Watchtower and lighthouse, Amlwch

Watchtower and lighthouse, Amlwch

This three-story tower and adjoining low building were erected in 1853, replacing an earlier lighthouse of 1817. This is now the heritage hub of GeoMôn, celebrating Anglesey’s geological history.

The port was thriving in 1853 because mines south of Amlwch were producing large quantities of copper, along with other ores such as sulphur. Ships were the only practical way to transport bulk ores until the Anglesey Central Railway, from Gaerwen to Amlwch, opened in 1867.

In 1889 the lighthouse building was damaged after a storm tide broke down timber barriers at the harbour mouth. The surging seawater pulled a schooner out of the harbour, where it had been anchored, and then hurled it against the lighthouse, where the ship shattered.

Boatmen known as hobblers used the watchtower to look out for approaching ships. Their job was to tow ships into the harbour, using only rowing boats and a lot of muscle power!

Hobbling was an occupation for sailors who had retired from seafaring. One of the Amlwch hobblers, Hugh Rowlands, died at his sister’s house aged 73 in January 1900. It was said that he never allowed anyone to swear within his hearing. His fellow hobbler John Parry died the following month. He too had been a sailor.

William Williams was Amlwch’s chief hobbler in 1874, when he and a colleague, Captain Richard Thomas, disappeared during a storm. The pair were part of a boat crew which had set out from the harbour to return a captain to his ship offshore. The storm forced the crew to take shelter at Point Lynas but the boat broke adrift before Mr Williams and Mr Thomas could get ashore. They drifted for three nights until they were picked up by a fishing boat near Southport.

In 2009 UNESCO awarded GeoMôn, or Anglesey Geopark, membership of the European geoparks network. The island has more than 100 rock types from four eras and 12 geological periods. You can discover more in the heritage hub here, or by following the link below.

Postcode: LL68 9DB    View Location Map