The Ecclesisastical History of the English People

By Paul A.T. Wilson

Bede’s The Ecclesisastical History of the English People

A Revised Translation

With Introduction, Life, and Notes


A. M. Sellar

Late Vice-Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford


George Bell and Sons



Editor’s Preface
Life Of Bede
Book I
Chap. I. Of the Situation of Britain and Ireland, and of their ancient
Chap. II. How Caius Julius Caesar was the first Roman that came into
Chap. III. How Claudius, the second of the Romans who came into
Britain, brought the islands Orcades into subjection to the Roman
empire; and Vespasian, sent by him, reduced the Isle of Wight under the
dominion of the Romans.
Chap. IV. How Lucius, king of Britain, writing to Pope Eleutherus,
desired to be made a Christian.
Chap. V. How the Emperor Severus divided from the rest by a rampart
that part of Britain which had been recovered.
Chap. VI. Of the reign of Diocletian, and how he persecuted the
Chap. VII. The Passion of St. Alban and his companions, who at that
time shed their blood for our Lord.
Chap. VIII. How, when the persecution ceased, the Church in Britain
enjoyed peace till the time of the Arian heresy.
Chap. IX. How during the reign of Gratian, Maximus, being created
Emperor in Britain, returned into Gaul with a mighty army.
Chap. X. How, in the reign of Arcadius, Pelagius, a Briton, insolently
impugned the Grace of God.
Chap. XI. How during the reign of Honorius, Gratian and Constantine
were created tyrants in Britain; and soon after the former was slain in
Britain, and the latter in Gaul.
Chap. XII. How the Britons, being ravaged by the Scots and Picts,
sought succour from the Romans, who coming a second time, built a wall
across the island; but when this was broken down at once by the
aforesaid enemies, they were reduced to greater distress than before.
Chap. XIII. How in the reign of Theodosius the younger, in whose time
Palladius was sent to the Scots that believed in Christ, the Britons
begging assistance of Ætius, the consul, could not obtain it. [446
Chap. XIV. How the Britons, compelled by the great famine, drove the
barbarians out of their territories; and soon after there ensued, along
with abundance of corn, decay of morals, pestilence, and the downfall
of the nation.
Chap. XV. How the Angles, being invited into Britain, at first drove
off the enemy; but not long after, making a league with them, turned
their weapons against their allies.
Chap. XVI. How the Britons obtained their first victory over the
Angles, under the command of Ambrosius, a Roman.
Chap. XVII. How Germanus the Bishop, sailing into Britain with Lupus,
first quelled the tempest of the sea, and afterwards that of the
Pelagians, by Divine power. [429 A.D.]
Chap. XVIII. How the some holy man gave sight to the blind daughter of
a tribune, and then coming to St. Alban, there received of his relics,
and left other relics of the blessed Apostles and other martyrs. [429
Chap. XIX. How the same holy man, being detained there by sickness, by
his prayers quenched a fire that had broken out among the houses, and
was himself cured of his infirmity by a vision. [429 A.D.]
Chap. XX. How the same Bishops brought help from Heaven to the Britons
in a battle, and then returned home. [430 A.D.]
Chap. XXI. How, when the Pelagian heresy began to spring up afresh,
Germanus, returning to Britain with Severus, first restored bodily
strength to a lame youth, then spiritual health to the people of God,
having condemned or converted the Heretics. [447 A.D.]
Chap. XXII. How the Britons, being for a time at rest from foreign
invasions, wore themselves out by civil wars, and at the same time gave
themselves up to more heinous crimes.
Chap. XXIII. How the holy Pope Gregory sent Augustine, with other
monks, to preach to the English nation, and encouraged them by a letter
of exhortation, not to desist from their labour. [596 A.D.]
Chap. XXIV. How he wrote to the bishop of Arles to entertain them. [596
Chap. XXV. How Augustine, coming into Britain, first preached in the
Isle of Thanet to the King of Kent, and having obtained licence from
him, went into Kent, in order to preach therein. [597 A.D.]
Chap. XXVI. How St. Augustine in Kent followed the doctrine and manner
of life of the primitive Church, and settled his episcopal see in the
royal city. [597 A.D.]
Chap. XXVII. How St. Augustine, being made a bishop, sent to acquaint
Pope Gregory with what had been done in Britain, and asked and received
replies, of which he stood in need. [597-601 A.D.]
Chap. XXVIII. How Pope Gregory wrote to the bishop of Arles to help
Augustine in the work of God. [601 A.D.]
Chap. XXIX. How the same Pope sent to Augustine the Pall and a letter,
along with several ministers of the Word. [601 A.D.]
Chap. XXX. A copy of the letter which Pope Gregory sent to the Abbot
Mellitus, then going into Britain. [601 A.D.]
Chap. XXXI. How Pope Gregory, by letter, exhorted Augustine not to
glory in his miracles. [601 A.D.]
Chap. XXXII. How Pope Gregory sent letters and gifts to King Ethelbert.
[601 A.D.]
Chap. XXXIII. How Augustine repaired the church of our Saviour, and
built the monastery of the blessed Peter the Apostle; and concerning
Peter the first abbot of the same.
Chap. XXXIV. How Ethelfrid, king of the Northumbrians, having
vanquished the nations of the Scots, expelled them from the territories
of the English. [603 A.D.]
Book II
Chap. I. Of the death of the blessed Pope Gregory. [604 A.D.]
Chap. II. How Augustine admonished the bishops of the Britons on behalf
of Catholic peace, and to that end wrought a heavenly miracle in their
presence; and of the vengeance that pursued them for their contempt.
[_Circ._ 603 A.D.]
Chap. III. How St. Augustine made Mellitus and Justus bishops; and of
his death. [604 A.D.]
Chap. IV. How Laurentius and his bishops admonished the Scots to
observe the unity of the Holy Church, particularly in keeping of
Easter; and how Mellitus went to Rome.
Chap. V. How, after the death of the kings Ethelbert and Sabert, their
successors restored idolatry; for which reason, both Mellitus and
Justus departed out of Britain. [616 A.D.]
Chap. VI. How Laurentius, being reproved by the Apostle Peter,
converted King Eadbald to Christ; and how the king soon recalled
Mellitus and Justus to preach the Word. [617-618 A.D.]
Chap. VII. How Bishop Mellitus by prayer quenched a fire in his city.
[619 A.D.]
Chap. VIII. How Pope Boniface sent the Pall and a letter to Justus,
successor to Mellitus. [624 A.D.]
Chap. IX. Of the reign of King Edwin, and how Paulinus, coming to
preach the Gospel, first converted his daughter and others to the
mysteries of the faith of Christ. [625-626 A.D.]
Chap. X. How Pope Boniface, by letter, exhorted the same king to
embrace the faith. [_Circ._ 625 A.D.]
Chap. XI. How Pope Boniface advised the king’s consort to use her best
endeavours for his salvation. [_Circ._ 625 A.D.]
Chap. XII. How Edwin was persuaded to believe by a vision which he had
once seen when he was in exile. [_Circ._ 616 A.D.]
Chap. XIII. Of the Council he held with his chief men concerning their
reception of the faith of Christ, and how the high priest profaned his
own altars. [627 A.D.]
Chap. XIV. How King Edwin and his nation became Christians; and where
Paulinus baptized them. [627 A.D.]
Chap. XV. How the province of the East Angles received the faith of
Christ. [627-628 A.D.]
Chap. XVI. How Paulinus preached in the province of Lindsey; and of the
character of the reign of Edwin. [_Circ._ 628 A.D.]
Chap. XVII. How Edwin received letters of exhortation from Pope
Honorius, who also sent the pall to Paulinus. [634 A.D.]
Chap. XVIII. How Honorius, who succeeded Justus in the bishopric of
Canterbury, received the pall and letters from Pope Honorius. [634
Chap. XIX. How the aforesaid Honorius first, and afterwards John, wrote
letters to the nation of the Scots, concerning the observance of
Easter, and the Pelagian heresy. [640 A.D.]
Chap. XX. How Edwin being slain, Paulinus returned into Kent, and had
the bishopric of Rochester conferred upon him. [633 A.D.]
Book III
Chap. I. How King Edwin’s next successors lost both the faith of their
nation and the kingdom; but the most Christian King Oswald retrieved
both. [633 A.D.]
Chap. II. How, among innumerable other miracles of healing wrought by
the wood of the cross, which King Oswald, being ready to engage against
the barbarians, erected, a certain man had his injured arm healed. [634
Chap. III. How the same king Oswald, asking a bishop of the Scottish
nation, had Aidan sent him, and granted him an episcopal see in the
Isle of Lindisfarne. [635 A.D.]
Chap. IV. When the nation of the Picts received the faith of Christ.
[565 A.D.]
Chap. V. Of the life of Bishop Aidan. [635 A.D.]
Chap. VI. Of King Oswald’s wonderful piety and religion. [635-642 A.D.]
Chap. VII. How the West Saxons received the Word of God by the
preaching of Birinus; and of his successors, Agilbert and Leutherius.
[635-670 A.D.]
Chap. VIII. How Earconbert, King of Kent, ordered the idols to be
destroyed; and of his daughter Earcongota, and his kinswoman Ethelberg,
virgins consecrated to God. [640 A.D.]
Chap. IX. How miracles of healing have been frequently wrought in the
place where King Oswald was killed; and how, first, a traveller’s horse
was restored and afterwards a young girl cured of the palsy. [642 A.D.]
Chap. X. How the dust of that place prevailed against fire. [After 642
Chap. XI. How a light from Heaven stood all night over his relics, and
how those possessed with devils were healed by them. [679-697 A.D.]
Chap. XII. How a little boy was cured of a fever at his tomb.
Chap. XIII. How a certain person in Ireland was restored, when at the
point of death, by his relics.
Chap. XIV. How on the death of Paulinus, Ithamar was made bishop of
Rochester in his stead; and of the wonderful humility of King Oswin,
who was cruelly slain by Oswy. [644-651 A.D.]
Chap. XV. How Bishop Aidan foretold to certain seamen that a storm
would arise, and gave them some holy oil to calm it. [Between 642 and
645 A.D.]
Chap. XVI. How the same Aidan, by his prayers, saved the royal city
when it was fired by the enemy [Before 651 A.D.]
Chap. XVII. How a prop of the church on which Bishop Aidan was leaning
when he died, could not be consumed when the rest of the Church was on
fire; and concerning his inward life. [651 A.D.]
Chap. XVIII. Of the life and death of the religious King Sigbert.
[_Circ._ 631 A.D.]
Chap. XIX. How Fursa built a monastery among the East Angles, and of
his visions and sanctity, to which, his flesh remaining uncorrupted
after death bore testimony. [_Circ._ 633 A.D.]
Chap. XX. How, when Honorius died, Deusdedit became Archbishop of
Canterbury; and of those who were at that time bishops of the East
Angles, and of the church of Rochester. [653 A.D.]
Chap. XXI. How the province of the Midland Angles became Christian
under King Peada. [653 A.D.]
Chap. XXII. How under King Sigbert, through the preaching of Cedd, the
East Saxons again received the faith, which they had before cast off.
[653 A.D.]
Chap. XXIII. How Bishop Cedd, having a place for building a monastery
given him by King Ethelwald, consecrated it to the Lord with prayer and
fasting; and concerning his death. [659-664 A.D.]
Chap. XXIV. How when King Penda was slain, the province of the Mercians
received the faith of Christ, and Oswy gave possessions and territories
to God, for building monasteries, as a thank offering for the victory
obtained. [655 A.D.]
Chap. XXV. How the question arose about the due time of keeping Easter,
with those that came out of Scotland. [664 A.D.]
Chap. XXVI. How Colman, being worsted, returned home; and Tuda
succeeded him in the bishopric; and of the state of the church under
those teachers. [664 A.D.]
Chap. XXVII. How Egbert, a holy man of the English nation, led a
monastic life in Ireland. [664 A.D.]
Chap. XXVIII. How, when Tuda was dead, Wilfrid was ordained, in Gaul,
and Ceadda, among the West Saxons, to be bishops for the province of
the Northumbrians. [664 A.D.]
Chap. XXIX. How the priest Wighard was sent from Britain to Rome, to be
ordained archbishop; of his death there, and of the letters of the
Apostolic Pope giving an account thereof. [667 A.D.]
Chap. XXX. How the East Saxons, during a pestilence, returned to
idolatry, but were soon brought back from their error by the zeal of
Bishop Jaruman. [665 A.D.]
Book IV
Chap. I. How when Deusdedit died, Wighard was sent to Rome to receive
the episcopate; but he dying there, Theodore was ordained archbishop,
and sent into Britain with the Abbot Hadrian. [664-669 A.D.]
Chap. II. How Theodore visited all places; how the Churches of the
English began to be instructed in the study of Holy Scripture, and in
the Catholic truth; and how Putta was made bishop of the Church of
Rochester in the room of Damianus. [669 A.D.]
Chap. III. How the above-mentioned Ceadda was made Bishop of the
province of Mercians. Of his life, death, and burial. [669 A.D.]
Chap. IV. How Bishop Colman, having left Britain, built two monasteries
in the country of the Scots; the one for the Scots, the other for the
English whom he had taken along with him. [667 A.D.]
Chap. V. Of the death of the kings Oswy and Egbert, and of the synod
held at the place Herutford, in which Archbishop Theodore presided.
[670-673 A.D.]
Chap. VI. How Wynfrid being deposed, Sexwulf received his bishopric,
and Earconwald was made bishop of the East Saxons. [675 A.D.]
Chap. VII. How it was indicated by a light from heaven where the bodies
of the nuns should be buried in the monastery of Berecingum. [675
Chap. VIII. How a little boy, dying in the same monastery, called upon
a virgin that was to follow him; and how another nun, at the point of
leaving her body, saw some small part of the future glory. [675 A.D.?]
Chap. IX. Of the signs which were shown from Heaven when the mother of
that community departed this life. [675 A.D.?]
Chap. X. How a blind woman, praying in the burial-place of that
monastery, was restored to her sight. [675 A.D.?]
Chap. XI. How Sebbi, king of the same province, ended his life in a
monastery. [694 A.D.]
Chap. XII. How Haedde succeeded Leutherius in the bishopric of the West
Saxons; how Cuichelm succeeded Putta in the bishopric of the church of
Rochester, and was himself succeeded by Gebmund; and who were then
bishops of the Northumbrians. [673-681 A.D.]
Chap. XIII. How Bishop Wilfrid converted the province of the South
Saxons to Christ. [681 A.D.]
Chap. XIV. How a pestilence ceased through the intercession of King
Oswald. [681-686 A.D.]
Chap. XV. How King Caedwalla, king of the Gewissae, having slain
Ethelwalch, wasted that Province with cruel slaughter and devastation.
[685 A.D.]
Chap. XVI. How the Isle of Wight received Christian inhabitants, and
two royal youths of that island were killed immediately after Baptism.
[686 A.D.]
Chap. XVII. Of the Synod held in the plain of Haethfelth, Archbishop
Theodore being president. [680 A.D.]
Chap. XVIII. Of John, the precentor of the Apostolic see, who came into
Britain to teach. [680 A.D.]
Chap. XIX. How Queen Ethelthryth always preserved her virginity, and
her body suffered no corruption in the grave. [660-696 A.D.]
Chap. XX. A Hymn concerning her.
Chap. XXI. How Bishop Theodore made peace between the kings Egfrid and
Ethelred. [679 A.D.]
Chap. XXII. How a certain captive’s chains fell off when Masses were
sung for him. [679 A.D.]
Chap. XXIII. Of the life and death of the Abbess Hilda. [614-680 A.D.]
Chap. XXIV. That there was in her monastery a brother, on whom the gift
of song was bestowed by Heaven. [680 A.D.]
Chap. XXV. Of the vision that appeared to a certain man of God before
the monastery of the city Coludi was burned down.
Chap. XXVI. Of the death of the Kings Egfrid and Hlothere. [684-685
Chap. XXVII. How Cuthbert, a man of God, was made bishop; and how he
lived and taught whilst still in the monastic life. [685 A.D.]
Chap. XXVIII. How the same St. Cuthbert, living the life of an
Anchorite, by his prayers obtained a spring in a dry soil, and had a
crop from seed sown by the labour of his hands out of season. [676
Chap. XXIX. How this bishop foretold that his own death was at hand to
the anchorite Herebert. [687 A.D.]
Chap. XXX. How his body was found altogether uncorrupted after it had
been buried eleven years; and how his successor in the bishopric
departed this world not long after. [698 A.D.]
Chap. XXXI. Of one that was cured of a palsy at his tomb.
Chap. XXXII. Of one who was lately cured of a disease in his eye at the
relics of St. Cuthbert.
Book V
Chap. I. How Ethelwald, successor to Cuthbert, leading a hermit’s life,
calmed a tempest by his prayers when the brethren were in danger at
sea. [687-699 A.D.]
Chap. II. How Bishop John cured a dumb man by his blessing. [687 A.D.]
Chap. III. How he healed a sick maiden by his prayers. [705 A.D.]
Chap. IV. How he healed a thegn’s wife that was sick, with holy water.
Chap. V. How he likewise recalled by his prayers a thegn’s servant from
Chap. VI. How, both by his prayers and blessing, he recalled from death
one of his clerks, who had bruised himself by a fall.
Chap. VII. How Caedwalla, king of the West Saxons, went to Rome to be
baptized; and his successor Ini, also devoutly journeyed to the same
threshold of the holy Apostles. [688 A.D.]
Chap. VIII. How, when Archbishop Theodore died, Bertwald succeeded him
as archbishop, and, among many others whom he ordained, he made the
learned Tobias bishop of the church of Rochester. [690 A.D.]
Chap. IX. How the holy man, Egbert, would have gone into Germany to
preach, but could not; and how Wictbert went, but because he availed
nothing, returned into Ireland, whence he came. [Circ. 688 A.D.]
Chap. X. How Wilbrord, preaching in Frisland, converted many to Christ;
and how his two companions, the Hewalds, suffered martyrdom. [690 A.D.]
Chap. XI. How the venerable Suidbert in Britain, and Wilbrord at Rome,
were ordained bishops for Frisland. [692 A.D.]
Chap. XII. How one in the province of the Northumbrians, rose from the
dead, and related many things which he had seen, some to be greatly
dreaded and some to be desired. [Circ. 696 A.D.]
Chap. XIII. How another contrarywise before his death saw a book
containing his sins, which was shown him by devils. [704-709 A.D.]
Chap. XIV. How another in like manner, being at the point of death, saw
the place of punishment appointed for him in Hell.
Chap. XV. How divers churches of the Scots, at the instance of Adamnan,
adopted the Catholic Easter; and how the same wrote a book about the
holy places. [703 A.D.]
Chap. XVI. The account given in the aforesaid book of the place of our
Lord’s Nativity, Passion, and Resurrection.
Chap. XVII. What he likewise wrote of the place of our Lord’s
Ascension, and the tombs of the patriarchs.
Chap. XVIII. How the South Saxons received Eadbert and Eolla, and the
West Saxons, Daniel and Aldhelm, for their bishops; and of the writings
of the same Aldhelm. [705 A.D.]
Chap. XIX. How Coinred, king of the Mercians, and Offa, king of the
East Saxons, ended their days at Rome, in the monastic habit; and of
the life and death of Bishop Wilfrid. [709 A.D.]
Chap. XX. How Albinus succeeded to the godly Abbot Hadrian, and Acca to
Bishop Wilfrid. [709 A.D.]
Chap. XXI. How the Abbot Ceolfrid sent master-builders to the King of
the Picts to build a church, and with them an epistle concerning the
Catholic Easter and the Tonsure. [710 A.D.]
Chap. XXII. How the monks of Hii, and the monasteries subject to them,
began to celebrate the canonical Easter at the preaching of Egbert.
[716 A.D.]
Chap. XXIII. Of the present state of the English nation, or of all
Britain. [725-731 A.D.]
Chap. XXIV. Chronological recapitulation of the whole work: also
concerning the author himself.


The English version of the "Ecclesiastical History" in the following pages
is a revision of the translation of Dr. Giles, which is itself a revision
of the earlier rendering of Stevens. In the present edition very
considerable alterations have been made, but the work of Dr. Giles remains
the basis of the translation. The Latin text used throughout is Mr.
Plummer’s. Since the edition of Dr. Giles appeared in 1842, so much fresh
work on the subject has been done, and recent research has brought so many
new facts to light, that it has been found necessary to rewrite the notes
almost entirely, and to add a new introduction. After the appearance of
Mr. Plummer’s edition of the Historical Works of Bede, it might seem
superfluous, for the present at least, to write any notes at all on the
"Ecclesiastical History." The present volume, however, is intended to
fulfil a different and much humbler function. There has been no attempt at
any original work, and no new theories are advanced. The object of the
book is merely to present in a short and convenient form the substance of
the views held by trustworthy authorities, and it is hoped that it may be
found useful by those students who have either no time or no inclination
to deal with more important works.

Among the books of which most use has been made, are Mr. Plummer’s edition
of the "Ecclesiastical History," Messrs. Mayor and Lumby’s edition of
Books III and IV, Dr. Bright’s "Early English Church History," and Dr.
Hunt’s "History of the English Church from its foundation to the Norman
Conquest." Many of the articles in the "Dictionary of Christian Biography"
and the "Dictionary of Christian Antiquities," Dr. Mason’s "Mission of St.
Augustine," Dr. Rhys’s "Celtic Britain," and a number of other books,
mentioned in the notes, have been consulted.

For help received in different ways I wish to express my gratitude to
various correspondents and friends. I am particularly indebted to Mr.
Edward Bell, who has kindly revised my proofs and made many valuable
suggestions. For information on certain points I have to thank the Rev.
Charles Plummer, Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Professor
Lindsay of St. Andrews University, Miss Wordsworth, Principal, and Miss
Lodge, Vice-Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford; and in a very special
sense I wish to acknowledge my obligations to Miss Paterson, Assistant
Librarian at the University Library, St. Andrews, whose unfailing kindness
in verifying references, and supplying me with books, has greatly
lightened my labours.


There are, it has been estimated, in England and on the Continent, in all
about 140 manuscripts of the "Ecclesiastical History." Of these, four date
from the eighth century: the Moore MS. (Cambridge), so called, because,
after being sold by auction in the reign of William III, it came into the
possession of Bishop Moore, who bequeathed it to the University of
Cambridge; Cotton, Tiberius A, xiv; Cotton, Tiberius C, ii; and the Namur
MS. A detailed account of these, as well as of a great number of other
manuscripts, will be found in Mr. Plummer’s Introduction to his edition of
Bede’s Historical Works. He has been the first to collate the four oldest
MSS., besides examining numerous others and collating them in certain
passages. He has pointed out that two of the MSS. dating from the eighth
century (the century in which Bede died), the Moore MS. and Cotton,
Tiberius A, xiv, point to a common original which cannot be far removed
from Bede’s autograph. We are thus brought very near to our author, and
may have more than in most cases the assurance that we have before us what
he actually meant to say.

The earliest editions were printed on the Continent; the "editio princeps"
is believed to date from 1475. A number of editions followed in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the first in England was published by
Abraham Whelock at Cambridge in 1643-4. Smith’s edition in 1722 marked a
new era in the history of the book. It was the first critical edition, the
text being based on the Moore MS. collated with three others, of which two
were eighth century MSS.; and succeeding editors, Stevenson (1841), Giles
(1842), Hussey (1846), the editor in the "Monumenta Historica Britannica"
(1848), Moberly (1869), Holder (1882), base their work mainly on Smith’s.
Mr. Mayor and Mr. Lumby together edited Books III and IV with excellent
notes in 1878. Their text "reproduces exactly the Moore MS." which they
collated with some other Cambridge MSS. (cf. Mayor and Lumby, Excursus
II). In 1896 the Rev. C. Plummer published his edition of Bede’s
Historical Works, the first critical edition since Smith’s, and "the very
first which exhibits in an _apparatus criticus_ the various readings of
the MSS. on which the text is based." For the student of Bede this
admirable book is of the highest value, and the labours of all succeeding
editors are made comparatively light. Besides the most minute and accurate
work on the text, it contains a copious and interesting commentary and the
fullest references to the various sources upon which the editor has drawn.

The first translation of the "Ecclesiastical History" is the Anglo-Saxon
version, executed either by Alfred himself or under his immediate
supervision. Of this version Dr. Hodgkin says: "As this book had become a
kind of classic among churchmen, Alfred allowed himself here less liberty
than in some of his other translations. Some letters, epitaphs, and
similar documents are omitted, and there is an almost complete erasure of
the chapters relating to the wearisome Paschal controversy. In other
respects the king’s translation seems to be a fairly accurate reproduction
of the original work." Mr. Plummer, however, finds it "very rarely
available for the settlement of minute differences of reading."

The first modern English translation is Thomas Stapleton’s (1565),
published at Antwerp. It is a controversial work, intended to point out to
Queen Elizabeth "in how many and weighty pointes the pretended refourmers
of the Church ... have departed from the patern of that sounde and
Catholike faith planted first among Englishmen by holy S. Augustin, our
Apostle, and his vertuous company, described truly and sincerely by
Venerable Bede, so called in all Christendom for his passing vertues and
rare lerning, the Author of this History." To save Elizabeth’s time "in
espying out the particulars," the translator has "gathered out of the
whole History a number of diversities between the pretended religion of
Protestants and the primitive faith of the english Church." If charm and
appropriateness of style were the only qualities to be aimed at in a
translation, we might well content ourselves with this rendering, which
fills with despair the translator of to-day, debarred by his date from
writing Elizabethan English.

The work was again translated by John Stevens (1723), and a third time
(with some omissions) by W. Hurst in 1814. In 1840 Dr. Giles published a
new edition of Stevens’s translation with certain alterations; and a
second edition of the same volume was published in 1842, and incorporated
in the collected works of Bede, edited by Dr. Giles. In 1870 a literal
translation by the Rev. L. Gidley was published. The present volume is a
revision of the translation of Dr. Giles.

A brief analysis of the work may be of some use to the student in keeping
distinct the different threads of the narrative, as owing to the variety
of subjects introduced, and the want of strict chronological order, it is
difficult to grasp the sequence of events as a coherent whole.

The sources from which Bede draws his material are briefly indicated in
the dedication to King Ceolwulf which forms the Preface, and in it he
acknowledges his obligations to the friends and correspondents who have
helped and encouraged him. For the greater part of Book I (cc. 1-22),
which forms the introduction to his real subject, he depends on earlier
authors. Here he does not specify his sources, but indicates them
generally as _priorum scripta_. These authors are mainly Pliny, Solinus,
Orosius, Eutropius, and the British historian Gildas. In the story of
Germanus and Lupus he follows closely the Life of Germanus by Constantius
of Lyons. Prosper of Aquitaine also supplies him with some materials. When
he comes to his main subject, the History of the English Church, he
appears to rely but little upon books. Only a very few are referred to
here and there, _e.g._, The Life of St. Fursa, The Life of St. Ethelburg,
Adamnan’s work on the Holy Places, and the Anonymous Life of St. Cuthbert.
That some form of annalistic records existed before his time, and that
these were consulted by him, we may infer from some of his chronological
references (cf. iii, 1, 9). Local information with regard to provinces
other than Northumbria he obtains from his correspondents in various parts
of England, and these are expressly mentioned in the Preface.

For the history of the Roman mission and of Kent generally, as well as
some particulars with regard to the conversion of other provinces, his
chief source is the Church of Canterbury, which apparently possessed,
besides oral tradition, written documents relating to the first beginnings
of the Church. Moreover, Nothelm, who was the bearer of much important
material, had been to Rome and had permission to search the papal
archives. But it is in dealing with the history of Northumbria, as is
natural, that Bede’s information is most varied and copious. Much of it is
apparently obtained directly from eye-witnesses of the events, much would
doubtless be preserved in the records of the Church of Lindisfarne, to
which he had access, perhaps also in his own monastery. We know that the
monasteries kept calendars in which the death-days of saints and others
were entered, and other records of similar nature (cf. iv, 14), and that
these were used as materials for history.

Passing to the history itself, we may trace a division of subjects or
periods roughly analogous to the division into books. Book I contains the
long introduction, the sending of the Roman mission, and the foundation of
the Church; Books II and III, the period of missionary activity and the
establishment of Christianity throughout the land. Book IV may be said to
describe the period of organization. In Book V the English Church itself
becomes a missionary centre, planting the faith in Germany, and drawing
the Celtic Churches into conformity with Rome.

BOOK I.—In Book I, cc. 1-22, Bede sketches the early history of Britain,
describing the country and giving some account of the various races by
whom it was inhabited. The story of the Roman occupation is narrated at
some length, the invasions of the Picts and Scots and consequent miseries
of the Britons, their appeals for help to the Romans, the final departure
of their protectors, and the coming of the Saxons are described. We have
some shadowy outlines of British Church History in the legendary account
of the conversion of King Lucius, in the story of St. Alban, affording
evidence of a great persecution of Christians during the Roman occupation,
in the allusions to the Arian and Pelagian heresies, and in the mission of
Germanus and Lupus. A brief allusion to the mission of Palladius is all
that we hear of the Irish Church at this period.

These chapters are introductory to the main subject, the History of the
English Church, which begins in Chapter 23 with the mission of St.
Augustine in 597 A.D. The reception of the Christian faith in the kingdom
of Kent and the foundation of a national Church occupy the remaining
chapters of the book. Various letters of Pope Gregory relating to the
mission and his answers to the questions of Augustine are given at length;
and the Book concludes with a piece of Northumbrian history, Ethelfrid’s
conquests of the Britons and the defeat of Aedan, king of the Dalriadic
Scots, at Degsastan in 603 A.D.

BOOK II.—Book II opens with a biographical sketch of Gregory the Great,
the founder of the Mission. This is followed by an account of Augustine’s
negotiations with the leaders of the British Church with regard to the
Paschal question and some other matters, his failure to win them over (a
failure apparently largely due to his own want of tact in dealing with the
susceptible Celtic temperament), his alleged prophecy of disaster and its
fulfilment some time after at the battle of Chester. Then we have the
consecration of Mellitus to London, as Bishop of the East Saxons, and
Justus to Rochester (604 A.D.); the evangelization of the East Saxons by
Mellitus; the death of Augustine and succession of Laurentius as
Archbishop (no date is given; it may have been in 605); fresh attempts at
union with the Celtic Churches, in which again we can perceive a failure
of courtesy on the one side met by an obstinate pride on the other. The
death of Ethelbert in Kent (616 A.D.) and that of Sabert in Essex, soon
after, lead to a pagan reaction in both provinces; Mellitus and Justus
take refuge on the Continent; Laurentius, intending to follow them, is
stopped by a vision which leads to the conversion of King Eadbald and the
recovery of Kent for Christianity. Essex, however, continues to be pagan.
On the death of Laurentius (619 A.D.), Mellitus succeeds to Canterbury and
is himself succeeded by Justus (in 624). In Chapter 9 we enter upon a new
development of the highest importance in the work of the mission. The
marriage of Edwin, king of Northumbria, and the Kentish princess,
Ethelberg, brings about the conversion of Northumbria through the
preaching of Paulinus. The story is told in detail. Letters from Pope
Boniface to Edwin and his consort are quoted at length, Edwin’s early
history with its bearing on the great crisis of his life is related;
finally we have the decisive debate in the Witenagemot at Goodmanham and
the baptism of the king at Easter, 627 A.D. Through the influence of Edwin
on Earpwald, king of East Anglia, that province is next converted, but on
the death of Earpwald the people lapse into paganism for three years, till
Christianity is finally established by the labours of Bishop Felix, under
the enlightened King Sigbert, who had himself been drawn to the faith in

Meanwhile, peace and prosperity reign in Northumbria, and Paulinus extends
his preaching to Lindsey. He re-receives the pall from Pope Honorius, in
accordance with the original intention of Gregory that the Bishop of York
should rank as a metropolitan. At Canterbury, Justus is succeeded by
Archbishop Honorius. Parenthetically we have extracts from letters,
probably of the year 640 A.D., addressed by the Roman see to the Irish
clergy on the Paschal question and the Pelagian heresy.

