Orfordness Lighthouse

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Orfordness Lighthouse
Orford Ness lighthouse - geograph.org.uk - 934461.jpg
Orfordness Lighthouse
Orfordness Lighthouse is located in Suffolk
Orfordness Lighthouse
Location Orfordness
Coordinates 52°05′02″N 1°34′27″E / 52.083940°N 1.574246°E / 52.083940; 1.574246Coordinates: 52°05′02″N 1°34′27″E / 52.083940°N 1.574246°E / 52.083940; 1.574246
Year first constructed 1637 (first)
Year first lit 1792 (current)
Automated 1965
Deactivated 2013
Construction brick tower
Tower shape tapered cylindrical tower with balcony and lantern
Markings / pattern white tower with two red bands, white lantern
Height 30 m (98 ft)
Original lens 2nd order 700mm, three panel catadioptric
Range 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi)
Characteristic Fl W 5s.
Admiralty number A2258
NGA number 1564
ARLHS number ENG-096
Managing agent Orfordness Lighthouse Trust[1]
Heritage Grade II listed building Edit this on Wikidata

Orfordness Lighthouse is a decommissioned lighthouse on Orford Ness, in Suffolk, England. The 30 metres (98 ft) tower was completed in 1792. The light had a range of 20 nautical miles (37 km; 23 mi).[2] It was equipped with an AIS transmitter with MMSI 992351016.[3]


The first lights in this area were constructed in 1637: a pair of wooden leading lights.[2] These were replaced in 1780 by a pair of brick towers. Scarcely a dozen years later the lower light of the two was precariously close to the sea due to shore erosion; it collapsed not long afterwards. In 1792, anticipating this inevitability, the landowner Lord Braybrooke built a new 'high light' in a different position. This is the lighthouse which still stands today. The old high light then functioned as the new 'low light', until it too was lost to erosion in 1887. The low light was not replaced again; instead, in 1888, red and green sectors were added to the high light.[4]

The lighthouse was further modernized in 1914: a new revolving optic was installed (which remained in use for 99 years), and a new additional light was installed along with fixed lenses at a level below the lantern, so the sector lights now shone from windows on the tower. The lighthouse was electrified in 1959, and in 1964 it became the first lighthouse to be monitored by telemetry from Harwich, ushering in a process of lighthouse automation which continued around England over the next 35 years. The keepers were withdrawn from Orfordness the following year.[4]


The lighthouse was decommissioned on 27 June 2013, because of the encroaching sea. The modern electrical equipment and hazardous materials (mercury) have been removed. Trinity House has increased the power of the light at Southwold Lighthouse to compensate for the closure of Orfordness lighthouse. Unless demolished, the Orfordness tower is expected to survive for seven to eight years before falling into the North Sea. [5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Orfordness (Orford Ness) (High) The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 4 May 2016
  2. ^ a b "Orfordness Lighthouse". Trinity House. 
  3. ^ "ORFORDNESS". 
  4. ^ a b Woodman and Wilson (2002). The Lighthouses of Trinity House. Bradford on Avon: Thomas Reed. 
  5. ^ "Orfordness Lighthouse gets switched off and left to the sea". BBC.