LUNDY ISLAND From White's Devonshire Directory of 1850LUNDY ISLAND, though situated in the Bristol Channel, about 18 miles west of themainland, is a detached member of Braunton Hundred. It is about three miles longand one broad, and comprises about 1800 acres. On account of the lofty rockswith which it is encompassed, it is inaccessible, except by a narrow entrance onthe eastern side, where a small beach admits a secure approach, and is shelteredby a detached portion of rock called the Isle of Rats. There are on the island afarm-house and a few small cottages. It is farmed by Mr John Lee, and belongschiefly to J. H. Haven, Esq. It has long been famous for butter, and the feedingof cattle and sheep; and some parts are in tillage, and produce good crops ofoats, turnips, potatoes, &c. Towards the northern extremity, the island rises tothe height of 800 feet above the level of the sea, and is terminated by a loftypyramidal rock, called the Constable. It was formerly the retreat of pirates,particularly one of the name of Wm. de Morisco, who, in the reign of Henry III.,fled thither, after an unsuccessful attempt against the life of the King; andhaving fortified it strongly contrived to live in safety for some time, tillbeing taken, with 16 of his followers, he suffered the penalty of the law for hiscrimes. Edward II, when he was hurried by his disaffected nobles from one part ofthe kingdom to another, had thoughts of retiring to this island for safety; buthe was driven by the wind to Glamorganshire, where he was afterwards betrayed bythe Welch. The chief antiquities on the island are what is called Morisco'sCastle, and the ruins of St Anne's Chapel. The castle is near the south-east end,and was strongly fortified with large outworks and a ditch. In the reign ofCharles I. Lord Say and Seale held this fortress for the King; and in the time ofWilliam and Mary, the French surprised it by a stratagem, and plundered and keptit for some time. About the middle of last century, this island was sold byGovernment to a nobleman, who entrusted it to the care of Benson, a notorioussmuggler, and member of parliament, who was at length obliged to make aprecipitate flight. It afterwards belonged to Sir J. B. Warren, and has sincefrequently changed owners. In l840, it was sold for 9400 guineas. Some years ago,two excellent lighthouses were erected upon it; and it has lately been discoveredto have a good roadstead, in which a large fleet might ride securely in easterlygales.
Brian Randell, 26 Aug 1999