Place Research Page

Why 'Lindisfarne' Gospels

The Lindisfarne Gospels was influenced by the unique character of the place where it was made. Eadfrith was a bishop (a leader of the Christian community) in charge of the Monastery of Lindisfarne on Holy Island, off the coast of Northumberland. His decorations seem to be inspired by all the birds and animals he would have seen and heard around him, and by natural patterns in the landscape and the sea.

Many birds and animals which live in the cold northern seas come to Holy Island and the Farnes during their breeding season. The area also provides a refuge for rare species of wild flowers. Lindisfarne is recognised as a National Nature Reserve.


close up detail of knotted birds from Matthew Carpet page
Close up of knotted birds from background of Matthew Carpet Page

Close up of knotted birds from background of Matthew Carpet Page



Mark's was the first gospel to be written down, so he started with a blank sheet of paper. He wanted to place Jesus' story on record, to set out what Jesus did and what happened to him. Mark's symbol is a winged lion. The lion is 'king of the jungle'; it represents Jesus' kingship.


Photo of Mark Gospels Montage



St. Cuthbert moved to a tiny island, away from the main Lindisfarne monastery so that he could have time to think and pray. He lived as a hermit, sheltered from the bustle of the wide world. Most people have times in their life when they need to find some sort of shelter, to take refuge. Children may build a den. It can be their own special place, hidden away from adults. Adults may like to spend quiet time in the garden shed, or in the bath. Fishermen in the North East used to turn their old wooden boats (called cobles) upside down to make shelters. In times of trouble people often take refuge in a holy place, such as a church or a temple. Sometimes you may need refuge from much bigger difficulties. Refugees have had to leave their family, their home and their country to find a place of safety.

Place Montage

Montage of place photos

Key Words Mark, Lion, Kingdom, Map, Location, Satellite, Refuge, Camp, Traveler, Island, Pride, Space

Try these links: (artist who uses natural materials to make shelters refuges and baskets (Sculptor, Angel of the North)