Cuthbert, St.

was born in the north of England, in the beginning of the sixth century, and educated under the Scottish monks in the famous abbey of rcolmhill, celebrated for having been the seat of learning for British and Irish monks in that age. The Scottish and Irish monks were then stimulated by the fervency of pious zeal to convert the pagan Saxons to the Christian religion, and for that purpose Cuthbert with some others settled in the island of Liridisferne, about four miles from Berwick. Egfred, king of Northumberland, invited Cuthbert to his court, where he converted and baptized many of his nobles, and acquired such reputation, that he received episcopal ordination at York, as bishop of the Northumbrian Saxons. But his love of solitude induced him to return to Lindisferne, since called Holy-island, where he founded a monastery, the remains of which are yet to be seen. There he lived to a great age, and died in the year 686, leaving behind him a great number of disciples. Whatever may be said of those zealous monkish saints who lived from the fifth to the eighth century, it is certain they were better men than their successors have represented them. They never pretended to work miracles, but the latter monks have made them perform many, even after their deaths. There can remain little doubt but Cuthbert was interred in Holy-island, where he resigned his breath; but the monks, ever fertile at invention, have told us many ridiculous stories concerning him. They say that he was first buried at Norham, in Northumberland; but, not relishing the damp situation, he appeared in person to his monks, and desired them to carry his bones to Melrose, about twenty miles farther up the Tweed. His request was | complied with; but Melrose not being agreeable to him, he again appeared to his monks, and desired them to put him into a stone boat, and sail with him down the Tweed to Tilmonth, where he rested some years. The stone boat was left with a farmer, who made it a tub for pickling beef in, which enraged St. Cuthbert so much, that he came in the night-time and broke it in pieces. The monks, although almost tired with carrying the saint so often, were obliged to travel with him once more, and rested at Chester; but that place not being agreeable, they carried him to Durham, where his bones rested in peace till the time of the reformation, when the wife of Dr. Whittingham, then dean of that church, and one of the translators of the psalms ascribed to Sternhold and Hopkins, ordered them to be taken up and thrown upon a dunghill. 1


Last edition of this Dict.—Butler’s Lives of the Saints, and Britannia Sancta.—Mackenzie’s Scotch Writers, vol. I. p. 357.