relations were established at this
epoch (1236) between the Gascons and the cities of Cordova and Seville.
Hence came the name of Cordouan. That this etymology is contradicted
by many scholars, and even turned into jest, we are aware, but to
ridicule is not to prove. What appears certain is, that the town of
Cordova (said to contain 300,000 souls in the thirteenth century, and
the ancient capital of the Khalifate of the same name) had two reasons
instead of one for demanding the establishment of a lighthouse at the
mouth of the Gironde; for its merchants visited Bordeaux not only to
deal in its wines, but to sell their hides and leather, renowned then
as now for their fineness and excellent quality.

       *       *       *       *       *

But passing from the domains of conjecture to those of history, we
know that the second lighthouse was built in the fourteenth century
(1362-70), by the order of Edward the Black Prince. This lighthouse was
48 feet in height. It terminated in a platform, where was kindled a
fire of wood under the charge of a holy hermit, who received in reward
of his labours a toll from each vessel of two groats sterling. It is
generally believed that the rock on which the lighthouse stood was,
at that epoch, still united to the Médoc coast. The configuration of
the soil, the distance, the depth of the channel, the ravages still
effected by the sea at Soulac and at the Point de Grave, are arguments
in favour of this opinion.

The lighthouse built by the Black Prince did not stand alone upon
its rock. As a companion it had a chapel, raised in honour of the
Virgin Mary, and several houses, constructed in this sacred locality,
gradually formed a kind of village. Here dwelt the hermit, his
assistants, and, probably, a small number of pilots and fishermen.

An engraving of the date of the fifteenth century represents this
ancient tower as an octagonal building, with elongated quadrangular
openings. It is doubled, so to speak, up to its first story, with an
exterior casing of stone, forming an additional protection. Some of the
houses which formerly occupied this particular site were existing at
the epoch when the drawing was executed.


The lighthouse, which at the present time so justly extorts the
admiration of all its visitors, was constructed, not on the ruins,
but by the side of its predecessor. Begun in 1584 by Louis de Foix, a
Parisian architect, to whom Philip II. confided at a later date the
building of the Escorial, it was not completed until 1600, and then by
his son. Including the solid mass of the platform or base, the tower
was 60 feet high, and including the stone lantern, 70 feet. At the
date of its erection, the ground was, as undoubtedly it for a long
time had been, completely separated from the mainland, and formed an
island of a certain extent—the “Isle of Cordouan,” says Louis de Foix
himself, in the contract signed with the authorities of Guienne for
the construction of the tower. This island has since disappeared, as
well as the houses and chapel of which we have spoken; and now, at the
foot of the monument, are only the bare rock and some tongues of sand
completely covered at high water.

The pharos, as it issued from the hands of the Des Foix, father and
son, consisted of a circular platform protected by a broad parapet, and
of the tower, which was divided into four stories, not including the
lantern. The ground floor presented a great vestibule of a quadrangular
form, with four little recesses which served for magazines. Staircases
placed in the embrasures of the entrance-gate and of the two windows
led to the cellars and the water-tank. On either side of the doorway,
prior to the Revolution, were busts of Henry III. and Henry IV. On the
first story, which bore the title—probably without any justification—of
“the King’s Chamber,” was a saloon of the same dimensions as the
vestibule, but more richly decorated, from which access was obtained to
the first exterior gallery. A chapel, circular in shape, occupied the
second story, and was illuminated by two rows of windows, covered by
a spherical vault, and enriched with Corinthian pilasters and elegant
sculptures. Above the door of the chapel stood the bust of Louis de
Foix; and the following sonnet, composed in the purest _galimatias_ of
the time, was engraved on a large tablet above it:—





All the parts of the primitive construction still exist, and have
undergone but little alteration during successive restorations; but
such is not the case with the upper portion, which has been completely
destroyed, from the gradual sinking of the tower.

Above the second gallery, the dome of the chapel was ornamented on the
outside by richly sculptured dormer-windows, forming the second tier
of windows of that story. It was surmounted by a circular pavilion,
vaulted, and decorated with composite pilasters, whose entablature
was crowned by the open balustrade of an outer gallery leading into
the lantern. This lantern—whose dimensions were somewhat limited—was
built of hewn stone, and composed of eight arcades, whose piers were
embellished with columns, and whose cupola terminated in a shaft to
carry off the smoke of the furnace.

Under Louis XV., in 1727, an iron structure was substituted for this
stone lantern, whose masonry had been calcined by the fire, and whose
broad piers, moreover, had the serious inconvenience of obscuring a
very considerable portion of the light; but the furnace was kept at the
same elevation; namely, about 120 feet above the level of the highest

This elevation, as it did not enable the light to be seen at a
sufficient distance, was soon pronounced unsatisfactory. A scheme to
raise it 100 feet was planned by the Chevalier de Borda, who submitted
it to Teulère, the chief engineer to the city of Bordeaux. The latter
pointed out that it was both imperative and possible to increase the
height by 65 feet. His designs were accepted, and their successful
execution, in 1788 and 1789, in spite of many dangers, procured for
Teulère a reputation scarcely inferior to that of De Foix himself.

The light is now placed at an elevation above high-water level of 190
feet, and above the ground of 205 feet. But, regarded from an artistic
point of view, we must confess that the lighthouse has by no means
gained. There is a certain dryness about the too naked forms of the
modern construction, which contrasts in a manner much to be deplored
with the elegance and richness of the Renaissance work. The present
summit (_couronnement_) is by no means equal to that which formerly
existed. Yet, as Reynaud justly observes, the first impression which
the edifice produces leaves no room for regret; you are penetrated with
a profound feeling of admiration the moment you find yourself in the
presence of this majestic monument, towering with so sublime a boldness
above the bosom of the ocean.


These emotions have been finely expressed by Michelet in his noble book
on “the Sea.”

“During our six month‘ sojourn on this shore,” he says, “our ordinary
object of contemplation—I had almost said, our daily society—was
Cordouan. We felt keenly how its position as guardian of the seas,
as the constant watcher of the strait, made of it an individuality.
Erect against the broad eastern horizon, it appeared under a
hundred varied aspects. Sometimes, in a belt of glory, it triumphed
under the sun; sometimes, pale and indistinct, it hovered through the
mist, no augury of good. At evening, when it abruptly kindled its red
light, and darted forth its glance of fire, it seemed like a zealous
inspector, who watched over the waters, impressed and disquieted by
his responsibility. Whatever occurred at sea was attributed to it.
By illuminating the tempest, it was frequently a source of safety,
and yet men ascribed to it the storm. It is thus that Ignorance too
often treats Genius, accusing it of the evils which it reveals. Even
we ourselves were not just. If it delayed lighting up, if bad weather
came, we censured it, we growled at it. ‘Ah, Cordouan, Cordouan, thou
white phantom! canst thou, then, bring us nought but storms?’”

       *       *       *       *       *

During the last few years a complete restoration of the lighthouse
of Cordouan has been carried out, with the view of replacing the
stones—and they were numerous—injured by the weather, and of renewing
the sculptures, which it was difficult to trace, they were so worn
and abraded. All the buildings which at different times had been
erected against the platform-wall to supply the insufficiency of
dwelling-apartments in the lighthouse, have been reconstructed. And
in 1854 arrangements were made to distinguish it from neighbouring
lights; it has now a revolving light, white and red, with a range of
twenty-seven miles.


The introduction of the dioptric apparatus into the Cordouan lighthouse
took place long ago; it belongs, in fact, to the earliest experiments
of Fresnel, for it is a peculiarity worth notice in the annals of this
patriarch of pharoses, that attention has always been directed to it
when any question has arisen of testing a new invention. It was one
of the first which saw the inconvenient and unsatisfactory _chauffer_
replaced, as a means of lightage, by oil lamps. In 1782 it was provided
with at least eighty of these, each accompanied by a reflector. A few
years later, when Teulère had furnished Borda with the elements of the
catoptric system, the largest apparatus was immediately installed at
Cordouan (1790). Finally, when Augustin Fresnel, in his turn, invented
the lenticular system, it was at Cordouan that experiments were first
made with the most important model.

Considering, then, the numerous and valuable services which Cordouan
has rendered, we ask ourselves, says M. Rénard,[52] whether, among the
numerous monuments raised by the pride and daring of man, there are
many of so much respectability as this “Patriarch of the Lighthouses!”
We cannot acknowledge that any one of them is so justly deserving of
our reverent admiration. Nobler, far nobler, and of infinitely greater
utility, than the trophies by which the conqueror has tracked his
bloody path, or the pompous boundary-stones erected by nations at each
stage of their history, it will also be of a more permanent character.
For these belong only to individuals or peoples: Cordouan belongs to
the whole human race.

[52] Rénard, “Les Phares,” pp. 145-158.





A.D. 1774.

    Doux feux qui protégez et Thétis et la Seine,
    Sûrs et brillants rivaux des deux frères d’Hélène,
    Phares, je vous salue; assurez à jamais
    Le commerce opulent de l’heureuse Neustrie;
          Fixez dans ma patrie
    L’abondance, les arts, tous les fruits de la paix.

          Casimir Delavigne.

    Ye fires which guard both Thetis and the Seine,
    Bright shining compeers of the brothers twain—
    Castor and Pollux—vigilant fires, all hail!
    O gentle lights, I pray ye, never fail
    To guide secure each wealthy Neustrian keel,
    And to my country all the fruits reveal
    Of blessèd peace, and guard the common weal!

No one can have visited Havre without devoting at least an hour to
the Cape La Hève, and to the two lighthouses which have extorted from
Casimir Delavigne his poetical homage. A pilgrimage to this point is
made all the more willingly that the pilgrim who accomplishes it must
necessarily pass through Sainte-Adresse, and Sainte-Adresse—need we
remind the reader?—is one of the marvels of Normandy.

“The delicious vale of Tempe, which the poets of all time have pleased
themselves with investing in the riches of their imagination, possesses
no attraction which the valley of Sainte-Adresse need envy: its limpid
waters, the gently sloping hills which enclose it, the little gardens
where for once the hand of Art has not defaced and desecrated the
work of Nature; the pure ethereal freshness which it inhales from the
breath of its myriad flowers, and which the wind of the plain never
respires;—all charms, all seduces, and we exclaim, Happy he who can
spend his life in an abode which Flora and Pomona embellish! The
goddess Hygeia resides there throughout the year, and, by a happy
alliance with Boreas, both contend for the pleasure of protecting this
new Eden against the hideous host of human infirmities. Painters, seize
your brushes, and let its image revive on your imitative canvas; poets,
come hither in quest of inspiration!”

It is thus that Morlent expresses himself in his “Monographie du
Havre.” It is true that Morlent—as the reader will conjecture—wrote in
1825. Since that date many things have greatly changed—the descriptive
style as well as the valley of Sainte-Adresse, which is no longer
anything else than a suburb of Havre, covered with edifices of a more
or less picturesque character.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most curious thing which Sainte-Adresse has preserved is the
story of the origin of its name. Namely: that a vessel driven by the
currents into the immediate vicinity of the promontory of La Hève,
which then extended a greater distance into the sea, was on the point
of perishing. Already the despairing sailors had given up further
efforts; the pilot, having abandoned the rudder, imitated the rest
of the crew, and commended his soul to St. Denis, patron-saint of
Caux,[53] whose spire was at intervals visible through the haze. “My
friends,” said the captain, who in these circumstances had retained
his presence of mind, “it is not St. Denis we must invoke, but
_Sainte-Adresse_ (St. Skill), for it is only she who at this crisis
can carry us safely into port.” The sailors regained courage; the
ship entered Havre; and the phrase “Sainte-Adresse” became everywhere

[53] Saint-Denys-Chef-de-Caux was formerly the port of the town now
called Sainte-Adresse. Here Henry V. disembarked, in 1415, when he laid
siege to Harfleur. But the sea, gradually encroaching on the Cape, has
destroyed the village, the port, and the church where St. Denys was

In reference to La Hève, the great writer, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, a
native of Havre, relates a fantastic legend:—

“The Seine”—it is Cephas, one of the personages of _the Arcadia_, who
speaks—“the daughter of Bacchus and nymph of Ceres, had pursued into
the land of the Gauls the goddess of wheat, when she was seeking all
the earth over for her daughter Proserpine. When Ceres had terminated
her wanderings, the Seine begged of her, as a reward for her services,
the meadows through which the river at present flows. The goddess
consented, and granted, moreover, that wine should grow wherever the
daughter of Bacchus planted her feet. She left then the Seine upon
these shores, and gave her as her companion and follower the nymph
Héva, who was bidden to watch beside her, for fear she might be carried
away by some god of the sea, as her daughter Proserpine had been by the
god of Hades. One day while the Seine was amusing herself on the sands
in quest of shells, and when she fled, with loud cries, before the
blue sea-waves which sometimes wetted her feet, Héva, her companion,
discovered under the waters the white locks, the empurpled visage, and
azure robe of Neptune. This god had come from the Orcades after a great
earthquake, and was traversing the shores of Ocean, examining with his
trident whether their foundations had been shattered. On seeing him,
Héva shrieked loudly, and at her warning cry the Seine immediately
fled towards the meadows. But the sea-god had also descried the nymph
of Ceres, and moved by her brightness and charming mien, he drove his
sea-horses in swift pursuit. Just as he was on the point of overtaking
her, she cried upon Bacchus her father, and Ceres her mistress. Both
heard her; and as Neptune stretched forth his arms to seize her,
all the body of the Seine dissolved into water; her green veil and
vestments, which the winds fluttered before her, were changed into
emerald waves; she was transformed into a river of the same colour,
which still finds a pleasure in winding through the scenes she had
loved in her days of nymph-hood: but what is best worthy of notice is,
that Neptune, despite the metamorphosis, has never ceased to love her,
as is also said of the river Alpheus with regard to the fountain of
Arethusa. But if the god of ocean has preserved his passion for the
Seine, the Seine still cherishes her antipathy to him. Twice a day he
pursues her with awful roar; and each time the Seine flies from him
into the green inlands, ascending towards her source, contrary to the
natural course of rivers.[54] And ever she separates her green waters
from the cerulean billows of ocean.

[54] It is almost unnecessary to say that Saint-Pierre here refers to
the _mascaret_, or “bore,” of the Seine.

“Héva died of sorrow for the loss of her mistress. But the Nereids, to
reward her for her fidelity, raised to her memory on the shore a tomb
of black and white stones, which are visible from a great distance. By
a celestial artifice, they also enclosed in them an echo, that Héva,
after her death, might both by sight and hearing forewarn the sailor
of the dangers of the sea. This tomb is yonder precipitous mountain,
composed of funereal strata of white and black stones. It still bears
the name of Héva.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Cape La Hève, the ancient promontory of the Caletes, is one of the
jetties, or breakwaters, of the great embouchure of the Seine; in the
tenth century, it extended far into the sea, and made an integral part
of the bank of l’Eclat, which is now separated from it by a channel
upwards of 2000 yards in width. The bank, as its name indicates,
has been broken up by a sudden eruption of the currents, or by an
earthquake. Nor has ocean ceased its ravages, for it is calculated that
its waters encroach seven feet upon the land every year.


If we may credit an old chronicle, the origin of the two lighthouses
of La Hève is very ancient. They date back to the epoch when Harfleur
was the rendezvous of Spanish fleets. The tower which then surmounted
the groyne (_groing_) of Caux had been constructed in 1364; a fire
was kindled on its summit in all weathers, and it was called the
_Tour des Castillans_. Not a vestige was extant when the incessant
representations of merchants and seamen determined the Government of
Louis XV. to comply with the instance of the Chamber of Normandy by
constructing the lighthouses which now illuminate the port of Havre.

The buildings represented in the accompanying illustration were
erected in 1774. Surmounted at first by _chauffers_ in which coal was
burned, each of them was crowned in 1781 by a lantern containing an
illuminating apparatus of sixteen spherical reflectors, some lit up by
three, and the others by two broad wicks. There were forty burners in
the apparatus. The double paraboloidal reflectors of Bordier-Marceat,
six to each lighthouse, were substituted for these faulty appliances in
1811 and 1814, and their number increased to ten in 1819. Finally, in
1845, the towers were restored and modified in their superstructure, so
as to fit them for receiving the lenticular apparatus, and lanterns of
12 feet in diameter.[55] In the meantime, suitable dwellings for the
light-keepers were erected between the two towers. Each keeper has two
apartments, a closet, a store-room, and a wood-shed, which stands in an
enclosed court. He is not, therefore, indifferently accommodated.

[55] These towers have recently undergone another alteration, and are
now lit by the electrical apparatus; giving a light equal to 5000
Carcel burners, and visible for upwards of 27 miles.

       *       *       *       *       *

The elevations of the La Hève lighthouses present a very imposing
appearance. The view from their summit is singularly impressive,
and has even been compared by travellers to that of Corinth and
Constantinople. When the air is clear, and the sky unclouded, the
spectator can see as far as Barfleur on the south-west; on the west,
Honfleur, Trouville, and the little picturesque bathing places on the
Normandy coast: Villers, Houlgate, Cabourg, Beuzeval; and finally, in
the remote distance, La Hogue, the scene of Admiral Russel’s celebrated
victory. To the north, he discerns the Cape of Antifer, and the rent
and sombre rocks of Etretat.





A.D. 1836-1840.

One of the most important of the French lighthouses is that whose
brilliant fixed light radiates nightly over the vast and dangerous
space comprised between the coast of Brittany and the Roches-Douvres.
In our opulent cities it would be considered a monument of the first
rank, and its celebrity would, perhaps, rival the renown of the towers
of the Eddystone and the Bell Rock, if, like them, it numbered as many
years, and had been erected at an epoch when engineering science was
less advanced than is the case in the present day.

As a matter of justice, however, we may remark that, notwithstanding
the self-reliance of its celebrated constructor, when he cast the
foundations of his edifice on the formidable rocks of the Epées de
Tréguier—notwithstanding his thorough acquaintance with the labours of
his predecessors—M. Léonce Reynaud found himself called upon to meet
and conquer difficulties scarcely less numerous or less arduous than
those so successfully vanquished by a Smeaton and a Stevenson.

These obstacles were of such a formidable character that the French
Lighthouse Commission long hesitated, when deciding on the erection of
a lighthouse at the mouth of the gulf which extends between Brittany
and the Cotentin, whether its site should be on the mainland or out
at sea. The rock on which the choice of the engineers finally rested
was part of a group which the sea nearly overwhelms at high tide. It
was evident, therefore, that the artificers would only be able to work
for a certain number of hours daily. More, the ocean-currents of the
region in which it was situated were proverbially very violent; their
rate of speed was not less than eight knots per second, and when their
force is augmented by the agitation of a tempest, the billows rage
with excessive and formidable fury, swelling to enormous heights, and
filling the air with their clash and clangour.

Nothing daunted by these difficulties, our engineers set to work, and
commenced the erection of the workmen’s sheds. These were planted on
the isle of Bréhat, at about three league‘ distance from the rock.
In addition to the fact that this island possesses numerous perfectly
sheltered harbours, it is placed by the currents under quite peculiar
conditions with respect to the rock of the Héaux: the ebb-tide swings
from the island to the rock, and the flood rushes from the rock to
the island; and it is exactly at low water that disembarkations must
take place. Finally, the island presented all the resources desirable
for the accommodation and provisioning of the numerous artificers
whose services were called into requisition by so considerable an

In one of the havens a jetty of rough stones, about 170 feet in length,
was constructed, to facilitate the embarkations and disembarkations,
which would necessarily be very frequent. The harbour, that of La
Corderie, was exactly opposite the Héaux. In addition to the boats
which transported to the rock the materials prepared _in_ the island,
a very large flotilla was employed in conveying the rough materials,
drawn from all quarters, _to_ the island. The granite came from the
Ile-Grande, situated about ten leagues to the westward; the lime
from the basin of the Loire; Saint-Malo furnished the timber; and,
finally, as the wells of Bréhat did not supply sufficient water for the
additional population and the uses of the artificers, water, as well as
provisions, was obtained from the mainland.

Sixty artificers formed the “army of labour” organized to carry out
all M. Raynaud’s bold designs. Lodgings had to be provided for them,
inasmuch as the navigation was too uncertain, and the time during
which boats could anchor much too short, to admit of their being daily
carried back to the mainland. Fortunately, at a very short distance
from the place chosen for the works, two aiguilles, or needle-rocks,
were found, sufficiently elevated to remain constantly above the level
of the water. The interval between them was filled up partly with
rough stones and partly with masonry, until an elevation of thirteen
feet above the sea was secured; and a platform was thus constructed
sufficiently durable for the purpose to which it was intended to
put it. Here were planted the huts of the men, and the framework of
a beacon which was to carry a provisional light. You may suppose,
gentle reader, that there was no room to be wasted. In the beacon was
placed, besides the store-room and the keeper’s lodgings, the chamber
for the accommodation of the engineer; his bivouacking hut was on
the right; by blowing up a portion of the rock, a long but narrow
apartment was obtained for the overseers; on the left, in front,
stood the kitchen and larder; at the side, the workmen’s dining-room;
behind, their sitting and bed-room, which was well filled. The beds
were placed as close to each other as possible, in two tiers. A third
range was situated in the refectory, above the table. And, lastly, on
a projecting crag, to the left, means had been found to erect a small
forge, which had but one defect, that it was often impossible to keep
it lighted at high water.

At first the workmen were allowed to supply themselves as they pleased
with provisions; but some cases of scurvy having broken out, the
engineer felt the necessity of enforcing upon them a regular bill of
fare. For this purpose he established a canteen, and bound down its
owner to keep a stock sufficient for six week‘ supply, as a precaution
against possible bad weather, which might cut off all communication
with the mainland. At this canteen each workman was compelled to
obtain his rations. Other hygienic measures were adopted. The hammocks
were every morning exposed in the open air, and once a week the
lodging-rooms were lime-washed. Once a week, too, the whole company
bathed. Thanks to these precautions, the terrible malady whose approach
had been apprehended was driven from the island, and the sanitary
condition of so great a number of men herded together in a very
limited compass remained constantly satisfactory.

