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Coordinates: 55°40′17″N 1°47′44″W / 55.6713°N 1.7955°W / 55.6713; -1.7955

Lindisfarne
LindisfarneCastleHolyIsland.jpg
Lindisfarne Castle
Lindisfarne is located in Northumberland
Lindisfarne

 Lindisfarne shown within Northumberland
Population 162 [2001]
OS grid reference NU129420
District Berwick-upon-Tweed
Shire county Northumberland
Region North East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BERWICK UPON TWEED
Postcode district TD15
Dialling code 01289
Police Northumbria
Fire Northumberland
Ambulance North East
EU Parliament North East England
UK Parliament Berwick-upon-Tweed
List of places: UK • England • Northumberland

Lindisfarne (variant spelling, Lindesfarne) (Lindisfarne) is a tidal island off the north-east coast of England also known as Holy Island, the name of the civil parish. The name Lindisfarne derives from Farne meaning "retreat" and Lindis, a small tidal river adjacent to the island. It has a population of 162. [1]

Contents

History

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Medcaut

The island of Lindisfarne appears under the Old Welsh name Medcaut in the ninth-century Historia Brittonum. Following up on a suggestion by Richard Coates, Andrew Breeze proposes that the name ultimately derives from Latin Medicata (Insula) "Healing (Island)", owing perhaps to the island's reputation for medicinal herbs.[2] The Historia Brittonum recounts how in the sixth century, Urien, prince of Rheged, besieged the Angles led by Theodoric at the island for three days and three nights.[3]

Monastery

Aidan of Lindisfarne, from the Lindisfarne Gospels

The monastery of Lindisfarne was founded by Irish born Saint Aidan, who had been sent from Iona off the west coast of Scotland to Northumbria at the request of King Oswald around AD 635. It became the base for Christian evangelising in the North of England and also sent a successful mission to Mercia. Monks from the community of Iona settled on the island. Northumberland's patron saint, Saint Cuthbert, was a monk and later Abbot of the monastery, and his miracles and life are recorded by the Venerable Bede. Cuthbert later became Bishop of Lindisfarne.

At some point in the early 700s the famous illuminated manuscript known as the Lindisfarne Gospels, an illustrated Latin copy of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, was made probably at Lindisfarne and the artist was possibly Eadfrith, who later became Bishop of Lindisfarne. Sometime in the second half of the tenth century a monk named Aldred added an Anglo-Saxon (Old English) gloss to the Latin text, producing the earliest surviving Old English copies of the Gospels. The Gospels were illustrated in an insular style containing a fusion of Celtic, Germanic and Roman elements; they were probably originally covered with a fine metal case made by a hermit called Billfrith.

Vikings

The ruins of Lindisfarne Priory, by Thomas Girtin, 1798

In 793, a Viking raid on Lindisfarne[4] caused much consternation throughout the Christian west, and is now often taken as the beginning of the Viking Age. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records:

In this year fierce, foreboding omens came over the land of Northumbria. There were excessive whirlwinds, lightning storms, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the sky. These signs were followed by great famine, and on January 8th the ravaging of heathen men destroyed God's church at Lindesfarne.

The more popularly accepted date for the Viking raid on Lindisfarne is June 8; Michael Swanton, editor of Routledge's edition of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, writes "vi id Ianr, presumably [is] an error for vi id Iun (June 8) which is the date given by the Annals of Lindisfarne (p. 505), when better sailing weather would favour coastal raids."[5]

Alcuin, a Northumbrian scholar in Charlemagne's court at the time, noted:

Never before has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from a pagan race. . . .The heathens poured out the blood of saints around the altar, and trampled on the bodies of saints in the temple of God, like dung in the streets.

Viking raids in 875 led to the monks fleeing the island with St Cuthbert's bones (The bones of St Cuthbert are now buried at the Cathedral in Durham). The bishopric was transferred to Durham in AD 1000. The Lindisfarne Gospels now reside in the British Library in London, somewhat to the annoyance of some Northumbrians. The priory was re-established in Norman times in 1093 as a Benedictine house and continued until its suppression in 1536 under Henry VIII.

Sir Walter Scott

A causeway connects the island to the mainland of Northumberland and is flooded twice a day by tides – something well described by Sir Walter Scott:

For with the flow and ebb, its style
Varies from continent to isle;
Dry shod o'er sands, twice every day,
The pilgrims to the shrine find way;
Twice every day the waves efface
Of staves and sandalled feet the trace.

