Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne

stained glass window of Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, Christ Church cathedral, c.1320; artist unknown; depicts the saint in pontificals, holding the head of Saint Oswald; photographed by Brother Lawrence Lew, OP; swiped from his site, and used with permissionAlso known as

  • Thaumaturgus of England
  • Wonder-Worker of England



Orphaned at an early age. Shepherd. Received a vision of Saint Aidan of Lindesfarne entering heaven; the sight led Cuthbert to become a Benedictine monk at age 17 at the monastery of Melrose, which had been founded by Saint Aidan. Guest-master at Melrose where he was know for his charity to poor travellers; legend says that he once entertained an angel disguised as a beggar. Spiritual student of Saint Boswell. Prior of Melrose in 664.

Due to a dispute over liturgical practice, Cuthbert and other monks abandoned Melrose for Lindisfarne. There he worked with Saint Eata. Prior and then abbot of Lindesfarne until 676. Hermit on the Farnes Islands. Bishop of Hexham, England. Bishop of Lindesfarne in 685. Friend of Saint Ebbe the Elder. Worked with plague victims in 685. Noted (miraculous) healer. Had the gift of prophecy.

Evangelist in his diocese, often to the discomfort of local authorities both secular and ecclesiastical. Presided over his abbey and his diocese during the time when Roman rites were supplanting the Celtic, and all the churches in the British Isles were brought under a single authority.


  • 634 somewhere in the British Isles






According to F. Cashier, the swan is chiefly assigned to this saint, for this bird has been chosen as an emblem of men who are particularly attached to a solitary life, since it is generally very silent. However, we are inclined to think that the bird here mentioned was the downy goose, and not the swan.

Let us judge from what M. de Montalembert says, “They used to swarm on the rock (of Lindisfarne) in former days, and are still found there, though in much smaller numbers, on account of the people who come and steal their nests and shoot them. These birds were found nowhere else in the British Isles, and were called the birds of Saint Cuthbert. It is he who, according to a monk of the thirteenth century, inspired their hereditary confidence because he took them for companions of his solitude, and was careful that no one should disturb them in their habits.” – from “The Little Bollandists” by Monsignor Paul Guérin, 1882

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne“. CatholicSaints.Info. 4 November 2021. Web. 29 January 2022. <>