Blue Plaque Raised to Dame Rosemary Cramp

Posted by: Kaye Russell on 29 May 2024 09:40

A commemorative Blue Plaque has been raised honouring a pioneering archaeologist instrumental in the creation of one of South Tyneside's favourite visitor attractions.

Professor Dame Rosemary Cramp was a trailblazer for archaeology in the North East. Between 1963 and 1978, she excavated at Monkwearmouth and Jarrow Twin Monasteries and discovered 7th and 8th century buildings. She was also the first female professor at Durham University.

The Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside unveil the Blue Plaque alongside Andrew Watts of Groundwork, and Eric Cambridge, Chair of the Friends of the World of Bede.
Blue Plaque to Dame Rosemary Cramp
Blue Plaque to Dame Rosemary Cramp
Dame Rosemary Cramp (Picture Credit: By J. Veitch Copyright Department of Archaeology Durham University.)

Cramp led the development of a museum that created the Bede Museum and Anglo-Saxon farm, which is now known as Jarrow Hall - Anglo-Saxon Farm and Bede Museum (formerly Bede's World).

The plaque was unveiled by the Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Fay Cunningham at Jarrow Hall alongside her Mayoress Stella Matthewson. The event, also attended by the Friends of the World of Bede and Durham University, coincided with the opening of a new exhibition and celebration of Cramp's work and legacy.

The Mayor said: "This is such a special day for me because I worked with Dame Rosemary on the board of Bede's World and I have such fond recollections of her.

"Dame Rosemary was such a pioneer. Her heart was at St Paul's Church and monastery site. She was a real inspiration to many and brought the world of Bede and Anglo-Saxon England not just to Jarrow and South Tyneside but to the world.

"This is one of my first engagements as the new Mayor and my Mayoress Stella and I are delighted to be here."

South Tyneside's Blue Plaque scheme recognises people and places that have made a significant contribution to the Borough's rich history, heritage and culture, with members of the public invited to nominate individuals, buildings or locations to be recognised for their importance.

Each year, the Council supports the installation of up to three new blue plaques, one funded by the Council and the others privately funded.

The plaque to Dame Rosemary Cramp was funded by Groundwork South and North Tyneside and Jarrow Hall.

Andrew Watts, Chief Executive of Groundwork South and North Tyneside, said: "'We are delighted to have launched the Groundbreaker exhibition celebrating the trailblazing work of Dame Rosemary Cramp.

"It is a fitting tribute to her work and dedication that we were also able to unveil the Blue Plaque, and 2024 marks 50yrs of her first exhibition at Jarrow Hall. We would like to thank all our partners especially the Friends of the World of Bede for helping us to develop the exhibition. It's been a true partnership celebrating the work of such an inspirational lady. We look forward to welcoming visitors to the new exhibition which is open until November."

Dame Rosemary Cramp passed away in April 2023, aged 93.

Speaking at the unveiling, Friends of the World of Bede, Chairman Eric Cambridge said: "We are delighted to celebrate both the life and achievements of Dame Rosemary Cramp and the golden jubilee of the museum she founded here in 1974.

"Dame Rosemary was a famously charismatic teacher and an eloquent and inspiring lecturer who had a profound impact on the region, well beyond the university world. She saw the Bede Museum as a way of explaining the results of her digs to a wider public and of reconstructing what Northumbria might have looked like in Bede's day."

Nominations are currently being sought for Blue Plaques to be established in 2025. The closing date for applications is August 2025.

There are currently 34 Blue Plaques across South Tyneside, with further new plaques set to be raised over the coming months in honour of former Mayor of South Shields Joseph Mason Moore and Hebburn-born Flight Lieutenant Dominic Bruce.

For further information about South Tyneside's Blue Plaque scheme visit the Council's website at


Last modified: 03 June 2024 16:41