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NASH LIGHTHOUSE, EAST TOWER, ST DONATS

Site Details



NPRN 178

Map Reference SS96NW

Grid Reference SS92126801

Unitary (Local) Authority The Vale of Glamorgan

Old County Glamorgan

Community St Donats

Type of Site LIGHTHOUSE

Broad Class MARITIME

Period 19th Century, Post Medieval

Site Description A pair of lighthouses built in 1832 by the prolific lighthouse engineer, Joseph Nelson – the lower or west lighthouse (see NPRN 179) and this, the higher or east lighthouse. Both towers are of fine ashlar painted white, the lower stage of each is marked by weathered string-course. The higher light has an additional weathered string course. Both towers have molded cornices at gallery level. The higher light is 37.2m (122ft) high and is 8.48m (27ft 10ins) in diameter with walls 1.27m (4ft 2ins) thick. The external taper or batter reduces the top thickness of the walls to 0.61m (2ft). There are oblong window openings with substantial internal splays. The original illumination consisted of double rows of reflectors 0.53m (21ins) in diameter; 13 Argand burners in the high light and 12 in the low. The original lanterns glazed with rectangular panes were 4.27m (14ft) in diameter. These, and the old railings, were replaced in 1867 by a helical lantern now removed. A cottage was added tto the east tower after 1851 and is centrally planned with four heated rooms surrounding a central chimney which itself rises above a large pyramidal roof. The cottage has gabled rear wings and the roof now have a bitumastic finish. The front elevation of the east keeper's house retains its original three panes wide sash windows, on either side of a ledged door in a chamfered frame capped by a sheltering cornice supported on brackets. Its east elevation has two blocked openings.

Event and Historical Information:
The final application to build the lights was made in February 1830 by Thomas Protheroe of Newport, together with 439 owners and masters from the Bristol Channel. An impetus to the building was provided by the loss of the paddle steamer FROLIC on the Nash Sands in which incident over 70 lives were lost, including several prominent Pembrokeshire citizens (see NPRN 274235). Joseph Nelson is recorded as engineer and builder. The lights were completed in 1832, the year before his death. The superintendent of works was his nephew, George Burrell. During the course of their erection Joseph Nelson lodged at the Bear Hotel, Cowbridge, and used the Dowlais Iron Company as his bank. Their records (at the Glamorgan Record Office) preserve letters from 1831-32, relating to the payment of wages and to the purchase of materials. Nash Point lighthouse station is stall manned and is an area control centre.

Sources include:
Hague, D, 1994, Lighthouses of Wales: Their Architecture and Archaeology, pg49-52

Maritime Officer, June 2009

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