In Chapter 20 we have a dramatic climax to the book in the overthrow and
death of Edwin at the battle of Hatfield in 633 A.D.; the devastation of
Northumbria by the British king, Caedwalla, and Penda of Mercia; and the
flight of Paulinus, taking with him Ethelberg and Eanfled to Kent, where
he ends his life in charge of the Church of Rochester. His work in
Northumbria seems for the time, at least, wholly overthrown. Only James
the Deacon remains heroically at his post to keep alive the smouldering
embers of the faith.

BOOK III.—Book III opens with the story of the apostasy of the
Northumbrian kings and the miseries of the "Hateful Year," terminated by
the victory of Oswald at Heavenfield in 634 A.D. Christianity is brought
again to Northumbria (635 A.D.) by the Celtic Mission, sent from Iona at
the request of Oswald, who nobly co-operates with Aidan in the work of
evangelization. Aidan fixes his see at Lindisfarne. The mention of Iona
leads to a short account of the mission of St. Columba to the Northern
Picts in 565 A.D., and incidentally of St. Ninian’s mission to the
Southern Picts "long before"; the grant of Iona to St. Columba, and its
constitution, the character of its monks and their error with regard to
Easter. The characters of Aidan and Oswald are described; and the union of
Deira and Bernicia under Oswald is briefly mentioned.

In Chapter 7 we pass to a fresh missionary enterprise. Birinus, sent to
Britain by Pope Honorius, converts the West Saxons. Their king, Cynegils,
is baptized, and a see is established at Dorchester, in Oxfordshire. Under
Coinwalch, the successor of Cynegils, the province passes through various
vicissitudes, political and ecclesiastical, and finally the West Saxon see
is fixed at Winchester.

In Kent, Earconbert succeeds Eadbald in 640 A.D., and takes vigorous
measures for the suppression of idolatry. His daughter, Earcongota, and
many other high-born English ladies enter the religious life in Gaul, for
convents are still scarce in England.

In Chapter 9, reverting to the history of Northumbria, Bede tells us of
the death of Oswald at Maserfelth in 642, and relates at length various
miracles wrought by his relics. Oswald is succeeded by Oswy in Bernicia
and in Deira by Oswin. The latter is treacherously murdered by Oswy; his
character is described. The death of Aidan (in 651) immediately follows
that of his beloved king; Aidan’s miracles are related, and a warm tribute
is paid to his character, in spite of the inevitable error with regard to
Easter, which is severely condemned.

In Chapter 18, passing again to East Anglian history, we hear of King
Sigbert’s services to education, and of his retirement to a monastery from
which he was forcibly drawn to fall in battle against the Mercians. (The
chronology is here very vague.) A vision of the Irish St. Fursa, who
founded the monastery of Cnobheresburg in East Anglia is told in detail.
Changes in the episcopate in East Anglia and elsewhere are mentioned.
Deusdedit succeeds Honorius as Archbishop of Canterbury in 654.

Again, a Northumbrian prince gives a fresh impulse to the spread of
Christianity. In 653 the Middle Angles (who occupied a part of Mercia) are
converted, their prince, Peada, being persuaded chiefly by his
brother-in-law, Alchfrid, a son of Oswy. Four priests are sent to them to
preach and baptize, Cedd, Adda, Betti, and Diuma, and Diuma becomes bishop
of the Middle Angles and Mercians. Similarly, at this time, King Sigbert
of Essex listens to the exhortations of his friend, King Oswy, and, at the
preaching of Cedd, the East Saxons receive the faith a second time. Cedd
becomes their bishop. Sigbert’s tragic death is related. His successor,
Suidhelm, receives baptism at the hands of Cedd. The foundation of
Lastingham by Ethelwald of Deira and its consecration by Cedd are
described. Cedd dies of the plague of 664.

Meanwhile, important political changes have taken place in the north: the
defeat and death of Penda at the Winwaed in 655 are followed by Oswy’s
rule, which established Christianity in Mercia, in spite of a successful
rebellion after three years, when the Mercians threw off the yoke of
Northumbria and set up Penda’s son, Wulfhere, as their king.

In Chapter 25 we come to the Synod of Whitby (664 A.D.), which settled the
Easter question for the English Church. Wilfrid comes to the front as a
champion of the Catholic rules. The opposing party either retire or
conform. The self-denial and devotion of the Celtic missionaries are
highly praised, and some account of the life led by English students in
Ireland follows, with the story of the self-dedication of Egbert, who is
destined to play a prominent part afterwards in the history of the Church.

The consecration of both Wilfrid and Ceadda (664 A.D.), as bishops of
Northumbria leads to complications in the episcopate. An important step
towards the unity of the English nation in ecclesiastical matters is taken
when Wighard is sent to Rome by the kings Oswy and Egbert, acting in
concert, to be consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury (667 A.D.). Wighard
dies there, and Pope Vitalian undertakes to find an archbishop for the
English Church.

The book ends with a fresh apostasy in Essex during the miseries of the
great plague of 664. Mercia, so lately itself evangelized, becomes a new
missionary centre, King Wulfhere sending Bishop Jaruman to recall the East
Saxons to the faith.

BOOK IV.—In all but one of the kingdoms of England Christianity is now, at
least in name, established, and the Church settles down to the work of
organization. The man for this task is found in Theodore of Tarsus,
consecrated Archbishop of the English in 668. He arrives at Canterbury in
669. We hear at once of the vigorous impulse given by him and Abbot
Hadrian to the various departments of education there. Finding an
irregularity in Ceadda’s orders, he completes his ordination and makes him
Bishop of the Mercians (probably in 669), with his see at Lichfield.
Ceadda’s death (672 A.D.), his character, and the miracles and visions
connected with him are described. Parenthetically we get an account of
Colman’s activity in Ireland after his retirement, in consequence of the
decision at Whitby. The most important political events at this time are
the death of Oswy and succession of Egfrid in Northumbria in 670 or 671,
and the death of Egbert and succession of Hlothere in Kent in 673.

In the same year the Council of Hertford, the first English provincial
council, is held, and marks the strength and independence of the Church.
Theodore proceeds with his reforms in the episcopate. Various events of
ecclesiastical importance follow; the East Anglian diocese is divided
about this time, and other changes are effected.

Essex, so long prone to lapses into paganism, becomes at this time a
centre of religious life under its Bishop Earconwald and its king Sebbi.
Earconwald, whose holiness is attested by many miraculous circumstances,
was the founder of the monasteries of Chertsey and Barking, the latter of
which was ruled by his sister, the saintly Ethelburg. Various miracles are
related in connection with her and her monastery. The king of the East
Saxons, Sebbi, is a man of unusual piety who resigns his kingdom and
receives the tonsure.

After a brief allusion to West Saxon history, the devastation of Kent by
Ethelred of Mercia in 676, and certain changes in the episcopate, we come
to an important step in the organization of the Church taken by Theodore.
In pursuance of his policy of increasing the number of bishops, he
subdivides the great Northumbrian diocese. Wilfrid is expelled (678 A.D.).
From these events we pass summarily to the evangelization of the South
Saxons by Wilfrid, who extends his labours to the Isle of Wight, and thus
the last of the English provinces is won for the faith.

In the Council of Hatfield (680 A.D.) the English Church asserts its
orthodoxy and unites with the continental Churches in repudiating the
heresy of the Monothelites. Turning to Northumbrian history, we have the
story of Egfrid’s queen, Ethelthryth, and a hymn composed in her honour by
Bede. The war between Mercia and Northumbria in 679 is ended by the
mediation of Theodore, and a miracle in connection with the battle of the
Trent is related.

The remainder of the book is occupied mainly with Northumbrian history,
the life and death of Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, the story of the poet
Caedmon, the destruction of Coldingham, prophesied by the monk Adamnan,
Egfrid’s invasion of Ireland (684 A.D.) and of the country of the Picts
(685 A.D.), his defeat and death in that year, the decline of Northumbria,
the flight of Bishop Trumwine from Abercorn, and the succession of Aldfrid
to the kingdom. The death of Hlothere of Kent (685 A.D.) is followed by
anarchy in that province, till Wictred succeeds and restores peace.

In Chapters 27-32 we have an account of the life of St. Cuthbert and
stories of the miracles wrought by his relics.

BOOK V.—Book V opens with the story of the holy Ethelwald, who succeeded
Cuthbert as anchorite at Farne, and a miracle wrought through his
intercession. This is followed (cc. 2-6) by an account of John of
Beverley, Bishop of Hexham, and the miracles attributed to him. In Chapter
7 we have a piece of West Saxon history: Caedwalla, King of Wessex, after
a life of war and bloodshed, goes to Rome to receive baptism there, and
dies immediately after his admission into the Church (689 A.D.). He is
succeeded by Ini, who in 725 likewise ended his days at Rome.

In 690 Theodore dies, after an episcopate of twenty-two years. Bertwald
succeeds him at Canterbury in 693.

At this time Englishmen begin to extend their missionary enterprise
abroad. Various missions are undertaken by men who have lived long in
Ireland and caught the Celtic zeal for the work of evangelization. The
story is told of the attempted mission of Egbert to Germany and the
unsuccessful venture of Witbert. Wilbrord (in 690) and others plant the
faith among the German tribes.

The vision of Drythelm is inserted here, probably on chronological grounds
("his temporibus"), and other visions of the future world follow.

Apparently about the same time a change is effected in the attitude of the
greater part of the Celtic Church towards the Paschal question. The
Northern Irish are converted to the Roman usages by Adamnan, Abbot of
Iona, whose book on the "Holy Places" is here described (cc. 16-17).

The death of Aldfrid and succession of Osred in Northumbria in 705 are the
next events narrated.

About this time the division of the West Saxon diocese is carried out,
Aldhelm being appointed to Sherborne and Daniel to Winchester; the South
Saxons receive a bishop of their own for the first time. In 709 A.D.
Coenred of Mercia and Offa of Essex receive the tonsure at Rome, and in
the same year Bishop Wilfrid dies. The story of his life is told.

Not long after, Hadrian dies and is succeeded by Albinus as Abbot of St.
Augustine’s. Bede’s friend, Acca, succeeds Wilfrid as Bishop of Hexham.
His services to the Church are enumerated.

An important step is taken at this time by the Northern Picts in the
acceptance of the Roman rules with regard to Easter and the tonsure. The
letter of Abbot Ceolfrid of Wearmouth and Jarrow to the Pictish king
Naiton on this subject is quoted at length. Soon after, Iona yields to the
preaching of Egbert, and receives the Catholic usages. Egbert dies in 729.
In Chapter 23 a number of events are briefly mentioned; the death of
Wictred of Kent in 725, and the succession of his sons, the death of the
learned Tobias, Bishop of Rochester, in 726, the appearance of two comets
in 729, followed by the devastation of Gaul by the Saracens, the death of
the Northumbrian king Osric, and succession of Ceolwulf in 729; finally,
the death of Archbishop Bertwald in 731 and the succession of Tatwine.
Then follows an account of the state of the English episcopate in 731, the
year in which Bede finished the History. The relations of the English with
Picts, Scots, and Britons are described, and some allusion is made to the
growth of monasticism in this time of external peace.

The book closes in Chapter 24 with a chronological summary of the whole
work, an autobiographical sketch of the author, and a list of his works.


Few lives afford less material for the biographer than Bede’s; few seem to
possess a more irresistible fascination. Often as the simple story has
been told, the desire to tell it afresh appears to be perennial. And yet
it is perhaps as wholly devoid of incident as any life could be. The short
autobiographical sketch at the end of the "Ecclesiastical History" tells
us practically all: that he was born in the territory of the twin
monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow; that at the age of seven he was sent by
his kinsfolk to be brought up, first under the Abbot Benedict, afterwards
under Ceolfrid; that in his nineteenth year (the canonical age was
twenty-five) he was admitted to the diaconate, and received priest’s
orders in his thirtieth year, in both instances at the hands of John,
Bishop of Hexham, and by order of the Abbot Ceolfrid; that he spent his
whole life in the monastery in learning, in teaching, and in writing, and
in the observance of the monastic rule and attendance at the daily
services of the Church. Of his family we know nothing; the name Beda
appears to have been not uncommon. The fact that he was handed over by
kinsmen ("cura propinquorum") to Abbot Benedict would seem to imply that
he was an orphan when he entered the monastery at the age of seven, but it
was not unusual for parents to dedicate their infant children to the
religious life, in many cases even at an earlier age than Bede’s. We may
compare the story of the little boy, Aesica, at Barking, related by Bede,
and of Elfled, the daughter of Oswy, dedicated by her father before she
was a year old.

The epithet "Venerable," commonly attached to his name, has given rise to
more than one legend. It was apparently first applied to him in the ninth
century, and is said to have been an appellation of priests. The best
known of these legends is Fuller’s story of a certain "dunce monk" who set
about writing Bede’s epitaph, and being unable to complete the verse, "Hic
sunt in fossa Bedae ... ossa," went to bed with his task unfinished.
Returning to it in the morning, he found that an angel had filled the gap
with the word "venerabilis." Another account tells how Bede, in his old
age, when his eyes were dim, was induced by certain "mockers" to preach,
under the mistaken belief that the people were assembled to hear him. As
he ended his sermon with a solemn invocation of the Trinity, the angels
(in one version it is the stones of a rocky valley) responded "Amen, very
venerable Bede."

The land on which Bede was born was granted by Egfrid to Benedict Biscop
for the foundation of the monasteries a short time after the birth of
Bede. Wearmouth was founded in 674, Jarrow in 681 or 682. Bede was among
those members of the community who were transferred to Jarrow under Abbot
Ceolfrid, and under his rule and that of his successor, Huaetbert, he
passed his life. With regard to the chief dates, the authorities differ,
Simeon of Durham and others placing his birth as late as 677. Bede himself
tells us that he was in his fifty-ninth year when he wrote the short
autobiography at the end of the History. That work was finished in 731,
and there seems to be no good reason to suppose that the autobiographical
sketch was written at a later time. We may infer then that he was born in
673, that he was ordained deacon in 691 and priest in 702. For his death,
735, the date given in the "Continuation," seems to be supported by the
evidence of the letter of Cuthbert to Cuthwin (_v. infra_). From this it
appears that he died on a Wednesday, which nevertheless is called
Ascension Day, implying, doubtless, that his death occurred on the eve,
after the festival had begun, according to ecclesiastical reckoning. It is
further explained that Ascension Day was on the 26th of May ("VII Kal.
Junii"),(1) which was actually the case in the year 735.

Beyond the testimony borne to his exceptional diligence as a student in a
letter from Alcuin to the monks of Wearmouth and Jarrow, we hear nothing
of his childhood and early youth. One anecdote in the Anonymous History of
the Abbots may perhaps refer to him, though no name is given. It tells
how, when the plague of 686 devastated the monastery, the Abbot Ceolfrid,
for lack of fit persons to assist at the daily offices, decided to recite
the psalms without antiphons, except at vespers and matins. But after a
week’s trial, unable to bear it any longer, he restored the antiphons to
their proper place, and with the help of one little boy carried on the
services in the usual manner. This little boy is described as being, at
the time the History was written, a priest of that monastery who "duly,
both by his words and writings, commends the Abbot’s praiseworthy deeds to
all who seek to know them," and he has generally been supposed to be Bede.

In the "Ecclesiastical History" (IV, 3) there is an allusion to Bede’s
teachers, one of whom, Trumbert, educated at Lastingham under Ceadda, is
mentioned by name. The monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow must have offered
exceptional facilities for study. Benedict had enriched it with many
treasures which he brought with him from his travels. Chief among these
was the famous library which he founded and which was enlarged by Abbot
Ceolfrid. Here Bede acquired that wide and varied learning revealed in his
historical, scientific, and theological works. He studied with particular
care and reverence the patristic writings; his theological treatises were,
as he says, "compiled out of the works of the venerable Fathers." He must
have had a considerable knowledge of Greek, probably he knew some Hebrew.
Though he is not wholly free from the mediaeval churchman’s distrust of
pagan authors, he constantly betrays his acquaintance with them, and the
sense of form which must unconsciously influence the student of classical
literature has passed into his own writings and preserved him from the
barbarism of monkish Latin. His style is singularly clear, simple, and
fluent, as free from obscurity as from affectation and bombast.

Thus was the foundation laid of that sound learning upon which his
widespread influence both as a teacher and writer was reared. "I always
took delight," he tells us, "in learning, or teaching, or writing."
Probably his writing was, as is so often the case, the outcome of his
teaching; his object in both is to meet "the needs of the brethren." One
of his pupils was Archbishop Egbert, the founder of the school of York,
which gave a fresh impulse to learning, not only in England, but through
Alcuin in France, at a time when a revival was most to be desired.

It was to Egbert that he paid one of the only two visits which he records.
In the "Epistola ad Ecgbertum" he alludes to a short stay he had made with
him the year before, and declines, on account of the illness which proved
to be his last, an invitation to visit him again. He visited Lindisfarne
in connection with his task of writing the life of Cuthbert. Otherwise we
have no authentic record of any absence from the monastery. The story that
he went to Rome at the request of Pope Sergius, founded on a statement of
William of Malmesbury, is now regarded as highly improbable. The oldest
MS. of the letter of Sergius, requesting Ceolfrid to send one of his monks
to Rome, has no mention of the name of Bede. If such an event had ever
disturbed his accustomed course of life, it is inconceivable that he
should nowhere allude to it. Still less is the assertion that he lived and
taught at Cambridge one which need be seriously debated by the present

We may fairly assume that, except for a few short absences such as the
visits to York and Lindisfarne, his whole life was spent in the monastery.
It must have been a life of unremitting toil. His writings, numerous as
they are, covering a wide range of subjects and involving the severest
study, can only have been a part of his work; he had, besides, his duties
as priest, teacher, and member of a religious community to fulfil. Even
the manual labour of his literary work must have been considerable. He did
not employ an amanuensis, and he had not the advantages with regard to
copyists which a member of one of the larger monasteries might have had.
"Ipse mihi dictator simul notarius (= shorthand writer) et librarius (=
copyist)," he writes. Yet he never flags. Through all the outward monotony
of his days his own interest remains fresh. He "takes delight" ("dulce
habui") in it all. It is a life full of eager activity in intellectual
things, of a keen and patriotic interest in the wider life beyond the
monastery walls, which shows itself sadly enough in his reflections on the
evils of the times, of the ardent charity which spends itself in labour
for the brethren, and, pervading the whole, that spirit of quiet obedience
and devotion which his own simple words describe as "the observance of
monastic rule and the daily charge of singing in the Church." We can
picture him, at the appointed hours, breaking off his absorbing
occupations to take his place at the daily offices, lest, as he believed,
he should fail to meet the angels there. Alcuin records a saying of his,
"I know that angels visit the canonical hours and the congregations of the
brethren. What if they do not find me among the brethren? May they not
say, ‘Where is Bede?’ "

It is probably here, in this harmony of work and devotion, that we may
find the secret of the fascination in the record of his uneventful days.
It reconciles the sharp antithesis between the active and the
contemplative life. It seems to attain to that ideal of "toil unsever’d
from tranquillity" which haunts us all, but which we have almost ceased to
associate with the life of man under present conditions. Balance,
moderation, or rather, that rare quality which has been well called "the
sanity of saintliness,"(2) these give a unity to the life of Bede and
preserve him from the exaggerations of the conventual ideal. With all his
admiration for the ascetic life, he recognizes human limitations. It is
cheering to find that even he felt the need of a holiday. "Having
completed," he writes, "the third book of the Commentary on Samuel, I
thought I would rest awhile, and, after recovering in that way my delight
in study and writing, proceed to take in hand the fourth." Intellectual
power commands his homage, but his mind is open to the appreciation of all
forms of excellence. It is the unlearned brother, unfit for study and
occupied in manual labour, to whom, in his story, it is vouchsafed to hear
the singing of the angels who came to summon Ceadda to his rest. The life
of devotion ranks highest in his estimation, but he records with approval
how St. Cuthbert thought "that to afford the weak brethren the help of his
exhortation stood in the stead of prayer, knowing that He Who said ‘Thou
shalt love the Lord thy God,’ said likewise, ‘Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself.’ " He tells us how St. Gregory bewailed his own loss
in being forced by his office to be entangled in worldly affairs. "But,"
adds the human-hearted biographer, "it behoves us to believe that he lost
nothing of his monastic perfection by reason of his pastoral charge, but
rather that he gained greater profit through the labour of converting
many, than by the former calm of his private life." Yet he holds that this
immunity from the evil influence of the world was chiefly due to Gregory’s
care in organizing his house like a monastery and safeguarding the
opportunities for prayer and devotional study, even while he was immersed
in affairs at the court of Constantinople, and afterwards, when he held
the most onerous office in the Church.

This quality of sanity shows itself again in an unusual degree of fairness
to opponents. The Paschal error, indeed, moves his indignation in a manner
which is incomprehensible and distasteful to the modern reader, but even
in the perverse and erring Celts he can recognize "a zeal of God, though
not according to knowledge." Aidan’s holiness of life wins from him a warm
tribute of admiration. In the monks of Iona, the stronghold of the Celtic
system, he can perceive the fruit of good works and find an excuse for
their error in their isolated situation. In the British Church it is the
lack of missionary zeal, rather than their attitude towards the Easter
question, which calls forth his strongest condemnation.

A characteristic akin to this is his love of truth. As a historian, it
shows itself in his scrupulous care in investigating evidence and in
acknowledging the sources from which he draws. Nowhere is his intellectual
honesty more apparent than in dealing with what he believes to be the
miraculous element in his history. In whatever way we may regard these
anecdotes, there can be no doubt that Bede took the utmost pains to assure
himself of their authenticity. He is careful to acquire, if possible,
first-hand evidence; where this cannot be obtained, he scrupulously
mentions the lack of it. He admits only the testimony of witnesses of high
character and generally quotes them by name.

These are but a few of the glimpses afforded us of the personality of
Bede, a personality never obtruded, but everywhere unconsciously revealed
in his work. Everywhere we find the impress of a mind of wide intellectual
grasp, a character of the highest saintliness, and a gentle refinement of
thought and feeling. The lofty spirituality of Bede, his great learning
and scholarly attainment are the more striking when we reflect how
recently his nation had emerged from barbarism and received Christianity
and the culture which it brought with it to these shores.

The letter in which he declines Egbert’s invitation on the plea of illness
is dated November, 734. If we may assume that his death took place on the
eve of Ascension Day in 735, no long period of enfeebled health clouded
the close of his life, and weakness never interrupted his work. His death
has been described by his pupil, Cuthbert, who afterwards became Abbot of
Wearmouth and Jarrow in succession to Huaetbert, in the letter quoted
below. He was first buried at Jarrow but, according to Simeon of Durham,
his relics were stolen by the priest, Elfred, and carried to Durham. In
1104, when the bones of Cuthbert were translated to the new Cathedral,
those of Bede were found with them. Not long after, Hugh de Puisac erected
a shrine of gold and silver, adorned with jewels, in which he placed them,
along with the relics of many other saints. The shrine disappeared at the
Reformation, and only the stone on which it rested remains.(3)

Letter of Cuthbert to Cuthwin.

"To his fellow-lector, Cuthwin, beloved in Christ, Cuthbert, his
fellow-student, greeting and salvation for ever in the Lord. I have very
gladly received the gift which thou sentest to me, and with much joy have
read thy devout and learned letter, wherein I found that which I greatly
desired, to wit, that masses and holy prayers are diligently offered by
you for our father and master Bede, beloved of God. Wherefore I rejoice,
rather for love of him than from confidence in my own power, to relate in
few words after what manner he departed out of this world, understanding
also that thou hast desired and asked this of me. He was troubled with
weakness and chiefly with difficulty in breathing, yet almost without
pain, for about a fortnight before the day of our Lord’s Resurrection; and
thus he afterwards passed his time, cheerful and rejoicing, giving thanks
to Almighty God every day and night, nay, every hour, till the day of our
Lord’s Ascension, to wit, the twenty-sixth day of May, and daily gave
lessons to us, his disciples; and whatsoever remained of the day he spent
in singing psalms, as far as he was able; he also strove to pass all the
night joyfully in prayer and thanksgiving to God, save only when a short
sleep prevented it; and then he no sooner awoke than he straightway began
again to repeat the well-known sacred songs, and ceased not to give thanks
to God with uplifted hands. I declare with truth that I have never seen
with my eyes, or heard with my ears, any man so earnest in giving thanks
to the living God. O truly blessed man! He repeated the words of St. Paul
the Apostle, ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living
God,’ and much more out of Holy Scripture; wherein also he admonished us
to think of our last hour, and to arise out of the sleep of the soul; and
being learned in our native poetry, he said also in our tongue, concerning
the dread parting of souls from the body:

Fore then neidfaerae
naenig uiuurthit
thonc suotturra
than him tharf sie
to ymb hycggannae
aer his hin iongae
huaet his gastae
godaes aeththa yflaes
aefter deothdaege
doemid uueorthae.

Which being interpreted is: "Before the inevitable journey hence, no man
is wiser than is needful that he may consider, ere the soul departs, what
good or evil it hath done and how it shall be judged after its departure."

"He also sang antiphons for our comfort and his own. One of these is, ‘O
King of Glory, Lord of all power, Who, triumphing this day, didst ascend
above all the heavens, leave us not comfortless, but send to us the
promise of the Father, even the Spirit of Truth—Hallelujah.’ And when he
came to the words, ‘leave us not comfortless,’ he burst into tears and
wept much. And an hour after, he fell to repeating what he had begun. And
this he did the whole day, and we, hearing it, mourned with him and wept.
Now we read and now we lamented, nay, we wept even as we read. In such
rapture we passed the fifty days’ festival(4) till the aforesaid day; and
he rejoiced greatly and gave God thanks, because he had been accounted
worthy to suffer such weakness. And he often said, ‘God scourgeth every
son whom He receiveth’; and the words of St. Ambrose, ‘I have not so lived
as to be ashamed to live among you; but neither do I fear to die, because
we have a merciful Lord.’ And during those days, besides the lessons we
had daily from him, and the singing of the Psalms, there were two
memorable works, which he strove to finish; to wit, his translation of the
Gospel of St. John, from the beginning, as far as the words, ‘But what are
they among so many?’ into our own tongue, for the benefit of the Church of
God; and some selections from the books of Bishop Isidore, saying, ‘I
would not have my boys read a lie, nor labour herein without profit after
my death.’

"When the Tuesday before the Ascension of our Lord came, he began to
suffer still more in his breathing, and there was some swelling in his
feet. But he went on teaching all that day and dictating cheerfully, and
now and then said among other things, ‘Learn quickly, I know not how long
I shall endure, and whether my Maker will not soon take me away.’ But to
us it seemed that haply he knew well the time of his departure; and so he
spent the night, awake, in giving of thanks. And when the morning dawned,
that is, on the Wednesday, he bade us write with all speed what we had
begun. And this we did until the third hour. And from the third hour we
walked in procession with the relics of the saints, according to the
custom of that day.(5) And there was one of us with him who said to him,
‘There is still one chapter wanting of the book which thou hast been
dictating, but I deem it burdensome for thee to be questioned any
further.’ He answered, ‘Nay, it is light, take thy pen and make ready, and
write quickly.’ And this was done. But at the ninth hour he said to me, ‘I
have certain treasures in my coffer, some spices, napkins and incense; run
quickly and bring the priests of our monastery to me, that I may
distribute among them the gifts which God has bestowed on me.’ And this I
did trembling, and when they were come, he spoke to every one of them,
admonishing and entreating them that they should diligently offer masses
and prayers for him, and they promised readily. But they all mourned and
wept, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, because they
thought that they should see his face no long time in this world. But they
rejoiced for that he said, ‘It is time for me, if it be my Maker’s will,
to be set free from the flesh, and come to Him Who, when as yet I was not,
formed me out of nothing. I have lived long; and well has my pitiful judge
disposed my life for me; the time of my release is at hand; for my soul
longs to see Christ my King in His beauty.’ Having said this and much more
for our profit and edification, he passed his last day in gladness till
the evening; and the aforesaid boy, whose name was Wilbert, still said,
‘Dear master, there is yet one sentence not written.’ He answered, ‘It is
well, write it.’ Soon after, the boy said, ‘Now it is written.’ And he
said, ‘It is well, thou hast said truly, it is finished. Take my head in
thy hands, for I rejoice greatly to sit facing my holy place where I was
wont to pray, that I too, sitting there, may call upon my Father.’ And
thus on the pavement of his little cell, chanting ‘Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,’ and the rest, he breathed his

"And without doubt we must believe that inasmuch as he had always been
devout and earnest on earth in the praise of God, his soul was carried by
angels to the joys of Heaven which he desired. And all who heard him or
beheld the death of our father Bede, said that they had never seen any
other end his life in so great devotion and peace. For, as thou hast
heard, so long as the soul abode in the body, he chanted the ‘Gloria
Patri’ and other words to the glory of God, and with outstretched hands
ceased not to give thanks to God.

"But know this, that much could be told and written concerning him, but my
want of learning cuts short my words. Nevertheless, with the help of God,
I purpose at leisure to write more fully concerning him, of those things
which I saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears."


Page 9, headline, _for_ "54 A.D." _read_ "54 B.C."

Page 21, headline, _for_ "394 A.D." _read_ "395 A.D."

Page 214, note 4, _for_ "cc." _read_ "pp." [Transcriber’s Note: This is
the footnote to Bright.]

Page 215, note 1, _for_ "St. James ‘the Less’ " _read_ "James, ‘the Lord’s
brother.’ " [Transcriber’s Note: This is the footnote to "the Eastern."]

Page 220, note 2, _for_ "Lumley" _read_ "Lumby." [Transcriber’s Note: This
is the footnote starting "A stone."]

Page 254, note 1, line 4, _for_ "existence" _read_ "co-existence."
[Transcriber’s Note: This is the footnote starting "Eutyches was

Page 316, line 7, _for_ "Gedmund" _read_ "Gebmund."

Page 346, note 6, _for_ "p. 56" _read_ "p. 356." [Transcriber’s Note: This
is the footnote starting "Ripon, _v. infra_"]


_To the most glorious king Ceolwulf._(_6_)_ Bede, the servant of Christ
and Priest._

I formerly, at your request, most readily sent to you the Ecclesiastical
History of the English Nation, which I had lately published, for you to
read and judge; and I now send it again to be transcribed, and more fully
studied at your leisure. And I rejoice greatly at the sincerity and zeal,
with which you not only diligently give ear to hear the words of Holy
Scripture, but also industriously take care to become acquainted with the
actions and sayings of former men of renown, especially of our own nation.
For if history relates good things of good men, the attentive hearer is
excited to imitate that which is good; or if it recounts evil things of
wicked persons, none the less the conscientious and devout hearer or
reader, shunning that which is hurtful and wrong, is the more earnestly
fired to perform those things which he knows to be good, and worthy of the
service of God. And as you have carefully marked this, you are desirous
that the said history should be more fully made known to yourself, and to
those over whom the Divine Authority has appointed you governor, from your
great regard to the common good. But to the end that I may remove all
occasion of doubting what I have written, both from yourself and other
readers or hearers of this history, I will take care briefly to show you
from what authors I chiefly learned the same.

