Castles‎ > ‎

Lindisfarne Priory

Sitting offshore on Holy Island and reached by causeway at low tide. The peaceful atmosphere and beautiful views from the priory (including the one above) make a visit here well worth the effort.

It was Saint Aidan that founded Lindisfarne Priory in 635AD at the request of King Oswald. The most famous resident of Lindisfarne Priory is however St Cuthbert. He came out of retirement on the Farne Islands to became Bishop of Lindisfarne in 684AD in a ceremony that is now believed to be modern day Alnmouth. However he returned to his beloved Farne Islands when became ill and died soon after in 687AD and was buried at Lindisfarne. Legend has it that his casket was opened 11 years later and his body was found to be perfectly preserved, a sure-fire sign of his sainthood.

At some point in the early 700's AD, the famous manuscript known as the Lindisfarne Gospels was created here. It is an illustrated latin copy of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John made in the memory of Cuthbert by the artist Eadfrith who himself went on to be Bishop of Lindisfarne. They are the earliest surviving English copies of the Gospels and although they now reside in the British Library in London, there are copies of this wonderful manuscript on display in The Lindisfarne Centre. 

The location of the Island and the relative richness of the Priory left it open to increasingly frequent raids from the Vikings and by 875AD the Monks had fled. They took with them the bones of St Cuthbert, who has now laid at rest in Durham Cathedral since 1000AD. The Priory was re-established in Norman times around 1093 until it's suppression in 1536 by Henry VIII, the ruins that you see now are of what the Normans built in 1150. The Priory is located in the centre of the Village, close the Village square where the main Hotels and restaurants are located. It is now protected and managed by English Heritage, a visit to the Priory should include a trip around the visitor centre and gift shop.

Northumberland County Council publishes safe crossing times to Holy Island, visit Your Guide to Holy Island for more information about how to get there and what to do.

English Heritage