Lindisfarne Priory | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Lindisfarne Priory

Holy Island, England, United Kingdom

About Lindisfarne Priory

An important Christian site, Lindisfarne Priory was a Benedictine monastery built in the eleventh century which, even today, remains a place of pilgrimage. Its location on what is known as the Holy Island adds to the mysticism and sheer serenity of Lindisfarne Priory, particularly as this picturesque island is only accessible from the mainland twice daily during low tide.

The first monastery to be built at Lindisfarne was founded by St Aidan in 635 AD. It was a thriving Benedictine monastery and became the burial place of Saint Cuthbert, who had lived there for a time. It was also at Lindisfarne Priory that the Lindisfarne Gospels were created. However this incarnation of Lindisfarne Priory was subjected to numerous Viking attacks, including in 793 and 875 AD, leading the monks to abandon the site.

Monks only returned to the Holy Island in the eleventh century and Lindisfarne Priory once flourished again only to be disbanded by Henry VIII in 1537 in the dissolution of the monasteries.

Today, the ruins of Lindisfarne Priory form a hauntingly beautiful site on the isolated Holy Island. Ornately decorated and magnificently engineered, the dramatic remains of the priory are well preserved, offering a good insight into how this vast building looked in its heyday. Managed by English Heritage, the site includes a museum which explores the history of Lindisfarne Priory and that of Saint Cuthbert. A visit to the priory and museum usually lasts an hour or so.

Those wanting to see the Lindisfarne Gospels can view them at the British Museum and Saint Cuthbert is buried at Durham Cathedral.