Present day

Lindisfarne Celtic Cross
Lindisfarne Abbey and St Marys
Lindisfarne upturned boats in the harbour
Lindisfarne lobster pots
Lindisfarne Castle from the harbour

The island is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Northumberland Coast . The ruined monastery is in the care of English Heritage, who also run a museum/visitor centre nearby. The neighbouring parish church (see below) is still in use.

Lindisfarne also has the small Lindisfarne Castle, based on a Tudor fort, which was refurbished in the Arts and Crafts style by Sir Edwin Lutyens for the editor of Country Life, Edward Hudson. Lutyens also designed the island's Celtic-cross war-memorial on the Heugh. One of the most celebrated gardeners of modern times, Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), laid out a tiny garden just north of the castle in 1911.[6] The castle, garden and nearby limekilns are in the care of the National Trust and open to visitors.

Turner, Thomas Girtin and Charles Rennie Mackintosh all painted on Holy Island.

Lindisfarne had a large lime burning industry and the kilns are among the most complex in Northumberland. There are still some traces of the jetties by which the coal was imported and the lime exported close by at the foot of the crags. Lime was quarried on the Island and the remains of the wagon way between the quarries and the kilns makes for a pleasant and easy walk. This quarrying flourished in the mid-19th century during the Industrial Revolution when over 100 men were thus employed. Crinoid columnals extracted from the quarried stone and threaded into necklaces or rosaries became known as St Cuthbert's beads.

Holy Island was considered part of the Islandshire unit along with several mainland parishes. This came under the jurisdiction of the County Palatine of Durham until the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1788.

Lindisfarne was mainly a fishing community for many years, with farming and the production of lime also of some importance.

Recently Lindisfarne has become the centre for the revival of Celtic Christianity in the North of England; a former minister of the church there, David Adam, is a well-known author of Celtic Christian books and prayers. Following from this, Lindisfarne has become a popular retreat centre, as well as holiday destination.

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is well known for mead. In the mediæval days when monks inhabited the island, it was thought that if the soul was in God's keeping, the body must be fortified with Lindisfarne Mead. The monks have long vanished, and the mead's recipe remains a secret of the family which still produces it. Lindisfarne mead is produced at St Aidan's Winery, and sold throughout the UK and elsewhere.

Holy Island was featured on the television programme Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the North. The Lindisfarne Gospels have also featured on television among the top few Treasures of Britain. It also features in an ITV Tyne Tees programme Diary of an Island which started on 19 April 2007 and on a DVD of the same name.

Lindisfarne seen from the mainland

Nature reserve

Large parts of the island, and all of the adjacent intertidal area, are protected as Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve to help safeguard the internationally important wintering bird populations. Species for which the reserve is important include Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Merlin, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit and many others. The situation on the east coast also makes it a good place for observing migrating birds arriving from the east, including large numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare, and also scarcer Siberian birds including regular annual Yellow-browed Warblers. Rare species such as Radde's Warbler, Dusky Warbler and Red-flanked Bluetail have all occurred on Holy Island. Altogether, a total of almost 300 species have been recorded on the Island and adjacent reserve. With the large number and variety of birds present, the area is very popular with bird watchers, particularly in the Autumn and Winter. Grey seals are frequent visitors to the rocky bays at high tide.

Tourism

Tourists crossing Pilgrim's Way

Tourism grew steadily throughout the twentieth century, and it is now a popular place with visitors — sometimes a little too popular, as space and facilities are limited. By staying on the island while the tide cuts it off (time permitting) the non-resident visitor can experience the island in a much quieter mood, as most day visitors leave when the tide is rising again. It is possible, weather and tide permitting, to walk at low tide across the sands following the older crossing line known as the Pilgrims' Way and marked with posts: it also has refuge boxes for the careless walker, in the same way as the road has a refuge box for those who have left their crossing too late. A popular delicacy on the island is crab sandwiches, which are sold to tourists at many shops and cafés.

Safety

Visitors wishing to walk between the mainland and the island are urged to keep to the marked path, check tide times and weather carefully, and seek local advice if in doubt. Visitors driving should pay close attention to the timetables prominently displayed at both ends of the causeway and where the Holy Island road leaves the A1 Great North Road at Beal. The causeway is generally open from about 3 hours after high tide until 2 hours before the next high tide, but there is no substitute for checking the timetables for a specific date, and the period of closure may extend during stormy weather.

Trivia in modern culture

In 1972, poet William Irwin Thompson named his Lindisfarne Association after the monastery on the island.

