Funding to develop an exciting new project in the Northumberland Coast AONB has just been secured. ‘Accessing Aidan’ has received £26,000 from the Coastal Revival Fund for development work to create a visitor centre and 21st century ossuary in Bamburgh.
The Bamburgh, Seahouses and Beadnell Coastal Community Team, led by the Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership, submitted the bid to the Coastal Revival Fund on behalf of Bamburgh Heritage Trust. The Bamburgh Heritage Trust hopes to reopen and revive the crypt of St Aidan’s church and create a community space where the unique story of Bamburgh can be told. It is also proposed that the second private crypt area will be used to house Anglo-Saxon skeletons excavated from the Bowl Hole at the base of Bamburgh Castle.
The Reverend Canon Brian Hurst, chair of Bamburgh Heritage Trust, said “We are absolutely thrilled that our application to the Coastal Revival Fund has been successful. The award is testimony to the strength of our innovative project and we are delighted to be moving towards reopening the beautiful crypt.”
The Bowl Hole cemetery is an early Christian site dating from the early 7th century and is believed to be associated with the Anglo-Saxon royal palace site which pre-dated Bamburgh Castle. The skeletons are currently in storage at Bamburgh Castle since the Bamburgh Research Project completed its research. Canon Hurst said “It seems incredibly fitting that these bones are to be reinterred at St Aidan’s given that these are possible the very people who heard St Aidan and St Oswald preach.”
The Accessing Aidan project is one of three successful Northumberland bids to the Coastal Revival Fund. The Headway at Blyth and Berwick Barracks also received the green light. The Coastal Revival fund is intended to help secure coastal heritage together with unlocking economic potential. Northumberland County Council will act as the Accountable Body for all three projects. The Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership will work closely with Bamburgh Heritage Trust to ensure Accessing Aidan’s success.
Communities Minister Brandon Lewis said “I’m delighted to announce £26,000 funding for ‘Accessing Aidan’. From Berwick to St Ives, our coastal communities boast some iconic attractions, with millions visiting them each year. But some of our best-loved buildings are falling into a state of disrepair - the £3 million Coastal Revival Fund aims to restore them to their former glory. This funding will kick-start restoration work across the country, so they can continue to be enjoyed by local people and tourists alike for generations to come.”