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Lindisfarne Priory

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Holy Island; holy Iland

In the civil parish of Holy Island.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of County Palatinate of Durham.

OS Map Grid Reference: NU12614172
Latitude 55.66912° Longitude -1.80096°

Lindisfarne Priory has been described as a certain Fortified Ecclesiastical site.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


C11-C12 Church and later buildings of Priory originally founded in C7. Cloister turned into fortified ward, probably in C13, large tower-like projections and an outer ward added in C14. Church modified in C14 with loops inserted in west wall and possibly crenellated all around.

Lindisfarne Priory is an important example of a small Benedictine house refounded to be a cell of Durham Cathedral. Its standing remains are well-preserved and provide a good illustration of a wide variety of monastic buildings. ... In the 14th century, a new prior's lodging was created at the junction of the south and east ranges and comprised a two-storey building with a warming house below and a private apartment above, which was partitioned to create a bedroom, study and oratory or private chapel. To the east, the former infirmary was enclosed by a fortified wall with a semi-octagonal tower at the north-east corner. ... Raids during the Scottish wars of the 14th century caused some devastation of the district dependent on the priory, but the monastery itself was partially fortified and protected by the basalt ridge to the south known as the Heugh. (Scheduling Report)

"in the summer of 1385, the prior and convent of Holy Island petitioned Richard II, asking his permission to remove crenellations from their priory, as they lacked the means 'to guard and defend the church and priory with men against (the king's) enemies', and that it would be 'a great loss' (magnum dampnum) to the king and his lieges in the area if the place was captured and held by the enemy." (King, 2007, p. 381)

The priory could act as a military storehouse but the lack of garrison actually made it a target for attack if so used.
The adjacent parish church of St Mary is, occasionally, described as fortified and may have been part of this defensible complex. There may have been watch towers, as part of this defensible C14 complex, at The Heugh and Beblow both occupied by later C16 fortifications.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:09

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