The old lighthouse was the home of an unusual level of intrigue. The first message in a bottle was successfully sent from the small island, reaching its addressee over the miles of sea, and allowing a rescue of stranded repair workers, including Whiteside himself. More disturbingly, the old lighthouse brought about a change in lighthouse policy in 1801 after a gruesome episode. The two man team, Thomas Howell and Thomas Griffith, were known to quarrel, and so when Griffith died in a freak accident, Howell feared that he might be suspected of murder if he discarded the body into the sea. As the body began to decompose, Howell built a makeshift coffin for the corpse and lashed it to an outside shelf. Stiff winds blew the box apart though, and the body’s arm fell within view of the hut’s window and caused the wind to catch it in such a way that it seemed as though it was beckoning. Working alone and with the decaying corpse of his former colleague outside Howell managed to keep the lamp lit. When Howell was finally relieved from the lighthouse the effect the situation had had on him was said to be so extreme that some of his friends did not recognise him.
Until the automation of British lighthouses in the 1980’s lighthouse teams were changed to rosters of three men. In 1859 Trinity House, having brought out the previous leaseholders in 1836, began the construction of a new tower. The tower was completed in 1861.
The current tower, which dates to 1861, was the first British lighthouse to be fitted with a toilet!
In 1978 a helideck was erected above the lantern and the lighthouse was automated in 1987. This is the first wind and solar powered lighthouse in the UK. It has only a 35 watt bulb but with the aid of lenses, this can be seen up to 21 miles (34 km) away.