Were was I ??? in the car park beneath the basalt outcrop that supports the castle at Bamburgh methinks http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamburgh_Castle
Though I have to confess at lifting that picture from Wikipedia, all mine were taken around the other side and not half as good Anyway, being well after lunchtime and me wanting to get back to the B&B before dark I decided to give the castle a miss. Choosing instead the far cheaper and older option up the road.
Saint Aidan’s church that is, and once more this isn’t one of my pictures, I have to thank http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/1777 for that. There’s been a church here since the seventh century but most parts of this one only go back as far as the twelfth and thirteenth Is that all !!!!
635 At the request of King Oswald, Aidan comes to Northumbria from Iona and causes the first church to be built, probably on the site of the present church. Tradition has it that the only relic of this first church is the beam over the font. It serves no structural function and is believed to have supported the awning under which Aidan died. Mention of this beam is made by Bede in his chronicles.
1121 By the grant of Henry I Bamburgh Church and Parish were attached to Nostell near Wakefield in West Yorkshire, where there was a religious establishment of the Augustinian Canons.
1170 to 1230 The greater part of the present day church was built. Few traces of the Norman church remain but several authorities state that these are to be found in the window in the east wall of the north transept, which has a round-headed internal splay the exterior of which has been altered to a lancet.
1190 The first extension of the Norman church was the addition of the north aisle in 1190 and the enlargement of the north transept. The arch into the north aisle was rebuilt to its present style and size, and at the same time those into the chancel and south transept were similarly altered.
1230 Construction of the chancel, built to supersede the previous Norman chancel, when the Augustinian Canons came into full possession of their Bamburgh property. The chancel is unusually long – 60 ft. by 21 ft. – in relation to the nave. Within the chancel today are the recumbent effigy of a knight, reputed to be called Sir Lancelot du Lake, dating from 1320 or later and the helmet, breastplate, sword and gauntlets of Ferdinando Forster who was killed in Newcastle in 1701.
14th century Both transepts were lengthened to provide accommodation for the new altars. The north transept was made into a chantry chapel and for many years was known as the Fowberry Porch; today it is known as St. Oswald’s chapel.
16th century With the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII Bamburgh church and its lands were sold to Sir John Forster and thereafter was neglected. In 1611 it was recorded that “the steeple was only half covered with lead and the other half utterly decayed and open. The church was thatched and indecently kept and defiled with doves. The windows thereof not sufficiently glassed..”
A short extract from the Church website http://www.staidan-bamburgh.co.uk/history_heritage.html which makes interesting reading.
After wandering around outside and having a look at Grace Darlings tomb
I made my way into the church itself and was staggered by the amount of flowers in bloom that I saw, it was after all February the 2nd and not the end of March.
Snowdrops and gorse came as no surprise,
but these, whatever they are
and a rose!!!!!! I’m no gardener but methinks that Saint Aidan’s church is a bit special
I’m not religious but it’s hard not to feel a sense of something, if not just awe when in a place like this with almost a thousand years of history within its confines.
This forked beam reputedly stood outside the original wood and thatch church in the seventh century and is the one that Saint Aidan himself died by in 651. Whether it was or was not, it sure is a very old bit of wood
Aidan was an Irish monk who was part of St Columba’s community on Iona.
When Oswald was exiled from his kingdom, he had contact with this community of Columba – perhaps living on or near Iona and became a Christian. When King Oswald was restored to his kingdom, uniting the sub-kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira, he sent to Iona for monks to establish – or in fact re-establish – Christianity throughout his land.
After a false start led by the monk Corman, Aidan volunteered to come to Oswald of Northumbria and established both a Church at Bamburgh and, with 12 other missionary monks from Iona, a Columban style Community on the island of Lindisfarne. This was in the year 635. Again lifted from the Churches website.
You just can’t help but admire that carpentry and masonry
This is actually the original stone carving from the top of Grace Darling’s tomb but the soft stone was being weathered at an alarming rate, so when a storm damaged the canopy in 1893 it was replaced by one made of a harder stone for the princely sum of £100, the original being less than ten years old!!!!
I’m rattling away on here about Grace Darling as if everyone should know who she was because I’ve known about her since I was a wee boy, but for those who don’t here’s a brief outline.
Grace was the daughter of the lighthouse keeper on the Farne islands, the seventh of nine children (or something like that) born in Bamburgh she was out on the light at three weeks of age with her parents. At the age of just 22 and with a storm blowing she and her father rowed a 21’ boat for a mile to rescue survivors from the SS Forfarshire http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forfarshire_%28ship%29 that was wrecked on Big Harcar, a rock of the Farnes.
