Burgh by Sands – St Michael’s Church
Location Burgh by Sands
Grid Ref NY 329591
St Michael’s Church was built within the Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall late in the 12th Century. It occupies the probable site of one of the central buildings in the fort – perhaps the grannary. Much of the stone used to build the Church came from the fort, or from the wall. The building of the aisle and lengthening of the chancel are monuments to more peaceful times, before the war between England and Scotland started after the death of Edward I at Burgh by Sands on 7th July 1307. There is a monument nearby, on the Solway Plain, to Edward I.
The West tower is probably the earliest of three surviving examples of fortified churches in the 14th Century.
Access to the pele tower is through a narrow doorway in the massive wall, guarded by a massive iron gate with two bolts. The iron skeleton was probably boarded over with oak planks like the door at Great Salkeld.
There are some interesting stained glass windows, depicting St Cuthbert, St Kentigern, King Edward I with the Church, and St Ninian. All these provided a fascinating study of the northern saints and their influence. King Edward I lay in state here having died on the marshes en route to fight Robert the Bruce.
Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham.
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