Bamborough Castle

William Lisle Bowles

Ye holy Towers that shade the wave-worn steep,
  Long may ye rear your aged brows sublime,
  Though, hurrying silent by, relentless Time
Assail you, and the winds of winter sweep
Round your dark battlements; for far from halls
  Of Pride, here Charity hath fixed her seat,
  Oft listening, tearful, when the tempests beat
With hollow bodings round your ancient walls;
And Pity, at the dark and stormy hour
  Of midnight, when the moon is hid on high,
Keeps her lone watch upon the topmost tower,
  And turns her ear to each expiring cry;
Blessed if her aid some fainting wretch may save,
And snatch him cold and speechless from the wave.

Author's own note: This ancient castle, with its extensive domains, heretofore the property of the family of Forster, whose heiress married Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham, is appropriated by the will of that pious prelate to many benevolent purposes; particularly to that of administering instant relief to such shipwrecked mariners as may happen to be cast upon this dangerous coast; for whose preservation and that of their vessels every possible assistance is contrived, and is at all times ready. The estate is in the hands of trustees appointed under the Bishop's will.

Bamburgh is a stupendous castle, dramatically situated above a windswept beach. It was a fortified site in Roman times and was a key castle in Norman times, becoming a royal castle under Henry II. It was substantially restored in the 19th century.