Shipwreck, Bamburgh

This wreck on the beach below Bamburgh Castle appeared overnight after fierce storms in June 2013. By early the following year they had again disappeared below the shifting sands.  Early indications were that the ship was sufficiently old and an archaeological survey was carried out in the two hours available either side of low tide. Dendrochronology on the exposed oak timbers showed them to have been felled around 1768 supporting the theory that the wreck is of a coastal trader sailing between ports along the east coast of Britain.

The beach at that time was used to offload cargo for the castle. Ships would have been beached at high tide, the cargo offloaded and re-floated on the next tide so it may have been that something went seriously wrong during these operations.

Interestingly in 1771 Dr John Sharp, who was then living at the castle foresaw a need for a system for dealing with stricken vessels on the coast. He obtained an order from the Trinity House in Newcastle Upon Tyne effectively transforming the keep of the castle into the world’s first coastguard station. In 1786, Dr Sharp launched the first ever lifeboat at Bamburgh.

The full archaeological report of the survey can be found here.

In the distance in the photo are the Farne Islands, 1½ miles offshore.


2 thoughts on “Shipwreck, Bamburgh”

  1. Wonderful impression! This is on our list now. 🙂 We’re planning our visit next year, we’re so much looking forward to a revisit to this beautiful part of England.


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