Extracts from an 1857 trades directory, for LUNDY ISLAND

Transcribed by John BISHOP <100041.1516[at]compuserve[dot]com>
and made available with his kind permission.

Lundy Island, situate in the Bristol Channel, about 16 nautical miles N.N.W. from Clovelly, is a detached extra-parochial member of the Braunton Hundred, containing about 1850 acres of land,and a population in 1851 of 34 inhabitants.

The island, on account of the lofty rocks by which it is encompassed, is almost inaccessible, except by a narrow entrance on the eastern side, where a small beach admits an approach, and even this at times is very dangerous, vessels not being able to make the land, though sheltered by a detached portion of rock called the Isle of Rats. The Island rises to a height of 800 feet above the level of the sea, and is terminated by a lofty pyramidal rock called Constable. From the quantities of human bones discovered at different times, it is evident that it must have been more populous than at present. The chief attractions on the island are what is called Morisco's Castle, 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.

The island was formerly the retreat of pirates and robbers, particularly of one William de Morisco, who in the reign of Henry III., fled hither, having been frustrated in an attempt to assassinate that monarch; he strongly fortified the place, and lived in comparative safety for some time, but was afterwards taken with sixteen of his followers, and executed here by command of his Majesty. Edward III., during his disturbed reign, was retiring to this island for safety, but was driven by contrary winds into Glamorganshire. During the Parliamentary war, it was held by Lord Saye and Sele for Charles I., and in the reign of William and Mary it was surprised by the French,who maintained themselves in it for a considerable time. About the middle of last century it was sold by the Government to a nobleman, who entrusted it to the care of Benson, a notorious smuggler and Member of Parliment, who was at length obliged to make a precipitate flight.

A vessel leaves Clovelly for the island, under the command of Captain Robert Lee, once a fortnight during the winter months, and once a week, and sometimes oftener, during the summer. The Island is famous for cattle feeding and butter, of which large quantities are exported. Messrs. Welch and Lewis, lighthouse-men.

Heaven H., Esq The Villa
Lee John, farmer

Brian Randell, 26 Aug 1999