Bell Rock  Angus


In 1882-4, Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland described Bell Rock like this:

Bell Rock or Inchcape, a reef surmounted by a lighthouse in the German Ocean, off the coast of Forfarshire, 11¾ miles SE of Arbroath, and 17 ENE of St Andrews. The reef lies in the direct track of navigation to vessels entering either the Firth of Forth or the Firth of Tay; and, prior to the erection of the lighthouse, was regarded by mariners as the most dangerous spot on the eastern coast of Scotland. ...

It consists of red sandstone; measures about 2000 feet in length; lies all, at high water of spring tides, under a minimum depth of 12 feet of water; and to the extent of about 427 feet by 230, is uncovered at spring tide ebbs to a height of about 4 feet. The lighthouse on it was erected, in 1808-11, at a cost of £61,331; has a circular form, of similar structure and on similar principle to the late Eddystone Lighthouse; consists of granite in the basement and the exterior casing, of sandstone in the interior work; and has a diameter of 42 feet at the base and of 15 under the cornice, the outline being an elliptical curve. It rises to a total height of 120 feet, including 15 in cast-iron octagonal framework; has a revolving light, showing alternately red and white every minute, and visible at the distance of 15½ nautical miles; and contains two bells, rung by machinery during thick weather. The name Bell Rock, however, refers to an old tradition, made popular by Southey's ballad of The Inchcape Rock. This tells how the pious abbot of Aberbrothock here fixed a bell upon a tree or timber, which, ringing continually by the motion of the sea, warned sailors of their peril; how Sir Ralph the Rover wantonly cut the bell away; and how a year after he perished on the rock himself, with ship and goods, in the righteous judgment of God. See Dr Wm. Marshall's Historic Scenes in Forfarshire (Edinb. 1875), and the -Life of Robert Stevenson (Edinb. 1878), by his son, David Stevenson.

Bell Rock through time

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

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Bell Rock in Angus | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 09th December 2021

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