Retiral from Lighthouse Service
In 1841, Capt. David Taylor, having for many years
suffered from gout and arthritis, finally retired from service.
In his letter to Stevenson he begs leave to bring
under your notice for the information of the Commissioners
of the Northern Light Houses my Claims for Superannuation
Allowance at the advanced age of 71 - having been nearly
half that time in their service.
In the month of November 1807 I entered the Lighthouse
Service as Master of the Joseph Banks, the Tender for the
Artificers of the Bell Rock. At the conclusion of that great
work in 1811 I was put in command of the Smeaton, the Bell
Rock Tender; and in 1816 the Pharos was built and I was
in command of her until the year 1821 when I was appointed
Storekeeper in Leith, making my period of Service nearly
34 years. You know my Services better than I can describe
them, and I need not say any more that infirmity and old
age renders me incapable of performing the duties of Storekeeper.
Shortly afterwards he returned once more to live in Arbroath,
and in The Arbroath Guide, Saturday,
4th March 1843, the following paragraph appeared in Local
MAN DROWNED. - On Sabbath morning, the body
of Captain David Taylor, who at one time commanded the Pharos
belonging to the Northern Lighthouse Commissioners, was
found in the harbour. He had parted from some of his friends
the previous evening, and on his way home, it is supposed,
the night being very dark, he had mistaken his way, fallen
into the harbour, and thus met a watery grave.
Capt. Taylor (whose wife had long predeceased him) had
3 daughters, all of whom died without issue. His only son,
Robert Stevenson Taylor (born in 1810) died the following
year in 1844. Robert (a ships carpenter) had married
Christian Sinclair (who died in 1839 in childbirth).
Their only son, David (my great-grandfather) was born in
1836. So it was that the old sea captains only grandchild,
orphaned when he was 7 years old, returned to Arbirlot,
the land of his ancestors, to be cared-for by his great-uncle.
Thus ended the familys great romance with
the Bell Rock Lighthouse. The knowledge of our famous ancestor
has always shone down through the generations,
although some facts had become somewhat dimmed and distorted
over the years.
In 1982, I was fortunate to visit the Bell Rock
as guest of the Northern Lighthouse Board. It was one of
their routine supply trips, which involved dropping off
stores and changing lightkeepers at the Bass Rock, the Isle
of May and the Bell Rock. It was a memorable day! See