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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 124115

Map Reference SM84SE

Grid Reference SM8923841282

Unitary (Local) Authority Pembrokeshire

Old County Pembrokeshire

Community Pencaer


Broad Class MARITIME

Period Post Medieval

Site Description The present light was built in 1908-09 and marks Strumble Head, situated to the west of Fishguard Harbour. The 16.8m (55ft) high tower stands on the summit of a small island, Ynys Meicel, reached by an iron bridge from the north-east end of Pen Caer promontory, a conspicuous headland 8km (5 miles) north-west of Fishguard. This circular stone tower tapers from a diameter of 6.6m (21ft 6ins) above its base plinth. Its casement windows with protruding lintels have fine brass fittings inside. A plain string-course at the summit of the tower swells into an ovolo-moulded cornice with a heavy protruding band, and this forms the base of the gallery which has cast-iron railings consisting of three horizontal rails supported by uprights capped with plainly decorated finials. The lantern is original with a 4.14m (13ft 7ins) diameter lower iron wall topped by smallish diamond panes with the blind of the light made up of diamond-shaped iron panels. The whole is crowned by a flat dome with a vent and weathervane. The lantern contains a fine large Chance lens floating in a mercury bath. The illumination was changed from paraffin to electricity in 1949. A slate plaque in the lantern-room is inscribed with a verse from Psalm 127:

Except the Lord Build the House
They labour in vain that build it
Except the Lord keep the city
The watchman waketh but in vain

There is a water tank with a slate cover under the lantern-room. The stairs up the tower surround a large circular well. Paraffin to fuel the light was pumped upwards by a handle from a tank in the base of the tower which was filled from the mainland using an inverted syphon or `U-tube'. A novel feature was that one handrail of the bridge and steps giving access to the island was actually part of the iron U-pipe conveying fuel from a tank in the mainland to one at the same level on the island, parts of this apparatus still survive. An electronic tannoy fog-signal was installed in 1969. A `Blondin' cableway carries stores from the mainland. Below the lighthouse is a flagpole protected by a circular wall, diameter 5.6m (18ft 2ins). Today the tower is reached by an 24m (80ft) long aluminium bridge, replacing the original iron bridge in 1963.

Event and Historical Information:
A proposal to erect a lighthouse here had been made in the Trinity House Court Minutes for 7 July 1825 but it came to nothing. To some extent the present light replaced the light-vessel previously moored in the south of Cardigan Bay. Strumble Head is now an automatic light controlled from teh Operations and Planning Centre at Harwich.

Sources include:
Hague, D, 1994, Lighthouses of Wales: Their Architecture and Archaeology, pg65-6

WWW sources:

Maritime Officer, RCAHMW, July 2013.

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