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Bamburgh is a village on the eastern seaboard of Northumberland, 19.2 miles south of Berwick upon Tweed, and 17.9 miles north of Alnwick.
It's most recent claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of the Victorian heroine Grace Horsley Darling (1815 - 1842). With her father William Darling (the lighthouse keeper of the Longstone Lighthouse) she rowed out in a terrible storm to save the survivors of the shipwreck "The Forfarshire" in an open rowing boat on the 7th September 1838. There is a newly re-opened museum (2008) run by the RNLI [FREE, but donations towards the work of the RNLI are gratefully received!] opposite St. Aidan's Parish Church, at the top of the village green, in Radcliffe Road, and the cottage she was born in is two or three houses past the museum, and has a small bronze plaque above the door.The cottage where she died (in her early twenties) is towards the top end of the village green. The museum is well worth a visit, and contains the original open rowing boat used in the rescue, an audio visual presentation about Grace Darling, and various artefacts collected from the Forfarshire, as well as the usual locks of hair and scraps of dresses! Her tombstone is in St Aidan's churchyard opposite the museum.
St Aidan's Church is another building worthy of a visit. It contains the original effigy of Grace Darling which used to be on the tombstone outside the church, as well as a beautiful Victorian stained glass window (in the North chapel) in memory of her daring rescue, but even more historically significant is the site of the place where St Aidan died (on the north wall of the chancel, where a perpetual light marks the spot.)
Hanging in the sanctuary are pieces of armour which once belonged to Gen. Tom Forster, who was a general in the Northumbrian army during the 1715 Uprising. He eventually finished up in Newgate Prison in London. His sister Dorothy, rode on horseback to London in the depths of winter. The journey took between three and four weeks, and by some means she obtained the key of Tom's cell, and managed to rescue him, when he then fled to France. A sentry doing the rounds tells of a mock funeral for him in Bamburgh, but the coffin was filled with sawdust! What is known for certain is that he died in France in 1738, and his body was returned to Bamburgh, where he was buried in the crypt of the church, which is, in fact, the family tomb.
On the south side of the church, near where you enter is a modern stained glass window depicting St Cuthbert, in memory of the grandchildren of a master of Baliol College London. If you stand at the West end (under the tower) and look upwards you will see a forked beam in the roof. Legend tells us that this was twice nearly burnt in fires, but was saved by the intervention of St Aidan.
On the opposite side from the church, on the village green you will find a butcher reknowned for his famous "Bamburgh Bangers" - a local speciality sausage! There is also the Copper Kettle Tea Rooms and the Lord Crewe Arms, whilst at the bottom of the village green is the magnificent Bamburgh Castle.
Bamburgh Castle is built on the very top of a basalt outcrop, and offers absolutely magnificent views across the North Sea towards the Farne Islands and Holy Island. Inland are magnificent views of the Cheviot Hills. In the 1750's the castle was restored by Lord Crewe, and towards the end of the C19th by the first Lord Armstrong (of the armaments factory in Newcastle during the World Wars - you have probably heard of the Vickers Armstrong machine gun, which was extensively used in WW II). [He also built "Cragside", a spectacular mansion near Rothbury - which is open to the public, and cared for by the National Trust] The castle is still the home of the Armstrong family, and is open to the public. It is well worth visiting. The tour of the castle includes the magnificent King's Hall, the Cross Hall, reception rooms, the Victorian Scullery and Bakehouse as well as the Dungeons and Armoury. For fuller details go to the Bamburgh Castle website at www.bamburghcastle.com
Bamburgh has a magnificent sandy beach, which stretches for miles in both directions. The beach and the castle have featured in many films and television adverts! (See the IMDb [Internet Movie Data Base] for details of films and locations)