Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, Northumberland
~ History ~
500's ~ Angles from Germany & Denmark invade Britain and settle in the north of England, including the Celtic Island of Medcaut. Those that settle on the island later take the name Lindisfarona.
547 ~ The Angle chief Ida seizes the nearby Celtic stronghold of Bamburgh and that later, Ida's son Theodoric is attacked in a siege upon the island. The three-day siege is led by Urien the Celtic Prince of the Cumbrian-based Kingdom of Rheged. Urien is the principal leader in the defence of the Celtic north against the Angles.
In the end the Angles are successful in their invasion and colonisation establishing a kingdom called Bernicia based on an earlier Celtic kingdom of a similar name. The Pagan Angles along with the Saxons who have colonised the south of England eventually convert to Christianity.
635 ~ An Anglo-Saxon monastery is founded by St Aidan on land granted by Oswald, King and Saint of Northumbria. The island site is chosen because of its isolation and proximity to the Northumbrian capital at Bamburgh.
654 ~ St Cuthbert arrives at Lindisfarne, where his reputed gift of healing and legendary ability to work miracles, achieves far reaching fame for the island. He is elected Bishop of Hexham thirty years later but dies after just three years into his life as Bishop.
793 ~ Lindisfarne witnesses the first Viking raid on the coast of Britain, with 'exceptional flashes of lightning, and fiery dragons were seen flying through the air. A great famine followed hard upon these signs; and a little later in that same year, the harrying of the heathen miserably destroyed God's church by rapine and slaughter. "
875 ~ The monks of Lindisfarne flee their Holy Island with the body of Cuthbert, remembering the dying wishes of their saint.
1542 ~ A fort is built upon the rock of Lindisfarne.
1549 ~ Defensive earthworks are errected to strengthen the castle.
1567 ~ The defensive earthworks are replaced with a wall of stone.
1570 ~ Stone buildings to accomodate the garrison are erected in the castle from used used from the nearby ruined abbey.
1643 ~ The castle is taken by Parliamentary forces.
1648 ~ The Parliamentary Captain of the castle writes to the Earl of Manchester asking for a ship to be sent to his relief as he has been blockaded by Royalists for six weeks and is running short of supplies.
A relief Parliamentary force under Colonel Fenwick arrive overland with reinforcements. The situation however continues to be desperate during the continued blockade until Major John Meyer arrives the following year to break the blockade.
1675 ~ A small secondary fort is built on the cliff called Heugh, south of the ruined priory. This soon falls into disrepair and ruin.
1715 ~ Laurence Errington and his nephew capture the castle by a ruse to the garrison of just two men. The fail to capitalise on taking the castle after their summons for reinforecements fails to materialise and soon the castle is retaken. They are both taken prisoner but manage to escape by burrowing out of their gaol.
1819 ~ The guns ate the castle are withdrawn.
1885 ~ The castle is sold.
Holy Island, south of Berwick-upon-Tweed
5 miles east of A1 via tidal causeway
Lindisfarne Castle is a small fort built upon a rock that reaches up from the flat island if Lindisfarne.
The visit to the castle is all about the island itself, from its unusual feature of being able to walk from the mainland to the island at low tide across the causeway - albeit we decided to drive and use the road to avoid being marooned on the island when the tides come in.
The shoreline is absolutely fabulous and makes for memorable walk with stunning views all the way back across to Bambugh Castle.
A terrific place to visit. Just makes sure you take in the ruined abbey which holds much of the ancient history of the island and the monks who once lived there.