St Aidan’s, Bamburgh.

Can you see the railing and sign on the far right side of the building? Guess what’s down there.

There’s a crypt, there’s a crypt with an ossuary and a video presentation about the inhabitants of the ossuary.

Basically, they discovered a 7-8th century graveyard in the dunes surrounding the castle. From the remains, archaeologists were able to determine things about their daily life, and then they were placed into boxes and put into the crypt.

The church is quite interesting inside too. (There’s a guided walk leaflet.) It does back to the 12th cenury, but there’s not much left of that building except for bits like the right hand window (the shape is different to the others).

Originally, St Aidan (remember him from Holy Island) erected a wooden church here. The story goes that he was leaning against a wall beam when he died. After that, the beam survived two fires and it’s considered miraculous. Now it is in the roof of the current church.

There is an effigy of Grace Darling (of the lighthouse resece) which used to out in the grave yard but has been replaced by a newer one. Across the road from the church is a Grace Darling museum.

And a unknown knight effigy.

A Day Trip To Alnwick

So this is Alnwick (pronounced Annick), the county town of Northumberland (the administrative centre). It has two major tourist attractions: the castle and the garden.

Alnwick Castle has the feel of a theme park, without the park. It feelsl ike it’s set up to have a lot going on but it wasn’t going on.

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Holy Island

South of Berwick, just off the coast, is Holy Island, a tidal island with an interesting history. It can only be accessed when the tide is low enough to expose the causeway. So if you want to visit, it has to either be during this low tide time, or an overnight stay. Today, the low time ended about 1.35 pm, which meant at 1 pm everything started closing. As most places don’t open until 10 am, it’s not a long visiting period. Fortunately, I stayed overnight.

There are two main attractions on Holy Island. The Prior and (seen in the background here) and the castle that is not a castle.

There is also a good view of the castle that is a castle, but that’s on other other side of the water so we’ll ignore it.

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Berwick-upon-Tweed: defences

Berwick has walls and ramparts and gates and bits of castle. It’s all a bit complicated, but I’ll see if I can make sense of it.

The White Wall, with steps that originally ran up to the castle. (I think the front bit is a later addition for atillery.) Most of the castle remains were removed c.1850 to build the train station.

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Interlude: Berwick-upon-Tweed

I spent the day walking along ramparts and looking at walls. I want to share some photos on that but it requires some thinking first, so in the meantime, here’s some photos of Berwick.

Berwick-upon-Tweed is in Northumberland, on the Tweed River. The river forms part of border between Scotland and England, and Berwick is on the Scottish side of the river but in England.

It’s a town of winding streets

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On the border

This is Berwick-upon-Tweed. It’s the northernmost town in England. At other times, it’s been in Scotland. Four hundred years of border conflict. And where there’s been centuries of border conflict , there are . . .

. . . border castles! Norham Castle, about 10 km/6 miles from Berwick.

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