Photo with kind permission of Trinity House.
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POSITION 55° 36'.97 N 01° 43'.35 W
Location: most Northerly land based lighthouse, Northumbria
Present Tower Built: 1910
Tower Composition: rubble stone masonry
Height of Tower: (to be verified)
Designer: Supervised by Sir Thomas Matthews
Focal Height of Light: (to be verified) above mean high water
First Lit: October 1910
Light Characteristic: (to be verified)
Visible Range on clear night: (to be verified)
The dangers of the North East coast have long since been noted, although no warnings or safety precautions were apparently employed until the late 18th century. The turbulence of the waters, however, can be matched by the turbulence of the area's history.
The Bamburgh area, and Bamburgh Castle in particular, has played an important role in English history since the occupation of the site by the Romans. Only 20 miles from the border Bamburgh Castle was once captured by the Scots and has also been fought over by the Danes and the Kings of Mercia and Northumbria.
By the late 18th century Bamburgh Castle had fallen into disrepair and became a charity school run by a Doctor Sharp, who also instituted various measures for the benefit of passing mariners. He set up an elementary lifeboat station in Bamburgh Village, operated a warning system of bells and guns from the Castle ramparts, and whilst gales persisted, employed 2 riders to patrol the shore and keep watch for ships in distress.
Navigational handbooks of the early 19th century gave seamen the following comforting information with regard to the area - that "dead bodies cast on shore are decently buried gratis", ship wrecked mariners found alive would be reclothed and given a week's free lodgings. Rewards were also offered to anyone reporting a wreck to Bamburgh Castle.
For over 80 years the small unmanned lighthouse at Bamburgh has given a guide to shipping in passage along the coast as well as to vessels in the waters around the Farne Islands. Bamburgh Lighthouse was built in 1910 and extensively modernized in 1975. A local attendant carries out routine maintenance at the station which is monitored from the Trinity House Depot at Harwich. It is the most Northerly land based lighthouse in England.