Burgh by Sands (“Brough”) is a village and civil parish in the City of Carlisle district of Cumbria, England, situated near the Solway Firth. The parish includes the village of Burgh by Sands along with Longburgh, Dykesfield, Boustead Hill, Moorhouse and Thurstonfield. It is notable as the place where Edward I of England died.
According to the 2011 census the parish had a population of 1,176. The village is about seven miles (11 km) west of Carlisle city centre. The village has a primary school, a pub and a post office. It also has a statue of Edward I.
Burgh was on the Carlisle Navigation canal from 1823 to 1853, after which it was served by the Port Carlisle railway, which was built on the bed of the canal, until its closure in 1932. From 1856 to 1964, railway trains operating on the Carlisle to Silloth line once again stopped at Burgh-by-sands station.
Hadrian’s Wall runs through the village, and the site once was that of a Roman fort, Aballava. The wall stretches seventy-three miles from Wallsend near Newcastle, across the neck of England to Bowness-on-Solway, in North West Cumbria, and stands today as a reminder of the past glories of one of the world’s greatest empires.
In the 12th century, the castle and lands of Burgh by Sands belonged to a female-dominated line of feudal barons, among them Ada de Engaine. Her granddaughter’s second marriage founded a younger branch of the de Multon family, a branch of which held this castle in the 13th century. In the 14th century the Dacre family inherited it by marriage to the heiress.
King Edward I, while on his way to war against the Scots, died on the marshes near Burgh, and his corpse lay at the village’s 12th-century church until its eventual removal to Westminster Abbey. There is an impressive monument on the marshes erected in 1685 to mark the place where he died. It is 1 1⁄4 miles NNW of the village, is signposted and can be reached on foot.
The monument is surrounded by a spiked iron fence, which marks the death-site. Edward I initiated the Hundred Year War against France, and also acted as one of the prime architects of three hundred years of almost continuous warfare with Scotland. He died on 7th July 1307, on his way north for a last assault on his enemy. The Latin inscription on the monument describes him as ‘The Greatest English King’.
King Edwards body was taken to St Michael’s church in Burgh-by-Sands where it lay in state before it was carried to London and burial at Westminster Abbey.
The Church of St Michael is built with stone from the Roman wall on the site of a Norman church. It has a broad tower with a base dating from the mid 14th Century, and apart from the 18th century east windows, the rest is Early English. The tower, which can only be reached from within the church, is designed for defence and the ground floor is tunnel-vaulted. The top of the tower is probably 18th century.
Burgh-by-Sands has been suggested as the location of King Arthur’s Avalon, and the site where his sword Excalibur was made.