St Aidan's, Bamburgh
On 7 September 1838, Grace Darling, alongside her father who was the local lighthouse keeper, rescued nine survivors from the wrecked SS Forfarshire off the Northumberland coast. A memorial and stained glass in her memory can be found at St Aidan’s Church. A place of worship was founded on this site in 635 by St Aidan; the site of his death is marked by a shrine within the present church, which dates from the end of the 12th century.
Aidan was called from Iona by King Oswald to establish Christianity in his newly united kingdom of Northumbria. No trace of that wooden building can now be seen, other than perhaps a beam in the Baptistry. Tradition has it that this is the beam that Aidan was leaning against when he died in AD 652, it is said to have miraculously survived two fires.
The building that is now seen dates from the end of the 12th century. The chancel, said to be the second longest in the country at 60 feet, was added in 1230. In 1895 a reredos was added. Created in Caen stone, it depicts northern saints of the 7th and 8th centuries. The church works closely with the Grace Darling Museum - just across the road. Both in the church and in the churchyard memorials to the Victorian heroine can be found. The north aisle contains an effigy of Grace from 1844 by Charles Raymond Smith. This formed part of the original monument to her in the churchyard, but was later replaced with a replica due to deterioration of the stonework. The churchyard memorial, from 1844, is placed so that it can be seen by passing ships, and is by Anthony Salvin and Charles Raymond Smith.
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