Old Higher Lighthouse

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Old Higher Lighthouse
Portland Bill High
Old Higher Lighthouse, Portland Bill - geograph.org.uk - 527423.jpg
The Old Higher Lighthouse in 2007.
Old Higher Lighthouse is located in Dorset
Old Higher Lighthouse
Location Isle of Portland
United Kingdom
Coordinates 50°31′20″N 2°27′23″W / 50.522273°N 2.456346°W / 50.522273; -2.456346Coordinates: 50°31′20″N 2°27′23″W / 50.522273°N 2.456346°W / 50.522273; -2.456346
Year first constructed 1716 (first)
Year first lit 1869 (current)
Deactivated 1869 (first)
1906 (current)
Construction stone tower
Tower shape massive cylindrical tower with balcony and lantern attached to 1-storey keeper’s house
Markings / pattern white tower
Height 12 metres (39 ft)
ARLHS number ENG-108
Managing agent The Old Higher Lighthouse[1]
Heritage Grade II listed building Edit this on Wikidata

The Old Higher Lighthouse is a disused 19th-century lighthouse on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, southern England. It is located at Branscombe Hill on the west side of Portland, overlooking Portland Bill. The lighthouse is Grade II Listed.[2][3]


The surrounding coast of Portland, namely Portland Bill and Chesil Beach, have been notorious for the many vessels that became shipwrecked in the area over the centuries.[4][5] After years of local petitions to Trinity House, the organisation agreed for a lighthouse to be built at Portland Bill. George I granted the patent in 1716.[4][5][6] Two lighthouses were built at Portland Bill – this one at Branscombe Hill, and the other, the Old Lower Lighthouse, on lower land.[5] They shone out for the first time on 29 September 1716.[4] In 1788 Trinity House had Argand lamps installed within the higher lighthouse, which was the first in England to be fitted with them.[7]

Both lighthouses were rebuilt in 1869.[4][7] At the turn of the 20th-century, Trinity House made plans to build a new lighthouse at Bill Point to replace both current lighthouses.[7][4][8] The new lighthouse was completed in 1905,[5] and the original two lighthouses were then auctioned.[5][9] In 1923 the lighthouse was purchased by the doctor, pioneer of birth control and Portland Museum founder Marie Stopes as a summer residence.[10] During World War II, the Royal Observer Corps used the tower as a lookout.[11] During the early 1960s the lighthouse was run as a restaurant.[12] The lighthouse and its cottages were refurbished in 1981. With a total of four cottages within its grounds, both the Branscombe Lodge Cottage and Stopes Cottage are now available as holiday lets.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Portland Bill High The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 5 June 2016
  2. ^ "Old Higher Lighthouse Stopes Cottage | Portland Bill | | Dorset And Somerset | Self Catering Holiday Cottage". Sykescottages.co.uk. 1 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1203104)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Portland Bill". trinityhouse.co.uk. Archived from the original on 27 June 2015. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Portland – Three Lighthouses Walk". dorsetlife.co.uk. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Legg, Rodney (1999). Portland Encyclopaedia. Dorset Publishing Company. p. 68. ISBN 978-0948699566. 
  7. ^ a b c "Portland Year Book". ancestry.com. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "Portland Year Book". ancestry.com. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Mackenzie, Roy (1999). Portland: A Topographical and Historical Gazetteer. p. 23. 
  10. ^ "History of the Old Higher Lighthouse - Old Higher Lighthouse, Portland Bill, Dorset". Oldhigherlighthouse.com. Retrieved 2017-10-25. 
  11. ^ Historic England. "Monument No. 1413281". PastScape. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  12. ^ "675690". geoffkirby.co.uk. Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  13. ^ "History". Old Higher Lighthouse. 

External links[edit]