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