Portrait of Dr. Sharp used with kind permission from Francis Watson-Armstrong
NRO 9068

Dr. John Sharp

Dr. John Sharp was crucial to the development of Lord Crewe's Charity. Born at Rothbury in 1723, he was the oldest of the 8 surviving children of Thomas Sharp, Archdeacon of Northumberland, a position that John himself achieved in 1762. His grandfather was the Archbishop of York.

Following his father's death in 1758, John became a senior trustee of Lord Crewe's Charity and took personal charge of the castle at Bamburgh. He succeeded as perpetual curate of Bamburgh in 1773, a position previously held by his brother Thomas. John devoted the rest of his life to the Lord Crewe estates and to the improvement of the castle, for which he used his own fortune. Using surplus income from the estates he set up a range of innovative philanthropic ventures which benefited those living within the estates and beyond.

Hutchinson, writing in 1776, said of Dr Sharp, "He resides many months in each year in the Castle of Bamburgh, superintends the works of charity, and has his eye upon every new channel by which he may give relief or consolation to his suffering fellow-creatures. The ship-wrecked, and the diseased, are comforted by his visitation, and the calamities of life are alleviated by his care, and his residence there diffuses blessings over the neighbouring coast."