Bamburgh (/ˈbæmbərə/ BAM-bər-ə) is a village and civil parish on the coast of Northumberland, England. It had a population of 454 in 2001,[1] decreasing to 414 at the 2011 census.[2]


Bamburgh in 1973
Location within Northumberland
Population414 (2011)
OS grid referenceNU1734
Civil parish
  • Bamburgh
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtNE69
Dialling code01668
AmbulanceNorth East
EU ParliamentNorth East England
UK Parliament

The village is notable for the nearby Bamburgh Castle, a castle which was the seat of the former Kings of Northumbria, and for its association with the Victorian era heroine Grace Darling, who is buried there.

The extensive beach by the village was awarded the Blue Flag rural beach award in 2005. The Bamburgh Dunes, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, stand behind the beach. Bamburgh is popular with holidaymakers and is within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


The site now occupied by Bamburgh Castle was previously home to a fort of the indigenous Celtic Britons known as Din Guarie[3] and may have been the capital of the kingdom of Bernicia, the realm of the Gododdin people,[4] from the realm's foundation in c. 420 until 547, the year of the first written reference to the castle. In that year the citadel was captured by the Anglo-Saxon ruler Ida of Bernicia (Beornice) and became Ida's seat.[5]

Late medieval British author Thomas Malory identified Bamburgh Castle with Joyous Gard, the mythical castle home of Sir Lancelot in Arthurian legend.[6]

Bamburgh is also featured in the open world video game series Forza Horizon 4 that was released in October 2018.

St Aidan's Church

According to Bede, St Aidan built a wooden church outside the castle wall in AD 635, and he died here in AD 652. A wooden beam preserved inside the church is traditionally said to be the one on which he rested as he died.[7] The present church dates from the late 12th century, though some pre-conquest stonework survives in the north aisle. The chancel, said to be the second longest in the country (60 ft; 18m), was added in 1230; it contains an 1895 reredos in Caen stone by W.S. Hicks, depicting northern saints of the 7th and 8th centuries. There is an effigy of local heroine Grace Darling in the North Aisle. This formed part of the original Monument to Grace Darling but was removed due to weathering of the stonework. Her memorial is sited in the churchyard in such a position that it can be seen by passing ships.[8]


An electoral ward of the same name exists. This ward includes Belford and also stretches south to Ellingham with a total population taken at the 2011 census of 4,846.[9]

Notable people

Bamburgh Lighthouse

Bamburgh Lighthouse
Black Rock Point
Bamburgh Lighthouse
LocationBamburgh, Northumberland, England
Coordinates55°36′59.6″N 1°43′27″W
Year first constructed1910
Constructionmasonry building
Tower shapeparallelepiped building with lantern on the roof
Markings / patternwhite building, black lantern
Tower height9 m (30 ft)
Focal height12.5 m (41 ft)
Current lens1st order catadioptric fixed lens
Intensity7,140 candela
Rangewhite: 14 nmi (26 km)
red and green: 11 nmi (20 km)
CharacteristicOc (2) WRG 8s.
Admiralty numberA2810
NGA number2252
ARLHS numberENG 004
Managing agentTrinity House[10]

Bamburgh Lighthouse was built by Trinity House in 1910 to guide shipping both passing along the Northumberland coast and in the waters around the Farne Islands. It was extensively modernised in 1975 and is now monitored from the Trinity House Operations and Planning Centre in Harwich. Routine maintenance is carried out by a local attendant. It is the most northerly land-based lighthouse in England.[11]

When originally built, the lamp was mounted on a skeletal steel tower (the footprint of which can still be seen within the compound) which stood alongside the white building which housed an acetylene plant to power the lamp.[12] (A similar arrangement can be seen today at Peninnis Lighthouse in the Isles of Scilly.) During electrification in 1975 the tower was removed, and the lantern was placed instead on top of the (now redundant) acetylene building.[11]

See also


  1. Neighbourhood Statistics. "Census 2001". Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  2. "Parish population 2011". Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  3. "Bernaccia (Bryneich / Berneich)". The History Files. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  4. 'An English empire: Bede and the early Anglo-Saxon kings' by N. J. Higham, Manchester University Press ND, 1995, ISBN 0-7190-4423-5, ISBN 978-0-7190-4423-6
  5. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, entry for 547.
  6. Black, Joseph (2016). "The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: Concise Volume A - Third Edition". Broadview. p. 536. ISBN 978-1554813124.
  7. "St Aidan, Bamburgh". Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  8. Purves, Churches of Newcastle and Northumberland, Tempus, Stroud, 2006
  9. "Parish Population 2011". Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  10. Bamburgh The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved April 29, 2016
  11. "Bamburgh Lighthouse". Trinity House.
  12. Vintage postcard showing original arrangement.
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