Lundy Island  Devon


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

LUNDY ISLAND, an extra-parochial island in Bideford district, Devon; in the mouth of Bristol channel, 12 miles NNW of Hartland point, and 19 W of Morte point. It forms a breakwater to Bristol channel; rises in high cliffs from the water; and is inaccessible except at one point on the S. A vessel goes to it from Clovelly, once a fortnight in winter, and once a week or oftener in summer. ...

Its length, from N to S, is about 2½ miles; its area is 920 acres; and its highest ground, a pyramidal rock called the Constable, has an altitude of about 800 feet above sea-level. Its rocks are interesting to geologists, as showing junctions of granite and slate. Its cliff scenery is sombre and wild; its vicinity, all round, is studded with islets, skerries, and reefs, called the Rat and Lamatry isles, the Knoll, Pins, Gannets, Seals, and Gull rocks, and the Hen and Chickens reef; its SW extremity is cut by a remarkable chasm, called the Devil's Limekiln, with an outlet to the s ea, confronted by a rock exactly commensurate with it, and called the Shutter; and its landing-place is near Rat isle, and has anchorage in from 5 to 12 fathoms water. William de Morisco, a nobleman by birth, who conspired against the life of Henry III., took refuge in Lundy Island, built a castle on it, made piratical incursions on the neighbour ing coasts, and was at length surprised and put to death. Edward III., at a troublesome period of his disturbed reign, endeavoured to retire hither for safety, but was driven by contrary winds into Glamorganshire. Lord Say and Sele garrisoned the island for Charles I. A party of Frenchmen, in the time of William and Mary, got possession of it by stratagem, and destroyed all the property of the inhabitants. The island afterwards belonged successively to different families; was sold, in 1840, for £9,870; and belongs now to W. Heaven, Esq. It is famous for cattle-feeding and for butter, and exports large quantities. It still has remains of Morisco's castle, and vestiges of an ancient chapel. A lighthouse also is on it; erected in 1820; showing a lower fixed light 506 feet high, visible at the distance of 29 miles, and an upper intermittent light, 567 feet high, brightening every 22 seconds, and visible at the distance of 31 miles. Pop., 48. Houses, 5.

Lundy Island through time

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

How to reference this page:

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


Date accessed: 24th May 2024

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