Dorset Maritime History

it ever became necessary they would erect one. 300 Holman was a successful Weymouth privateersman, whose name often occurs in official papers of the period. The Weymouth Corporation took up the question-indeed, Holman was probably their mouthpiece all through-and eventually, in order to prevent the privilege falling into private hands, the Trinity House obtained a patent for themselves dated 26 May, 1716. 301 They built two lighthouses, an upper and lower, on the west side of Portland, and intended to lead between the Race and the Shambles ; these were sublet on a lease which expired in 1777. 302

The lights were coal fires and, besides being feeble, were badly attended to ; in 1752 two Elder Brethren of the Trinity House happened to be passing Portland on a journey westward and noticed that the fires were not lit until two hours after sunset, that the lower light then glimmered faintly for an hour and ceased, and that the upper light burnt fitfully for a long time before it gave a steady brightness. 303 When they commented on the matter they were told that often the lights did not show all night. In 1789 a new tower, built by William Johns of Weymouth, was erected further to the eastward for the lower light ; it was then lit with oil, the upper one having been altered for oil in 1788. 304 In 1822 these lights were producing a net revenue of some 2,300 a year. 305 Both lighthouses have been abandoned recently in favour of a new one erected 130 yards from the eastern extremity of Portland Bill, standing 141 feet above high-water mark and fitted with all the latest improvements. This, which shows an upper and lower light in the one tower, was lit in January, 1906.

A lightship was placed on the east end of the Shambles Shoal from 1 September, 1859. The other shore lights are Weymouth north pier, 1867, south stone pier, 1896 ; Anvil Point, 1881 ; Swanage pier, 1897 ; Bournemouth pier, 1880 ; Boscombe pier, 1894; Poole, North Haven Point, 1848, Sandbanks pier, 1898 ; and Lyme Regis, 1853. The first Portland breakwater light was shown in 1851, and afterwards from the fort at the end of the breakwater as then completed in 1876 ; the number and position of the lights have been continually changing recently as extensions have progressed.

The earliest sea marks used in navigation were prominent objects, such as church towers and natural heights. Of the latter there is no lack along the Dorset coast, and their existence has obviated the necessity for artificial beacons of which there is only one, that put up by the Trinity House on Portland Bill. The date of this is 1844 ; it probably succeeded an older beacon but one of no great antiquity. Wyke Regis church, in conjunction with the north-east end of Portland, has long been a leading mark to clear the Shambles, and St. Aldhelm's and St. Catherine's chapels, especially the latter, were old sea marks.

During the eighteenth century Great Britain, having won the command of home waters, was fighting for the mastery of the oceans therefore local maritime history ceased, for the most part, to have any intimate connexion with naval events. The chief anxiety on the coast now related not to the

300  Hardy, British Lighthouses, 104.
301  Pat. 2 Geo. I, Pt. iv.
302  Parl. Papers, 1861, xxv, 420.
303  Hardy, British Lighthouses, 105.
304  Parl. Papers, 1861, xxv, 420 ; Kay Collection, B.M. Nos. 164, 165, 169.
305  Parl. Papers, 1822, xxi, 497


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