The Lindisfarne Community is a network of people, communities, churches and groups committed to the idea of "New Monasticism" .

On film

Lindisfarne (particularly the castle) is the setting of the Roman Polanski film Cul-de-Sac (1966) with Donald Pleasence and Lionel Stander, shot entirely on location there. The island is semi-fictionalised into "Lindisfarne Island" and the castle is "Rob Roy". There is no village. The tide rises round a car which is stuck on the causeway; also featured are the characteristic sheds made from local fishing boats, inverted and cut in half. These may still be seen on the island.

The final episode of second series of the TV series Cold Feet was filmed in Lindisfarne Castle.[7]

Lindisfarne appears in the second episode of Robson Green's Wild Swimming Adventure, a 2009 UK TV programme. Robson Green manages to swim from the mainland to Lindisfarne Castle.

In novels

  • Lindisfarne is referred to as The Holy Isle in Nancy Farmer's book "The Sea of Trolls," which also references the Norse invasion of Lindisfarne.
  • Lindisfarne plays a role in The Consciousness Plague, a 2002 science fiction/mystery novel by Paul Levinson.
  • Lindisfarne is where the main character of Harry goes to on pilgrimage in the book "Kingdom by the Sea" by Robert Westall.
  • It is also mentioned in passing in "Spirits White As Lightning", part of the Bedlam's Bard fantasy series by Mercedes Lackey & Rosemary Edghill.
  • It also plays an important role in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Stories.
  • Lindisfarne plays a key role in "Conqueror", the second book of the Time's Tapestry series by Stephen Baxter.
  • A thinly-disguised version of Lindisfarne is the setting for the Lyndesfarne Bridge quartet of modern fantasy novels by Trevor Hopkins.
  • The novel "Wolfskin" by Juliet Marillier takes place partially in a slightly altered version of ancient Lindisfarne.
  • Lindisfarne is known as Holy Island and The New Beginning in "Brother in the Land" by Robert Swindells, 1984.
  • A novel called "Dragon Under the Hill" was first published by Hutchinson & Co. in 1972 by the ex newsreader Gordon Honeycombe. The ISBN is 0 09 113030 1.
  • The monastery and monks of Lindisfarne are an important part of British author/broadcastor Melvyn Bragg's epic, historically-based novel "Credo" published in 1996.

In comics

A two-part story in the Vertigo series Northlanders, for instance, concerns the destruction on the monastery.

In music

Aspects of the history and legends concerning Lindisfarne have occasionally found their way into the lyrics and concepts of bands, musicians and composers. An example is the 40-part choral motet Love You Big as the Sky by British composer Peter McGarr (commissioned for the Tallis Festival 2007). Subtitled "a Lindisfarne Love Song", it includes poems about Lindisfarne and the detailed geography of the area, including ship wrecks and lighthouses.

One British folk/rock band (1969–2003), Lindisfarne, was even named after the island, while a Celtic Christian progressive rock band named after another island, Iona, has a song devoted to Lindisfarne on its album Journey into the Morn (1995).

Historical events in the history of the monastery have been referenced. For instance, the carriage of the remains of St Cuthbert from Lindisfarne to Durham is the subject of "The Road from Lindisfarne", the third movement of the Durham Concerto (2007) by Jon Lord. A theme which has been especially popular with metal bands of different genres and styles is the Viking invasion of AD 793. These range from heavy metal or power metal bands like Stormwarrior, Angeli Di Pietra and Rebellion to more extreme bands such as Enslaved, Ancient Rites and Behemoth.[8]

The Norwegian black/viking metal band, Enslaved, wrote a song on their third album "Eld" (1997) titled "793 (Slaget om Lindisfarne)" (793 (The Battle of Lindisfarne)), and it lastes for over 16 minutes.

