Death and Burial
After just two years as Bishop, Cuthbert realizing his death was near retired to Farne Island just after Christmas. When a monk asked when he would return he answered, "When you bring my body back".
After two months he became ill.
Storms prevented Abbot Herefrid of Lindisfarne visiting him for five days during which time Cuthbert had survived by gnawing at an onion.
An agreed signal was sent to Lindisfarne that Cuthbert had died.
He had at first wished to be buried on Farne and had saved a stone coffin from Abbot Cuda and a linen cloth from Abbess Verca.
But he agreed to be buried in the church at Lindisfarne.
He was taken there by boat. Crowds greeted the boat when it arrived.
The body was washed and buried.
He died in his Oratory with Herefrid in attendance. The monks outside were singing the 59th Psalm "Oh Lord thou hast rejected us".
It was March 20th 687, he had been a monk for 38 years.
After eleven years the coffin was opened the monks expected to find only bones but they discovered the body was uncorrupted.
They rushed to tell Bishop Eadbert who was fasting on St Cuthbert’s Isle as it was Lent. He ordered the reburial inside the church.
Eadbert himself was buried beneath Cuthbert when he died.
Cuthbert’s body was to lie on Lindisfarne for 188 years before it began a remarkable journey.