Lindisfarne Things to Do

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  • Ruins of Lindisfarne Priory
    Ruins of Lindisfarne Priory
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Most Recent Things to Do in Lindisfarne

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    Lindisfarne Priory

    by stevezero Updated May 17, 2006

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    Lindisfarne Priory
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    Lindisfarne was one of the most important centres of christianity in Anglo-Saxon England, and even today remains a place of pilgramage.
    St Aidan founded the monastery in AD 635, but St Cuthbert, Prior of Lindisfarne, is the most celebrated of the priory's holy men. After many missionary journeys, and 10 years as a hermit on lonely Farne Island, he reluctantly became Bishop before retiring to die on Farne in 687. Buried in the priory, his remains were transferred to a pilgrim shrine there after 11 years, and found still undecayed - a sure sign of sanctity.
    The island and its buildings often fell prey to Viking invaders, and the ruins we see today date back only to Norman times.

    Ruins are now in the care of English Heritage - As well as the ruins there is also a visit centre with exhibitions and displays.

    Admission Charge-
    Adults - £3.70

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    St Aidan's Statue

    by sandysmith Written Oct 14, 2005

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    St Aidan
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    In the Parish church grounds is this statue of St Aidan. , Aidan and a group of Irish monks arrived here in 634 from Iona, at the request of King Oswald to set up a monastic community. They built the first primitive settlement, which would be little more than a group of huts, but from this simple beginning they evangelised the whole of Northumberland. It was into this setting that Cuthbert came in 664 as Prior. Later, after a short spell away as Bishop of Hexham, he returned as Bishop of Lindisfarne. He died on Inner Farne, to which he had gone for peace and solitude, in 687AD.

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    Parish Church

    by sandysmith Updated Oct 14, 2005

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    Do have a look inside the Parish church here - often attended by visitors and the mainstay of community worship for the islanders. In fact the Parish Church of St.Mary the Virgin is reputed to stand on the site of the original monastery founded by St Aidan. Indeed parts of its structure date back to the 7th century, several hundred years before the appearance of the Priory - and makes it the oldest building on the island. Look out too for the copy of the St. Mark's Carpet page from the Lindisfarne Gospels - the original Lindisfarne Gospels are now in the British Museum.
    In the graveyard there are some beautiful grave stones and celtic crosses.

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    New Sheds from Old Boats

    by sandysmith Updated Oct 14, 2005

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    upturned boats

    As well as by the harbour the upturned boats with their keels converted to distinctive storage sheds can be seen just below the castle - always a popular camera shot :-0 Many of these boats were once part of of the largest Herring Fleets to sail off the east coast of England. The fleet operated from Holy Island harbour up until the turn of the 19th century.

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    Lindisfarne Castle

    by gosiaPL Updated Dec 27, 2003

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    Somewhat awesome, isn't it?

    Lindisfarne Castle is not the oldest structure on the Holy Island but it sure is one of its most distinct and best known features. It sits on top of a volcanic mound and offers picturesque view from the top deck, and itself can be seen from a few miles.

    It was built only in mid 16th c. in defence of the kingdom against Scottish attacks. It was constructed of stones taken from the demolished Priory - that's owed to king Henry VIII and his dissolution of the monasteries! Lindisfarne was turned into a military stronghold then.

    Nowadays the castle is maintained by the National Trust - for visiting details check the website that I've provided below.

    Movie lovers may find it interesting that Roman Polanski's "Cul-de-Sac" (1966) was shot on Lindisfarne and in the Castle :-)

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    Lindisfarne Priory (3)

    by gosiaPL Updated Dec 27, 2003

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    Somewhat unbelievable (the arch), isn't it?

    This is what used to be the Norman Priory's Church, built in cruciform shape. At the crossing there remains one of the most incredible features - a diagonal vaulting rib called the Rainbow Arch that the Priory is famous for. It's really amazing that the arch did not collapse throughout the centuries!

    The architecture and the carving on the pillars suggest that the Priory was built by the same monks who also built the Durham Cathedral!

    Mind you, St. Cuthbert is buried in the Durham Cathedral.

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    Lindisfarne Priory (2)

    by gosiaPL Updated Dec 27, 2003

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    Somewhat stern, isn't it?

    Go out and see it from a distance. I believe this was probably where the main altar had been...?

    Oh well, if you'd like a guided tour, that's also possible but takes some arrangements - check the contact details on their website. Here's what they say about the guided tours:

    "On behalf of English Heritage, guided tours of Lindisfarne Priory are led by the Venerable Bill Thomas the Archdeacon of Northumberland. These tours bring the past alive by being not just about the building but about the people that built it, worshipped in it, visited and destroyed it - twice!"

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    Lindisfarne Priory (1)

    by gosiaPL Updated Dec 27, 2003

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    The Benedictine Priory ruins

    Lindisfarne's Benedictine Priory was built towards the end of the 11th c. following the Norman Conquest. It has no link to the original Monastery built by St. Aidan and his monks. In fact, some researchers claim that the new monks removed all the traces of the old monastery that had been destroyed by the Vikings...

    Whatever the true story, the Priory is a stunning place! Take your time to wander about and admire its magnificent architecture and some unique features. You can actually tell the various what&wheres!

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    St. Cuthbert's little isle

    by gosiaPL Updated Dec 27, 2003

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    Did he walk on the water...?

    St. Cuthbert ran the Lindisfarne monastery for about 10 years when he discovered he was called to be a hermit. He moved to the larger and more remote Inner Farne island but before he did that, he tried solitary hermit's life on this tiny islet that adjoins Lindisfarne (enlarge the pic for better view).

    You can actually walk to the little isle when the tide is off... but watch out! One of our gang went there to have a nap after lunch, and one guy ran to wake him up when the water started coming in. As they were approaching Lindisfarne's shore they were up to their knees in water!

    To read about St. Cuthbert's miraculously preserved body click here. By the way, do you know they call him Cuddy on Lindisfarne? :-)

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    The Holy Island of Lindisfarne

    by gosiaPL Written Dec 27, 2003

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    Statue of St. Aidan

    Why is it called the Holy Island you wonder? The story may be somewhat long but let's use shortcuts... In the 7th c. king Oswald of Northumbria asked St. Aidan and the missionaries of Iona to bring Christianity into north-east England. They began a monastery on the island of Lindisfarne, and when St. Aidan died, they were joined by St. Cuthbert. Such were the roots of Celtic Christianity in that part of England, and its powerful influence soon spread out south.

    When the Celtic monastery was destroyed and the monks were murdered by the Vikings in 793 A.D., the monks of Durham called the island "baptised in the blood of so many good men" and hence the name "Holy Island of Lindisfarne" that is said to be more appropriate.

    There's nothing left of the original St. Aidan's monastery, only the Parish Church has some connections to the 7th century's structure. But the saint's statue is a powerful reminder of the beginning of Christianity on Lindisfarne.

    To read more about anything connected to Lindisfarne, go to
    Holy Island Information Pages.

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    Views

    by stevezero Written May 17, 2006

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    View form Lindisfarne
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    On a fine day you get great views from the island. You can see down the Northumberland coast as far as Banburgh castle and out to the Farne Islands.

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    Other Statue

    by stevezero Written May 17, 2006

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    Lindisfarne Statue
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    In the grounds of the priory is another grand statue. Not sure who this one is meant to be as I was too mean to buy the guidebook. I suspect maybe St Cuthbert.

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