The Early Writers (late 12th - early 13th Century)
The Priory of Coldingham would, no doubt, have had a scriptorium where monks would have diligently copied texts and existing documents perhaps with illuminated capitals as a are seen in the Lindisfarne Gospels. Two were more than mere scribes and contributed original works of hagiography, biography and history.
Geoffrey of Coldingham monk and chronicler
Geoffrey or Gaufre who was the sacrist and, later, the prior of Coldingham wrote a history of Durham Cathedral which, at that time, had jurisdiction over the Priory. Geoffrey died around 1215 and his work ends abruptly at that time. The history was later added to by subsequent writers. Historiae Dunelmensis Scriptores Tres, Gaufridus de Coldingham, Robertus de Graystanes et Willielmus de Chambre He is also is credited with hagiographies of St. Bartholomew of Farne, a hermit who lived in St Cuthbert's cell and of Godric of Finchale a traveller, pilgrim, and holy man though this work is usually attributed to his contemporary, Reginald.
Reginald of Coldingham hagiologist and biographer
Reginald was possibly a native of Coldingham. . As a monk at the Priory, he was commissioned by Prior Thomas of Durham (1156 - 1162) and by Prior Ailred of Rievaux, aware of his literary ability, to visit the hermit Godric at Finchale, near Durham, with a view to writing an account of the hermit's life. As Godric was dying, Reginald took care of him and recorded his memories, his life story and songs he had composed.He catalogued four songs of St Godric's. They are the oldest songs in English for which the original musical settings survive. Reginald describes the circumstances in which Godric learnt the first song. In a vision, the Virgin Mary appeared to Godric with, at her side, "two maidens of surpassing beauty clad in shining white raiments." They pledged to come to his aid in times of need; and the Virgin herself taught Godric a song of consolation to overcome grief or temptation ("Saintë Marië Virginë").
The novel Godric (1981) by Frederick Buechner is a fictional retelling of the hermit's life and travels. It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize thus Reginald's influence extended even to the 20th century.
Later, Reginald compiled a Life of St Cuthbert and a Life of St Ebba as well as an account of her brother, King Oswald of Northumbria
The original MS. of St Ebba is in the Bodleian Library. Many of the works of these writers has been published by the Surtees Society of Durham