My principal authority and aid in this work was the most learned and
reverend Abbot Albinus;(7) who, educated in the Church of Canterbury by
those venerable and learned men, Archbishop Theodore(8) of blessed memory,
and the Abbot Hadrian,(9) transmitted to me by Nothelm,(10) the pious
priest of the Church of London, either in writing, or by word of mouth of
the same Nothelm, all that he thought worthy of memory that had been done
in the province of Kent, or the adjacent parts, by the disciples of the
blessed Pope Gregory,(11) as he had learned the same either from written
records, or the traditions of his predecessors. The same Nothelm,
afterwards went to Rome, and having, with leave of the present Pope
Gregory,(12) searched into the archives of the Holy Roman Church, found
there some epistles of the blessed Pope Gregory, and other popes; and,
returning home, by the advice of the aforesaid most reverend father
Albinus, brought them to me, to be inserted in my history. Thus, from the
beginning of this volume to the time when the English nation received the
faith of Christ, we have acquired matter from the writings of former men,
gathered from various sources; but from that time till the present, what
was transacted in the Church of Canterbury by the disciples of the blessed
Pope Gregory or their successors, and under what kings the same happened,
has been conveyed to us, as we have said, by Nothelm through the industry
of the aforesaid Abbot Albinus. They also partly informed me by what
bishops and under what kings the provinces of the East and West Saxons, as
also of the East Angles, and of the Northumbrians, received the grace of
the Gospel. In short, I was chiefly encouraged to undertake this work by
the exhortations of the same Albinus. In like manner, Daniel,(13) the most
reverend Bishop of the West Saxons, who is still living, communicated to
me in writing some things relating to the Ecclesiastical History of that
province, and the adjoining one of the South Saxons, as also of the Isle
of Wight. But how, by the ministry of those holy priests of Christ,
Cedd(14) and Ceadda,(15) the province of the Mercians was brought to the
faith of Christ, which they knew not before, and how that of the East
Saxons recovered the faith after having rejected it, and how those fathers
lived and died, we learned from the brethren of the monastery, which was
built by them, and is called Laestingaeu.(16) Further, what ecclesiastical
matters took place in the province of the East Angles, was partly made
known to us from the writings and tradition of former men, and partly by
the account of the most reverend Abbot Esi.(17) What was done with regard
to the faith of Christ, and what was the episcopal succession in the
province of Lindsey,(18) we had either from the letters of the most
reverend prelate Cynibert,(19) or by word of mouth from other persons of
good credit. But what was done in the Church in the different parts of the
province of Northumbria from the time when they received the faith of
Christ till this present, I received not on the authority of any one man,
but by the faithful testimony of innumerable witnesses, who might know or
remember the same; besides what I had of my own knowledge. Wherein it is
to be observed, that what I have written concerning our most holy father,
Bishop Cuthbert,(20) either in this volume, or in my account of his life
and actions, I partly took from what I found written of him by the
brethren of the Church of Lindisfarne,(21) accepting without reserve the
statements I found there; but at the same time took care to add such
things as I could myself have knowledge of by the faithful testimony of
trustworthy informants. And I humbly entreat the reader, that if he shall
find in these our writings anything not delivered according to the truth,
he will not lay the blame of it on me, for, as the true rule of history
requires, withholding nothing, I have laboured to commit to writing such
things as I could gather from common report, for the instruction of

Moreover, I beseech all men who shall hear or read this history of our
nation, that for my infirmities both of mind and body, they will offer up
frequent intercessions to the throne of Grace. And I further pray, that in
recompense for the labour wherewith I have recorded in the several
provinces and more important places those events which I considered worthy
of note and of interest to their inhabitants, I may for my reward have the
benefit of their pious prayers.


Chap. I. Of the Situation of Britain and Ireland, and of their ancient

Britain, an island in the Atlantic, formerly called Albion, lies to the
north-west, facing, though at a considerable distance, the coasts of
Germany, France, and Spain, which form the greatest part of Europe. It
extends 800 miles in length towards the north, and is 200 miles in
breadth, except where several promontories extend further in breadth, by
which its compass is made to be 4,875 miles.(22) To the south lies Belgic
Gaul. To its nearest shore there is an easy passage from the city of
Rutubi Portus, by the English now corrupted into Reptacaestir.(23) The
distance from here across the sea to Gessoriacum,(24) the nearest shore in
the territory of the Morini,(25) is fifty miles, or as some writers say,
450 furlongs. On the other side of the island, where it opens upon the
boundless ocean, it has the islands called Orcades. Britain is rich in
grain and trees, and is well adapted for feeding cattle and beasts of
burden. It also produces vines in some places, and has plenty of land and
water fowl of divers sorts; it is remarkable also for rivers abounding in
fish, and plentiful springs. It has the greatest plenty of salmon and
eels; seals are also frequently taken, and dolphins, as also whales;
besides many sorts of shell-fish, such as mussels, in which are often
found excellent pearls of all colours, red, purple, violet and green, but
chiefly white. There is also a great abundance of snails, of which the
scarlet dye is made, a most beautiful red, which never fades with the heat
of the sun or exposure to rain, but the older it is, the more beautiful it
becomes. It has both salt and hot springs, and from them flow rivers which
furnish hot baths, proper for all ages and both sexes, in separate places,
according to their requirements. For water, as St. Basil says,(26)
receives the quality of heat, when it runs along certain metals, and
becomes not only hot but scalding. Britain is rich also in veins of
metals, as copper, iron, lead, and silver; it produces a great deal of
excellent jet, which is black and sparkling, and burns when put to the
fire, and when set on fire, drives away serpents; being warmed with
rubbing, it attracts whatever is applied to it, like amber. The island was
formerly distinguished by twenty-eight famous cities, besides innumerable
forts, which were all strongly secured with walls, towers, gates, and
bars. And, because it lies almost under the North Pole, the nights are
light in summer, so that at midnight the beholders are often in doubt
whether the evening twilight still continues, or that of the morning has
come; since the sun at night returns to the east in the northern regions
without passing far beneath the earth. For this reason the days are of a
great length in summer, and on the other hand, the nights in winter are
eighteen hours long, for the sun then withdraws into southern parts. In
like manner the nights are very short in summer, and the days in winter,
that is, only six equinoctial hours. Whereas, in Armenia, Macedonia,
Italy, and other countries of the same latitude, the longest day or night
extends but to fifteen hours, and the shortest to nine.

There are in the island at present, following the number of the books in
which the Divine Law was written, five(27) languages of different nations
employed in the study and confession of the one self-same knowledge, which
is of highest truth and true sublimity, to wit, English, British,
Scottish, Pictish, and Latin, the last having become common to all by the
study of the Scriptures. But at first this island had no other inhabitants
but the Britons, from whom it derived its name, and who, coming over into
Britain, as is reported, from Armorica,(28) possessed themselves of the
southern parts thereof. Starting from the south, they had occupied the
greater part of the island, when it happened, that the nation of the
Picts, putting to sea from Scythia,(29) as is reported, in a few ships of
war, and being driven by the winds beyond the bounds of Britain, came to
Ireland and landed on its northern shores. There, finding the nation of
the Scots, they begged to be allowed to settle among them, but could not
succeed in obtaining their request. Ireland is the largest island next to
Britain, and lies to the west of it; but as it is shorter than Britain to
the north, so, on the other hand, it runs out far beyond it to the south,
over against the northern part of Spain, though a wide sea lies between
them. The Picts then, as has been said, arriving in this island by sea,
desired to have a place granted them in which they might settle. The Scots
answered that the island could not contain them both; but "We can give you
good counsel," said they, "whereby you may know what to do; we know there
is another island, not far from ours, to the eastward, which we often see
at a distance, when the days are clear. If you will go thither, you can
obtain settlements; or, if any should oppose you, we will help you." The
Picts, accordingly, sailing over into Britain, began to inhabit the
northern parts thereof, for the Britons had possessed themselves of the
southern. Now the Picts had no wives, and asked them of the Scots; who
would not consent to grant them upon any other terms, than that when any
question should arise, they should choose a king from the female royal
race rather than from the male: which custom, as is well known, has been
observed among the Picts to this day.(30) In process of time, Britain,
besides the Britons and the Picts, received a third nation, the Scots,
who, migrating from Ireland under their leader, Reuda, either by fair
means, or by force of arms, secured to themselves those settlements among
the Picts which they still possess. From the name of their commander, they
are to this day called Dalreudini; for, in their language, Dal signifies a

Ireland is broader than Britain and has a much healthier and milder
climate; for the snow scarcely ever lies there above three days: no man
makes hay in the summer for winter’s provision, or builds stables for his
beasts of burden. No reptiles are found there, and no snake can live
there; for, though snakes are often carried thither out of Britain, as
soon as the ship comes near the shore, and the scent of the air reaches
them, they die. On the contrary, almost all things in the island are
efficacious against poison. In truth, we have known that when men have
been bitten by serpents, the scrapings of leaves of books that were
brought out of Ireland, being put into water, and given them to drink,
have immediately absorbed the spreading poison, and assuaged the swelling.

The island abounds in milk and honey, nor is there any lack of vines,
fish, or fowl; and it is noted for the hunting of stags and roe-deer. It
is properly the country of the Scots, who, migrating from thence, as has
been said, formed the third nation in Britain in addition to the Britons
and the Picts.

There is a very large gulf of the sea, which formerly divided the nation
of the Britons from the Picts; it runs from the west far into the land,
where, to this day, stands a strong city of the Britons, called
Alcluith.(32) The Scots, arriving on the north side of this bay, settled
themselves there.

Chap. II. How Caius Julius Caesar was the first Roman that came into

Now Britain had never been visited by the Romans, and was entirely unknown
to them before the time of Caius Julius Caesar, who, in the year 693 after
the foundation of Rome, but the sixtieth year(33) before the Incarnation
of our Lord, was consul with Lucius Bibulus. While he was making war upon
the Germans and the Gauls, who were divided only by the river Rhine, he
came into the province of the Morini, whence is the nearest and shortest
passage into Britain. Here, having provided about eighty ships of burden
and fast-sailing vessels, he sailed over into Britain; where, being first
roughly handled in a battle, and then caught in a storm, he lost a
considerable part of his fleet, no small number of foot-soldiers, and
almost all his cavalry. Returning into Gaul, he put his legions into
winter-quarters, and gave orders for building six hundred sail of both
sorts. With these he again crossed over early in spring into Britain, but,
whilst he was marching with the army against the enemy, the ships, riding
at anchor, were caught in a storm and either dashed one against another,
or driven upon the sands and wrecked. Forty of them were lost, the rest
were, with much difficulty, repaired. Caesar’s cavalry was, at the first
encounter, defeated by the Britons, and there Labienus, the tribune, was
slain. In the second engagement, with great hazard to his men, he defeated
the Britons and put them to flight. Thence he proceeded to the river
Thames, where a great multitude of the enemy had posted themselves on the
farther side of the river, under the command of Cassobellaunus,(34) and
fenced the bank of the river and almost all the ford under water with
sharp stakes: the remains of these are to be seen to this day, apparently
about the thickness of a man’s thigh, cased with lead, and fixed immovably
in the bottom of the river. This being perceived and avoided by the
Romans, the barbarians, not able to stand the charge of the legions, hid
themselves in the woods, whence they grievously harassed the Romans with
repeated sallies. In the meantime, the strong state of the
Trinovantes,(35) with their commander Androgius,(36) surrendered to
Caesar, giving him forty hostages. Many other cities, following their
example, made a treaty with the Romans. Guided by them, Caesar at length,
after severe fighting, took the town of Cassobellaunus,(37) situated
between two marshes, fortified by sheltering woods, and plentifully
furnished with all necessaries. After this, Caesar returned from Britain
into Gaul, but he had no sooner put his legions into winter quarters, than
he was suddenly beset and distracted with wars and sudden risings on every

Chap. III. How Claudius, the second of the Romans who came into Britain,
brought the islands Orcades into subjection to the Roman empire; and
Vespasian, sent by him, reduced the Isle of Wight under the dominion of
the Romans.

In the year of Rome 798,(38) Claudius, fourth emperor from Augustus, being
desirous to approve himself a prince beneficial to the republic, and
eagerly bent upon war and conquest on every side, undertook an expedition
into Britain, which as it appeared, was roused to rebellion by the refusal
of the Romans to give up certain deserters. No one before or after Julius
Caesar had dared to land upon the island. Claudius crossed over to it, and
within a very few days, without any fighting or bloodshed, the greater
part of the island was surrendered into his hands. He also added to the
Roman empire the Orcades,(39) which lie in the ocean beyond Britain, and,
returning to Rome in the sixth month after his departure, he gave his son
the title of Britannicus. This war he concluded in the fourth year of his
reign, which is the forty-sixth from the Incarnation of our Lord. In which
year there came to pass a most grievous famine in Syria, which is recorded
in the Acts of the Apostles to have been foretold by the prophet Agabus.

Vespasian,(40) who was emperor after Nero, being sent into Britain by the
same Claudius, brought also under the Roman dominion the Isle of Wight,
which is close to Britain on the south, and is about thirty miles in
length from east to west, and twelve from north to south; being six miles
distant from the southern coast of Britain at the east end, and three at
the west. Nero, succeeding Claudius in the empire, undertook no wars at
all; and, therefore, among countless other disasters brought by him upon
the Roman state, he almost lost Britain; for in his time two most notable
towns were there taken and destroyed.

Chap. IV. How Lucius, king of Britain, writing to Pope Eleutherus, desired
to be made a Christian.

In the year of our Lord 156, Marcus Antoninus Verus,(41) the fourteenth
from Augustus, was made emperor, together with his brother, Aurelius
Commodus. In their time, whilst the holy Eleutherus presided over the
Roman Church, Lucius, king of Britain, sent a letter to him, entreating
that by a mandate from him he might be made a Christian.(42) He soon
obtained his pious request, and the Britons preserved the faith, which
they had received, uncorrupted and entire, in peace and tranquillity until
the time of the Emperor Diocletian.

Chap. V. How the Emperor Severus divided from the rest by a rampart that
part of Britain which had been recovered.

In the year of our Lord 189, Severus, an African, born at Leptis, in the
province of Tripolis, became emperor.(43) He was the seventeenth from
Augustus, and reigned seventeen years. Being naturally of a harsh
disposition, and engaged in many wars, he governed the state vigorously,
but with much trouble. Having been victorious in all the grievous civil
wars which happened in his time, he was drawn into Britain by the revolt
of almost all the confederated tribes; and, after many great and severe
battles, he thought fit to divide that part of the island, which he had
recovered, from the other unconquered nations, not with a wall, as some
imagine, but with a rampart.(44) For a wall is made of stones, but a
rampart, with which camps are fortified to repel the assaults of enemies,
is made of sods, cut out of the earth, and raised high above the ground,
like a wall, having in front of it the trench whence the sods were taken,
with strong stakes of wood fixed above it. Thus Severus drew a great
trench and strong rampart, fortified with several towers, from sea to sea.
And there, at York, he fell sick afterwards and died, leaving two sons,
Bassianus and Geta;(45) of whom Geta died, adjudged an enemy of the State;
but Bassianus, having taken the surname of Antonius, obtained the empire.

Chap. VI. Of the reign of Diocletian, and how he persecuted the

In the year of our Lord 286,(46) Diocletian, the thirty-third from
Augustus, and chosen emperor by the army, reigned twenty years, and
created Maximian, surnamed Herculius, his colleague in the empire. In
their time, one Carausius,(47) of very mean birth, but a man of great
ability and energy, being appointed to guard the sea-coasts, then infested
by the Franks and Saxons, acted more to the prejudice than to the
advantage of the commonwealth, by not restoring to its owners any of the
booty taken from the robbers, but keeping all to himself; thus giving rise
to the suspicion that by intentional neglect he suffered the enemy to
infest the frontiers. When, therefore, an order was sent by Maximian that
he should be put to death, he took upon him the imperial purple, and
possessed himself of Britain, and having most valiantly conquered and held
it for the space of seven years, he was at length put to death by the
treachery of his associate Allectus.(48) The usurper, having thus got the
island from Carausius, held it three years, and was then vanquished by
Asclepiodotus,(49) the captain of the Praetorian guards, who thus at the
end of ten years restored Britain to the Roman empire.

Meanwhile, Diocletian in the east, and Maximian Herculius in the west,
commanded the churches to be destroyed, and the Christians to be
persecuted and slain. This persecution was the tenth since the reign of
Nero, and was more lasting and cruel than almost any before it; for it was
carried on incessantly for the space of ten years, with burning of
churches, proscription of innocent persons, and the slaughter of martyrs.
Finally, Britain also attained to the great glory of bearing faithful
witness to God.

Chap. VII. The Passion of St. Alban and his companions, who at that time
shed their blood for our Lord.

At that time suffered St. Alban,(50) of whom the priest Fortunatus,(51) in
the Praise of Virgins, where he makes mention of the blessed martyrs that
came to the Lord from all parts of the world, says:

And fruitful Britain noble Alban rears.

This Alban, being yet a pagan, at the time when at the bidding of
unbelieving rulers all manner of cruelty was practised against the
Christians, gave entertainment in his house to a certain clerk,(52) flying
from his persecutors. This man he observed to be engaged in continual
prayer and watching day and night; when on a sudden the Divine grace
shining on him, he began to imitate the example of faith and piety which
was set before him, and being gradually instructed by his wholesome
admonitions, he cast off the darkness of idolatry, and became a Christian
in all sincerity of heart. The aforesaid clerk having been some days
entertained by him, it came to the ears of the impious prince, that a
confessor of Christ, to whom a martyr’s place had not yet been assigned,
was concealed at Alban’s house. Whereupon he sent some soldiers to make a
strict search after him. When they came to the martyr’s hut, St. Alban
presently came forth to the soldiers, instead of his guest and master, in
the habit or long coat which he wore, and was bound and led before the

It happened that the judge, at the time when Alban was carried before him,
was standing at the altar, and offering sacrifice to devils. When he saw
Alban, being much enraged that he should thus, of his own accord, dare to
put himself into the hands of the soldiers, and incur such danger on
behalf of the guest whom he had harboured, he commanded him to be dragged
to the images of the devils, before which he stood, saying, "Because you
have chosen to conceal a rebellious and sacrilegious man, rather than to
deliver him up to the soldiers, that his contempt of the gods might meet
with the penalty due to such blasphemy, you shall undergo all the
punishment that was due to him, if you seek to abandon the worship of our
religion." But St. Alban, who had voluntarily declared himself a Christian
to the persecutors of the faith, was not at all daunted by the prince’s
threats, but putting on the armour of spiritual warfare, publicly declared
that he would not obey his command. Then said the judge, "Of what family
or race are you?"—"What does it concern you," answered Alban, "of what
stock I am? If you desire to hear the truth of my religion, be it known to
you, that I am now a Christian, and free to fulfil Christian duties."—"I
ask your name," said the judge; "tell me it immediately."—"I am called
Alban by my parents," replied he; "and I worship ever and adore the true
and living God, Who created all things." Then the judge, filled with
anger, said, "If you would enjoy the happiness of eternal life, do not
delay to offer sacrifice to the great gods." Alban rejoined, "These
sacrifices, which by you are offered to devils, neither can avail the
worshippers, nor fulfil the desires and petitions of the suppliants.
Rather, whosoever shall offer sacrifice to these images, shall receive the
everlasting pains of hell for his reward."

The judge, hearing these words, and being much incensed, ordered this holy
confessor of God to be scourged by the executioners, believing that he
might by stripes shake that constancy of heart, on which he could not
prevail by words. He, being most cruelly tortured, bore the same
patiently, or rather joyfully, for our Lord’s sake. When the judge
perceived that he was not to be overcome by tortures, or withdrawn from
the exercise of the Christian religion, he ordered him to be put to death.
Being led to execution, he came to a river, which, with a most rapid
course, ran between the wall of the town and the arena where he was to be
executed.(53) He there saw a great multitude of persons of both sexes, and
of divers ages and conditions, who were doubtless assembled by Divine
inspiration, to attend the blessed confessor and martyr, and had so filled
the bridge over the river, that he could scarce pass over that evening. In
truth, almost all had gone out, so that the judge remained in the city
without attendance. St. Alban, therefore, urged by an ardent and devout
wish to attain the sooner to martyrdom, drew near to the stream, and
lifted up his eyes to heaven, whereupon the channel was immediately dried
up, and he perceived that the water had given place and made way for him
to pass. Among the rest, the executioner, who should have put him to
death, observed this, and moved doubtless by Divine inspiration hastened
to meet him at the appointed place of execution, and casting away the
sword which he had carried ready drawn, fell at his feet, praying
earnestly that he might rather be accounted worthy to suffer with the
martyr, whom he was ordered to execute, or, if possible, instead of him.

Whilst he was thus changed from a persecutor into a companion in the faith
and truth, and the other executioners rightly hesitated to take up the
sword which was lying on the ground, the holy confessor, accompanied by
the multitude, ascended a hill, about half a mile from the arena,
beautiful, as was fitting, and of most pleasing appearance, adorned, or
rather clothed, everywhere with flowers of many colours, nowhere steep or
precipitous or of sheer descent, but with a long, smooth natural slope,
like a plain, on its sides, a place altogether worthy from of old, by
reason of its native beauty, to be consecrated by the blood of a blessed
martyr. On the top of this hill, St. Alban prayed that God would give him
water, and immediately a living spring, confined in its channel, sprang up
at his feet, so that all men acknowledged that even the stream had yielded
its service to the martyr. For it was impossible that the martyr, who had
left no water remaining in the river, should desire it on the top of the
hill, unless he thought it fitting. The river then having done service and
fulfilled the pious duty, returned to its natural course, leaving a
testimony of its obedience.(54) Here, therefore, the head of the undaunted
martyr was struck off, and here he received the crown of life, which God
has promised to them that love him. But he who laid impious hands on the
holy man’s neck was not permitted to rejoice over his dead body; for his
eyes dropped upon the ground at the same moment as the blessed martyr’s
head fell.

At the same time was also beheaded the soldier, who before, through the
Divine admonition, refused to strike the holy confessor. Of whom it is
apparent, that though he was not purified by the waters of baptism, yet he
was cleansed by the washing of his own blood, and rendered worthy to enter
the kingdom of heaven. Then the judge, astonished at the unwonted sight of
so many heavenly miracles, ordered the persecution to cease immediately,
and began to honour the death of the saints, by which he once thought that
they might have been turned from their zeal for the Christian faith. The
blessed Alban suffered death on the twenty-second day of June, near the
city of Verulam,(55) which is now by the English nation called
Verlamacaestir, or Vaeclingacaestir, where afterwards, when peaceable
Christian times were restored, a church of wonderful workmanship, and
altogether worthy to commemorate his martyrdom, was erected.(56) In which
place the cure of sick persons and the frequent working of wonders cease
not to this day.

At that time suffered Aaron and Julius,(57) citizens of the City of
Legions,(58) and many more of both sexes in divers places; who, after that
they had endured sundry torments, and their limbs had been mangled after
an unheard-of manner, when their warfare was accomplished, yielded their
souls up to the joys of the heavenly city.

Chap. VIII. How, when the persecution ceased, the Church in Britain
enjoyed peace till the time of the Arian heresy.

When the storm of persecution ceased, the faithful Christians, who, during
the time of danger, had hidden themselves in woods and deserts and secret
caves, came forth and rebuilt the churches which had been levelled to the
ground; founded, erected, and finished the cathedrals raised in honour of
the holy martyrs, and, as if displaying their conquering standards in all
places, celebrated festivals and performed their sacred rites with pure
hearts and lips. This peace continued in the Christian churches of Britain
until the time of the Arian madness, which, having corrupted the whole
world, infected this island also, so far removed from the rest of the
world, with the poison of its error; and when once a way was opened across
the sea for that plague, straightway all the taint of every heresy fell
upon the island, ever desirous to hear some new thing, and never holding
firm to any sure belief.

At this time Constantius, who, whilst Diocletian was alive, governed Gaul
and Spain, a man of great clemency and urbanity, died in Britain. This man
left his son Constantine,(59) born of Helena, his concubine, emperor of
the Gauls. Eutropius writes that Constantine, being created emperor in
Britain, succeeded his father in the sovereignty. In his time the Arian
heresy broke out, and although it was exposed and condemned in the Council
of Nicaea,(60) nevertheless, the deadly poison of its evil spread, as has
been said, to the Churches in the islands, as well as to those of the rest
of the world.

Chap. IX. How during the reign of Gratian, Maximus, being created Emperor
in Britain, returned into Gaul with a mighty army.

In the year of our Lord 377,(61) Gratian, the fortieth from Augustus, held
the empire for six years after the death of Valens; though he had long
before reigned with his uncle Valens, and his brother Valentinian. Finding
the condition of the commonwealth much impaired, and almost gone to ruin,
and impelled by the necessity of restoring it, he invested the Spaniard,
Theodosius, with the purple at Sirmium, and made him emperor of Thrace and
the Eastern provinces. At that time, Maximus,(62) a man of energy and
probity, and worthy of the title of Augustus, if he had not broken his
oath of allegiance, was made emperor by the army somewhat against his
will, passed over into Gaul, and there by treachery slew the Emperor
Gratian, who in consternation at his sudden invasion, was attempting to
escape into Italy. His brother, the Emperor Valentinian, expelled from
Italy, fled into the East, where he was entertained by Theodosius with
fatherly affection, and soon restored to the empire, for Maximus the
tyrant, being shut up in Aquileia, was there taken by them and put to

Chap. X. How, in the reign of Arcadius, Pelagius, a Briton, insolently
impugned the Grace of God.

In the year of our Lord 394,(63) Arcadius, the son of Theodosius, the
forty-third from Augustus, succeeding to the empire, with his brother
Honorius, held it thirteen years. In his time, Pelagius,(64) a Briton,
spread far and near the infection of his perfidious doctrine, denying the
assistance of the Divine grace, being seconded therein by his associate
Julianus of Campania,(65) who was impelled by an uncontrolled desire to
recover his bishopric, of which he had been deprived. St. Augustine, and
the other orthodox fathers, quoted many thousand catholic authorities
against them, but failed to amend their folly; nay, more, their madness
being rebuked was rather increased by contradiction than suffered by them
to be purified through adherence to the truth; which Prosper, the
rhetorician,(66) has beautifully expressed thus in heroic(67) verse:—

They tell that one, erewhile consumed with gnawing spite,
snake-like attacked Augustine in his writings. Who urged the
wretched viper to raise from the ground his head, howsoever hidden
in dens of darkness? Either the sea-girt Britons reared him with
the fruit of their soil, or fed on Campanian pastures his heart
swells with pride.

Chap. XI. How during the reign of Honorius, Gratian and Constantine were
created tyrants in Britain; and soon after the former was slain in
Britain, and the latter in Gaul.

In the year of our Lord 407,(68) Honorius, the younger son of Theodosius,
and the forty-fourth from Augustus, being emperor, two years before the
invasion of Rome by Alaric, king of the Goths, when the nations of the
Alani, Suevi, Vandals, and many others with them, having defeated the
Franks and passed the Rhine, ravaged all Gaul, Gratianus, a citizen of the
country, was set up as tyrant in Britain and killed. In his place,
Constantine, one of the meanest soldiers, only for the hope afforded by
his name, and without any worth to recommend him, was chosen emperor. As
soon as he had taken upon him the command, he crossed over into Gaul,
where being often imposed upon by the barbarians with untrustworthy
treaties, he did more harm than good to the Commonwealth.(69) Whereupon
Count Constantius,(70) by the command of Honorius, marching into Gaul with
an army, besieged him in the city of Arles, took him prisoner, and put him
to death. His son Constans, a monk, whom he had created Caesar, was also
put to death by his own follower Count Gerontius,(71) at Vienne.

Rome was taken by the Goths, in the year from its foundation, 1164.(72)
Then the Romans ceased to rule in Britain, almost 470 years after Caius
Julius Caesar came to the island. They dwelt within the rampart, which, as
we have mentioned, Severus made across the island, on the south side of
it, as the cities, watch-towers,(73) bridges, and paved roads there made
testify to this day; but they had a right of dominion over the farther
parts of Britain, as also over the islands that are beyond Britain.

Chap. XII. How the Britons, being ravaged by the Scots and Picts, sought
succour from the Romans, who coming a second time, built a wall across the
island; but when this was broken down at once by the aforesaid enemies,
they were reduced to greater distress than before.

From that time, the British part of Britain, destitute of armed soldiers,
of all military stores, and of the whole flower of its active youth, who
had been led away by the rashness of the tyrants never to return, was
wholly exposed to rapine, the people being altogether ignorant of the use
of weapons. Whereupon they suffered many years from the sudden invasions
of two very savage nations from beyond the sea, the Scots from the west,
and the Picts from the north. We call these nations from beyond the sea,
not on account of their being seated out of Britain, but because they were
separated from that part of it which was possessed by the Britons, two
broad and long inlets of the sea lying between them, one of which runs
into the interior of Britain, from the Eastern Sea, and the other from the
Western, though they do not reach so far as to touch one another. The
eastern has in the midst of it the city Giudi.(74) On the Western Sea,
that is, on its right shore, stands the city of Alcluith,(75) which in
their language signifies the Rock Cluith, for it is close by the river of
that name.

On account of the attacks of these nations, the Britons sent messengers to
Rome with letters piteously praying for succour, and promising perpetual
subjection, provided that the impending enemy should be driven away. An
armed legion was immediately sent them, which, arriving in the island, and
engaging the enemy, slew a great multitude of them, drove the rest out of
the territories of their allies, and having in the meanwhile delivered
them from their worst distress, advised them to build a wall between the
two seas across the island, that it might secure them by keeping off the
enemy. So they returned home with great triumph. But the islanders
building the wall which they had been told to raise, not of stone, since
they had no workmen capable of such a work, but of sods, made it of no
use. Nevertheless, they carried it for many miles between the two bays or
inlets of the sea of which we have spoken;(76) to the end that where the
protection of the water was wanting, they might use the rampart to defend
their borders from the irruptions of the enemies. Of the work there
erected, that is, of a rampart of great breadth and height, there are
evident remains to be seen at this day. It begins at about two miles’
distance from the monastery of Aebbercurnig,(77) west of it, at a place
called in the Pictish language Peanfahel,(78) but in the English tongue,
Penneltun, and running westward, ends near the city of Alcluith.

