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Lindisfarne to Durham: St Cuthbert and the Haliwerfolc 634 – 1093 AD

March 16, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - March 30, 2021 @ 5:00 pm

£4.50 - £9.00
The remarkable story of the North’s iconic saint and his Community through four hundred turbulent years.

This is a series of three talks by Katharine Tiernan, taking place on Tuesdays, March 16th – March 30th, 5.00 pm to 6.00 pm. It is organised in association with Berwick Literary Festival, and Patrons of the Festival are entitled to a 50% discount on tickets for the full series (see Tickets). This listing is for the full series; if you would like to buy a ticket for an individual lecture, please click here.

How did a seventh century hermit become the focus of a great medieval cult? And how did he and his Community, the Haliwerfolc, survive both the Viking invasion of the ninth century and the brutal Harrying of the North after the Norman Conquest? This course tells the turbulent story of the North’s most iconic saint, whose shrine in Durham Cathedral is still revered today.

Week 1: C7th Northumbria. Cuthbert and Bede. Our knowledge of Cuthbert’s life and the time he lived in owes everything to the work of the Venerable Bede, one of the great scholars of his day. Although Bede never met Cuthbert and was only 14 when he died, his ‘Life of Cuthbert’ was a much-loved classic throughout the medieval period. This lecture will look at the Life and Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, as well as some alternative perspectives on the religious conflicts of the day which were to culminate in the Synod of Whitby.

Week 2: C9th The Vikings. After Cuthbert’s death, his monastery on Lindisfarne became a major centre for pilgrimage and religious art. But its prosperous tranquillity made it an easy target for Viking raids. In 875, after the Danes had conquered York and were moving north to crush rebellion, the monks finally abandoned Lindisfarne. This lecture focusses on the story of the Community’s seven-year flight in search of a new home, and on the impact of the Viking invasions on the Christian North.

Week 3: C11th The Normans. By the eleventh century the Haliwerfolc and their saint were powerful land-owners and securely established at Durham. But in 1069, when Northumbria revolted against oppressive Norman rule, the Community found themselves caught between the rebels and their new Norman masters. William the Conqueror’s brutal reprisal, the Harrying of the North, was to bring untold suffering to the province. Yet within the devastation the Community underwent a time of renewal that was ultimately to find expression in the building of Durham Cathedral.

Lectures will be delivered via Zoom. If you haven’t used Zoom before, please go to www.zoom.us and look at the tutorials. Once you have booked, you will find the Zoom invitation in the Online Event Page on Eventbrite. You will also receive an email with the invitation 24 hours before the event. If you can’t find the invitation, please email berwickea@gmail.com

If you book this course online, we will hold your personal data in accordance with our privacy policy. If you do not wish us to hold your personal data, please book by post (see www.berwickea.org) and do not supply an email address.


March 16, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
March 30, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
£4.50 - £9.00
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