UK Genealogy Archives logo
DISCLOSURE: This page may contain affiliate links, meaning when you click the links and make a purchase, we may receive a commission.

Lundy Island, Devon

Historical Description

Lundy Island, an extra-parochial island in Devonshire, in the mouth of the Bristol Channel, 12 miles NNW of Hartland Point, and 19 W of Morte Point. The nearest station is Instow on the L. & S.W.R. It forms a breakwater to the Bristol Channel, rises in high cliffs from the water, and is accessible easily at only one point at the SE corner. Vessels go to it from Clovelly, Ilfracombe, Instow, and Appledore. It has a post and telegraph office under Instow (R.S.O.); money order office, Instow. Its length from N to S is about 3 miles; its area is 1200 acres; and its highest ground, Beacon Hill, with the ruins of St Helen's Chapel, has an altitude of some 520 feet above sea-level. In the N stands the Constable, a natural obelisk of granite some 70 feet high. Its rocks are interesting to geologists, as showing junctions of granite and slate, with remarkable dikes of porphyritic trap. Its cliff scenery is sombre and wild; its vicinity all round is studded with islets, skerries, and reefs, called the Eat Island, 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 sea, confronted by a rock exactly commensurate with it, and called the Shutter; and its landing-place is near Rat Island, and has anchorage in from 5 to 12 fathoms of water. William de Marisco, 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 neighbouring 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 Glamorgan. 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, and was sold in 1840 for £9870. It is famous for cattle-feeding and for butter, and exports large quantities. It still has remains of Marisco's castle, and vestiges of an ancient chapel. A lighthouse also is on it, erected in 1819, showing a lower fixed light 506 feet high, visible at a distance of 29 miles, and an upper intermittent light 587 feet high, brightening every sixty seconds, and visible at the distance of 31 miles. There is a Lloyd's signal station on the island. A small iron church was erected in 1889 by the Heaven family.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyDevon 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Lundy Island from the following:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Devon online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of the County of Devon in the year 1564, with additions from the earlier visitation of 1531, is online.

The Visitations of the County of Devon, comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564, & 1620, with additions by Lieutant-Colonel J.L. Vivian, published for the author by Henry S. Eland, Exeter 1895 is online.