Symeon’s History of the Church of Durham c. 1100 Cited in “Such an Inroad from the Sea”

In the year from the incarnation of our Lord seven hundred and ninety three — being the one hundred and seventh year from the death of father Cuthbert, and the eleventh of the pontificate of Higbald, and the fifth of the reign of that most wicked king Aethelred — the church of Lindisfarne was miserably filled with devastation, blood and rapine, and all but entirely and thoroughly ruined. […]

So much, then, as to the island itself. Its approaching destruction, and that of other holy places, was presaged by the appearance of fearful thunders and fiery dragons flying through the sky. Presently after this, and in the same year, a fleet of the pagans arrived in Britain from the north; and rushing hither and thither, and plundering as they went, they slew not only the cattle, but even the priests and deacons, and the choirs of monks and nuns.

On the seventh of the ides of June, they reached the church of Lindisfarne, and there they miserably ravaged and pillaged everything; they trod the holy things under their polluted feet, they dug down the altars, and plundered all the treasures of the church. Some of the brethren they slew, some they carried off with them in chains, the greater number they stripped naked, insulted, and cast out of doors, and some they drowned in the sea.

Source: John Marsden, "[Symeon’s History of the Church of Durham c. 1100 Cited in] Such an Inroad from the Sea" in The Fury of the Northmen. Saints, Shrines and Sea-Raiders in the Viking Age AD 793-, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993), 29.

Return to parent page