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Holy Island Castle and priory | History and Hauntings

If anyone enjoys watching the hit program the vikings, this is one for you, even though the priory and grounds of the castle isn’t shown in the actual series, this is the true place the vikings first invaded and which is mentioned in the series. Holy island is a tidal island, so if you decide to visit check the causeway times for crossing before you set off.

In 635, St Aiden founded Lindisfarne Priory on Holy Island. In 664, St Cuthbert visited the island for the first time and was consecrated as Bishop of Lindisfarne in 685. When he died he was buried on the island, but years later his casket was reopened and his corpse was found not to have decomposed which resulted in hundreds of people making a pilgrimage to Lindisfarne to visit it. However, the monks feared invasion from the Vikings and relocated the body and some other important relics.

Today, there are tales of St Cuthbert’s ghost wandering the island dressed in his simple robes. He has been seen in the grounds of the priory and the castle as well as sitting by the shore fashioning what is known as ‘Cuddy’s Beads’, which are actually fossilised sea lilies which were strung together and used as necklaces or even rosaries.

The Bishop is not the only apparition that has been spotted on the island. There have also been reports of a soldier from Cromwell’s time being seen in the castle and several apparitions of monks in the priory grounds.

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4 thoughts on “Holy Island Castle and priory | History and Hauntings

  1. Well worth a visit. Viewing Lindisfarne Priory in the night (with very little noise pollution), is very eerie. Make sure you check tide times and learn how Holy Island causeway works before you visit, if you don’t want to drown and become a ghost yourself… More Island info is here: https://holy-island.uk/info/

  2. Been to Lindisfarne last summer (travelled from Dublin to Edinburgh and then to the Island). It’s a haunting experience walking around it at night. Actually stayed at the accommodation place that James’s link points to (Belvue Guesthouse – they also did a pretty good writeup about the Priory, see below). I walked to the priory wall at night (be careful of the trench along the eastern wall) and then to the castle. Without a moon it can be pitch black, and you hear the seals singing in the background. Did think I saw something, but it was so spooky, I can’t be sure it wasn’t my over-active imagination.

    Priory writeup (mentioned above): https://holy-island.uk/lindisfarne-priory-visitor-information-history-saints/ – there must be a lot of monk ghosts there.

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