But the former enemies, when they perceived that the Roman soldiers were
gone, immediately coming by sea, broke into the borders, trampled and
overran all places, and like men mowing ripe corn, bore down all before
them. Hereupon messengers were again sent to Rome miserably imploring aid,
lest their wretched country should be utterly blotted out, and the name of
a Roman province, so long renowned among them, overthrown by the cruelties
of foreign races, might become utterly contemptible. A legion was
accordingly sent again, and, arriving unexpectedly in autumn, made great
slaughter of the enemy, obliging all those that could escape, to flee
beyond the sea; whereas before, they were wont yearly to carry off their
booty without any opposition. Then the Romans declared to the Britons,
that they could not for the future undertake such troublesome expeditions
for their sake, and advised them rather to take up arms and make an effort
to engage their enemies, who could not prove too powerful for them, unless
they themselves were enervated by cowardice. Moreover, thinking that it
might be some help to the allies, whom they were forced to abandon, they
constructed a strong stone wall from sea to sea, in a straight line
between the towns that had been there built for fear of the enemy, where
Severus also had formerly built a rampart.(79) This famous wall, which is
still to be seen, was raised at public and private expense, the Britons
also lending their assistance. It is eight feet in breadth, and twelve in
height, in a straight line from east to west, as is still evident to
beholders. This being presently finished, they gave the dispirited people
good advice, and showed them how to furnish themselves with arms. Besides,
they built towers to command a view of the sea, at intervals, on the
southern coast, where their ships lay, because there also the invasions of
the barbarians were apprehended, and so took leave of their allies, never
to return again.

After their departure to their own country, the Scots and Picts,
understanding that they had refused to return, at once came back, and
growing more confident than they had been before, occupied all the
northern and farthest part of the island, driving out the natives, as far
as the wall. Hereupon a timorous guard was placed upon the fortification,
where, dazed with fear, they became ever more dispirited day by day. On
the other side, the enemy constantly attacked them with barbed weapons, by
which the cowardly defenders were dragged in piteous fashion from the
wall, and dashed against the ground. At last, the Britons, forsaking their
cities and wall, took to flight and were scattered. The enemy pursued, and
forthwith followed a massacre more grievous than ever before; for the
wretched natives were torn in pieces by their enemies, as lambs are torn
by wild beasts. Thus, being expelled from their dwellings and lands, they
saved themselves from the immediate danger of starvation by robbing and
plundering one another, adding to the calamities inflicted by the enemy
their own domestic broils, till the whole country was left destitute of
food except such as could be procured in the chase.

Chap. XIII. How in the reign of Theodosius the younger, in whose time
Palladius was sent to the Scots that believed in Christ, the Britons
begging assistance of Ætius, the consul, could not obtain it. [446 A.D.]

In the year of our Lord 423, Theodosius, the younger, the forty-fifth from
Augustus, succeeded Honorius and governed the Roman empire twenty-six
years. In the eighth year of his reign,(80) Palladius was sent by
Celestinus, the Roman pontiff, to the Scots that believed in Christ, to be
their first bishop. In the twenty-third year of his reign, Aetius,(81) a
man of note and a patrician, discharged his third consulship with
Symmachus for his colleague. To him the wretched remnant of the Britons
sent a letter, which began thus:—"To Aetius, thrice Consul, the groans of
the Britons." And in the sequel of the letter they thus unfolded their
woes:—"The barbarians drive us to the sea; the sea drives us back to the
barbarians: between them we are exposed to two sorts of death; we are
either slaughtered or drowned." Yet, for all this, they could not obtain
any help from him, as he was then engaged in most serious wars with Bledla
and Attila, kings of the Huns. And though the year before this(82) Bledla
had been murdered by the treachery of his own brother Attila, yet Attila
himself remained so intolerable an enemy to the Republic, that he ravaged
almost all Europe, attacking and destroying cities and castles. At the
same time there was a famine at Constantinople, and soon after a plague
followed; moreover, a great part of the wall of that city, with
fifty-seven towers, fell to the ground. Many cities also went to ruin, and
the famine and pestilential state of the air destroyed thousands of men
and cattle.

Chap. XIV. How the Britons, compelled by the great famine, drove the
barbarians out of their territories; and soon after there ensued, along
with abundance of corn, decay of morals, pestilence, and the downfall of
the nation.

In the meantime, the aforesaid famine distressing the Britons more and
more, and leaving to posterity a lasting memory of its mischievous
effects, obliged many of them to submit themselves to the depredators;
though others still held out, putting their trust in God, when human help
failed. These continually made raids from the mountains, caves, and woods,
and, at length, began to inflict severe losses on their enemies, who had
been for so many years plundering the country. The bold Irish robbers
thereupon returned home, intending to come again before long. The Picts
then settled down in the farthest part of the island and afterwards
remained there, but they did not fail to plunder and harass the Britons
from time to time.

Now, when the ravages of the enemy at length abated, the island began to
abound with such plenty of grain as had never been known in any age
before; along with plenty, evil living increased, and this was immediately
attended by the taint of all manner of crime; in particular, cruelty,
hatred of truth, and love of falsehood; insomuch, that if any one among
them happened to be milder than the rest, and more inclined to truth, all
the rest abhorred and persecuted him unrestrainedly, as if he had been the
enemy of Britain. Nor were the laity only guilty of these things, but even
our Lord’s own flock, with its shepherds, casting off the easy yoke of
Christ, gave themselves up to drunkenness, enmity, quarrels, strife, envy,
and other such sins. In the meantime, on a sudden, a grievous plague fell
upon that corrupt generation, which soon destroyed such numbers of them,
that the living scarcely availed to bury the dead: yet, those that
survived, could not be recalled from the spiritual death, which they had
incurred through their sins, either by the death of their friends, or the
fear of death. Whereupon, not long after, a more severe vengeance for
their fearful crimes fell upon the sinful nation. They held a council to
determine what was to be done, and where they should seek help to prevent
or repel the cruel and frequent incursions of the northern nations; and in
concert with their King Vortigern,(83) it was unanimously decided to call
the Saxons to their aid from beyond the sea, which, as the event plainly
showed, was brought about by the Lord’s will, that evil might fall upon
them for their wicked deeds.

Chap. XV. How the Angles, being invited into Britain, at first drove off
the enemy; but not long after, making a league with them, turned their
weapons against their allies.

In the year of our Lord 449,(84) Marcian, the forty-sixth from Augustus,
being made emperor with Valentinian, ruled the empire seven years. Then
the nation of the Angles, or Saxons,(85) being invited by the aforesaid
king,(86) arrived in Britain with three ships of war and had a place in
which to settle assigned to them by the same king, in the eastern part of
the island, on the pretext of fighting in defence of their country, whilst
their real intentions were to conquer it. Accordingly they engaged with
the enemy, who were come from the north to give battle, and the Saxons
obtained the victory. When the news of their success and of the fertility
of the country, and the cowardice of the Britons, reached their own home,
a more considerable fleet was quickly sent over, bringing a greater number
of men, and these, being added to the former army, made up an invincible
force. The newcomers received of the Britons a place to inhabit among
them, upon condition that they should wage war against their enemies for
the peace and security of the country, whilst the Britons agreed to
furnish them with pay. Those who came over were of the three most powerful
nations of Germany—Saxons, Angles, and Jutes. From the Jutes are descended
the people of Kent, and of the Isle of Wight, including those in the
province of the West-Saxons who are to this day called Jutes, seated
opposite to the Isle of Wight. From the Saxons, that is, the country which
is now called Old Saxony, came the East-Saxons, the South-Saxons, and the
West-Saxons. From the Angles, that is, the country which is called
Angulus,(87) and which is said, from that time, to have remained desert to
this day, between the provinces of the Jutes and the Saxons, are descended
the East-Angles, the Midland-Angles, the Mercians, all the race of the
Northumbrians, that is, of those nations that dwell on the north side of
the river Humber, and the other nations of the Angles. The first
commanders are said to have been the two brothers Hengist and Horsa. Of
these Horsa was afterwards slain in battle by the Britons,(88) and a
monument, bearing his name, is still in existence in the eastern parts of
Kent. They were the sons of Victgilsus, whose father was Vitta, son of
Vecta, son of Woden; from whose stock the royal race of many provinces
trace their descent. In a short time, swarms of the aforesaid nations came
over into the island, and the foreigners began to increase so much, that
they became a source of terror to the natives themselves who had invited
them. Then, having on a sudden entered into league with the Picts, whom
they had by this time repelled by force of arms, they began to turn their
weapons against their allies. At first, they obliged them to furnish a
greater quantity of provisions; and, seeking an occasion of quarrel,
protested, that unless more plentiful supplies were brought them, they
would break the league, and ravage all the island; nor were they backward
in putting their threats into execution. In short, the fire kindled by the
hands of the pagans, proved God’s just vengeance for the crimes of the
people; not unlike that which, being of old lighted by the Chaldeans,
consumed the walls and all the buildings of Jerusalem. For here, too,
through the agency of the pitiless conqueror, yet by the disposal of the
just Judge, it ravaged all the neighbouring cities and country, spread the
conflagration from the eastern to the western sea, without any opposition,
and overran the whole face of the doomed island. Public as well as private
buildings were overturned; the priests were everywhere slain before the
altars; no respect was shown for office, the prelates with the people were
destroyed with fire and sword; nor were there any left to bury those who
had been thus cruelly slaughtered. Some of the miserable remnant, being
taken in the mountains, were butchered in heaps. Others, spent with
hunger, came forth and submitted themselves to the enemy, to undergo for
the sake of food perpetual servitude, if they were not killed upon the
spot. Some, with sorrowful hearts, fled beyond the seas. Others, remaining
in their own country, led a miserable life of terror and anxiety of mind
among the mountains, woods and crags.

Chap. XVI. How the Britons obtained their first victory over the Angles,
under the command of Ambrosius, a Roman.

When the army of the enemy, having destroyed and dispersed the natives,
had returned home to their own settlements,(89) the Britons began by
degrees to take heart, and gather strength, sallying out of the lurking
places where they had concealed themselves, and with one accord imploring
the Divine help, that they might not utterly be destroyed. They had at
that time for their leader, Ambrosius Aurelianus,(90) a man of worth, who
alone, by chance, of the Roman nation had survived the storm, in which his
parents, who were of the royal race, had perished. Under him the Britons
revived, and offering battle to the victors, by the help of God, gained
the victory. From that day, sometimes the natives, and sometimes their
enemies, prevailed, till the year of the siege of Badon-hill,(91) when
they made no small slaughter of those enemies, about forty-four years
after their arrival in England. But of this hereafter.

Chap. XVII. How Germanus the Bishop, sailing into Britain with Lupus,
first quelled the tempest of the sea, and afterwards that of the
Pelagians, by Divine power. [429 A.D.]

Some few years before their arrival, the Pelagian heresy, brought over by
Agricola, the son of Severianus,(92) a Pelagian bishop, had corrupted with
its foul taint the faith of the Britons. But whereas they absolutely
refused to embrace that perverse doctrine, and blaspheme the grace of
Christ, yet were not able of themselves to confute the subtilty of the
unholy belief by force of argument, they bethought them of wholesome
counsels and determined to crave aid of the Gallican prelates in that
spiritual warfare. Hereupon, these, having assembled a great synod,
consulted together to determine what persons should be sent thither to
sustain the faith, and by unanimous consent, choice was made of the
apostolic prelates, Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, and Lupus of Troyes,(93)
to go into Britain to confirm the people’s faith in the grace of God. With
ready zeal they complied with the request and commands of the Holy Church,
and put to sea. The ship sped safely with favouring winds till they were
halfway between the coast of Gaul and Britain. There on a sudden they were
obstructed by the malevolence of demons, who were jealous that men of such
eminence and piety should be sent to bring back the people to salvation.
They raised storms, and darkened the sky with clouds. The sails could not
support the fury of the winds, the sailors’ skill was forced to give way,
the ship was sustained by prayer, not by strength, and as it happened,
their spiritual leader and bishop, being spent with weariness, had fallen
asleep. Then, as if because resistance flagged, the tempest gathered
strength, and the ship, overwhelmed by the waves, was ready to sink. Then
the blessed Lupus and all the rest, greatly troubled, awakened their
elder, that he might oppose the raging elements. He, showing himself the
more resolute in proportion to the greatness of the danger, called upon
Christ, and having, in the name of the Holy Trinity, taken and sprinkled a
little water, quelled the raging waves, admonished his companion,
encouraged all, and all with one consent uplifted their voices in prayer.
Divine help was granted, the enemies were put to flight, a cloudless calm
ensued, the winds veering about set themselves again to forward their
voyage, the sea was soon traversed, and they reached the quiet of the
wished-for shore. A multitude flocking thither from all parts, received
the bishops, whose coming had been foretold by the predictions even of
their adversaries. For the evil spirits declared their fear, and when the
bishops expelled them from the bodies of the possessed, they made known
the nature of the tempest, and the dangers they had occasioned, and
confessed that they had been overcome by the merits and authority of these

In the meantime the bishops speedily filled the island of Britain with the
fame of their preaching and miracles; and the Word of God was by them
daily preached, not only in the churches, but even in the streets and
fields, so that the faithful and Catholic were everywhere confirmed, and
those who had been perverted accepted the way of amendment. Like the
Apostles, they acquired honour and authority through a good conscience,
learning through the study of letters, and the power of working miracles
through their merits. Thus the whole country readily came over to their
way of thinking; the authors of the erroneous belief kept themselves in
hiding, and, like evil spirits, grieved for the loss of the people that
were rescued from them. At length, after long deliberation, they had the
boldness to enter the lists.(94) They came forward in all the splendour of
their wealth, with gorgeous apparel, and supported by a numerous
following; choosing rather to hazard the contest, than to undergo among
the people whom they had led astray, the reproach of having been silenced,
lest they should seem by saying nothing to condemn themselves. An immense
multitude had been attracted thither with their wives and children. The
people were present as spectators and judges; the two parties stood there
in very different case; on the one side was Divine faith, on the other
human presumption; on the one side piety, on the other pride; on the one
side Pelagius, the founder of their faith, on the other Christ. The
blessed bishops permitted their adversaries to speak first, and their
empty speech long took up the time and filled the ears with meaningless
words. Then the venerable prelates poured forth the torrent of their
eloquence and showered upon them the words of Apostles and Evangelists,
mingling the Scriptures with their own discourse and supporting their
strongest assertions by the testimony of the written Word. Vainglory was
vanquished and unbelief refuted; and the heretics, at every argument put
before them, not being able to reply, confessed their errors. The people,
giving judgement, could scarce refrain from violence, and signified their
verdict by their acclamations.

Chap. XVIII. How the some holy man gave sight to the blind daughter of a
tribune, and then coming to St. Alban, there received of his relics, and
left other relics of the blessed Apostles and other martyrs. [429 A.D.]

After this, a certain man, who held the office of tribune, came forward
with his wife, and brought his blind daughter, a child of ten years of
age, to be healed of the bishops. They ordered her to be brought to their
adversaries, who, being rebuked by their own conscience, joined their
entreaties to those of the child’s parents, and besought the bishops that
she might be healed. They, therefore, perceiving their adversaries to
yield, poured forth a short prayer, and then Germanus, full of the Holy
Ghost, invoking the Trinity, at once drew from his side a casket which
hung about his neck, containing relics of the saints, and, taking it in
his hands, applied it in the sight of all to the girl’s eyes, which were
immediately delivered from darkness and filled with the light of truth.
The parents rejoiced, and the people were filled with awe at the miracle;
and after that day, the heretical beliefs were so fully obliterated from
the minds of all, that they thirsted for and sought after the doctrine of
the bishops.

This damnable heresy being thus suppressed, and the authors thereof
confuted, and all the people settled in the purity of the faith, the
bishops went to the tomb of the martyr, the blessed Alban, to give thanks
to God through him. There Germanus, having with him relics of all the
Apostles, and of divers martyrs, after offering up his prayers, commanded
the tomb to be opened, that he might lay therein the precious gifts;
judging it fitting, that the limbs of saints brought together from divers
countries, as their equal merits had procured them admission into heaven,
should find shelter in one tomb. These being honourably bestowed, and laid
together, he took up a handful of dust from the place where the blessed
martyr’s blood had been shed, to carry away with him. In this dust the
blood had been preserved, showing that the slaughter of the martyrs was
red, though the persecutor was pale in death.(95) In consequence of these
things, an innumerable multitude of people was that day converted to the

Chap. XIX. How the same holy man, being detained there by sickness, by his
prayers quenched a fire that had broken out among the houses, and was
himself cured of his infirmity by a vision. [429 A.D.]

As they were returning thence, the treacherous enemy, having, as it
chanced, prepared a snare, caused Germanus to bruise his foot by a fall,
not knowing that, as it was with the blessed Job, his merits would be but
increased by bodily affliction. Whilst he was thus detained some time in
the same place by his infirmity, a fire broke out in a cottage
neighbouring to that in which he was; and having burned down the other
houses which were thatched with reed, fanned by the wind, was carried on
to the dwelling in which he lay. The people all flocked to the prelate,
entreating that they might lift him in their arms, and save him from the
impending danger. But he rebuked them, and in the assurance of his faith,
would not suffer himself to be removed. The whole multitude, in terror and
despair, ran to oppose the conflagration; but, for the greater
manifestation of the Divine power, whatsoever the crowd endeavoured to
save, was destroyed; and what the sick and helpless man defended, the
flame avoided and passed by, though the house that sheltered the holy man
lay open to it,(96) and while the fire raged on every side, the place in
which he lay appeared untouched, amid the general conflagration. The
multitude rejoiced at the miracle, and was gladly vanquished by the power
of God. A great crowd of people watched day and night before the humble
cottage; some to have their souls healed, and some their bodies. All that
Christ wrought in the person of his servant, all the wonders the sick man
performed cannot be told. Moreover, he would suffer no medicines to be
applied to his infirmity; but one night he saw one clad in garments as
white as snow, standing by him, who reaching out his hand, seemed to raise
him up, and ordered him to stand firm upon his feet; from which time his
pain ceased, and he was so perfectly restored, that when the day came,
with good courage he set forth upon his journey.

Chap. XX. How the same Bishops brought help from Heaven to the Britons in
a battle, and then returned home. [430 A.D.]

In the meantime, the Saxons and Picts, with their united forces, made war
upon the Britons, who in these straits were compelled to take up arms. In
their terror thinking themselves unequal to their enemies, they implored
the assistance of the holy bishops; who, hastening to them as they had
promised, inspired so much confidence into these fearful people, that one
would have thought they had been joined by a mighty army. Thus, by these
apostolic leaders, Christ Himself commanded in their camp. The holy days
of Lent were also at hand, and were rendered more sacred by the presence
of the bishops, insomuch that the people being instructed by daily
sermons, came together eagerly to receive the grace of baptism. For a
great multitude of the army desired admission to the saving waters, and a
wattled church was constructed for the Feast of the Resurrection of our
Lord, and so fitted up for the army in the field as if it were in a city.
Still wet with the baptismal water the troops set forth; the faith of the
people was fired; and where arms had been deemed of no avail, they looked
to the help of God. News reached the enemy of the manner and method of
their purification,(97) who, assured of success, as if they had to deal
with an unarmed host, hastened forward with renewed eagerness. But their
approach was made known by scouts. When, after the celebration of Easter,
the greater part of the army, fresh from the font, began to take up arms
and prepare for war, Germanus offered to be their leader. He picked out
the most active, explored the country round about, and observed, in the
way by which the enemy was expected, a valley encompassed by hills(98) of
moderate height. In that place he drew up his untried troops, himself
acting as their general. And now a formidable host of foes drew near,
visible, as they approached, to his men lying in ambush. Then, on a
sudden, Germanus, bearing the standard, exhorted his men, and bade them
all in a loud voice repeat his words. As the enemy advanced in all
security, thinking to take them by surprise, the bishops three times
cried, "Hallelujah." A universal shout of the same word followed, and the
echoes from the surrounding hills gave back the cry on all sides, the
enemy was panic-stricken, fearing, not only the neighbouring rocks, but
even the very frame of heaven above them; and such was their terror, that
their feet were not swift enough to save them. They fled in disorder,
casting away their arms, and well satisfied if, even with unprotected
bodies, they could escape the danger; many of them, flying headlong in
their fear, were engulfed by the river which they had crossed. The
Britons, without a blow, inactive spectators of the victory they had
gained, beheld their vengeance complete. The scattered spoils were
gathered up, and the devout soldiers rejoiced in the success which Heaven
had granted them. The prelates thus triumphed over the enemy without
bloodshed, and gained a victory by faith, without the aid of human force.
Thus, having settled the affairs of the island, and restored tranquillity
by the defeat of the invisible foes, as well as of enemies in the flesh,
they prepared to return home. Their own merits, and the intercession of
the blessed martyr Alban, obtained for them a calm passage, and the happy
vessel restored them in peace to the desires of their people.

Chap. XXI. How, when the Pelagian heresy began to spring up afresh,
Germanus, returning to Britain with Severus, first restored bodily
strength to a lame youth, then spiritual health to the people of God,
having condemned or converted the Heretics. [447 A.D.]

Not long after, news was brought from the same island, that certain
persons were again attempting to teach and spread abroad the Pelagian
heresy, and again the holy Germanus was entreated by all the priests, that
he would defend the cause of God, which he had before maintained. He
speedily complied with their request; and taking with him Severus,(99) a
man of singular sanctity, who was disciple to the blessed father, Lupus,
bishop of Troyes, and at that time, having been ordained bishop of the
Treveri, was preaching the Word of God to the tribes of Upper Germany, put
to sea, and with favouring winds and calm waters sailed to Britain.(100)

In the meantime, the evil spirits, speeding through the whole island, were
constrained against their will to foretell that Germanus was coming,
insomuch, that one Elafius, a chief of that region, without tidings from
any visible messenger, hastened to meet the holy men, carrying with him
his son, who in the very flower of his youth laboured under a grievous
infirmity; for the sinews of the knee were wasted and shrunk, so that the
withered limb was denied the power to walk. All the country followed this
Elafius. The bishops arrived, and were met by the ignorant multitude, whom
they blessed, and preached the Word of God to them. They found the people
constant in the faith as they had left them; and learning that but few had
gone astray, they sought out the authors of the evil and condemned them.
Then suddenly Elafius cast himself at the feet of the bishops, presenting
his son, whose distress was visible and needed no words to express it. All
were grieved, but especially the bishops, who, filled with pity, invoked
the mercy of God; and straightway the blessed Germanus, causing the youth
to sit down, touched the bent and feeble knee and passed his healing hand
over all the diseased part. At once health was restored by the power of
his touch, the withered limb regained its vigour, the sinews resumed their
task, and the youth was, in the presence of all the people, delivered
whole to his father. The multitude was amazed at the miracle, and the
Catholic faith was firmly established in the hearts of all; after which,
they were, in a sermon, exhorted to amend their error. By the judgement of
all, the exponents of the heresy, who had been banished from the island,
were brought before the bishops, to be conveyed into the continent, that
the country might be rid of them, and they corrected of their errors. So
it came to pass that the faith in those parts continued long after pure
and untainted. Thus when they had settled all things, the blessed prelates
returned home as prosperously as they had come.

But Germanus, after this, went to Ravenna to intercede for the
tranquillity of the Armoricans,(101) where, after being very honourably
received by Valentinian and his mother, Placidia, he departed hence to
Christ; his body was conveyed to his own city with a splendid retinue, and
mighty works attended his passage to the grave. Not long after,
Valentinian was murdered by the followers of Aetius, the patrician, whom
he had put to death, in the sixth(102) year of the reign of Marcian, and
with him ended the empire of the West.

Chap. XXII. How the Britons, being for a time at rest from foreign
invasions, wore themselves out by civil wars, and at the same time gave
themselves up to more heinous crimes.

In the meantime, in Britain, there was some respite from foreign, but not
from civil war. The cities destroyed by the enemy and abandoned remained
in ruins; and the natives, who had escaped the enemy, now fought against
each other. Nevertheless, the kings, priests, private men, and the
nobility, still remembering the late calamities and slaughters, in some
measure kept within bounds; but when these died, and another generation
succeeded, which knew nothing of those times, and was only acquainted with
the existing peaceable state of things, all the bonds of truth and justice
were so entirely broken, that there was not only no trace of them
remaining, but only very few persons seemed to retain any memory of them
at all. To other crimes beyond description, which their own historian,
Gildas,(103) mournfully relates, they added this—that they never preached
the faith to the Saxons, or English, who dwelt amongst them. Nevertheless,
the goodness of God did not forsake his people, whom he foreknew, but sent
to the aforesaid nation much more worthy heralds of the truth, to bring it
to the faith.

Chap. XXIII. How the holy Pope Gregory sent Augustine, with other monks,
to preach to the English nation, and encouraged them by a letter of
exhortation, not to desist from their labour. [596 A.D.]

In the year of our Lord 582, Maurice, the fifty-fourth from Augustus,
ascended the throne, and reigned twenty-one years. In the tenth year of
his reign, Gregory,(104) a man eminent in learning and the conduct of
affairs, was promoted to the Apostolic see of Rome, and presided over it
thirteen years, six months and ten days. He, being moved by Divine
inspiration, in the fourteenth year of the same emperor, and about the one
hundred and fiftieth after the coming of the English into Britain, sent
the servant of God, Augustine,(105) and with him divers other monks, who
feared the Lord, to preach the Word of God to the English nation. They
having, in obedience to the pope’s commands, undertaken that work, when
they had gone but a little way on their journey, were seized with craven
terror, and began to think of returning home, rather than proceed to a
barbarous, fierce, and unbelieving nation, to whose very language they
were strangers; and by common consent they decided that this was the safer
course. At once Augustine, who had been appointed to be consecrated
bishop, if they should be received by the English, was sent back, that he
might, by humble entreaty, obtain of the blessed Gregory, that they should
not be compelled to undertake so dangerous, toilsome, and uncertain a
journey. The pope, in reply, sent them a letter of exhortation, persuading
them to set forth to the work of the Divine Word, and rely on the help of
God. The purport of which letter was as follows:

"_Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, to the servants of our
Lord._ Forasmuch as it had been better not to begin a good work, than to
think of desisting from one which has been begun, it behoves you, my
beloved sons, to fulfil with all diligence the good work, which, by the
help of the Lord, you have undertaken. Let not, therefore, the toil of the
journey, nor the tongues of evil-speaking men, discourage you; but with
all earnestness and zeal perform, by God’s guidance, that which you have
set about; being assured, that great labour is followed by the greater
glory of an eternal reward. When Augustine, your Superior, returns, whom
we also constitute your abbot, humbly obey him in all things; knowing,
that whatsoever you shall do by his direction, will, in all respects, be
profitable to your souls. Almighty God protect you with His grace, and
grant that I may, in the heavenly country, see the fruits of your labour,
inasmuch as, though I cannot labour with you, I shall partake in the joy
of the reward, because I am willing to labour. God keep you in safety, my
most beloved sons. Given the 23rd of July, in the fourteenth year of the
reign of our most religious lord, Mauritius Tiberius Augustus, the
thirteenth year after the consulship of our lord aforesaid, and the
fourteenth indiction."(106)

Chap. XXIV. How he wrote to the bishop of Arles to entertain them. [596

The same venerable pope also sent at the same time a letter to Aetherius,
archbishop of Arles,(107) exhorting him to give favourable entertainment
to Augustine on his way to Britain; which letter was in these words:

"_To his most reverend and holy brother and fellow bishop Aetherius,
Gregory, the servant of the servants of God._ Although religious men stand
in need of no recommendation with priests who have the charity which is
pleasing to God; yet because an opportunity of writing has occurred, we
have thought fit to send this letter to you, Brother, to inform you, that
with the help of God we have directed thither, for the good of souls, the
bearer of these presents, Augustine, the servant of God, of whose zeal we
are assured, with other servants of God, whom it is requisite that your
Holiness readily assist with priestly zeal, affording him all the comfort
in your power. And to the end that you may be the more ready in your help,
we have enjoined him to inform you particularly of the occasion of his
coming; knowing, that when you are acquainted with it, you will, as the
matter requires, for the sake of God, dutifully dispose yourself to give
him comfort. We also in all things recommend to your charity,
Candidus,(108) the priest, our common son, whom we have transferred to the
administration of a small patrimony in our Church. God keep you in safety,
most reverend brother. Given the 23rd day of July, in the fourteenth year
of the reign of our most religious lord, Mauritius Tiberius Augustus, the
thirteenth year after the consulship of our lord aforesaid, and the
fourteenth indiction."

Chap. XXV. How Augustine, coming into Britain, first preached in the Isle
of Thanet to the King of Kent, and having obtained licence from him, went
into Kent, in order to preach therein. [597 A.D.]

Augustine, thus strengthened by the encouragement of the blessed Father
Gregory, returned to the work of the Word of God, with the servants of
Christ who were with him, and arrived in Britain. The powerful Ethelbert
was at that time king of Kent;(109) he had extended his dominions as far
as the boundary formed by the great river Humber, by which the Southern
Saxons are divided from the Northern. On the east of Kent is the large
Isle of Thanet, containing, according to the English way of reckoning, 600
families,(110) divided from the mainland by the river Wantsum,(111) which
is about three furlongs in breadth, and which can be crossed only in two
places; for at both ends it runs into the sea. On this island landed(112)
the servant of the Lord, Augustine, and his companions, being, as is
reported, nearly forty men. They had obtained, by order of the blessed
Pope Gregory, interpreters of the nation of the Franks,(113) and sending
to Ethelbert, signified that they were come from Rome, and brought a
joyful message, which most undoubtedly assured to those that hearkened to
it everlasting joys in heaven, and a kingdom that would never end, with
the living and true God. The king hearing this, gave orders that they
should stay in the island where they had landed, and be furnished with
necessaries, till he should consider what to do with them. For he had
before heard of the Christian religion, having a Christian wife of the
royal family of the Franks, called Bertha;(114) whom he had received from
her parents, upon condition that she should be permitted to preserve
inviolate the rites of her religion with the Bishop Liudhard,(115) who was
sent with her to support her in the faith. Some days after, the king came
into the island, and sitting in the open air, ordered Augustine and his
companions to come and hold a conference with him. For he had taken
precaution that they should not come to him in any house, lest, by so
coming, according to an ancient superstition, if they practised any
magical arts, they might impose upon him, and so get the better of him.
But they came endued with Divine, not with magic power, bearing a silver
cross for their banner, and the image of our Lord and Saviour painted on a
board; and chanting litanies, they offered up their prayers to the Lord
for the eternal salvation both of themselves and of those to whom and for
whom they had come. When they had sat down, in obedience to the king’s
commands, and preached to him and his attendants there present the Word of
life, the king answered thus: "Your words and promises are fair, but
because they are new to us, and of uncertain import, I cannot consent to
them so far as to forsake that which I have so long observed with the
whole English nation. But because you are come from far as strangers into
my kingdom, and, as I conceive, are desirous to impart to us those things
which you believe to be true, and most beneficial, we desire not to harm
you, but will give you favourable entertainment, and take care to supply
you with all things necessary to your sustenance; nor do we forbid you to
preach and gain as many as you can to your religion." Accordingly he gave
them an abode in the city of Canterbury,(116) which was the metropolis of
all his dominions, and, as he had promised, besides supplying them with
sustenance, did not refuse them liberty to preach. It is told that, as
they drew near to the city, after their manner, with the holy cross, and
the image of our sovereign Lord and King, Jesus Christ, they sang in
concert this litany: "We beseech thee, O Lord, for Thy great mercy, that
Thy wrath and anger be turned away from this city, and from Thy holy
house, for we have sinned. Hallelujah."

Chap. XXVI. How St. Augustine in Kent followed the doctrine and manner of
life of the primitive Church, and settled his episcopal see in the royal
city. [597 A.D.]

