Ancestral links to the Bell Rock

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IS YOUR family connected to the Bell Rock? If one of your ancestors helped to build the Bell Rock Lighthouse 200 years ago, was one of the lightkeepers on the Inchcape Reef or maybe even lost his or her life in a shipwreck on the Bell Rock, pictured, the organisers of Arbroath’s Year of the Light celebrations would love to hear from you.

During the Year of the Light, a series of events and special occasions have been planned to take place in and around Arbroath throughout 2011 to mark the bicentenary of the building of the Bell Rock Lighthouse. The organisers are keen to hear the stories of the families who are inexorably linked with either the Bell Rock or its lighthouse.

David Taylor, founder of and a member of the Year of the Light Steering Committee, is the great-great-great-grandson of Captain David Taylor, who commanded the ship on which the builders stayed while they were constructing Bell Rock.

He explained: “Once the lighthouse was in operation, Captain Taylor, who was the son of a handloom weaver living near Arbroath, became master of the lighthouse’s supply vessel and was then appointed first superintendent of the Bell Rock’s shore station at the Signal Tower in Arbroath.

“I was brought up surrounded by tales of my family’s connections to the Bell Rock and the lighthouse has always fascinated me. My ancestral link to the Bell Rock Lighthouse has shone down through the generations of my family like a beacon of light.”

Carolyn Siddalls from Arbroath describes herself as “a bit of a lighthouse enthusiast”, an enthusiasm which has increased following the discovery of several lightkeepers on her extended family tree.

“On my dad’s side, there are seven lightkeepers,” revealed Carolyn. “Only one of them, David Charleson, actually served on the Bell Rock but the others will have spent time there, as a spell on the Bell Rock was an important part of lightkeeper training.”

If you have an ancestral link to the Bell Rock or its lighthouse, let the Year of the Light team know by emailing . For more information about the Year of the Light and the celebrations surrounding the 200th anniversary of the completion of the Bell Rock Lighthouse, visit