Grace Darling

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Grace Darling (November 24,1815October 20,1842[1]) is one of England's best-loved Victorian heroines, on the strength of a celebrated incident in 1838. Grace was born in 1815 at Bamburgh in Northumberland, and spent her youth in two lighthouses of which her father was the keeper.

In the early hours of September 7, 1838, Grace, looking from an upstairs window of her family's current lighthouse on the Farne Islands, spotted the ship, Forfarshire, which had run aground on the Harcar Rocks only a few hundreds of yards away. Knowing that the weather was too rough for the lifeboat to put out from the shore, Grace and her father took a rowing boat across to the other island and rescued nine frightened survivors, bringing them safely back to the lighthouse.

Even in her lifetime, Grace's achievement was celebrated, and she received a large financial reward in addition to the plaudits of the nation. She died of tuberculosis, unmarried, in 1842, and her memorial may be seen in the parish church at Bamburgh, close to a museum dedicated to her achievements and the seafaring life of the region. Her deed was committed to verse by Wordsworth and a lifeboat with her name was presented to Holy Island.

It has been suggested by Richard Armstrong in his 1965 biography 'Grace Darling - Maid and Myth' she may have suffered from a cleft lip.He is the only biographer to put forward this theory and it was strongly disputed by a former Grace Darling Museum Curator, who contended that it was built on virtually no evidence whatsoever.

Currently, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution Mersey class lifeboat at Seahouses bears the name Grace Darling.

It is a common mistake to believe that Grace is buried under the memorial. She is in fact buried with her father and mother in a modest grave within the same churchyard.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Grace Darling - Heroine of the Farne Islands, Her Life and its Lessons by Eva Hope,pub. by Walter Scott.
  • Grace Darling and Her Times by Constance Smedley. Hurst and Blackett, 1932.
  • Grace had an Enlish Heart by Jessica Miford, Viking 1988.
  • Grace Darling - Her True Story pub by Hamilton Adams and Co. 1880. T

[edit] See also

  • Ann Harvey, a Newfoundland 17-year old who in 1828, with her father, brother & dog, rescued 163 shipwrecked people.
  • Roberta Boyd, a New Brunswick girl who was hailed as the "Grace Darling of the St. Croix" after a rescue in 1882.

[edit] External links

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Grace Darling

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