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Lizard Lighthouse (1619), site of
900m east of Lizard Point, Cornwall
associated engineer
Anon
date  lit December 1619
era  Stuart  |  category  Lighthouse  |  reference  SW703116
The coastline around Cornwall's Lizard Point is famous for its stormy weather and shipwrecks. Authorisation to erect a beacon on the cliffs at the western end of Housel Bay was obtained in 1570, though nothing was constructed until 1619 as it was feared a light would benefit pirates and enemies as well as legitimate trade.
Even Trinity House, the lighthouse authority for England and Wales, was not in favour, stating that a light was unnecessary. In the end, Sir John Killigrew built a tower on his own land at his own expense in return for a rent of "twenty nobles by the year" for 30 years.
The fire in Killigrew's tower was first allowed to be lit in December 1619 on the condition that it would be extinguished if enemy forces were approaching. However, Sir John could not afford to maintain the lighthouse and ship owners were reluctant to contribute.
King James I imposed a charge of one halfpenny per ton on all vessels passing the light but the opposition this caused, together with the difficulty of collecting the fee, led to the termination of the endeavour. The light was extinguished after just four years and the lighthouse tower was demolished.
Research: ECPK
bibliography
"Cornwall's Lighthouse Heritage" by Michael Tarrant
Twelveheads Press, Truro, 1993
"Marconi at The Lizard The Story of Communication Systems at Housel Bay"
by Courtney Rowe, Trevithick Society, 2000
www.trinityhouse.co.uk
Location

Lizard Lighthouse (1619), site of