The story is one of epic heroism and the stuff of legend, with only Grace, her father William and mother Thomasin at home that night the story is related below.
September 7th, 1838
William Brooks, the youngest Darling living at home, was away fishing at Seahouses when the shipwreck occurred. This meant that only Grace and her parents were in the lighthouse, at the mercy of a dreadful storm.
In the early hours William woke Grace to help him tie up everything including the coble, their large wooden open fishing boat, the weather was so severe. The tide was high and the sea was nearly up at the boathouse. They secured everything they could and went back to bed.
Her sleep disturbed, Grace, through her third storey window, was watching the storm and saw a large black shape on Big Harcar Rock. It was a wreck! Grace woke her father and with a telescope they studied the wreck for signs of life. They saw none. Grace watched and watched. As daylight crept in around 7.00am Grace saw movement on the rock. There were indeed survivors of the wreck; two or three perhaps. William thought the sea too rough for the Seahouses boat to set out, or, if it did, that it might not reach the rock. So he pondered. He knew the rocks and he knew the tides. Grace pleaded with her father that they both take out the coble to rescue them. Thomasin feared they would both be lost but Grace was already down at the coble, William knew he could not go out alone, so at the right moment they pushed the twenty-foot boat out into the sea. Thomasin watched, with dread from the lantern. At first she couldn’t see the coble and feared the worst.
William had decided a southerly course to Big Harcar would see them benefit from some little shelter or else the coble would be at the mercy of the storm. This meant going the long way round. The route they took from Sunderland Hole on Longstone took them through the passage called Crafords Gut, down to Blue Caps then towards Harker. Nearly a mile in distance. Defying the wind, the swell of the sea, the spray, the noise and the physical effort involved they eventually made towards the wreck and could see on the rock more survivors than they expected – nine or ten. William realised immediately that two trips were now required.
William and Grace managed to manoeuvre the coble near enough to the rock to enable William to leap across to the survivors. Grace now had to steady the coble on her own for some time, until her father could gather the weak survivors and attempt to transfer them into the boat. He would have had to be strong-willed in deciding who to take back and who to leave on the rock. There would have been distress, arguments, shouting over the noise of the storm. Mrs Dawson had her two small children clutched to her breast. They were dead and had to be left behind, for now. The extent of her anguish can only be imagined as, at William’s insistence, she had to leave her children, lifeless, on the rock and be helped down to the coble.
An injured man was next; but William needed strong men to help, so he took two of the crew members, John Tulloch and John Nicholson. This left Daniel Donovan and three others on the rock, plus the bodies
of Reverend Robb and Mrs Dawson’s children.
The crew members would have helped with the oars; Grace would have helped comfort the grieving mother and reassure the injured man as best she could. What a mixture of emotions William and Grace must have experienced. Exhausted, having hardly slept that night; joyous that lives had been saved; sorrow for the mother’s loss; fear of the dangers of a necessary return trip in the storm.
They arrived safely at Longstone and William returned with the two crewmen to collect the remaining survivors. The three bodies were left, to collect when it was safer to do so. The whole rescue took two hours, from 7.00am to 9.00am.
After my long perusal of the church I wandered across the road to the RNLI’s Grace Darling museum http://rnli.org/aboutus/historyandheritage/museums/Pages/Grace-Darling-Museum.aspx and spent the rest of the afternoon in there.
The museum is full of Grace’s clothes, artefacts from the wreck
and even has the very boat she and her father used for the rescue. At 21’ long it must have been quite a feat to have launched it then rowed out to the wreck and back.
The SS Forfarshire was, in her time ‘state of the art’ Victorian technology, in fact I believe she was considered so safe that Lloyds gave her cheap insurance. Carrying wealthy passengers along with a cargo of calico, soap and copper bars little remains of her now, I dived on her in the eighties but found little other that rusty spars.
There is fantastic diving around the Farnes with wrecks like the St Andre, Britannia and Abyssinia to explore but I always preferred the quiet an clearer waters of the west coast of Scotland myself
After a most enjoyable jaunt I returned to my B&B and a bottle of Jacob’s Creek
More house work
Sunday had me up at 9:00 for breakfast,
which was a rather special affair presented by Dave, involving poached eggs, salad bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes He and Susan are really looking after me here at http://www.theclifton.co.uk/contactus.html
After that I went to a museum, fell asleep in the car park and came back to the Clifton without seeing anything To be honest I was a little glum, that was until wifey sent me these
complete with my son
Well, after that, I just had to celebrate,
and I knew just the place, in fact I could see it from my bedroom window http://www.colmansfishandchips.com/
Squid and chips, divine, and not only that it came with a quiz.
Buried under the calamari was this cod, vinegar and haddock was about as far as I got though