The Archbishop of York has dedicated a shrine at Bamburgh, marking the site where Saint Aidan is thought to have died.
Dr John Sentamu visited Bamburgh for a special service on Monday, when he dedicated a Shrine in the chancel of the village’s Parish Church, marking the site where the 7th century Saint is thought to have died.
Following the dedication, Dr Sentamu conducted a blessing of the village, before meeting schoolchildren from Ellingham Church of England Aided First School, who have placed a ‘time capsule’ inside stonework alongside the Shrine.
The St Aidan’s Shrine has been designed by Dr Donald Buttress, Surveyor Emeritus of Westminster Abbey, who also created the National Memorial to the Queen Mother in The Mall.
It took specialist craftsmen and women four months to construct the St Aidan’s Shrine, which is the culmination of almost five years’ planning and a fundraising appeal to raise £40,000 by Bamburgh’s Parochial Church Council to develop and enhance an existing commemoration to the famous Saint.
Vicar of Bamburgh and Ellingham, the Revd. Canon Brian Hurst said: “It is a tremendous honour for Bamburgh that the Archbishop of York visited the village to dedicate this magnificent Shrine, which marks the place where the church’s founder and one of England’s greatest Saints died on August 31 in 651.
“The Archbishop’s visit highlights Bamburgh’s importance as a spiritual centre and its intrinsic connections with St Aidan who was instrumental in establishing Northumbria as a cradle of Christianity in the 7th century and in founding its ‘mother church’.”
Bamburgh church has the rare distinction of standing on the spot where its patron saint died and it has been a place of worship ever since.
Canon Hurst added: “The new Shrine to Saint Aidan will be a fitting tribute to Northumberland’s Christian heritage and will serve to make visitors to our church pause and consider the effect of calmness, love and spirituality in today’s troubled times.”
Ellingham pupils were delighted to meet the Archbishop after creating a time capsule to be hidden at the shrine earlier this year. The children used a disused ambry - a cabinet used in church to store the vessels and elements of Holy Communion - which has been closed in by a dedication inscription, to hide their time-capsule.