Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Snook, Lindisfarne (NU101437)

A little off the main drag linking Holy Island to the mainland are a pair of curious erections known as Snook House and Snook Tower. Located on the sticky-out bit on the landward side of the island known as, in fact, ‘The Snook’, these isolated buildings are universally ignored by those intent on making the most of their window of sea-less opportunity who strike on regardless along the Causeway to Holy Island village, some 2 miles eastward.

There isn’t a great deal to say about them, as not a lot is known – at least by me. Any input would be most welcome. The first, Snook House, looks for all intents and purposes like any other domestic dwelling – which I’m pretty sure it is. However, it was once a ventilation shaft for Scremerston Colliery some 7 miles NW and very much on the mainland. From Scremerston the coal seam dips down deep below Holy Island and out to sea. The old colliery closed in 1965.
Snook House, Holy Island …
(© Copyright Ron Rooney and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence )
… and nearby Snook Tower.
(© Copyright Les Hull and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence )

Of Snook Tower, however, little is conveniently known. Build, presumably, in the nineteenth century, its purpose seems to have been nothing more than that of an observation tower or look-out point.


  1. According to the locals; and the lady living in the house; there was no ventilation shaft or mine workings. The tower was built for fishermen... there is a discussion on the fb site NOrthumberland Tales this is the owners own reply on that site: ‘There seems to be 2 schools of thought re the Tower either the head of a mine shaft or not. We have seen no evidence that it has any mining links but it is possible that they may have been covered up when the fisherman started to dry their nets in the tower and house their donkeys. We've asked various older members of the community on the island especially the fishermen and they have no knowledge of a mine. Geological maps do not suggest a coal seam for miles around. I have looked in the archives in Berwick but there is little about the Tower.

    1. Thanks Anonymous - most interesting. I have since read that... "On the north side of the island lime quarrying took place and two groups of limekilns were built in the 1800s. A bold attempt to find workable deposits of coal for the lime works was accompanied by the building of a windmill, the tower of which can still be seen today at the Snook." This can be found in the 'Lindisfarne Landscape Conservation Action Plan of 2013-14' at http://www.peregrinilindisfarne.org.uk/files/documents/Peregrini-Lindisfarne-LCAP.pdf

    2. I am a Snook who was married to a lady from Northumberland who always claimed that she had psychic connection with Grace Darling. I cannot remember the year but I insisted that we visit Lindisfarne having noticed on a map that there existed a Snook promontory. We stayed overnight on the island and the next morning drove to the estate. We approached by foot in an unexpected gale. My wife refused to go any further BUT I carried on to the Tower and House to find no evidence of occupation other than the shutting of shutters and no reply to my knocking. I returned to her to find her in a state of shock.Since that visit , my wife died and today is her birthday.
      This morning, I opened Google to find Grace Darling as the topic!!!!????
      This last weekend circumstances beckoned me from Hampshire to stay in Devon - where the "only" memorial to Grace stands!!??

  2. I used to stay in The Snook Cottage for holidays as a child in the 70s. My parents were friends of the owners who, lived abroad at that time. The cottage was split onto two parts and we stayed in the first part visible from the road. In the 70s there was no running water at the property and you had to go along the dunes to pump the water to the cottage. There was not electricity -lights were oil and the cooker was calor gas. There was a large open fire in the sittingroom. The toilet was outside and was a chemical one!! We believed they had ben fishermen's cottages in the past. Some relatives of the owners would not sleep in the building as they felt it was haunted, they had experienced children's voices and cries. Our family only had one experience and this was a vision of a bandaged man in a hospital bed with a drip. The detail of the vision was historic and the child who described it would not have this knowledge had they not seen it. The cottage held extremely happy memories for our family and we only stopped going when the family sold the property due to a bereavement. I believe it is still owned by the subsequent buyers.