In 635 AD, the Irish missionary St. Aidan landed on the shores of Northumbria after traveling from the Scottish island of Iona. He founded a monastery at Lindisfarne, and monks there created these beautiful illuminated gospels. The cover is jewel-encrusted and the pages and ink contain gold. The amount of wealth that was spent on making them-- and the amount of wealth that they are worth-- is testimony to how important worship was to the creators. It is also testimony to how rich the early Catholic Church was. The illuminated art, and the cover, integrate pagan symbols and ideas into the Christian book; these symbols are Celtic, French, and German.

In 950 AD, someone added notes to the gospels to explain who had done the work on them. It seems that the bishop of Lindisfarne, Aethelwald, designed the golden binding and cover. Another bishop called Eadfrith was the scribe and might possibly be the artist of the illuminated drawings as well. The text was translated from Latin into English by a priest, Aldred.

When Viking raiders attacked the monastery in 875 AD, the monks fled with the beautiful gospels. Today they are in the British Library, in London.