Grace Darling Monument

The Grade I* listed Grace Darling Memorial is within the churchyard of St Aidan’s Church in Bamburgh Northumberland. It is stone memorial to the famous heroine with carved life sized figure lying under an impressive Gothic Revival styled stone canopy adorned with decorative ironwork. The entire memorial is surrounded by wrought iron decorative railings with spear headed finials. The sarcophagus is actually empty as Grace was buried as her wishes with her family elsewhere in the churchyard.

Architect/client representative
Robin Kent Architecture, Dunns

The original monument, made of Portland Stone, was erected in 1844 and was placed in an elevated position at the west end of the churchyard as to be in view of passing ships. The stone weathered very quickly and had to be replaced as early as 1885 by one carved in Northumberland stone provided by Lord Armstrong from the Cragside estate. A more Gothic designed canopy was installed to replace the original destroyed by a storm in 1893 but over time the weather of the Northumberland coast took its toll once again.

In 2001, the Grace Darling Memorial Trust launched an appeal for donations to repair the monument and in February 2003 a grant was obtained from the Heritage Lottery Fund for eligible restoration works as it was on their  “at risk register”.

Historic Property Restoration was appointed to carry out the full restoration of the monument which had developed serious structural faults which required completely dismantling the entire structure and carefully rebuilding it. Exposure to the salt-laden air meant that integral iron cramps had began to swell and crack the stonework which had also become badly eroded in many places along with the decorative ironwork and railings which was severely rusted. The entire work was completed in the summer of 2003 and the memorial of rededication took place in the October.


The Dean and Chapter and its Fabric Advisory Committee is thrilled with the quality of work produced by HPR Ltd. The skills exhibited in stone masonry are particularly fine. Managers and staff have developed good relations with the client team – we couldn’t have asked for better attitude or commitment.

Lindy Gilliland Testimonial -
Lindy Gilliland - Newcastle Cathedral Project Manager

"From my personal perspective, this was one of the best projects I have been involved with over the last 35 years as a Chartered Building Surveyor, RIS Accredited in Building Conservation. My client role on this was a complete pleasure, because you and your team were first class, complementing the excellent professional design team. Well done!"

Richard Dunn -
PCC Project Co-ordinator, for St John the Baptist Church, Wilberfoss

"May I take this opportunity to thank you and your staff for your professional and unfailingly helpful conduct during this project. We particularly appreciate the efforts made to overcome the deficiencies and problems arising from the previous contractor."

Andrew Bodenham -
Blackett Ord Conservation

"HPR recognise, and allow for, the necessary archaeological recording to take place during consolidation work and the disruptions that this may cause to their planned programme of work comes as no surprise to them. This awareness means that their workforce is able to be pro-active in informing the archaeologist of any possible instances when recording may be necessary."

Mick Krupa -
NPHT Archaeologist at Nenthead Smeltmill

"Historic Property Restoration carried out the first phase of the refurbishment of the Grade II listed Town Hall. The company were extremely professional in their approach throughout the entire process as befits a company with extensive experience in the conservation and restoration sector."

David Lodge -
Greater Morpeth Development Trust

"Historic Property Restoration deliver good quality work to programme and budget on a regular basis. They are reliable and value for money."

Ian Merritt -
English Heritage Conservation and Maintenance Manager
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