'In honour of God and of Saint Cuthbert'
Island has a very special place in history as the birthplace of
the Lindisfarne Gospels, among the most celebrated illuminated
books in the world.
to an inscription added in the 10th century at the end of the
original text, the manuscript was made in honour of God and of
St. Cuthbert by Eadfrith, Bishop of Lindisfarne, who died in
played a major part in establishing Cuthbert's cult after his
relics had been raised to the altar of the monastery church on
20th March, 698, the eleventh anniversary of his death. The
Gospels may have been made in honour of that event.
book's original leather binding was provided by Ethelwald, who
followed Eadfrith as bishop and died about 740. He had been
associated with Cuthbert in his lifetime. An outer covering of
gold, silver and gemstones was added by Billfrith the Anchorite,
probably about the middle of the 8th century.
covers have long since vanished but the manuscript itself has
survived the thirteen centuries associated with Cuthbert's relics
at Durham during the Middle Ages and preserved from destruction
after the Reformation through the scholarly interest of Tudor
Lindisfarne Gospels is now part of the collection of Sir Robert
Cotton, (d. 1631), in the British Library in London, where it is
seen by visitors from all over the world.
We are indebted to the late Janet Backhouse who supplied the text for our Gospel Page and gave
permission to use the images in her book "The Lindisfarne Gospels" published in association
with The British Library by Phaidon, Oxford - ISBN 0 7148 2148 9.