L is for Lindisfarne Priory,
The Holy Island
Today we travel to the North East corner of England
Lindisfarne Priory, Holy Island
This is an historic tidal island with a small population of just over 180 persons which is swelled with an influx of 650,000 visitors from all over the world.
Access to this tidal island is by a paved causeway which is covered by the North Sea twice in every 24 hour period. The sand and mud flats carried an ancient pilgrims’ path and now in modern times a causeway.
The island is 2¼ miles from East to West and 1½ miles from North to South approximately 1,000 acres (4.04 km2) at high tide. It is about two miles from the mainland of England.
Tourists crossing the Pilgrims’ Way
This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons
Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island was one of the most important centres of early Christianity, founded by St. Aidan in AD 635
The presbytery of the church from the South-East
St. Cuthbert, Prior of Lindisfarne is the most celebrated of the priory’s holy men, after many missionary journeys and ten years as a hermit on lonely Farne Island he reluctantly became Bishop before retiring and dying on Farne in 687. He was buried in the priory and his remains transferred to a pilgrim shrine there after eleven years, still undecayed which was a sure sign of sanctity.
Lindisfarne shown within NorthumberlandThis is a file from the Wikimedia Commons
Viking raiders at the end of the 8th century found the isolated island easy prey. In 875 the monks left with St. Cuthbert’s remains which were eventually enshrined in Durham Cathedral in 1104. The monks re-established a priory on Lindisfarne in c. 1150, it was a richly decorated priory and famous for its ‘rainbow arch’ which can still be seen in the ruins. The community lived here quietly until the suppression of the monastery in 1537.
The North Sea comes in and will hide
The pathway across to the mainland
It leaves the spiritual ruins abandoned.
The Vikings came and conquered
Sailing in Long ships to steal treasures
They burned buildings, ferocious fighters
Murdered monks and terrified everyone
God’s revenge on Christians
So said some
For this danger to come
But the Vikings were a powerful race
A sight to behold face-to-face
They’d set their goals to triumph over Britain
They could not be beaten.