John Rudyerd

Little is known about this remarkable man, builder of the second Eddystone lighthouse of 1708. He was born in Cornwall, one of a large family, and obtained menial work in Plymouth where his employer became aware of the young man’s abilities and educated him. He went to London where he became a silk merchant. He prospered and developed keen scientific interests which must have earned some respect from his circle of friends. In 1705, after the destruction of Winstanley’s Eddystone tower, the then proprietor Capt John Lovet asked Rudyerd to submit designs for a new tower. This severely functional tower of wood and stone lasted until 1755 when it was destroyed by fire. It was one of the most brilliant and original structures in the annals of lighthouse engineering.

Rudyerd Eddystone lighthouse (1708-1755). Painting by Ken Trethewey.