Looking up the tower


South Stack Lighthouse was first envisaged in 1665 when a petition to erect the lighthouse was presented to Charles II.  Permission was not granted and it was not until 9 February 1809 that the first light appeared to mark the rock. The lighthouse was designed by Trinity House surveyor Daniel Alexander and originally fitted with Argand oil lamps and reflectors. Around 1840 a railway was installed by means of which a lantern with a subsidiary light could be lowered down the cliff to sea level when fog obscured the main light.

On 25 October 1859 it is said that the most severe storm of the century occurred, known as the ‘Royal Charter’ gale; and on that and the following day over 200 vessels were either driven ashore or totally wrecked with the loss of 800 lives. The steamship Royal Charter was among these, sinking within yards of help with the loss of almost 500 passengers and crew.


In the mid 1870s the lantern and lighting apparatus was replaced by a new lantern. In 1909 an early form of incandescent light was installed and in 1927 this was replaced by a more modern form of incandescent mantle burner. The station was electrified in 1938.

Height of Tower28 m

Height of light above Mean High Water60 m



Optic1st Order six panel catadioptric rotating

CharacterFl 10s