Sunday Quiz

Who made this journey? Hint: It took several hundred years.

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Answer after the jump.

St. Cuthbert, or more specifically, his body, which was carried by the monks of Lindisfarne after they fled Viking attacks. Eventually Cuthbert was laid to rest at the magnificent Durham Cathedral.

You can read about Cuthbert and many other fascinating things in Landscapes of Faith, the latest book supported by the Friends of the Cathedral in order to gain funds for this remarkable building’s preservation. Please consider this handsome book as a gift for a friend, family member or yourself.

Comments

  1. James Wimberley says

    Lindisfarne_Gospels_folio_139rThe Lindisfarne Gospels by Eadfrith (ca. 700CE), one of the very greatest illuminated manuscripts to have come out of the Celtic tradition, have just been on exhibition in Durham for three months. They should be returned to Durham permanently to lie close to Cuthbert’s bones. In spite of the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and at least one Culture Secretary, it’s not a done deal. The current stingy arrangement is a three-month loan every seven years. Parliamentary debate here.

    Eadfrith, according to experts, invented the pencil for the project.

    As a general rule, it’s better for masterpieces like this and the Bayeux Tapestry with a very strong geographical link to be the stars in their own small museum rather than be buried in metropolitan mega-museums. The Bayeux Tapestry (actually an embroidery) was made in England by Saxon artists, but Bayeux is a reasonable home too. I bet the British Museum’s reluctance to let go of the Lindisfarne Gospels is tied to fear of setting a precedent over the Elgin Marbles.

  2. Mike says

    Holy zombie, Batman! A fellow dies, then wanders the earth for another couple of hundred years. Good to see he finally found some rest.

    James,
    I definitely agree with your position on the display of artifacts in the most geographically relevant location. That’s good public history, but also has other benefits. Their location in rural areas are an invitation to economic development. Such displays and the visitors they attract enrichen the cultural milieu of these otherwise often neglected areas. And visitors get a much better feel for how historical actors lived embedded in the landscape, where even the wealthy — or impoverished by vows — elites sometimes took several hundred years to travel what a poor person in search of work might cross in a few hours or days now.

    • James Wimberley says

      It’s characteristic of this sort of artefacts that they have several possible homes. The return-to Durham campaign has been weakened by a quixotic alternative movement to return the treasure to remote Holy Island where it was made, a small collection of atmospheric ruins and tourist shoppes reached by a causeway covered at high tide. It’s beautiful, but quite indefensible against Vikings then or bank robbers today. Durham cathedral was built for security: “half church of God, half fortress ‘gainst the Scot.”

      • joel hanes says

        Famously, an early decision about the proper resting place for the remains of Saint Cuthbert was made by consulting a dun cow. I suspect that cows would still vote for Durham over the cold and salty isle.