Bowness-on-Solway: Burgh Marsh

I'm often asked about the absence of Hadrian's Wall along the route between Bowness-on-Solway and Carlisle? Those that have experienced my 'Tour Guide' monologue when travelling with their bikes to begin cycling along the N72 cycle route Eastwards, will recognise that the stone from The Wall is now incorporated into various structures, notably the Keep Tower at St Michaels Church in Burgh-by-Sands.

This invariably leads me into another area of ancient history - the demise of King Edward 1st, otherwise known as 'The Hammer of the Scots' or Edward Longshanks.

Edward was a formidable King and had pushed the Scottish forces northward and out of Carlisle, on a number of occasions. This time, he had assembled his army on Burgh marsh just north of Burgh-by-Sands, with the intent of crossing the Solway estuary when the tide allowed, then attack the Scottish forces occupying Carlisle from the North where they would least expect or be prepared for.

Unfortunately, the old King (66 years allegedly) became ill with a fever and died before a crossing could be attempted and as the army still needed to do this, his aides and generals decided to keep his body safely stored in St Michaels Church, until they had dealt with the pesky Scottish invaders - which was about 10 months later... They then transported his body back to Westminster Abbey (via Waltham Abbey) for Burial.

The place where he died on the Marsh is marked by a rarely visited monument and can be reached by taking the HWCR Loop between Burgh-by-Sands and Kirkandrews-upon-Eden.