Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lindisfarne - the Holy Island

We have a  free day today before we start the dig on Monday.  We debated on what to do and Ian, as usual, had a great suggestion.  We should go and see Holy Island.  I'm a medievalist - it would be a crime not to go.  So off we went.  
Some of you may ask - what and where is the Holy Island?  Well, it is an island which is reached by a causeway when the tide is out.  And it is called Holy Island because of Lindisfarne Priory and monks who lived there in the Middle Ages. 

In the year 635, Saint Aiden founded the first monastery, for the purpose of converting the northern Anglo-Saxons from paganism to Christianity.  The monastery became a well-known center of Christian life and learning - especially famous for the creation of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

Probably the most famous monk at Lindisfarne was Saint Cuthbert, whose tomb became an important pilgrimage site.  However, when the Vikings raided Lindisfarne in the 8th century, the monks were forced to flee to safety on the mainland and took St. Cuthbert's relics with them.  Today you can visit his shrine at Durham Cathedral.  And as an added bonus, you can see also see the tomb of the Venerable Bede at Durham as well.   "Google" the Venerable Bede for your free history lesson!

There is also a castle on Holy Island, built in the early 1500s.  Now something built in 1500, for me, is relative new, but it is a very interesting castle so I recommend it to future tourists. 

It was lovely and sunny at Lindisfarne.  But, just like in the midwestern USA, if you don't like the weather, just wait a bit and it will change.  By the time we left the island around 3:30 p.m., the blue sky had turned to rain.   It was a lovely day and a good time was had by all.  Don't we look like happy campers in this photo?

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful photos and very happy digging! Good weather forecast for today. :)

    PS: Good word verification "drein" which I think is auspicious!