Section Index
The Builders
Seamen and Vessels
Lighthouse Keepers
Other People in Stevenson’s “Account”
The Map “deciphered”
An Historic Engineering
Landmark



The Map "deciphered"

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In his "Account", Stevenson includes among the engravings at the end of the volume a detailed map of Rock, and gives every rock, pool, ledge, and outcrop a name - calling them after those who had been connected with the Lighthouse's construction. Almost 70 in all!


Plan of the North Eastern Parts of the Bell Rock, showing the position of
the Light-house, Railways, and Wharfs, &c.

The description of this Plate, representing the higher parts of the Rock as seen at low-water of spring-tides, affords the writer an opportunity of mentioning many distinguished names connected either officially, or in a friendly manner, with the erection of the Light-house. In corresponding about the state of the Rock, he has often found the advantage of this particular nomenclature of its different parts, as affording a reference to all its localities.

SITE OF THE LIGHT-HOUSE, AND RAILWAY-TRACKS - The site of the Light-house, which will be seen from the Plate, was fixed by the writer in a central position of what may be termed the House-Rock. From this, as a centre, the Railways ramify in various directions. Upon these materials for the erection of the house were conveyed, and they are still partly preserved, as convenient foot-paths and wharfs, in landing stores for the Light-house. The portions of the Railway-tracks marked with light dotted lines were only used during the continuation of the works; while those of a deeper shade represent the permanent railways.

SITE OF CAPTAIN BRODIE'S BEACON - The late Captain Joseph Brodie, of the Royal Navy, was perhaps not less known to the public as the fortunate bearer of Lord Duncan's dispatches announcing the victory obtained by the British fleet off Camperdown, than for the unwearied exertions in keeping up the interest of the public, relative to the important results to navigation which would attend the erection of a Light-house upon the Bell Rock.

SITE OF MR STEVENSON'S BEACON - The position of the Beacon or temporary erection was fixed upon the southern side of the site of the Light-house, with the ultimate view of obtaining shelter from the breach of the north-east seas. It was further important for the conveniency it afforded of a communication during the progress of the works, by means of a wooden bridge.

HALDANE'S LEDGE - situate on the south-eastern side of the Rock, where the writer made his first landing with his friend Mr James Haldane, architect.

GRAY'S ROCK - Towards the eastern side of the Rock there is a small outlier, or reef, important as a low-water mark, which is named Gray's Rock in compliment to the late Mr John Gray, Writer to the Signet, and first Secretary to the Light-house Board.

SMITH'S ROCK - situate on the eastern side of the Light-house, derives its name from the late Mr Thomas Smith, who introduced Reflecting-Lights upon the coast of Scotland, and was the first Engineer to the Board.

CUNINGHAM'S LEDGE - this ledge of rock has its name from Mr Charles Cuningham, Writer to the Signet, and successor to Mr Gray as Secretary and Cashier to the Light-house Board.

PORT HAMILTON - this creek is situate at the south-eastern extremity of the House-rock, and derives its name from Mr Robert Hamilton, Sheriff of Lanarkshire, and ex officio one of the Commissioners of the Northern Light-houses; who first landed here in the year 1805, accompanied by Mr Rennie and the writer, with a view further to ascertain the practicability of erecting the proposed Light-house. Mr Hamilton has been a zealous member of the Bell Rock Committee since the period of its institution in the year 1807, and from his literary habits he has taken much interest in the pages of this work.

PORT RENNIE - is situate in the north-eastern part of the House-rock, and derives its name from the late Mr John Rennie, the celebrity and extent of whose works as a Civil Engineer are well known to the public. Mr Rennie was consulted by the Light-house Board relative to this work.

PORT STEVENSON - enters from the north-eastern side of the Rock, and forms the principal landing place in that direction; it was named for the writer by Mr Hamilton, at the landing above alluded to, in the year 1805.

THE ABBOT'S LEDGE - forms the north-western extremity of the House-rock, and derives its name from a tradition (for we can find no authentic record) of one of the Abbots of Aberbrothwick having erected an Alarm-bell, to forewarn mariners of their danger in approaching the Bell Rock.

SIR RALPH THE ROVER'S LEDGE - forms the south-western extremity of the House-rock, and takes the name of Sir Ralph the Rover from a noted pirate who is said to have landed upon it, and carried away the Alarm-bell. This traditionary story is beautifully alluded to in a ballad by Mr Southey in his Minor Poems.

DUNNICHEN LEDGE - on the north-western side of the Rock, is named in compliment to Mr Dempster of Dunnichen.

DUNSKEY LEDGE - which is contiguous to the former, is named in compliment to Sir James Hunter Blair of Dunskey, first Preses [old Scots meaning Chairman] of the Commissioners of the Northern Light-houses.