As soon as they entered the dwelling-place assigned to them, they began to
imitate the Apostolic manner of life in the primitive Church; applying
themselves to constant prayer, watchings, and fastings; preaching the Word
of life to as many as they could; despising all worldly things, as in
nowise concerning them; receiving only their necessary food from those
they taught; living themselves in all respects conformably to what they
taught, and being always ready to suffer any adversity, and even to die
for that truth which they preached. In brief, some believed and were
baptized, admiring the simplicity of their blameless life, and the
sweetness of their heavenly doctrine. There was on the east side of the
city, a church dedicated of old to the honour of St. Martin,(117) built
whilst the Romans were still in the island, wherein the queen, who, as has
been said before, was a Christian, was wont to pray. In this they also
first began to come together, to chant the Psalms, to pray, to celebrate
Mass, to preach, and to baptize, till when the king had been converted to
the faith, they obtained greater liberty to preach everywhere and build or
repair churches.

When he, among the rest, believed and was baptized, attracted by the pure
life of these holy men and their gracious promises, the truth of which
they established by many miracles, greater numbers began daily to flock
together to hear the Word, and, forsaking their heathen rites, to have
fellowship, through faith, in the unity of Christ’s Holy Church. It is
told that the king, while he rejoiced at their conversion and their faith,
yet compelled none to embrace Christianity, but only showed more affection
to the believers, as to his fellow citizens in the kingdom of Heaven. For
he had learned from those who had instructed him and guided him to
salvation, that the service of Christ ought to be voluntary, not by
compulsion. Nor was it long before he gave his teachers a settled
residence suited to their degree in his metropolis of Canterbury, with
such possessions of divers sorts as were necessary for them.

Chap. XXVII. How St. Augustine, being made a bishop, sent to acquaint Pope
Gregory with what had been done in Britain, and asked and received
replies, of which he stood in need. [597-601 A.D.]

In the meantime, Augustine, the man of God, went to Arles, and, according
to the orders received from the holy Father Gregory, was ordained
archbishop of the English nation,(118) by Aetherius,(119) archbishop of
that city. Then returning into Britain, he sent Laurentius the the
priest(120) and Peter the monk(121) to Rome, to acquaint Pope Gregory,
that the English nation had received the faith of Christ, and that he was
himself made their bishop. At the same time, he desired his solution of
some doubts which seemed urgent to him. He soon received fitting answers
to his questions, which we have also thought meet to insert in this our

_The First Question of the blessed Augustine, Bishop of the Church of
Canterbury._—Concerning bishops, what should be their manner of
conversation towards their clergy? or into how many portions the offerings
of the faithful at the altar are to be divided? and how the bishop is to
act in the Church?

_Gregory, Pope of the City of Rome, answers._—Holy Scripture, in which we
doubt not you are well versed, testifies to this, and in particular the
Epistles of the Blessed Paul to Timothy, wherein he endeavours to show him
what should be his manner of conversation in the house of God; but it is
the custom of the Apostolic see to prescribe these rules to bishops when
they are ordained: that all emoluments which accrue, are to be divided
into four portions;—one for the bishop and his household, for hospitality
and entertainment of guests; another for the clergy; a third for the poor;
and the fourth for the repair of churches. But in that you, my brother,
having been instructed in monastic rules, must not live apart from your
clergy in the Church of the English, which has been lately, by the will of
God, converted to the faith, you must establish the manner of conversation
of our fathers in the primitive Church, among whom, none said that aught
of the things which they possessed was his own, but they had all things

But if there are any clerks not received into holy orders,(122) who cannot
live continent, they are to take wives, and receive their stipends outside
of the community; because we know that it is written concerning the same
fathers of whom we have spoken that a distribution was made unto every man
according as he had need. Care is also to be taken of their stipends, and
provision to be made, and they are to be kept under ecclesiastical rule,
that they may live orderly, and attend to singing of psalms, and, by the
help of God, preserve their hearts and tongues and bodies from all that is
unlawful. But as for those that live in common, there is no need to say
anything of assigning portions, or dispensing hospitality and showing
mercy; inasmuch as all that they have over is to be spent in pious and
religious works, according to the teaching of Him who is the Lord and
Master of all, "Give alms of such things as ye have over, and behold all
things are clean unto you."(123)

_Augustine’s Second Question._—Whereas the faith is one and the same, are
there different customs in different Churches? and is one custom of Masses
observed in the holy Roman Church, and another in the Church of Gaul?(124)

_Pope Gregory answers._—You know, my brother, the custom of the Roman
Church in which you remember that you were bred up. But my will is, that
if you have found anything, either in the Roman, or the Gallican, or any
other Church, which may be more acceptable to Almighty God, you should
carefully make choice of the same, and sedulously teach the Church of the
English, which as yet is new in the faith, whatsoever you can gather from
the several Churches. For things are not to be loved for the sake of
places, but places for the sake of good things. Choose, therefore, from
every Church those things that are pious, religious, and right, and when
you have, as it were, made them up into one bundle, let the minds of the
English be accustomed thereto.

_Augustine’s Third Question._—I beseech you, what punishment must be
inflicted on one who steals anything from a church?

_Gregory answers._—You may judge, my brother, by the condition of the
thief, in what manner he is to be corrected. For there are some, who,
having substance, commit theft; and there are others, who transgress in
this matter through want. Wherefore it is requisite, that some be punished
with fines, others with stripes; some with more severity, and some more
mildly. And when the severity is greater, it is to proceed from charity,
not from anger; because this is done for the sake of him who is corrected,
that he may not be delivered up to the fires of Hell. For it behoves us to
maintain discipline among the faithful, as good parents do with their
children according to the flesh, whom they punish with stripes for their
faults, and yet they design to make those whom they chastise their heirs,
and preserve their possessions for those whom they seem to visit in wrath.
This charity is, therefore, to be kept in mind, and it dictates the
measure of the punishment, so that the mind may do nothing beyond the rule
prescribed by reason. You will add to this, how men are to restore those
things which they have stolen from the church. But let not the Church take
more than it has lost of its worldly possessions, or seek gain from

_Augustine’s Fourth Question._—Whether two full brothers may marry two
sisters, who are of a family far removed from them?

_Gregory answers._—Most assuredly this may lawfully be done; for nothing
is found in Holy Writ on this matter that seems to contradict it.

_Augustine’s Fifth Question._—To what degree may the faithful marry with
their kindred? and is it lawful to marry a stepmother or a brother’s wife?

_Gregory answers._—A certain secular law in the Roman commonwealth allows,
that the son and daughter of a brother and sister,(125) or of two full
brothers, or two sisters, may be joined in matrimony; but we have found,
by experience, that the offspring of such wedlock cannot grow up; and the
Divine law forbids a man to "uncover the nakedness of his kindred." Hence
of necessity it must be the third or fourth generation of the faithful,
that can be lawfully joined in matrimony; for the second, which we have
mentioned, must altogether abstain from one another. To marry with one’s
stepmother is a heinous crime, because it is written in the Law, "Thou
shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father:" now the son, indeed,
cannot uncover his father’s nakedness; but in regard that it is written,
"They twain shall be one flesh," he that presumes to uncover the nakedness
of his stepmother, who was one flesh with his father, certainly uncovers
the nakedness of his father. It is also prohibited to marry with a
sister-in-law, because by the former union she is become the brother’s
flesh. For which thing also John the Baptist was beheaded, and obtained
the crown of holy martyrdom. For, though he was not ordered to deny
Christ, and it was not for confessing Christ that he was killed, yet
inasmuch as the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, said, "I am the Truth,"
because John was killed for the truth, he also shed his blood for Christ.

But forasmuch as there are many of the English, who, whilst they were
still heathens, are said to have been joined in this unholy union, when
they attain to the faith they are to be admonished to abstain, and be made
to know that this is a grievous sin. Let them fear the dread judgement of
God, lest, for the gratification of their carnal desires, they incur the
torments of eternal punishment. Yet they are not on this account to be
deprived of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, lest they
should seem to be punished for those things which they did through
ignorance before they had received Baptism. For in these times the Holy
Church chastises some things with zeal, and tolerates some in mercy, and
is blind to some in her wisdom, and so, by forbearance and blindness often
suppresses the evil that stands in her way. But all that come to the faith
are to be admonished not to presume to do such things. And if any shall be
guilty of them, they are to be excluded from the Communion of the Body and
Blood of Christ. For as the offence is, in some measure, to be tolerated
in those who did it through ignorance, so it is to be rigorously punished
in those who do not fear to sin knowingly.

_Augustine’s Sixth Question._—Whether a bishop may be consecrated without
other bishops being present, if there be so great a distance between them,
that they cannot easily come together?

_Gregory answers._—In the Church of England, of which you are as yet the
only bishop, you cannot otherwise ordain a bishop than in the absence of
other bishops. For when do bishops come over from Gaul, that they may be
present as witnesses to you in ordaining a bishop? But we would have you,
my brother, to ordain bishops in such a manner, that the said bishops may
not be far asunder, to the end that there be no lack, but that at the
ordination of a bishop other pastors also, whose presence is of great
benefit, should easily come together.(126) Thus, when, by the help of God,
bishops shall have been ordained in places near to one another, no
ordination of a bishop is to take place without assembling three or four
bishops. For, even in spiritual affairs, we may take example by the
temporal, that they may be wisely and discreetly conducted. For surely,
when marriages are celebrated in the world, some married persons are
assembled, that those who went before in the way of matrimony, may also
partake in the joy of the new union. Why, then, at this spiritual
ordinance, wherein, by means of the sacred ministry, man is joined to God,
should not such persons be assembled, as may either rejoice in the
advancement of the new bishop, or jointly pour forth their prayers to
Almighty God for his preservation?

_Augustine’s Seventh Question._—How are we to deal with the bishops of
Gaul and Britain?

_Gregory answers._—We give you no authority over the bishops of Gaul,
because the bishop of Arles received the pall(127) in the old times of my
predecessors, and we must by no means deprive him of the authority he has
received. If it shall therefore happen, my brother, that you go over into
the province of Gaul, you are to concert with the said bishop of Arles,
how, if there be any faults among the bishops, they may be amended. And if
he shall be lukewarm in keeping up discipline, he is to be fired by your
zeal; to whom we have also written, that aided by the presence of your
Holiness in Gaul, he should exert himself to the utmost, and put away from
the behaviour of the bishops all that is opposed to the command of our
Creator. But you shall not have power to go beyond your own authority and
judge the bishops of Gaul, but by persuading, and winning them, and
showing good works for them to imitate, you shall recall the perverted to
the pursuit of holiness; for it is written in the Law, "When thou comest
into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest bruise the ears
with thine hand and eat; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy
neighbours’ standing corn."(128) For thou mayest not apply the sickle of
judgement in that harvest which thou seest to have been committed to
another; but by the influence of good works thou shalt clear the Lord’s
wheat of the chaff of its vices, and convert it by exhortation and
persuasion in the body of the Church, as it were, by eating. But
whatsoever is to be done by authority, must be transacted with the
aforesaid bishop of Arles, lest that should be omitted, which the ancient
institution of the fathers has appointed.(129) But as for all the bishops
of Britain, we commit them to your care, that the unlearned may be taught,
the weak strengthened by persuasion, and the perverse corrected by

_Augustine’s Eighth Question._—Whether a woman with child ought to be
baptized? Or when she has brought forth, after what time she may come into
the church? As also, after how many days the infant born may be baptized,
lest he be prevented by death? Or how long after her husband may have
carnal knowledge of her? Or whether it is lawful for her to come into the
church when she has her courses, or to receive the Sacrament of Holy
Communion? Or whether a man, under certain circumstances, may come into
the church before he has washed with water? Or approach to receive the
Mystery of the Holy Communion? All which things are requisite to be known
by the ignorant nation of the English.

_Gregory answers._—I do not doubt but that these questions have been put
to you, my brother, and I think I have already answered you therein. But I
believe you would wish the opinion which you yourself might give and hold
to be confirmed by my reply also. Why should not a woman with child be
baptized, since the fruitfulness of the flesh is no offence in the eyes of
Almighty God? For when our first parents sinned in Paradise, they
forfeited the immortality which they had received, by the just judgement
of God. Because, therefore, Almighty God would not for their fault wholly
destroy the human race, he both deprived man of immortality for his sin,
and, at the same time, of his great goodness and loving-kindness, reserved
to him the power of propagating his race after him. On what ground, then,
can that which is preserved to human nature by the free gift of Almighty
God, be excluded from the privilege of Holy Baptism? For it is very
foolish to imagine that the gift can be opposed to grace in that Mystery
in which all sin is blotted out. When a woman is delivered, after how many
days she may come into the church, you have learnt from the teaching of
the Old Testament, to wit, that she is to abstain for a male child
thirty-three days, and sixty-six for a female. Now you must know that this
is to be received in a mystery; for if she enters the church the very hour
that she is delivered, to return thanks, she is not guilty of any sin;
because the pleasure of the flesh is a fault, and not the pain; but the
pleasure is in the copulation of the flesh, whereas there is pain in
bringing forth the child. Wherefore it is said to the first mother of all,
"In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." If, therefore, we forbid a
woman that has brought forth, to enter the church, we make a crime of her
very punishment. To baptize either a woman who has brought forth, if there
be danger of death, even the very hour that she brings forth, or that
which she has brought forth the very hour it is born, is in no way
prohibited, because, as the grace of the Holy Mystery is to be with much
discretion provided for those who are in full life and capable of
understanding, so is it to be without any delay administered to the dying;
lest, while a further time is sought to confer the Mystery of redemption,
if a small delay intervene, the person that is to be redeemed be dead and

Her husband is not to approach her, till the infant born be weaned. An
evil custom is sprung up in the lives of married people, in that women
disdain to suckle the children whom they bring forth, and give them to
other women to suckle; which seems to have been invented on no other
account but incontinency; because, as they will not be continent, they
will not suckle the children whom they bear. Those women, therefore, who,
from evil custom, give their children to others to bring up, must not
approach their husbands till the time of purification is past. For even
when there has been no child-birth, women are forbidden to do so, whilst
they have their courses, insomuch that the Law condemns to death any man
that shall approach unto a woman during her uncleanness. Yet the woman,
nevertheless, must not be forbidden to come into the church whilst she has
her courses; because the superfluity of nature cannot be imputed to her as
a crime; and it is not just that she should be refused admittance into the
church, for that which she suffers against her will. For we know, that the
woman who had the issue of blood, humbly approaching behind our Lord’s
back, touched the hem of his garment, and her infirmity immediately
departed from her. If, therefore, she that had an issue of blood might
commendably touch the garment of our Lord, why may not she, who has her
courses, lawfully enter into the church of God? But you may say, Her
infirmity compelled her, whereas these we speak of are bound by custom.
Consider, then, most dear brother, that all we suffer in this mortal
flesh, through the infirmity of our nature, is ordained by the just
judgement of God after the fall; for to hunger, to thirst, to be hot, to
be cold, to be weary, is from the infirmity of our nature; and what else
is it to seek food against hunger, drink against thirst, air against heat,
clothes against cold, rest against weariness, than to procure a remedy
against distempers? Thus to a woman her courses are a distemper. If,
therefore, it was a commendable boldness in her, who in her disease
touched our Lord’s garment, why may not that which is allowed to one
infirm person, be granted to all women, who, through the fault of their
nature, are rendered infirm?

She must not, therefore, be forbidden to receive the Mystery of the Holy
Communion during those days. But if any one out of profound respect does
not presume to do it, she is to be commended; yet if she receives it, she
is not to be judged. For it is the part of noble minds in some manner to
acknowledge their faults, even when there is no fault; because very often
that is done without a fault, which, nevertheless, proceeded from a fault.
Thus, when we are hungry, it is no sin to eat; yet our being hungry
proceeds from the sin of the first man. The courses are no sin in women,
because they happen naturally; yet, because our nature itself is so
depraved, that it appears to be defiled even without the concurrence of
the will, a defect arises from sin, and thereby human nature may itself
know what it is become by judgement. And let man, who wilfully committed
the offence, bear the guilt of that offence against his will. And,
therefore, let women consider with themselves, and if they do not presume,
during their courses, to approach the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of
our Lord, they are to be commended for their praiseworthy consideration;
but when they are carried away with love of the same Mystery to receive it
according to the custom of the religious life, they are not to be
restrained, as we said before. For as in the Old Testament the outward
works are observed, so in the New Testament, that which is outwardly done,
is not so diligently regarded as that which is inwardly thought, that the
punishment may be with discernment. For whereas the Law forbids the eating
of many things as unclean, yet our Lord says in the Gospel, "Not that
which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of
the mouth, this defileth a man." And afterwards he added, expounding the
same, "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts." Where it is abundantly
shown, that that is declared by Almighty God to be polluted in deed, which
springs from the root of a polluted thought. Whence also Paul the Apostle
says, "Unto the pure all things are pure, but unto them that are defiled
and unbelieving, nothing is pure." And presently, declaring the cause of
that defilement, he adds, "For even their mind and conscience is defiled."
If, therefore, meat is not unclean to him whose mind is not unclean, why
shall that which a woman suffers according to nature, with a clean mind,
be imputed to her as uncleanness?

A man who has approached his own wife is not to enter the church unless
washed with water, nor is he to enter immediately although washed. The Law
prescribed to the ancient people, that a man in such cases should be
washed with water, and not enter into the church before the setting of the
sun. Which, nevertheless, may be understood spiritually, because a man
acts so when the mind is led by the imagination to unlawful concupiscence;
for unless the fire of concupiscence be first driven from his mind, he is
not to think himself worthy of the congregation of the brethren, while he
sees himself burdened by the iniquity of a perverted will. For though
divers nations have divers opinions concerning this affair, and seem to
observe different rules, it was always the custom of the Romans, from
ancient times, for such an one to seek to be cleansed by washing, and for
some time reverently to forbear entering the church. Nor do we, in so
saying, assign matrimony to be a fault; but forasmuch as lawful
intercourse cannot be had without the pleasure of the flesh, it is proper
to forbear entering the holy place, because the pleasure itself cannot be
without a fault. For he was not born of adultery or fornication, but of
lawful marriage, who said, "Behold I was conceived in iniquity, and in sin
my mother brought me forth." For he who knew himself to have been
conceived in iniquity, lamented that he was born from sin, because he
bears the defect, as a tree bears in its bough the sap it drew from the
root. In which words, however, he does not call the union of the married
couple iniquity, but the will itself. For there are many things which are
lawful and permitted, and yet we are somewhat defiled in doing them. As
very often by being angry we correct faults, and at the same time disturb
our own peace of mind; and though that which we do is right, yet it is not
to be approved that our mind should be disturbed. For he who said, "My eye
was disturbed with anger," had been angry at the vices of sinners. Now,
seeing that only a calm mind can rest in the light of contemplation, he
grieved that his eye was disturbed with anger; because, whilst he was
correcting evil actions below, he was obliged to be confused and disturbed
with regard to the contemplation of the highest things. Anger against vice
is, therefore, commendable, and yet painful to a man, because he thinks
that by his mind being agitated, he has incurred some guilt. Lawful
commerce, therefore, must be for the sake of children, not of pleasure;
and must be to procure offspring, not to satisfy vices. But if any man is
led not by the desire of pleasure, but only for the sake of getting
children, such a man is certainly to be left to his own judgement, either
as to entering the church, or as to receiving the Mystery of the Body and
Blood of our Lord, which he, who being placed in the fire cannot burn, is
not to be forbidden by us to receive. But when, not the love of getting
children, but of pleasure prevails, the pair have cause to lament their
deed. For this the holy preaching concedes to them, and yet fills the mind
with dread of the very concession. For when Paul the Apostle said, "Let
him that cannot contain have his own wife;" he presently took care to
subjoin, "But this I say by way of permission, not of commandment." For
that is not granted by way of permission which is lawful, because it is
just; and, therefore, that which he said he permitted, he showed to be an

It is seriously to be considered, that when God was about to speak to the
people on Mount Sinai, He first commanded them to abstain from women. And
if purity of body was there so carefully required, where God spoke to the
people by the means of a creature as His representative, that those who
were to hear the words of God should abstain; how much more ought women,
who receive the Body of Almighty God, to preserve themselves in purity of
flesh, lest they be burdened with the very greatness of that inestimable
Mystery? For this reason also, it was said to David, concerning his men,
by the priest, that if they were clean in this particular, they should
receive the shewbread, which they would not have received at all, had not
David first declared them to be clean. Then the man, who, afterwards, has
been washed with water, is also capable of receiving the Mystery of the
Holy Communion, when it is lawful for him, according to what has been
before declared, to enter the church.

_Augustine’s Ninth Question._—Whether after an illusion, such as is wont
to happen in a dream, any man may receive the Body of our Lord, or if he
be a priest, celebrate the Divine Mysteries?

_Gregory answers._—The Testament of the Old Law, as has been said already
in the article above, calls such a man polluted, and allows him not to
enter into the church till the evening, after being washed with water.
Which, nevertheless, a spiritual people, taking in another sense, will
understand in the same manner as above; because he is imposed upon as it
were in a dream, who, being tempted with uncleanness, is defiled by real
representations in thought, and he is to be washed with water, that he may
cleanse away the sins of thought with tears; and unless the fire of
temptation depart before, may know himself to be in a manner guilty until
the evening. But a distinction is very necessary in that illusion, and one
must carefully consider what causes it to arise in the mind of the person
sleeping; for sometimes it proceeds from excess of eating or drinking;
sometimes from the superfluity or infirmity of nature, and sometimes from
the thoughts. And when it happens either through superfluity or infirmity
of nature, such an illusion is not to be feared at all, because it is to
be lamented, that the mind of the person, who knew nothing of it, suffers
the same, rather than that he occasioned it. But when the appetite of
gluttony commits excess in food, and thereupon the receptacles of the
humours are oppressed, the mind thence contracts some guilt; yet not so
much as to hinder the receiving of the Holy Mystery, or celebrating Mass,
when a holy day requires it, or necessity obliges the Mystery to be shown
forth, because there is no other priest in the place; for if there be
others who can perform the ministry, the illusion proceeding from
over-eating ought not to exclude a man from receiving the sacred Mystery;
but I am of opinion he ought humbly to abstain from offering the sacrifice
of the Mystery, but not from receiving it, unless the mind of the person
sleeping has been disturbed with some foul imagination. For there are
some, who for the most part so suffer the illusion, that their mind, even
during the sleep of the body, is not defiled with filthy thoughts. In
which case, one thing is evident, that the mind is guilty, not being
acquitted even in its own judgement; for though it does not remember to
have seen anything whilst the body was sleeping, yet it calls to mind
that, when the body was awake, it fell into gluttony. But if the illusion
of the sleeper proceeds from evil thoughts when he was awake, then its
guilt is manifest to the mind; for the man perceives from what root that
defilement sprang, because what he had consciously thought of, that he
afterwards unconsciously endured. But it is to be considered, whether that
thought was no more than a suggestion, or proceeded to delight, or, what
is worse, consented to sin. For all sin is committed in three ways, viz.,
by suggestion, by delight, and by consent. Suggestion comes from the
Devil, delight from the flesh, and consent from the spirit. For the
serpent suggested the first offence, and Eve, as flesh, took delight in
it, but Adam, as the spirit, consented. And when the mind sits in
judgement on itself, it must clearly distinguish between suggestion and
delight, and between delight and consent. For when the evil spirit
suggests a sin to the mind, if there ensue no delight in the sin, the sin
is in no way committed; but when the flesh begins to take delight in it,
then sin begins to arise. But if it deliberately consents, then the sin is
known to be full-grown. The seed, therefore, of sin is in the suggestion,
the nourishment of it in delight, its maturity in the consent. And it
often happens that what the evil spirit sows in the thought, in that the
flesh begins to find delight, and yet the soul does not consent to that
delight. And whereas the flesh cannot be delighted without the mind, yet
the mind struggling against the pleasures of the flesh, is after a manner
unwillingly bound by the carnal delight, so that through reason it opposes
it, and does not consent, yet being bound by delight, it grievously
laments being so bound. Wherefore that great soldier of our Lord’s host,
groaned and said, "I see another law in my members warring against the law
of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in
my members." Now if he was a captive, he did not fight; but he did fight;
wherefore he was a captive and at the same time therefore fought against
the law of the mind, which the law that is in the members opposed; but if
he fought, he was no captive. Thus, then, man is, as I may say, a captive
and yet free. Free on account of justice, which he loves, a captive by the
delight which he unwillingly bears within him.

Chap. XXVIII. How Pope Gregory wrote to the bishop of Arles to help
Augustine in the work of God. [601 A.D.]

Thus far the answers of the holy Pope Gregory, to the questions of the
most reverend prelate, Augustine. Now the letter, which he says he had
written to the bishop of Arles, was directed to Vergilius, successor to
Aetherius,(130) and was in the following words:

"_To his most reverend and holy brother and fellow bishop, Vergilius;
Gregory, servant of the servants of God._ With how much kindness brethren,
coming of their own accord, are to be entertained, is shown by this, that
they are for the most part invited for the sake of brotherly love.
Therefore, if our common brother, Bishop Augustine, shall happen to come
to you, let your love, as is becoming, receive him with so great kindness
and affection, that it may refresh him by the benefit of its consolation
and show to others how brotherly charity is to be cultivated. And, since
it often happens that those who are at a distance first learn from others
the things that need correction, if he bring before you, my brother, any
sins of bishops or others, do you, in conjunction with him, carefully
inquire into the same, and show yourself so strict and earnest with regard
to those things which offend God and provoke His wrath, that for the
amendment of others, the punishment may fall upon the guilty, and the
innocent may not suffer under false report. God keep you in safety, most
reverend brother. Given the 22nd day of June, in the nineteenth year of
the reign of our most religious lord, Mauritius Tiberius Augustus, the
eighteenth year after the consulship of our said lord, and the fourth

Chap. XXIX. How the same Pope sent to Augustine the Pall and a letter,
along with several ministers of the Word. [601 A.D.]

Moreover, the same Pope Gregory, hearing from Bishop Augustine, that the
harvest which he had was great and the labourers but few, sent to him,
together with his aforesaid envoys, certain fellow labourers and ministers
of the Word, of whom the chief and foremost were Mellitus, Justus,
Paulinus, and Rufinianus,(131) and by them all things in general that were
necessary for the worship and service of the Church, to wit, sacred
vessels and altar-cloths, also church-furniture, and vestments for the
bishops and clerks, as likewise relics of the holy Apostles and martyrs;
besides many manuscripts. He also sent a letter, wherein he signified that
he had despatched the pall to him, and at the same time directed how he
should constitute bishops in Britain. The letter was in these words:

"_To his most reverend and holy brother and fellow bishop, Augustine;
Gregory, the servant of the servants of God._ Though it be certain, that
the unspeakable rewards of the eternal kingdom are reserved for those who
labour for Almighty God, yet it is requisite that we bestow on them the
benefit of honours, to the end that they may by this recompense be
encouraged the more vigorously to apply themselves to the care of their
spiritual work. And, seeing that the new Church of the English is, through
the bounty of the Lord, and your labours, brought to the grace of God, we
grant you the use of the pall in the same, only for the celebration of the
solemn service of the Mass; that so you may ordain twelve bishops in
different places, who shall be subject to your jurisdiction. But the
bishop of London shall, for the future, be always consecrated by his own
synod, and receive the pall, which is the token of his office, from this
holy and Apostolic see, which I, by the grace of God, now serve. But we
would have you send to the city of York such a bishop as you shall think
fit to ordain; yet so, that if that city, with the places adjoining, shall
receive the Word of God, that bishop shall also ordain twelve bishops, and
enjoy the honour of a metropolitan; for we design, if we live, by the help
of God, to bestow on him also the pall; and yet we would have him to be
subject to your authority, my brother; but after your decease, he shall so
preside over the bishops he shall have ordained, as to be in no way
subject to the jurisdiction of the bishop of London. But for the future
let there be this distinction as regards honour between the bishops of the
cities of London and York, that he who has been first ordained have the
precedence.(132) But let them take counsel and act in concert and with one
mind dispose whatsoever is to be done for zeal of Christ; let them judge
rightly, and carry out their judgement without dissension.

"But to you, my brother, shall, by the authority of our God and Lord Jesus
Christ, be subject not only those bishops whom you shall ordain, and those
that shall be ordained by the bishop of York, but also all the prelates in
Britain; to the end that from the words and manner of life of your
Holiness they may learn the rule of a right belief and a good life, and
fulfilling their office in faith and righteousness, they may, when it
shall please the Lord, attain to the kingdom of Heaven. God preserve you
in safety, most reverend brother.

"Given the 22nd of June, in the nineteenth year of the reign of our most
religious lord, Mauritius Tiberius Augustus, the eighteenth year after the
consulship of our said lord, and the fourth indiction."

Chap. XXX. A copy of the letter which Pope Gregory sent to the Abbot
Mellitus, then going into Britain. [601 A.D.]

The aforesaid envoys having departed, the blessed Father Gregory sent
after them a letter worthy to be recorded, wherein he plainly shows how
carefully he watched over the salvation of our country. The letter was as

"_To his most beloved son, the Abbot Mellitus; Gregory, the servant of the
servants of God._ We have been much concerned, since the departure of our
people that are with you, because we have received no account of the
success of your journey. Howbeit, when Almighty God has led you to the
most reverend Bishop Augustine, our brother, tell him what I have long
been considering in my own mind concerning the matter of the English
people; to wit, that the temples of the idols in that nation ought not to
be destroyed; but let the idols that are in them be destroyed; let water
be consecrated and sprinkled in the said temples, let altars be erected,
and relics placed there. For if those temples are well built, it is
requisite that they be converted from the worship of devils to the service
of the true God; that the nation, seeing that their temples are not
destroyed, may remove error from their hearts, and knowing and adoring the
true God, may the more freely resort to the places to which they have been
accustomed. And because they are used to slaughter many oxen in sacrifice
to devils, some solemnity must be given them in exchange for this, as that
on the day of the dedication, or the nativities of the holy martyrs, whose
relics are there deposited, they should build themselves huts of the
boughs of trees about those churches which have been turned to that use
from being temples, and celebrate the solemnity with religious feasting,
and no more offer animals to the Devil, but kill cattle and glorify God in
their feast, and return thanks to the Giver of all things for their
abundance; to the end that, whilst some outward gratifications are
retained, they may the more easily consent to the inward joys. For there
is no doubt that it is impossible to cut off every thing at once from
their rude natures; because he who endeavours to ascend to the highest
place rises by degrees or steps, and not by leaps. Thus the Lord made
Himself known to the people of Israel in Egypt; and yet He allowed them
the use, in His own worship, of the sacrifices which they were wont to
offer to the Devil, commanding them in His sacrifice to kill animals, to
the end that, with changed hearts, they might lay aside one part of the
sacrifice, whilst they retained another; and although the animals were the
same as those which they were wont to offer, they should offer them to the
true God, and not to idols; and thus they would no longer be the same
sacrifices. This then, dearly beloved, it behoves you to communicate to
our aforesaid brother, that he, being placed where he is at present, may
consider how he is to order all things. God preserve you in safety, most
beloved son.

"Given the 17th of June,(133) in the nineteenth year of the reign of our
most religious lord, Mauritius Tiberius Augustus, the eighteenth year
after the consulship of our said lord, and the fourth indiction."

Chap. XXXI. How Pope Gregory, by letter, exhorted Augustine not to glory
in his miracles. [601 A.D.]

