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Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Historical Description

Bamburgh Castle, a township in Bambrough parish, Northumberland, on the coast, contiguous to Bambrough township, 5 miles E of Belford. Acreage, 6; population, 53. 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 water-mark, and accessible only from the SE side. The original pile was formed chiefly of wood, yet made a great figure throughout the troubled times of the Northumbriankings. 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 Hesham. It passed, along with the manor, by grant of the Crown in the time of James I., to the family of Forster, underwent forfeiture in 171&, 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 about three acres, and contains stores, schools, and a public library for the benefit of the surrounding population, together with numerous effective appliances for the rescue and relief of shipwrecked mariners. The Fame Islands, with accompanying rocks and shoals, so dangerous to navigation, are in the offing, and the appliances at Bamburgh Castle are held in constant 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.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyNorthumberland 
Civil parishBambrough 
Poor Law unionBelford 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Bamburgh Castle from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Northumberland is available to browse.


Online maps of Bamburgh Castle are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers related to Northumberland online: