When still a boy, Oswald had been exiled to a monastery at Iona, after his father was defeated by Edwin. When Edwin himself was overthrown, Oswald regained his father's kingdom and rebuilt the Christian community. Oswald invited Aidan from Iona to join him and they worked together throughout the kingdom, which stretched from York to Edinburgh. They laid the faith on foundations that have never been moved. Oswald gave Aidan the island of Lindisfarne which became a great centre of mission and was close to Oswald's own capital at Bamburgh. Edwin's daughter Hilda set up an abbey at Whitby.
So began the flowering of Christian art and literature, of which the Lindisfarne Gospels are an example. The unique style of the books produced at Lindisfarne came from the Christian churches in Ireland, who in turn were inspired by monks from the early church in what is now Eastern Turkey.
Oswald also completed the first York Minster to be built in stone.
Page prepared by Ryedale Christian Council Autumn 2000. Updated December 2016
Comments and queries via our contact page