coast of Cornwall is one of the most dangerous stretches of water and there
are a thousand recorded wrecks resulting in the greatest concentration of
lighthouses anywhere in the world. In the days of sailing ships the surfing
beaches, narrow coves and spectacular cliffs enjoyed by holiday makers today
were threatening dangerous places where an unwary ship could be wrecked almost
in an instant.
old Scillonian Prayer
We pray Thee Lord, not that wrecks should happen,
but if they do Thou wilt guide them to the Scilly Isles for the benefit of
the poor inhabitants.
House since 1514 has been responsible for the safe passage of sailors around
the coasts. Before the 19th century the only lights on the Cornish coast were
the Eddystone, Lizard, St Agnes and first Longships. In the 19th century lighthouses
were constructed at Bishop Rock, Longships, Wolf Rock, Round Island, Eddystone,
Trevose, Godrevy and St Antony. These were built by local labour under the
supervision of Trinity House engineers. In the 20th century Pendeen, Tater
Du and Peninnis were added.
Wolf Rock Lighthouse was begun in 1862. All the stones were precut and shaped
on shore in Penzance and trial fitted before being transported by barge to
the construction site. Here a look out kept watch in the early stages for
possible heavy swell which would submerge the work and the men had to hold
on whilst it washed over them.
Trevose Head Lighthouse - built in
1847. Situated some 4.5 miles from Padstow.
Godrevy Lighthouse - built in 1858 on
Godrevy Island in St Ives bay.
Pendeen Lighthouse - built in 1900 on
Pendeen Watch headland.
Seven Stones Lightvessel - anchored
15 miles WNW of Longships Lighthouse.
Longships Lighthouse - first built in
1795 1.5 miles out from Land's End.
Wolf Rock Lighthouse - first beacon
built in 1795 8 miles from Land's End.
Round Island Lighthouse - built in 1887
2.5 miles north of St Mary's.
Peninnis Head Lighthouse - built in
1911 on the southern tip of St Mary's.
St Agnes Lighthouse - built in 1680
used until 1911.
Bishop Rock Lighthouse - first started
in 1847 on an isolated rock SW of Scilly Isles.
Tater Du Lighthouse - built in 1965
Lizard Lighthouse - first built in 1619
at the end of the Lizard peninsula.
St Anthony's Head Lighthouse - built
in 1835 at entrance to Falmouth harbour.
Eddystone Lighthouse - first built in
1698 8 miles off Rame Head.
lighthouses were built to be manned but more recent ones were automated from
the start. Now there are no manned lighthouses in Cornish waters.