ARNISTON LEDGE - named in compliment to the late Lord Chief-Baron Dundas of Arniston, who, while Solicitor-General and Lord Advocate of Scotland, took an active in Light-house affairs, and visited the Bell Rock in the year 1812.

RATTRAY LEDGE - in compliment to Mr Baron Clerk Rattray, who, while Sheriff of the shire of Edinburgh, was ex officio one of the Commissioners of the Northern Light-houses, and, as one of the Bell Rock Committee, took much interest in the work.

HOPE'S WHARF - forms the termination of the permanent railway toward the west. It was named for the Right Honourable Charles Hope, Lord President of the Court of Session, who landed here in the year 1815. While Lord Advocate of Scotland he took a warm interest in the affairs of the Northern Light-houses, and in 1803 bought the first bill into Parliament for the erection of the Bell Rock Light-house.

PULTENEY LEDGE - so named in compliment to Sir William Pulteney, who, as a Member of Parliament, took a lively interest in the bill brought forward for the Bell Rock Light-house in the year 1803.

BANKS LEDGE - named in compliment to Sir Joseph Banks, who was Vice-President of the Board of Trade in the year 1806, when the Bill for the Light-house was in Parliament, and who took much interest in it.

COCHRANE'S LEDGE - is named in compliment to Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, who first called the attention of the Light-house Board to an erection upon the Bell Rock.

PORT ERSKINE - forms the principal landing-place on the western side of the rock, and derives its name from the Honourable Henry Erskine, who, when Lord Advocate of Scotland, and ex officio oone of the Commissioners of the Northern Light-houses, brought the second Bill for the Bell Rock Light-house in into Parliament, which passed in the year 1806.

ULBSTER LEDGE - named in compliment to the Right Honourable Sir John Sinclair, Baronet of Ulbster, Chairman of the Committee of the House of Commons, who brought up its report relative to the Bell Rock Bill.

KELLIE LEDGE - named in compliment to the Earl of Kellie, who visited the works at the Bell Rock in the year 1810.

PITMILLY WHARF - formed the western extremity of the landing-wharf in use during the Light-house operations, and was named in compliment to Mr Monypenny, now Lord Pitmilly, who, while in the commission both as Sheriff of Fife and Solicitor-General of Scotland, was a member of the bell Rock Committee, and visited the works in 1810.

KINEDDAR LEDGE - is named in compliment to the late Mr William Erskine, Sheriff of Orkney and Shetland, and a member of the Bell Rock Committee. From Mr Erskine's literary pursuits, he took a lively interest in this work, before he left the Light-house Board, and also after he was raised to the Bench, where he took his seat as Lord Kineddar.

THE ABBOTSFORD - This spot, where the waters of the two principal and opposite landing-places meet, is named in compliment to Sir Walter Scott, Baronet, of Abbotsford, who landed here in the year 1814.

RAE'S WHARF - forms the extremity of the southern reach of the permanent railway, and derives its name from Sir William Rae, Baronet, who, in the several capacities of Sheriff-Depute and Lord Advocate of Scotland, has long been a member of the Light-house Board and Bell Rock Committee. His Lordship visited the Rock in 1810.

DUFF'S WHARF - derives its name from Mr Adam Duff, Sheriff of the shire of Edinburgh, and a member of the Bell Rock Committee, who repeatedly visited the works at the Bell Rock while in progress, particularly in the year 1810.

PORT BOYLE - takes its name from the Right Honourable David Boyle, Lord Justice-Clerk, who, while Solicitor-General of Scotland, was a member of the Bell Rock Committee, and visited the Light-house in the year 1811.

THE CROWN LAWYERS - This name is given to two detached rocks, which lie in the south-eastern side of the House-rock, in allusion to the Lord Advocate and Solicitor-general of Scotland, who are ex officio Commissioners off the Northern Light-houses.

THE MARITIME SHERIFFS - This name comprehends a range of Rocks, also on the south-eastern side of the main Rock, in reference to the Sheriffs of maritime counties who are ex officio Commissioners of the Northern Light-houses.

THE ROYAL BURGHS - A group of rocks lying on the south-western side of the house-rock, so named from certain of the Chief Magistrates of the Royal Burghs of Scotland who are ex officio Commissioners of the Northern Light-houses.

TELFORD'S LEDGE - is named in compliment to Mr Thomas Telford, Civil Engineer, who was requested by Sir William Pulteney to visit the Bell Rock professionally in the year 1803.

DOWNIE'S LEDGE - derives it name from the late Mr Murdoch Downie, a Marine Surveyor of considerable eminence, who suggest a plan for erecting a Light-house on the Bell Rock.

