Bamburgh “Ghosts”-Tales from the Eighteenth Century- How to deliver Bad News with Compassion…

A further installment of Carol’s archive research, with thanks to the Woodhorn Archive:

For the last two years, I have had the privilege of working as a volunteer at Woodhorn County Archive, on the Lord Crewe papers. These are a fabulous collection reflecting life in the 18C in Bamburgh, and in the Castle; I would like to share some of the stories I have found with you.

Rev Henry Elliott was the Curate at Bamburgh Church, lodging at Fowberry (prior to the Glebe being built) writing to Dr John Sharp on Feb 24 1783. Picture, if you will, a Bamburgh cottage scene-the Curate probably in his black robes, an elderly lady wrapped in her shawl, fire smoldering fitfully in the hearth….

“Immediately, as soon as I received your favour respecting poor Major Dodd’s death, I waited on old Mrs Dodds, and dwelling for about half an hour on the uncertainties of this life, on the losses and disappointments that we must expect to meet with, and asking her if she had heard anything of the Major lately, and being answered in the negative, was obliged to tell her that she must have patience, because it would be a little longer than she expected before she could see him, yet though it could not be a very long time at her time of life; for her son was no more; at which she cryed what my Jacky and wept aloud for a few minutes, but soon calmed, tho every now and again would break out again, but before I left her, which was about an hour after, began to reconcile and the last time I saw her was to a wonder; and at present she is at the windmill-hill

Mrs Sandwichs idiot boy grows big and in a short time will be hard to manage, perhaps it may be in your power to procure her something for him from the Governors of the Society who distribute their charity for that purpose

And poor Robert Air will certainly go down this season if ye Gentleman of the Trust do not support him a little;Tho he has corn at the Castle at reduced price..,yet corn this year from its bad quality goes but a little way towards the maintenance of family, and especially with him who has such a large one

I am dear Doctor, your most obedient servant…”

With thanks to Woodhorn Archive-ref NRO452/C/3/2/13/14



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