Keys to the Past



Godric was another saint, who like Saint Cuthbert, made his name through being a hermit. Godric was born in Norfolk, but before becoming a hermit had a varied life. He made several pilgrimages to Rome, (Italy), and Jerusalem in the Middle East and Compostela, (Spain), in between periods of occupation as a peddler, sea captain, merchant and bailiff.

Around 1105AD, Godric changed his life to become a hermit by selling all his goods. He settled at various points in the north, before being granted land by the Bishop of Durham. This was near Finchale in 1110AD, before Godric moved to the site where the priory now stands in 1115AD. Here, Godric spent his life in prayer after building a wooden chapel and accommodation. His fame attracted other spiritual leaders, such as Robert and Ailred of the Cistercians, and pilgrims, whilst not joining any particular order. Godric further spread The Bible's message by composing hymns (religious songs), which were sung by his sister Burchwen (who had also become a hermit). Godric died in 1170AD at Finchale. The site of his hermitage was developed by Durham and a hagiography (religious biography) written by Reginald of Durham.

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