Every day, as soon as the tide had ebbed, the artificers repaired to
work, and the hours for meals were so arranged that no interruption
took place while the tide lasted. When the rising waters forced them
to abandon the rock, a bell gave the signal. They then hastened to
cover with a cement which hardened instantaneously the portions of
masonry which had just been finished, and took refuge in their abodes.
Sometimes, however, it would happen that the sea rose with unusual
rapidity; woe, then, to the tardy! They had no other resource but to
throw themselves into the water before its depth became dangerous;
an amusement for the on-lookers, and almost their only one. Thanks
to these measures of order and supervision, the engineer had not to
regret the loss of any of the members of his laborious little colony;
although, during the course of their works, many ships, and, still more
unfortunately, several visitors, perished.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us now say a few words respecting the work itself.

The principal difficulty of the operation consisted in erecting the
submarine portion of the building. Once the level of high-water mark
was reached, the men could not only carry on their labours more
conveniently, but were relieved from the most critical chances.
Thenceforth they had nothing further to do with the sea than as
regarded the process of landing, and to a certain extent they built
upon an island. But on this artificial island everything depended, and
in its formation every precaution had to be studied.

The rock on which the lighthouse rests consists of an extremely hard
and resistant black porphyry. Nevertheless, as in some places it
showed numerous fissures, the work began with the removal of all the
superficial part, so as to secure a properly sound basis; and as, at
the same time, it was of great importance that the foundation should
never be exposed, M. Reynaud adopted the necessary measures to sink it
completely in the rock. With this view, an annular surface of 38 feet
in diameter, destined to support the hewn stone work, was excavated in
the porphyry to a depth of about twenty inches, and dressed with the
utmost exactitude; a labour of excessive difficulty on account of the
tenacity of the rock, but a certain safeguard against future danger. In
the groove thus protected by the whole mass of porphyry were deposited
the first courses. As for the part of the rock corresponding to the
interior of the tower, no special necessity for extra precautions
existing in respect to it, it was left in its rough state, with simply
a layer of concrete.

       *       *       *       *       *

With a view to that stability which has become for the engineer a
principle of elegance, the building, 155 feet in height, has been
divided into two principal parts. The first, concave at its base, is
of solid masonry up to three feet three inches above the level of the
highest tides; its diameter at the base is 38 feet, and at its summit
28 feet. The second, reposing on this impregnable foundation, presents
that measure of lightness which would have been considered suitable for
a tower of the same elevation built upon the mainland. The thickness of
the wall is 50 inches below, and 30 inches above.

As for the methods adopted by the architect, it does not seem necessary
to describe them in detail; they would only prove interesting to
readers of scientific acquirements. Yet we feel disinclined to pass
over in silence a bold conception which does honour to M. Reynaud;
namely, that, contrary to a generally accepted idea, it is not
necessary in works of this kind to bind together all the stones as a
whole, under a supposition that the sea may sweep them away during
or after the execution of the works. Thus, in the lighthouses of the
Eddystone and the Bell Rock, all the stones in the lower courses are
dove-tailed into one another after the most ingenious designs, and
held together by plugs of iron and wood. Unquestionably, says Reynaud,
these arrangements are not without efficacy; but it is doubtful whether
sufficient reasons for them exist. Perhaps they even present more
inconveniencies than advantages, for, in addition to their cost, they
necessitate a troublesome delay in the execution of works which it is
of importance to raise as rapidly as possible above the level of the

The architect of the lighthouse of the Héaux has not, then, fixed each
single stone; he has confined himself to arresting at certain points
the total mass of water which he supposed might be set in motion during
each tide. Consequently each layer was divided, for this purpose, into
a certain number of portions; twelve for the lower, and eight for the
upper courses. All the stones of these great key-stones rested one
upon another by means of salient and re-entering edges; and, more,
those of the angles were securely fastened to the course beneath by
plugs of granite. Experience has proved this simple arrangement to be
sufficient; no injury has occurred to contradict the principle on which
it was founded.

Such are the means by which this almost unequalled pharos of the
Héaux was completed. It occupied six years in erection. The first
was employed in examining the localities and perfecting the plans;
the second, in the establishment of the cabins and the formation of
the groove in the rock; the third, in the construction of the solid
masonry; during the fourth, the tower was raised as far as the first
gallery; in the fifth, a little above the cornice; finally, in 1839,
the lantern was fixed and lighted. The monument bears the following
inscription: “This edifice, commenced in 1836, was completed in 1839,
in the reign of Louis Philippe.”

Rapid and successful as was the work, it was nevertheless marked
by some accidents. At the commencement of the campaign of 1836,
all the machines were in their places, and preparations were being
made to lay the first stone, when the whole was swept away by an
extraordinary wave. We have heard the engineer describe the cruel
regret he experienced on arriving at the rock, after having been
separated from it for three days by the tempest, and discovering all
his works prostrated, most of his artificers wounded, the whole of
them demoralized, and in the midst of the confusion the seamen, who
had never been willing to believe in the feasibility of the matter,
laughing aloud. He did not lose his courage, and skilfully revived the
ardour of his men at the same time that he raised anew his apparatus.
A “crab” was planted on the precipitous rock, at whose foot the
barges brought alongside, and the materials were transported with the
assistance of a railway laid down on the precipice which separated
this natural landing-place from the site of the tower.


       *       *       *       *       *

Alone, in the midst of ocean, the lighthouse of the Héaux of Bréhat
acquires, by its very isolation, a character of severe grandeur which
profoundly impresses the voyager. As Michelet says, it has the sublime
simplicity of a gigantic sea-plant. Enormous, immovable, silent, it
seems, in truth, a defiance flung by the genius of man in the teeth of
the spirit of the storm. Sometimes, says M. de Quatrefages, you would
say that, sensible of the outrage, the heavens and the sea league
together against the enemy who braves them by its impassability. The
impetuous winds of the north-west roar around the lantern, and hurl
torrents of rain and whirlwinds of hail and snow against its solid
crystal. Under the impulse of their irresistible breath gigantic
billows hurry up from the open sea, and sometimes reach as high as the
first gallery; but these fluent masses glide over the round polished
surface of the granite, which does not offer them any holding-place;
they even fling long streams of foam above the cupola, and dash down
with a groan on the rocks of Stallio-Bras or the shingly beach of the
Sillon. But without a quiver the lighthouse supports these terrible
attacks. Yet it bends towards them as if to render homage to the power
of its adversaries. The keepers have assured me that during a violent
tempest, the oil vessels, placed in one of the highest chambers, show
a variation in level of upwards of an inch, which supposes that the
summit of the tower describes an arc of more than a yard in extent.
For the rest, this very pliancy may be regarded as a pledge of
durability. At least, we find it in numerous monuments which have
braved for centuries the inclemencies of the season. The spire of
Strasburg Cathedral, for instance, curves, under the breath of the
winds, its long ogives, and its graceful little columns, and balances
its four-armed cross, elevated 440 feet above the soil.

The keepers of the lighthouse of the Héaux did not deceive M. de
Quatrefages. Observations made in other lighthouses, erected in the
open sea, confirm the statement they made to him. If these monuments
of human skill and industry are 130 feet in height and upwards, their
agitation becomes sufficiently perceptible to spill any liquids in
uncovered vessels, to shake the movable weights of the mechanism,
rattle against the sides of the descending tubes, and, in a word, to
suggest to visitors a vivid idea of the roll of a ship. Towers built
after this fashion are, in fact, reeds of stone which bend before the
wind; but, like the reeds, they raise their heads again as soon as the
hurricane has passed.





A.D. 1861.

We must not take leave of French oceanic lighthouses—that is, of
lighthouses built out at sea—without a brief reference to that of the
Grand Barge d’Olonne. Situated on a rock of shoal about 1.134 nautical
miles from the shore, in a situation surrounded by obstacles of every
kind, where the currents are excessively violent, and where the
tempests so disturb and madden the sea as to render nugatory all known
methods of construction, this lighthouse does the greatest honour to
its architects.

Its foundation is almost completely submerged, and during high tides
the waves leap to a height, it is said, of 100 feet.

The work was undertaken in 1857, and completed in 1861; but such were
the difficulties offered by the nature of the locality, that in these
five years only one thousand nine hundred and sixty hours could be
devoted to consecutive labour. Yet, so familiar are now the principles
on which edifices of this nature must be constructed, or—to speak more
justly—so confident in their own resources are the engineers who devise
and erect them, that even this comparatively brief period proved amply

The entire cost of the work was 450,000 francs, or £18,000. It was
executed under the direction of M. Reynaud, inspector-general, and M.
Forestier, engineer-in-chief. The tower is built of granite, the stones
of the face being mortised and tenoned together; its diameter at the
base is 39.37 feet, tapering with a curved outline to 21.23 feet at the
upper part. The door-sill is 13.12 feet above high-water mark of the
highest tides, and up to this level the tower, with the exception of a
cellar for coal and fresh water, is solid. Above the level the tower is
hollow, with an internal diameter of 11.48 feet, and is divided into
five stories by vaults of brick. The tower has a stout cornice and
parapet of granite. From the centre of its platform rises the turret,
6.56 feet high, and 8.2 feet in internal diameter, which supports
the lantern. The internal diameter of the catadioptric illuminating
apparatus is 3.28 feet, and gives a white light with red flashes every
three minutes.

The rocky peak on which the “Phare des Barges” stands, rises about one
and a half foot above low water of ordinary spring-tides; but at low
water of neap-tides is covered to the depth of about two feet and a

It is situated to the westward of the port of Sables-d’Olonne.





A.D. 1859—1863—1865.

We have spoken of the patriarch of the French lighthouses, the
venerable Tower of Cordova; it would be unfair to forget the youngest
of the family, that of New Caledonia. Independently of the services
which it renders in the region it illuminates, this edifice has, so to
speak, a physiognomy of its own: it is built of iron, and structures
of this material are sufficiently rare to justify us in devoting a few
lines to its description.

Iron is not so suitable as stone for the construction of lighthouses;
it is not so durable, it is more expensive in working and repairing,
and it affords a less efficacious protection against the thermometrical
variations of the atmosphere. Yet under certain circumstances our
engineers gladly have recourse to it. It has given rise to various
systems of construction. One of these, invented by Mr. Mitchell, has
been successfully applied in several instances in England; and has been
adopted in France for the lighthouse of Walde, kindled in 1859 to the
north of Calais, on a sandy shore stretching far out into the sea;
and for the lighthouse erected on the rock of the Enfant Perdu (coast
of Guiana). It consists of iron pillars protected in the lower part
by strong metal screws, strengthened by cross bars and St. Andrew’s
crosses, and surmounted, at a suitable distance above the sea-level, by
a platform which supports the rooms of the keepers. The whole erection
is crowned by the lantern.

Since we are speaking of this pharos of the Enfant Perdu, let us say
how difficult a task was its construction. “More than once,” writes
Vivian, the chief engineer of Cayenne, “it was necessary, in order to
fix a running hawser for landing purposes, that stout and courageous
men should resolutely dash into the sea, and swim with a rope to the
shore. The risk of being flung against the rocks was not the least they
ran, for, as at the bar of the Senegal, sharks abound in these regions.
The ebb and flow render navigation very difficult; more than one of the
men were wounded, and we may say that all sported with their lives.”

Yet here, as elsewhere, resolution, industry, and perseverance have
triumphed over every obstacle.

The framework of the pharos at Port de France, New Caledonia, like that
of the Roches-Douvres, is made up of sixteen uprights, each composed of
fourteen pannels. Each pannel is formed of T irons, consolidated and
riveted together in such a manner as to be perfectly firm—an object
fully attained, for the oscillations experienced in lighthouses of
stone are in this scarcely discernible. These pannels are pinned one
upon another, while cross bars applied both within and without, and
likewise pinned, keep the uprights in their position. Finally, on these
latter cross bars, and on the inner sides of the uprights, rest the
plates of sheet iron constituting the walls, or sides, whose joints are
covered by iron platbands, fixed by bolts.

       *       *       *       *       *

The height of the New Caledonia lighthouse is 164 feet, or 170
feet if we measure from the base of the tower to the point of the
lightning-conductor. Its apparatus is of the first class, lenticular,
with a fixed white light, whose range is twenty-two miles. The spot
on which it is raised is an island of sand, such as the coral animals
form in so great and dangerous a number in the southern seas, and is
situated to the south-west of Noumea.


Constructed at Paris, and transported in pieces to the Antipodes, the
pharos of New Caledonia was inaugurated on the 15th of November 1865,
with all the ceremonial appropriate to so important an event. After the
benediction of the monument by the priests of Noumea, M. the Commandant
Guillain pronounced a discourse, from which we extract the following

“If, transporting ourselves in thought into the different regions of
the civilized world, we examine the events transpiring there, the most
magnificent panorama is unrobed before our eyes. Everywhere,—and this
will be the glory of our epoch,—everywhere, great works are being
executed to bring the peoples together, to multiply their relations, to
prepare, in a word, that universal brotherhood, destined and reserved
by Providence for future generations.“

The savages, attracted by the brilliancy of the festival, mingled with
the French soldiers, seamen, and colonists. Did they understand this
wise and noble speech? We fear not. But Time marches onward for them as
for us, and Time, which has already destroyed their horrible custom of
cannibalism, will one day explain its full meaning to them. Nor is this
glorious epoch far remote; wherever beams the lighthouse-lamps, the
sails of rich argosies whiten the horizon, wafted from sea to sea by
the powerful impulses of civilization!







Lighthouses form the _first_ line of the coast defences which man
raises for his protection against the fury of the ocean. But there are
many parts of the coasts of every maritime country which are unsuitable
for their construction, whether they be built of stone or iron, and
which, nevertheless, stand greatly in need of illumination. In England,
especially, these points are numerous. Among others, we may refer to
the Goodwin Sands—that fatal tract off the shore of Kent which has been
the destruction of so many “tall ships” and “adventurous mariners,”
whose name has for centuries been associated with the memory of the
most deplorable disasters. On the entire coast of England there is
probably no other locality so fatally connected with dismal stories of
human suffering, and yet it was long impossible to warn the sailor
from it by any certain agency. Lighthouses could not be stationed on
its shifting sands; and it seemed as if this one wild waste must of
necessity be abandoned to the pitiless winds and not more compassionate
seas. However, towards the close of the last century, the idea occurred
to one Robert Hamblin of substituting floating lights for fixed
lights—a light_ship_ for a light_house_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Robert Hamblin was an experienced and reputable barber of Lynn, who had
married the daughter of a shipowner of that busy little seaport, and in
due time had become master of a vessel. He was engaged in the coasting
trade—in carrying coal from Newcastle to other ports—and was thus well
enabled to judge of the inadequate manner in which the eastern coast
was lighted. Accident, after a time, introduced him to a man whose
brain was full of grand projects, but who was cruelly hampered by
poverty—David Avery; and the two, combining their resources—the one
finding the money, the other the intellect—established at the Nore a
floating light on board a ship, and assumed a right of levying tolls
for the maintenance of this new pharos (A.D. 1732).

It was impossible that the Trinity House could regard this assumption
as other than an infraction of their legal privileges, though they
were compelled to own that the lightship was successful, and that it
proved of great assistance in the navigation of the intricate estuary
of the Thames. Encouraged by the triumphant issue of his experiment,
Avery boldly announced his design of placing a similar vessel among
the waters of the Scilly Islands. The corporation of the Trinity
House, in their capacity of protectors of British commerce, then laid
a complaint before the Lords of the Admiralty; who, however, were
either unwilling or unable to act. They next addressed themselves to
the Crown, representing that it was illegal for any private individual
to levy a tax on the mercantile marine; and acted with so much energy
as to obtain a royal proclamation prohibiting the light at the Nore.
Avery, whose schemes of acquiring almost boundless wealth were thus
rudely broken up, appeared in person before the Board, and proposed to
treat with them in reference to the Nore light. He asserted that he had
expended a sum of £2000; and his offer was, that all right and title to
the floating ship should remain for ever in the hands of the Trinity
House, but that the tolls should be levied by him and his heirs for a
period of sixty-one years, on payment of a yearly sum of £100. These
terms were accepted.[56]

[56] The second light-vessel established off the British coast was the
_Dudgeon_ (Lincolnshire), in 1736.

Such, briefly told, was the origin of Lightships.

The lightship, be it understood, is not employed only to indicate the
position of a sand-bank, but as a beacon against perfidious currents,
submarine whirlpools, or reefs which are hidden at certain hours by the
high tide. We borrow from the lively pages of M. Esquiros a sketch of
this most useful vessel:—

“When first seen, and especially if seen from a distance, a lightship
closely resembles during the day an ordinary barque. But if examined
from a nearer point of view, a very great difference between the two is
readily discernible. The lightship floats, but it does not move; its
short stout masts are without sails, and surmounted by large balls.
Other ships represent motion; this, immobility. We ask of vessels,
as a rule, that they shall obey the wind and the wave; we ask of the
lightship that it shall resist them. What, indeed, would happen if
it drifted before the gale? Like a meteor, the wandering light would
deceive the pilot, instead of warning him. A ship which does not
navigate—a fixed and fettered ship;—such is the ideal which the builder
of the light-vessel keeps ever before his mind; and this ideal has
naturally troubled the imagination of naval architects in more than one

The form of the lightship varies according to its locality: in Ireland
the hull is more elongated than in England; but in all cases the object
to be attained is the same—resistance to the force of the winds and
waves. It is desired that in the most violent tides, in the midst
of the angriest billows, and in situations the most exposed to the
influence of the currents, it shall drag as little as possible upon its
anchor. That it may at all times and in all conditions preserve the
same maritime position, it is securely moored. Like a galley-slave,
riveted to an iron chain, it can move neither to the right nor
to the left. The length of its cable is, of course, regulated by
circumstances: at the Seven Stones, where it rides in 240 feet deep of
water, it measures upwards of a third of a mile in length. Some years
ago it was found that the addition of certain ingenious shackles (so
to speak) controlled its movements; and by various improvements in its
construction, the result has been obtained that, slave though it be,
it shall weigh as little as possible on its mooring-chains. Usually,
the moorings consist of a chain lying along the sea-bed for 1260 feet,
with an anchor of 32 cwt., in the shape of a mushroom at either end,
and a swivel in the centre, to which is attached a veering cable of 630
feet of chain.

[Illustration: THE LIGHTSHIP.]

Few instances are on record of a lightship having broken loose from
its moorings, and none of its having suffered shipwreck. Each vessel
carries, for emergencies, two bower anchors of 20 cwt. and 15 cwt.;
and cables respectively 1260 and 900 feet long. Nor is it known that
the crew have, on any occasion, or whatever the fury of the tempest,
voluntarily changed their position. If, however, the ship should be
driven from its place by the irresistible force of the elements, so
that its light may become a source of danger to the mariner, they hoist
a red signal and fire a gun, and generally it is soon restored to its
normal situation. The peril of drifting, and the presence of mind
which the necessary manœuvres require in such an event, are evidences,
nevertheless, of the courage and resolution of the men who live, day
and night, exposed to the caprice of the seas. As it is necessary to
prepare for every accident, a spare vessel is always held in readiness
at the headquarters of each district; owing to the telegraphic network
which now surrounds our shores, the slightest mishap is soon made known
to the authorities; and often before sunset the reserve ship, towed by
a powerful steam-tug, occupies the place of the vessel which the storm
has driven from its moorings. The lightships of the Trinity House are
painted _red_; those of Ireland, _black_. Experiment has shown that
red and black are the two colours which most vividly contrast with
the prevailing hue of the sea. The name of the vessel is inscribed in
large letters on its sides. A flag, bearing a cross quartered with four
ships, waves at the stern. These are the arms of the Trinity House.

Our British and Irish lightships numbered fifty-nine in 1870. Each,
like the lighthouse on shore, is distinguished by its own peculiar
aspect—by certain differences which assist the navigator in recognizing
it, and, consequently, in recognizing the particular danger he is
called upon to avoid. Some have one light, some two lights, some three
lights. Of these lights many are fixed, many revolving, many coloured.
The building and equipment of one of these vessels[57] will cost from
£2000 to £3000. Its maintenance, including the cost of oil, the wages
and provisions of the men, amounts to about £1200 per annum.

[57] The average length is 80 to 90 feet, and the burden from 160 to
180 tons. The _Calshot_, between Southampton Water and the mouth of the
Medina (Isle of Wight), is only 100 tons.

The United States stand next to Great Britain in the number of
lightships which they support in the interests of commercial
enterprise. At one time, however, their organization was very
indifferent; but of later years the system followed in England has been
adopted with a few unimportant modifications. The American ships are
painted in longitudinal stripes of varied colours. In very bad weather
they frequently quit their posts, and return into harbour.

France has fewer lightships than either Great Britain or America, and
only _five_ whose burthen exceeds seventy tons.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us now say a few words in reference to the resolute crews who man
these vessels.

The crew of an English lightship consists of a master, a mate, and nine
men. Three out of the nine are intrusted with the service of the lamps;
the six others, who always include among them a good carpenter, attend
to the order and cleanliness of the vessel. It must be remembered,
however, that the nine men are never all on board together; one-third
are always enjoying an interval of rest on shore. Experience has
proved that a perpetual sojourn on board a ship of this kind is too
much for the moral and physical forces of human nature. The crushing
monotony of the same scenes, the eternal spectacle of foam-crested
waters rolling wherever the eye is turned, the ceaseless noise of the
winds, the everlasting murmur of the ocean—swelling at times into so
terrible a roar that it renders inaudible the human voice—could not
fail to exercise a depressing influence on the mind. But even allowing
for the occasional vacation spent upon land, the life is so uniform
and unexciting that it is wonderful any man can be found to endure
it; and the crews of our lightships may assuredly be ranked among the
curiosities of civilization.

