Saint Cuthbert

(St. Cuthbert)

c.635 - 687

Celtic monk and Bishop of Holy Island. Cuthbert was most likely born in Lauderdale, probably close to Melrose. As a boy he was a shepherd at Oxton and saw a vision of St. Aidan which inspired him to become a monk. He entered Melrose Abbey but, before long, he left to become a soldier in the service of the King of Northumbria, who was raising an army to fight off the Mercians. Cuthbert returned to Melrose in 661 and became Prior in 664, succeeding St. Basil.

Cuthbert left to become Prior at Lindisfarne (Holy Island) on the Northumbrian coast. In 676 Cuthbert was permitted to enter solitary retreat and went to live on Farne Island. After some years, he was persuaded once again to take on a more active role and was made a Bishop (685) in which capacity he preached widely. In his last months he returned to the solitude of Farne Island. Cuthbert was buried at Lindisfarne, his tomb becoming a centre of pilgrimage, but around the time of the Danish invasion of 865 his remains were taken by the monks to Cumberland, then Galloway, Chester-le-Street and Durham. Later, when the Normans invaded, the remains were again removed to Lindisfarne, before finally being brought to Durham Cathedral.

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