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Saint Cuthbert

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life of the Northumbrian monk, priest and hermit who lived on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and became one of England's most revered saints.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Northumbrian man who, for 500 years, was the pre-eminent English saint, to be matched only by Thomas Becket after his martyrdom in 1170. Now at Durham, Cuthbert was buried first on Lindisfarne in 687AD, where monks shared vivid stories of his sanctifying miracles, his healing, and his power over nature, and his final tomb became a major site of pilgrimage. In his lifetime he was both hermit and kingmaker, bishop and travelling priest, and the many accounts we have of him, including two by Bede, tell us much of the values of those who venerated him so soon after his death.

The image above is from a stained glass window in the south aisle of the nave in Durham Cathedral: 'St Cuthbert praying before his cell in the Farne Island'


Jane Hawkes
Professor of Medieval Art History at the University of York

Sarah Foot
The Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Oxford and Canon of Christ Church Cathedral


John Hines
Professor of Archaeology at Cardiff University

Producer: Simon Tillotson

Available now

56 minutes

Last on

Thu 28 Jan 2021 21:30



Sarah Foot at the University of Oxford

Jane Hawkes at the University of York

John Hines at Cardiff University


C.F. Battiscombe (ed.), The Relics of St. Cuthbert, (Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral, 1956)

John Blair, The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Gerald Bonner, David Rollason and Clare Stancliffe (eds.), St. Cuthbert, His Cult and His Community to A.D. 1200 (first published 1989; Boydell and Brewer, 2002)

David Brown (ed.), Durham Cathedral: History, Fabric and Culture (Yale University Press, 2014), especially ‘Cuthbert and the search for a patron’ by Sarah Foot

Eric Cambridge and Jane Hawkes (ed.), Crossing Boundaries: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Art, Material Culture, Language and Literature of the Early Medieval World (Oxbow Books, 2017), especially ‘The Body in the Box: The Iconography of the Cuthbert Coffin’ by Jane Hawkes

Bertram Colgrave (ed. and trans.), Two Lives of St. Cuthbert (first published 1940; Cambridge University Press, 2010)

J.M. Cronyn, and C.V. Horie, St. Cuthbert’s Coffin: The History, Technology and Conservation (Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral, 1985)

D.H. Farmer and J.F. Webb (trans,), The Age of Bede (Penguin, 1998), which contains Bede’s Life of St Cuthbert

Dominic Marner, St Cuthbert: His Life and Cult in Medieval Durham (British Library, 2000)

Henry Mayr-Harting, The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England (3rd ed. Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991)

D.W. Rollason (ed.), Cuthbert: Saint and Patron (Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral, 1987)

Charles Rozier, Writing History in the Community of St Cuthbert c. 700-1130: From Bede to Symeon of Durham (Boydell and Brewer, 2020)

Joanna Story, Lindisfarne Priory (English Heritage, 2006)


St Cuthbert – Durham World Heritage Site

St Cuthbert’s Shrine – Durham Cathedral

Bede: The Life and Miracles of St. Cuthbert – Fordham University

The Life of Cuthbert - Lindisfarne

Cuthbert - Wikipedia


  • Thu 28 Jan 2021 09:00
  • Thu 28 Jan 2021 21:30

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