Keys to the Past

St Cuthbert's Chapel (Holy Island)

Cross on St Cuthbert's Isle, Holy Island. Photo by Northumberland County Council.
Cross on St Cuthbert's Isle, Holy Island. Photo by Northumberland County Council.

St Cuthbert's Isle, Holy Island (Copyright © Don Brownlow)
St Cuthbert's Isle, Holy Island (Copyright © Don Brownlow)

St Cuthbert's Isle from the air, with Holy Island behind. Photo by Mick Aston, 2000.
St Cuthbert's Isle from the air, with Holy Island behind. Photo by Mick Aston, 2000.

These are the remains of a small medieval chapel on St Cuthbert's Isle, a small island which is completely cut from Holy Island when there is a high tide. A chapel dedicate to St Cuthbert on Holy Island is described by Bede in the late seventh/early eighth century. The island was probably used by St Cuthbert (AD630 to 687) as a hermitage. The chapel which can now be seen was probably built in the 13th century AD. It is rectangular in shape. Attached to the west wall of the chapel is a small rectangular extension. The chapel stands on a slight earthwork platform and is surrounded on three sides by a ditch. To the north-west of the chapel is small circular mound which may be the remains of a small circular house, possibly used by St Cuthbert. A rectangular building can be seen to the south-east. This is a Scheduled Monument protected by law.

Reference number:N5338
Historical period: Medieval (1066 to 1540)
Legal status:Scheduled Ancient Monument
Event(s):FIELD SURVEY, North East Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment - Phase 2 2010; Archaeological Research Services

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See also:
Source of Reference
Local History of Holy Island


Disclaimer -

Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.