Eddystone  Devon


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Eddystone like this:

EDDYSTONE, a reef and a lighthouse in Devon; in N lat. 50o 11', W long 4o 15', and 10 miles SSW of Plymouth Breakwater. The reef consists of gneiss rock; is narrow, and about 100 fathoms long; lies at such elevation as to be quite covered by the sea at high water, and not very much above it at low water; and had long a mournful notoriety as the scene of shipwrecks. ...

It probably got its name from the eddy or whirl occasioned by the sea-current striking against it. A question was debated, for many years, among engineers, whether a beacon or lighthouse could be raised upon it of sufficient character to possess stability and to guide mariners. A light-house, at length, in 1696-9, a polygon of wood and stone, 100 feet high, was built upon it by Henry Winstanley; but was swept away, together with its projector, by a furious storm in 1703. A second lighthouse, a conical structure of wood and stone, 92 feet high, was erected in 1706-9, by Mr. Rudyard; but was destroyed by fire in 1755. A third lighthouse, all of granite, modelled on the form of the trunk of an oak, 26 feet in diameter and 100 feet high, was built in 1757-9 by Smeaton; and still stands. This is so dovetailed into the rock as to be practically identified with it; and, as seen at almost any time, but especially in a storm, it looks very imposing. The light on it is a fixed one, at a height of 72 feet, visible over a radius of 13 miles. The reef extends from it 78 fathoms S, 65 fathoms E, and 150 fathoms NE. The sea on the W side is clear, with 12 fathoms water; and the reach thence to Plymouth has from 36 to 20 fathoms.

Eddystone through time

Eddystone is now part of Caradon district. Click here for graphs and data of how Caradon has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Eddystone itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Eddystone, in Caradon and Devon | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 15th October 2019

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