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Skerries Lighthouse with associated buildings and enclosure walls

A Grade II* Listed Building in Cylch-y-Garn, Isle of Anglesey

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4212 / 53°25'16"N

Longitude: -4.6083 / 4°36'29"W

OS Eastings: 226773

OS Northings: 394768

OS Grid: SH267947

Mapcode National: GBR GMZN.KW0

Mapcode Global: WH41X.58TL

Entry Name: Skerries Lighthouse with associated buildings and enclosure walls

Listing Date: 29 March 1996

Last Amended: 27 November 2000

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 18028

Building Class: Maritime

Location: Towards the S end of The Skerries Islands, at their highest point. 11.5km N of Holyhead.

County: Isle of Anglesey

Community: Cylch-y-Garn

Community: Cylch-y-Garn

Locality: The Skerries

Traditional County: Anglesey

Find accommodation in
Llanrhwydrys

History

A lighthouse was first established on The Skerries c1716, built by William Trench as a personal venture, and with a patent established in 1724. His son-in-law Sutton Morgan took over the light in 1725 (confirmed by parliament in 1730 when he was granted the patent of the light to him and his heirs for ever). c1759 the lighthouse was rebuilt and was raised in height in 1804 when the former coal brazier was replaced by an oil-burning lantern. Trinity House acquired the lighthouse in 1844 for the record sum of £440,984, and under its auspices, it was largely rebuilt in 1851 by James Walker, consultant engineer to Trinity House. Ancillary buildings associated with the establishment of a fog station including an engine house were added to the tower in the later C19, and a secondary circular tower adjoins the main tower to the SW, added in 1903-4 to provide a red sector light.
Site comprises the lighthouse tower with attached keepers' accommodation as part of James Walker's original design, and later ancillary buildings including former engine house and secondary sector-light tower. Unusual plan, built against the slope of the rock, in which the main entrance to the lighthouse is via a spinal corridor bisecting the accommodation block.

Exterior

Keepers' Accommodation: Built c1851 and originally 2 symmetrically planned houses. No longer used by Trinity House, and amalgamated as a single dwelling. Whitewashed rough rubble on a rusticated battered plinth and with rusticated quoins, ashlar parapet with brick blocking course. 2-storeyed, 3-window range facing E, with central entrance giving access to stairway leading to lighthouse. Projecting flat roofed porch with moulded cornice and canted upper storey set back. Doorways set either side of porch (2-centred chamfered arches with Trinity House arms in relief over); flanking 2-light mullioned and transomed windows, with 2-light mullioned windows to first floor and in upper storey of porch. The two former dwellings are entered from the return elevations to either side. S elevation has central doorway and 2-light mullioned and transomed windows flanking it, with 2-light mullions above; basement windows below ground level. N elevation is similarly arranged, but the central entrance is at basement level.

Yards and enclosure walls: The Keepers' accommodation building is set in a curved enclosure bounded by low rendered rough rubble walls, and with cobbled surfaces. Small enclosed cobbled yards up steps to either side of the building have small octagonal turrets with chamfered arched doors built into the walls in the angles, originally housing the privies. To the rear of these yards, the enclosure walls are stepped up to a battered plinth at the base of the lighthouse tower itself.
The buildings are built against the slope of the rock, and the central stairway which gives access to the lighthouse rises in 3 straight flights divided half-way by a chamfered 4-centred archway sprung from corbels.

Lighthouse: Ancillary buildings: Walker's tower is encased by a concentric range of buildings which appear mostly to be later additions. The former engine house is a standard late C19 Trinity house pattern, circular with recessed mullioned and transomed windows, with raked back upper lights; moulded cornice and blocking course. It has now been converted to Keepers' accommodation, and the square tower of the fog station adjoins this building to the N. This was probably originally the lobby of the engine house, raised in height on conversion to fog station. Original circular lobby at the head of stairs leading from the main entrance in the former accommodation block has 2-centred arched doorway with Trinity House arms over it in its N elevation.

Lighthouse: Tower: tapering circular tower 22m high, on a tooled plinth, ashlar with tooled cornice defining a second stage. Painted in broad red and white bands. Deeply recessed windows in upper stage, in lugged architraves. Solid stone crenellated parapet corbelled out on moulded brackets; cast iron lantern, continuously glazed with horizontal grid glazing bars.

Interior

The central entrance gives access to a grand staircase leading directly to the lighthouse, separating the two keepers' dwellings (now amalgamated as one and linked at basement level). Each of these dwellings has two rooms on each floor, with rear wall fireplaces in rear rooms, corner fireplaces to front.
Lighthouse tower has ground and first floor store rooms with stone slab ceilings; open stone stairway beyond with plain cast iron rail. Service room in upper stage, with cast-iron tube (formerly housing weights for clock-work rotatary mechanism for light); ladder stair to lantern. Optic appears to be c1870: cast-iron base, with cylindrical shafts with moulded captials and brackets carrying the 6-sided catadioptric lens which rotates on a bath of mercury.
Sector-light tower to SW is lined-out render over stone, a battered circular tower with lattice-glazed cast-iron lantern with cast-iron rail to gridded platform.

Reasons for Listing

Listed at grade II* as an excellent example of the work of James Walker, a compactly planned complex which exploits the constraints of its site in a highly dramatic conception.

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