The Holy Island of Lindisfarne

   On a stormy day on the 8th of June 793 AD the monks of Lindisfarne were observing St. Medards day. Without warning Norseman from what is now believed to be Norway came ashore with there longships.  They attacked the monastery, taking everything they could handle and killing or enslaving every monk in sight.  In the “History of the Church of Durham” by the monk Simeon it's described as thus:

     "On the seventh of the ides of June, they reached the church of Lindisfarne, and there they miserably ravaged and pillaged everything; they trod the holy things under their polluted feet, they dug down the altars, and plundered all the treasures of the church. Some of the brethren they slew, some they carried off with them in chains, the greater number they stripped naked, insulted, and cast out of doors, and some they drowned in the sea."

    The raid on the small island Lindisfarne off the coast of the Knigdom of Northumbria in north east England in 793 AD is arguably thought to be the beginning of the "Viking Age." 

 

A Double ended work boat on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. The 16th century Linidisfarne Castle can be seen in the background

A Double ended work boat on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. The 16th century Linidisfarne Castle can be seen in the background

  Although the raid on Linidisfarne in 793 is thought to be the start is was not the first raid in England. In 789 three ships from Horthaland in Norway arrived in Portland. The Kings reeve Beaduheard, believeing them to be merchants, ordered the crews to go to the royal residence at Dorchester. Needless to say this did not go well for Beaduheard. He was killed. 

   The scribe of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded:

    "This year King Bertric took Edburga the daughter of Offa to wife. And in his days came first three ships of the Northmen from the land of robbers. The reve then rode thereto, and would drive them to the king's town; for he knew not what they were; and there was he slain. These were the first ships of the Danish men that sought the land of the English nation."

    The 793 raid, however, marked the beginning of an era of increasingly large and devastating assaults on holy places.  The twin foundations of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow suffered the second recorded attack on a monastery in England, in 794.  After that, the pace of raids quickened. It's considered the start of the "VIking Age" do to the increase in activity but more importantly the arrival of the sail in Norse shipbuilding.

  

The Tune ship at the Vinking Ship Museum in Olso Norway, built around 910 AD, shows the advancement of the mast step and sailing rig that allowed the "Vikings" to expand into the east and beyond. 

The Tune ship at the Vinking Ship Museum in Olso Norway, built around 910 AD, shows the advancement of the mast step and sailing rig that allowed the "Vikings" to expand into the east and beyond. 

   With the end of the "Viking Age" in 1066 at Stamford Bridge and the Battle of Hastings (more on that later) and the conversion of the "Vikings" to Christianity, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne rebuilt and is to this day know for its Abby. But the influence on boat building and boating as a way of life prevails. From fishing and lobstering to sailing and pleasure boating, the wooden boat remains a fixture of the Holy Island. 

 

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Linidisfarne Castle and the spot marker of the original monastery of the 793 raid

Linidisfarne Castle and the spot marker of the original monastery of the 793 raid

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Ruins of the 11th century Abby built after the end of the "Viking Age" 

Ruins of the 11th century Abby built after the end of the "Viking Age" 

Over turned boats turned into work sheds

Over turned boats turned into work sheds

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The road in

The road in

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