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South Bishop Lighthouse and associated buildings

A Grade II Listed Building in St. David's and the Cathedral Close (Tŷddewi a Chlos y Gadeirlan), Pembrokeshire

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Latitude: 51.8527 / 51°51'9"N

Longitude: -5.412 / 5°24'43"W

OS Eastings: 165121

OS Northings: 222628

OS Grid: SM651226

Mapcode National: GBR FR0S.PT4

Mapcode Global: VH0TJ.4PRL

Plus Code: 9C3PVH3Q+36

Entry Name: South Bishop Lighthouse and associated buildings

Listing Date: 28 July 1992

Last Amended: 29 March 1996

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 12718

Building Class: Maritime

Location: Situated on South Bishop Rock, the southernmost of Bishops and Clerks rocky islands, 4.8km to the W of Ramsey Island.

County: Pembrokeshire

Community: St. David's and the Cathedral Close (Tŷddewi a Chlos y Gadeirlan)

Community: St. David's and the Cathedral Close

Find accommodation in
St. Davids


The first application to build a light here was made in 1831, but was unsuccessful until 1834. The lighthouse was designed by James Walker, consultant engineer to Trinity House, and a light was first exhibited in 1839. Automated in the 1970's, a number of changes were then made at the site (including the partial demolition of one of the paired keepers' houses, and the demolition of the separate engineers' quarters). The optic was replaced when the station was electrified in the late 1950's.


The buildings are within a walled compound, and built on two levels. The tower occupies the summit of the rock, and is linked to the first floor of the accommodation block by a corridor. Rendered granite rubble throughout, whitewashed; accommodation building is lined-out render with tooled dressings (angle quoins and architraves), and has hipped slate roof with black axial stack. This building formerly comprised a symmetrical pair of keepers' dwellings, but the westernmost dwelling was reduced in height and converted into an engine room in the 1970's. In its present form the building comprises a hipped roofed 2-storey block, with entrance in flat roofed porch with moulded cornice to the right. Paired windows to the left (partially blocked), with similar windows above, and a single window over the entrance. Similar windows in E gable return. All windows renewed in original openings. Single storey continuation of this building to the W is all that remains of the second keepers' house: it retains a matching porch to the left, and blocked windows in side elevation. To the rear of this building, and at an upper level, a corridor links it with the tower: 4-centred arched doorway in its W elevation. Tower is 11.3m high, slightly tapering from a plinth with tooled dressings. Single window facing N: a round-arched sash window with radial glazing in stresses architrave. Heavy modillion cornice to lantern walkway, with plain bellied cast-iron railings. Circular lantern (dated 1838) has gridded glazing above solid iron-plate base, and conical roof with cowl (replacing original ball-finial).

The buildings are enclosed by low walls of limewashed rubble, which form part of the original design by James Walker (but have been replaced by concrete walling for a short length at the high point to the rear of the tower).


Stairs parallel to the rear wall of the dwelling give access to the corridor: this has moulded 4-centred arches at each end. Tower has mural stone stair with plain cast-iron rail. Cast-iron tube (for weights of former clockwork rotative mechanism) extends the full height of the tower (with its base in the basement store-room). Service-room floor carried on 4 cast-iron beams. Cast-iron staircase leads from service room to lantern gallery: the lantern floor is modern, and the present Stone Chance optic installed in 1970's.

Reasons for Listing

A good example of an early lighthouse from the firm of James Walker: the lighthouse is particularly notable for the survival of its original lantern, and in spite of some alterations, the complex of buildings retains much of its character as a well-planned and efficiently designed

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