Natural Eden Images Nature Photography by Stephen James Thompson
Natural Eden Images Nature Photography by Stephen James Thompson
A Curlew on the wet sand of the Solway

THE VILLAGES ALONG THE SOLWAY

All along the solway there are small villages that look out over the sand. Each village is steeped in its own history and its own characters from the past and present.Most of the villages have there local pub but not all have a shop, the winters here can be very bleak and often the big winter Tides can cut them off from the main road to Carlisle. in this section ive gave a short history on some of the villages that are spread out on the English side of the coast, with added images. 

King Edward I "Hammer of the Scots"

BURGH BY SANDS A KINGS EXIT

Situated about five miles north-west of Carlisle is Burgh by sands. After passing the small village of Grinsdale which is nestled on the banks of the Eden above the river, then fleeting through Kirkandrews on Eden cutting across the line of Hadrians wall which meandered on a high ridge overlooking the river at this point, you then climb up over Monkhill with the aptly named pub at the top called the Drovers Rest, certainly a welcome rest if you have peddled up the hill on a bike! After dropping down the other side of Monkhill you enter the tranquil village of Burgh by sands. The first signs to indicate that this village hasn't always been the peaceful coastal retreat that it is today is the presence of the formidable church tower as you enter the village from the direction of Carlisle. St Micheals church was mainly built from the stones of a roman fort that stood on the site that the church occupies today. The church was restored in 1883 with the exception of the old tower which has walls six to eight feet thick. This tower would have been used as a place of refuge during the Border wars. A stone staircase in the tower leads to an upper chamber that has arrow slits for defences and light. About a mile from the village, on Burgh marsh, Edward I died whilst preparing for war against the Scots on 7th July 1307. Edward was a ruthless king known as Long Shanks. He was over six feet tall which at that time was tall as the average man stood at a much smaller hieght at this time. The Hammer of the Scots as he is often referred to was suffering from dissentry during his campain on the marshes of the Solway. After his death in his royal tent at Burgh marsh his body was taken to the church in the village where it lay until the arrangements were made to transport him to Westminster Abbey. Written on Edwards sarcophagus are the words hic est malleus scottorum, translated this means here lies the hammer of the Scots. It was a group of Antiquarians who last seen the royal figure of King Edward back in 1774 when they opened his tomb in Westminster Abbey. The body of the King was very well preserved, dressed in purple cloth with a jewelled clasp on his right shoulder, placed in the kings right hand was the sceptre crowned with the crucifix. In his left hand he grasped the rod of virtue, this was topped by a small dove. Stunned by the majesty of the 6ft 2inch figure that lay before them unseen for four and a half centuries the tomb was re sealed.A monument was erected on the marsh for the King in 1685 by Henry, duke of Norfolk, and when it fell into decay the Earl of Lonsdale erected another in 1803. In earlier days the houses in the village were "clay daubins", the reason being the large amount of clay available for building material in this area.There are still three of these houses remaining in the village -Leigh cottage which now has a corrugated iron roof , Edna's cottage and Lamonby farm which have been re-thatched. There are also six clay daubin terraced houses at White Row which have been modernised and have slate roofs. Tatie-pot Alley gets its name from the fact that there was a public bakehouse on waste land alongside this lane, where peaple could take their tatie pots and bread to be baked for a small charge. In one of the older houses , John Stagg known as "Blin" Stagg the fiddler, was born in 1770. Stagg was a local character who was son of the village tailor, an accident deprived him of his sight but he was in high demand from the villagers when they had there "merrie-meets" his fiddle playing and good song being well recieved, regarded by many as the Robbie Burns of Cumberland.Today Burgh by sands is a quiete village with a post office and the popular village pub the greyhound inn.    

King Edward I monument on Burgh marsh