References

  1. ^ Census 2001
  2. ^ Breeze, "Medcaut." p. 187-8.
  3. ^ Breeze, "Medcaut." p. 187-8.
  4. ^ Graham-Campbell, James; David M. Wilson (2001). "Salt-water bandits" (Google Books). The Viking World (3 ed.). London: Frances Lincoln Ltd.. pp. 10 and 22. ISBN 0711218005, 9780711218000. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Bfo_s--CXA4C&pg=PA21&vq=793&dq=%22viking+age%22&lr=&source=gbs_search_s&cad=0. Retrieved 2008-12-01. "Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, is a small tidal island off the coast of Northumbria where a monastery had been established in 634. Its shelving beaches provided a perfect landing for the shallow-draft ships of the Viking raiders who fell upon its unsuspecting and unprotected monks in the summer of 793. This bloody assault on a "place more venerable than all in Britain" was one of the first positively recorded Viking raids on the West. Page 21. Viking longships, with their shallow drafts and good manoeuvrability under both sail and oar, allowed their crews to strike deep inland up Europe's major rivers. Page 22. The world of the Vikings consisted of a loose grouping of the Scandinavian homelands and new overseas colonies, linked by sea routes that reached across the Baltic and the North Sea, spanning even the Atlantic. Page 10."  
  5. ^ Swanton, Michael. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, p. 57, n. 15.
  6. ^ "Lindisfarne Castle - National Trust". http://www.holy-island.info/lindisfarnecastle/index.htm. Retrieved 2008-07-15.  
  7. ^ "Cold Feet on IMDB". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0543979/. Retrieved 2008-11-29.  
  8. ^ The German heavy metal band Stormwarrior wrote a song called "Lindisfarnel" about the Viking raid in AD 793. The Norwegian metal band Enslaved also released a song titled after the invasion, called "793 (Slaget Om Lindisfarne)". The Belgian folk/power/black metal band Ancient Rites has a song "Lindisfarne (Anno 793)" on their 2001 album Dim Carcosa. Angeli Di Pietra, a Belgian powerfolk band have a song entitled "Lindisfarne" on their album "Storm Over Scaldis" (2009), about the first Viking raid in England. The Polish black/death metal band Behemoth has a song "From Horned Lands To Lindisfarne" on its 1994 "... From The Pagan Vastlands" demo. The German power metal band Rebellion has a song on their 2005 album Sagas of Iceland — The History of the Vikings Volume 1 called "In Memorandum Lindisfarnae".

Secondary sources

  • Breeze, Andrew. "Medcaut, the Brittonic name of Lindisfarne." Northern History 42 (2008): 187-8.

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Lindisfarne (or Holy Island) [1] is situated just off the coast of Northumberland, England. It is a tidal island linked to the mainland by a causeway.

Get in

There are 3 main ways to get to Lindisfarne: walk across the sands at low tide (only advisable with a local guide), use the shuttle bus service from Berwick-upon-Tweed or drive across the tidal causeway.

  • Walk: The Pilgrim's Crossing is a clearly marked walking route from the mainland to the island that crosses the sand and mud. However, due to the tidal nature of this crossing it is strongly advised that this route is only attempted with an experienced local guide.
  • Bus: Local bus service 477 runs from nearby Berwick-upon-Tweed, however it can be somewhat irregular due to tidal patterns, and does not run every day through winter months. Travellers are advised to make local enquiries before making arrangements around the bus service.
  • Drive: The main east coast road the A1 is conveniently located for Lindisfarne. The turning is located in the small village of Beal (which appears to consist only of The Plough Hotel and a service station, both on the eastern side of the road). The turning is signed as "Holy Island". The distance from the turning to the island is approximately 5 miles.

Access to Lindisfarne is affected by local tides. This point cannot be expressed enough as many people get stranded on the causeway every year requiring coastguard rescue (sometimes including helicopter rescue). Tide tables are available locally and are published on the internet.

Get around

Due to its size and nature, Lindisfarne has very few roads. Those that exist tend to be narrow and often have tourists walking on them. There is a large car park available before entering the settlement on the island. The car park is pay & display, priced at £4.40 for a stay of over 3 hours (correct as of May 3rd 2008). On-street parking is virtually non-existant. Some B&B establishments may offer parking, however this should be checked when booking.

From the car park there is a shuttle bus service to the castle, although visitors need to check if this will be running on the day of their intended visit if they intend on using it. Beyond this and the bus link from the mainland, there is no formal public transport on the island.

In essence, be prepared to do some walking! Maps are available on the island, including a number of suggested circular routes exploring the island.

