The monastery of Lindisfarne was founded around 634 AD by the Irish monk Saint Aidan. The priory remained the only seat of a bishopric in Northumbria for about thirty years. It became the base for Christian evangelism in northern England. Northumbria's patron saint, Saint Cuthbert, was a monk and later abbot of the monastery.
In 739 AD, the first large Viking raid in Anglo-Saxon England occurred at Lindisfarne. This is considered the beginning of the Viking Age. This raid was significant because "it attacked the sacred heart of the Northumbrian kingdom, desecrating 'the very place where the Christian religion began in the nation.'"