NEILL'S POOL - derives its name from Mr Patrick Neill, a particular friend of the writer's, who first visited the Bell Rock in 1808. The surface of this pool measures about three fathoms across, and a fathom and a half in depth, when the tide leaves the Rock. The bottom is generally covered with boulder-stones, which are whirled about with much force when the sea is in a state of agitation.

STUART'S TRACK - on the south-western side of the Rock, derives its name from the late Captain Harry Stuart of the Royal Navy, who visited the Bell Rock in the year 1810. Captain Stuart took an early interest in the plans for the Light-house, both by Captain Brodie and the writer.

BRUCE'S LEDGE - was named in compliment to the memory of the late Mr James Bruce of the Naval Yard, Leith, who frequently visited the Bell Rock, and to whose ingenuity the Light-house service is indebted for the improved construction of a boat.

RUSSELL'S LEDGE - is named in compliment to Mr Claud Russell, Accountant to the Light-house Board, who visited the Rock in the year 1812.

SCORESBY'S POINT - the most northern part of the Rock, named in compliment to the writer's friend Captain Scoresby junior, who has so much extended our information regarding the Polar Regions.

TRINITY ROCK - This rock is named in compliment to a Committee of the Trinity House of Leith, consisting of Messrs Thomas Grindlay, John Hay, and Thomas Richie, who gave their advice and assistance in the fitting out and mooring the Floating-light in the year 1807.

BALFOUR'S LEDGE - is named in compliment to the late Provost Balfour of Arbroath, who felt the most lively interest in the Light-house affairs. In his hospitable mansion the writer occasionally resided while the works were in progress.

LEITCH'S LEDGE - is named in compliment to the writer's friend Mr Quintin Leitch, who visited the Rock in the year 1818.

PILLAN'S LEDGE - is named in compliment to the writer's friend Mr James Pilllans of Leith, who took an early interest in the erection of the Light-house, and who signs the Report of the Merchants of Leith regarding it.

THE LAST HOPE - This name was given by the writer to the highest part of the rock, in allusion to the narrow escape which he and the artificers made in the year 1807, by the timeous arrival of James Spink, the Bell Rock pilot at Arbroath. Spink is a remarkably strong man, whose tout ensemble is highly characteristic of a North-country fisherman. He usually dressed in a pé-jacket, cut after a particular fashion, and wears a large flat blue bonnet. A striking likeness of Spink, in his pilot-dress, with the badge or insignia on his left arm, which is characteristic of the boatmen in the service of the Northern Lights has been taken by Howe, and is in the writer's possession.

FOREST'S PASSAGE - This gully or opening on the eastern side of the Rock, is sometimes taken as a track by boats in certain states of the sea and tide. It derives its name from the late Mr John Forrest, Superintendant of Lightkeepers' duty in the service in the service of the Northern Lights.

LOGAN'S REACH - This reach or compartment of the Railway, on the eastern side of the Light-house, is named in compliment of the late Mr Peter Logan, foreman-builder at the Bell Rock, and his son Mr David Logan, clerk-of-works, whose active and faithful services, in their respective departments, have been too often noticed in this work to admit of reference to particular pages.

WATT'S REACH - has its name in compliment to Mr Francis Watt, foreman-millwright, whose services have also already been so often particularised in the course of this work, and whose exertions in erecting the beacon and temporary-railways did much credit to his zeal and intrepidity. The writer also often profited by his ingenuity, in reference to the various pieces of machinery employed at the works.

KENNEDY'S REACH - derives its name from Mr Lachlan Kennedy, who, as Accountant and Cashier in the Engineer's Office, discharged the various duties of his situation in a manner equally creditable to himself and satisfactory to his employers.

SLIGHTS' REACH - named in compliment to Mr James Slight, and his brother Alexander, who were chiefly employed in drawing the courses of the building at large, and in making the various and nicely formed moulds for fashioning the stones. They also fitted up the interior of the house, and the permanent railways on the Rock; and made a complete model of the Light-house.

THE SMITHS' FORGE AND LEDGE - named in compliment to Mr James Dove, foreman-smith, and his assistants, who have been frequently alluded to in these pages. It was here that the forge was erected at the commencement of the works on the Rock; and on the connecting ledge the first or experimental cargo of stones was landed.

REID'S LEDGE - is named in compliment to Mr John Reid, the first principal Lightkeeper at the Bell Rock, who retired from the service in the year 1821.

SELKIRKS' LEDGE - Named for Mr Robert Selkirk, principal builder, and his brother Thomas, who was the principal stone-cutter at the work.

