The Lindisfarne Gospels
The Lindisfarne Gospels were written at the end of the 7th century. Their 258 pages (which would have required the unblemished skin of 150 calves) contain the four Gospels, introductory material and a line-by-line translation of the original Latin into Old English, added in the mid-10th century. The translator, Aldred, added a colophon saying who had done what in producing the Gospels. Almost unbelievably, one monk, Eadfrith (later bishop of Lindisfarne) had written and drawn it all. Most early medieval manuscripts were made by teams of monks, so could one man really have done this all? Recent work has confirmed what Aldred said: the Gospels really are the work of one man, although other, named, monks bound the book and covered it.
The Gospels were written “for God and St Cuthbert and for all the saints whose relics are in the island”. They are on display at the British Library; the heritage centre on Lindisfarne has an electronic fascimile.