St Cuthbert's Final Journey

Following 9th century monks as they flee from invading vikings with the body of St Cuthbert and the Lindisfarne Gospels – and undertake a momentous journey that helps shape England

Retraced: St Cuthbert’s Final Journey – The Exhibition

Well, the Festival of the North East has been stoking the fires of creativity in the region with lots of wonderful events. And now the headline act is almost upon us.  “The Lindisfarne Gospels go on show in Durham from 1 July to 30 September 2013. The exhibition is a must see contemporary interpretation of the North’s most enduring story, the tale of our famous Saint Cuthbert, and a chance to see some of Britain’s most significant medieval manuscripts alongside stunning Anglo-Saxon treasures” ( At time of writing they’ve sold over twenty thousand tickets.

And running alongside this exhibition for the first five weeks, I’m absolutely delighted to say, comes our exhibition of the journey taken by Paul Alexander Knox and I…


Spring 875 AD

Halfdan’s Great Viking Army wintered on the banks of the Tyne and then moved northwards to take control over the rest of Northumbria, once the most powerful kingdom on these shores. The Danish king conquered Bamburgh and shared out Northumbrian land, but the kingdom’s most precious treasures escaped him. The Community of St Cuthbert took the incorrupt body of their powerful saint and placed the head of St Oswald, bones of St Aidan and the Lindisfarne Gospels in his coffin. Then they fled their holy island and headed west into the hills.

Spring 2013 AD

Award winning photographer Paul Alexander Knox, and Durham University writer-in-residence Richard W Hardwick, travelled the same route the Community of St Cuthbert took, following a list nailed to the door of Durham Cathedral by Prior Wessington in 1416. They journeyed over the same landscape, took refuge in the same communities and gathered stories from people they met, many of whom were unaware their communities helped preserve one of the most important and beautiful books in world history.

‘Retraced: St Cuthbert’s Final Journey’, is a visual exhibition of their work in Millennium Place, Durham. It previews on Thursday 27th June from 5pm – 8pm and is then exhibited until 3rd August.  It is brought to you in association with Lindisfarne Gospels Durham, which sees one of the world’s greatest books in the heart of Durham’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is financed by Lindisfarne Gospels Durham and the Leverhulme Trust. And it’s a free exhibition too!

I’d like to say a great thank you to Durham University and the Lindisfarne Gospels team, particularly Maggie O’Neill, principal of Ustinov College, and Nick Malyan, Regional Programme Co’ordinator for the Lindisfarne Gospels.

Extra special thanks to Paul Alexander Knox, a brilliant award-winning photographer and a great man to travel with, although he does drive campervans a touch too fast for my liking sometimes.

It’s been a ridiculously busy few weeks for Paul, with his photography from licensed and unlicensed boxing being used on the covers of Frankie and the Heartstrings new music and exhibited in Sunderland. He’s hanging our St Cuthbert’s Final Journey exhibition this Monday and Tuesday and believe me, I’ve seen the pictures, it’s going to be brilliant. We’re next door to the Gala Theatre, bang in the centre of Durham. You definitely won’t regret coming.

You can have a look at Paul’s other wonderful photography here…

And you can buy tickets to see the Lindisfarne Gospels here…

5 comments on “Retraced: St Cuthbert’s Final Journey – The Exhibition

  1. Heather Martin
    June 24, 2013

    I hope the exhibition goes well and you get a great response.
    Every blessing on the next part of your life journey.

    • richardwhardwick2013
      June 24, 2013

      Thanks Heather, and thanks for your support and kind words throughout. There’s still writing to be added to this site, as there’s lots of people I want to write about and interview, plus all the historical stuff. And I can’t wait to go along to the exhibition tomorrow night and see how it’s shaping up. I’m also there on Wednesday with Paul, and I’m guessing he’ll be having me hanging pictures tomorrow night, then writing extra /re-writing text to fit on Wednesday.

  2. Anna
    June 25, 2013

    Wonderful Richard, I cant wait to see and read. Thank you for sharing your journey – I know it has been life changing and you have embraced it with so much strength, curiosity and integrity
    am reet proud o’ ya lad xx

  3. Anna
    June 25, 2013

    oh and PS -Thank you to Anna and the children as well as they have supported you throughout – without the ‘community’ of your own family this journey would not have been so powerful.

  4. richardwhardwick2013
    June 26, 2013

    Thanks Anna. Looking forward to seeing you. You’ll be delighted how Dawn and Paul have curated it, it looks fantastic x

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