At which time he also sent Augustine a letter concerning the miracles that
he had heard had been wrought by him; wherein he admonishes him not to
incur the danger of being puffed up by the number of them. The letter was
in these words:

"I know, dearly beloved brother, that Almighty God, by means of you, shows
forth great miracles to the nation which it was His will to choose.
Wherefore you must needs rejoice with fear, and fear with joy concerning
that heavenly gift; for you will rejoice because the souls of the English
are by outward miracles drawn to inward grace; but you will fear, lest,
amidst the wonders that are wrought, the weak mind may be puffed up with
self-esteem, and that whereby it is outwardly raised to honour cause it
inwardly to fall through vain-glory. For we must call to mind, that when
the disciples returned with joy from preaching, and said to their Heavenly
Master, ‘Lord, even the devils are subject to us through Thy Name;’
forthwith they received the reply, ‘In this rejoice not; but rather
rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.’(134) For their minds
were set on private and temporal joys, when they rejoiced in miracles; but
they are recalled from the private to the common joy, and from the
temporal to the eternal, when it is said to them, ‘Rejoice in this,
because your names are written in heaven.’ For all the elect do not work
miracles, and yet the names of all are written in heaven. For those who
are disciples of the truth ought not to rejoice, save for that good thing
which all men enjoy as well as they, and in which their joy shall be
without end.

"It remains, therefore, most dear brother, that amidst those outward
actions, which you perform through the power of the Lord, you should
always carefully judge yourself in your heart, and carefully understand
both what you are yourself, and how much grace is bestowed upon that same
nation, for the conversion of which you have received even the gift of
working miracles. And if you remember that you have at any time sinned
against our Creator, either by word or deed, always call it to mind, to
the end that the remembrance of your guilt may crush the vanity which
rises in your heart. And whatsoever gift of working miracles you either
shall receive, or have received, consider the same, not as conferred on
you, but on those for whose salvation it has been given you."

Chap. XXXII. How Pope Gregory sent letters and gifts to King Ethelbert.
[601 A.D.]

The same blessed Pope Gregory, at the same time, sent a letter to King
Ethelbert, with many gifts of divers sorts; being desirous to glorify the
king with temporal honours, at the same time that he rejoiced that through
his own labour and zeal he had attained to the knowledge of heavenly
glory. The copy of the said letter is as follows:

"_To the most glorious lord, and his most excellent son, Ethelbert, king
of the English, Bishop Gregory._ Almighty God advances good men to the
government of nations, that He may by their means bestow the gifts of His
loving-kindness on those over whom they are placed. This we know to have
come to pass in the English nation, over whom your Highness was placed, to
the end, that by means of the blessings which are granted to you, heavenly
benefits might also be conferred on your subjects. Therefore, my
illustrious son, do you carefully guard the grace which you have received
from the Divine goodness, and be eager to spread the Christian faith among
the people under your rule; in all uprightness increase your zeal for
their conversion; suppress the worship of idols; overthrow the structures
of the temples; establish the manners of your subjects by much cleanness
of life, exhorting, terrifying, winning, correcting, and showing forth an
example of good works, that you may obtain your reward in Heaven from Him,
Whose Name and the knowledge of Whom you have spread abroad upon earth.
For He, Whose honour you seek and maintain among the nations, will also
render your Majesty’s name more glorious even to posterity.

"For even so the most pious emperor, Constantine, of old, recovering the
Roman commonwealth from the false worship of idols, brought it with
himself into subjection to Almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ, and turned
to Him with his whole mind, together with the nations under his rule.
Whence it followed, that his praises transcended the fame of former
princes; and he excelled his predecessors in renown as much as in good
works. Now, therefore, let your Highness hasten to impart to the kings and
peoples that are subject to you, the knowledge of one God, Father, Son,
and Holy Ghost; that you may surpass the ancient kings of your nation in
praise and merit, and while you cause the sins of others among your own
subjects to be blotted out, become the more free from anxiety with regard
to your own sins before the dread judgement of Almighty God.

"Willingly hear, devoutly perform, and studiously retain in your memory,
whatsoever counsel shall be given you by our most reverend brother, Bishop
Augustine, who is trained up in the monastic rule, full of the knowledge
of Holy Scripture, and, by the help of God, endued with good works; for if
you give ear to him when he speaks on behalf of Almighty God, the sooner
will Almighty God hear his prayers for you. But if (which God forbid!) you
slight his words, how shall Almighty God hear him on your behalf, when you
neglect to hear him on behalf of God? Unite yourself, therefore, to him
with all your mind, in the fervour of faith, and further his endeavours,
by that virtue which God has given you, that He may make you partaker of
His kingdom, Whose faith you cause to be received and maintained in your

"Besides, we would have your Highness know that, as we find in Holy
Scripture from the words of the Almighty Lord, the end of this present
world, and the kingdom of the saints, which will never come to an end, is
at hand. But as the end of the world draws near, many things are about to
come upon us which were not before, to wit, changes in the air, and
terrors from heaven, and tempests out of the order of the seasons, wars,
famines, pestilences, earthquakes in divers places; which things will not,
nevertheless, all happen in our days, but will all follow after our days.
If, therefore, you perceive that any of these things come to pass in your
country, let not your mind be in any way disturbed; for these signs of the
end of the world are sent before, for this reason, that we may take heed
to our souls, and be watchful for the hour of death, and may be found
prepared with good works to meet our Judge. Thus much, my illustrious son,
I have said in few words, with intent that when the Christian faith is
spread abroad in your kingdom, our discourse to you may also be more
copious, and we may desire to say the more, as joy for the full conversion
of your nation is increased in our mind.

"I have sent you some small gifts, which will not appear small to you,
when received by you with the blessing of the blessed Apostle, Peter. May
Almighty God, therefore, perfect in you His grace which He has begun, and
prolong your life here through a course of many years, and in the fulness
of time receive you into the congregation of the heavenly country. May the
grace of God preserve you in safety, my most excellent lord and son.

"Given the 22nd day of June, in the nineteenth year of the reign of our
most religious lord, Mauritius Tiberius Augustus, in the eighteenth year
after his consulship, and the fourth indiction."

Chap. XXXIII. How Augustine repaired the church of our Saviour, and built
the monastery of the blessed Peter the Apostle; and concerning Peter the
first abbot of the same.

Augustine having had his episcopal see granted him in the royal city, as
has been said, recovered therein, with the support of the king, a church,
which he was informed had been built of old by the faithful among the
Romans, and consecrated it in the name of the Holy Saviour, our Divine
Lord Jesus Christ, and there established a residence for himself and all
his successors.(135) He also built a monastery not far from the city to
the eastward, in which, by his advice, Ethelbert erected from the
foundation the church of the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul,(136) and
enriched it with divers gifts; wherein the bodies of the same Augustine,
and of all the bishops of Canterbury, and of the kings of Kent, might be
buried. Nevertheless, it was not Augustine himself who consecrated that
church, but Laurentius, his successor.

The first abbot of that monastery was the priest Peter,(137) who, being
sent on a mission into Gaul, was drowned in a bay of the sea, which is
called Amfleat,(138) and committed to a humble tomb by the inhabitants of
the place; but since it was the will of Almighty God to reveal his merits,
a light from Heaven was seen over his grave every night; till the
neighbouring people who saw it, perceiving that he had been a holy man
that was buried there, and inquiring who and whence he was, carried away
the body, and interred it in the church, in the city of Boulogne, with the
honour due to so great a person.

Chap. XXXIV. How Ethelfrid, king of the Northumbrians, having vanquished
the nations of the Scots, expelled them from the territories of the
English. [603 A.D.]

At this time, the brave and ambitious king, Ethelfrid,(139) governed the
kingdom of the Northumbrians, and ravaged the Britons more than all the
chiefs of the English, insomuch that he might be compared to Saul of old,
king of the Israelites, save only in this, that he was ignorant of Divine
religion. For he conquered more territories from the Britons than any
other chieftain or king, either subduing the inhabitants and making them
tributary, or driving them out and planting the English in their places.
To him might justly be applied the saying of the patriarch blessing his
son in the person of Saul, "Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf; in the morning
he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil."(140)
Hereupon, Aedan, king of the Scots that dwell in Britain,(141) being
alarmed by his success, came against him with a great and mighty army, but
was defeated and fled with a few followers; for almost all his army was
cut to pieces at a famous place, called Degsastan, that is, Degsa
Stone.(142) In which battle also Theodbald, brother to Ethelfrid, was
killed, with almost all the forces he commanded. This war Ethelfrid
brought to an end in the year of our Lord 603, the eleventh of his own
reign, which lasted twenty-four years, and the first year of the reign of
Phocas, who then was at the head of the Roman empire. From that time, no
king of the Scots durst come into Britain to make war on the English to
this day.


Chap. I. Of the death of the blessed Pope Gregory.(143) [604 A.D.]

At this time, that is, in the year of our Lord 605,(144) the blessed Pope
Gregory, after having most gloriously governed the Roman Apostolic see
thirteen years, six months, and ten days, died, and was translated to an
eternal abode in the kingdom of Heaven. Of whom, seeing that by his zeal
he converted our nation, the English, from the power of Satan to the faith
of Christ, it behoves us to discourse more at large in our Ecclesiastical
History, for we may rightly, nay, we must, call him our apostle; because,
as soon as he began to wield the pontifical power over all the world, and
was placed over the Churches long before converted to the true faith, he
made our nation, till then enslaved to idols, the Church of Christ, so
that concerning him we may use those words of the Apostle; "if he be not
an apostle to others, yet doubtless he is to us; for the seal of his
apostleship are we in the Lord."(145)

He was by nation a Roman, son of Gordianus, tracing his descent from
ancestors that were not only noble, but religious. Moreover Felix, once
bishop of the same Apostolic see, a man of great honour in Christ and in
the Church, was his forefather.(146) Nor did he show his nobility in
religion by less strength of devotion than his parents and kindred. But
that nobility of this world which was seen in him, by the help of the
Divine Grace, he used only to gain the glory of eternal dignity; for soon
quitting his secular habit, he entered a monastery, wherein he began to
live with so much grace of perfection that (as he was wont afterwards with
tears to testify) his mind was above all transitory things; that he rose
superior to all that is subject to change; that he used to think of
nothing but what was heavenly; that, whilst detained by the body, he broke
through the bonds of the flesh by contemplation; and that he even loved
death, which is a penalty to almost all men, as the entrance into life,
and the reward of his labours. This he used to say of himself, not to
boast of his progress in virtue, but rather to bewail the falling off
which he imagined he had sustained through his pastoral charge. Indeed,
once in a private conversation with his deacon, Peter, after having
enumerated the former virtues of his soul, he added sorrowfully, "But now,
on account of the pastoral charge, it is entangled with the affairs of
laymen, and, after so fair an appearance of inward peace, is defiled with
the dust of earthly action. And having wasted itself on outward things, by
turning aside to the affairs of many men, even when it desires the inward
things, it returns to them undoubtedly impaired. I therefore consider what
I endure, I consider what I have lost, and when I behold what I have
thrown away, that which I bear appears the more grievous."

So spake the holy man constrained by his great humility. But it behoves us
to believe that he lost nothing of his monastic perfection by reason of
his pastoral charge, but rather that he gained greater profit through the
labour of converting many, than by the former calm of his private life,
and chiefly because, whilst holding the pontifical office, he set about
organizing his house like a monastery. And when first drawn from the
monastery, ordained to the ministry of the altar, and sent to
Constantinople as representative(147) of the Apostolic see, though he now
took part in the secular affairs of the palace, yet he did not abandon the
fixed course of his heavenly life; for some of the brethren of his
monastery, who had followed him to the royal city in their brotherly love,
he employed for the better observance of monastic rule, to the end that at
all times, by their example, as he writes himself, he might be held fast
to the calm shore of prayer, as it were, with the cable of an anchor,
whilst he should be tossed up and down by the ceaseless waves of worldly
affairs; and daily in the intercourse of studious reading with them,
strengthen his mind shaken with temporal concerns. By their company he was
not only guarded against the assaults of the world, but more and more
roused to the exercises of a heavenly life.

For they persuaded him to interpret by a mystical exposition the book of
the blessed Job,(148) which is involved in great obscurity; nor could he
refuse to undertake that work, which brotherly affection imposed on him
for the future benefit of many; but in a wonderful manner, in five and
thirty books of exposition, he taught how that same book is to be
understood literally; how to be referred to the mysteries of Christ and
the Church; and in what sense it is to be adapted to every one of the
faithful. This work he began as papal representative in the royal city,
but finished it at Rome after being made pope. Whilst he was still in the
royal city, by the help of the grace of Catholic truth, he crushed in its
first rise a new heresy which sprang up there, concerning the state of our
resurrection. For Eutychius,(149) bishop of that city, taught, that our
body, in the glory of resurrection, would be impalpable, and more subtile
than wind and air. The blessed Gregory hearing this, proved by force of
truth, and by the instance of the Resurrection of our Lord, that this
doctrine was every way opposed to the orthodox faith. For the Catholic
faith holds that our body, raised by the glory of immortality, is indeed
rendered subtile by the effect of spiritual power, but is palpable by the
reality of nature; according to the example of our Lord’s Body, concerning
which, when risen from the dead, He Himself says to His disciples, "Handle
Me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me
have."(150) In maintaining this faith, the venerable Father Gregory so
earnestly strove against the rising heresy, and with the help of the most
pious emperor, Tiberius Constantine,(151) so fully suppressed it, that
none has been since found to revive it.

He likewise composed another notable book, the "Liber Pastoralis," wherein
he clearly showed what sort of persons ought to be preferred to rule the
Church; how such rulers ought to live; with how much discrimination they
ought to instruct the different classes of their hearers, and how
seriously to reflect every day on their own frailty. He also wrote forty
homilies on the Gospel, which he divided equally into two volumes; and
composed four books of Dialogues, in which, at the request of his deacon,
Peter, he recounted the virtues of the more renowned saints of Italy, whom
he had either known or heard of, as a pattern of life for posterity; to
the end that, as he taught in his books of Expositions what virtues men
ought to strive after, so by describing the miracles of saints, he might
make known the glory of those virtues. Further, in twenty-two homilies, he
showed how much light is latent in the first and last parts of the prophet
Ezekiel, which seemed the most obscure. Besides which, he wrote the "Book
of Answers,"(152) to the questions of the holy Augustine, the first bishop
of the English nation, as we have shown above, inserting the same book
entire in this history; and the useful little "Synodical Book,"(153) which
he composed with the bishops of Italy on necessary matters of the Church;
as well as private letters to certain persons. And it is the more
wonderful that he could write so many lengthy works, seeing that almost
all the time of his youth, to use his own words, he was frequently
tormented with internal pain, constantly enfeebled by the weakness of his
digestion, and oppressed by a low but persistent fever. But in all these
troubles, forasmuch as he carefully reflected that, as the Scripture
testifies,(154) "He scourgeth every son whom He receiveth," the more
severely he suffered under those present evils, the more he assured
himself of his eternal hope.

Thus much may be said of his immortal genius, which could not be crushed
by such severe bodily pains. Other popes applied themselves to building
churches or adorning them with gold and silver, but Gregory was wholly
intent upon gaining souls. Whatsoever money he had, he took care to
distribute diligently and give to the poor, that his righteousness might
endure for ever, and his horn be exalted with honour; so that the words of
the blessed Job might be truly said of him,(155) "When the ear heard me,
then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:
because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that
had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came
upon me, and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. I put on
righteousness, and it clothed me; my judgement was as a robe and a diadem.
I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the
poor; and the cause which I knew not, I searched out. And I brake the jaws
of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth." And a little
after: "If I have withheld," says he, "the poor from their desire; or have
caused the eyes of the widow to fail; or have eaten my morsel myself
alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof: (for from my youth
compassion grew up with me, and from my mother’s womb it came forth with

To his works of piety and righteousness this also may be added, that he
saved our nation, by the preachers he sent hither, from the teeth of the
old enemy, and made it partaker of eternal liberty. Rejoicing in the faith
and salvation of our race, and worthily commending it with praise, he
says, in his exposition of the blessed Job, "Behold, the tongue of
Britain, which only knew how to utter barbarous cries, has long since
begun to raise the Hebrew Hallelujah to the praise of God! Behold, the
once swelling ocean now serves prostrate at the feet of the saints; and
its wild upheavals, which earthly princes could not subdue with the sword,
are now, through the fear of God, bound by the lips of priests with words
alone; and the heathen that stood not in awe of troops of warriors, now
believes and fears the tongues of the humble! For he has received a
message from on high and mighty works are revealed; the strength of the
knowledge of God is given him, and restrained by the fear of the Lord, he
dreads to do evil, and with all his heart desires to attain to everlasting
grace." In which words the blessed Gregory shows us this also, that St.
Augustine and his companions brought the English to receive the truth, not
only by the preaching of words, but also by showing forth heavenly signs.

The blessed Pope Gregory, among other things, caused Masses to be
celebrated in the churches of the holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, over
their bodies. And in the celebration of Masses, he added three petitions
of the utmost perfection: "And dispose our days in thy peace, and bid us
to be preserved from eternal damnation, and to be numbered in the flock of
thine elect."(157)

He governed the Church in the days of the Emperors Mauritius and Phocas,
and passing out of this life in the second year of the same Phocas,(158)
he departed to the true life which is in Heaven. His body was buried in
the church of the blessed Apostle Peter before the sacristy, on the 12th
day of March, to rise one day in the same body in glory with the rest of
the holy pastors of the Church. On his tomb was written this epitaph:

Receive, O Earth, his body taken from thine own; thou canst
restore it, when God calls to life. His spirit rises to the stars;
the claims of death shall not avail against him, for death itself
is but the way to new life. In this tomb are laid the limbs of a
great pontiff, who yet lives for ever in all places in countless
deeds of mercy. Hunger and cold he overcame with food and raiment,
and shielded souls from the enemy by his holy teaching. And
whatsoever he taught in word, that he fulfilled in deed, that he
might be a pattern, even as he spake words of mystic meaning. By
his guiding love he brought the Angles to Christ, gaining armies
for the Faith from a new people. This was thy toil, thy task, thy
care, thy aim as shepherd, to offer to thy Lord abundant increase
of the flock. So, Consul of God, rejoice in this thy triumph, for
now thou hast the reward of thy works for evermore.

Nor must we pass by in silence the story of the blessed Gregory, handed
down to us by the tradition of our ancestors, which explains his earnest
care for the salvation of our nation. It is said that one day, when some
merchants had lately arrived at Rome, many things were exposed for sale in
the market place, and much people resorted thither to buy: Gregory himself
went with the rest, and saw among other wares some boys put up for sale,
of fair complexion, with pleasing countenances, and very beautiful hair.
When he beheld them, he asked, it is said, from what region or country
they were brought? and was told, from the island of Britain, and that the
inhabitants were like that in appearance. He again inquired whether those
islanders were Christians, or still involved in the errors of paganism,
and was informed that they were pagans. Then fetching a deep sigh from the
bottom of his heart, "Alas! what pity," said he, "that the author of
darkness should own men of such fair countenances; and that with such
grace of outward form, their minds should be void of inward grace." He
therefore again asked, what was the name of that nation? and was answered,
that they were called Angles. "Right," said he, "for they have an angelic
face, and it is meet that such should be co-heirs with the Angels in
heaven. What is the name of the province from which they are brought?" It
was replied, that the natives of that province were called Deiri.(159)
"Truly are they _De ira_," said he, "saved from wrath, and called to the
mercy of Christ. How is the king of that province called?" They told him
his name was Aelli;(160) and he, playing upon the name, said, "Allelujah,
the praise of God the Creator must be sung in those parts."

Then he went to the bishop of the Roman Apostolic see(161) (for he was not
himself then made pope), and entreated him to send some ministers of the
Word into Britain to the nation of the English, that it might be converted
to Christ by them; declaring himself ready to carry out that work with the
help of God, if the Apostolic Pope should think fit to have it done. But
not being then able to perform this task, because, though the Pope was
willing to grant his request, yet the citizens of Rome could not be
brought to consent that he should depart so far from the city, as soon as
he was himself made Pope, he carried out the long-desired work, sending,
indeed, other preachers, but himself by his exhortations and prayers
helping the preaching to bear fruit. This account, which we have received
from a past generation, we have thought fit to insert in our
Ecclesiastical History.

Chap. II. How Augustine admonished the bishops of the Britons on behalf of
Catholic peace, and to that end wrought a heavenly miracle in their
presence; and of the vengeance that pursued them for their contempt.
[_Circ._ 603 A.D.]

In the meantime, Augustine, with the help of King Ethelbert, drew together
to a conference the bishops and doctors of the nearest province of the
Britons, at a place which is to this day called, in the English language,
Augustine’s Ác, that is, Augustine’s Oak,(162) on the borders of the
Hwiccas(163) and West Saxons; and began by brotherly admonitions to
persuade them to preserve Catholic peace with him, and undertake the
common labour of preaching the Gospel to the heathen for the Lord’s sake.
For they did not keep Easter Sunday at the proper time, but from the
fourteenth to the twentieth moon; which computation is contained in a
cycle of eighty-four years.(164) Besides, they did many other things which
were opposed to the unity of the church.(165) When, after a long
disputation, they did not comply with the entreaties, exhortations, or
rebukes of Augustine and his companions, but preferred their own
traditions before all the Churches which are united in Christ throughout
the world, the holy father, Augustine, put an end to this troublesome and
tedious contention, saying, "Let us entreat God, who maketh men to be of
one mind in His Father’s house, to vouchsafe, by signs from Heaven, to
declare to us which tradition is to be followed; and by what path we are
to strive to enter His kingdom. Let some sick man be brought, and let the
faith and practice of him, by whose prayers he shall be healed, be looked
upon as hallowed in God’s sight and such as should be adopted by all." His
adversaries unwillingly consenting, a blind man of the English race was
brought, who having been presented to the British bishops, found no
benefit or healing from their ministry; at length, Augustine, compelled by
strict necessity, bowed his knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
praying that He would restore his lost sight to the blind man, and by the
bodily enlightenment of one kindle the grace of spiritual light in the
hearts of many of the faithful. Immediately the blind man received sight,
and Augustine was proclaimed by all to be a true herald of the light from
Heaven. The Britons then confessed that they perceived that it was the
true way of righteousness which Augustine taught; but that they could not
depart from their ancient customs without the consent and sanction of
their people. They therefore desired that a second time a synod might be
appointed, at which more of their number should be present.

This being decreed, there came, it is said, seven bishops of the
Britons,(166) and many men of great learning, particularly from their most
celebrated monastery, which is called, in the English tongue,
Bancornaburg,(167) and over which the Abbot Dinoot(168) is said to have
presided at that time. They that were to go to the aforesaid council,
betook themselves first to a certain holy and discreet man, who was wont
to lead the life of a hermit among them, to consult with him, whether they
ought, at the preaching of Augustine, to forsake their traditions. He
answered, "If he is a man of God, follow him."—"How shall we know that?"
said they. He replied, "Our Lord saith, Take My yoke upon you, and learn
of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; if therefore, Augustine is meek
and lowly of heart, it is to be believed that he bears the yoke of Christ
himself, and offers it to you to bear. But, if he is harsh and proud, it
is plain that he is not of God, nor are we to regard his words." They said
again, "And how shall we discern even this?"—"Do you contrive," said the
anchorite, "that he first arrive with his company at the place where the
synod is to be held; and if at your approach he rises up to you, hear him
submissively, being assured that he is the servant of Christ; but if he
despises you, and does not rise up to you, whereas you are more in number,
let him also be despised by you."

They did as he directed; and it happened, that as they approached,
Augustine was sitting on a chair. When they perceived it, they were angry,
and charging him with pride, set themselves to contradict all he said. He
said to them, "Many things ye do which are contrary to our custom, or
rather the custom of the universal Church, and yet, if you will comply
with me in these three matters, to wit, to keep Easter at the due time; to
fulfil the ministry of Baptism, by which we are born again to God,
according to the custom of the holy Roman Apostolic Church;(169) and to
join with us in preaching the Word of God to the English nation, we will
gladly suffer all the other things you do, though contrary to our
customs." They answered that they would do none of those things, nor
receive him as their archbishop; for they said among themselves, "if he
would not rise up to us now, how much more will he despise us, as of no
account, if we begin to be under his subjection?" Then the man of God,
Augustine, is said to have threatened them, that if they would not accept
peace with their brethren, they should have war from their enemies; and,
if they would not preach the way of life to the English nation, they
should suffer at their hands the vengeance of death. All which, through
the dispensation of the Divine judgement, fell out exactly as he had

For afterwards the warlike king of the English, Ethelfrid,(170) of whom we
have spoken, having raised a mighty army, made a very great slaughter of
that heretical nation, at the city of Legions,(171) which by the English
is called Legacaestir, but by the Britons more rightly Carlegion. Being
about to give battle, he observed their priests, who were come together to
offer up their prayers to God for the combatants, standing apart in a
place of greater safety; he inquired who they were, and what they came
together to do in that place. Most of them were of the monastery of
Bangor,(172) in which, it is said, there was so great a number of monks,
that the monastery being divided into seven parts, with a superior set
over each, none of those parts contained less than three hundred men, who
all lived by the labour of their hands. Many of these, having observed a
fast of three days, had come together along with others to pray at the
aforesaid battle, having one Brocmail(173) for their protector, to defend
them, whilst they were intent upon their prayers, against the swords of
the barbarians. King Ethelfrid being informed of the occasion of their
coming, said, "If then they cry to their God against us, in truth, though
they do not bear arms, yet they fight against us, because they assail us
with their curses." He, therefore, commanded them to be attacked first,
and then destroyed the rest of the impious army, not without great loss of
his own forces. About twelve hundred of those that came to pray are said
to have been killed, and only fifty to have escaped by flight. Brocmail,
turning his back with his men, at the first approach of the enemy, left
those whom he ought to have defended unarmed and exposed to the swords of
the assailants. Thus was fulfilled the prophecy of the holy Bishop
Augustine, though he himself had been long before taken up into the
heavenly kingdom, that the heretics should feel the vengeance of temporal
death also, because they had despised the offer of eternal salvation.

Chap. III. How St. Augustine made Mellitus and Justus bishops; and of his
death. [604 A.D.]

In the year of our Lord 604, Augustine, Archbishop of Britain, ordained
two bishops, to wit, Mellitus and Justus;(174) Mellitus to preach to the
province of the East-Saxons, who are divided from Kent by the river
Thames, and border on the Eastern sea. Their metropolis is the city of
London, which is situated on the bank of the aforesaid river, and is the
mart of many nations resorting to it by sea and land. At that time,
Sabert, nephew to Ethelbert through his sister Ricula, reigned over the
nation, though he was under subjection to Ethelbert, who, as has been said
above, had command over all the nations of the English as far as the river
Humber. But when this province also received the word of truth, by the
preaching of Mellitus, King Ethelbert built the church of St. Paul the
Apostle,(175) in the city of London, where he and his successors should
have their episcopal see. As for Justus, Augustine ordained him bishop in
Kent, at the city of Dorubrevis, which the English call
Hrofaescaestrae,(176) from one that was formerly the chief man of it,
called Hrof. It is about twenty-four miles distant from the city of
Canterbury to the westward, and in it King Ethelbert dedicated a church to
the blessed Apostle Andrew,(177) and bestowed many gifts on the bishops of
both those churches, as well as on the Bishop of Canterbury, adding lands
and possessions for the use of those who were associated with the bishops.

After this, the beloved of God, our father Augustine, died,(178) and his
body was laid outside, close by the church of the blessed Apostles, Peter
and Paul, above spoken of, because it was not yet finished, nor
consecrated, but as soon as it was consecrated,(179) the body was brought
in, and fittingly buried in the north chapel(180) thereof; wherein also
were interred the bodies of all the succeeding archbishops, except two
only, Theodore and Bertwald, whose bodies are in the church itself,
because the aforesaid chapel could contain no more.(181) Almost in the
midst of this chapel is an altar dedicated in honour of the blessed Pope
Gregory, at which every Saturday memorial Masses are celebrated for the
archbishops by a priest of that place. On the tomb of Augustine is
inscribed this epitaph:

"Here rests the Lord Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, who, being
of old sent hither by the blessed Gregory, Bishop of the city of Rome, and
supported by God in the working of miracles, led King Ethelbert and his
nation from the worship of idols to the faith of Christ, and having ended
the days of his office in peace, died the 26th day of May, in the reign of
the same king."

Chap. IV. How Laurentius and his bishops admonished the Scots to observe
the unity of the Holy Church, particularly in keeping of Easter; and how
Mellitus went to Rome.

Laurentius(182) succeeded Augustine in the bishopric, having been ordained
thereto by the latter, in his lifetime, lest, upon his death, the Church,
as yet in so unsettled a state, might begin to falter, if it should be
destitute of a pastor, though but for one hour. Wherein he also followed
the example of the first pastor of the Church, that is, of the most
blessed Peter, chief of the Apostles, who, having founded the Church of
Christ at Rome, is said to have consecrated Clement to help him in
preaching the Gospel, and at the same time to be his successor.
Laurentius, being advanced to the rank of archbishop, laboured
indefatigably, both by frequent words of holy exhortation and constant
example of good works to strengthen the foundations of the Church, which
had been so nobly laid, and to carry it on to the fitting height of
perfection. In short, he not only took charge of the new Church formed
among the English, but endeavoured also to bestow his pastoral care upon
the tribes of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, as also of the Scots,
who inhabit the island of Ireland,(183) which is next to Britain. For when
he understood that the life and profession of the Scots in their aforesaid
country, as well as of the Britons in Britain, was not truly in accordance
with the practice of the Church in many matters, especially that they did
not celebrate the festival of Easter at the due time, but thought that the
day of the Resurrection of our Lord ought, as has been said above, to be
observed between the 14th and 20th of the moon; he wrote, jointly with his
fellow bishops, a hortatory epistle, entreating and conjuring them to keep
the unity of peace and Catholic observance with the Church of Christ
spread throughout the world. The beginning of which epistle is as follows:

"_To our most dear brethren, the Lords Bishops and Abbots throughout all
the country of the Scots,_(_184_)_ Laurentius, Mellitus, and Justus,
Bishops, servants of the servants of God._ When the Apostolic see,
according to the universal custom which it has followed elsewhere, sent us
to these western parts to preach to pagan nations, and it was our lot to
come into this island, which is called Britain, before we knew them, we
held both the Britons and Scots in great esteem for sanctity, believing
that they walked according to the custom of the universal Church; but
becoming acquainted with the Britons, we thought that the Scots had been
better. Now we have learnt from Bishop Dagan,(185) who came into this
aforesaid island, and the Abbot Columban,(186) in Gaul, that the Scots in
no way differ from the Britons in their walk; for when Bishop Dagan came
to us, not only did he refuse to eat at the same table, but even to eat in
the same house where we were entertained."

Also Laurentius with his fellow bishops wrote a letter to the bishops of
the Britons, suitable to his degree, by which he endeavoured to confirm
them in Catholic unity; but what he gained by so doing the present times
still show.

About this time, Mellitus, bishop of London, went to Rome, to confer with
the Apostolic Pope Boniface about the necessary affairs of the English
Church. And the same most reverend pope, assembling a synod of the bishops
of Italy,(187) to prescribe rules for the life and peace of the monks,
Mellitus also sat among them, in the eighth year of the reign of the
Emperor Phocas, the thirteenth indiction, on the 27th of February,(188) to
the end that he also might sign and confirm by his authority whatsoever
should be regularly decreed, and on his return into Britain might carry
the decrees to the Churches of the English, to be committed to them and
observed; together with letters which the same pope sent to the beloved of
God, Archbishop Laurentius, and to all the clergy; as likewise to King
Ethelbert and the English nation. This pope was Boniface, the fourth after
the blessed Gregory, bishop of the city of Rome. He obtained for the
Church of Christ from the Emperor Phocas the gift of the temple at Rome
called by the ancients Pantheon, as representing all the gods; wherein he,
having purified it from all defilement, dedicated a church to the holy
Mother of God, and to all Christ’s martyrs, to the end that, the company
of devils being expelled, the blessed company of the saints might have
therein a perpetual memorial.(189)

Chap. V. How, after the death of the kings Ethelbert and Sabert, their
successors restored idolatry; for which reason, both Mellitus and Justus
departed out of Britain. [616 A.D.]

