Record Details

NHER Number:15435
Type of record:Monument
Name:Site of Happisburgh Low Lighthouse


A lighthouse is marked on Faden's map of 1797. It probably collapsed during the 19th century. In 1980 erosion revealed part of the 18th century brick tower in a low cliff face and other collapsed sections on the beach. By 1986 none of the brickwork was visible. In 2004 and 2006 some sections were exposed on the beach.


  • The remains of the Happisburgh Low Light in 1980  © Norfolk County Council
  • The remains of the Happisburgh Low Light in 1980  © Norfolk County Council
  • The remains of the Happisburgh Low Light in 1980  © Norfolk County Council
  • The remains of the Happisburgh Low Light in March 2011  © Norfolk County Council
  • The remains of the Happisburgh Low Light in 1956  © June Sharplin


Grid Reference:TG 3915 3041
Map Sheet:TG33SE

Full description

Approximate position of Lower Lighthouse, as marked on (S1).
Washed away in 19th century.
E. Rose (NAU), 7 November 1979.

December 1980.
Tidal scour revealed base of lighthouse intact, and shattered brickwork of tower. Bricks in photograph look 18th century.
See (S2) in file.
E. Rose (NAU), 9 December 1980.

See detailed report (S3) by M. Warren (Cromer Museum) in file.
Early 19th century painting by Bulwer 'Happisburgh Coast' (S4) may show this lighthouse (red brick, blue cap with two projections) but it could well be the other lighthouse.
Exact location established by E. Rose (NAU), 14 January 1981.

September 1986. Site revisited, no trace of remains now.
Either washed away or destroyed in coastal defence works.
E. Rose (NAU), 1 October 1986.

May-November 2004. Norfolk Rapid Coastal Zone Archaeological Survey.
Inter-tidal survey (Environmental Zone 19), Context 535:
A collection of curving brick wall sections were observed on the beach from TG 39093 30489 to TG 39121 30452. They could have been the remains of a lighthouse. Mostly red brick seen, but one yellow brick was noted.
See assessment report (S5) and (S6) for further details.
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2017.421).
J. Allen (NLA), 26 April 2005. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 20 July 2019.

February 2006.
(S2) from December 1980 describes remains in situ in the low cliff face and scattered remains on the beach.
It is almost certain that the sections of brick wall seen on the beach in 2004 were part of the tower brickwork seen and recorded in (S2) by M. Warren (Cromer Museum) and by E. Rose (NAU) in January 1981.
D. Robertson (NLA), 13 February 2006.

June 2006.
Casual observation whilst walking in dunes and on cliff top.
A section of brick wall measuring about 1.5m long was visible on the beach (with probably more of it concealed by sand). It was almost certainly one of the sections seen in 2004.
D. Robertson (NLA), 5 June 2006.

Monument Types

  • LIGHTHOUSE (17th Century to 19th Century - 1700 AD to 1900 AD)
  • LOW LIGHT? (17th Century to 19th Century - 1700 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Could ruined low light be made a new highlight?. 2 June.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Stones form a new beacon for seaside village. 18 June.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Photograph: BVA 6-8.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
<S1>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1980. [Photograph of Happisburgh Low Lighthouse]. 9 December.
<S2>Unpublished Document: Warren, M.. 1980. Report on the temporary exposure of Happisburgh Lighthouse, 13 December 1980.
<S4>Publication: Bulwer. Happisburgh Coast.
<S5>Unpublished Contractor Report: Robertson, D., Crawley, P., Barker, A., and Whitmore, S. 2005. Norfolk Rapid Coastal Zone Archaeological Survey. Assessment Report and Updated Project Design. Norfolk Archaeological Unit. 1045.
<S6>Unpublished Document: NAU. 2004. Norfolk Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Context Sheet.

Related records

7092Related to: Happisburgh lighthouse and associated buildings (Building)

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