Written around 1300 years ago on Northumberland’s Holy Island of Lindisfarne, the spectacular Lindisfarne Gospels are famous around the world, often described as one of the greatest landmarks of human cultural achievement.
The story of this beautiful illuminated manuscript is fascinating. Created at the medieval monastery on Lindisfarne by the artist scribe Eadfrith, the gospels are dedicated to St Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne. When Vikings raided the island the monks fled with the Gospels and St Cuthbert’s ‘uncorrupted’ corpse, travelling through Northumberland and beyond before reaching Dun Holm (Durham) where Cuthbert’s shrine can still be seen.
From 1st July to 30th September 2013, the Lindisfarne Gospels returned to the North East to form the centrepiece of an exciting and extremely popular exhibition which included other medieval manuscripts and priceless treasures.
Visitors who missed the exhibition can still visit the Holy Island itself with its romantic priory ruins and stunning castle, visible for many miles along Northumberland’s wild North Sea coast. You can also see St Cuthbert’s Cave, where the saint lived, or one of the fascinating St Cuthbert’s Churches, dotted across the county. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to recreate your own medieval pilgrimage across the sands to Holy Island, or to walk the 100 miles of St Cuthbert’s Way, through beautiful northern countryside.
Throughout the Gospel’s hugely successful visit to the region, Northumberland celebrated with a series of events including concerts of original music, exciting Gospels inspired artwork and even a new play by renowned playwrights Trevor Wood and Ed Waugh called ‘A funny thing happened on the way to Durham’.
It's not too late to celebrate the legacy of a medieval masterpiece, by visiting the ‘Cradle of Christianity’ and stepping into history here in Northumberland!