This page provides information on the history that is associated with
this walk and tells something of the life of St Cuthbert in the 600's.
St Cuthbert (635 - 87) is thought to have been brought up in Lauderdale,
and he became a shepherd near to the small community of Oxton. At the
age of seventeen Cuthbert saw one night in a vision a great light in
the sky, with a Christian soul being escorted to heaven by angels. He
discovered the next day that St Aidan, the founder of the Lindisfarne
and Melrose communities had died. He resolved at this
stage to join the monastery at Melrose and then shortly became its third
From Melrose he followed the monastery's founder St Aidan to
Lindisfarne and was the Prior of Lindisfarne, then the Bishop of Hexham
before returning as Bishop of Lindisfarne.
During his period as Prior St Cuthbert used to seek solitude first
on St Cuthbert's Island (small island adjacent to Lindisfarne and
close to the Prior ruins) but then on the Inner Farne.
This was only
partial solitude for many monks and people came to the island to seek
his healing powers and spiritual guidance.
Stain Glass Window in
Melrose Parish Church
Margaret on the Left and St Cuthbert on the right of the Christ
In the months just prior
to his death he returned to the solitary life on Farne Island but on
his death his body was carried back to the neighbouring island of
Lindisfarne for burial.
St Cuthbert was the third Prior of Melrose following St Eata and St
Boisel or Bossil. In reality the first community was in
some two miles downstream from the present Abbey. It was not until 1136
that the Abbey and monastery of Melrose were built by Cistercian Monks
from Rievaulx with the encouragement of King David I, son of Queen
This small village to the SE of Melrose takes its name
from the Saint Bossil. The village is famed for the largest village
green in Scotland in which was held the annual horse and cattle fair,
certainly until after the time of George IV.
This relates to a Teviotdale girl name Lilliard who to avenge the
death of her lover slain by the Earl of Hereford's English troops at
an earlier point took part in the Battle of Ancrum Moor until she fell
with many wounds.
The Battle of Ancrum Moor was won by the Scots under the command
the 6th Earl of Angus but the victory was short lived with further
raids by the Earl of Herefords troops.
This massive L plan fortified tower was a traditional stronghold of the
Ker family. It was built in around 1450 by Andrew Ker.
The Kers were major players in the turbulent Reiving Times which
resulted in numerous fights between the Scottish and English Border
The Kers had another branch of the family not more than 10 miles away
at Ferniehurst Castle by Jedburgh. This line spelt their name as Kerr
and there was also rivalry between the families and arguments over the
male line of descent.
The castle was attacked in 1519, 1523 then restored before further
attacks at the time of the "Rough Wooing" by the Earl of Hertford in
1543 & 1545.
The ownership of the Castle has never changed family other than in
name when Sir Robert Ker became Lord Roxburghe in 1600. The castle
although a ruin remains in the ownership of the present Duke of
Kirknewton and Yeavering.
Below the large and ancient hill fort of Yeavering Bell lies the
community of Kirknewton.
This area has the interesting church of St
Gregory and within a mile is Yeavering, said to have been the location
of a palace for King Edwin of Northumbria.
King Edwin is reputed to have
married the Christian Ethelburga at this ancient community called
It is also believed that Paulinus came to the area in 627 preaching the
Christian faith and baptizing the locals in the nearby River Glen. It is
here that the church now stands, some parts dating back to the 12th or
The market town for the Glenside district. The town has a
long history of frequent middle ages raids between the Scots and
English. Little of the past is visible since the
town suffered from two destructive fires in 1722 & 1862.
St Mary's Church - Wooler
St Mary's Church dates from 1765 and is one of the oldest buildings in the area.
Just outside Wooler however there is the pre-historic Kettle's
Camp and close by the Pin Well.
The Well getting its name from the
tradition of young women throwing bent pins down the well on Fair Days
in the hope it would bring them good luck in finding a suitable husband.
Lindisfarne Abbey and Priory.
The Abbey that was home to St Cuthbert was on Lindisfarne and after his
death it remained in use until the Danes invaded the Island in 875.
The Danes distroyed the Abbey and there was no further ecclesiastical
life here until the Benedictines from Durham built the 11th Century
Prior whose ruins can now be seen and visited on the island. The ruins
are under the management of English Heritage and further details on the
Priory can be got by
The Parish Church of St Mary's was also in existance at this time.
This was built in the 1500, much of the stone being taken from the
then deserted Priory. The castle also fell into decline but
restoration took place in 1902 under the guidance of Sir Edwin Lutyens.
It is now along with the Priory in the care of the National Trust.
St Mary the Virgin Church
This is today an active church on Lindisfarne, but its history can be
traced back to Norman times with its extension of pillars. Later
developments took place in the 13 & 14th centuries.
St Mary the Virgin Church.
The Church still has a mission of love, hospitality and to
reveal our faith in daily living.
The church welcomes over 140,000 visitors each year.
These manuscripts reproducing the gospels were produced in the 7th &
8th century in a Hiberno-Saxon style on many calfskins. The work was
done by Eadfrith the Bishop of Lindisfarne from 698 to 721. These
beautiful works are now in the British Museum in London but
photo-facsimilies are to be seen in the Parish Church.
There is also
reference to the famous Book of Kells, a similar manuscript produced
by the monastery in Iona, the Book now being located in Trinity