Caught on camera: The incredible moment a lightning bolt shattered a 14th century lighthouse

September 10, 2013 | by | 0 Comments

This is the dramatic moment a massive bolt of lightning speared down from the sky and zapped a 14th century lighthouse.

The freak fork lit up the night as it hit the spire of St Nicholas Chapel in Ilfracombe, Devon, which has been guiding ships into harbour for centuries.

The dome of the grade I-listed building suffered three shattered glass panels and its electrics were frazzled by the surging charge.

A freak bolt of lightning that struck the St Nicholas Chapel in Ilfracombe, Devon

A freak bolt of lightning that struck the St Nicholas Chapel in Ilfracombe, Devon

However, the damage was only minor and the chapel’s navigation light was quickly replaced and switched back on.

The extraordinary scene was captured by professional pool player Jason Swift who said: “The storm was very impressive, so I grabbed my camera and started snapping.

“My house overlooks the harbour so I was in the right place at the right time.”

The chapel is run by the Rotary Club of Ilfracombe and the automated navigation light is looked after by the town’s harbourmaster.

Lighthouse keeper John Davey lived in the tiny chapel for nearly 40 years in the mid 19th Century and raised a family of 14 children.

The Rotary Club restored it in the 1960s and created a small chancel which is occasionally used for services.

Rotarian Ann Doody said: “The storm was spectacular but the damage could have been so much worse,”

“The light was fixed by an electrician and although we still have to replace some the sockets, we’ve been able to reopen to the public.”

Category: Pictures

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