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Lindisfarne; Rainbow Arch

Lindisfarne; Rainbow Arch

Photographer: Thompson, Stephen

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1864

Shelfmark: C.44.d.7,8

Item number: 58

Genre: Photograph

“Excellent descriptions of the very interesting ruins of Lindisfarne Priory may be found in Hutchinson’s History of Durham, in Surtees’ History, and in Grose’s Antiquities. Grose says:- ‘The nave of the church consists of a wide centre and two side aisles, the columns of which are heavy, and the arches circular. In the superstructure of the north and south walls pointed arches appear. The windows are narrow, ornamented with a corner pilaster, and a moulding of a few members. The walls are very thick, and every part wears a gloomy countenance...These ruins still retain one most singular beauty – an arch unloaded with any superstructure, supported by the south-east and north-west corner pillars, and ornamented with the dancette or zigzag moulding, stretching a fine bow over the chasm of ruins occasioned by the falling-in of the aisles.’ This fine airy arch still remains like a ‘rainbow in the sky,’ and is consequently called ‘the Rainbow Arch.’ The building is chiefly of a soft red sandstone, and is consequently much worn by the weather. The oldest parts of the church are genuine Saxon, with low, sturdy columns, many of them five feet in diameter.”

Excerpt from “Lindisfarne” in ‘Ruined Abbeys and Castles of Great Britain and Ireland’ by William Howitt.

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