Priest, monk and hermit, Bartholomew, was born of Scandinavian parents at Whitby. Originally named Tostig, he changed his name to William to avoid ridicule. He had a wild youth, but suddenly changed, refusing to marry and travelling to Norway where he became a priest. Returning to England he spent three years in parish ministry. In the late 1140s he became a monk at Durham, taking the name of Bartholomew. He had a vision of Christ on the cross, turning His head towards him and stretching out His arms to embrace him.

From there Bartholomew went to the Inner Farne as a hermit and remained there for most of the next 42 years. He prayed, worked and sang. His most difficult times were two periods when he had to share the island with another hermit, but he was otherwise always cheerful and generous in welcoming his many visitors.

Lord Christ, I want to pray, work and sing to Your glory; I want to learn the art of hospitality, sharing and welcome. Like Bartholomew, there will be times when I fail, but please pick me up, turn me round and send me back to try again in Your grace. Amen.