Saturday Snapshot: Views of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Lindisfarne is one of my favourite places, cut off from the mainland of Britain twice a day by the tides and accessed over a causeway. We went there last Tuesday and here are a few photos I took then together with one I took on an earlier visit.

Lindisfarne Priory was founded in 635 by Aidan, an Irish monk who came to the island from the monastery on Iona, founded by St Columba. It was the home of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

I took the photo below in February 2011, on a cold winter’s day. It shows the statue of St Aidan in the Priory grounds with Lindisfarne Castle, across the bay, in the background.

The monastery was originally wooden buildings  and the remains that we see today are those of the 12th century priory, probably standing on the site of the 7th century monastery. The Priory’s former grandeur is still there to see:Lindisfarne was also the home of Cuthbert, who became the prior in 685. Eleven years after his burial it became a shrine when his body was exhumed and was found to be undecayed. One hundred years later when the monks fled from the island during Viking raids they took his relics with them, eventually re-establishing his shrine in Durham Cathedral in 995.

This sculpture of St Cuthbert is cast in bronze, originally carved from an elm tree. It shows a contemplative Cuthbert:

Last Tuesday was one of the hottest days of the year. We had intended to visit the castle as well, but as so many other people had the same idea we just went for a walk round the foot of the castle, then along the coast and back inland. This is the route we took.

We stopped for a look at the walled garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1911.

And then carried on to the coast line: On the way home we stopped at The Barn at Beal, on the mainland, just over the causeway, for a cup of coffee.

A Saturday Snapshot post – see more on Alyce’s blog At Home with Books.

Birthday Treats

Yesterday was my birthday. I had some lovely presents, including two books:

Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world’s most heinous villains – a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother’s children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England’s throne?

Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Princes in the Tower.

A fascinating blend of history and mystery.

  • A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths. I posted the opening lines in yesterday’s post. This book is the fourth of the Ruth Galloway investigations. The description on the back cover is –

Night falls on Halloween eve. The museum in King’s Lynn is preparing for an unusual event – the opening of a coffin excavated from the site of a medieval church. But when archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway arrives to supervise, she finds the museum’s curator lying dead beside it. Ruth and Detective Inspector Nelson are forced to cross paths once again when he’s called in to investigate the murder, and their past tensions are reignited. And as Ruth becomes further embroiled in the case, she must decide where her loyalties lie – a choice that her very survival depends on.

It was the perfect summer’s day and we went over to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, one of my favourite places. We’ve been there a few times, but never in such good weather. We went round the Priory, walked up to the castle and then along the coast and back inland again. Here’s one of the Priory – I’ll put up some more photos of the day later in the week. Whilst on the island D bought me this book:

Lindisfarne: the Cradle Island by Magnus Magnusson – a history of the island from the beginnings to the present day, telling the story of people and nature. Known as ‘the cradle island’ it is the ancient shrine of Celtic Christianity and the home of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

Saturday Snapshots – Castles

Bamburgh Castle seen from Lindisfarne

This is Bamburgh Castle, off the coast of Northumberland south of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and on Monday when we went to  the Island, it was clearly visible on the horizon. The sea was shimmering in the sunshine.

I posted a photo of Lindisfarne Castle when we visited the island in March. Early on Monday morning it was raining but it soon stopped and the sun came out, even though it remained extremely windy.

The Castle was originally an Elizabethan fort protecting the harbour. It was built between 1570 and 1572 and was garrisoned for over 300 years – guns and soldiers were removed in 1893. Now it is owned by the National Trust.

The photo below is of Lindisfarne Castle taken from the walled garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll north of the Castle. The site of the garden was where the soldiers of the fort had formerly grown vegetables.

Lindisfarne Castle

Inside the Castle it’s an Edwardian house, designed by the architect Edwin Lutyens for his friend Edward Hudson, who was the founder of Country Life magazine. By 1902 the castle was derelict and Lutyens turned it into a holiday home for Hudson. It’s both homely and dramatic. There are columns and rounded arches; the rooms are all small  – you can imagine yourself living there. The dining room in the old Tudor fortress has a vaulted ceiling with a wide arched chimney-piece. It had once been a bakery and there is an old bread oven next to the fireplace.

Lindisfarne Castle Dining Room

These days you can get married in the Ship Room, so called because of the wooden model ship that hangs from the ceiling, flanked by two Dutch 17th century chandeliers:

Lindisfarne Castle Ship Room

For more Saturday Snapshots see Alyce’s blog At Home with Books.

Saturday Snapshot

Lindisfarne Castle P1020110

We went to the Holy Island of  Lindisfarne in February one cold and misty day. The Island is reached by crossing the causeway at low tide. We went in the Lindisfarne Heritage Centre where we saw displays of the Vikings on the Island.

The Castle is perched on top of a craggy rock. It was originally a Tudor fort and was converted into a private house in 1903 by Edwin Lutyens. We only looked at it as we had to leave the island as the tide was coming in. It’s now owned by the National Trust and we’ll make sure we have time to look around next time we go over to the island.

To participate in Alyce’s Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. All Alyce asks is that you don’t post random photos that you find online.