Welcome to the latest post in my series about my long weekend away (14-17 August). The previous post in the series took us up to the end of our visit Holy Island. Today we conclude the Monday’s activities with an account of a brief visit to Bamburgh.
Bamburgh was originally known as Bebbanburg, and is still dominated by the castle (the current version is of course much newer, but there has been a castle there since at least the seventh century – it was an important fortress in Anglo-Saxon times. It is at the heart of Bernard Cornwell’s ‘Uhtred of Bebbanburg‘ series of historical novels, set in Anglo-Saxon times, and also features in Matthew Harffy’s ‘Bernicia Chronicles‘, set at a similar time. Cornwell claims to a be a direct descendant of the last family to have privately owned the castle.
ST AIDAN’S CHURCH
In my previous post I mentioned the importance of St Aidan to the religious history of the northeast of England, and it is entirely appropriate that the second most significant place in Bamburgh to the mighty castle that overshadows it is a large church dedicated to this saint. There is a very impressive monument to Grace Darling, who saved a group of Scottish sailors from death by drowning (like the RNLI today she concentrated on saving their lives, without unduly concerning herself with their background – some of the criticisms aimed at the RNLI because it strictly obeys the law of the sea disgust me), the church itself contains features of interest, and the crypt well repays a visit (there is a brief movie to watch while you are down there).
By the time we reached the base of the castle I was feeling very tired, and decided to sit on a bench, photographing the castle and other features of interest rather than climb up the hill for a really close look. Even from the width of cricket ground the castle is a massively impressive site, covering the entire summit of a quite substantial hill.
Bamburgh yielded some fine photographs: