Lindisfarne Gospels (c700). The Lindisfarne Gospels is an illuminated manuscript gospel book probably produced around the years 715-720 in the monastery at Lindisfarne, off the coast of Northumberland, which is now in the British Library in London. The manuscript is one of the finest works in the unique style of Hiberno-Saxon or Insular art, combining Mediterranean, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic elements. The Lindisfarne Gospels are presumed to be the work of a monk named Eadfrith, who became Bishop of Lindisfarne in 698 and died in 721. Current scholarship indicates a date around 715, and it is believed they were produced in honour of St. Cuthbert. However, some parts of the manuscript were left unfinished so it is likely that Eadfrith was still working on it at his time of death. It is also possible that he produced them prior to 698, in order to commemorate the elevation of Cuthbert's relics in that year, which is also thought to have been the occasion for which the St Cuthbert Gospel was produced. The Gospels are richly illustrated in the insular style and were originally encased in a fine leather treasure binding covered with jewels and metals made by Billfrith the Anchorite in the 8th century. During the Viking raids on Lindisfarne this jewelled cover was lost and a replacement was made in 1852. The text is written in insular script, and is the best documented and most complete insular manuscript of the period. In the 10th century an Old English translation of the Gospels was made: a word-for-word gloss of the Latin Vulgate text, inserted between the lines by Aldred, Provost of Chester-le-Street. This is the oldest extant translation of the Gospels into the English language. The Gospels may have been taken from Durham Cathedral during the Dissolution of the Monasteries ordered by Henry VIII and were acquired in the early 17th century by Sir Robert Cotton from Robert Bowyer, Clerk of the Parliaments. Cotton's library came to the British Museum in the 18th century and went to the British Library in London when this was separated from the British Museum. Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island, is located off the coast of Northumberland in northern England. In around 635 AD, the Irish missionary Aidan founded the Lindisfarne monastery on a small outcrop of land on Lindisfarne. King Oswald of Northumbria sent Aidan from Iona to preach to and baptise the pagan Anglo-Saxons, following the conversion to Christianity of the Northumbrian monarchy in 627. By the time of Aidan's death in 651, the Christian faith was becoming well-established in the area. The Lindisfarne gospel book is associated with the Cult of St. Cuthbert. Cuthbert was an ascetic member of a monastic community in Lindisfarne, before his death in 687. The book was made as part of the preparations to translate Cuthbert's relics to a shrine in 698. Lindisfarne has a reputation as the probable place of genesis according to the Lindisfarne Gospels. Around 705 an anonymous monk of Lindisfarne wrote the Life of St Cuthbert. His bishop, Eadfrith, swiftly commissioned the most famous scholar of the age, Bede, to help shape the cult to a new purpose. In the 10th century, about 250 years after the production of the book, Aldred, a priest of the monastery at Chester-le-Street, added an Old English translation between the lines of the Latin text. In his colophon he recorded the names of the four men who produced the Lindisfarne Gospels: Eadfrith, Bishop of Lindisfarne, was credited with writing the manuscript; Ethelwald, Bishop of the Lindisfarne islanders, was credited with binding it; Billfrith, an anchorite, was credited with ornamenting the manuscript; and finally Aldred lists himself as the person who glossed it in Anglo-Saxon. Some scholars have argued that Eadfrith and Ethelwald did not produce the manuscript but commissioned someone else to do so. However, Janet Backhouse argues for the validity of the statement by pointing out that there is no reason to doubt statement because he was recording a well established tradition. Eadfrith and Ethelwald were both bishops at the monastery of Lindisfarne where the manuscript was produced. As Alan Thacker notes, the Lindisfarne Gospels are undoubtedly the work of a single hand, and Eadfrith remains regarded as the scribe and painter of the Lindisfarne Gospels. The Lindisfarne Gospels is a Christian manuscript, containing the four gospels recounting the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The manuscript was used for ceremonial purposes to promote and celebrate the Christian religion and the word of God.