Holy Island

Holy Island or Lindisfarne lĭnˈdĭsfärn [key], off the coast of Northumberland, NE England. At low tide the island is connected with the mainland by a stretch of sand. It is partly cultivated, and tourism and fishing are important. A church and monastery, built in 635 under St. Aidan, represented the first establishment of Celtic Christianity in England. Saint Cuthbert was the most famous of the bishops of Holy Island. The settlement was burned by the Danes in 793 but rebuilt. When the Danes invaded in 875, the monks fled, wandering for eight years until they settled at Chesterle-Street in 883. The bishopric was maintained for 112 years there and moved to Durham in 995. A Benedictine priory was set up on the island in 1083 by monks from Durham. Remains of a church and of an early 16th-century castle are there. The Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Durham is an illuminated Latin manuscript of the Gospels, now housed in the British Museum. It was written at Holy Island before 700; an Anglo-Saxon gloss was added at Durham in the 10th cent.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish Political Geography