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St Herbert
d. 687

Pilgrimage to St Herbet's Island on Derwentwater, leaving Keswick jetty at 11am on April 21st.

THE year is probably 686, the place Carlisle. Cuthbert, bishop ofj
Lindisfarne, comes again to visit the western parts of his diocese.


An anchorite, Herebert , travels from his hermitage in the islands of a western lakee, to greet his friend, to receive instruction from him, and to pray with him. Cuthbert's first biographer reports the bishop as saying:
'Dearest brother, speak and ask whatever is necessary for you. For from this time hence we shall never see each other again in this world'. Herbert, kneeling and weeping, says: 'I adjure you by Jesus Christ the Son of God that you ask the Holy Trinity that I may not be left bereft of you after your death, but that He may receive me with you into the joy of the eternal kingdom'. Cuthbert prays, then replies: 'Rise and rejoice, for your request has been granted according to your words by the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will undoubtedly receive it'. And so it happened that both men died on 20th March 687.

This is almost all we know about St Herbert. The anonymous life of St Cuthbert was written not later than 705 and is reliable. Bede, writing about 721, adds only the name of the lake - Derwentwater - and the statement that Herbert suffered a long illness before his death, to make up for his
lesser merits.

Brief though it is, Herbert's story has three features which link it with patterns of Celtic christianity: his residence as a hermit upon an island, like the monks of Skellig Michael or lona, or Cuthbert himself upon Fame Island; his 'soul-friendship' with Cuthbert; and the gift of simultaneous
death, also granted by a prayer of St Fintan.

Herbert's memory clearly remained alive in the Keswick area, even after Norse-speaking landowners had taken over 250 years later. 'Herbert HoIm' was the Norse name for the island in Derwentwater, first mentioned in 1343. But in 1374 Bishop Thomas Appleby declared that the facts about Herbert were unknown to almost everyone.

DEDICATIONS: A chapel was consecrated on the island when the cult was revived in 1374, and Bishop Appleby ordered the vicar of Crosthwaite to celebrate Mass there annually with his people. Otherwise, surprisingly, the:'~ are only the modern dedications of Braithwaite and St Herbert, Carlisle.

COMMEMORATION:
13th April according to Bishop Appleby, but the correct date of death is
20th March.

SOURCES: Two Lives of St Cuthbert, ed. B Cot grave, Cambridge, 1940, reprinted 1985), pp.124-S, 248-51;325-6, 335: Thomas Lees, 'Saint Herbert of Derwentwater', Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, old series, vol. vi, pp.338-43; A M Armstrong and others, The Place-Names of Cumberland, (Cambridge. 1950-2), p.371; William Hutchinson, The History of the County of Cumberland, (Carlisle,
1794-7), pp.172-3.