Mythen Keep (Ars Magica 5)
According to Bede’s life of the saint, when Cuthbert’s sarcophagus was opened eleven years after his death, his body was found to have been perfectly preserved or incorrupt.25 This apparent miracle led to the steady growth of Cuthbert’s posthumous cultus, to the point where he became the most popular saint of Northern England. Numerous miracles were attributed to his intercession and to intercessory prayer near his remains.
In 875 the Danes took the monastery of Lindisfarne and the monks fled, carrying with them St Cuthbert’s body around various places including Melrose.15 After seven years’ wandering it found a resting-place at the still existing St Cuthbert’s church in Chester-le-Street until 995, when another Danish invasion led to its removal to Ripon. Then the saint intimated, as it was believed, that he wished to remain in Durham. A new stone church—the so-called “White Church”—was built, the predecessor of the present grand Cathedral.
In 1104 Cuthbert’s tomb was opened again and his relics translated to a new shrine behind the altar of the recently completed Cathedral. When the casket was opened, a small book of the Gospel of John, measuring only three-and-a-half by five inches, now known as the St Cuthbert Gospel (now British Library Additional MS 89000, formerly known as the Stonyhurst Gospel), was found. This is the oldest Western book to keep its original bookbinding, in finely decorated leather.26 Also recovered much later were a set of vestments of 909-916, made of Byzantine silk with a “Nature Goddess” pattern, with a stole and decoration in extremely rare Anglo-Saxon embroidery or opus anglicanum, which had been deposited in his tomb by King Æthelstan (r. 927-939) on a pilgrimage while Cuthbert’s shrine was at Chester-le-Street