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HER Number:MDV8338
Name:Start Point Lighthouse, Stokenham


Lighthouse built by Alan Stevenson in 1836. A white-painted granite ashlar tower in several stages with a corbelled embattled parapet and a cast iron lattice lantern. It was originally fitted the Stevenson's dioptric system of illumination. The last keeper left in 1992 when the lighthouse became fully automated.


Grid Reference:SX 829 371
Map Sheet:SX83NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishStokenham
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSTOKENHAM

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 445827
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX83NW/1
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX83NW9

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • LIGHTHOUSE (Built, XIX - 1836 AD to 1836 AD)

Full description

Russell, P., 1955, Fire Beacons in Devon, 294 (Article in Serial). SDV336138.

Firebeacon on Start Point. 55 metres above sea level. There was a chapel of St. Mary in 1506, but the site is not known. The lighthouse was built in 1836 and was preceded by an admiralty signal house on the hill where the wireless station stands. Other details: Appendix B.

Department of Environment, 1960, Kingsbridge RD, 38 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV323346.

A circular grey tower of granite built 1836 by Alan Stevenson and fitted with dioptric system of illumination. The intermediate floors were removed in 1871 when houses were provided for accomodation.

Hague, D.B. + Christie, R., 1975, Lighthouses, 98, 108, 227 (Monograph). SDV7202.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1980, SX83NW9 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV339368.

Start Point Lights house is a circular grey granite tower built in 1836 by Alan Stevenson. It was fitted with his dioptric system of illumination, the first to be used by Trinity House.
The intermediate floors of the tower were removed in 1871 when houses were built to provide living accommodation.

Griffith, F. M., 1987, DAP/IB, 1, 2 (Aerial Photograph). SDV312427.

Griffith, F., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 17 (Monograph). SDV64198.

Impett, R. M., 1989, Start Point (Ground Photograph). SDV339372.

English Heritage, 1991, Stokenham, 130 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV321703.

Lighthouse 1836 by James Walker engineer, with minor alterations of 1871. Tarred and white-painted granite ashlar with cast-iron lantern roofed in copper. Tall circular tower of about 28 metres high with moulded plinth and pedestal stage and two diminishing stages above that, the top stage with a corbelled embattled parapet and a cast-iron lattice lantern with a copper canopy surrounded by weatervane. Rectangular and small round-headed window openings with plain raised architraves and blind panel on west side under the parapet. On the north and south sides there are two entrance porches, that on the south side blocked an with a 4-centred arch hoodmould; the doorway to the north porch has a Tudor arch and both have raised parapets with Trinity House arms.
Interior: There is a cantilevered granite staircase around the inside well of the tower with an iron balustrade with a cast-iron newel. The lighthouse originally had the keepers' living accommodation on the ground and first floor but the floor was taken out in 1871 when new Keepers' Houses were built nearby. The lens is developed from the dioptic system designed by Alan Stevenson, the first of this kind to be used by Trinity House. The light was powered by oil until 1959 when it was electrified. Originally the fog-sounder was a bell mounted outside, but this was soon replaced, in about 1851, because the new steam ships could not hear the bell.
Source: Trinity House. Douglas B. Hague and Rosemary Christie, "Lighthouses".

Griffiths, P., 1992, Computers oust Devon's last lighthouse keeper (Article in Serial). SDV339371.

The keeper at Start Point, Devon's last manned lighthouse will be replaced by automation late summer 1992.
Start Point has been used as the site for an Armada beacon and as 18th century semaphore station. The lighthouse was built in 1818.

Devon County Council, 2000, Fire Beacons: Warning Signals across the Countryside (Monograph). SDV320945.

Pink, F., 2014, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment (Interpretation). SDV357736.

Ordnance Survey, 2023, Mastermap 2023 (Cartographic). SDV365227.

Start Point Lighthouse marked, with flashing white and fixed red lights.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV312427Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1987. DAP/IB. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1, 2.
SDV320945Monograph: Devon County Council. 2000. Fire Beacons: Warning Signals across the Countryside. Fire Beacons: Warning Signals across the Countryside. A4 Unbound.
SDV321703List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 1991. Stokenham. Historic Houses Register. Website. 130.
SDV323346List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1960. Kingsbridge RD. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 38.
SDV336138Article in Serial: Russell, P.. 1955. Fire Beacons in Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 87. A5 Hardback. 294.
SDV339368Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1980. SX83NW9. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index + Digital.
SDV339371Article in Serial: Griffiths, P.. 1992. Computers oust Devon's last lighthouse keeper. The Observer. Newspaper/Magazine Cutting + Digital.
SDV339372Ground Photograph: Impett, R. M.. 1989. Start Point. Impett Slide Collection. Slide.
SDV357736Interpretation: Pink, F.. 2014. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. AC Archaeology Report. ACD618/4/3. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV365227Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2023. Mastermap 2023. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #140103 ]
SDV64198Monograph: Griffith, F.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 17.
SDV7202Monograph: Hague, D.B. + Christie, R.. 1975. Lighthouses. Lighthouses. Unknown. 98, 108, 227.

Associated Monuments

MDV43351Related to: Admiralty Signal Station at Start Point, Stokenham (Monument)
MDV112172Related to: Chapel at Start Point, Stokenham (Monument)
MDV43996Related to: Piggery to north-north-east of Start Point Lighthouse, Stokenham (Building)
MDV90120Related to: Well house by Start Point Lighthouse, Stokenham (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Mar 9 2023 5:22PM