To mitigate the rigours of so strange a profession, the Trinity Board
provides that each man shall pass one month on shore for every two
months he spends on board; while the captain and the mate change places
every month. But grim old Neptune does not always permit this system of
reliefs to be regularly carried out. It often happens in winter that
the storm and the tide are opposed to every kind of disembarkation;
and between the lightship and the Scilly Islands, for instance, weeks
elapse before the communication can be re-established. The men ashore
are occupied in cleaning cables, painting buoys, filling the oil tins,
and similar duties. We know not whether what was acknowledged by an
old lightship “hand” is true of all; that all the time he was on land,
he dreamed of the sea; all the time he was on board the lightship, he
dreamed of the land.

The visitor of an English lightship cannot fail to be struck with
its admirable condition, and with the fine appearance of its crew.
Sun-tanned and weather-beaten, they are models of English sailors:
frank, self-reliant, unassuming, obedient, nimble, vigorous, and
resolute. They seem well-contented with their lot, and if they complain
at all, it is of the quantity and quality of their provisions. The
ration of bread (seven pounds a week) is not quite sufficient for
hearty men, and I confess, from my own experience, that the sharp air
to which they are exposed is well adapted to whet one’s appetite. When
they are at sea, their food is supplied by the Trinity House; when on
shore, they receive instead one shilling and threepence a day. Their
wages are fifty-five shillings per month; the master receives £80 per

Two men at a time are charged with the care of the lamps, the third
being on shore; one of these two performs for a month the functions of
a cook. Formerly, if we may believe public rumour, the lightship crews,
isolated by continual tempests which rendered the sea impracticable,
have been reduced to the extremest necessities, have even perished
of hunger. To prevent the recurrence of such calamities, a steamboat
or a good stout sailing-vessel regularly visits the lightship once a
month. In the worst weather the communication is never interrupted for
a longer period than six weeks, and the stock of provisions is always
sufficient to last the crew for even a longer time.

The lanterns in which the lamps are fixed are hung round the mast;
during the day they are lowered on deck that they may be cleaned, and
supplied afresh with oil; at night, this crown of lights is raised
to its conspicuous position by means of a pulley. The ship is also
provided with some small cannon and a gong. But, unfortunately, these
signals are not always comprehended by foreign ships.

The crew of the Scilly lightship, says Esquiros, have witnessed but
two shipwrecks; in the one instance, they saved a single life; in
the other, all the passengers, with the exception of the wife of a
missionary. It is not, however, a part of their duty to go to the
rescue of vessels in danger; and if the authorities admire, for obvious
reasons they do not encourage such acts of heroism. Their sole and
all-absorbing duty is to take care of the light. The discipline to
which they are subjected is severe, and no man may quit his post under
any pretence whatever. A sailor, in 1854, having been informed of his
wife’s death, deserted the lightship, and repaired to London to attend
her funeral. He was reprimanded, and it was only in consideration of
the motive which had induced his absence that the authorities refrained
from discharging him. The lightship of the Seven Stones, off the
Scilly Islands, is the most exposed of all the vessels on the British
coast;[58] its captain, however, considers that it rides much more
easily on its anchors in a sea where waves are long and regular, than
those ships which are moored in seas with short and contrary waves. He
will tell you that his gallant barque is always ready for the tempest.
And yet its deck is sometimes washed by the waves, and when the sea
strikes against its broadside, the roar is like the discharge of a
piece of artillery.

[58] Others which occupy dangerous positions are, the Leman, the Ower,
the Newarp, the Sunk, and the Kentish Knock.

       *       *       *       *       *

On board every lightship the life of the crew is much the same. On
Sunday, at dawn, the lantern is lowered, and the lamp-lighter cleans
and prepares his lamps for the next night’s work. At eight o’clock
everybody must be on the alert; the hammocks are hung up, and breakfast
is served. Afterwards, the men wash and put on their uniform, of which
they are very proud, for on its buttons figure the arms of the Trinity
House. At half-past ten they assemble in the cabin, and the captain or
mate performs divine service. At sunset the lighted lantern is hoisted
up—the real standard of the vessel—and the crew again meet together
for prayer and the reading of the Scriptures. With the exception of the
morning and evening services, the week-days close resemble the Sundays.
Wednesday and Friday are the chief cleaning days, and the ship then
shines with cleanliness. To watch over, and maintain in due order,
the lighting apparatus; to keep watch on deck; to note seven times in
every twenty-four hours the conditions of the wind and atmosphere;
to attend to the condition of the mooring-chains;—such is the almost
invariable circle of their occupations. Their leisure time, which is
not inconsiderable, they employ in reading. A library is always kept
on board, and the books are circulated from hand to hand, and ship to
ship. Under such circumstances how miserable would be the condition of
a man who could neither read nor write! Yet such is sometimes the case
with a few on first entering the service; but whether it be the force
of example, or the necessity of overcoming the oppressive ennui of idle
hours, it generally happens that, with the assistance of the captain
or mate, they more or less repair this absolute want of education.
One of the best officers of the company is a man who taught himself
reading and writing in order that he might obtain an engagement on
board a lightship. The seamen also devote their leisure to all kinds
of ingenious manual work, and some of them set to work as shoemakers,
joiners, tailors, wood-carvers, and the like.




To complete our account of the defences of our coast, we must refer
to works of less pretension than lighthouses and lightships, and of
less utility, though still of very considerable importance. They
present themselves under various forms, and they have different names,
according to their respective positions and objects.[59]

[59] Founded on a chapter in M. Rénard’s “Les Phares;” and an article
in _Chambers’s Journal_, February 1870.

Let us first direct our attention to landmarks and beacons; by which,
in nautical language, we mean every terrestrial object that assists
the seaman in calculating his data, and determining his course. The
spires of churches, the towers of castles, windmills, tall isolated
trees, or rocks of a characteristic configuration, are useful for this
purpose. Solitary peaks, like that of Teneriffe—volcanoes surmounted by
a canopy of smoke—are gigantic landmarks which assist the navigator in
rectifying his geographical position.

Among the very numerous class of landmarks we meet with a few as
celebrated as, or even more celebrated than, the majority of our
lighthouses. Such are the Pillars of Hercules—anciently designated
the Columns of Saturn or of Briareus—and Pompey’s Pillar, near
Alexandria. One thing is wanting, however, to the glory of the Pillars
of Hercules—that they should have existed. Hesychius, nevertheless,
asserts that there were three or four, while, according to Edrisi, six
were placed on the sea-coast; the easternmost at Cadiz, in Andalusia;
the others in the islands of the Shadowy Seas, as a warning to
navigators not to advance beyond them. But Strabo, when speaking of
the foundation of Cadiz by the Tyrians, puts forward some doubts as to
the accuracy of this statement, and his doubts seem not to have been
ill-founded. We believe with him that these famous Pillars of Hercules
existed only in the imagination of the writers of antiquity, who were
frequently as enthusiastic in belief of fable as of truth.

The best known sites of the pillars, whether they were real or
fabulous, were at Calpe, on the European shore of the Straits of
Gibraltar, and at Abyla, on the African. But _what_ the pillars were,
none of the ancient authorities are agreed. According to Strabo, some
believed them to be rocky headlands, others, islands; the former rising
up from the land, the latter starting out of the sea, like gigantic
columns. Others, again, understanding the word στῆλαι literally, looked
for artificial mounds, or columns, or statues, which Hercules himself
had erected to indicate the limit of his conquests, or the Phœnician
navigators had dedicated to their tutelary deity, to record the
extent of their discoveries.[60] Strabo informs us that this literal
interpretation was held by the Iberians and Libyans, who denied that
there existed at the Straits anything resembling columns, but pointed
out, as the Pillars of Hercules, the bronze columns in the temple of
the god at Gades, on which the expenses of building the temple were
inscribed. He adds that this opinion was held by Poseidonius, in
opposition to the Greeks in general, who considered the pillars to mean

[60] See Article “Herculis Columnæ,” in Smith’s “Dictionary of
Geography,” i. 1054.

       *       *       *       *       *

A monument not less famous, and whose existence cannot be doubted,
inasmuch as it still answers the purpose of a landmark, is the
so-called Pompey’s Pillar, at Alexandria. This structure is the
first object to attract the eye when you approach the classic shores
of Egypt; from afar it dominates over the town, the minarets, the
obelisks, and the lighthouse.

Pompey’s Pillar—the _Amood é sowari_ of the Arabs—occupies the summit
of a dreary, solitary mound, which overlooks the Lake Mareotis and
the modern city of Alexandria. It may be described as a handsome and
stately Corinthian column; the shaft, a monolith of red granite, 73
feet in height; the total height, including capital and base, 98 feet
9 inches; the circumference, 29 feet 8 inches. Its history is involved
in considerable obscurity. The Arab chronicler, Abdallatif, represents
it to be the sole remaining pillar of the four hundred which once
adorned and enclosed the celebrated Serapeion, or Temple of Serapis;
the Portico, where Aristotle expounded his philosophical theories; the
Academy, which Alexander erected when he founded the city, and where
the great library was placed—the glory of Alexandria—erroneously
said to have been destroyed by order of the Caliph Omar.

[Illustration: COLUMN AT ALEXANDRIA (_Known as Pompey’s Pillar_).]

The Serapeion was razed to the ground at the instigation of a furious
zealot, the patriarch Theophilus. Its columns were rent and shattered,
and finally piled up, as a break-water, on the sea-shore—all save the
one stately pillar—the loftiest of the four hundred—the “pillar of
the colonnades,” as the Arabs emphatically termed it—which is still
the cynosure of European pilgrims. This was re-erected by Publius or
Pompius, prefect of Egypt, and a new capital and base were provided
for it; the whole being dedicated, as an inscription on its pedestal
records, in honour of the Emperor Diocletian, “the Invincible,” and in
commemoration of the deliverance of Alexandria from the insurgent bonds
of the pretender Achilleus (A.D. 297).

The summit may either have been crowned with a statue, or have simply
assisted in sustaining the cupola of the Serapeion.

Pompey’s Pillar—as, in defiance of history, men still continue to call
it—stands to-day in a wild and dreary waste—widely different from the
scene that surrounded it when, of old, the Nile swarmed with gilded
barges, and the waters of the Mediterranean were ploughed by countless
argosies, and the flickering glare of the pharos was the guiding star
of the commerce of the world. You reach it, as Miss Martineau tells
us, through the dreariest of cemeteries, where all is of one dust
colour, even to the aloe which is fixed upon every grave. From the
base, the view is curious to novices. Groups of Arabs are at work in
the crumbling, whitish, hot soil, with files of soldiers keeping watch
over them. To the south-east you obtain a fine view of Lake Mareotis,
whose slender line of shore seems liable to be broken through by the
first ripple of its waters. The space between it and the sea is one
expanse of desolation. A strip of vegetation—some marsh, some field,
and some grove—looks well near the lake; and so do a little settlement
on the canal, and a lateen sail gliding among the trees.

       *       *       *       *       *

As commerce increased, and flowed into fresh channels, men very
naturally multiplied on every coast the landmarks which played the
same useful part by day as did the pharoses by night. If we may
believe Coulier, we owe to the Etruscans the invention of that system
of beacons which, neglected for many centuries, has been resuscitated
of late years, and developed according to fixed principles. Where
natural landmarks are non-existent, we now-a-days rear small but
durable constructions of timber or masonry, at suitable points of the
shore, painting them of a brown colour if they stand defined against
the sky, as on the summit of a lofty hill, or of a white colour, if
they are projected on the land. When it is desirable to indicate the
position of a submarine reef, on whose hidden point a good many ships
might otherwise go down, a _buoy_ is placed there—that is, a floating
frame-work of iron or wood, with or without a bell, and painted of
various colours. Some of these buoys, as in the channel of a river
or the water-way of a harbour, are hollow cones of iron, kept in
their positions by stout cables and a heavy anchor. Others, of larger
dimensions, resemble a kind of cage; not a few are built up of masonry,
where the water is shallow, like small turrets; and these are
provided with chains and ladders for the convenience of shipwrecked
seamen. The floating buoys are generally furnished with great bells,
which are swung to and fro with a solemn and overpowering peal, by the
oscillations of the waves. “Beware! beware!” they seem to cry; but,
alas! their warning sounds are often heard too late, and the “tall
ship,” swept onward by the demon of the storm, frequently clashes
against the very buoy that gave warning of the danger.


As a general rule, the buoys in a river channel are painted red,
striped with white, if the homeward-bound vessel is to leave them on
the right; and black, when she has to pass them on the left. Others are
painted with horizontal stripes of red and black, or in squares and
diamonds, according to the various purposes they are intended to serve.
Obstacles, such as wrecks, are marked by green buoys.

A buoy, recently invented by Mr. Hubert, and adopted by the Trinity
Board, is so constructed, with regard to the centre of flotation,
and the point where the mooring-chain is attached, that it will keep
upright in almost any weather.

Another buoy, invented by Messrs. Brown and Lenox, is ingeniously
contrived to render its _bell_ audible even when the buoy itself is
not visible; the stream of water passing through the lower part of the
framework keeps in motion an undershot water-wheel, which incessantly
rings the bell.

The average size of the buoys now in use is about eight feet, but many
are of larger dimensions; and some, like North-east Spit Buoy, at the
east end of Margate Sand, are twenty feet. Various plans for lighting
them have been suggested, but with no very successful result. The only
felicitous instance is that of the Arnish Beacon on the north coast of
Scotland; it consists of a cone of cast-iron plates, surmounted with a
lantern containing a glass prism. The prism is illuminated by a light
directed upon it from Stornaway Lighthouse; and so perfect is the
deception that the fishermen long refused to believe there was not a
real light on the beacon.

[Illustration: THE ARNISH BEACON.]

Nearly a thousand buoys are posted about the coast of England and in
the channels of her principal rivers. Scotland and Ireland have about
two hundred each. These bear their own particular denominations,
forming a very diversified and somewhat amusing vocabulary. We find
amongst them an “Eagle,” a “Gull,” a “Swallow,” a “Horse,” a “Mussel,”
a “Firefly;” also a “Cutler,” a “Constable,” a “Columbine,” and
a “Fairy;” a “Royal Sovereign,” a “Protector;” and a “Tongue,” an
“Elbow,” and a “Longnose.”

The position of every buoy on the British coast is verified once a
quarter; and every half-year—that is, in March and September—all buoys,
except the largest, are “shifted,” being replaced by clean ones. After
a certain period of immersion they lose their brilliancy of colour,
and become encrusted with salt, as well as with organic matter.
“Buoy-shifting,” says a recent writer, “is a duty which calls forth all
the skill and energy of the officers and men comprising the crews of
the Trinity House vessels, for the buoys are mostly placed to indicate
the position of dangerous shoals, and not unfrequently the change is
effected under very inauspicious circumstances. The buoys brought in
are carefully examined, and if fit for further use, repainted and

The cost of a buoy varies, according to its size, from twenty-five to
two hundred and fifty pounds.







The life of a lighthouse-keeper is not without a certain monotony; but
it must be greatly cheered by the reflection that it is devoted to a
high and holy service. There is about it a certain heroic simplicity—it
is so completely separated from the commonplace aims and concerns of
the work-day world; and it is characterized, moreover, by an austere
regularity which reminds one of the existence formerly led in grotto
and cavern by saint and hermit, though its end is much more useful, and
it is in itself of far greater value to mankind.

The first article of the instructions which every lighthouse-keeper is
bound to obey—and to obey as implicitly as a soldier obeys the articles
of war—runs thus:—

“You are to light the lamps every evening at sun-setting, and keep
them constantly burning, bright and clear, till sun-rising.”

This is the primary condition of a lighthouse-keeper’s duty: for this
he lives, for this he toils, for this he watches—that the helpful flame
which has been the salvation of so many lives may steadily glow and
brightly burn from sunset until sunrise.

“Whatever else happens,” remarks a lively writer,[61] “he is to do
this. He may be isolated through the long night-watches, twenty miles
from land, fifty or a hundred feet above the level of the sea, with the
winds and waves howling round him, and the sea-birds dashing themselves
to death against the gleaming lantern, like giant moths against a
candle; or it may be a calm, voluptuous, moonlight night, the soft
air laden with the perfumes of the Highland heather or the Cornish
gorse, tempting him to keep his watch outside the lantern, in the open
gallery, instead of in the watch-room chair within; the Channel may
be full of stately ships, each guided by his light; or the horizon
may be bare of all signs of life, except, remote and far beneath him,
the lantern of some fishing-boat at sea: but whatever may be going on
outside, there is within for him the duty, simple and easy, by virtue
of his moral method and orderly training, ‘to light the lamps every
evening at sun-setting, and keep them constantly burning, bright and
clear, till sun-rising.’”

[61] “Cornhill Magazine,” vol. i., pp. 224, 225.

That this great article of the lighthouse-keeper’s faith may be the
more easily carried out, he is subjected, both when on probation
and afterwards, to a strict discipline, and is required to gain a
thorough acquaintance with all the materials he has to handle—lamps,
oil, wicks, lighting apparatus, and revolving machinery. Before being
admitted into the service, he is carefully examined as to his physical
qualities by keen medical eyes; and as to his moral qualities, the
best testimonials are necessary from persons in whose competency and
honesty of judgment implicit confidence can be placed. He receives
liberal wages, and, when past work, a fair pension; and a deduction
from his pay is regularly applied to the discharge of a premium on his
life insurance. He is enjoined to “the constant habit of cleanliness
and good order in his own person, and to the invariable exercise of
temperance and morality in his habits and proceedings; so that, by his
example, he may enforce, as far as lies in his power, the observance of
the same laudable conduct by his wife and family.” The utmost vigilance
is expected of him when it is his turn to attend to the lantern. “He
whose watch is about to end is to trim the lamps, and leave them
burning in perfect order, before he quits the lantern and calls the
succeeding watch; and he who has the watch at sunrise, when he has
extinguished the lamps, is to commence all necessary preparations for
the exhibition of the light at the ensuing sunset.” No bed, sofa, or
other article on which to recline, is permitted, either in the lantern
or in the apartment under the lantern known as the watch-room.

From these requirements we may infer what kind of life is led by the
lighthouse-keeper, and what are its leading requisites: temperance,
cleanliness, honesty, conscientiousness, zeal, watchfulness. At
different stations it varies considerably in its lighter occupations.
In the rock lighthouse—such as the Eddystone—the keeper’s chief
amusements are necessarily reading and fishing: the only capability
of exercise is within the circle of the outer gallery, or on the
belt of rock surrounding the lighthouse base; and the sole incidents
which break up the uniformity of his daily life are the inspections
of the committee, the visits of the district superintendent, or
the monthly relief which takes the men back to shore. In the shore
lighthouse—as at Harwich or the Forelands—there is a plot of ground to
cultivate, frequent intercourse with visitors from the neighbouring
watering-places, and the wider range of occupation and entertainment
which necessarily can be enjoyed upon _terra firma_.

As a rule, the public take but little interest in the economy of our
lighthouses; and yet there is something singularly romantic in the idea
of the lone tower encircled by boiling waters, with its warning light
flashing through the deep night shadows, and the heroic men who hour
after hour watch with anxious care lest its radiance should be obscured
or extinguished.

    “And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
      Through the deep purple of the twilight air,
    Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light
      With strange, unearthly splendour in its glare!

    “Not one alone: from each projecting cape
      And perilous reef along the ocean’s verge,
    Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,
      Holding its lantern o’er the restless surge.

    “Like the great giant Christopher it stands
      Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave;
    Wading far out among the rocks and sands,
      The night-o’ertaken mariner to save.

    “And the great ships sail outward and return,
      Bending and bowing o’er the billowy swells;
    And ever joyful, as they see it burn,
      They wave their silent welcomes and farewells.

    “They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
      Gleam for a moment only in the blaze;
    And eager faces, as the light unveils,
      Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.

    “The mariner remembers when a child,
      On his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink;
    And when, returning from adventures wild,
      He saw it rise again o’er ocean’s brink.

    “Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same
      Year after year, through all the silent night,
    Burns on for evermore that quenchless flame,
      Shines on that inextinguishable light!

    “‘Sail on!’ it says, ‘sail on, ye stately ships!
      And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
    Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,
      Be yours to bring man nearer unto man!’”[62]

[62] Longfellow.

As a proof of the romance that formerly invested lighthouse life, we
may lay before the reader one or two “true stories.”

Off the coast of Northumberland, and outside, so to speak, of the
Farne Islands, lies the Longstone—a rock about four feet above high
water-mark, and swept by every gale with fierce drifts of spray and
foam. Here, about six miles from the shore, is planted a lighthouse,
which has been found of great use to the coasting vessels navigating
these dangerous waters. Two-and-thirty years ago its keeper was named
Darling. He had a daughter, Grace—a quiet, modest, well-behaved girl,
whose name, through one noble action, will for ever be honoured among
women. On a dark night in September 1838 the _Forfarshire_, a Hull
steamer, struck on a hidden reef called the Harcars, in the vicinity
of the lighthouse. She had on board sixty-three persons, including
passengers and crew. Their signals of distress were observed from the
lighthouse. It was impossible for Darling, the keeper, to pull off in
his boat alone; no single arm could have impelled it through the raging
sea that then prevailed. With admirable courage, Grace Darling resolved
to assist him on his noble errand. She sprang into the skiff, and over
the bounding billows father and daughter gallantly made their way.
Their lives hung upon a thread; but the weak girl never bated a jot of
heart or hope, and rowed with all the vigour which a noble enthusiasm
is apt to inspire. They reached the ship, and took off nine persons,
with whom they contrived to regain the lighthouse. Nine more escaped in
one of the steamer’s boats: all the rest perished.

Grace Darling did not live many years after the event which made her
famous. She was interred in the old chapel on Holy Island, and an
epitaph to her memory composed by the poet Wordsworth:—

    “The maiden gentle, yet at duty’s call
    Firm and unflinching, as the lighthouse reared
    On the island-rock, her lonely dwelling-place;
    Or like the invisible rock itself, that braves,
    Age after age, the hostile elements,
    As when it guarded holy Cuthbert’s cell.”

