Old St Bees
The coastal village of St Bees has a long and distinguished history, dating back to the legendary arrival of an Irish maiden called Bega in the area in the ninth century.
Bega was later canonised and a Benedictine Priory established in her name in 1120. Other important events in the village’s history include the founding of the famous St Bees School by the then Archbishop of Canterbury in 1583, and the setting up of the theological college in 1816. Whilst these early aspects of the St Bees story are covered in Donald Brownrigg’s text, the accompanying illustrations date from the late nineteenth century onwards. Three gruesome but fascinating images show the ‘St Bees Man’, disinterred in anatomically near-perfect condition during an archaeological dig in 1981 after at least 500 years of burial, while other views illustrate more familiar aspects of the picturesque village, such as its attractive Main Street and former station. The Doloughan family’s team of horses are seen busy at work on the beach collecting gravel and shingle, whilst a view of Finkle Street and a picture of wagons being loaded at the railway siding tell the story of Walkers’ well-known grocery business. Other illustrations show St Bees School, the lighthouse, lifeboat, rolling stock at St Bees station, the old sea water swimming pool and the ore ship Izaro which ran aground at St Bees in 1907.
Black & white photographs