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.
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.