Tévennec: choice of the site and construction

The headlight of Tévennec is located in the northern part of the Raz de Sein at broad of the point of Van. It takes part with the fire of the Vieille in the beaconing of dangerous Raz of Sein. With the construction of the headlight of Ar Men begun in 1867, the construction of Tévennec (1869) then that of the Vieille (1879) supplemented the device of security since the point of the Raz until the western end of the Chaussée de Sein.
Tévennec: choice of site and construction Structure and construction

Drawn in 1869 by engineer Paul Jolly, also responsible for the Ar Men architecture, plans of the establishment of Tévennec envisage, for the headlight itself, a tower square of 11 meters and a dwelling house, intended for the guard, being next to the tower. A platform, raised of a wall of protection, surrounds the building, builds essentially using stones extracted the small island directly. The staircase which leads to the unloading dock as for him is cut with same the rock. Let us note that this rock carries since centuries a legend as being the destination of the “boat of deaths” leaving bay of the departeds. Recommended by the commission of the headlights, but started by 1860 in 1869, construction is completed, in spite of the recalcitrance of the local blue-collar workers to work on this haunted place, five years later. Fire of the headlight of Tévennec is commissioned for the first time on March 15th, 1875.

Rise: 11 meters
Fires: white and red glares
Range: 9 miles (white sector)/6 miles (red sector)
Automation: since February 7th, 1910

A haunted headlight?

Tévennec: choice of site and construction

Taking into account the characteristics of the site, it is not really a headlight of open sea is a “Hell”, according to the classification invented by the guards. And it is hardly a “Purgatory”, i.e. one of these headlights installed on an island. The rock on which is set up is not even a small island. The house-headlight is frequently swept by the spray and it is very delicate to approach there, even impossible, as soon as the sea is formed. The headlight, share its sinister legends, enjoys a very bad reputation near the sailors and inhabitants the Cape Sizun. One tells in this connection all kinds of stories: guards who become insane in a few months, others which, of which one, in the arms of its wife, which dies brutally would then have put it at the salting tub to preserve its body until the following changing… Lugubrious cries, lent to the hearts of the many shipwrecked men having died on the small island, would be made hear time with other, between the rocks. Badgering, voices order into Breton: “Kers cuit, kers cuit... Ama ma ma flag”, (Go away, go away, here, it is my place). If the dramatic accounts concerning the guards of this place were partly imaginary, it does not remain about it less than the initial error of the administration of the Bridges and Chaussées is not to have regarded Tévennec as a headlight of full sea. Classified as a lamp of fourth category, only one guard was affected there in the beginning, with for mission of ensuring his service length of year, like his fellow-members installed in the house-headlights of the littoral (“Paradises”). However, the life on the rock of Tévennec is as diffi blinks as in many headlights at sea. Administration installing at this place with length of year
a man alone, without him to guarantee regular periods of changing, it was to go to the front of serious problems.

Tévennec: choice of site and construction

The weight of the legends?
However, the specific difficulties to this station do not escape the administration a long time from the headlights and beacons. By July 1876, the authorization to assign 2 guards to Tévennec is decided. But, the candidates remain rare and those which accept the station early made require their change. In December 1897, to try to resolve these difficulties of recruitment, it is decided that Tévennec from now on would be served by a guard accompanied by his wife, who would provide the functions of auxiliary for wages of 50 francs per month. A first couple settles as of the end of the year: Milliner. Three years later, they are Quéméré which takes over. They will remain five years at this station, almost a record for the headlight of Tévennec. Mrs Quéméré, who gave birth to three children during this period, will go even until saying, towards the end of her days, which it spent on this inhospitable small island some of the best moments of her life… The supply of the island is carried out then every two weeks, “time allowing” of course, which is far from being always the case. But, Quéméré enjoy then the services of some hens and of a cow, imported with its fodder, because no grass pushes on Tévennec. They also fatten a pig.

Tévennec, hell or paradise?

Undoubtedly a headlight not ordinary. However, after this relative truce in the cahotic and unhappy history of the guards of the headlight of Tévennec, the resignations and the complaints begin again on behalf of the successors of Quéméré. Tévennec: choice of the site and constructionMisfortunes begin again with the Roparz guard and his wife, in 1907. It is initially the father-in-law of the guard, in visit, which a blade carries, then the couple loses a new-born baby following a difficult childbirth. The roof of the house is torn off by a hurricane little time afterwards. Finally, vis-a-vis these difficulties, the administration of the Bridges and Chaussées give up making keep Tévennec and install in 1910 a permanent fire there (réalimenté every 6 months). Since, nobody any more lived in Tévennec which was the first headlight, at sea, automated. At all events, the fear inspired by the haunted headlight of the Strong current did not take a wrinkle and it is enough to question some sailors Sénans or Capists to intend itself to answer of a heard air: “Be wary of Tévennec”.

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