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HER Number:MDV7107
Name:John O'Groat's House, Lundy


Probable Civil War lookout which received its current name when used by a group of Scotsmen as a shooting lodge in the early 19th century.


Grid Reference:SS 133 478
Map Sheet:SS14NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishLundy
Ecclesiastical ParishLUNDY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Trust SMR: 108008
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS14NW/36
  • Old SAM County Ref: 735
  • Old SAM Ref: 30356
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS14NW/SW23

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BUILDING (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Langham, A. F., 1959 - 1960, The Early Maps of Lundy (Article in Serial). SDV344852.

John O'Groat's House is named on an Ordnance Survey map of 1820.

Langham, A. + M., 1960, Untitled Source, 83 (Monograph). SDV6870.

At North End is a small ruined building whose origin and purpose are not known but during the civil war it was used as a watch house. It derived its name ini the early 19th century when some Scotsmen rented it for game hunting.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1962 - 1979, SS14NW/SW23 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV344851.

Site visit 18th May 1962. Situated on the highest point of North End and commanding extensive views of the Bristol Channel. It is oblong on plan. There is a fireplace in the north wall and evidence of a door and window in the east and west walls respectively. A piece of 17th century pottery was found within the building. The house is built on the site of a large cairn which was probably robbed for building material. Other details: Photograph.

Gardner, K. S., 1965 - 1966, Untitled Source, 32 (Article in Serial). SDV342267.

Gardner, K. S., 1967, Untitled Source, 21 (Article in Serial). SDV6937.

The site was surveyed by the Lundy Field Society in 1967.

Hurst, D. G., 1968, Untitled Source, 175-176 (Article in Serial). SDV8366.

Gardner, K. S., 1968, Untitled Source, 41 (Article in Serial). SDV7161.

Gardner refers to a plan being made in 1967.

Ministry of Public Building and Works, 1970, Lundy, Prehistoric Settlement at North End (Schedule Document). SDV344689.

Thomas, J., 1976, Some Notes on the Administration of Lundy by Sir John Borlase Warren, 33-34 (Article in Serial). SDV337663.

Thomas, J., 1978, A History of Lundy, 1390-1775, 140 (Article in Serial). SDV1273.

Grose speaks in 1775 of a watch tower at the northern end of Lundy. This is probably John O'Groats House.

National Trust, 1989, Lundy, Devon. Vol. One, 27-28 (Report - Survey). SDV1275.

It is oblong in plan and measure 6.0 by 3.0 metres internally with drystone wallilng 0.7 metres thick. It must have still been roofed in the 19th century but the walls are now largely robbed. Their maximum height is 1.3 metres.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1998, Prehistoric Settlement at North End, Lundy (Schedule Document). SDV6857.

The monument includes an extensive area of prehistoric remains at the north end of the island. The remains consist of hut circles, relic field walls, small enclosures or stock pounds and burial cairns. In addition, one of the largest cairns has a Civil War lookout hut set on top of it, which measures 8 by 4 metres. It is now known as John O'Groat's House.

National Trust, 1998, The National Trust Sites and Monuments Record. Compressed Site Reports. Lundy. SMR Sites Nos 108000-108150, 108008 (Report - non-specific). SDV344688.

Small, rectangular ruined building known as John O'Groats House. Constructed on top of a cairn at a high point on the North End plateau commanding extensive views of the Bristol Channel. Built of moorstone. The structure is roofless and survives as dry-stone walling, circa 0.7 metres thick, with an average height of 1 metre. The wall at the western end survives to a height of 1.3 metres. The building is aligned east-west with a small stack in the centre of the north wall and a hearth below. Doorway in the east wall with two toppled door jambs lying inside (the largest of these is circa 1 metre long and 0.35 metres wide). Window in west wall with granite sill/bench below. This bench consists of two rectangular stones, protruding inwards a maximum of 0.5 metres from the wall, height 0.25 metres. The exterior of the west wall has been repaired, possibly in the 19th century in a poorly coursed, dry moorstone build and style, quite different from the neat earth-fast construction of the earlier building. The north-west face of the bulding consists of substantial tumbled stone on its external sides with evidence for a protruding wall from the western wall face and possibly the remains of a terrace associated with this feature. This may indicate the presence of a stack. The origin and purpose of the building are unknown. This is probably the site referred to in a 1787 journal (published in the North Devon Magazine in 1824) as 'the remains of an house or Room, I suppose built for a lookout for the Channel. Its dimensions are 23 feet long, 10 do. Broad'. Shown on an Ordnance Survey map of 1820 as 'Johnny Groats House'. Mentioned by Steinman Steinman, 1836, as 'John O'Groats' House, a small cottage at the North Point'. Chanter, 1877, describes it as 'an old ruin called John O'Groats house' but mistakenly locates it offshore on Seal's Rock, although it is in the correct position on his map of the same date. Page, 1985, attributes it to the Civil War, suggesting it was a watch house used at the beginning of the 19th century by Scotsmen as shooting butts, giving the house its name. Langham and Langham, 1970, describe it as a possible guardhouse. Milln, 1990, suggests that the building was too small to have been used for permament occupation and that it could have been a sheiling, associated with the management of flocks or herds on the remote northern pasture on the island. He suggests that it may be medieval or post medieval. A piece of 17th century pottery has been found in the building.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1273Article in Serial: Thomas, J.. 1978. A History of Lundy, 1390-1775. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 110. A5 Paperback. 140.
SDV1275Report - Survey: National Trust. 1989. Lundy, Devon. Vol. One. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. 1. A4 Stapled + Digital. 27-28.
SDV337663Article in Serial: Thomas, J.. 1976. Some Notes on the Administration of Lundy by Sir John Borlase Warren. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 108. Unknown. 33-34.
SDV342267Article in Serial: Gardner, K. S.. 1965 - 1966. Lundy Field Society Annual Report. 17. Unknown. 32.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #99600 ]
SDV344688Report - non-specific: National Trust. 1998. The National Trust Sites and Monuments Record. Compressed Site Reports. Lundy. SMR Sites Nos 108000-108150. The National Trust Sites and Monuments Record. A4 Stapled + Digital. 108008.
SDV344689Schedule Document: Ministry of Public Building and Works. 1970. Lundy, Prehistoric Settlement at North End. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV344851Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1962 - 1979. SS14NW/SW23. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV344852Article in Serial: Langham, A. F.. 1959 - 1960. The Early Maps of Lundy. Lundy Field Society Annual Report. 13. Unknown.
SDV6857Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1998. Prehistoric Settlement at North End, Lundy. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV6870Monograph: Langham, A. + M.. 1960. Lundy, Bristol Channel. Unknown. 83.
SDV6937Article in Serial: Gardner, K. S.. 1967. Archaeological Review. 2. Unknown. 21.
SDV7161Article in Serial: Gardner, K. S.. 1968. Lundy Field Society Annual Report. 19. Unknown. 41.
SDV8366Article in Serial: Hurst, D. G.. 1968. Post-Medieval Archaeology. 2. Unknown. 175-176.

Associated Monuments

MDV45904Related to: Cairn at North End, Lundy (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Aug 27 2010 9:24AM