Smeaton speaks of a shoemaker who entered the Eddystone Lighthouse
because he longed for a solitary life: he found himself less a prisoner
on his wave-beaten rock than in his close and confined workshop. When
some of his friends expressed their astonishment at his choice—“Each to
his taste,” said he; “I have always been partial to independence.”

Perhaps it was the same individual who, after having served at the
Eddystone upwards of fourteen years, conceived so strong an attachment
to his prison that for two consecutive years he gave up his turn of
relief. He would fain have continued the same course of life for a
third year, but so much pressure was brought to bear upon him that he
consented to avail himself of the usual privilege. All the years he had
spent in the lighthouse he had been distinguished for his quiet and
orderly behaviour; on land he found himself “out of his element,” and
drank until he was completely intoxicated. In this condition he was
carried back to the Eddystone, where, after languishing for a few days,
he expired.

Some men have gone mad, or nearly so, by dint of contemplating the same
scenes and the same external impressions. About a mile and a quarter
from the Land’s End, on a group of granite islets washed by the sea,
stands the _Longships Lighthouse_, constructed in 1793. The particular
rock on which it is built—the Carn-Bras—rises about forty-five
feet above the level of low water. In winter both the rock and the
building—as is the case at the Eddystone—will sometimes be covered for
a few seconds by the leaping waters, which have even been known to
surmount the lantern, and, on one occasion at least, to break through
its crystal walls and extinguish the lamps.

One day, in 1862, two black flags floated from the summit of the tower.
They were evidently intended as a signal of distress. What, then, had


Of the three men who inhabited the lighthouse, the one whose turn it
was to keep watch had thrust a knife into his breast. His companions
attempted to stanch the blood by plugging up the wound with bits of
tow. Three days passed by before the people on shore could reach
the lighthouse; and the sea was then so rude and disembarkation
so dangerous that the wounded man had to be lowered into the boat,
suspended from a kind of impromptu crane. When he was conveyed ashore
he received every attention which his condition demanded; but he lived
only a few days. The jury, acting upon the evidence of his companions,
declared that he had committed suicide under an attack of temporary
insanity. Perhaps it is not astonishing that persons of a susceptible
or excitable temperament should, under the influence of ever-murmuring
seas and ever-blowing winds, and while living in a state of almost
continual solitude and comparative monotony, feel the vertigo of the
abyss ascend to their brain, so that the control of reason is loosened,
and the mind yields to the first impulse which passes over it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us now take a glance at lighthouse life from a French point of view.

Sagacious regulations and constant inspection have banished the
dramatic and the surprising from the French as well as from the English
lighthouse. Everything has been reduced to a system, and the keepers
are under a discipline scarcely less rigid than that of soldiers.
In France, indeed, veteran soldiers or tried seamen are generally
selected to fill up any vacancies that may occur in the lighthouse
administration. This is divided into two classes: the inspectors, who
receive a thousand francs yearly (about £40), and are intrusted with
the superintendence of several lighthouses; and the keepers, who are
divided into six classes, and whose annual wages vary from 475 to 850
francs (say £18 to £34). Extra payment is awarded to those who serve
in the sea lighthouses. Their number is never less than three in a
lighthouse of the first class, or two in those of the second and third
class lighthouses.

       *       *       *       *       *

The “code,” so to speak, from which we borrow these details is nearly
the same among all maritime nations. It indicates to the keepers their
duties, and prescribes to them the nature of their daily work. As
for their mode of life, it is much the same everywhere, only more or
less agreeable according to the stations. In France the lighthouses
served by a single keeper are intrusted to married men, who live in
the establishment with their family. Not only does such an arrangement
ameliorate their lot, but it also gives the assurance that in case of
need they will immediately be replaced in attendance on the lamp—a task
so easy that it can be discharged by a woman or even by a child. The
habitation allotted to them consists of one or two apartments, with
a chimney, an outhouse, and sometimes a cellar. A green and a small
garden are invariably attached. In some lighthouses the keeper’s house
is so placed with reference to the tower that the lamp is visible from
one of the windows; but in most the house is annexed to the tower, in
such a manner that if the keeper is compelled to rise and attend to the
lamp, at least he is not exposed, immediately after leaving his couch,
to the rigour, it may be, of a winter night.

       *       *       *       *       *

In lenticular lights of the first, second, and third class, whose
flame requires surveillance throughout the night, several keepers are
needed, who take their watch in turn. Formerly the keepers and their
families lodged together. But, unfortunately, those dissensions which
seem inevitable when a colony is numerous, and not amenable to a strict
discipline, were found to break out at very short intervals, and in an
exceedingly disagreeable manner. The authorities, therefore, resolved
only to admit their own servants into the interior of the lighthouses,
leaving to them, if married, the care of securing suitable lodgings for
their wives and children. To each keeper a room was allotted, and the
kitchen was common to all.

The result they had in view was thus obtained. But it was soon
perceived that to separate the keepers from their families was to
impose a heavy tax upon men whose pay was not too liberal; that to
deprive them of the sweet domestic joys which are the legitimate reward
of the cares and anxieties of paternity, was to increase the gloominess
of their isolation, by rendering it more complete; and, finally, to
expose them to the strong temptation of absenting themselves from
the lighthouse at the hours their presence was most necessary. These
inconveniences have been remedied by allotting to each keeper a
separate house for himself and his family.

It is, of course, impossible that a keeper’s family should be
accommodated in a sea lighthouse, which consists of a single tower.
They are, therefore, lodged on shore, near the port which keeps up
the communication between the lighthouse and the mainland. In such
a station life to many minds would be wearisome and monotonous. The
wind sometimes blows with so much violence that the keepers can with
difficulty breathe. They are then compelled to shut themselves up, as
closely as possible, in a tower darkened by the wreathing fog, or by
the foam of swelling waves, which envelopes it like a rent veil. On
fine summer days, like the English light-keepers, they amuse themselves
with fishing. If their abode is not encircled by rocks on which they
can stretch their lines, they knot around the lighthouse tower, at
a certain height, and immediately above the entrance, a stout rope,
suspending some forty or fifty lines, each about four feet long. When
the sea rises, the fish crawl along the wall, and snapping at the
bait, are immediately hooked. The tide goes down, and lo, the tower is
wreathed round with a complete festoon of fish!

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus, then, the life of a lighthouse-keeper varies little, whether
his post be situated on the English or the French shore, on a rock
washed by English or by French waters, in the Mediterranean or the
North Atlantic. It is a life not free from heavy shadows; but it is one
eminently calculated to develop the patient and enduring qualities of a
man, and to cultivate in him a habit of self-reflection. I do not think
it should be stigmatized as dismal, though it is the fashion so to
speak of it; but surely no life _can_ be dismal which is spent in the
service of humanity, in steadfast devotion to the interests of others;
no life _can_ be dismal which passes in constant contemplation of all
the glories of the sky and all the splendours of the sea—in constant
contemplation of the mightiest and sublimest of God’s works under their
grandest and most solemn aspects!




[63] Compiled from the Admiralty List, and corrected up to April 1870.

[Lightships are indicated by the mark ([++]), pile lighthouses by (§).]



    1. =Bishop Rock=, Scilly Isles, lat. 49° 52´; a fixed light,
    visible 16 miles; 147 feet high;[64] erected 1858.

    [64] The height is given in English feet, from the base to the vane of
the building.

    2. =St. Agnes=, Scilly Isles, lat. 49° 53´; revolving light
    every minute, visible 16 miles; 74 feet high; erected 1680.

    3. [++]=Scour Stones=, lightship, lat. 50° 3´; two fixed
    lights, visible 10 and 6 miles; fixed 1841.

    4. =Longships=, off Land’s End, lat. 50° 3´ 48´´; one fixed
    light, visible 14 miles; 51 feet high; erected 1795.

    5. =Penzance=, South Pier, lat. 50° 7´; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; 22 feet high; erected 1817.

    6. =Wolf Crag=, lat. 49° 56´; one light, revolving 30 seconds;
    100 feet high; erected 1870.

    7. =Lizard=, lat. 49° 57´; fixed light, visible 21 miles; 61
    feet high; erected 1751.

    8. =Falmouth=, St. Anthony Point, lat. 50° 8´; a revolving
    light every 20 seconds, and fixed light, visible 13 miles; 62
    feet high; erected 1835.

    9. =Falmouth=, Prince of Wale‘ Breakwater; fixed light;
    erected 1860.

    10. =Eddystone=, lat. 50° 10´ 49´´; one fixed light, visible 13
    miles; 89 feet high; erected 1703.

    11. =Plymouth=, west end of Breakwater; lat. 50° 20´; two fixed
    lights (one red), visible 9 miles; 76 feet high; erected 1844.

    12. =Plymouth=, Mill Bay, one fixed light, visible 12 miles.

    13. =Plymouth=, West Barbican Pier-head, lat. 50° 22´; one
    fixed light (_gas_), visible 6 miles; 20 feet high; erected

    14. =Start Point=, lat. 50° 13´; two lights, revolving every
    minute, visible 20 miles; 92 feet high; erected 1836.

    15. =Dartmouth=, Kingswear, lat. 50° 20´; one fixed light,
    visible 11 miles; 36 feet high; erected 1864.

    16. =Dartmouth=; a flagstaff, carrying one fixed light.

    17. =Dartmouth=, south part of town; one white light.

    18. =Brixham=, pier-head; lat. 50° 24´; one fixed light,
    visible 6 miles; erected 1839.

    19. =Torquay=, pier-head; lat. 50° 27´; one fixed light,
    visible 5 miles; erected 1852.

    20. =Teignmouth=, south-west end of Dam; lat. 50° 32´; two
    fixed lights, visible 6 miles; 37 feet high; erected 1845.

    21. =Lyme Regis=, pier-head and Custom House, lat. 50° 43´; a
    bright and a red fixed light, each visible 4 miles; erected

    22. =Portland=, near the Bill, lat. 50° 31´; two fixed lights,
    visible 21 and 18 miles; 50 and 85 feet high; erected 1789 and

    23. =Portland=, breakwater, fixed light, visible 9 miles;
    erected 1851.

    24. [++]=Portland=, Shambles Shoal Lightship; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; fixed 1859.

    25. =Weymouth=, North Pier; two fixed green and two fixed red
    lights; erected 1867.

    26. =Casquets=, lat. 49° 43´ 17´´; three lights, revolving
    every 20 seconds, and visible for 15 miles; one light 45 feet
    and the others 68 feet high; erected 1723.

    27. =Alderney Island=, lat. 49° 43´; two fixed red lights
    (_gas_), visible 5 to 9 miles; 55 and 25 feet high; erected

    28. =Guernsey=, St. Peter Port Old Harbour; one fixed light
    (_gas_), visible 3 miles; 24 feet high; erected 1832.

    29. =Guernsey=, St. Peter Port New Harbour, lat. 49° 27´; one
    fixed light (_gas_), visible 9 miles; 40 feet high; erected

    30. =Guernsey=, Rock of Stanois, lat. 49° 26´; one red light,
    revolving every 45 seconds; 117 feet high; erected 1862.

    31. =Jersey=, Vernclût Breakwater, lat. 49° 13´; one fixed
    light, visible 10 to 12 miles; 30 feet high; erected 1857.

    32. =Jersey=, Gouray Pier-head, one fixed light, _gas_.

    33. =Jersey=, Victoria Pier, St. Helier, lat. 49° 10´; one
    fixed light, visible 6 miles; erected 1858.

    34. =Jersey=, Albert Pier, St. Helier; one fixed light (_gas_),
    visible 3 miles; erected 1839.

    35. =Jersey=, Albert Pier, St. Helier; two fixed lights, _gas_;
    erected 1837.

    36. =Jersey=, Upper Pier Road, St. Helier, one fixed red light
    (_gas_), visible 3 miles; erected 1859.

    37. =Corbière Rocks=, lat. 49° 10´ 40´´. New lighthouse

    38. [++]=Minquiers Lightship=, lat. 48° 53´ 38´´; two fixed
    lights, visible 8 or 10 miles; fixed 1865.

    39. =Poole=, north side of harbour, lat. 50° 41´; two fixed
    lights, visible 6 miles; erected 1848.

    40. =Poole=, North Haven Point; one fixed light.

    41. =Isle of Wight=, Needle Rock, lat. 50° 39´ 42´´; one fixed
    light, visible 14 miles; 109 feet high; erected 1859.

    42. =Hampshire=, Hurst Point, lat. 50° 42´ 26´´; two fixed
    lights, visible 13 and 10 miles; one, 85 feet high, erected
    1812; the other, 52 feet high, erected 1733.

    43. =Isle of Wight=, Yarmouth; two fixed lights, green and
    white, erected 1857.

    44. [++]=Isle of Wight=, Calshot Lightship; one light,
    revolving every minute, visible 9 miles; fixed 1842.

    45. =Hampshire=, Southampton, Royal Pier; two fixed lights;
    erected 1841.

    46. =Isle of Wight=, Ryde Pier; one fixed light, visible 6 or 7
    miles; erected 1852.

    47. =Hampshire=, Stokes Bay Pier; two fixed lights; erected

    48. =Hampshire=, Southsea Castle, lat. 50° 47´; one fixed
    light, visible 9 miles; erected 1822.

    49. =Hampshire=, Spit Sand Fort; one fixed light; erected 1866.

    50. =Hampshire=, Horse Sand Fort; one fixed light; erected 1866

    51. =Hampshire=, Noman’s Land Fort; one fixed red light;
    erected 1866.

    52. =Isle of Wight=, Brading Haven Fort; one fixed green light;
    erected 1866.

    53. =Portsmouth=, Clarence Pier; three lights, _gas_; erected

    54. =Portsmouth=, Victoria Pier; two lights, _gas_; erected

    55. =Portsmouth=, Camber; one fixed light.

    56. =Portsmouth=, King’s Stairs; one fixed red light; erected

    57. =Portsmouth=, Clarence Victualling Yard, pier; one red
    light, _gas_; erected 1865.

    58. =Gosport=, one fixed red light; erected 1865.

    59. [++]=Warner= Lightship, lat. 50° 43´; revolving every
    minute, visible 8 miles; fixed 1854.

    60. =Temporary=, to indicate a wreck, 1½ miles S.E. of the

    61. [++]=Nab= Lightship, lat. 50° 42´ 15´´; two fixed lights,
    visible 8 and 6 miles; fixed 1812.

    62. =Isle of Wight=, St. Catherine’s Point, lat. 50° 34´ 30´´;
    one fixed light, visible 19 miles; 122 feet high; erected 1840.

    63. [++]=Owers= Lightship, lat. 50° 38´ 50´´; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; fixed 1788.

    64. =Littlehampton=, north end of pier, lat. 50° 48´; one fixed
    light (_gas_), visible 7 miles; 40 feet high; erected 1848.

    65. =Littlehampton=, Outer East Pier; one fixed light; erected

    66. =Worthing Pier=, lat. 50° 48´ 30´´; one fixed light;
    erected 1862.

    67. =Shoreham Harbour=, lat. 50° 50´; two fixed lights, visible
    10 miles; 38 and 5 feet high; erected 1825.

    68. =Brighton=, Chain Pier, lat. 50° 49´; one fixed green
    light, visible 10 miles; 22 feet high; erected 1824.

    69. =Newhaven=, West Pier, lat. 50° 47´; two fixed lights,
    visible 10 miles; 33 feet high; erected 1864.

    70. =Newhaven=, East Pier, one fixed green light; erected 1862.

    71. =Beachy Head=, Belle Tout Cliff, lat. 50° 44´ 15´´;
    revolving light every 2 minutes, visible 23 miles; 47 feet
    high; erected 1828.

    72. =Eastbourne=, lat. 50° 45´; a single lamp.

    73. =Hastings=, lat. 50° 52´; upper light on west hill, visible
    12 miles; lower, on beach, visible 5 miles; both _gas_.

    74. =Rye=, Camber, lat. 50° 57´; two fixed lights, _gas_.

    75. =Rye=, the pier-head; two fixed lights; erected 1860.

    76. =Rye=, the Groin; one fixed light, _gas_; erected 1864.

    77. =Dungeness Point=, lat. 50° 54´ 57´´; one fixed light
    (_electric_), visible 15 miles; 107 feet high; erected 1792.

    78. [++]=Varne Shoal= Lightship, lat. 50° 56´; revolving light
    every 20 seconds, visible 10 miles; fixed 1860.

    79. =Folkestone=, South Pier-head, lat. 51° 4´; two fixed
    lights, visible 6 miles; 31 feet high; erected 1848.

    80. =Folkestone=, New Pier; one fixed green light, visible 6
    miles; 28 feet high; erected 1860.

    81. =Dover=, Admiralty Pier; one fixed blue light; erected 1849.

    82. =Dover=, South Pier, lat. 51° 7´; three fixed red lights
    (_gas_), visible 12 miles; erected 1852.

    83. =Dover=, North Pier; one fixed red light; erected 1842.

    84. =Dover=, near Clock Tower; one fixed green light; erected

    85. =South Foreland=, lat. 51° 8´ 23´´; two fixed lights,
    visible 26 and 23 miles; one light, 69 feet high, the other, 49
    feet; erected 1793.

    86. =Deal=, Iron Pier, one fixed red light; erected 1865.

    87. [++]=Goodwin Sand=, South Sand Head Lightship, lat. 51° 9´
    35´´; one fixed light, visible 10 miles; fixed 1832.

    88. [++]=Goodwin Sand=, Gall Stream Lightship, lat. 51° 16´;
    revolving light every 20 seconds, visible 7 miles; fixed 1809.

    89. [++]=Goodwin Sand=, North Sand Head Lightship, lat. 51° 19´
    23´´; three fixed lights, visible 10 miles; fixed 1793.


    90. =Ramsgate=, West Pier-head, lat. 51° 19´ 42´´; one fixed
    light, visible 7 miles; 37 feet high.

    91. =Ramsgate=, East Pier-head; one light, flashing every 5
    seconds, and dark 5 seconds; erected 1867.

Thames River and Mouth; Kent and Essex Banks—Nos. 92 to 115.

    [92. =North Foreland=, lat. 51° 22´ 28´´; one fixed light,
    visible 19 miles; 85 feet high; erected 1790.

    93. =Margate=, West Pier, lat. 51° 24´; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; stone column, 70 feet high; erected 1829.

    94. [++]=East Tongue Sand= Lightship, lat. 51° 29´; two fixed
    lights, visible 10 and 4 miles; fixed 1848.

    95. [++]=Princes Channel= Lightship, one revolving light every
    20 seconds, visible 10 miles; fixed 1836.

    96. [++]=West Goodwin Sand= Lightship, lat. 51° 29´; one
    revolving light every 30 seconds, visible 10 miles; fixed 1848.

    97. [++]=Nore= Lightship, lat. 51° 29´; one revolving light
    every 30 seconds, visible 10 miles; fixed 1732.

    98. =Sheerness=, left demi-bastion, lat. 51° 26´ 48´´; one
    fixed light, _gas_; erected 1859.

    99. =Sea Reach=, Southend Pier-head; one red light; erected

    100. §=Sea Reach=, Chapman Head; one fixed light, visible 11
    miles; 74 feet high; erected 1849.

    101. §=Sea Reach=, Mucking Flat; one fixed light, visible 11
    miles; 71 feet high; erected 1849.

    102. =Hope Point=, fort; one fixed light, for colliers only;
    erected 1852.

    103. =Northfleet=, wharf; fixed light on iron frame; erected


    104. [++]=Mouse= Lightship, lat. 51° 32´; revolving light every
    20 seconds, visible 10 miles; fixed 1838.

    105. §=Maplin Sands=, lat. 51° 35´; one fixed light, visible 10
    miles; 69 feet high; erected 1838.

    106. [++]=Middle Swin=, Lightship, lat. 51° 39´; revolving
    light every minute, visible 10 miles; fixed 1837.

    107. §=Gunfleet Sand=, lat. 51° 45´ 50´´; one revolving light
    every 30 seconds, visible 10 miles; 72 feet high; erected 1850.

    108. [++]=Sunk= Lightship, lat. 51° 49´ 28´´; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; fixed 1802.

    109. [++]=Kentish Knock= Lightship, lat. 51° 40´ 50´´; one
    revolving light every minute, visible 10 miles; fixed 1840.

    110. [++]=Galloper= Lightship, lat. 51° 45´; two fixed lights,
    visible 10 miles; fixed 1803.

    111a. §=Harwich=, Dovercourt; two fixed lights, visible 12 and
    9 miles; 45 and 27 feet high; erected 1863.

    111b. =Harwich=, North Jetty; one fixed light; erected 1869.

    112. =Harwich=, near Landguard Point, lat. 51° 56´ 15´´; one
    fixed light, visible 5 miles; 38 feet high; erected 1868.

    113. [++]=Cork= Lightship, lat. 51° 46´; one revolving light
    every 30 seconds, visible 10 miles; fixed 1844.

    114. [++]=Shipwash= Lightship, lat. 52° 1´ 30´´; one fixed red
    light, visible 10 miles; fixed 1837.

    115. =Orfordness=, lat. 52° 5´; two fixed lights, visible 17
    and 14 miles; the high lighthouse 79 feet, the low lighthouse
    72 feet; both erected 1792. The high lighthouse is a circular,
    and the lower a sixteen-sided edifice.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    116. =Kessingland=, cliff, lat. 52° 24´ 50´´; one fixed light;
    68 feet high; erected 1867.

    117. =Lowestoft=, Harbour Pier; two fixed lights; erected 1847.

    118. =Lowestoft=, cliff, lat. 52° 29´ 14´´; two fixed lights,
    visible 16 and 11 miles; the cliff lighthouse, 53 feet high,
    erected 1609; the low lighthouse, on the Ness, 48 feet; erected

    119. =Corton Gatway=; two fixed lights, one 52 feet, the other
    18 feet high; erected 1865.

    120. [++]=Corton= Lightship, lat. 52° 31´ 15´´; revolving light
    every 20 seconds, visible 10 miles; fixed 1862.

