Repairs begin on lightening damaged chapel

Jason Twist took this remarkable picture of the moment the lightening bolt struck the top of the cha

Jason Twist took this remarkable picture of the moment the lightening bolt struck the top of the chapel. - Credit: Archant

Scaffolding goes up at St Nicholas Chapel on Lantern Hill as work starts.

Repairs are underway at St Nicholas Chapel in Ilfracombe after it was struck by lightening in Septem

Repairs are underway at St Nicholas Chapel in Ilfracombe after it was struck by lightening in September. - Credit: Archant

Work is underway to repair lightening damage to St Nicholas Chapel in Ilfracombe.

The damage to the chapel following the lightening strike.

The damage to the chapel following the lightening strike. - Credit: Archant

The bolt entered the 14th century building on Lantern Hill through the side of the lantern enclosure, taking out electrical systems and destroying the navigation light fitting before smashing its way out of a window.

The damage to the chapel following the lightening strike.

The damage to the chapel following the lightening strike. - Credit: Archant

It hit the headlines when resident Jason Twist captured an inspiring image of the moment the lightening struck, on the first evening of the Sea Ilfracombe Festival.

The navigation light was replaced within 24 hours of the strike, to ensure the chapel could still operate as a lighthouse and now owner North Devon Council is carrying out the rest of the work.


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Scaffolding is now in place and work has begun to repair the lantern enclosure and install new safety glass. The CCTV camera and wiring are also being replaced.

The Grade II listed building is managed as a visitor attraction by Ilfracombe Rotary Club.

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The bolt from the blue on Friday, September 6, stunned passengers in the harbour aboard the MS Oldenburg, who had been enjoying the festivities and thought at first the lightening had hot their vessel.

“We are incredibly lucky that we only have to make minor repairs to the chapel after such a dramatic incident,” said executive member for Ilfracombe, Councillor Mike Edmunds.

“It could have been a very different story if the lightning hadn’t left through the window! As well as being one of the town’s most iconic landmarks, the chapel is one of the oldest lighthouses in the country, so it is essential we look after it.”

The chapel visitors’ centre is open every day from 10am to 4pm, until the end of October. Go to visitilfracombe.co.uk for more information.

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