In the year of our Lord 616, which is the twenty-first year after
Augustine and his company were sent to preach to the English nation,
Ethelbert, king of Kent, having most gloriously governed his temporal
kingdom fifty-six years, entered into the eternal joys of the kingdom of
Heaven. He was the third of the English kings who ruled over all the
southern provinces that are divided from the northern by the river Humber
and the borders contiguous to it;(190) but the first of all that ascended
to the heavenly kingdom. The first who had the like sovereignty was Aelli,
king of the South-Saxons; the second, Caelin, king of the West-Saxons,
who, in their own language, is called Ceaulin; the third, as has been
said, was Ethelbert, king of Kent; the fourth was Redwald, king of the
East-Angles, who, even in the life-time of Ethelbert, had been acquiring
the leadership for his own race. The fifth was Edwin, king of the
Northumbrian nation, that is, of those who live in the district to the
north of the river Humber; his power was greater; he had the overlordship
over all the nations who inhabit Britain, both English and British, except
only the people of Kent; and he reduced also under the dominion of the
English, the Mevanian Islands(191) of the Britons, lying between Ireland
and Britain; the sixth was Oswald, the most Christian king of the
Northumbrians, whose kingdom was within the same bounds; the seventh, his
brother Oswy, ruled over a kingdom of like extent for a time, and for the
most part subdued and made tributary the nations of the Picts and Scots,
who occupy the northern parts of Britain: but of that hereafter.

King Ethelbert died on the 24th day of the month of February, twenty-one
years after he had received the faith,(192) and was buried in St. Martin’s
chapel within the church of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, where
also lies his queen, Bertha. Among other benefits which he conferred upon
his nation in his care for them, he established, with the help of his
council of wise men,(193) judicial decisions, after the Roman model; which
are written in the language of the English, and are still kept and
observed by them. Among which, he set down first what satisfaction should
be given by any one who should steal anything belonging to the Church, the
bishop, or the other clergy, for he was resolved to give protection to
those whom he had received along with their doctrine.

This Ethelbert was the son of Irminric, whose father was Octa, whose
father was Oeric, surnamed Oisc, from whom the kings of Kent are wont to
be called Oiscings.(194) His father was Hengist, who, being invited by
Vortigern, first came into Britain, with his son Oisc, as has been said

But after the death of Ethelbert, the accession of his son Eadbald proved
very harmful to the still tender growth of the new Church; for he not only
refused to accept the faith of Christ, but was also defiled with such
fornication, as the Apostle testifies, as is not so much as named among
the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.(195) By both which
crimes he gave occasion to those to return to their former uncleanness,
who, under his father, had, either for favour or fear of the king,
submitted to the laws of the faith and of a pure life. Nor did the
unbelieving king escape without the scourge of Divine severity in
chastisement and correction; for he was troubled with frequent fits of
madness, and possessed by an unclean spirit. The storm of this disturbance
was increased by the death of Sabert, king of the East Saxons, who
departing to the heavenly kingdom, left three sons, still pagans, to
inherit his temporal crown. They immediately began openly to give
themselves up to idolatry, which, during their father’s lifetime, they had
seemed somewhat to abandon, and they granted free licence to their
subjects to serve idols. And when they saw the bishop, whilst celebrating
Mass in the church, give the Eucharist to the people, filled, as they
were, with folly and ignorance, they said to him, as is commonly reported,
"Why do you not give us also that white bread, which you used to give to
our father Saba (for so they were wont to call him), and which you still
continue to give to the people in the church?" To whom he answered, "If
you will be washed in that font of salvation, in which your father was
washed, you may also partake of the holy Bread of which he partook; but if
you despise the laver of life, you can in no wise receive the Bread of
life." They replied, "We will not enter into that font, because we know
that we do not stand in need of it, and yet we will be refreshed by that
bread." And being often earnestly admonished by him, that this could by no
means be done, nor would any one be admitted to partake of the sacred
Oblation without the holy cleansing, at last, they said, filled with rage,
"If you will not comply with us in so small a matter as that which we
require, you shall not stay in our province." And they drove him out and
bade him and his company depart from their kingdom. Being driven thence,
he came into Kent, to take counsel with his fellow bishops, Laurentius and
Justus, and learn what was to be done in that case; and with one consent
they determined that it was better for them all to return to their own
country, where they might serve God in freedom of mind, than to continue
to no purpose among barbarians, who had revolted from the faith. Mellitus
and Justus accordingly went away first, and withdrew into the parts of
Gaul, intending there to await the event. But the kings, who had driven
from them the herald of the truth, did not continue long unpunished in
their worship of devils. For marching out to battle against the nation of
the Gewissi,(196) they were all slain with their army. Nevertheless, the
people, having been once turned to wickedness, though the authors of it
were destroyed, would not be corrected, nor return to the unity of faith
and charity which is in Christ.

Chap. VI. How Laurentius, being reproved by the Apostle Peter, converted
King Eadbald to Christ; and how the king soon recalled Mellitus and Justus
to preach the Word. [617-618 A.D.]

Laurentius, being about to follow Mellitus and Justus, and to quit
Britain, ordered his bed to be laid that night in the church of the
blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, which has been often mentioned before;
wherein having laid himself to rest, after he had with tears poured forth
many prayers to God for the state of the Church, he fell asleep; in the
dead of night, the blessed chief of the Apostles appeared to him, and
scourging him grievously a long time, asked of him with apostolic
severity, why he was forsaking the flock which he had committed to him? or
to what shepherd he was leaving, by his flight, Christ’s sheep that were
in the midst of wolves? "Hast thou," he said, "forgotten my example, who,
for the sake of those little ones, whom Christ commended to me in token of
His affection, underwent at the hands of infidels and enemies of Christ,
bonds, stripes, imprisonment, afflictions, and lastly, death itself, even
the death of the cross, that I might at last be crowned with Him?"
Laurentius, the servant of Christ, roused by the scourging of the blessed
Peter and his words of exhortation, went to the king as soon as morning
broke, and laying aside his garment, showed the scars of the stripes which
he had received. The king, astonished, asked who had presumed to inflict
such stripes on so great a man. And when he heard that for the sake of his
salvation the bishop had suffered these cruel blows at the hands of the
Apostle of Christ, he was greatly afraid; and abjuring the worship of
idols, and renouncing his unlawful marriage, he received the faith of
Christ, and being baptized, promoted and supported the interests of the
Church to the utmost of his power.

He also sent over into Gaul, and recalled Mellitus and Justus, and bade
them return to govern their churches in freedom. They came back one year
after their departure, and Justus returned to the city of Rochester, where
he had before presided; but the people of London would not receive Bishop
Mellitus, choosing rather to be under their idolatrous high priests; for
King Eadbald had not so much authority in the kingdom as his father, and
was not able to restore the bishop to his church against the will and
consent of the pagans. But he and his nation, after his conversion to the
Lord, sought to obey the commandments of God. Lastly, he built the church
of the holy Mother of God,(197) in the monastery of the most blessed chief
of the Apostles, which was afterwards consecrated by Archbishop Mellitus.

Chap. VII. How Bishop Mellitus by prayer quenched a fire in his city. [619

In this king’s reign, the blessed Archbishop Laurentius was taken up to
the heavenly kingdom: he was buried in the church and monastery of the
holy Apostle Peter, close by his predecessor Augustine, on the 2nd day of
the month of February.(198) Mellitus, who was bishop of London, succeeded
to the see of Canterbury, being the third archbishop from Augustine;
Justus, who was still living, governed the church of Rochester. These
ruled the Church of the English with much care and industry, and received
letters of exhortation from Boniface,(199) bishop of the Roman Apostolic
see, who presided over the Church after Deusdedit, in the year of our Lord
619. Mellitus laboured under the bodily infirmity of gout, but his mind
was sound and active, cheerfully passing over all earthly things, and
always aspiring to love, seek, and attain to those which are celestial. He
was noble by birth, but still nobler by the elevation of his mind.

In short, that I may give one instance of his power, from which the rest
may be inferred, it happened once that the city of Canterbury, being set
on fire through carelessness, was in danger of being consumed by the
spreading conflagration; water was thrown on the fire in vain; a
considerable part of the city was already destroyed, and the fierce flames
were advancing towards the bishop’s abode, when he, trusting in God, where
human help failed, ordered himself to be carried towards the raging masses
of fire which were spreading on every side. The church of the four crowned
Martyrs(200) was in the place where the fire raged most fiercely. The
bishop, being carried thither by his servants, weak as he was, set about
averting by prayer the danger which the strong hands of active men had not
been able to overcome with all their exertions. Immediately the wind,
which blowing from the south had spread the conflagration throughout the
city, veered to the north, and thus prevented the destruction of those
places that had been exposed to its full violence, then it ceased entirely
and there was a calm, while the flames likewise sank and were
extinguished. And because the man of God burned with the fire of divine
love, and was wont to drive away the storms of the powers of the air, by
his frequent prayers and at his bidding, from doing harm to himself, or
his people, it was meet that he should be allowed to prevail over the
winds and flames of this world, and to obtain that they should not injure
him or his.

This archbishop also, having ruled the church five years, departed to
heaven in the reign of King Eadbald, and was buried with his fathers in
the monastery and church, which we have so often mentioned, of the most
blessed chief of the Apostles, in the year of our Lord 624, on the 24th
day of April.

Chap. VIII. How Pope Boniface sent the Pall and a letter to Justus,
successor to Mellitus. [624 A.D.]

Justus, bishop of the church of Rochester, immediately succeeded Mellitus
in the archbishopric. He consecrated Romanus bishop of that see in his own
stead, having obtained authority to ordain bishops from Pope Boniface,
whom we mentioned above as successor to Deusdedit: of which licence this
is the form:

"_Boniface, to his most beloved brother Justus._ We have learnt not only
from the contents of your letter addressed to us, but from the fulfilment
granted to your work, how faithfully and vigilantly you have laboured, my
brother, for the Gospel of Christ; for Almighty God has not forsaken
either the mystery of His Name, or the fruit of your labours, having
Himself faithfully promised to the preachers of the Gospel, ‘Lo! I am with
you alway, even unto the end of the world’;(201) which promise His mercy
has particularly manifested in this ministry imposed upon you, opening the
hearts of the nations to receive the wondrous mystery of your preaching.
For He has blessed with a rich reward your Eminence’s acceptable course,
by the support of His loving kindness; granting a plentiful increase to
your labours in the faithful management of the talents committed to you,
and bestowing it on that which you might confirm to many generations.(202)
This is conferred on you by that recompense whereby, constantly
persevering in the ministry imposed upon you, you have awaited with
praiseworthy patience the redemption of that nation, and that they might
profit by your merits, salvation has been bestowed on them. For our Lord
Himself says, ‘He that endureth to the end shall be saved.’(203) You are,
therefore, saved by the hope of patience, and the virtue of endurance, to
the end that the hearts of unbelievers, being cleansed from their natural
disease of superstition, might obtain the mercy of their Saviour: for
having received letters from our son Adulwald,(204) we perceive with how
much knowledge of the Sacred Word you, my brother, have brought his mind
to the belief in true conversion and the certainty of the faith.
Therefore, firmly confiding in the long-suffering of the Divine clemency,
we believe that, through the ministry of your preaching, there will ensue
most full salvation not only of the nations subject to him, but also of
their neighbours; to the end, that as it is written, the recompense of a
perfect work may be conferred on you by the Lord, the Rewarder of all the
just; and that the universal confession of all nations, having received
the mystery of the Christian faith, may declare, that in truth ‘Their
sound is gone out into all the earth, and their words unto the end of the

"We have also, my brother, moved by the warmth of our goodwill, sent you
by the bearer of these presents, the pall, giving you authority to use it
only in the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries; granting to you likewise
to ordain bishops when there shall be occasion, through the Lord’s mercy;
that so the Gospel of Christ, by the preaching of many, may be spread
abroad in all the nations that are not yet converted. You must, therefore,
endeavour, my brother, to preserve with unblemished sincerity of mind that
which you have received through the kindness of the Apostolic see, bearing
in mind what it is that is represented by the honourable vestment which
you have obtained to be borne on your shoulders. And imploring the Divine
mercy, study to show yourself such that you may present before the
tribunal of the Supreme Judge that is to come, the rewards of the favour
granted to you, not with guiltiness, but with the benefit of souls.

"God preserve you in safety, most dear brother!"

Chap. IX. Of the reign of King Edwin, and how Paulinus, coming to preach
the Gospel, first converted his daughter and others to the mysteries of
the faith of Christ. [625-626 A.D.]

At this time the nation of the Northumbrians, that is, the English tribe
dwelling on the north side of the river Humber, with their king,
Edwin,(206) received the Word of faith through the preaching of
Paulinus,(207) of whom we have before spoken. This king, as an earnest of
his reception of the faith, and his share in the heavenly kingdom,
received an increase also of his temporal realm, for he reduced under his
dominion all the parts of Britain(208) that were provinces either of the
English, or of the Britons, a thing which no English king had ever done
before; and he even subjected to the English the Mevanian islands, as has
been said above.(209) The more important of these, which is to the
southward, is the larger in extent, and more fruitful, containing nine
hundred and sixty families, according to the English computation; the
other contains above three hundred.

The occasion of this nation’s reception of the faith was the alliance by
marriage of their aforesaid king with the kings of Kent, for he had taken
to wife Ethelberg, otherwise called Tata,(210) daughter to King Ethelbert.
When he first sent ambassadors to ask her in marriage of her brother
Eadbald, who then reigned in Kent, he received the answer, "That it was
not lawful to give a Christian maiden in marriage to a pagan husband, lest
the faith and the mysteries of the heavenly King should be profaned by her
union with a king that was altogether a stranger to the worship of the
true God." This answer being brought to Edwin by his messengers, he
promised that he would in no manner act in opposition to the Christian
faith, which the maiden professed; but would give leave to her, and all
that went with her, men and women, bishops and clergy, to follow their
faith and worship after the custom of the Christians. Nor did he refuse to
accept that religion himself, if, being examined by wise men, it should be
found more holy and more worthy of God.

So the maiden was promised, and sent to Edwin, and in accordance with the
agreement, Paulinus, a man beloved of God, was ordained bishop, to go with
her, and by daily exhortations, and celebrating the heavenly Mysteries, to
confirm her and her company, lest they should be corrupted by intercourse
with the pagans. Paulinus was ordained bishop by the Archbishop Justus, on
the 21st day of July, in the year of our Lord 625, and so came to King
Edwin with the aforesaid maiden as an attendant on their union in the
flesh. But his mind was wholly bent upon calling the nation to which he
was sent to the knowledge of truth; according to the words of the Apostle,
"To espouse her to the one true Husband, that he might present her as a
chaste virgin to Christ."(211) Being come into that province, he laboured
much, not only to retain those that went with him, by the help of God,
that they should not abandon the faith, but, if haply he might, to convert
some of the pagans to the grace of the faith by his preaching. But, as the
Apostle says, though he laboured long in the Word, "The god of this world
blinded the minds of them that believed not, lest the light of the
glorious Gospel of Christ should shine unto them."(212)

The next year there came into the province one called Eumer, sent by the
king of the West-Saxons, whose name was Cuichelm,(213) to lie in wait for
King Edwin, in hopes at once to deprive him of his kingdom and his life.
He had a two-edged dagger, dipped in poison, to the end that, if the wound
inflicted by the weapon did not avail to kill the king, it might be aided
by the deadly venom. He came to the king on the first day of the Easter
festival,(214) at the river Derwent, where there was then a royal
township,(215) and being admitted as if to deliver a message from his
master, whilst unfolding in cunning words his pretended embassy, he
started up on a sudden, and unsheathing the dagger under his garment,
assaulted the king. When Lilla, the king’s most devoted servant, saw this,
having no buckler at hand to protect the king from death, he at once
interposed his own body to receive the blow; but the enemy struck home
with such force, that he wounded the king through the body of the
slaughtered thegn. Being then attacked on all sides with swords, in the
confusion he also slew impiously with his dagger another of the thegns,
whose name was Forthhere.

On that same holy Easter night, the queen had brought forth to the king a
daughter, called Eanfled. The king, in the presence of Bishop Paulinus,
gave thanks to his gods for the birth of his daughter; and the bishop, on
his part, began to give thanks to Christ, and to tell the king, that by
his prayers to Him he had obtained that the queen should bring forth the
child in safety, and without grievous pain. The king, delighted with his
words, promised, that if God would grant him life and victory over the
king by whom the murderer who had wounded him had been sent, he would
renounce his idols, and serve Christ; and as a pledge that he would
perform his promise, he delivered up that same daughter to Bishop
Paulinus, to be consecrated to Christ. She was the first to be baptized of
the nation of the Northumbrians, and she received Baptism on the holy day
of Pentecost, along with eleven others of her house.(216) At that time,
the king, being recovered of the wound which he had received, raised an
army and marched against the nation of the West-Saxons; and engaging in
war, either slew or received in surrender all those of whom he learned
that they had conspired to murder him. So he returned victorious into his
own country, but he would not immediately and unadvisedly embrace the
mysteries of the Christian faith, though he no longer worshipped idols,
ever since he made the promise that he would serve Christ; but first took
heed earnestly to be instructed at leisure by the venerable Paulinus, in
the knowledge of faith, and to confer with such as he knew to be the
wisest of his chief men, inquiring what they thought was fittest to be
done in that case. And being a man of great natural sagacity, he often sat
alone by himself a long time in silence, deliberating in the depths of his
heart how he should proceed, and to which religion he should adhere.

Chap. X. How Pope Boniface, by letter, exhorted the same king to embrace
the faith. [_Circ._ 625 A.D.]

At this time he received a letter from Pope Boniface(217) exhorting him to
embrace the faith, which was as follows:


"_To the illustrious Edwin, king of the English, Bishop Boniface,
the servant of the servants of God._ Although the power of the
Supreme Deity cannot be expressed by the function of human speech,
seeing that, by its own greatness, it so consists in invisible and
unsearchable eternity, that no keenness of wit can comprehend or
express how great it is; yet inasmuch as His Humanity, having
opened the doors of the heart to receive Himself, mercifully, by
secret inspiration, puts into the minds of men such things as It
reveals concerning Itself,(218) we have thought fit to extend our
episcopal care so far as to make known to you the fulness of the
Christian faith; to the end that, bringing to your knowledge the
Gospel of Christ, which our Saviour commanded should be preached
to all nations, we might offer to you the cup of the means of

"Thus the goodness of the Supreme Majesty, which, by the word
alone of His command, made and created all things, the heaven, the
earth, the sea, and all that in them is, disposing the order by
which they should subsist, hath, ordaining all things, with the
counsel of His co-eternal Word, and the unity of the Holy Spirit,
made man after His own image and likeness, forming him out of the
mire of the earth; and granted him such high privilege of
distinction, as to place him above all else; so that, preserving
the bounds of the law of his being, his substance should be
established to eternity. This God,—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
the undivided Trinity,—from the east unto the west, through faith
by confession to the saving of their souls, men worship and adore
as the Creator of all things, and their own Maker; to Whom also
the heights of empire and the powers of the world are subject,
because the pre-eminence of all kingdoms is granted by His
disposition. It hath pleased Him, therefore, in the mercy of His
loving kindness, and for the greater benefit of all His
creatures,(220) by the fire of His Holy Spirit wonderfully to
kindle the cold hearts even of the nations seated at the
extremities of the earth in the knowledge of Himself.

"For we suppose, since the two countries are near together, that
your Highness has fully understood what the clemency of our
Redeemer has effected in the enlightenment of our illustrious son,
King Eadbald, and the nations under his rule; we therefore trust,
with assured confidence that, through the long-suffering of
Heaven, His wonderful gift will be also conferred on you; since,
indeed, we have learnt that your illustrious consort, who is
discerned to be one flesh with you, has been blessed with the
reward of eternity, through the regeneration of Holy Baptism. We
have, therefore, taken care by this letter, with all the goodwill
of heartfelt love, to exhort your Highness, that, abhorring idols
and their worship, and despising the foolishness of temples, and
the deceitful flatteries of auguries, you believe in God the
Father Almighty, and His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, to
the end that, believing and being released from the bonds of
captivity to the Devil, you may, through the co-operating power of
the Holy and undivided Trinity, be partaker of the eternal life.

"How great guilt they lie under, who adhere in their worship to
the pernicious superstition of idolatry, appears by the examples
of the perishing of those whom they worship. Wherefore it is said
of them by the Psalmist, ‘All the gods of the nations are
devils,(221) but the Lord made the heavens.’ And again, ‘Eyes have
they, but they see not; they have ears, but they hear not; noses
have they, but they smell not; they have hands, but they handle
not; feet have they, but they walk not. Therefore they are made
like unto those that place the hope of their confidence in
them.’(222) For how can they have power to help any man, that are
made out of corruptible matter, by the hands of your inferiors and
subjects, and on which, by employing human art, you have bestowed
a lifeless similitude of members? which, moreover, unless they be
moved by you, will not be able to walk; but, like a stone fixed in
one place, being so formed, and having no understanding, sunk in
insensibility, have no power of doing harm or good. We cannot,
therefore, by any manner of discernment conceive how you come to
be so deceived as to follow and worship those gods, to whom you
yourselves have given the likeness of a body.

"It behoves you, therefore, by taking upon you the sign of the
Holy Cross, by which the human race has been redeemed, to root out
of your hearts all the accursed deceitfulness of the snares of the
Devil, who is ever the jealous foe of the works of the Divine
Goodness, and to put forth your hands and with all your might set
to work to break in pieces and destroy those which you have
hitherto fashioned of wood or stone to be your gods. For the very
destruction and decay of these, which never had the breath of life
in them, nor could in any wise receive feeling from their makers,
may plainly teach you how worthless that was which you hitherto
worshipped. For you yourselves, who have received the breath of
life from the Lord, are certainly better than these which are
wrought with hands, seeing that Almighty God has appointed you to
be descended, after many ages and through many generations, from
the first man whom he formed. Draw near, then, to the knowledge of
Him Who created you, Who breathed the breath of life into you, Who
sent His only-begotten Son for your redemption, to save you from
original sin, that being delivered from the power of the Devil’s
perversity and wickedness, He might bestow on you a heavenly

"Hearken to the words of the preachers, and the Gospel of God,
which they declare to you, to the end that, believing, as has been
said before more than once, in God the Father Almighty, and in
Jesus Christ His Son, and the Holy Ghost, and the indivisible
Trinity, having put to flight the thoughts of devils, and driven
from you the temptations of the venomous and deceitful enemy, and
being born again of water and the Holy Ghost, you may, through the
aid of His bounty, dwell in the brightness of eternal glory with
Him in Whom you shall have believed.

"We have, moreover, sent you the blessing of your protector, the
blessed Peter, chief of the Apostles, to wit, a shirt of proof
with one gold ornament, and one cloak of Ancyra, which we pray
your Highness to accept with all the goodwill with which it is
sent by us."

Chap. XI. How Pope Boniface advised the king’s consort to use her best
endeavours for his salvation. [_Circ._ 625 A.D.]

The same pope also wrote to King Edwin’s consort, Ethelberg, to this


"_To the illustrious lady his daughter, Queen Ethelberg, Boniface,
bishop, servant of the servants of God._ The goodness of our
Redeemer has in His abundant Providence offered the means of
salvation to the human race, which He rescued, by the shedding of
His precious Blood, from the bonds of captivity to the Devil; to
the end that, when He had made known His name in divers ways to
the nations, they might acknowledge their Creator by embracing the
mystery of the Christian faith. And this the mystical purification
of your regeneration plainly shows to have been bestowed upon the
mind of your Highness by God’s gift. Our heart, therefore, has
greatly rejoiced in the benefit bestowed by the bounty of the
Lord, for that He has vouchsafed, in your confession, to kindle a
spark of the orthodox religion, by which He might the more easily
inflame with the love of Himself the understanding, not only of
your illustrious consort, but also of all the nation that is
subject to you.

"For we have been informed by those, who came to acquaint us with
the laudable conversion of our illustrious son, King Eadbald, that
your Highness, also, having received the wonderful mystery of the
Christian faith, continually excels in the performance of works
pious and acceptable to God; that you likewise carefully refrain
from the worship of idols, and the deceits of temples and
auguries, and with unimpaired devotion, give yourself so wholly to
the love of your Redeemer, as never to cease from lending your aid
in spreading the Christian faith. But when our fatherly love
earnestly inquired concerning your illustrious consort, we were
given to understand, that he still served abominable idols, and
delayed to yield obedience in giving ear to the voice of the
preachers. This occasioned us no small grief, that he that is one
flesh with you still remained a stranger to the knowledge of the
supreme and undivided Trinity. Whereupon we, in our fatherly care,
have not delayed to admonish and exhort your Christian Highness,
to the end that, filled with the support of the Divine
inspiration, you should not defer to strive, both in season and
out of season, that with the co-operating power of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ, your husband also may be added to the number
of Christians; that so you may uphold the rights of marriage in
the bond of a holy and unblemished union. For it is written, ‘They
twain shall be one flesh.’(223) How then can it be said, that
there is unity in the bond between you, if he continues a stranger
to the brightness of your faith, separated from it by the darkness
of detestable error?

"Wherefore, applying yourself continually to prayer, do not cease
to beg of the long-suffering of the Divine Mercy the benefits of
his illumination; to the end, that those whom the union of carnal
affection has manifestly made in a manner to be one body, may,
after this life continue in perpetual fellowship, by the unity of
faith. Persist, therefore, illustrious daughter, and to the utmost
of your power endeavour to soften the hardness of his heart by
carefully making known to him the Divine precepts; pouring into
his mind a knowledge of the greatness of that mystery which you
have received by faith, and of the marvellous reward which, by the
new birth, you have been made worthy to obtain. Inflame the
coldness of his heart by the message of the Holy Ghost, that he
may put from him the deadness of an evil worship, and the warmth
of the Divine faith may kindle his understanding through your
frequent exhortations; and so the testimony of Holy Scripture may
shine forth clearly, fulfilled by you, ‘The unbelieving husband
shall be saved by the believing wife.’(224) For to this end you
have obtained the mercy of the Lord’s goodness, that you might
restore with increase to your Redeemer the fruit of faith and of
the benefits entrusted to your hands. That you may be able to
fulfil this task, supported by the help of His loving kindness we
do not cease to implore with frequent prayers.

"Having premised thus much, in pursuance of the duty of our
fatherly affection, we exhort you, that when the opportunity of a
bearer shall offer, you will with all speed comfort us with the
glad tidings of the wonderful work which the heavenly Power shall
vouchsafe to perform by your means in the conversion(225) of your
consort, and of the nation subject to you; to the end, that our
solicitude, which earnestly awaits the fulfilment of its desire in
the soul’s salvation of you and yours, may, by hearing from you,
be set at rest; and that we, discerning more fully the light of
the Divine propitiation shed abroad in you, may with a joyful
confession abundantly return due thanks to God, the Giver of all
good things, and to the blessed Peter, the chief of the Apostles.

"We have, moreover, sent you the blessing of your protector, the
blessed Peter, the chief of the Apostles, to wit, a silver
looking-glass, and a gilded ivory comb, which we pray your
Highness to accept with all the goodwill with which it is sent by

Chap. XII. How Edwin was persuaded to believe by a vision which he had
once seen when he was in exile. [_Circ._ 616 A.D.]

Thus wrote the aforesaid Pope Boniface for the salvation of King Edwin and
his nation. But a heavenly vision, which the Divine Goodness was pleased
once to reveal to this king, when he was in banishment at the court of
Redwald, king of the Angles,(226) was of no little use in urging him to
receive and understand the doctrines of salvation. For when Paulinus
perceived that it was a difficult task to incline the king’s proud mind to
the humility of the way of salvation and the reception of the mystery of
the life-giving Cross, and at the same time was employing the word of
exhortation with men, and prayer to the Divine Goodness, for the salvation
of Edwin and his subjects; at length, as we may suppose, it was shown him
in spirit what the nature of the vision was that had been formerly
revealed from Heaven to the king. Then he lost no time, but immediately
admonished the king to perform the vow which he had made, when he received
the vision, promising to fulfil it, if he should be delivered from the
troubles of that time, and advanced to the throne.

The vision was this. When Ethelfrid,(227) his predecessor, was persecuting
him, he wandered for many years as an exile, hiding in divers places and
kingdoms, and at last came to Redwald, beseeching him to give him
protection against the snares of his powerful persecutor. Redwald
willingly received him, and promised to perform what was asked of him. But
when Ethelfrid understood that he had appeared in that province, and that
he and his companions were hospitably entertained by Redwald, he sent
messengers to bribe that king with a great sum of money to murder him, but
without effect. He sent a second and a third time, offering a greater
bribe each time, and, moreover, threatening to make war on him if his
offer should be despised. Redwald, whether terrified by his threats, or
won over by his gifts, complied with this request, and promised either to
kill Edwin, or to deliver him up to the envoys. A faithful friend of his,
hearing of this, went into his chamber, where he was going to bed, for it
was the first hour of the night; and calling him out, told him what the
king had promised to do with him, adding, "If, therefore, you are willing,
I will this very hour conduct you out of this province, and lead you to a
place where neither Redwald nor Ethelfrid shall ever find you." He
answered, "I thank you for your good will, yet I cannot do what you
propose, and be guilty of being the first to break the compact I have made
with so great a king, when he has done me no harm, nor shown any enmity to
me; but, on the contrary, if I must die, let it rather be by his hand than
by that of any meaner man. For whither shall I now fly, when I have for so
many long years been a vagabond through all the provinces of Britain, to
escape the snares of my enemies?" His friend went away; Edwin remained
alone without, and sitting with a heavy heart before the palace, began to
be overwhelmed with many thoughts, not knowing what to do, or which way to

When he had remained a long time in silent anguish of mind, consumed with
inward fire,(228) on a sudden in the stillness of the dead of night he saw
approaching a person, whose face and habit were strange to him, at sight
of whom, seeing that he was unknown and unlooked for, he was not a little
startled. The stranger coming close up, saluted him, and asked why he sat
there in solitude on a stone troubled and wakeful at that time, when all
others were taking their rest, and were fast asleep. Edwin, in his turn,
asked, what it was to him, whether he spent the night within doors or
abroad. The stranger, in reply, said, "Do not think that I am ignorant of
the cause of your grief, your watching, and sitting alone without. For I
know of a surety who you are, and why you grieve, and the evils which you
fear will soon fall upon you. But tell me, what reward you would give the
man who should deliver you out of these troubles, and persuade Redwald
neither to do you any harm himself, nor to deliver you up to be murdered
by your enemies." Edwin replied, that he would give such an one all that
he could in return for so great a benefit. The other further added, "What
if he should also assure you, that your enemies should be destroyed, and
you should be a king surpassing in power, not only all your own ancestors,
but even all that have reigned before you in the English nation?" Edwin,
encouraged by these questions, did not hesitate to promise that he would
make a fitting return to him who should confer such benefits upon him.
Then the other spoke a third time and said, "But if he who should truly
foretell that all these great blessings are about to befall you, could
also give you better and more profitable counsel for your life and
salvation than any of your fathers or kindred ever heard, do you consent
to submit to him, and to follow his wholesome guidance?" Edwin at once
promised that he would in all things follow the teaching of that man who
should deliver him from so many great calamities, and raise him to a

Having received this answer, the man who talked to him laid his right hand
on his head saying, "When this sign shall be given you, remember this
present discourse that has passed between us, and do not delay the
performance of what you now promise." Having uttered these words, he is
said to have immediately vanished. So the king perceived that it was not a
man, but a spirit, that had appeared to him.

