view our policy on cookies, other analytic tools and usage of personal data and 

The Lindisfarne Gospels

Electronic Turning Pages

Created at the ancient Island monstery around 698ad by Bishop Eadfrith in 'memory of God and Cuthbert' the Lindisfarne Gospels are now held in the security of the British library in London. Probably by far the most valuable book of its type in their possession, the gospels hark back to a time in Anglo-Saxon history, long before the arrival of the Normans, when, under the influence of the Germanic king, Oswald, paganism had been overcome in a euphoric wave of Celtic (Irish) Christianity.

Only on rare occasions does the book ever leave their confines at the British Library and so is only to be seen by those who make the pilgimage to their premises. Even then, they are kept under security glass in carefully controlled environmental conditions. In order to make the splendour of the book available to everybody the British library have created two artifacts which they have donated back to the gospel's birthplace:

  • The Lindisfarne Gospels - Facsimile
  • The Lindisfarne Gospels - Interactive

Both are held in a specially constructed display area at the Heritage Centre. Entry to this highly atmospheric inner-sanctum is via a medieval characterised lobby containing other interactive displays and further educational resource media.

Dark high ceilings and spotlit images create a sense of intimacy and reverence, very appropriate for the subject of the high tech computers which host two copies of the 'Turning the Page' electronic Lindisfarne Gospels. The interactive touch screen programme faithfully reproduces the vibrancy of colour and intricate design of the original manuscript. You will be able to turn over 20 pages of the book and also admire its beautifully tooled cover. An exciting merging of the old with the new.

The Vikings on Lindisfarne

miniature cinema The first recorded Viking attack in history took place on Lindisfarne in 793a.d.. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle's report that 'On the sixth day before the ides of January in the same year, the harrowing inroads of heathen men made lamentable havoc in the church of God in Holy-island, by rapine and slaughter.'

A miniature cinema is at the centre of our exhibit. A Viking warrior guards the entrance.

first Viking attack.

Over 1200 years of history has taken place since that devastating attack and you will need help in understanding what took place here - and why.

Take a seat and let Julian Richards, from TV's 'Meet the Ancestors', set the scene for the carnage and guide you through the events that took place - blow by blow!

Viking Games: There are ample intervals between showings to give you time to appreciate the history story boards lining the walls of the auditorium and engage in playing some of the games that would have been enjoyed by Viking families from that era.

Viking Games

Exhibition of Island Life

Flora and Land

Holy Island is home to many plants, including some rare varieties. The diverse ecologies of cliff, shoreline, field, dune and lake provide ample opportunity to explore for botanist and amateur alike.

The Land Farming, fishing and mining have been the main uses of the land on Holy Island. Since neolithic times the unique environment has produced good crops and healthy animals and the raw materials for building. The Island also once boasted woodland to add to it's diversity.

As in many rural areas the population has dwindled over the last century and the priority of the workforce has changed dramatically. Whereas many were occupied in the fishing industry, in farming and mining now the focus is on the many visitors who come to share our island. The population shifts almost as regularly as the tide, about half of the properties are now holiday homes or lets and the core population of just over 140 has a majority of people over 50 years old. Just two youngsters attend the village school at the moment.

People and the Sea

In the summer you will find many locals focused on providing for visitors but in the winter the community socialises much more, with music, quizzes, concerts and other clubs springing to life.

The fierce north sea provides a dangerous living for a small number of locals and remains a haven for seals, seabirds and many other varieties of sea life. The dangerous rocks between here and the Farne Islands necessitated a Lifeboat being stationed on the Island until fairly recently.


Top of Page

A 'Day' on Holy Island - Information for the visitor provided by the community.
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne Development Trust: Partners in Business
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne - home page Our accommodation pages Our information pages
Places to visit in North Northumberland and the Anglo-Scottish Borders