Last Thurdsday [14th November] I noticed that the Google Doodle of the day celebrated the first lighting of the Eddystone Lighthouse on 14th November 1698.
A somewhat surprising Google Doodle, but then so many are to me. I imagine it is because it was the first recorded instance of an offshore lighthouse.
Here’s the background to the Eddystone Lighthouse. The lighthouse warns sailors of the position of the Eddystone rocks that have been a danger to shipping for centuries. The first lighthouse was wooden framed with stone cladding and survived just a few years, interesting it was by a French privateer. Subsequently repaired and lasted till it was demolished by the great storm of 1703.
There have been four Eddystone lighthouses. The third, built by John Smeaton, lasted till 1877, when the erosion of the rocks on which it was built rquired the fourth and current lighthouse. Smeaton’s lighthouse was demolished and re-erected on Plymouth Hoe. It’s foundations remain, as can be seen in the photo below of it and the current Lighthouse.
The magazine History Today’s article New Light on the Eddystone details the background to Henry Winstanley’s first lighthouse.