    121. [++]=Hewett Channel=, or St. Nicholas Gate Lightship; two
    fixed lights, visible 10 and 4 miles; fixed 1837.

    122. =Yarmouth=, South Pier, lat. 52° 34´ 25´´; one fixed
    light; erected 1852.

    123. [++]=Cocker= Lightship, lat. 52° 41´; revolving light
    every minute, visible 10 miles; fixed 1844.

    124. =Winterton=, lat. 52° 43´; one fixed light, visible 14
    miles; 69 feet high; erected 1790. [The old lighthouse is
    mentioned in “Robinson Crusoe.”]

    125. [++]=Newarp= Lightship, lat. 52° 45´; three fixed lights,
    visible 10 miles; fixed 1791.

    126. =Hasborough=, lat. 52° 49´; two fixed lights, visible 17
    and 15 miles; 95 feet high; erected 1791.

    127. [++]=Hasborough= Lightship, lat. 52° 58´; two fixed
    lights, visible 10 miles; fixed 1832.

    128. [++]=Leman and Ower= Lightship, lat. 53° 8´ 45´´; two
    lights, one revolving every minute and one fixed, visible 10
    miles; fixed 1840.

    129. =Cromer=, cliff, lat. 52° 56´; one revolving light,
    visible 23 miles; 59 feet high; erected 1719.

    130. =Hunstanton Point=, lat. 52° 56´ 54´´; one fixed light,
    visible 16 miles; 63 feet high; erected 1665.

    131. [++]=Lynn Well= Lightship, lat. 53° 1´ 25´´; one revolving
    light, every 20 seconds, visible 10 miles; fixed 1828.

    132. =Lynn=; two fixed lights; erected 1868.

    133. =Boston=, Hob Hole; two fixed lights; erected 1868.

    134. [++]=Dudgeon= Lightship, lat. 53° 15´; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; fixed 1736.

    135. [++]=Outer Dowsing= Lightship, lat. 53° 28´ 15´´; one
    revolving light every 20 seconds, visible 10 miles; fixed 1861.

Humber River—Nos. 136 to 150.

    [136. [++]=Spurn= Lightship, lat. 53° 34´; one light revolving
    every minute, visible 10 miles; fixed 1820.

    137. =Spurn Point=, lat. 53° 34´ 44´´; two lighthouses, with
    fixed lights; one, visible 15 miles, 112 feet high; the other,
    visible 12 miles, 76 feet high; erected 1776.

    138. [++]=Bull Sand= Lightship, lat, 53° 34´; one fixed light,
    visible 8 miles; fixed 1851.

    139. =Grimsby=, pier-head; two fixed red lights.

    140. =Stallingborough=, ferry, lat. 53° 37´; one fixed light;
    erected 1849.

    141. =Killingholm=, lat. 53° 39´; three fixed lights, visible
    11 miles; high lighthouse, 77 feet high, erected 1831; north
    tower, 45 feet high, erected 1836; south-east tower, 45 feet
    high; erected 1852.

    142. =Paull=, lat. 53° 43´; one fixed light, visible 7 miles;
    30 feet high; erected 1836.

    143. [++]=Hebbles= Lightship, lat. 53° 44´; one fixed light,
    visible 5 miles; fixed 1839.

    144. =Chaldersness=; one fixed light; erected 1863.

    145. =Winteringham=; two fixed lights; erected 1862.

    146. =Brough=; two fixed lights.

    147. [++]=Whitton= Lightship; two fixed lights; fixed 1865.

    148. =Whitton=, New Pier; two fixed lights; erected 1862.

    149. =Walker=; one fixed blue light; erected 1863.

    150. =Faxfleetness=; one fixed light; erected 1863.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    151. =Bridlington=, North Pier-head, lat. 54° 5´ 12´´; one
    fixed light; erected 1852.

    152. =Flamborough Head=, lat. 54° 7´; revolving light every two
    minutes, visible 21 miles; 87 feet high; erected 1806.

    153. =Scarborough=, Vincent Pier, lat. 54° 17´; one fixed
    light, visible 13 miles; 56 feet high; erected 1806.

    154. =Whitby=, West Pier-head, lat. 54° 30´; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; 60 feet high; erected 1831.

    155. =Whitby=, East Pier-head; one fixed light, visible 8
    miles; erected 1855.

    156. =High Whitby=, lat. 54° 28´ 40´´; two fixed lights,
    visible 23 miles; south lighthouse, 66 feet high; north tower,
    46 feet high.

River Tees—Nos. 157 to 160.

    [157. =Brand Sand=, lat. 54° 38´; two lighthouses, 60 and 45
    feet high; erected 1839. Not used.

    158. =Fifth Buoy=, lat. 54° 37´ 36´´; one fixed light on piles;
    erected 1866.

    159. =Seal Sand=, one fixed red light.

    160. =Seaton=, lat. 54° 50´; high lighthouse, ½ mile inland,
    70 feet high, erected 1839; low lighthouse, on shore, fixed
    lights, visible 13 miles.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    161. =Hartlepool=, North Pier-head; one fixed green light;
    erected 1855.

    162. =Hartlepool=, Pier-head, lat. 54° 51´; one fixed light,
    visible 7 miles; erected 1836.

    163. =Hartlepool=, Heugh, lat. 54° 41´ 51´´; two fixed lights,
    visible 15 and 4 miles; 73 feet high; erected 1847.

    164. =Seaham=, South Pier-head, lat. 54° 50´; one fixed light,
    visible 4 miles; erected 1846.

    165. =Seaham=, Red Acre Point; two lights—high one fixed,
    visible 14 miles; low one, revolving every 30 seconds, visible
    11 miles; 58 feet high; erected 1857.

    166. =Sunderland=, North and South Pier-heads, lat. 54° 55´;
    three fixed lights, visible 13, 10, and 6 miles; north tower,
    64 feet; south tower, 23 feet; erected 1802.

    167a. =Souter Point=, lat. 54° 58´ 10´´; one fixed and flashing
    light (_electric_) every minute; 75 feet high; erected 1870.

    167b. =Tynemouth=, Castle Yard, lat. 52° 1´; revolving light
    every minute, visible 18 miles; 79 feet high; erected 1802. To
    be discontinued when Souter Point Lighthouse is completed.

    168. =Tynemouth=, North Pier Works; three fixed lights; erected

    109. =Tynemouth=, North Pier; erected 1865. To be moved out as
    the works advance.

    170. =Tyne=, or =North Shields=, lat. 55° 0´ 30´´; two fixed
    lights, visible 16 and 13 miles; 49 and 76 feet high; erected

    171. =Blyth=, lat. 55° 7´; two fixed lights, visible 11 and 7
    miles; 41 and 35 feet high; erected 1788.

    172. =Coquet Island=, lat. 55° 20´; two fixed lights, visible
    14 miles; square white tower, 72 feet high; erected 1841.

    173. =Warkworth=, South Pier, lat. 55° 21´; one fixed red
    light; erected 1848.

    174. =Farne Island=, lat. 55° 37´. High lighthouse—revolving
    light every 30 seconds, visible 15 miles; white tower, 43 feet
    high; erected 1766. Low lighthouse—fixed light, visible 12
    miles; 27 feet high (octagonal tower); erected 1810.

    175. =Longstone Rock=, lat. 55° 39´; one light, revolving every
    30 seconds, visible 14 miles; 85 feet high; erected 1826.

    176. =Berwick Pier-head=, lat. 55° 46´; two fixed lights,
    visible 12 and 8 miles; 44 feet high.



    177. =Eyemouth=, lat. 55° 52´; two fixed lights, visible 10 and
    8 miles; erected 1857.

    178. =St. Abb’s Head=, lat. 55° 55´; flashing light, every 10
    seconds, visible 20 miles; 29 feet high; erected 1862.

    179. =Dunbar=, Old Harbour, lat. 56°; one fixed light (_gas_),
    visible 5 miles; 27 feet high; erected 1857.

    180. =Dunbar=, Victoria Harbour; one fixed light, _gas_.

Firth of Forth—Nos. 181 to 207.

    [181. =Cockenzie=, pier-head; one fixed green light, visible 8

    182. =Fisherrow=, pier-head, lat. 55° 56´; fixed light; erected

    183. =Leith=, East Pier, inner part, lat. 55° 59´; one fixed
    light, visible 8 miles; 19 feet high; erected 1758.

    184. =Leith=, East Pier-head; one fixed green light; visible 8

    185. =Leith=, West Pier; one fixed light, visible 10 miles; 19
    feet high; erected 1829.

    186. =Newhaven=, pier-head, lat. 55° 59´; one fixed light,
    visible 5 miles; 29 feet high.

    187. =Granton=, pier-head; one fixed light, visible 6 miles; 40
    feet high; erected 1845.

    188. =Granton=, breakwater; two fixed red lights; 12 feet high.

    189. =Inchkeith Island=, lat. 56° 2´; one light, revolving
    every minute, visible 20 miles; stone lighthouse, 58 feet high;
    erected 1804.

    190. =Grangemouth=; one fixed light, visible 10 miles; stone
    tower, 30 feet high; erected 1847.

    191. =Charleston=, outer pier; one fixed light; erected 1866.

    192. =Inverkeithing=, West Quay, two fixed red lights; erected

    193. =St. David=; one fixed light; erected 1866.

    194. =Burntisland=, East Pier-head, lat. 56° 4´; one fixed
    light, visible 8 miles; 25 feet high; erected 1860.

    195. =Burntisland=, Ferry Pier; one fixed light; 9 feet high.

    196. =Burntisland=, New Pier; one fixed light; erected 1867.

    197. =Pettycur=, pier; one fixed light; erected 1854.

    198. =Kirkcaldy=, East Pier-head, lat. 56° 7´; one fixed light
    (_gas_), visible 8 miles.

    199. =Dysart=; one fixed green light, _gas_.

    200. =West Wemyss=, pier-head; one fixed red light.

    201. =Buckhaven=, East Pier-head, lat. 56° 10´ 6´´; one fixed
    light; iron tower, 9 feet high; erected 1854.

    202. =St. Monans=, lat. 56° 12´ 30´´; two fixed lights, visible
    6 miles.

    203. =Pittenweem=, East Pier-head, lat. 56° 13´; one fixed
    light, visible 6 miles; erected 1853.

    204. =Pittenweem=, saw-mill, one fixed light, visible 6 miles;
    erected 1853.

    205. =East Anstruther=, West Pier-head, lat. 56° 13´ 16´´; two
    fixed lights (_gas_), visible 4 miles; erected 1848.

    206. =Cellardyke=, lat. 56° 14´; one fixed red light, _gas_.

    207. =Isle of May=, lat. 56° 11´ 9´´. Lighthouse on summit of
    island—one fixed light, visible 21 miles; 78 feet high; erected
    1816. Lighthouse on north-east side—one fixed light, visible 15
    miles; 36 feet high; erected 1844.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    208. =Bell Rock=, lat. 56° 26 3´; one light, revolving every
    two minutes, visible 15 miles; 117 feet high; erected 1811.

    209. =St. Andrews=, pier-head, lat. 56° 20´ 3´´; one fixed red
    light, visible 6 miles; 18 feet high; erected 1825.

    210. =St. Andrews=, Cathedral turret; one fixed light, visible
    5 miles; erected 1849.

Firth of Tay—Nos. 211 to 215.

    [211. =Buddonness=, lat. 56° 28´; two fixed lights, visible 15
    and 12 miles; one on tower, 104 feet high, erected 1820; the
    lower one, 65 feet high.

    212. =Port-on-Craig=, lat. 56° 27´; two fixed lights, visible
    12 and 10 miles; one on tower, 76 feet high; one on piles, 53
    feet high; erected 1820 and 1845.

    213. =Newport=, West Ferry Pier, lat. 56° 26´; two fixed
    lights, visible 8 and 7 miles.

    214. =Dundee Harbour=, Middle and East Piers, lat. 56° 28´; two
    fixed lights, visible 8 and 7 miles.

    215. =Dundee=, Camperdown Docks; two fixed red lights, _gas_;
    erected 1865.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    216. =Arbroath=, Outer Harbour, lat. 56° 33´; one fixed light,
    visible 8 miles; stone tower, 22 feet high; erected 1826.

    217. =Arbroath=, Inner Harbour; two fixed lights.

    218. =Ness=, Scurdyness, lat. 56° 42´; one fixed light; erected

[65] We condense the following report from the _Dundee Advertiser_,
March 1, 1870:—

“On Tuesday night the Scurdyness Lighthouse, at the entrance to
Montrose Harbour, was lit up for the first time, amid the rejoicings
of the people of Montrose and Ferryden. From early morning the vessels
in the harbour displayed numerous flags, and more than the usual stir
was observable among the villagers on the opposite side of the river.
Indeed, seldom have the Ferryden people manifested so much enthusiasm;
but it is seldom that they have so much cause to rejoice. The want
of a light at the Scurdyness has long been felt by the seafaring
community. The rock-bound shore stretching between the Bell Rock and
the Girdleness—a distance of nearly fifty miles—is perhaps one of the
most dangerous parts of the east coast of Scotland, and has been the
scene of numerous shipwrecks and great loss of life. At no point within
these limits have so many disasters occurred as at the entrance to
Montrose Harbour, now fortunately protected by the Scurdyness Light.
Bounded on the one side by large outlying and in some instances hidden
rocks, and on the other by a long stretch of sandy shore, whilst the
channel itself is extremely narrow, the entrance to Montrose Harbour
is very difficult for navigation, and particularly so when the weather
is boisterous. Moreover, on the north side, and within a very short
distance of the newly-erected lighthouse, is the Annat—a sandbank on
which many vessels have been wrecked in attempting to make the harbour.
The necessity, therefore, for a light on Scurdyness was very great, and
has been long and deeply felt. Situated at the Point, on the southern
side of the channel, the lighthouse, a substantial building, commands a
clear-weather range of seventeen nautical miles. It is built on solid
rock, the foundation being of stones from Benholm Quarry, and the tower
itself of white brick. The entire height of the tower is about 100 feet
and the lighthouse about 30 feet—in all, 130 feet from base to vane.
The diameter at the base is 23 feet 2 inches, whilst at the top it is
16 feet. A spiral stair of about 140 steps leads to the top of the
tower, after which the ascent to the various stories is by ladders.
There is a room near the top, in which are deposited the stores. The
light is fixed and white, of the second order (dioptric), and the
mechanism for supplying the lamp with oil is of the most interesting
nature. Oil is pumped up to the wick by clock-work; and an alarm
sounds during the whole time the machine is in motion, so that any
irregularity is immediately announced to the attendant. The light will
be seen from about S. W. ¼ S., round by the east to about N.E. ¼ N., or
as far as the land will permit. The bearings are magnetic, and from the
vessel. A light of weaker power will be shown from the channel towards
Montrose Harbour.”

    219. =Montrose=, north side of harbour; two fixed lights,
    visible 11 and 10 miles; 65 and 39 feet high; erected 1818.

    220. =Stonehaven=, harbour, lat. 56° 58´; two fixed lights,
    visible 8 miles; erected 1839.


    221. =Girdleness=, lat. 57° 8´ 15´´; two lights, visible 19 and
    16 miles; stone lighthouse, 120 feet high; erected 1833.

    222. =Aberdeen=, North Pier-head, lat. 57° 8´ 20´´; one fixed
    light, visible 8 miles; white tower, 29 feet high; erected 1866.

    223. =Aberdeen=, ferry; two fixed lights, 8 miles; erected 1842.

    224. =Buchanness=, lat. 57° 28´ 15´´; one light, flashing every
    5 seconds, visible 16 miles; 115 feet high; erected 1827.

    225. =Peterhead=, South Harbour, lat. 57° 30´; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; 26 feet high; erected 1834.

    226. =Peterhead=, North Harbour; one fixed light, visible 10
    miles; 32 feet high; erected 1849.

    227. =Fraserburgh=, Pier-head and Middle Pier, lat. 57° 41´
    30´´; two fixed red lights, visible 5 miles; erected 1841.

    228. =Kinnaird Head=, lat. 57° 41´ 51´´; one fixed light,
    visible 15 miles; 76 feet high; erected 1787.

    229. =Macduff=, North Pier-head, lat. 57° 40´; one fixed light,
    visible 6 miles.

    230. =Banff=, North Pier-head, lat. 57° 40´; one fixed light,
    visible 8 miles, erected 1832.

    231. =Banff=, New Harbour, lat. 57° 40´ 5´´; two fixed lights;
    erected 1851.

    232. =Elgin and Lossiemouth=, South Pier-head; one fixed green
    light; erected 1838.

    233. =Covesea Skerries=, Craig Head, lat. 57° 43´ 15´´;
    one light, revolving every minute, visible 18 miles; stone
    lighthouse 18 feet high; erected 1846.

    234. =Chanonry=, Point, lat. 57° 34´ 30´´; one fixed light,
    visible 11 miles; stone lighthouse, 42 feet high; erected 1846.

    235. =Cromarty=, lat. 57° 41´; one fixed light, visible 9
    miles; 42 feet high; erected 1846.

    236. =Tarbet Ness=, lat. 57° 51´ 54´´; one intermittent light,
    visible 2½ minutes, dark ½ minute; visible 15 to 18 miles;
    tower, 134 feet high; erected 1830.

    237. =Little Ferry=, lat. 57° 56´; two fixed lights.

    238. =Latheronwheel=, South Head, lat. 58° 16´ 10´´; one fixed
    light; erected 1852. 239. =Wick=, North Pier-head, lat. 58°
    26´; two fixed lights (_gas_), visible 8 miles; 34 feet high;
    erected 1851.

    240. =Noss Head=, lat. 58° 28´ 38´´; one light, revolving every
    half minute, visible 18 miles; 68 feet high; erected 1849.

    241. =Pentland Skerries=, island, 58° 41´ 22´´; two fixed
    lights, visible 18 and 16 miles; high light, 118 feet high; low
    light, 88 feet high; 33 yards distant; erected 1794.

    242. =Dunnet Head=, lat. 58° 40´ 16´´; one fixed light, visible
    23 miles; 66 feet high; erected 1831.

    243. =Holburn=, Little Head, Thurso Bay, lat. 58° 36´ 50´´; one
    light, flashing every 10 seconds, visible 13 miles; 55 feet
    high; erected 1862.

    244. =Orkney Isles=, Cantick Head, Hoy Isle, lat. 58° 47´;
    one light, revolving every minute, visible 15 miles; brick
    lighthouse, 73 feet high; erected 1858.

    245. =Orkney Isles=, Hoy Sound, lat. 58° 56´ 9´´; two fixed
    lights, visible 15 and 11 miles; high light, Gremsa Isle,
    north-east point, 108 feet high, erected 1851; low light,
    Gremsa Isle, north-west point, 38 feet high.

    246. =Orkney Isles=, Kirkwall, lat. 58° 59´ 10´´; one fixed
    light, visible 9 miles; 27 feet high; erected 1854.

    247. =Orkney Isles=, Auskerry, Stronsa Firth, lat. 59° 2´; one
    fixed light, visible 16 miles; brick lighthouse, 112 feet high;
    erected 1867.

    248. =Orkney Isles=, Start Point, Sanday Isle, lat. 59° 16´
    39´´; one fixed light, visible 15 miles; 91 feet high; erected

    249. =Orkney Isles=, North Ronaldshay, lat. 59° 23´ 15´´; one
    light, flashing every 10 seconds, visible 17 miles; brick
    lighthouse, 139 feet high; erected 1854.

    250. =Shetland Isles=, Sumburgh Head, lat. 59° 51´; one fixed
    light, visible 22 miles; stone lighthouse, 55 feet high;
    erected 1821.

    251. =Shetland Isles=, Bressay, lat. 60° 6´ 10´´; one light,
    revolving every minute, visible 17 miles; brick lighthouse, 98
    feet high; erected 1854.

    252. =Shetland Isles=, Whalsey Skerries, lat. 60° 25´ 24´´; one
    light, revolving every minute, visible 17 miles; brick tower,
    98 feet high; erected 1854.

    253. =Shetland Isles=, North Unst, lat. 60° 51´ 20´´; one fixed
    light, visible 21 miles; 64 feet high; erected 1854.

    254. =Cape Wrath=, north-west point of Scotland, lat, 58°
    37´30´´; one light, revolving every two minutes, visible 30
    miles; tower, 65 feet high; erected 1828.

    255. =Ru Stoer=, lat. 58° 14´ 10´´. Now building.


    256. =South Rona Island=, lat. 57° 34´ 31´´; one light,
    flashing every 12 seconds, visible 20 miles; tower, 42 feet
    high; erected 1857.

    257. =Kyle Akin=, Gilliean Island, lat. 57° 16´ 39´´; one fixed
    light, visible 11 miles; 70 feet high; erected 1857.

    258. =Oronsay Island=, lat. 57° 8´ 39´´; one fixed light,
    visible 12 miles; 63 feet high; erected 1857.

    259. =Hebrides=, Butt of Lewis, north point, lat. 58° 30´ 40´´;
    one fixed light, visible 18 miles; lighthouse tower, 120 feet
    high; erected 1862.

    260. =Hebrides=, Stornoway, Arnish Point,[66] lat. 58° 11´
    28´´; one light, revolving every 30 seconds, visible 12 miles;
    45 feet high; erected 1852.

[66] This lighthouse reflects a light on Arnish Beacon (see p. 274).


    261. =Hebrides=, Monach, Shillay Island, lat. 57° 31´ 34´´; two
    lights—the upper flashing every 10 seconds, visible 17 miles;
    the lower, fixed, visible 12 miles; lighthouse tower, 133 feet
    high; erected 1814.

    262. =Hebrides=, Scalpa, Glass Island, lat. 57° 51´ 25´´; one
    fixed light, visible 16 miles; tower, 100 feet high; erected

    263. =Hebrides=, Ushenish, South Uist, lat. 57° 17´ 35´´; one
    fixed light, visible 18 miles; tower, 39 feet high; erected

    264. =Hebrides=, Barra Head, Bernera Island, lat. 56° 47´ 8´´;
    intermittent light, visible for 2½ minutes, dark for ⅓ minute;
    visible 32 miles; stone lighthouse, 60 feet high; erected 1833.

