Holy Island, cut off from the mainland for several hours each day, played a significant part in the development of Christianity in England. In 635 AD, the Irish evangelist, St Aidan, founded a monastic community that became one of the most important centres of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England. Viking raids finally forced the monks to abandon the island in 875, but in 1082, St Cuthbert rebuilt the Priory, the remains of which can still be visited.
Lindisfarne Castle is a much more recent structure, built on an outcrop of rock known as Beblowe Crag, 1570-2. The Tudor fort was built to safeguard a harbour that sheltered English ships at war with Scotland. The accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne in 1603 united the two kingdoms and Lindisfarne Castle lost its importance as a border fort. However a garrison remained at the castle until the late 19th century.
In 1901, Edward Hudson, the founder of Country Life magazine, discovered the castle. He commissioned the architect, Edward Lutyens to convert the fort into a comfortable holiday home. The castle is now owned by the National Trust, and its furnished interiors are maintained as they appeared in the early 20th century.
- 10 minute walk from Holy Island village, on Holy Island, 6 miles east of the A1 across a tidal causeway.
It is impossible to cross to the island between the 2 hours before high tide and the 3½ hours after. Tide tables are printed in local newspapers, and displayed at the causeway.
- Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland TD15 2SH
- The National Trust. Open to the public. Admission fee
- For further information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk
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