St. Agnes Lighthouse

St. Agnes Lighthouse

St. Agnes, Isles of Scilly


St. Agnes most notable landmark is its lighthouse, although no longer in use, it has been converted into living accommodation and the tower no longer contains a light. In 1680 Trinity House began a survey of the coasts of England as it was known that the contemporary charts were inaccurate; the Isles of Scilly was plotted ten miles to the north. Trinity House was also given permission to erect and maintain one or more lighthouses on the islands. St. Agnes was chosen as it is the most westerly of the inhabitable islands and close to the collection of rocks, tidal flows and currents, now known as the Western Rocks. It was built in 1680 and was coal fired until 1790, when it was converted to oil, with copper lamps and 21 revolving reflectors. A plaque records the original construction by Captains Hugh Hill and Simon Bayly, builders of the 1676 Lowestoft lighthouse. There were two protests against the building of the St. Agnes light. Officials from the Isle of Wight complained that they would lose revenue from harbour dues and victualling as shipping would prefer to use the Isles of Scilly, and the Governor of Scilly on the grounds that he would lose money from wrecks!

The St. Agnes lighthouse was the second to be built in the western approaches (after the Lizard lighthouse of 1619). It stands 74 feet above the ground, and 138 feet above mean high water. It was superseded in 1911 by the Peninnis Lighthouse and St. Agnes lighthouse now painted white serves as a day-mark for shipping.

Cornish Lighthouses       Cornwall's Shipwrecks       The Isles of Scilly       St. Agnes