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Definition: Lindisfarne from The Macquarie Dictionary

Also, Holy Island

a small island off the coast of Northumberland, England; monastery founded by St Aidan 635.


Summary Article: Holy Island from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Island in the North Sea, 3 km/2 mi off the coast of Northumberland, northeast England, with which it is connected by a causeway at low tide; area 10 sq km/4 sq mi; population (2001) 13. It is the site of a monastery founded by St Aidan in 635. Tourism and a mead factory provide local employment.

Features The northern part of the island is mostly sandy, but the rest is fertile. To the southwest of the island is a small village with a harbour. Nothing has survived of the original monastery but there are remains of the 11th-century Benedictine priory. In the 16th century stones from the priory were used to construct Lindisfarne Castle, which was converted into a private house by Edwin Lutyens in 1903, and is now the property of the National Trust.

History The Celtic manuscript known as the Lindisfarne Gospels, dating from about 698, was written here as a memorial to St Cuthbert (prior of Lindisfarne from 664 to 676). The manuscript is now in the British Museum. Following his death on Farne Island in 687, St Cuthbert's body was returned to Lindisfarne, and the monastery became a place of pilgrimage until the monks were driven from the island by the Danes in 875. According to tradition, the monks took with them the remains of St Cuthbert and finally settled in Durham in 995. Benedictine monks from Durham returned to the island in 1082, renamed it Holy Island, and established a Benedictine priory here.

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