Lindisfarne Priory

1128 Reviews

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

March, 2019

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Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

This is possibly one of the most important early Christian sites in England. It is quite a complex site to understand as it was also a fortified site as well as a monastery. When complete, it might have looked like “this.”:
A plan of the site can be found “here.”:

The ruins of the priory along with”St Mary’s Church,”: dominate the south side of the village.

On the lawn in front of the church is a carving of St Cuthbert.The west front with its two flanking towers and carved arches around the west door would have been an impressive site for pilgrims. The south tower stands to nearly its original height. The battlements along the top of the wall with the arrow slits were added in the C14th.

The north wall and part of the arcade still stand to nearly their original height. Only the lower parts of the walls survive on the south side. The base of some of the nave columns can be seen in the grass.

The transept walls are still standing. Although the central tower collapsed, one of the vault ribs still survives, forming the iconic and much photographed ‘Rainbow Arch’. Little remains of the chancel apart from the north wall and the the empty east window.

Only low walls are left of the courtyard and domestic buildings between the church and the prior’s lodging. Its tall chimney stack still stands but the rest is now an empty shell. This was built after the church using a different stone. The grey colour contrasts with the red of the church building.

There is little left of the barbican between the inner and outer courtyards. This is now a grassy space with the foundations of the guest hall and stables along the outer wall. The C14th defensive wall on the west side of the courtyard still stands.

The lookout tower on the rocky outcrop beyond the priory ruins has a good view down onto the outer courtyard with the remains of guest house along the wall and the the barbican separating the inner and outer courtyards.

In some ways’ there isn’t a lot of the priory left but it is worth visiting for its importance in the spread of early Christianity in Britain. It is also unusual that it had a defensive wall around it, which can still be seen today. Many of the ruins can be seen from the outside, but it is worth paying the entrance fee to walk around the inside of the site and also visit the small museum in a separate building.


There are more pictures “here.”:


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