Skerries Lighthouse

Skerries Lighthouse
Photo: Patrick Tubby

Skerries Lighthouse is located on the highest point of a group of small islands located around 2 miles north of Carmel Head. The rocky islands of The Skerries sit in treacherous waters at the turning point around the northern corner of Anglesey.

The first proposal for a lighthouse at The Skerries was made in 1658. Further proposals followed and were refused. But in 1713, a sixty-year lease was granted to the island’s leaseholder, William Trench. Skerries Lighthouse was first established on 4th November 1717. The lighthouse was owned by William Trench, the island’s leaseholder. Unfortunately, Trench died in debt due to shipowners evading paying their light dues. 

Following Trench’s death, the lease passed to his daughter. In 1730 an Act of Parliament allowed Trench’s son-in-law, Sutton Morgan, to increase the shipping dues. The Act also gave the family sole claim to the Skerries.

Skerries Lighthouse Anglesey
Photo: Patrick Tubby

Trench’s tower was rebuilt around 1759 using a coal fire on the top. It was later raised in height in 1804, and an oil lamp was enclosed in a glazed lantern making it more efficient. 

Following an Act of parliament in 1836, Trinity House was allowed to buy all remaining leases from private lighthouse owners. Before this Act, Trinity House had tried in vain to buy the patent for the lighthouse. Morgan Jones, the current owner, was enjoying a profitable business and refused to sell. The dispute continued for five years following the 1836 Act.

By 1840 Skerries Lighthouse was the only privately-owned lighthouse remaining. But in 1841, Trinity House finally bought it in a record final settlement of £444,984 – an exorbitant sum at the time!

Lighthouse with sector light
Skerries Lighthouse with the sector light tower
Photo: Patrick Tubby

Following the handover to Trinity House, Chief Engineer James Walker updated the tower in 1848. He added a new cast iron lantern with square panes, and a new lighthouse keepers’ house was built alongside the tower.

In 1903 a circular tower was added at the southwest side of the building to carry a sector light. 

Skerries sector light
The former sector lens

The lighthouse was converted to electricity in 1927, and later solar panels were installed. The lighthouse was automated in 1987, and a helicopter pad was built close by.

Established: 1717
Engineer: William Trench, later James Walker
Tower Height: 23 metres
Light Character: Fl W (2) 15 s
Light Range: 20 miles
Elevation: 36 metres
Automated: 1987