    265. =Skerryvore=, lat. 56° 19´ 22´´; one light, revolving
    every minute, visible 17 miles; stone lighthouse, 158 feet
    high; erected 1844.

    266. =Dubhe Artach=, lat. 56° 8´. Now building.

    267. =Ardnamurchan Point=, lat. 56° 43´ 38´´; one fixed light,
    visible 18 miles; lighthouse, 118 feet high; erected 1849.

    268. =Mull Sound=, Runa Gal Rock, lat. 56° 38´; one fixed
    light, visible 12 miles; tower, 63 feet high; erected 1857.

    269. =Lismore=, Musdile Island, lat. 56° 27´ 19´´; one fixed
    light, visible 14 miles; 86 feet high; erected 1833.

    270. =Corran Point=, Loch Eil, lat. 56° 43´ 16´´; one fixed
    light, visible 10 miles; 42 feet high; erected 1860.

    271. =Oban=, pier, lat. 56° 25´; two fixed lights; erected 1858.

    272. =Phladda Island=, lat. 56° 14´ 48´´; one fixed light,
    visible 11 miles; tower, 42 feet high; erected 1860.

    273. =Crinan Canal=, lat. 56° 5´ 30´´; one fixed light, visible
    four miles; erected 1851.

    274. =Iron Rock=,[67] lat. 55° 52´ 30´´; one light, revolving
    every minute, visible 14 miles; 83 feet high; erected 1865.

[67] Sgeirmaoile, or Skeirvuile.

    275. =Rhu Vaal=, Islay Island, lat. 55° 56´ 6´´; one fixed
    light, visible 15 miles; tower, 113 feet high; erected 1859.

    276. =Macarthur’s Head=, lat. 56° 56´ 50´´; one fixed light,
    visible 17 miles; 42 feet high; erected 1861.

    277. =Rhynns=, or =Islay=, Oversay Island, lat. 55° 40´ 20´´;
    one light, flashing every 5 seconds, visible 17 miles; tower,
    96 feet high; erected 1825.

    278. =Loch-in-Dail=, Dune Point, Islay, lat. 55° 44´ 40´´; one
    fixed light, visible 12 miles; erected 1869.

    279. =Port Ellen=, lat. 55° 37´ 13´´; one fixed light, visible
    11 miles; square tower, 65 feet high; erected 1853.

    280. =Mull of Kintyre=, lat. 55° 18´ 39´´; one fixed light,
    visible 22 miles; 38 feet high; erected 1787.

    281. =Sanda=, Ship Rock, lat. 55° 16´ 30´´; one fixed light,
    visible 17 miles; 48 feet high; erected 1850.

    282. =Davar Island=, lat. 55° 25´ 45´´; one light, revolving
    every 30 seconds, visible 15 miles; stone tower, 65 feet high;
    erected 1854.


    283. =Campbeltown=, pier-head, lat. 55° 25´ 30´´; one fixed

    284. =Ardrishaig=, pier-head, lat. 56° 0´ 45´´; one fixed
    light, visible 4 miles; 19 feet high; erected 1850.

    285. =Pladda Island=, lat. 55° 26´; two fixed lights, visible
    17 and 14 miles; towers, 95 feet and 43 feet high; erected 1790.

River Clyde and Firth of Clyde—Nos. 286 to 300.

    [286. =Cumbrae=, Little Cumbrae Island, lat. 55° 43´ 16´´; one
    fixed light, visible 15 miles; tower, 36 feet high; erected

    287. =Toward Point=, lat. 55° 51´ 45´´; one light, revolving
    every 52 seconds, visible 10 miles; 63 feet high; erected 1812.

    288. =Cloch Point=, lat. 55° 56´ 35´´; one fixed light, visible
    10 miles; tower, 76 feet high; erected 1797.

    289. =Greenock=, lat. 55° 57´; two fixed lights, visible 8
    miles; erected 1834.

    290. =Greenock=, quay; one fixed light, visible 4 miles; 20
    feet high; erected 1829.

    291. =Greenock=, Garvel Point; one fixed light, visible 7
    miles; erected 1867.

    292. =Port-Glasgow=, beacon, lat. 55° 56´ 15´´; one fixed red
    light, visible 3 miles; erected 1861.

    293. =Broomielaw=; one fixed light, _gas_.

    294. =Cardross=; one fixed red light, visible 4 miles; black
    stone, 34 feet high; erected 1849.

    295. [++]=Garmoyle= Lightship; one fixed light; fixed 1868.

    296. =Dumbuck=; one fixed light; erected 1868.

    297. =Bowling Bay=; one fixed light, on iron tower, visible 2
    miles; erected 1849.

    298. =Bowling=, Donald’s Quay; one fixed red and bright light;
    16 feet high; erected 1869.

    299. =Park Quay=; one fixed light; erected 1869.

    300. =North Bank=, opposite New-Shot Island; one fixed red
    light, on iron tower, erected 1869.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    301. =Ardrossan=, breakwater, lat. 55° 38´ 27´´; one fixed
    light, visible 5 miles; tower, 23 feet high; re-built 1856.

    302. =Saltcoats=, pier, lat 55° 37´ 52´´; one fixed light,
    visible 6 miles; 18 feet high; erected 1840.

    303. =Troon Harbour=, lat. 55° 32´ 55´´; two lights,
    intermittent, 40 seconds bright and 20 seconds eclipsed
    (_gas_), visible 9 miles; 25 feet high; erected 1827 at inner
    end of pier; and fixed red light, visible 6 miles, 25 feet
    high, at pier-head; erected 1848.

    304. =Ayr Harbour=, north pier, lat. 55° 28´ 10´´; three
    fixed lights—a tide light, visible 4 miles; erected 1790; two
    lights in tower, 62 feet high, visible 16 miles; erected 1826,
    improved 1866.

    305. =Loch Ryan=, Cairn Ryan Point, lat. 54° 57´ 45´´; one
    fixed light, visible 10 miles; 50 feet high; erected 1847.

    306. =Stranraer=, lat. 54° 54´ 40´´; three lights on pier, one
    visible 9 miles.

    307. =Corsewall Point=, Loch Ryan, lat. 55° 0´ 29´´; one light,
    revolving every 2 minutes, visible 15 miles; lighthouse tower,
    110 feet high; erected 1817.

    308. =Port-Patrick=, lat. 54° 50´ 20´´; one fixed light,
    visible 8 miles; stone tower, 30 feet high; erected 1790,
    re-lighted 1856.

    309. =Galloway Mull=, south point, lat. 54° 38´ 9´´; one
    intermittent light, visible 23 miles, eclipsed 30 seconds in
    every 3 minutes; stone lighthouse, 86 feet high; erected 1830.

    310. =Little Ross Island=, lat. 54° 56´; one light, flashing
    every 5 seconds, visible 18 miles; tower, 65 feet high; erected

    311. =Annan River=, lat. 54° 57´ 50´´; one fixed light; erected



    312. =Skinburness=, near Silloth, lat. 54° 52´ 30´´; one fixed
    light, visible 9 miles; wooden lighthouse, 32 feet high;
    erected 1841.

    313. §=Lee Scar=, lat. 54° 52´; one fixed light, visible 6
    miles; 45 feet high; erected 1841.

    314. [++]=Solway= Lightship, lat 54° 48´; one fixed light, red;
    erected 1841.

    315. =Maryport=, south wooden pier, lat 54° 43´; one fixed
    light (_gas_), visible 6 miles; erected 1796.

    316. =Maryport=, south stone pier; one fixed light, visible 12
    miles; 35 feet high; erected 1834.

    317. =Maryport=, jetty; one fixed light, visible 3 miles;
    erected 1857.

    318. =Maryport=, north tongue; one fixed light (_gas_), visible
    3 miles; erected 1857.

    319. =Workington=, John Pier and wooden pier, lat. 54° 39´; one
    fixed light, visible 11 miles; 23 feet high; built in 1825,
    improved 1866.

    320. =Harrington=, pier-head, lat. 54° 37´; one fixed light,
    visible 11 miles; iron pedestal, 36 feet high; erected 1797.

    321. =Whitehaven=, West Pier-head, lat. 54° 33´; one light,
    revolving every two minutes, visible 19 miles; tower, 47 feet
    high; erected 1821.

    322. =Whitehaven=, North Pier-head; one fixed light.

    323. =Whitehaven=, Old Quay; one fixed light.

    324. =St. Bees Head=, lat. 54° 30´ 50´´; one fixed light,
    visible 25 miles; tower, 55 feet high; erected 1866.


    325. =Ayre Point=, lat, 54° 24´ 56´´; one light, revolving
    every 2 minutes, and visible 15 miles; tower 99 feet high;
    erected 1818.

    326.} =Peel=, lat. 54° 13´; one fixed light at entrance,
    visible 8 miles; erected 327.} 1811; and fixed light (_argand_)
    on breakwater; erected 1865.

    328. =Port Erin=; one fixed green light; erected 1867.

    329. =Calf of Man=, Calf Island, lat. 54° 3´; two lights,
    revolving every 2 minutes, visible 24 and 22 miles; one 70, the
    other 53 feet high; erected 1818.

    330. =St. Mary Port=, pier-head, lat. 54° 4´; one fixed light,
    visible 9 miles; 18 feet high; erected 1812.

    331. =Castletown=, pier-head, lat. 54° 5´; one fixed light,
    visible 9 miles; 18 feet high; erected 1812.

    332. =Derby Haven=, Fort Island, lat. 54° 5´; one fixed light,
    visible 6 miles; 45 feet in height (during the fishing season
    only, Aug. 12th to Oct. 10th.)

    333. =Derby Haven=, end of breakwater; one fixed light.

    334. =Douglas Head=, lat. 54° 9´; one fixed light, visible 14
    miles; tower, 65 feet high; erected 1832.

    335_a_. =Douglas=, Old Pier-head, lat. 54° 10´; one fixed red
    light, visible 6 miles; 43 feet high; built 1796; re-built 1865.

    335_b_. =Douglas=, Promenade Pier; one fixed blue light;
    erected 1869.

    336. =Douglas=, new landing-pier; one fixed green light;
    erected 1868.

    337_a_. and 337_b_. =Ramsay=, South Pier-head, lat. 54° 20´;
    fixed red light, visible 4 miles; 27 feet high; (dark stone
    tower) erected 1845; North Pier-head, one fixed light, visible
    9 miles; erected 1868.

    338. [++]=Bahama Bank= Lightship, lat. 54° 20´; two fixed
    lights, visible 10 miles; fixed 1848.



Morecambe Bay—Nos. 339 to 345.

    [339. =Walney Island=, lat. 54° 2´ 56´´; two lights, one
    revolving every minute and one fixed, visible 13 miles; stone
    tower, 60 feet high; erected 1790.

    340. [++]=Morecambe Bay= Lightship, lat. 53° 54´; one revolving
    light, flashing every 30 seconds, visible 10 miles; fixed 1863.

    341. =Poulton=, stone pier, lat. 54° 4´ 20´´; one fixed light,
    visible 8 miles; stone tower, 50 feet high; erected 1851.

    342. [++]=Lightship=, lat. 54° 1´ 20´´; one fixed red light;
    fixed 1854.

    343. =Lune River=, Cockerham Promontory, and Plover Scar Rock,
    lat. 53° 59´; two lights, distance 834 yards; one lighthouse of
    wood, erected 1847; the other of stone.

    344. §=Wyre River=, north-east elbow of North Wharf bank,
    lat. 53° 57´ 14´´; one fixed light, visible 10 miles; erected

[68] It was this lighthouse, we presume, which underwent so
extraordinary an accident on Saturday, February 19th, 1870. About
half-past ten A.M., the schooner _Elizabeth and Jane_, of Preston,
approached the mouth of the channel opposite Fleetwood. Adjoining
the channel mouth, and about three miles from the latter town, is
situated a lighthouse upon screw piles. When about half a mile off the
lighthouse, the captain of the schooner found he was drifting towards
it, and, spite of all his exertions, he was unable to change her
course, as the tide flowed rapidly inwards, and a dead calm prevailed.
Before the anchor could get a “hold,” the ship ran bow foremost into
the piles, which were all shattered by the collision, and taking up the
body of the lighthouse—a huge sexangular timber frame, filled in with
windows, and surmounted with “a large revolving (?) light”—carried it
away on her forecastle. Two keepers were in the lighthouse, but neither
was hurt. The vessel, however, was greatly injured, and some alarm
was felt lest she should sink. However the accident was seen from the
shore; a tug steamer came to her assistance, and, with the lighthouse
on board, she was towed into port. Until a new structure can be raised,
a lightship will be stationed in a suitable locality.

    345. =Fleetwood=, lat. 53° 55´ 36´´; two fixed lights, visible
    13 and 9 miles; upper, stone lighthouse, and red lantern;
    lower, stone colour; erected 1841.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    346. =Ribble River=, north-east of entrance, lat. 53° 44´ 38´´;
    one intermittent light, every 4 minutes, visible 12 miles;
    erected 1865.

    347. =Ribble River=, New Pier; light shown about 2 hours before
    to 1½ hours after high water.

    348. =Ribble River=, Lytham, lat. 53° 44´ 10´´; one fixed light.

Mersey and Dee Rivers, Entrance—Nos. 349 to 361.

    [349. [++]=Liverpool=, North-west Lightship; lat. 53° 29´ 30´´;
    one light, revolving every minute, visible 11 miles; fixed 1814.

    350. [++]=Formby= Lightship, lat. 53° 31´ 40´´; one fixed
    light, visible 8 miles; fixed 1834.

    351. [++]=Crosby= Lightship, lat. 53° 30´ 40´´; three fixed
    lights, visible 8 miles; fixed 1840.

    352. =Crosby Point=, lat. 53° 31´ 25´´; one fixed light,
    visible 12 miles; lighthouse tower, 74 feet high; erected 1856.

    353. =Air Point=, lat. 53° 22´; one fixed light, visible ten
    miles; circular tower, 65 feet high; erected 1776.

    354. =Hoylake=, lat. 53° 23´ 40´´; two fixed lights, visible 13
    and 11 miles; towers, 64 feet and 42 feet high; erected 1763.

    355. =Leasowe=, lat. 53° 24´ 49´´; one fixed light, visible 15
    miles; lighthouse 110 feet high; erected 1763.

    356. =Bidston=, lat. 53° 24´; one fixed light, visible 23
    miles; stone lighthouse. 68 feet high; erected 1771.

    357. =Rock=, lat. 53° 26´ 43´´; one light, revolving every
    minute, visible 14 miles; 94 feet high; erected 1830.

    358. =Birkenhead=, New Ferry Pier; one fixed light.

    359. =Runcorn=, Old Quay, lat. 53° 20´; one fixed light;
    erected 1863.

    360. [++]=Runcorn= Lightship; one fixed light; fixed 1866.

    361. =Woodside Ferry=; one fixed light; erected 1863.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    362. =Great Orme Head=, North Point, lat. 53° 20´ 35´´; one
    fixed light, visible 24 miles; square castellated stone
    lighthouse; erected 1862.

    363. =Menai=, Trwyn-Du Point, lat. 53° 18´ 51´´; one fixed
    light, visible 9 miles; circular castellated tower, 96 feet
    high; erected 1837.

    364. =Beaumaris=, pier, lat. 53° 15´ 45´´; one fixed red light.

    365. =Lynus Point=, lat. 53° 25´; one intermittent light,
    visible 8 seconds, obscured 2 seconds, visible 16 miles;
    castellated tower, 36 feet high; erected 1835.

    366. =Amlwch Port=, north pier, lat. 53° 25´; one fixed light,
    visible 9 miles; erected 1817.

    367. =Skerries Island=, lat. 53° 25´ 18´´; one fixed light,
    visible 16 miles; circular tower, 75 feet high; erected 1714.

    368. =Holyhead=, New Breakwater; one fixed light, visible 4
    miles; erected 1850.

    369. =Holyhead=, wooden jetty; one fixed light; erected 1864.

    370. =Holyhead=, inner harbour, port side; one fixed light,
    green; erected 1866.

    371. =Holyhead=, inner harbour, starboard side; one fixed
    light, red; erected 1866.

    372_a_. =Stack Rock=, off north-west point of Holyhead Island,
    lat. 53° 18´; one light, revolving every 2 minutes, visible 20
    miles; circular tower, 84 feet high; erected 1809. [“During
    foggy weather, a _bell_ is sounded, and a smaller _bright
    light_, revolving in 1½ minutes, is occasionally shown about 40
    feet above the sea, and 30 yards north of the main lighthouse.
    A gun is also fired from the North Stack every hour and
    half-hour during foggy weather; and, when the mail packets are
    expected, every quarter of an hour, from 10.45. A.M. till 45
    minutes past noon; and again from 11.45 P.M. till 1.45 A.M.”]

    372_b_. [++]=Caernarvon= Lightship, lat. 53° 5´ 45´´; one
    light, revolving every 20 seconds, and visible 10 miles; fixed

    373. =Caernarvon=, Llanddwyn Island, lat. 53° 8´; one fixed
    light, visible 5 miles; erected 1845.

    374. =Caernarvon=, pier-head; one fixed light; erected 1858.

    375. =Bardsey Island=, lat. 52° 45´; one fixed light, visible
    17 miles; square white tower, 99 feet high; erected 1821.

    376. =Aberystwith=, pier-head, lat. 52° 25´; two fixed lights;
    erected 1864.

    377. [++]=Cardigan Bay= Lightship, lat. 52° 22´ 30´´; one
    light, revolving every 30 seconds, and visible 9 miles; fixed

    378. =South Bishop Rock=, lat. 51° 51´; revolving light, every
    20 seconds; 36 feet high; erected 1839.

    379. =Smalls Rock=, lat. 51° 43´ 20´´; one fixed light, visible
    15 miles; circular tower, 141 feet high; erected 1778.

Bristol Channel—Nos. 380 to 414.

    [380. =St. Ann’s Point=, Milford Haven, lat 51° 41´; two fixed
    lights, high lighthouse, visible 20 miles; circular tower, 75
    feet high; erected 1714; low lighthouse, visible 18 miles,
    octagonal, 203 yards south-east of former, 42 feet high.

    381. =New Quay=; one fixed light.

    382_a_. =Milford Haven=, dockyard; two fixed lights, red; 46
    feet and 23 feet high; erected 1862.

    382_b_. [++]=Neyland Point= Lightship; one fixed light; erected

    383. =Caldy Island=, lat. 51° 37´ 56´´; one fixed light,
    visible 20 miles; circular tower, 52 feet high; erected 1829.

    384. =Tenby=, pier-head; one fixed red light; erected 1856.

    385. =Saundersfoot=, pier-head, lat. 51° 42´; one fixed red

    386. =Pembrey Harbour=, lat 51° 41´; one fixed light, visible 9

    387. =Llanelly=, south end of breakwater, lat. 51° 40´; one
    fixed light; 50 feet high; erected 1850.

    388. §=Llanelly=, Whiteford Point; one fixed light, visible 7
    miles; erected 1854.

    389. [++]=Helwick= Lightship, lat 51° 31´; one light, revolving
    every minute.

    390. =Mumbles Island=, lat. 51° 34´ 3´´; one fixed light,
    visible 15 miles; tower, 56 feet high; erected 1798.

    391. =Swansea=, South Pier-head, lat. 51° 37´; one fixed light,
    visible 5 miles; 20 feet high; erected 1803.

    392. =Swansea=, South Dock entrance; two red lights; erected

    393. =Swansea=, North Dock entrance; two fixed lights; erected

    394. =Swansea=, New Cut bridge; one fixed light.

    395. [++]=Scarweather= Lightship; one light, revolving every 20
    seconds; fixed 1862.

    396. =Porthcawl Harbour=, south-east end of breakwater; one
    fixed light; erected 1860.

    397. =Porthcawl Harbour=, north-west end of breakwater; two
    fixed red lights; erected 1861.

    398. =Nash Point=, lat. 51° 24´; high lighthouse, one fixed
    light, visible 19 miles; 111 feet high: low lighthouse, one
    fixed light, visible 17 miles; 60 feet high; erected 1832.

    399. [++]=Breaksea= Lightship, lat. 51° 19´ 48´´; two lights,
    one revolving with a flash every 15 seconds, one fixed; fixed

    400. =Flatholm Island=, lat. 51° 22´; one fixed light, visible
    18 miles; circular lighthouse, 99 feet high; erected 1737.

    401. =Cardiff=, docks, lat. 51° 27´ 48´´; two fixed red lights.

    402. =Usk=, Newport, lat. 51° 32´; one fixed light, visible 11
    miles; tower, 57 feet high; erected 1867.

    403. =Briton Ferry Dock=; movable tide lights.

    404. [++]=English and Welsh Grounds= Lightship, lat. 51° 26´
    30´´; one light, revolving every minute, visible 10 miles;
    fixed 1838.

    405. =Portskewet=, pier-head; one fixed red light; erected 1868.

    406. =New Passage=, Charstone Rock; one fixed red light;
    erected 1868.

    407. =Avon=, east side of entrance, lat. 51° 30´; one fixed
    light, visible 13 miles; octagonal tower, 85 feet high; erected

    408. =Portishead=, pier; two fixed lights.

    409. =Clevedon=, pier-head; one fixed light, visible 7 miles;
    erected 1869.

    410. =Bridgewater=, or Burnham, east side of entrance of Parret
    River, lat. 51° 15´; two lights—upper, intermittent, visible
    (15 miles) for 3½ minutes, then suddenly eclipsed ½ a minute;
    lower light, fixed, visible 9 miles; high lighthouse, 99 feet
    high; low lighthouse, 36 feet high; erected 1832.

