Bamburgh “Ghosts”-Tales from the Eighteenth Century- Tragedy at the Bowl Hole

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

Over the last few 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.

The following letter is self explanatory. It was written by George Hall, foreman and Constable at Bamburgh Castle, during the time of Dr John Sharp, foremost and most important of the trustees nominated under the Will of Nathaniel Lord Crew of 1721. However by the date of this letter, 29 January 1794, Dr Sharp was dead, but George Hall stayed on sat the Castle, answerable to the five Trustees, till his own death in 1801. He lies buried in Bamburgh churchyard. George was writing to George Wood, Accountant , to the Trustees based at Durham –


The Bowl Hole in the 21st Century

“I am very sorry to inform you of a most Mallingecholy accident which happened with us yesterday about Eleven O clock as a boy and a girl was coming to our corn Markitt Brother and Sister in company with Several others they unfortunately wint on the ice in that part Called the Boul Hole which went down with them and they were both drowned in sight of several spectators. Mr Middleton to whom Great praise is due jumt in at the Risk of his Life and with Great Difficulty Brought the Girl ashore he made several attempts to find the boy but could not find him the Girl was immediately taken to the Castle and every means used by Mr Cockagne (Doctor at the Castle Infirmary) to bring her to life but without effect- we grappled a long time for the Boy but could not find him I then had the cork boat Brought to the place after which the poor boy was soon found which was also taken to the Castle- in the evening the poor distressed father came his name is Wilson in Sunderland he is a very poor Man with a large family- I told him that the Trustees I hop’d would bear the expense of the funerals if agreeable to him he very humbly thanked Me and very Readely excepted the offer I therefore ordered our joiners Emmediately to make Coffins for them so they may be interred this evening we have one shipwracked sailor at the Castle whose vessel was drove out of holy island harbour with two other vessels but providently no life was Last this poor man was much affected by the cold- we are informed hear that a Brig belonging to Alnmouth are ashore near Craster only two of hir Hands saved the Master whose name is Lewens belongs to Holy Island and all his other Hands are Lost

I am….


Such was the day to day life in the late 1780s at Bamburgh Castle…

Carol Griffiths


One thought on “Bamburgh “Ghosts”-Tales from the Eighteenth Century- Tragedy at the Bowl Hole

  1. Carol,
    A very enlightening post. I love items as this, I refer to them as histories footnotes, and they help so much in bringing the past to life. Even words, long discarded (mallingecholy), add a richness to our time.

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