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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 March 2008, 15:46 GMT
Viz creator urges gospels return
Lindisfarne Gospels
The manuscript was produced by monks on Lindisfarne
Renewed calls have been made for the return of the Lindisfarne Gospels to the north-east of England.

The illustrated manuscripts, created by monks on Northumberland's Holy Island in about 700AD, were kept at Durham Cathedral for hundreds of years.

They are currently held at the British Library in London, where it is claimed they can be seen by more people.

Now Simon Donald, co-founder of the comic Viz, has urged officials to return the gospels to Durham Cathedral.

They were produced by Eadfrith, Bishop of Lindisfarne, and are regarded as one of the most important books in history.

They are dedicated to St Cuthbert, who rose from humble beginnings to become Bishop of Lindisfarne.

A replica of the gospels is currently on show in the region.

Greatest treasures

Mr Donald said: "When looking at an ancient artefact, any archaeologist worth his salt wants to know the provenance of a discovery and its relationship to its surroundings.

"The Lindisfarne Gospels belong back in the North East, in context, where they came from."

But the British Library said it has a statutory duty to preserve the gospels.

A statement said: "The gospels are of fundamental importance to a heritage that reaches far beyond the region in which the manuscript was produced.

"The British Library Board would be seriously derelict in its obligation to provide access to these manuscripts for people of all faiths and nationalities, if we allowed this collection to be broken up by removing one of its greatest treasures."

Meanwhile on Thursday - St Cuthbert's Day - members of the Northumbrian Association were using a traditional pilgrimage from Chester-le-Street to Durham Cathedral to highlight the campaign.

Copy of Gospels returns to North
27 Nov 04 |  England

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