    411. =Watchet Harbour=; one fixed red light, visible 4 miles;
    sexangular tower, 22 feet high; erected 1862.

    412. =Ilfracombe=, Lantern Hill, lat. 51° 13´; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; 29 feet high, _gas_.

    413. =Bideford=, Braunton Sands, lat. 51° 4´; two fixed lights,
    311 yards apart; 86 and 15 feet high; erected 1820.

    414. =Lundy Island=, lat. 51° 10´ 7´´; two lights, upper
    revolving every two minutes, the lower fixed, visible 31 miles;
    tower, 96 feet high; erected 1820.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    415. =Hartland Point=, lat. 51° 1´ 24´´; _lighthouse proposed_.

    416. =Trevose Head=, lat. 50° 32´ 55´´; two fixed lights,
    visible 20 and 17 miles; tower, 86 feet high; erected 1847.

    417. =Godrevy Island=, lat. 50° 14´; two lights, flashes every
    10 seconds; octagonal stone tower, 86 feet high; erected 1859.

    418. =Padstow=, quay-head; one fixed light; erected 1868.

    419. =Hayle=, lat. 50° 11´ 30´´; two fixed lights, visible six
    miles; erected 1840.

    420. =St. Ives=, outer and inner pier; two fixed lights,
    visible 10 and 9 miles; erected 1860.

    421. =St. Ives=, pier-head; one fixed light; erected 1831.



    422. =Fastnet=, lat. 51° 23´ 18´´; one light, revolving every
    two minutes, visible 18 miles; circular tower, 92 feet high;
    erected 1854.

    423. =Kinsale=, Old Head, lat. 51° 36´ 11´´; one fixed light,
    visible 21 miles; tower, 100 feet high; erected 1683.

    424. =Kinsale=, Fort Charles, lat. 51° 41´ 48´´; one fixed
    light, visible 14 miles; 48 feet high; erected 1804.

    425. =Cork Harbour=,[69] Roche Point, lat. 51° 47´ 33´´; two
    lights, one revolving every minute, and one fixed, visible 10
    and 8 miles; 49 feet high; erected 1817.

[69] Or Queenstown.

    426. §=Cork Harbour=, Spit Bank, lat. 51° 50´ 41´´; one fixed
    light, visible 5 miles; erected 1848, repaired 1853.

    427. =Cork Harbour=, Lough Mahon, lat. 51° 53´; one fixed
    light; erected 1859.

    428. =Cork Harbour=, Donkathel, lat. 51° 54´; one fixed green

    429. =Cork Harbour=, Black Rock Castle, lat. 51° 54´; one fixed
    light; erected 1863.

    430. =Cork Harbour=, King’s Quay, lat. 51° 53´; one fixed
    light, _gas_.

    431. =Cork Harbour=, Tivoli, lat. 51° 54´; one fixed light,

    432. =Ballycottin=, Outer Island, lat. 51° 49´ 30´´; a flash
    every 10 seconds, visible 18 miles; tower, 50 feet high;
    erected 1850.

    433. =Youghal=, lat. 51° 56´ 34´´; one fixed light, 6 miles;
    erected 1852.

    434. =Minehead=, lat. 51° 59´ 33´´; intermittent light, every
    minute, visible 21 miles; lighthouse, 68 feet high; erected


    435. =Dungarvan=, Ballinacourty Point; one fixed light, visible
    10 miles; lighthouse, 44 feet high; erected 1858.

    436. =Waterford=, Hook Town, lat. 52° 7´ 25´´; one fixed light,
    visible 16 miles; tower, 115 feet high; erected 1791.

    437. =Waterford=, Dunmore Pier-head, lat. 52° 9´; one fixed
    light, visible 5 miles; lighthouse, 51 feet high; erected 1826.

    438. =Waterford=, Duncannon Fort, lat. 52° 13´ 13´´; two fixed
    lights, visible 10 miles; 25 feet high; erected 1774.

    439. =Waterford=, Duncannon; one fixed light, visible 16 miles;
    tower, 35 feet high; erected 1838.

    440. §=Waterford=, Spit off Passage Point; one fixed light;
    erected 1867.

    441. [++]=Saltees=, Coningbeg Rock Lightship, lat. 52° 2´ 25´´;
    two fixed lights, visible 10 and 8 miles; fixed 1824.

    442. =Taskar Rock=, lat. 52° 12´ 9´´; light revolving every
    2 minutes, visible 15 miles; circular tower, 110 feet high;
    erected 1815.

    443. [++]=Lucifer Shoals= Lightship, lat. 52° 21´ 30´´; one
    fixed light, visible 8 miles; fixed 1868.

    444. [++]=Blackwater Bank= Lightship, lat. 52° 30´ 10´´; one
    fixed light, visible 10 miles; fixed 1857.

    445. [++]=Arklow= Lightship, lat. 52° 40´ 45´´; revolving every
    minute, visible 10 miles; fixed 1834.

    446. [++]=Arklow= Lightship, lat. 52° 53´; two fixed lights,
    visible 10 and 8 miles; fixed 1867.

    447. =Wicklow Head=, lat. 52° 57´ 50´´; intermittent light,
    10 seconds bright and dark 3, visible 16 miles; tower 46 feet
    high; erected 1818, altered 1867.

    448. [++]=Codling Bank= Lightship, lat. 53° 4´ 40´´; revolving
    every 20 seconds, visible 9 miles; fixed 1867.

Dublin Bay—Nos. 449 to 456.

    [449. [++]=Kish= Lightship, lat. 53° 18´ 48´´; revolving every
    minute, visible 10 miles; fixed 1811. [“In foggy weather a
    _gong_ is sounded, and a gun fired with two discharges in quick
    succession, commencing at 5 P.M. and at 6 P.M., and continued
    every fifteen minutes until the mail packets due from Holyhead
    have fired a gun in reply, when a signal gun from lightship is
    fired in answer.”]

    450. =Kingstown=, East Pier-head, lat. 53° 18´; revolving every
    30 seconds, visible 9 miles; lighthouse, 41 feet high; erected

    451. =Kingstown=, West Pier-head; one fixed light; granite
    tower, 29 feet high; erected 1845.

    452. =Poolbeg=, south wall, lat. 53° 20´ 30´´; two fixed
    lights, visible 12 miles, one upper and one lower; lighthouse,
    63 feet high; erected 1768.

    453. =Poolbeg=, north wall, lat. 53° 21´; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; iron tower, 28 feet high; erected 1820.

    454. =Poolbeg=, one fixed light; erected 1861. (No particulars

    455. =Bailey=, south-east point Howth peninsula, lat. 53° 21´
    40´´; one fixed light, visible 15 miles; 42 feet high; erected

    456. =Howth=, pier-head, lat. 53° 24´; one fixed light, visible
    11 miles; 37 feet high; erected 1818.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    457. =Balbriggan=, pier, lat. 53° 36´ 45´´; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; 53 feet high; erected 1769.

    458. =Rockabill=, lat. 53° 35´ 45´´; one light, flashes every
    12 seconds, visible 18 miles; circular gray stone lighthouse,
    105 feet high; erected 1860.

    459. =Drogheda=, sand hills, lat. 53° 43´; three fixed lights,
    visible 6 to 7 miles; on timber framework, 30 feet high;
    erected 1842.

    460. §=Dundalk=, entrance of channel, lat. 53° 58´ 40´´;
    flashes every 15 seconds, visible 9 miles; erected 1855.

    461. =Dundalk=; two fixed lights; erected 1861. (No particulars

    462. =Carlingford=, Haulbowline Rock, lat 54° 1´; two fixed
    lights, visible 15 miles; tower, 111 feet high; erected 1823.

    463. =Carlingford=, Greenore Point, lat. 54° 1´ 55´´; revolving
    every 45 seconds, visible 9 miles; 41 feet high; erected 1830.

    464. =Dundrum Bay=, St. John’s Point, lat. 54° 13´ 10´´; one
    intermittent light, every minute, visible 12 miles; erected

    465. =Ardglass Harbour=, lat. 54° 15´ 10´´; one fixed light,
    visible 6 miles; erected 1816.

    466. =South Rock=, lat. 54° 23´ 55´´; revolving every 90
    seconds, visible 12 miles; 60 feet high; erected 1797.

    467. =Donaghadee Harbour=, lat. 54° 38´ 45´´; one fixed light,
    visible 12 miles; 53 feet high; erected 1836.

    468. =Copeland Island=, lat. 54° 41´ 44´´; one fixed light,
    visible 16 miles; tower, 52 feet high; erected 1796.


    469. =Belfast Bay=, Hollywood Bank, lat. 54° 39´; one fixed
    light, visible 5 miles; erected 1848.

    470. =Larne Lough=, Farrs Point, lat 54° 51´ 7´´; one fixed
    light, visible 11 miles; tower, 50 feet; erected 1839.

    471. =Maidens Rocks=, lat. 54° 55´ 47´´; two fixed lights,
    visible 14 and 13 miles; one tower 76 feet, and the other 68
    feet high, 800 yards apart; erected 1829.

    472. =Rathlin Island=, Altacarry Head; lat. 55° 18´ 10´´; two
    lights—the upper, intermittent, bright 50 seconds, dark 10; the
    lower fixed—visible 21 miles; lighthouse, 88 feet high; erected

Lough Foyle—Nos. 473 to 483.

    [473. =Inishowen=, Dunagree Point, lat. 55° 13´ 38´´; two
    lights, east and west, 183 yards apart; visible 13 miles;
    towers, 49 feet high; erected 1837.

    474. =Warren Point=; one fixed red light; erected 1801.

    475. §=Red Castle=; one fixed light; erected 1852.

    476. §=White Castle=; one fixed light; erected 1848.

    477. §=Ture=; one fixed light; erected 1850.

    478. §=Cunnyberry=, one fixed light; erected 1848.

    479. =Culmore Point=; one fixed light, on mast; erected 1848.

    480. =Culkeeragh=; one fixed light; erected 1851.

    481. =Boom Hall=; one fixed light; red brick tower; erected

    482. [++]=Rosse Bay= Lightship; one fixed light; fixed 1859.

    483. =Rock Mill= (near); one fixed light, on mast; erected

       *       *       *       *       *

    484. =Inistrahull Island=, lat. 55° 25´ 55´´; revolving every 2
    minutes; 42 feet high; erected 1812.

    485. =Lough Swilly=, Fanad Point, lat. 55° 16´ 33´´; one fixed
    light, visible 14 miles; 26 feet high; erected 1816.

    486. =Tory Island=, lat. 55° 16´ 26´´; one fixed light, visible
    16 miles; lighthouse, 87 feet high; erected 1832.

    487. =Aranmore Island=, Rinrawros Point, lat. 55° 0´ 52´´; one
    light, flashes every 20 seconds, visible 18 miles; circular
    tower, 76 feet high; erected 1865.


    488. =Rathlin-o-Birne Island=, lat. 54° 39´ 47´´; one fixed
    light, visible 16 miles; circular tower, with dome, 63 feet
    high; erected 1856, altered 1864.

    489. =Killybegs=, St. John´s Point, lat. 54° 34´ 8´´; one fixed
    light, visible 14 miles; 47 feet high; erected 1831.

    490. =Killybegs=, Rotten Island, lat. 54° 36´ 51´´; one fixed
    light, visible 12 miles; 47 feet high; erected 1838.

    491. =Sligo Bay=, Black Rock, lat. 54° 18´; one fixed light,
    visible 13 miles; lighthouse tower, 47 feet high; erected 1838.

    492. =Sligo Bay=, Oyster Island, lat. 54° 18´ 5´´; two fixed
    lights, visible 17 miles; each tower 43 feet high; erected 1837.

    493. =Broadhaven=, Gubacashel Point, lat. 54° 16´; one fixed
    light, visible 12 miles; 50 feet high; erected 1855.

    494. =Eagle Rock=, lat. 54° 17´; two fixed lights, visible 20
    miles; one 87 feet, the other 64 feet high; 132 yards distant.

    495. =Black Rock=, lat. 54° 4´ 10´´; revolving light, with
    flash every 30 seconds, visible 23 miles; circular tower, 50
    feet high; erected 1864.

    496. =Blacksod Point=, lat. 54° 5´ 54´´; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; granite tower and dwelling, 41 feet high;
    erected 1866.

    497. =Clare Island=, lat. 53° 49´ 30´´; one fixed light,
    visible 27 miles; 39 feet high; erected 1806.

    498. =Inishgort=, lat. 53° 49´ 34´´; one fixed light, visible
    10 miles; 26 feet high; erected 1827.

    499. =Slyne Head=, Illaunimmul Island, lat. 53° 23´ 58´´; two
    lights, one revolving every 2 minutes, visible 15 miles; one
    fixed, visible 14 miles; each tower 79 feet high, 142 yards
    apart; erected 1836.

Galway Bay—Nos. 500 to 502.

    [500. =Eeragh Island=, West Point, lat. 53° 8´ 55´´; one light,
    revolving every 3 minutes, visible 16 miles; circular tower,
    101 feet; erected 1857.

    501. =Inisheer=, South Point, lat. 53° 2´ 40´´; one fixed
    light, visible 15 miles; circular tower, 112 feet high; erected

    502. =Mutton Island=, lat. 53° 15´ 13´´; one fixed light,
    visible 10 miles; 34 feet high; erected 1817.]

River Shannon—Nos. 503 to 507.

    [503. =Loophead=, lat. 52° 33´ 38´´; one fixed light, visible
    22 miles; circular white tower, 75 feet high; erected 1853.

    504. =Kilcradan Point=, lat. 52° 34´ 47´´; one fixed light,
    visible 16 miles; 43 feet high; erected 1824.

    505. =Scattery Island=, Rinana Point. Now building.

    506. =Tarbert=, Rock, lat. 52° 35´ 30´´; one fixed light,
    visible 13 miles; 54 feet high; erected 1834.

    507. =Beeves=, Rock, lat. 52° 39´; one fixed light, visible 10
    miles; 40 feet high; erected 1854.]

       *       *       *       *       *

    508. =Tralee=, Samphire Island, lat. 52° 16´ 14´´; one fixed
    light, visible 5 miles; circular lighthouse, erected 1834.

    509. =Tearaght Island=, lat. 52° 4´. Now building. Will be
    lighted, probably, in the autumn of 1870.

    510. =Valentia=, Cromwell´s Fort, lat. 51° 56´; one fixed
    light, visible 12 miles; lighthouse 48 feet high; erected 1841.

    511. =Skelligs Rock=, lat. 51° 46´ 14´´; two fixed lights,
    the upper visible 25 miles, and lighthouse 48 feet high; the
    lower, visible 18 miles, and 46 feet high. The upper will be
    extinguished when Tearaght is completed.

    512. =Calf Rock=, lat. 51° 34´ 10´´; one light, flashing every
    15 seconds; visible 17 miles; circular tower, painted red, with
    white belt; 102 feet high; erected 1866.

    513. =Bantry Bay=, Roancarrig Island, lat. 51° 39´ 10´´; one
    fixed light, visible 12 miles; circular tower, 62 feet high;
    erected 1847.

    514. =Crookhaven=, Rock Island Point, lat. 51° 28´ 35´´; one
    fixed red light, visible 10 miles; lighthouse, 45 feet high;
    improved 1867.





While these sheets were passing through the press there appeared in the
_Scotsman_ a graphic and interesting sketch of “A Night in the Gull
Lightship, off the Goodwin Sands,” from the able and popular pen of Mr.
R. M. Ballantyne (March 26, 1870). The following extracts cannot fail
to be acceptable to the reader:—

    “A little before midnight on Thursday (the 24th), while I
    was rolling uneasily in my ‘bunk,’ contending with sleep and
    sea-sickness, and moralising on the madness of those who choose
    ‘the sea’ for a profession, I was roused—and sickness instantly
    cured—by the watch on deck suddenly shouting down the hatchway
    to the mate, ‘Southsand-Head light is firing, sir, and sending
    up rockets.’ The mate sprang from his ‘bunk,’ and was on the
    cabin floor before the sentence was well finished. I followed
    suit, and pulled on coat, nether garments, and shoes, as if
    my life depended on my own speed. There was unusual need for
    clothing, for the night was bitterly cold. On gaining the deck,
    we found the two men on duty actively at work—the one loading
    the lee gun, the other adjusting a rocket to its stick. A
    few hurried questions from the mate elicited all that it was
    needful to know. The flash of a gun from the Southsand-Head
    lightship, about six miles distant, had been seen, followed
    by a rocket, indicating that a vessel had got upon the fatal
    Goodwins. While the men spoke, I saw the bright flash of
    another gun, but heard no report—owing to the gale carrying the
    sound to leeward. A rocket followed, and at the same moment
    we observed the light of the vessel in distress just on the
    southern tail of the Sands. By this time our gun was charged,
    and the rocket in position. ‘Look alive, Jack; get the poker,’
    cried the mate, as he primed the gun. Jack dived down the
    companion hatch, and in another moment returned with a red-hot
    poker, which the mate had thrust into the cabin fire at the
    first alarm. Jack applied it in quick succession to the gun and
    the rocket. A blinding flash and deafening crash were followed
    by the whiz of the rocket, as it sprang with a magnificent
    curve far away into the surrounding darkness. This was our
    answer to the Southsand-Head light, which, having fired three
    guns and three rockets to attract our attention, now ceased
    firing. It was also our note of warning to the look-out on the
    pier of Ramsgate Harbour. ‘That’s a beauty,’ said our mate,
    referring to the rocket; ‘get up another, Jack; sponge her well
    out, Jacobs, we’ll give ’em another shot in a few minutes.’
    Loud and clear were both our signals, but four and a half miles
    of distance and a fresh gale neutralized their influence. The
    look-out did not see them. In less than five minutes the gun
    and rocket were fired again. Still no answering signal came
    from Ramsgate. ‘Load the weather gun,’ said the mate. Jacobs
    obeyed, and I sought shelter under the lee of the weather
    bulwarks, for the wind appeared to be composed of penknives
    and needles. Our third gun thundered forth, and shook the
    lightship from stem to stern; but the rocket struck the rigging
    and made a low wavering flight. Another was therefore sent up,
    but it had scarcely cut its bright line across the sky when we
    observed the answering signal—a rocket from Ramsgate Pier.

    “‘That’s all right _now_, sir; _our_ work is done,’ said the
    mate, as he went below, and quietly turned in, while the
    watch, having sponged out and recovered the gun, resumed
    their active perambulation of the deck. I confess that I felt
    somewhat disappointed at the sudden termination of the noise
    and excitement! I was told that the Ramsgate lifeboat could
    not well be out in less than an hour. It seemed to my excited
    spirit a terrible thing that human lives should be kept so
    long in jeopardy, and, of course, I began to think, ‘Is it
    not possible to prevent this delay?’ There was nothing for
    it, however, but patience, so I turned in ‘all standing,’ as
    sailors have it, with orders that I should be called when the
    lights of the tug should come in sight. It seemed but a few
    minutes after, when the voice of the watch was again heard
    shouting hastily, ‘Lifeboat close alongside, sir. Didn’t see it
    till this moment. She carries no lights.’ I bounced out, and
    minus coat, hat, and shoes, scrambled on deck just in time to
    see the Broadstairs lifeboat rush past us before the gale. She
    was close under our stern, and rendered spectrally visible by
    the light of our lantern. ‘What are you firing for?’ shouted
    the coxswain of the boat. ‘Ship on the sands, bearing south,’
    replied Jack, at the full pitch of his stentorian voice. The
    boat did not pause. It passed with a magnificent rush into
    darkness. The reply had been heard, and the lifeboat shot
    straight as an arrow to the rescue. We often hear and read of
    such scenes, but vision is necessary to enable one to realize
    the full import of all that goes on. Again all was silent and
    unexciting on board of the _Gull_. I went shivering below, with
    exalted notions of the courage and endurance of lifeboat men.
    Soon after, the watch once more shouted, ‘Tug’s in sight, sir;’
    and, once again, the mate and I went on deck. The Ramsgate
    lifeboat _Bradford_ was in tow far astern. As she passed us,
    the brief questions and answers were repeated for the benefit
    of the coxswain of the boat. I observed that every man in the
    boat lay flat on the thwarts except the coxswain. No wonder.
    It is not an easy matter to sit up in a gale of wind, with
    freezing spray, and sometimes green seas, sweeping over one.
    They were, doubtless, wide awake and listening; but, as far
    as vision went, that boat was manned by ten oilskin coats and
    sou’-westers. A few seconds took them out of sight; and thus,
    as far as the _Gull_ lightship was concerned, the drama ended.
    There was no possibility of our ascertaining more, at least
    during that night, for whatever might be the result of these
    efforts, the floating lights had no chance of hearing of them
    until the next visit of their tender. I was therefore obliged
    to turn in once more, at 3 A.M. Next forenoon we saw the wreck,
    bottom up, high on the Goodwin Sands.” It was that of the good
    ship _Germania_ of Bremen.




  Alexander the Great, anecdote of, quoted, 26, 29.

  Alexandria, the pharos of, one of the wonders of the world, 17;
    its architect, 17, 18;
    its position, 20, 21;
    described, 21;
    references to, in the historians, 21, 22;
    description of, by Edrisi, 22, 25, 26;
    fables concerning, 26, 29.

  Alguada reef, lighthouse on, described, 210.

  Ampellius, Lucius, his description of the Colossus of Rhodes, 47.

  Anastasius, the librarian, cited, 19.

  Annette, the isle of, described, 196;
    dangerous character of, 210.

  Apameia, colony of, founded, 15, 16.

  Argand, the engineer, his efforts in lighthouse illumination, 70.

  Avery, David, his establishment of a lightship at the
      Scilly Isles, 254, 255.

  Ballantyne, R. M., quoted, 312-314.

  Beachy Head, light at, referred to, 132.

  Beacons, suggestions for lighting, by Mr. T. Stevenson, 169, 170.

  Belle-Tout lighthouse, the, described, 207.

  Bell Rock, the, position of, 146, 147;
    the legend of quoted, 147-149.

