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Burnham High Lighthouse

Burnham-on-Sea High Lighthouse was built in 1832 to work in conjunction with the Low Lighthouse on the beach. Both lighthouses replaced the Old Round Tower Lighthouse.

The High Light, which was 99ft high, was completed in 1832. The tower, also known as the Pillar Light, had cottages attached to it, and some of the dwellings were also inside the building itself. The last two storeys at the top of the spiral staircase were accessible by ladder.

The designer was Trinity House engineer Joseph Nelson. He incorporated a half lantern into the tower itself.

A fixed white light was visible for 17 miles, marking the River Parrett channel between Steart Flats and Berrow Flats.

Burnham High Lighthouse

Whilst building the High Light, one of the workmen fell to his death, and it is said that his ghostly moans can still be heard on stormy nights.

Soon after the High Light was built, it was discovered that the massive rise and fall of the tides had not been taken fully into account. Therefore, a square wooden lighthouse on piles (the Low Light) was constructed on the beach 480 metres from the Hight Lighthouse in 1832.

Burnham High Lighthouse became a semi-watched light in 1922, which led to the full-time keepers being replaced by a part-time attendant. Their cottages and much of the surrounding land was sold off by Trinity House to become private dwellings. The tower and cottages have been sold on several occasions since.

On 31st December 1993, the High Light was discontinued, and the Low Light was re-established.

The High Lighthouse was then sold by Trinity House and bought by a Rothschild family member in a sealed bid. In 1996 the 110ft High Lighthouse was put up for auction by the Rothchilds and is now in private hands.

Burnham-on-Sea High Lighthouse

  • Established: 1832
  • Height of tower: 30 metres
  • Engineer: Joseph Nelson
  • Privately owned
  • Discontinued: 1993