WISHART'S LEDGE - is named for Mr Michael Wishart, some time principal builder at the Rock.

GLEN'S LEDGE - This ledge has its name from Mr James Glen, millwright and joiner.

JOHN WATT - A detached rock on the western side of the main Rock, named for John Watt, principal mortar-builder at the Bell Rock.

PETER FORTUNE - a detached reef on the western side of the rock, named for a well known character in the Light-house aervice.

GLOAG'S TRACK - leads into Port Hamilton, and is named for Mr Robert Gloag, who commanded the Light-house Yacht in the year 1807, and who has otherwise had a good deal of connection with the Light-house service.

MACURICH'S TRACK - on the western side of the Rock, is named in compliment to Mr Thomas Macurich, mate of the sloop Smeaton, and afterwards commander of the Bell Rock Tender, who had a very narrow escape in a boat off the Rock.

WEBB'S ROCK - is named in compliment to Mr Joseph Webb, one of the King's pilots at Yarmouth, who superintended the fitting out and mooring of the Floating-light.

SINCLAIR'S TRACK - is named in compliment to Mr George Sinclair, who, in 1807, commanded the Floating-light, and acted as landing-master.

WILSON'S TRACK - named for Mr James Wilson, landing-master, whose active and enterprising conduct is often noticed in the course of this work. In the year 1815, Mr Wilson left the Light-house service, when he was appointed one of the Harbour-masters of Leith. The speaking-trumpet which he used at the Bell Rock was presented to him, with the sanction of the Light-house Board, when a suitable inscription was engraved on a plate of silver attached to it.

TAYLOR'S TRACK - leads into Port Erskine, and derives its name from Mr David Taylor, who commanded the Sir Joseph Banks Tender during the progress of the works, and afterwards became Light-house Storekeeper at Leith.

CALDER'S TRACK - situate on the north-western side of the Rock, derives its name from Mr Thomas Calder, who commanded the Light-house Yacht, and other craft, connected with the works.

SOUTAR'S TRACK - derives its name from Mr Peter Soutar, who was one of the Praam-masters while the works were in progress. In 1815 he succeeded Mr James Wilson in the command of the Light-house Yacht.

POOL'S TRACK - is named for Mr Robert Pool, commander of the Smeaton stone-lighter, a very active and persevering seaman.

THE ENGINEER'S LEDGE - situate on the eastern side of the rock, is named in compliment to certain of the Engineer's assistants, who, though belonging more especially to his general or private business, have nevertheless been occasionally employed in the department of the Bell Rock, particularly Mr John Steedman, Mr John Thin, Mr William Lorimer, Mr G. C. Scott, and Mr Robert Shortreed.

THE ARTIFICERS - A name given to a panel of detached rocks, lying on the north-western side of the main Rock, in allusion to the numerous artificers employed at the works, many of whom are now moving in spheres of more extended usefulness, and, did our limits admit, would be deserving of particular notice.

THE MARINERS - This is also a group of detached rocks on the north-estern side of the Rock, which in like manner is named in compliment to the exertions of the Seamen, who, as men-of-all-works, gave a helping hand to every operation; and many of whom deserve the warmest acknowledgments of the writer.

STRACHAN'S LEDGE - situate on the north-eastern side of the Rock, was named for Mr Robert Strachan of Leith, who fitted out the Floating-light, and narrowly escaped being lost upon the Rock, when approaching it in a boat which was upset in the year 1808.

CRAW'S HORSE - Another detached rock, deriving its name from a narrow escape which the sloop Smeaton made in foggy weather, while James Craw, who had charge of the stable, and was principal carter at the workyard of Arbroath, was on board, with one of his favourite horse, on his way to Leith, to convey the upper part of the Lighthouse, from Edinburgh, to be shipped for the Bell Rock.
The horse alluded to was a remarkably strong and powerful animal, measuring about 16 hands in height, and having, in the language of jockies, a great deal of bone. It is not a little remarkable, that while the work was in progress, this animal must actually have drawn the materials of the Lighthouse, extending to upwards of 2000 tons in its finished state, perhaps three of four times, in removing the blocks of stone from the ship to the workyard, again to the platform, and from the work-yard, when they were to be shipped for the Rock, besides occasional movements to and from the hands of the stone-cutters.
The fame of this animal's labours, together with his strength and excellent proportion as a draught-horse, having attracted the notice of Dr John Barclay, that eminent anatomist procured the bones, and set them up in his Museum. This valuable collection, it is understood, is to be bequeathed to the College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; so that the bones of the Bell rock horse, to use the Doctor's own language, "will be seen and admired as a useful skeleton, and a source of instruction, when those of his employers lie mingled with the dust."

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