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Islay, Rhuvaal Lighthouse And Keepers' Houses

Lighthouse (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Islay, Rhuvaal Lighthouse And Keepers' Houses

Classification Lighthouse (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Ruvaal Lighthouse; Rudh A' Mhail; Rudha Mhail; Rubh' A' Mhail; Rubha' A' Mhail; Sound Of Islay

Canmore ID 38155

Site Number NR47NW 4

NGR NR 42576 79166

NGR Description Centred NR 42576 79166

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/site/38155

Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2018.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Argyll And Bute
  • Parish Killarow And Kilmeny
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Argyll And Bute
  • Former County Argyll

Archaeology Notes

NR47NW 4 centred 42576 79166

Rhuvaal Lighthouse [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1980.

Earlier 19th century.

TOWER: Circular. Tall. Ashlar, painted. Parapet. (No windows).

KEEPERS' HOUSES: 1 storey Rubble, painted. Double-

gabled. Slate roofs.

BOUNDARY WALLS.

RCAHMS 1984.

During October 1999, RCAHMS carried out an extensive photographic survey of Rhuvaal Lighthouse. This was undertaken in order to enhance and augment the existing holdings of the National Monuments Record Scotland.

Visited by RCAHMS (MKO), August 1999.

Architecture Notes

This lighthouse stands within its walled precincts on the headland at the N entrance to the Sound of Islay. It was

erected between 1857 and 1859 to the design of the engineers, David and Thomas Stevenson, for the Northern Lighthouse Board, which was then under the financial control of the Board of Trade.(Mair 1978; The need for navigational lights through the Sound of Islay had been confirmed by Robert Stevenson as early as 1835, Parliamentary Papers 1836; 1861) An inscribed panel over the main W doorway into the tower commemorates the date 1857, the names of the engineers, the contractor, A MacDonald, and the inspector, D Matthew.

The tower measures 5.8m in diameter and rises to a height of about 36m at the lantern. It is constructed of lime-washed

brick laid in English bond; plain sandstone dressings are employed for the windows and doorways, and a moulded corbel-course supports the balcony. The interior contains a stone-built newel stair and an original lens-mechanism

inscribed with the names of the engineers and the date 1858.

A short distance SW of the tower there is a range of lightkeepers' cottages, also built of lime-washed brick in

English bond with sandstone dressings. The original nucleus of this range measures 23.1m in length from NW to SE by 9.3m transversely, and, prior to the alterations of 1959-60, comprised a store at the NW end and two separate domestic

units which had respectively three and four heated rooms grouped around a central spine-wall. According to evidence

presented to a Royal Commission investigating the lighthouse service in 18 59-61, the newly completed dwellings

at Ruvaal were critically described as being 'more like dog kennels than anything else'. (quoted by Munro 1979)

On the SE side of the track leading from the main gate into the lighthouse establishment there is a sundial with fluted

pedestal and brass dial engraved with the name of the lighthouse and that of the makers, Adie and Son, Edinburgh.

RCAHMS 1984, visited September 1981.

Activities

Construction (1869)

Light estbalished in 1869.

K Allardyce and E M Hood 1986

Modification (1987)

Automated in 1987.

K Allardyce and EM Hood 1986

Photographic Survey (October 1999)

During October 1999, RCAHMS carried out an extensive photographic survey of Rhuvaal Lighthouse. This was undertaken in order to enhance and augment the existing holdings of the National Monuments Record Scotland.

Visited by RCAHMS (MKO), August 1999.

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