  Bell Rock lighthouse, the, story of its erection, 149-164;
    description of, 165, 166;
    how managed, 166, 167;
    curious incident connected with, 167.

  Bible, the, references to beacons in, 12.

  Bishop Rock lighthouse, the, erection of recorded, 196, 197.

  Black Prince, the, lighthouse erected at Cordouan by, 214.

  Board of Ballast, the, of Dublin, its functions and members, 55.

  Board of Trade, the, its superintendence of lighthouse-boards, 55.

  Borda, the mathematician, his reflecting apparatus, 71.

  Boulogne, referred to by Pliny and Ptolemæus, 30;
    its early history, 30;
    the Tour d’Ordre of, described—_See_ Tour d’Ordre.

  Brick-making amongst the Romans, description of, 40, 41.

  Buffon, the naturalist, his suggestions for lighthouse illumination, 77.

  Buoys, as aids to navigation, 270;
    various kinds of, 273;
    modes of lighting, 274;
    how shifted, 275.

  Caligula, the Emperor, his erection of the Tour d’Ordre at Boulogne, 30.

  Calf of Man, double lights at, 76.

  Capio, pharos at, referred to by Strabo the geographer, 14.

  Capreæ, island of, pharos on, referred to, 13.

  Carcel, the engineer, his efforts in lighthouse illumination, 70.

  Carcel lamp, the, described, 80.

  Carr Rock, erection of a beacon on, by Mr. R. Stevenson, 168.

  Catoptric system, the, of illumination, described at length, 71-77.

  Caylus, the Comte de, his demonstration concerning the Rhodian
      Apollo, 44.

  Champollion, his account of the building of the pharos of
      Alexandria, 18.

  Chares, the sculptor of the Colossus of Rhodes, the story of, 48.

  Chevreau, Urbain, his reference to the Colossus of Rhodes, 44.

  Chrysorrhoas, lighthouse on the, described by Dionysius of
      Byzantium, 13, 14.

  Claudius, the Emperor, at Boulogne, 13.

  Colossus of Rhodes, the, fabled magnitude of, 43;
    was it ever a beacon-light? 44;
    described by Pliny and Philo, 47;
    referred to by Lucius Ampellius, 47;
    the authentic facts concerning, 47, 48;
    its sculptor’s career sketched, 48.

  Colour, as a source of distinction between lights, 76, 77.

  Condorcet, the philosopher, his suggestions for lighthouse
      illumination, 77.

  Cordouan, the first lighthouse at, 213, 214;
    the second, described, 214;
    the present structure, history of, 214, 215;
    described, 216-218;
    M. Michelet’s account of, 218-221;
    its illuminating apparatus, 221, 222.

  _Cornhill Magazine_, quoted, 277.

  Crusius, Martinus, story of the Alexandrian pharos quoted from, 26, 29.

  Darling, Grace, the story of, 280, 281.

  Delavigne, Casimir, the poet, quoted, 224.

  Dionysius of Byzantium, his description of a lighthouse on the
      Chrysorrhoas, 13, 14.

  Dioptric system, the, of lighthouse illumination, described in
      detail, 77, 78, 84-87.

  Double lights, the, of the catoptric system, how exhibited, 76.

  Dover, early history of the castle, 38;
    the tower, its present appearance described, 38-40;
    its history sketched, 41, 42.

  Dubhe-Artach Rocks, the, described, 208;
    proposed lighthouse on, 209.

  Dungeness, the red light at, 132.

  Eddystone Rocks, the, position of, described, 108, 109.

  Eddystone lighthouse, the, of Winstanley, its erection narrated, 109-113;
    its destruction, 113;
    of Rudyerd, 113-116;
    its conflagration, 116-118;
    a romantic narrative connected with, 118, 119;
    of Smeaton, its erection described, 121-129;
    its present condition, 129, 130.

  _Edinburgh Review_, cited, 55, 69.

  Edrisi, the historian, his description of the Alexandrian
      pharos, 22-26.

  Egger, M., on the Tour d’Ordre at Boulogne, 32, 35, 36.

  Egypt, the light-towers of, described, 10.

  Empiricus, Sextus, the Pyrrhonist, on the sculptor of the Colossus of
      Rhodes, 48.

  Enfant Perdu, the, lighthouse on, its difficult construction, 250.

  English Channel, the, lights in, enumerated, 131, 132.

  Esquiros, M. Alphonse, his description of Trinity House, quoted, 58-61;
    his account of life on board a lightship, 255, 256.

  Faraday, Professor, his system of ventilation for lighthouses, 101, 102.

  Fastnet Rock, revolving light on the, 204;
    the lighthouse on, described, 204-206.

  Fire-towers amongst the Egyptians, 10, 12;
    reference to, in Homer and the Bible, 12.

  Fixed light, the, of the catoptric system, how obtained, 74.

  Fixed light, varied by flashes, employed in France, 92, 93.

  Flashing light, the, of the catoptric system, how effected, 75.

  Foix, Louis de, the Parisian architect, his erection of a tower at
      Cordouan, 215.

  _Forfarshire_, the, wreck of, referred to, 280, 281.

  France, number of lighthouses in, 56;
    its system of lighthouse administration, 56, 57.

  Fresnel, Jean Augustin, the engineer, his career sketched, 78, 79;
    his system of lighthouse illuminationdescribed, 86, 89;
    his revolving light and apparatus explained, 90, 91;
    his lenticular system, 222.

  Gascony, Gulf of, described by M. Michelet, 262.

  Grand Barge d’Olonne, the lighthouse of, its construction
       described, 245, 246.

  Greeks, the, lighthouses among, 10.

  Gregory of Tours, the historian, his employment of the word
      “pharos,” 19.

  Gunfleet, the lighthouse at, on piles, 207, 208.

  Hamblin, Robert, his establishment of a lightship at the
      Nore, 254, 255.

  Harwich, the light at, 66.

  Héaux, of Bréhat, the lighthouse of, story of its erection,
      233-237, 240-243;
    its submarine portion, 237;
    its rocky foundation, 238;
    its stability, 238;
    the principle of its construction, 239, 240;
    its resistance to the waves, 243, 244.

  Hercules, his fabled invention of lighthouses, 10;
    the Pillars of, historical memoranda concerning, 265, 266.

  Herodian, the historian, his description of Roman light-towers, 14.

  Hesychius, the historian, his account of the Pillars of Hercules, 266.

  Hève, La, legend connected with, 226-228;
    position of described, 228;
    lighthouses of, details concerning, 228-232.

  Homer, reference to fire-towers in, 12.

  Honduras, the mahogany of, 144.

  Illuminating apparatus, the, of lighthouses, treated in detail, 68-95.

  Inchkeith, isle of, lighthouse on, 145.

  Intermittent light, the, of the catoptric system, how
      distinguished, 75, 76.

  Ireland, the coast of, lights on, enumerated, 201-204.

  Isaiah, the prophet, his reference to beacons, 12.

  Josephus, the historian, his account of the pharos at Alexandria, 21.

  La Hève, the two lighthouses of, electric and lenticular
      apparatus at, 81, 82.

  Lamps as a means of lighthouse illumination, 69, 70;
    the various kinds employed in modern lighthouses, 79-81.

  Landmarks, early historical instances of, 264, 265;
    the Pillars of Hercules, 265, 266;
    Pompey’s Pillar, 266, 269, 270.

  Land’s End, the, described, 193, 194.

  Leon of Ostia, cited, 20.

  Lesches, pharos erected by, 12, 13.

  Light, the electric, as a means of lighthouse illumination, 81-84.

  Light, the refraction of, 84.

  Lighthouse commission of France, buildings of, referred to, 61.

  Lighthouse illumination, history of, sketched, 69-71.

  Lighthouse, an iron, described, 204-206;
    on piles, 207.

  Lighthouse keeper, the, his duties detailed, 276-279;
    in France, 285-288.

  Lighthouses, early history of, 9-43;
    how administered, 49-61;
    their geographical distribution, 62-67;
    the illuminating apparatus of, 68-94;
    the skill required in their construction, 95;
    the conditions of their erection, 96;
    number of men required for, 97, 98, 102;
    their capability of resistance to wind and wave, 98;
    internal arrangements of, 99-102;
    duties of their keepers, 102-104;
    of Great Britain, 108-211;
    of France, 212-252;
    the auxiliaries of, 256-275;
    life in, described, 276-288.

  Lights, variety of, 62, 63, 67;
    sea, 63;
    secondary, 64;
    harbour, 65;
    the leading five, 65, 66;
    their recent introduction, 66;
    danger of a too great multiplicity, 66, 67;
    a list of, 289-311.

  Lightships, first instituted by Avery and Hamblin, 254, 255;
    described, 255-257;
    how managed, 257, 258;
    British and Irish, 258;
    of the United States, 259;
    their crews, 259-261;
    life on board, 261-263;
    a night on board a lightship, 312-314.

  Lizard lights, the, referred to, 130.

  Lizard Point, lighthouses on, described, 197-199.

  Longfellow, the poet, his piece on the lighthouse quoted, 279, 280.

  Louis XIV. of France, anecdote of, 115, 116.

  Lovet, Captain, his lease of the Eddystone rock, 113.

  Lowestoff, the lighthouse at, 108.

  Lucan, the Roman poet, his reference to the pharos of Alexandria, 22.

  Mahogany, the, of Honduras, 144.

  Maplin Sands lighthouse described, 206, 207.

  Marstrand, Sweden, revolving apparatus for illumination at, 71.

  Martineau, Miss, quoted, 269, 270.

  May, isle of, the light on, 140.

  Messina, pharos at the mole of, 13.

  Michelet, M. Jules, on the Gulf of Gascony, 212;
    on Cordouan and its lighthouse, 218-221.

  “Moderator” lamp, the, described, 80.

  Montfaucon on Roman light-towers, 14, 15;
    on the pharos at Alexandria, 17, 18, 26-29;
    on the etymology of the word “pharos,” 18, 19.

  Morlent, author of “Monographie du Havre,” his description of
      Sainte-Adresse, 225.

  Needles Down, the, Isle of Wight, old lighthouse on, 97.

  Needles Point, Isle of Wight, lighthouse on, erection recorded, 97, 189;
    described, 189-191.

  New Caledonia, the lighthouse at described, 250, 251;
    inauguration of, 252.

  Nore, the, lightship at, mentioned, 132.

  Northern Lights, the commission of, its composition, 54, 55.

  North Foreland, the, lighthouse at, 201.

  Oil, the, employed in lighthouses of Great Britain and France, 81.

  Ostia, pharos erected at, by Emperor Claudian, 13.

  Paris, Matthew, the chronicler, cited, 23.

  Past, a nation’s, importance of cherishing, 36.

  “Permanent level” lamp, the, described, 80.

  Pharos, island of, lighthouse erected on, 13;
    position and history of, 20, 21.—_See_ Alexandria.

  Pharos, etymology of the word, 18, 19;
    its employment by historians, 19, 20.

  Philips, Mr., the founder of the Smalls lighthouse, 133, 134.

  Philo of Byzantium, his reference to the Rhodian Colossus, 47, 48.

  Pliny, his account of the pharos at Alexandria, 18, 21, 22;
    his reference to Boulogne, 30;
    his information concerning the Colossus of Rhodes quoted, 47, 48.

  Plymouth breakwater, the lighthouses at, 199.

  Point of Ayre lighthouse, the, referred to, 208.

  Pompey’s Pillar, historical memoranda concerning, 266-269.

  _Ponts et Chaussées_, department of, in France, its functions and
      functionaries, 57.

  Portland Bill, the lighthouse at, mentioned, 201.

  Ptolemæus, the Emperor, supposed founder of the pharos of
      Alexandria, 17, 18.

  Ptolemæus, the geographer, his reference to Boulogne, 30.

  Puckle, Rev. J., the historian of Dover Castle, quoted, 39-41.

  Puteoli, pharos at the port of, referred to, 13.

  Quatrefages, M. de, quoted, 243, 244.

  Ravenna, pharos erected at, by Augustus, 13.

  Reflectors, the plan of, in lighthouse illumination, 70.

  Renard, M., author of “Le Phares,” quoted, 10, 63, 223.

  Revolving light, the, of the catoptric system, how produced, 74.

  Revolving red and white light of the catoptric system, how
      produced, 74, 75.

  Reynaud, M. Léonce, the engineer, his erection of lighthouse at
      Héaux of Bréhat, 233-240;
    cited, 71.

  Rhodes, the Colossus of.—_See_ Colossus.

  Ronaldshay, North, the lighthouse at, mentioned, 142.

  Ronsard, the French poet, his tribute to Charles IX., quoted, 20.

  Rudyerd, John, his lighthouse on the Eddystone described, 113-115;
    its destruction, 116-118;
    a romantic episode connected with, 118, 119.

  Rumford, the engineer, his efforts to increase the illuminating
      power of lamps, 80.

  Sainte-Adresse, the vale of, described, 225;
    origin of the word, 225, 226.

  Saint-Pierre, Bernardin de, the French writer, 226-228.

  Scilly Isles, wrecks on the, 196.

  Scotland, coast of, administration of lights on, 139-141.

  Scott, Sir Walter, quoted, 145.

  Sea-birds as lighthouse signals, 107.

  Serapion, the, historical memoranda concerning, 266, 269.

  Shovel, Sir Cloudesley, wrecked on Scilly Isles, 196.

  Sigeum, pharos erected on the promontory of, 13.

  Skerries, the, Stevenson’s lighthouse on, 141, 142.

  Skerryvore Rock, the, its position, 171;
    danger and desolation, 172;
    Mr. Alan Stevenson’s inspection of, 172, 174.

  Skerryvore Lighthouse, the story of its erection, 174-180;
    its illuminating apparatus described, 180.

  Smalls lighthouse, the, its founder, 133, 134;
    its engineer, 134;
    and adventure of, 134-137;
    a painful incident connected with, 137, 138.

  Smeaton, John, his career sketched, 119, 120;
    his erection of a lighthouse on Eddystone described, 121-129.

  Smiles, Mr. Samuel, cited, 110, 119, 122, 129.

  Sostrates, architect of the pharos of Alexandria, story of, 17, 18.

  South Foreland, lighthouse on the, 282.

  South Stock lighthouse, warning apparatus at, 107.

  Southey, the poet, his ballad of “Ralph the Rover,” 147-149.

  St. Agnes Light, the, mentioned, 130.

  Start Point, lights at, referred to, 130;
    Stevenson’s erection of a beacon at, 142-144.

  St. Catherine’s Down, old lighthouse on, 192;
    proposed new lighthouse on, 97, 192.

  St. Catherine’s Point, lighthouse on, referred to, 192, 193.

  Stevenson, Mr. Thomas, the engineer, quoted, 66, 72, 76, 85, 88, 89;
    his holophotal system of illumination, 91, 92, 94;
    his marine dynamometer, 98;
    his suggestions for lighting beacons and buoys, 169, 170.

  Stevenson, Mr. Alan, quoted, 103, 104, 121;
    his inspection of the Skerryvore Rock, 172-174;
    erection of a lighthouse on the Skerryvore, 174-180;
    account of the Skerryvore quoted from, 172, _passim_.

  Stevenson, Mr. Robert, his erection of a lighthouse on the
      Skerries, 141, 142;
    the story of his Bell Rock lighthouse, 149-164;
    his erection of a beacon on Carr Rock, 168;
    quoted from, 142, _passim_.

  St. Hilaire, the church of, its conflagration described by
      Gregory of Tours, 19.

  Strabo, the historian, his reference to the pharos at Capio, 14;
    his account of the Colossus of Rhodes, 44;
    his mention of the Pillar of Hercules, 265, 266.

  Suetonius, the historian, cited, 13.

  Sunderland, the lighthouse at, its erection described, 182-186.

  Teulère, the engineer, his studies and inventions in lighthouse
      illumination, 70, 71.

  _Thames_, the, steamer, wrecked on Scilly Isles, 196.

  Thetis, the ocean-goddess, legend of, 12.

  Thucydides, the historian, quoted, 43.

  Tithonus, legend of, 12.

  Tour de Cordouan, lamp in, described by Mr. Stevenson, 88.

  Tour d’Ordre, the, of Boulogne, built by Caligula, 130;
    early history of, 31;
    destruction of, 32;
    the tribute connected with, 32;
    description of its remains, 35, 36;
    the worthy substitute for, 36, 37.

  Tradition, how carelessly accepted, 43.

  Trinity House, history of, summarized, 50-53;
    interior organization of, 53, 54;
    functions of its members, 54;
    the building, described by Esquiros, 58-61.

  United Kingdom, number of lighthouses in, enumerated, 56.

  Unst, North, island of, lighthouse at, described, 181.

  Ventilation for lighthouses, Professor Faraday’s system of,
      stated, 101, 102.

  Virgil, the poet, quoted, 196.

  Vivian, the engineer of Cayenne, on the Enfant Perdu, 250.

  Vossius, Isaac, story of the Alexandrian pharos, quoted from, 26.

  Walde, the lighthouse of, referred to, 250.

  White, Walter, quoted, 193, 194, 200, 201.

  Whiteside, the engineer of the Smalls lighthouse, an
      adventure of, 134-137.

  Wight, isle of, lights of, mentioned, 131.

  Wilde, Mr., of Manchester, his invention of an electro-magnetic
      apparatus for lighthouse illumination, 83, 84.

  Winstanley, Henry, his eccentric genius, 109;
    the erection of his lighthouse on the Eddystone described, 110-113.

  Wolf’s Crag lighthouse, the, described, 195, 196.

  Wordsworth, the poet, on Grace Darling, 281.

  Zach, the Baron de, cited, 10, 11.



List of Illustrations.

  Eddystone Lighthouse (_Frontispiece_).

  The Beacon Fire,                                           1

  A Roman Pharos,                                           15

  A Medal of Apameia,                                       16

  Ancient Pharos of Alexandria,                             23

  Modern Lighthouse of Alexandria,                          27

  Tour d’Ordre of Boulogne,                                 33

  The Tower at Dover,                                       39

  The Colossus of Rhodes,                                   45

  Trinity House,                                            58

  Lighthouse on a Rocky Headland,                           64

  Catoptric Apparatus,                                      72

  An Argand Fountain Lamp,                                  74

  Revolving Apparatus on the Catoptric Principle,           75

  Annular-built Lens,                                       78

  Electric Apparatus for Fixed Light,                       82

  Annular Lens of First Order,                              85

  Diagram, Illustrating Progress of Luminous Ray in a
  Catadioptric Ring,                                        87

  Fresnel’s Revolving Light,                                90

  Stevenson’s Holophotal Light,                             91

  Stevenson’s Fixed Light varied by Flashes,                92

  Fresnel’s Fixed Light Apparatus,                          93

  French Fixed Light Apparatus,                             93

  Cupola of First-class Lighthouse,                        100

  Sea-Birds attracted by Lighthouse Rays,                  105

  Winstanley’s Eddystone Lighthouse,                       111

  Smeaton’s Lighthouse at the Eddystone,                   127

  The Lightship at the Nore,                               131

  The Smalls Lighthouse,                                   135

  Inchkeith Lighthouse,                                    146

  Building the Bell Rock Lighthouse,                       150

  The Bell Rock Lighthouse,                                163

  Skerryvore Lighthouse,                                   178

  North Unst Lighthouse,                                   183

  Transporting a Lighthouse,                               187

  Needles Lighthouse,                                      190

  Wolf’s Crag Lighthouse,                                  195

  Bishop Rock Lighthouse,                                  197

  Lizard Point Lighthouse,                                 198

  Plymouth Breakwater Lighthouse,                          199

  North Foreland Lighthouse,                               201

  South Foreland Lighthouse,                               202

  Holyhead Lighthouse,                                     203

  Kinsale Lighthouse,                                      204

  Fastnet Rock Lighthouse,                                 205

  Maplin Sands Lighthouse,                                 206

  Alguada Reef Lighthouse,                                 209

  Ancient Tower of Cordouan,                               215

  Present Lighthouse of Cordouan,                          219

  Interior of Cordouan Lighthouse,                         222

  Lighthouse of Cape La Hève,                              229

  Erection of Lighthouse at the Héaux,                     241

  Lighthouse of the Enfant Perdu,                          247

  Lighthouse at New Caledonia,                             251

  The Lightship,                                           257

  Pompey’s Pillar,                                         267

  A Floating Beacon,                                       271

  The Arnish Beacon,                                       274

  Eddystone Lighthouse in a Storm,                         283

  Girdleness Lighthouse,                                   298

  Whalsey Skerries Lighthouse,                             300

  Ship Rock of Sanda Lighthouse,                           301


Transcriber’s notes:

In the text version, italics are represented by _underscores_, and bold
and black letter text by =equals= symbols. Superscripts are represented
by ^{} and subscripts by _{}

Missing or incorrect punctuation has been repaired. Inconsistent
spelling and hyphenation have been left as printed.

Greek words in the text can be rendered onto ascii as follows:—

  p. 11.  tyrris             τύῤῥις
  p. 13.  Anaplous Bosporon  Αναπλους Βοσπόονρ
  p. 19.  phôs               φὼς
          horan              ὁρἀν
          phainein           ϕαἰνειν
          phaneros           ϕανερός
          phaneros, pharos   ϕανερός, ϕάρος
  p. 20.  Eunostos           Εὔνοστος
  p. 77. Footnote 21
          dioptron           δίοπτρον
          Dioptron           Δίοπτρον
          dia                διἁ
          hoptomai           ὅπτομαι
  p. 94. Footnote 22.
          holos              ὅλος
          phôs               φὼς
  p. 265. stêlai             στῆλαι

The following changes have been made

p. 79.   emananting changed to emanating
p. 142.  Rolandshay changed to Ronaldshay
p. 285.  montony changed to monotony
p. 299.  Ronaldsha changed to Ronaldshay
p. 322.  (the Index of Illustrations) Fresner's changed to Fresnel's
p. 322.  Cordouan is used but the illustration caption uses Cordova.
         This has been left as printed.

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