William's strong attachment to St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne....


The 12th century painting of St Cuthbert in Durham Cathedral



St Cuthbert , whose remains were finally laid in Durham Cathedral, after a long journey around the Northof England, had a reputation of being fiercely protective of the people of Northumbria. The population over which he presided became known as the 'halifwerfolc'.The word  translates as 'people of the saint'. William would visit the tomb as often as he could and would sometimes leave a pocket stone by the tomb, or latterly, light a candle.





'The Journey', a modern sculpture representing the journey of St Cuthbert's remains to their final resting place in Durham Cathedral.




In the 1980's, William and his friend Gordon Brown mapped a path using old waggon ways from Sunderland to Durham and for many subsequent years, William, family and other friends and poets, would make the 18 mile pilgrimage on foot on the summer solstice. William completed the pilgrimage himself, well into his seventies and the tradition persisted until 2008.



To honour this aspect of William, we have a recording of 'Northumbrian Hymn on the Morning of Harvest', a formerly unpublished poem. Press the jukebox button below and select number 7 from the menu: