June 8th – Lindisfarne Day

Lindisfarne Day isn’t a Holy Day but a day of remembrance.  On 8 June 793 the Viking Age began with a blood-bath. On this date in history the Northmen arrived on the shores of a tiny island on the northeast coast of England called Lindisfarne. It is also known just as Holy Island. It constitutes the civil parish of Holy Island in Northumberland.

AHE7WE(Lindisfarne Castle sits atop a basalt crag, resembling a giant cockle shell)

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the event like this … 

Her wæron reðe forebecna cumene ofer Norðhymbra land, ⁊ þæt folc earmlic bregdon, þæt wæron ormete þodenas ⁊ ligrescas, ⁊ fyrenne dracan wæron gesewene on þam lifte fleogende. Þam tacnum sona fyligde mycel hunger, ⁊ litel æfter þam, þæs ilcan geares on .vi. Idus Ianuarii, earmlice hæþenra manna hergunc adilegode Godes cyrican in Lindisfarnaee þurh hreaflac ⁊ mansliht.

 

In this year fierce, foreboding omens came over the land of the Northumbrians, and the wretched people shook; there were excessive whirlwinds, lightning, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the sky. These signs were followed by great famine, and a little after those … the ravaging of wretched heathen people destroyed God’s church at Lindisfarne.

Alcuin, a Northumbrian scholar in Charlemagne’s court at the time, wrote:

Never before has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from a pagan race. . . .The heathens poured out the blood of saints around the altar, and trampled on the bodies of saints in the temple of God, like dung in the streets.

Lindisfarne_Abbey_and_St_Marys(Lindisfarne Abbey and St Marys)

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