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Site Details

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

NPRN 179

Map Reference SS96NW

Grid Reference SS91826805

Unitary (Local) Authority The Vale of Glamorgan

Old County Glamorgan

Community St Donats


Broad Class MARITIME

Period 19th Century, Post Medieval

Site Description One of a pair of lighthouses built in 1832 by the prolific lighthouse engineer, Joseph Nelson – this, the lower or west lighthouse and the higher or east lighthouse (see NPRN 178). Both towers are of fine ashlar painted white, the lower stage of each is marked by weathered string-course. Both towers have molded cornices at gallery level. The lower or western lighthouse was 20.42m (67ft) high and is 6.86m (22ft 6ins) in diameter. The external taper or batter reduces the top thickness of the walls to 0.61m (2ft). There are oblong window openings with substantial internal splays. The original illumination consisted of double rows of reflectors 0.53m (21ins) in diameter; 13 Argand burners in the high light and 12 in the low. The original lanterns glazed with rectangular panes were 4.27m (14ft) in diameter. These, and the old railings, were replaced in 1867 by a helical lantern now removed. A fog-signal compressor and a 20 h.p. Ruston Hornsby generator of c.1903 were taken to Leicester Industrial Museum in 1966. The use of the low light-tower had been discontinued by the early 1970s and its lantern removed. Similar single-storeyed keepers' houses are attached to both the lighthouses. An original 1832 cottage stands alongside the lower/western light tower, and is connected to it by a secondary flat-roofed linking corridor. This linking corridor is built of painted ashlar stone masonry and is lit by narrow chamfered windows with sash lights flanking each side of a central doorway sheltered by a projecting cornice supported on brackets. The cottage has gabled rear wings and the roofs now have a bitumastic finish. The windows been modified during the house's long use - there are two modern windows in the south wall and one to the north with an older blocked window in the east elevation. The lighthouses and keeper's cottages stand within a complex of enclosing walls, with stone-piered gates and a stone style.

Event and Historical Information:
An application to build the lights was made in February 1830 by Thomas Protheroe of Newport, together with 439 owners and masters from the Bristol Channel. An impetus to the building was provided by the loss of the paddle steamer FROLIC on the Nash Sands in which incident over 70 lives were lost, including several prominent Pembrokeshire citizens (see NPRN 274235). Joseph Nelson was the engineer and builder, and the superintendent of works was his nephew, George Burrell. Joseph Nelson lodged at the Bear Hotel, Cowbridge, and used the Dowlais Iron Company as his bank during the building works. The company's records (at the Glamorgan Record Office) preserve letters from 1831-32, relating to the payment of wages and to the purchase of materials. Nash Point lighthouse stations remains manned and is used as an area control centre.

Sources include:
Hague, D, 1994, Lighthouses of Wales: Their Architecture and Archaeology, pg49-52

RCAHMW, August 2010

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