Cuthbert, a saint and bishop of the English church, born probably in the first quarter of the 7th century, died March 20, 687, which day is observed as his festival. He was early attracted to the monastic life by the virtues of St. Aidan and his brethren, and was constrained by a timely vision to join the fraternity. In 664 he was chosen prior of Melrose, and some years later was transferred to the charge of the monastery of Lindisfarne, or the "Holy island," a few miles S. of Berwick. His fondness for austerity of life was not satisfied by the comparative ease of this large establishment, and after a few years he retired to the isle of Fame. It was barren, without wood or water; but the industry of the hermit opened springs and covered the ground with fields of grain. The fame of his holiness brought many visitors, among them Elfleda, daughter of the Northumbrian king Oswy, with whom he usually conversed through a window. For more effectual isolation he dug a trench around his cabin. But in 684, yielding to the prayers of King Egfrid and the Northumbrians, he accepted the bishopric of Hexham, which he soon exchanged for that of Lindisfarne, and at the end of two years resigned his episcopal office, and retired to end his life in his hut in the isle of Fame. When the Danes came, the monks of Lindisfarne bore his relics with them in their flight from place to place, until they found a final resting place for them on the banks of the Wear; and around his shrine, a convent, cathedral, and city arose, called Dunholme (Durham). The legends and relics of St. Cuthbert remained for ages the chief treasure of Durham cathedral.

He received the name of the "Thaumaturgus of Britain." No intercession was deemed so powerful by the peasantry of the north of England, and pilgrimages were made to his shrine. His body, which according to Bede had been found incorrupt 11 years after its burial, continued for ages to enjoy that miraculous fame. His coffin was opened in 1827, and the skeleton found enveloped in five silken robes. The Roman Catholic church celebrates on Sept. 4 the festival of the translation of St. Cuthbert's relics from Lindisfarne to Durham; in some parts of Northumberland the day is still observed. - St. Cuthbert of Durham is to be distinguished from Cuthbert the Benedictine monk, who was a pupil of Bede, attended him in his last hours, and wrote a memoir of his life. Another Cuthbert was archbishop of Canterbury for 18 years from 740 to 758.