The two men “gathered on the sea-shore under the town [on Lindisfarne island], those stones which they call St. Cuthbert's beads. ” The “beads,” which ranged in size from the diameter of a pea to that of a half dollar, were the ridged and perforated fossil disks of stalked crinoids, or sea lilies.According to today's knowledge, the “beads” found by Ray and Willisel originate from sea lilies that were living in a warm, shallow sea bed between 363 and 325 million years ago, when northern England was near the earth's equator.
Keywords: Echinodermata, Crinozoa, Crinoidea, crinoid stalks, paleontology, history
 Anna Marie Roos: Lilies of the Sea. Natural History December 2009 / January 2010, Volume 118, Number 10, pp. 26-30.
 N. Gary Lane and William I. Ausich: The Legend of St Cuthbert's Beads: A Palaeontological and Geological Perspective. April 2001. BNET-Article.
 Natural History Museum: Fossil Folklore, Crinoids: St Cuthbert's Beads.