Founded in AD635, Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island was an important centre of early Christianity and the dramatic approach to the island across the causeway serves to emphasise its spiritual atmosphere. This was the home of St Cuthbert, the most revered of the priory’s holy men. Buried here in 687, his remains were transferred to a pilgrim shrine. After 11 years his coffin was opened and his body was found to be undecayed, which was taken as a sign of his sanctity.
From the end of the eighth century, the monastery became prone to Viking raids so, in 875, the monks left, carrying St Cuthbert’s remains, which are now enshrined in Durham Cathedral. The monks returned in the 12th century and the evocative ruins of the priory church they built still stand. Today you can marvel at the ornate carvings on the extensive ruins of the monastic buildings and enjoy the serenity that first drew the monks here.
Lindisfarne Priory, Holy Island, Berwick Upon Tweed, Northumberland TD15 2RX
Tel: 01289 389 200
Words: Ian White