First Historical Novel about St Cuthbert to be Published on St Cuthbert’s Day

Added about 5 years ago by Sacristy Press

Cuthbert of Farne - book coverPRESS RELEASE: The first mainstream historical novel about St Cuthbert is published today on St Cuthbert’s Day (Wednesday 20 March 2019) by Sacristy Press.

The novel, Cuthbert of Farne, has been written by Northumberland author Katherine Tiernan. It brings new life to the legendary Anglo-Saxon saints of the North and tells the story of the struggle for the Church in seventh-century England. Characters include not only Cuthbert, but other Northern saints like Wilfrid, Aidan and Hilda of Whitby.

Author Katharine Tiernan, said:

Although it is a story of the spiritual life, the historical events are full of conflict, intrigue and drama that make Cuthbert of Farne a pacey and gripping read.

Growing up in North Northumberland, I have a sense of personal connection both to St Cuthbert and to the landscapes of the North East where he lived. It has been a joy to write this novel and I hope it will shed new light on the life of the North’s greatest saint.

There will be an opportunity to meet author Katherine Tiernan on Saturday 23 March between 11am and 3pm in Durham Cathedral’s shop as part of the St Cuthbert Festival, which runs from Wednesday 20 March to Saturday 23 March.

Katharine Tiernan, author of Cuthbert of FarneSt Cuthbert is the North of England's best-loved saint. The historical background of his times is little known – and inherently dramatic. He lived as a monk, bishop, and then hermit, on Holy Island (Lindisfarne). Revered during his own lifetime for his preaching and holiness, Cuthbert was acclaimed a saint in 698. His community fled Lindisfarne following the Viking invasion in 793. They travelled around the North of England with his body and extraordinary relics for years. They finally settled in Durham in 995. Durham Cathedral has grown from the Anglo-Saxon church built to house his shrine and the monks who cared for it.

Bestselling author of The Song of Hild, Vibeke Vasbo, said:

This is a tender story of love and longing and belonging in the new Christian communities of seventh-century Northumbria. You will want to walk that coast, breathe that air.

The book is being launched by Sacristy Press, a small, independent, publishing house based in Durham City. Founded in 2011, they publish theology and history, including historical fiction.

Natalie Watson, Commissioning Editor, Sacristy Press, said:

As a Durham publisher, Sacristy Press are very proud to be publishing this book on St Cuthbert’s Day. This is a moving and powerful historical novel, and a must-read for all who love the stories of the Northern saints and want to discover more about the earliest days of Christianity in the North.

The book is now available in the shop at Durham Cathedral. It is also available to order from the Sacristy Press website. Cuthbert of Farne: A novel of Northumbria’s warrior saint is a 298 page historical novel available in Paperback (£9.99) and hardback (£24.99)


Issued on behalf of Sacristy Press by DebSharratt Communications.

Media contact: Deb Sharratt T: 07963 955280 or email

Notes to Editors:

Sacristy Press

Sacristy Press was founded in 2011 to publish history and theology, including historical fiction. It is based in the historic academic city of Durham in North East England. More information about Sacristy Press can found on their website at For review copies of any Sacristy Press book, please contact Sacristy Press with details of your publication or media outlet.

Meet the author - Saturday 23 March 11am - 3pm

Author Katharine Tiernan will in the Durham Cathedral Shop to sign copies and answer questions about her new novel Cuthbert of Farne on Saturday 23 March from 11am to 3pm.

Cuthbert of Farne is the first mainstream novel to be published about the life of St Cuthbert and will be released on St Cuthbert’s Day. It is a moving and powerful historical novel, and a must-read for all who love the stories of the Northern saints and want to discover more about the earliest days of Christianity in the North.

For further information about other events and services happening during the St Cuthbert Festival at Durham Cathedral, please visit:

Katherine Tiernan

Katherine Tiernan is a Northumbrian by birth and spent many childhood afternoons on the shores of Lindisfarne. She studied English Literature at York University and worked as a teacher and community artist. By the turn of the millennium, both Katharine and her Australian husband were hankering for the wide-open spaces of the north and moved back to Northumberland. There she wrote her first novel, Place of Repose: A Tale of St Cuthbert’s Last Journey. Her new novel, Cuthbert of Farne, sees Katharine return to the Anglo-Saxon world of early Christianity. It reflects her interests in literature, spirituality and the inspirational landscape of the north.

Cuthbert of Farne Synopsis

A young Anglo-Saxon warrior lays down his sword to follow a vocation that means leaving behind wealth and position – and women. Cuthbert, the seventh-century Northumbrian bishop and saint, has become the subject of many a legend. Here we see Cuthbert through the eyes of those closest to him: Princess Aelflaed, his daughter in God, and Eata, his Abbot. This is a time of war between the peoples of the North, and with powerful Bishop Wilfrid seeking to impose Roman practices, the Church is in danger of splitting.

Cuthbert longs for the windswept solitude of Inner Farne, when he is summoned back to become the most powerful church leader in the land. Will it be a calling too far for the holy man and reconciler? This is a moving and powerful historical novel and a must-read for all who love the stories of the Northern saints and want to know more about the earliest days of Christianity in the North.

The 298 page historical novel is now available in the shop at Durham Cathedral and also available to order from the Sacristy Press website (

Available in Paperback (£9.99) and hardback (£24.99)

Please note: Sacristy Press does not necessarily share or endorse the views of the guest contributors to this blog.

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