Lindisfarne Castle
Lindisfarne Castle
  • Lindisfarne Priory, 01289 389200, [2]. Founded by St Aidan, Lindisfarne's Priory's most famous "resident" is St Cuthbert; although he now lies in Durham Cathedral. The nearby museum gives further information on St Cuthbert and the development of the Priory. The Priory and museum are in the custodianship of English Heritage, hence their member's are entitled to free entry. Admission for non-members is £4 for adults, £2 for children and £3.20 for concessions (correct as at May 8th 2008). Check the website for information of special events.  edit
  • Lindisfarne Castle, 01289 389244, [3]. The 16th Century Tudor castle, later converted into an Edwardian home is situated high on a rocky crag, affording good views of the island, Bamburgh Castle and the surrounding North Sea (weather permitting!) Opening times vary, so visitors are advised to consult the website; however the castle is closed on Mondays, except Bank Holidays when it is open. As the castle is a National Trust property, members are admitted free of charge. Admission prices can be found on the website, but were £6 for adults, £3 for children or £15 for a family ticket as of May 8th 2008.  edit

Get up early to watch the sunrise. Go to the hill at the south end of the island overlooking the priory grounds; you get an excellent view of the sunrise behind the castle. It's really fantastic when there are rolling sea mists as well.

Do

Birdwatching.Large parts of the Island as well as the adjacent intertidal areas are protected for wildlife as part of the Lindisfarne national nature reserve.It main purpose is to safeguard the wintering bird population.Over 300 species have been recorded on the island and adjacent tidal flats.The Brent Goose, Widgeon and Teal are particularly note worthy.

Seal spotting. Grey seals can sometimes be seen on the beaches during high tide.

Sleep

Lindisfarne has a number of small Bed & Breakfast establishments, a small hotel and pubs offering accommodation.

  • Cafe Bean Goose, 01289 389083, [4]. Family run cafe with 2 rooms available - 1 family room and 1 twin room. Availability is shown on the website. Rooms have tea & coffee making facilities, TV and alarm clock.  edit

Drink

Sample the local Lindisfarne Meade[5].It is made on the Island at St Aidan's winery. Meade is basically honey and water , fermented with yeast to turn some of the honey into alcohol.

Stay safe

Check the tide tables carefully - otherwise you can get caught on the island or as some unfortunates have - on the causeway itself. The tide table is available from the Lindisfarne website (although all tide times should be treated as advisory and local weather can affect the tides). Note that your motorhome does not double as a boat.

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Simple English


Lindisfarne (often called Holy Island), is a tidal island off the north-east coast of England. It is connected to the mainland of Northumberland by a causeway and is cut off twice a day by tides — something well described by Sir Walter Scott:

For with the flow and ebb, its style
Varies from continent to isle;
Dry shood o'er sands, twice every day,
The pilgrims to the shrine find way;
Twice every day the waves efface
Of staves and sandelled feet the trace.

According to the 2001 census it had a usual population of 162.

Contents

Nature reserve

Large parts of the island, and all of the adjacent inter-tidal area, are protected as Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve to help safeguard the internationally important wintering bird populations. Grey seals are frequent visitors to the rocky bays at high tide.

Lindisfarne Priory

File:Aidan of
Aidan of Lindisfarne

The monastery of Lindisfarne was founded by Irish-born Saint Aidan. He had been sent from Iona off the west coast of Scotland to Northumbria around AD 635. It became the base for Christian evangelising in the North of England and also sent a successful mission to Mercia. Monks from the community of Iona settled on the island.

Northumberland's patron saint, Saint Cuthbert, was a monk and later Abbot of the monastery, and his miracles and life are recorded by the Venerable Bede. Cuthbert later became Bishop of Lindisfarne.

In the early 700s the famous illuminated manuscript known as the Lindisfarne Gospels (an illustrated Latin copy of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) was made, probably at Lindisfarne.

Later, a monk named Aldred added an Anglo-Saxon translation to the Latin text. This made (late 10th century) the earliest surviving Old English copies of the Gospels.

History

In 793 a Viking raid on Lindisfarne caused much consternation throughout the Christian west, and is now often taken as the beginning of the age of Viking raids. A very famous passage in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reads:

"In this year fierce, foreboding omens came over the land of Northumbria. There were excessive whirlwinds, lightning storms, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the sky. These signs were followed by great famine, and on January 8th of the same year, the ravaging of heathen men destroyed God's church at Lindesfarne."

Eventually the monks fled the island (taking with them the body of St Cuthbert, which is now buried at Durham Cathedral. The priory was re-established in Norman times as a Benedictine house and continued until its dissolution in 1536 under Henry VIII. It is now a ruin in the care of English Heritage, who also run a museum/visitor centre nearby. The neighbouring parish church (see below) is still in use.

Lindisfarne also has the small castle, based on a Tudor fort and open to visitors.

J.M.W. Turner, Thomas Girtin and Charles Rennie Mackintosh all painted on Holy Island.

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