In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Bamburgh like this:
BAMBROUGH CASTLE, a township in Bambrough parish, Northumberland; on the coast, contiguous to Bambrough township, 5 miles E of Belford. Acres, 1,724; of which 1,134 are water. Pop., 38. Houses, 5. A famous castle was founded here, about the year 554, by Ida, first king of Northumbria, consort of Queen Bebba; and gave rise to the adjacent town. ...
The site of it is a rugged, triangular, basaltic rock, projecting into the sea, rising 150 feet above the watermark, and accessible only from the SE side. The original pile was formed chiefly of wood; yet made a great figure through out the troubled times of the Northumbrian kings. A stronger structure, with Norman tower and Norman keep, was built principally about 1070; and this acted a part in most of the contests which shook the country, down to the reign of Edward IV.; but sustained very severe injury in a siege after the battle of Hexham. It passed, along with the manor, by grant of the Crown in the time of James I., to the family of Forster; underwent for feiture in 1715, on account of its owner, Thomas Forster, having joined the Pretender; and was purchased by that gentleman's maternal uncle, Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham, and bequeathed by him, under trustees, for charitable uses. The structure, as it now stands, includes a space of eight acres, and contains stores, schools, and a public library for the benefit of the surrounding population, together with numerous, constant, effective appliances for the rescue and relief of shipwrecked mariners. The Farn islands, with accompanying rocks and shoals, so dangerous to navigation, are in the offing; and the appliances at Bambrough Castle are held in continual readiness, under resident managers and continual patrols, to afford succour to the endangered or the shipwrecked. The great tower commands an extensive view; and one of the apartments has some interesting portraits and four large ancient pieces of tapestry. Grace Darling, who acted so very heroically at the wreck of the Forfarshire steamer, lies interred in the neighbouring churchyard.
Bamburgh is now part of Berwick upon Tweed district. Click here for graphs and data of how Berwick upon Tweed has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Bamburgh itself, go to Units and Statistics.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Bamburgh, in Berwick upon Tweed and Northumberland | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th March 2017
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