Presenter Tony Robinson follows the trail of St Cuthbert from Melrose to Holy Island on Channel 4’s Walking Through History on Saturday, February 15 at 8pm.
Holy wells, caves, Saxon palaces, ancient hill forts and Viking graves transport Tony back 1300 years to a strange time.
In the seventh century, at the height of the Dark Ages, the rule of Northumbria stretched from Edinburgh to York. But this was a land where a battle was raging for the souls of the people.
Through the Tweed Valley and across the Cheviot Hills, it’s a journey through a murky history laden with myth.
But by investigating the communities, power bases and landscape of seventh-century Northumbria, Tony aims to understand the pagan land in which Cuthbert spread his simple brand of Celtic Christianity.
The height of Cuthbert’s career was as prior of the holy island of Lindisfarne. He achieved his greatness by healing the rifts between his own Celtic church and the dominant Roman church to the south. His legacy is still celebrated at the great cathedral of Durham.
The remote island of Inner Farne provides a bittersweet ending to this heroic tale: the final proof that Cuthbert preferred solitude, reflection and nature to the power-politics of Dark Ages Britain.