Lundy Close at Southway is named after Lundy Island off the coast of North Devon. Properly known just as Lundy – the name, purportedly, comes from two old Norse terms ‘lundi’ meaning puffin, and ‘ey’ meaning island, hence ‘puffin island’ – there is another theory though, suggesting that the root word in Norse actually comes from ‘lundr’ meaning a sacred grove. Supporting the former notion is the fact that puffins are relatively frequent visitors to the island, but not to the Devon mainland. However the notion of a sacred place also has some credibility (interestingly enough, in the 1850s two graves were found, one contains the ancient remains of a man who was 8’6” tall, the other a woman who was 7’8”.
The Island itself is three miles long – and just half a mile across at its widest point – it is 93% granite and 7% shale, making it consistent with Ilfracombe and Morthoe on the North Devon coast. Settled since pre-historic times it was occupied by the Norman Marisco family after the conquest and has attracted the interest of Turks, Spaniards, French and smugglers over the years. In the nineteenth century it was owned and run by the Harman family, more recently however it was bought by the multi-millionaire property developer Sir Jack Hayward (who famously also bought and spent, as chairman, some £60 million on Wolverhampton Wanderers FC). Through Sir Jack’s generosity the island was given to the National Trust and they, in turn, have leased it to the Landmark Trust.