08 June 2011

Beginning of the Viking Age

The Abbey at Lindisfarne Island in Northumbria was founded in 635AD by St Aidan. In the years that followed, it produced one of the most famous illuminated manuscripts, the Lindisfarne Gospels, and became the final resting place of the famous St Cuthbert. It was a peaceful place of contemplation and worship.  Which meant those monks totally never saw what was coming!

On this day, June 8, in 793 AD, the Abbey was raided and destroyed by the first of the Viking raiders and most of its inhabitants slaughtered. It was the first major assault on the British Isles by Vikings, but many more would follow over the next few centuries, culminating in England’s invasion and takeover by the Viking-descended Normans in 1066. Some of the monks escaped with the body of St Cuthbert and the Lindisfarne Gospels manuscript, but the abbey itself was destroyed and not rebuilt until after the Norman Conquest.



  1. Thanks Paul. I think I need more Vikings

  2. Vikings, they loved a good day or month out on tour.

  3. I wonder if a similar fate will befall your recently finished chuch :)

    By the way Paul I posted an update about my stockade fort on my blog that you asked for

  4. Have you read the Sea of Trolls series? Your boy might enjoy them.

  5. Anything Viking is just intriguing.


  6. @Angry - now I have visions of Norsemen wearing "Lindisfarne 793 Tour" Tshirts under their mail!

    @Rodger - you arent alone, I just bought some more too so we can play Dark Ages Hail Caesar

    @Dan - I am seriously considering doing a burned out version for just this type of occaision! Dropped by your blog and left some comemnts there

    @Capt Arjun - no I havent, many thanks for the recommendation.

    @Guidowg - all in good time :-)

  7. This post is both intriguing and fascinating, keep up the great work.


  8. Having been cut of on Holy Island by the tide (deliberate I add) I have to say if you can go - do it!

    The windswept country is fantastic (esp the cup and ball rock carvings) and the island story is very interesting. Couple of tips though - if you do plan to stay while the tide is in:

    1) See the castle during this time (its about the only thing open)
    2) Book tea before hand
    3) Do not be in the ruins when the go for lunch - you may not be as lucky as we where - they did not check before shutting the entrance cabin up...

    As for the raid - look at it from the Viking point of view. Strange religion being forced on the area, gold ready for taking, limited defences and gold... Obvious target

    Can I also point you in the direct of Bedes World http://www.bedesworld.co.uk/ does not sound interesting at first thought but is fantastic - spent a whole day there and plan to go again. Only thing that spoils the view are the power lines so you cannot get 'ancient Briton' shots without a bit of photoshop

    I am quite lucky in that the area is only a couple of hours away by car and the family love it :-) Two main summer holidays so far and another one in the planning.