- source: Family History Library Catalog
A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Farne Islands from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:
- "FERN ISLANDS, Farne Islands, or Staples, an extra-parochial group of islets and rocks in Belford district, Northumberland; from 2 to 10 miles E and ENE of Bambrough. Pop., 23. Houses, 5. The islets are seventeen in number; are small and precipitous; are farmed by persons on the mainland; are frequented by enormous numbers of sea-fowl; and are notable for the intricacy of the navigation through the channels which separate them, and for the numbers of shipwrecks which have happened on the shores; and have two lighthouses, maintained at a cost of about £600 a year, for guiding the navigation. One of the most disastrous of the shipwrecks was that of the "Forfarshire" steamer, in September 1838. See Bambrough Castle. House Island, lying nearest the mainland, was the place where St. Cuthbert spent the last two years of his life; was afterwards made the site of a Benedictine priory, subordinate to Durham; and still has some parts of the buildings, including a square tower and the remains of the church. The interior of the church was refitted in 1848, and is occasionally used for the lighthouse-men; but the building is rude and small. A deep chasm is on the north end of this isle, from top to bottom of the cliff; and receives the billows in a storm in such a manner as to throw up a jet d'eau 60 feet high. The Pinnacles, at the outer extremity of the group, is an island named from vast columnar rocks at its southern end. Chief places among the islets are a channel between the Megstone and the Oxscar, and a channel between the Ploughseat and the Goldstone, also the Wide Opens, the Scare Crows, the Bush Reefs, the Elbow, the Glororum Shad, and the Iselstone rocks."
The Farne Islands made up an extra parochial area just off the coast of Northumberland in the North Sea. It became a separate civil parish in 1866. From 1894 until 1955 it was part of Belford Rural District. In 1955 the civil parish was abolished and the area was absorbed into the parish of North Sunderland.
There is also an article in Wikipedia.
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