Whilst the royal youth still sat there alone, glad of the comfort he had
received, but still troubled and earnestly pondering who he was, and
whence he came, that had so talked to him, his aforesaid friend came to
him, and greeting him with a glad countenance, "Rise," said he, "go in;
calm and put away your anxious cares, and compose yourself in body and
mind to sleep; for the king’s resolution is altered, and he designs to do
you no harm, but rather to keep his pledged faith; for when he had
privately made known to the queen his intention of doing what I told you
before, she dissuaded him from it, reminding him that it was altogether
unworthy of so great a king to sell his good friend in such distress for
gold, and to sacrifice his honour, which is more valuable than all other
adornments, for the love of money." In short, the king did as has been
said, and not only refused to deliver up the banished man to his enemy’s
messengers, but helped him to recover his kingdom. For as soon as the
messengers had returned home, he raised a mighty army to subdue Ethelfrid;
who, meeting him with much inferior forces, (for Redwald had not given him
time to gather and unite all his power,) was slain on the borders of the
kingdom of Mercia, on the east side of the river that is called Idle.(229)
In this battle, Redwald’s son, called Raegenheri, was killed. Thus Edwin,
in accordance with the prophecy he had received, not only escaped the
danger from his enemy, but, by his death, succeeded the king on the

King Edwin, therefore, delaying to receive the Word of God at the
preaching of Paulinus, and being wont for some time, as has been said, to
sit many hours alone, and seriously to ponder with himself what he was to
do, and what religion he was to follow, the man of God came to him one
day, laid his right hand on his head, and asked, whether he knew that
sign? The king, trembling, was ready to fall down at his feet, but he
raised him up, and speaking to him with the voice of a friend, said,
"Behold, by the gift of God you have escaped the hands of the enemies whom
you feared. Behold, you have obtained of His bounty the kingdom which you
desired. Take heed not to delay to perform your third promise; accept the
faith, and keep the precepts of Him Who, delivering you from temporal
adversity, has raised you to the honour of a temporal kingdom; and if,
from this time forward, you shall be obedient to His will, which through
me He signifies to you, He will also deliver you from the everlasting
torments of the wicked, and make you partaker with Him of His eternal
kingdom in heaven."

Chap. XIII. Of the Council he held with his chief men concerning their
reception of the faith of Christ, and how the high priest profaned his own
altars. [627 A.D.]

The king, hearing these words, answered, that he was both willing and
bound to receive the faith which Paulinus taught; but that he would confer
about it with his chief friends and counsellors, to the end that if they
also were of his opinion, they might all together be consecrated to Christ
in the font of life. Paulinus consenting, the king did as he said; for,
holding a council with the wise men,(230) he asked of every one in
particular what he thought of this doctrine hitherto unknown to them, and
the new worship of God that was preached? The chief of his own priests,
Coifi, immediately answered him, "O king, consider what this is which is
now preached to us; for I verily declare to you what I have learnt beyond
doubt, that the religion which we have hitherto professed has no virtue in
it and no profit. For none of your people has applied himself more
diligently to the worship of our gods than I; and yet there are many who
receive greater favours from you, and are more preferred than I, and are
more prosperous in all that they undertake to do or to get. Now if the
gods were good for any thing, they would rather forward me, who have been
careful to serve them with greater zeal. It remains, therefore, that if
upon examination you find those new doctrines, which are now preached to
us, better and more efficacious, we hasten to receive them without any

Another of the king’s chief men, approving of his wise words and
exhortations, added thereafter: "The present life of man upon earth, O
king, seems to me, in comparison with that time which is unknown to us,
like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the house wherein you sit at
supper in winter, with your ealdormen and thegns, while the fire blazes in
the midst, and the hall is warmed, but the wintry storms of rain or snow
are raging abroad. The sparrow, flying in at one door and immediately out
at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry tempest; but
after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your
sight, passing from winter into winter again. So this life of man appears
for a little while, but of what is to follow or what went before we know
nothing at all. If, therefore, this new doctrine tells us something more
certain, it seems justly to deserve to be followed." The other elders and
king’s counsellors, by Divine prompting, spoke to the same effect.

But Coifi added, that he wished more attentively to hear Paulinus
discourse concerning the God Whom he preached. When he did so, at the
king’s command, Coifi, hearing his words, cried out, "This long time I
have perceived that what we worshipped was naught; because the more
diligently I sought after truth in that worship, the less I found it. But
now I freely confess, that such truth evidently appears in this preaching
as can confer on us the gifts of life, of salvation, and of eternal
happiness. For which reason my counsel is, O king, that we instantly give
up to ban and fire those temples and altars which we have consecrated
without reaping any benefit from them." In brief, the king openly assented
to the preaching of the Gospel by Paulinus, and renouncing idolatry,
declared that he received the faith of Christ: and when he inquired of the
aforesaid high priest of his religion, who should first desecrate the
altars and temples of their idols, with the precincts that were about
them, he answered, "I; for who can more fittingly than myself destroy
those things which I worshipped in my folly, for an example to all others,
through the wisdom which has been given me by the true God?" Then
immediately, in contempt of his vain superstitions, he desired the king to
furnish him with arms and a stallion, that he might mount and go forth to
destroy the idols; for it was not lawful before for the high priest either
to carry arms, or to ride on anything but a mare. Having, therefore, girt
a sword about him, with a spear in his hand, he mounted the king’s
stallion, and went his way to the idols. The multitude, beholding it,
thought that he was mad; but as soon as he drew near the temple he did not
delay to desecrate it by casting into it the spear which he held; and
rejoicing in the knowledge of the worship of the true God, he commanded
his companions to tear down and set on fire the temple, with all its
precincts. This place where the idols once stood is still shown, not far
from York, to the eastward, beyond the river Derwent, and is now called
Godmunddingaham,(231) where the high priest, by the inspiration of the
true God, profaned and destroyed the altars which he had himself

Chap. XIV. How King Edwin and his nation became Christians; and where
Paulinus baptized them. [627 A.D.]

King Edwin, therefore, with all the nobility of the nation, and a large
number of the common sort, received the faith, and the washing of holy
regeneration, in the eleventh year of his reign, which is the year of our
Lord 627, and about one hundred and eighty after the coming of the English
into Britain. He was baptized at York, on the holy day of Easter,(233)
being the 12th of April, in the church of St. Peter the Apostle, which he
himself had built of timber there in haste, whilst he was a catechumen
receiving instruction in order to be admitted to baptism. In that city
also he bestowed upon his instructor and bishop, Paulinus, his episcopal
see. But as soon as he was baptized, he set about building, by the
direction of Paulinus, in the same place a larger and nobler church of
stone, in the midst whereof the oratory which he had first erected should
be enclosed.(234) Having, therefore, laid the foundation, he began to
build the church square, encompassing the former oratory. But before the
walls were raised to their full height, the cruel death(235) of the king
left that work to be finished by Oswald his successor. Paulinus, for the
space of six years from this time, that is, till the end of the king’s
reign, with his consent and favour, preached the Word of God in that
country, and as many as were foreordained to eternal life believed and
were baptized. Among them were Osfrid and Eadfrid, King Edwin’s sons who
were both born to him, whilst he was in banishment, of Quenburga, the
daughter of Cearl, king of the Mercians.

Afterwards other children of his, by Queen Ethelberg, were baptized,
Ethelhun and his daughter Ethelthryth, and another, Wuscfrea, a son; the
first two were snatched out of this life whilst they were still in the
white garments of the newly-baptized,(236) and buried in the church at
York. Yffi,(237) the son of Osfrid, was also baptized, and many other
noble and royal persons. So great was then the fervour of the faith, as is
reported, and the desire for the laver of salvation among the nation of
the Northumbrians, that Paulinus at a certain time coming with the king
and queen to the royal township, which is called Adgefrin,(238) stayed
there with them thirty-six days, fully occupied in catechizing and
baptizing; during which days, from morning till night, he did nothing else
but instruct the people resorting from all villages and places, in
Christ’s saving Word; and when they were instructed, he washed them with
the water of absolution in the river Glen,(239) which is close by. This
township, under the following kings, was abandoned, and another was built
instead of it, at the place called Maelmin.(240)

These things happened in the province of the Bernicians; but in that of
the Deiri also, where he was wont often to be with the king, he baptized
in the river Swale, which runs by the village of Cataract;(241) for as yet
oratories, or baptisteries, could not be built in the early infancy of the
Church in those parts. But in Campodonum,(242) where there was then a
royal township, he built a church which the pagans, by whom King Edwin was
slain, afterwards burnt, together with all the place. Instead of this
royal seat the later kings built themselves a township in the country
called Loidis.(243) But the altar, being of stone, escaped the fire and is
still preserved in the monastery of the most reverend abbot and priest,
Thrydwulf, which is in the forest of Elmet.(244)

Chap. XV. How the province of the East Angles received the faith of
Christ. [627-628 A.D.]

Edwin was so zealous for the true worship, that he likewise persuaded
Earpwald, king of the East Angles, and son of Redwald, to abandon his
idolatrous superstitions, and with his whole province to receive the faith
and mysteries of Christ. And indeed his father Redwald had long before
been initiated into the mysteries of the Christian faith in Kent, but in
vain; for on his return home, he was seduced by his wife and certain
perverse teachers, and turned aside from the sincerity of the faith; and
thus his latter state was worse than the former; so that, like the
Samaritans of old, he seemed at the same time to serve Christ and the gods
whom he served before; and in the same temple he had an altar for the
Christian Sacrifice, and another small one at which to offer victims to
devils. Aldwulf,(245) king of that same province, who lived in our time,
testifies that this temple had stood until his time, and that he had seen
it when he was a boy. The aforesaid King Redwald was noble by birth,
though ignoble in his actions, being the son of Tytilus, whose father was
Uuffa, from whom the kings of the East Angles are called Uuffings.(246)

Earpwald, not long after he had embraced the Christian faith, was slain by
one Ricbert, a pagan; and from that time the province was in error for
three years, till Sigbert succeeded to the kingdom,(247) brother to the
same Earpwald, a most Christian and learned man, who was banished, and
went to live in Gaul during his brother’s life, and was there initiated
into the mysteries of the faith, whereof he made it his business to cause
all his province to partake as soon as he came to the throne. His
exertions were nobly promoted by Bishop Felix,(248) who, coming to
Honorius, the archbishop,(249) from the parts of Burgundy, where he had
been born and ordained, and having told him what he desired, was sent by
him to preach the Word of life to the aforesaid nation of the Angles. Nor
were his good wishes in vain; for the pious labourer in the spiritual
field reaped therein a great harvest of believers, delivering all that
province (according to the inner signification of his name) from long
iniquity and unhappiness, and bringing it to the faith and works of
righteousness, and the gifts of everlasting happiness. He had the see of
his bishopric appointed him in the city Dommoc,(250) and having presided
over the same province with pontifical authority seventeen years, he ended
his days there in peace.

Chap. XVI. How Paulinus preached in the province of Lindsey; and of the
character of the reign of Edwin. [_Circ._ 628 A.D.]

Paulinus also preached the Word to the province of Lindsey,(251) which is
the first on the south side of the river Humber, stretching as far as the
sea; and he first converted to the Lord the reeve of the city of Lincoln,
whose name was Blaecca, with his whole house. He likewise built, in that
city, a stone church of beautiful workmanship; the roof of which has
either fallen through long neglect, or been thrown down by enemies, but
the walls are still to be seen standing, and every year miraculous cures
are wrought in that place, for the benefit of those who have faith to seek
them. In that church, when Justus had departed to Christ, Paulinus
consecrated Honorius bishop in his stead, as will be hereafter mentioned
in its proper place.(252) A certain priest and abbot of the monastery of
Peartaneu,(253) a man of singular veracity, whose name was Deda, told me
concerning the faith of this province that an old man had informed him
that he himself had been baptized at noon-day, by Bishop Paulinus, in the
presence of King Edwin, and with him a great multitude of the people, in
the river Trent, near the city, which in the English tongue is called
Tiouulfingacaestir;(254) and he was also wont to describe the person of
the same Paulinus, saying that he was tall of stature, stooping somewhat,
his hair black, his visage thin, his nose slender and aquiline, his aspect
both venerable and awe-inspiring. He had also with him in the ministry,
James, the deacon,(255) a man of zeal and great fame in Christ and in the
church, who lived even to our days.

It is told that there was then such perfect peace in Britain, wheresoever
the dominion of King Edwin extended, that, as is still proverbially said,
a woman with her new-born babe might walk throughout the island, from sea
to sea, without receiving any harm. That king took such care for the good
of his nation, that in several places where he had seen clear springs near
the highways, he caused stakes to be fixed, with copper drinking-vessels
hanging on them, for the refreshment of travellers; nor durst any man
touch them for any other purpose than that for which they were designed,
either through the great dread they had of the king, or for the affection
which they bore him. His dignity was so great throughout his dominions,
that not only were his banners borne before him in battle, but even in
time of peace, when he rode about his cities, townships, or provinces,
with his thegns, the standard-bearer was always wont to go before him.
Also, when he walked anywhere along the streets, that sort of banner which
the Romans call Tufa,(256) and the English, Thuuf, was in like manner
borne before him.

Chap. XVII. How Edwin received letters of exhortation from Pope Honorius,
who also sent the pall to Paulinus. [634 A.D.]

At that time Honorius, successor to Boniface, was Bishop of the Apostolic
see. When he learned that the nation of the Northumbrians, with their
king, had been, by the preaching of Paulinus, converted to the faith and
confession of Christ, he sent the pall to the said Paulinus, and with it
letters of exhortation to King Edwin, with fatherly love inflaming his
zeal, to the end that he and his people should persist in belief of the
truth which they had received. The contents of which letter were as

"_To his most noble son, and excellent lord, Edwin king of the Angles,
Bishop Honorius, servant of the servants of God, greeting._ The
wholeheartedness of your Christian Majesty, in the worship of your
Creator, is so inflamed with the fire of faith, that it shines out far and
wide, and, being reported throughout the world, brings forth plentiful
fruits of your labours. For the terms of your kingship you know to be
this, that taught by orthodox preaching the knowledge of your King and
Creator, you believe and worship God, and as far as man is able, pay Him
the sincere devotion of your mind. For what else are we able to offer to
our God, but our readiness to worship Him and to pay Him our vows,
persisting in good actions, and confessing Him the Creator of mankind?
And, therefore, most excellent son, we exhort you with such fatherly love
as is meet, to labour to preserve this gift in every way, by earnest
striving and constant prayer, in that the Divine Mercy has vouchsafed to
call you to His grace; to the end that He, Who has been pleased to deliver
you from all errors, and bring you to the knowledge of His name in this
present world, may likewise prepare a place for you in the heavenly
country. Employing yourself, therefore, in reading frequently the works of
my lord Gregory, your Evangelist, of apostolic memory, keep before your
eyes that love of his doctrine, which he zealously bestowed for the sake
of your souls; that his prayers may exalt your kingdom and people, and
present you faultless before Almighty God. We are preparing with a willing
mind immediately to grant those things which you hoped would be by us
ordained for your bishops, and this we do on account of the sincerity of
your faith, which has been made known to us abundantly in terms of praise
by the bearers of these presents. We have sent two palls to the two
metropolitans, Honorius and Paulinus;(257) to the intent, that when either
of them shall be called out of this world to his Creator, the other may,
by this authority of ours, substitute another bishop in his place; which
privilege we are induced to grant by the warmth of our love for you, as
well as by reason of the great extent of the provinces which lie between
us and you; that we may in all things support your devotion and likewise
satisfy your desires. May God’s grace preserve your Highness in safety!"

Chap. XVIII. How Honorius, who succeeded Justus in the bishopric of
Canterbury, received the pall and letters from Pope Honorius. [634 A.D.]

In the meantime, Archbishop Justus was taken up to the heavenly kingdom,
on the 10th of November,(258) and Honorius, who was elected to the see in
his stead, came to Paulinus to be ordained, and meeting him at Lincoln was
there consecrated the fifth prelate of the Church of Canterbury from
Augustine. To him also the aforesaid Pope Honorius sent the pall, and a
letter, wherein he ordains the same that he had before ordained in his
epistle to King Edwin, to wit, that when either the Archbishop of
Canterbury or of York shall depart this life, the survivor, being of the
same degree, shall have power to ordain another bishop in the room of him
that is departed; that it might not be necessary always to undertake the
toilsome journey to Rome, at so great a distance by sea and land, to
ordain an archbishop. Which letter we have also thought fit to insert in
this our history:

"_Honorius to his most beloved brother Honorius:_ Among the many good
gifts which the mercy of our Redeemer is pleased to bestow on His servants
He grants to us in His bounty, graciously conferred on us by His goodness,
the special blessing of realizing by brotherly intercourse, as it were
face to face, our mutual love. For which gift we continually render thanks
to His Majesty; and we humbly beseech Him, that He will ever confirm your
labour, beloved, in preaching the Gospel, and bringing forth fruit, and
following the rule of your master and head, the holy Gregory; and that,
for the advancement of His Church, He may by your means raise up further
increase; to the end, that through faith and works, in the fear and love
of God, what you and your predecessors have already gained from the seed
sown by our lord Gregory, may grow strong and be further extended; that so
the promises spoken by our Lord may hereafter be brought to pass in you;
and that these words may summon you to everlasting happiness: ‘Come unto
Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.’(259)
And again, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful
over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou
into the joy of thy Lord.’(260) And we, most beloved brothers, sending you
first these words of exhortation out of our enduring charity, do not fail
further to grant those things which we perceive may be suitable for the
privileges of your Churches.

"Wherefore, in accordance with your request, and that of the kings our
sons,(261) we do hereby in the name of the blessed Peter, chief of the
Apostles, grant you authority, that when the Divine Grace shall call
either of you to Himself, the survivor shall ordain a bishop in the room
of him that is deceased. To which end also we have sent a pall to each of
you, beloved, for celebrating the said ordination; that by the authority
which we hereby commit to you, you may make an ordination acceptable to
God; because the long distance of sea and land that lies between us and
you, has obliged us to grant you this, that no loss may happen to your
Church in any way, on any pretext whatever, but that the devotion of the
people committed to you may increase the more. God preserve you in safety,
most dear brother! Given the 11th day of June, in the reign of these our
lords and emperors, in the twenty-fourth year of the reign of Heraclius,
and the twenty-third after his consulship; and in the twenty-third of his
son Constantine, and the third after his consulship; and in the third year
of the most prosperous Caesar, his son Heraclius,(262) the seventh
indiction; that is, in the year of our Lord, 634."

Chap. XIX. How the aforesaid Honorius first, and afterwards John, wrote
letters to the nation of the Scots, concerning the observance of Easter,
and the Pelagian heresy. [640 A.D.]

The same Pope Honorius also wrote to the Scots,(263) whom he had found to
err in the observance of the holy Festival of Easter, as has been shown
above, with subtlety of argument exhorting them not to think themselves,
few as they were, and placed in the utmost borders of the earth, wiser
than all the ancient and modern Churches of Christ, throughout the world;
and not to celebrate a different Easter, contrary to the Paschal
calculation and the decrees of all the bishops upon earth sitting in
synod. Likewise John,(264) who succeeded Severinus, successor to the same
Honorius, being yet but Pope elect, sent to them letters of great
authority and erudition for the purpose of correcting the same error;
evidently showing, that Easter Sunday is to be found between the fifteenth
of the moon and the twenty-first, as was approved in the Council of
Nicaea.(265) He also in the same epistle admonished them to guard against
the Pelagian heresy,(266) and reject it, for he had been informed that it
was again springing up among them. The beginning of the epistle was as

"_To our most beloved and most holy Tomianus, Columbanus, Cromanus,
Dinnaus, and Baithanus, bishops; to __ Cromanus, Ernianus, Laistranus,
Scellanus, and Segenus, priests; to Saranus and the rest of the Scottish
doctors and abbots, Hilarus, the arch-presbyter, and vice-gerent of the
holy Apostolic See; John, the deacon, and elect in the name of God;
likewise John, the chief of the notaries and vice-gerent of the holy
Apostolic See, and John, the servant of God, and counsellor of the same
Apostolic See._(267) The writings which were brought by the bearers to
Pope Severinus, of holy memory, were left, when he departed from the light
of this world, without an answer to the questions contained in them. Lest
any obscurity should long remain undispelled in a matter of so great
moment, we opened the same, and found that some in your province,
endeavouring to revive a new heresy out of an old one, contrary to the
orthodox faith, do through the darkness of their minds reject our Easter,
when Christ was sacrificed; and contend that the same should be kept with
the Hebrews on the fourteenth of the moon."(268)

By this beginning of the epistle it evidently appears that this heresy
arose among them in very late times, and that not all their nation, but
only some of them, were involved in the same.

After having laid down the manner of keeping Easter, they add this
concerning the Pelagians in the same epistle:

"And we have also learnt that the poison of the Pelagian heresy again
springs up among you; we, therefore, exhort you, that you put away from
your thoughts all such venomous and superstitious wickedness. For you
cannot be ignorant how that execrable heresy has been condemned; for it
has not only been abolished these two hundred years, but it is also daily
condemned by us and buried under our perpetual ban; and we exhort you not
to rake up the ashes of those whose weapons have been burnt. For who would
not detest that insolent and impious assertion, ‘That man can live without
sin of his own free will, and not through the grace of God?’ And in the
first place, it is blasphemous folly to say that man is without sin, which
none can be, but only the one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ
Jesus, Who was conceived and born without sin; for all other men, being
born in original sin, are known to bear the mark of Adam’s transgression,
even whilst they are without actual sin, according to the saying of the
prophet, ‘For behold, I was conceived in iniquity; and in sin did my
mother give birth to me.’ "(269)

Chap. XX. How Edwin being slain, Paulinus returned into Kent, and had the
bishopric of Rochester conferred upon him. [633 A.D.]

Edwin reigned most gloriously seventeen years over the nations of the
English and the Britons, six whereof, as has been said, he also was a
soldier in the kingdom of Christ. Caedwalla,(270) king of the Britons,
rebelled against him, being supported by the vigorous Penda, of the royal
race of the Mercians, who from that time governed that nation for
twenty-two years with varying success. A great battle being fought in the
plain that is called Haethfelth,(271) Edwin was killed on the 12th of
October, in the year of our Lord 633, being then forty-eight years of age,
and all his army was either slain or dispersed. In the same war also,
Osfrid,(272) one of his sons, a warlike youth, fell before him;
Eadfrid,(273) another of them, compelled by necessity, went over to King
Penda, and was by him afterwards slain in the reign of Oswald, contrary to
his oath. At this time a great slaughter was made in the Church and nation
of the Northumbrians; chiefly because one of the chiefs, by whom it was
carried on, was a pagan, and the other a barbarian, more cruel than a
pagan; for Penda, with all the nation of the Mercians, was an idolater,
and a stranger to the name of Christ; but Caedwalla, though he professed
and called himself a Christian, was so barbarous in his disposition and
manner of living, that he did not even spare women and innocent children,
but with bestial cruelty put all alike to death by torture, and overran
all their country in his fury for a long time, intending to cut off all
the race of the English within the borders of Britain. Nor did he pay any
respect to the Christian religion which had sprung up among them; it being
to this day the custom of the Britons to despise the faith and religion of
the English, and to have no part with them in anything any more than with
pagans. King Edwin’s head was brought to York, and afterwards taken into
the church of the blessed Peter the Apostle, which he had begun, but which
his successor Oswald finished, as has been said before. It was laid in the
chapel of the holy Pope Gregory, from whose disciples he had received the
word of life.(274)

The affairs of the Northumbrians being thrown into confusion at the moment
of this disaster, when there seemed to be no prospect of safety except in
flight, Paulinus, taking with him Queen Ethelberg, whom he had before
brought thither, returned into Kent by sea, and was very honourably
received by the Archbishop Honorius and King Eadbald. He came thither
under the conduct of Bassus, a most valiant thegn of King Edwin, having
with him Eanfled, the daughter, and Wuscfrea, the son of Edwin, as well as
Yffi, the son of Osfrid, Edwin’s son.(275) Afterwards Ethelberg, for fear
of the kings Eadbald and Oswald,(276) sent Wuscfrea and Yffi over into
Gaul to be bred up by King Dagobert,(277) who was her friend; and there
they both died in infancy, and were buried in the church with the honour
due to royal children and to Christ’s innocents. He also brought with him
many rich goods of King Edwin, among which were a large gold cross, and a
golden chalice, consecrated to the service of the altar, which are still
preserved, and shown in the church of Canterbury.

At that time the church of Rochester had no pastor, for Romanus,(278) the
bishop thereof, being sent on a mission to Pope Honorius by Archbishop
Justus, was drowned in the Italian Sea; and thus Paulinus, at the request
of Archbishop Honorius and King Eadbald, took upon him the charge of the
same, and held it until he too, in his own time, departed to heaven, with
the fruits of his glorious labours; and, dying in that Church, he left
there the pall which he had received from the Pope of Rome. He had left
behind him in his Church at York, James, the deacon,(279) a true churchman
and a holy man, who continuing long after in that Church, by teaching and
baptizing, rescued much prey from the ancient enemy; and from him the
village, where he chiefly dwelt, near Cataract,(280) has its name to this
day. He had great skill in singing in church, and when the province was
afterwards restored to peace, and the number of the faithful increased, he
began to teach church music to many, according to the custom of the
Romans, or of the Cantuarians.(281) And being old and full of days, as the
Scripture says, he went the way of his fathers.


Chap. I. How King Edwin’s next successors lost both the faith of their
nation and the kingdom; but the most Christian King Oswald retrieved both.
[633 A.D.]

Edwin being slain in battle, the kingdom of the Deiri, to which province
his family belonged, and where he first began to reign, passed to Osric,
the son of his uncle Aelfric, who, through the preaching of Paulinus, had
also received the mysteries of the faith. But the kingdom of the
Bernicians—for into these two provinces the nation of the Northumbrians
was formerly divided(282)—passed to Eanfrid, the son of Ethelfrid,(283)
who derived his origin from the royal family of that province. For all the
time that Edwin reigned, the sons of the aforesaid Ethelfrid, who had
reigned before him, with many of the younger nobility, lived in banishment
among the Scots or Picts, and were there instructed according to the
doctrine of the Scots, and were renewed with the grace of Baptism. Upon
the death of the king, their enemy, they were allowed to return home, and
the aforesaid Eanfrid, as the eldest of them, became king of the
Bernicians. Both those kings,(284) as soon as they obtained the government
of their earthly kingdoms, abjured and betrayed the mysteries of the
heavenly kingdom to which they had been admitted, and again delivered
themselves up to defilement and perdition through the abominations of
their former idolatry.

But soon after, the king of the Britons, Caedwalla,(285) the unrighteous
instrument of rightful vengeance, slew them both. First, in the following
summer, he put Osric to death; for, being rashly besieged by him in the
municipal town,(286) he sallied out on a sudden with all his forces, took
him by surprise, and destroyed him and all his army. Then, when he had
occupied the provinces of the Northumbrians for a whole year,(287) not
ruling them like a victorious king, but ravaging them like a furious
tyrant, he at length put an end to Eanfrid, in like manner, when he
unadvisedly came to him with only twelve chosen soldiers, to sue for
peace. To this day, that year is looked upon as ill-omened, and hateful to
all good men; as well on account of the apostacy of the English kings, who
had renounced the mysteries of the faith, as of the outrageous tyranny of
the British king. Hence it has been generally agreed, in reckoning the
dates of the kings, to abolish the memory of those faithless monarchs, and
to assign that year to the reign of the following king, Oswald, a man
beloved of God. This king, after the death of his brother Eanfrid,(288)
advanced with an army, small, indeed, in number, but strengthened with the
faith of Christ; and the impious commander of the Britons, in spite of his
vast forces, which he boasted nothing could withstand, was slain at a
place called in the English tongue Denisesburna, that is, the brook of

Chap. II. How, among innumerable other miracles of healing wrought by the
wood of the cross, which King Oswald, being ready to engage against the
barbarians, erected, a certain man had his injured arm healed. [634 A.D.]

The place is shown to this day, and held in much veneration, where Oswald,
being about to engage in this battle, erected the symbol of the Holy
Cross, and knelt down and prayed to God that he would send help from
Heaven to his worshippers in their sore need. Then, we are told, that the
cross being made in haste, and the hole dug in which it was to be set up,
the king himself, in the ardour of his faith, laid hold of it and held it
upright with both his hands, till the earth was heaped up by the soldiers
and it was fixed. Thereupon, uplifting his voice, he cried to his whole
army, "Let us all kneel, and together beseech the true and living God
Almighty in His mercy to defend us from the proud and cruel enemy; for He
knows that we have undertaken a just war for the safety of our nation."
All did as he had commanded, and accordingly advancing towards the enemy
with the first dawn of day, they obtained the victory, as their faith
deserved. In the place where they prayed very many miracles of healing are
known to have been wrought, as a token and memorial of the king’s faith;
for even to this day, many are wont to cut off small splinters from the
wood of the holy cross, and put them into water, which they give to sick
men or cattle to drink, or they sprinkle them therewith, and these are
presently restored to health.

The place is called in the English tongue Hefenfelth, or the Heavenly
Field,(290) which name it undoubtedly received of old as a presage of what
was afterwards to happen, denoting, that the heavenly trophy was to be
erected, the heavenly victory begun, and heavenly miracles shown forth to
this day. The place is near the wall in the north which the Romans
formerly drew across the whole of Britain from sea to sea, to restrain the
onslaught of the barbarous nations, as has been said before. Hither also
the brothers of the church of Hagustald,(291) which is not far distant,
long ago made it their custom to resort every year, on the day before that
on which King Oswald was afterwards slain, to keep vigils there for the
health of his soul, and having sung many psalms of praise, to offer for
him in the morning the sacrifice of the Holy Oblation. And since that good
custom has spread, they have lately built a church there, which has
attached additional sanctity and honour in the eyes of all men to that
place;(292) and this with good reason; for it appears that there was no
symbol of the Christian faith, no church, no altar erected throughout all
the nation of the Bernicians, before that new leader in war, prompted by
the zeal of his faith, set up this standard of the Cross as he was going
to give battle to his barbarous enemy.

Nor is it foreign to our purpose to relate one of the many miracles that
have been wrought at this cross. One of the brothers of the same church of
Hagulstald, whose name is Bothelm, and who is still living, a few years
ago, walking carelessly on the ice at night, suddenly fell and broke his
arm; he was soon tormented with a most grievous pain in the broken part,
so that he could not lift his arm to his mouth for the anguish. Hearing
one morning that one of the brothers designed to go up to the place of the
holy cross, he desired him, on his return, to bring him a piece of that
sacred wood, saying, he believed that with the mercy of God he might
thereby be healed. The brother did as he was desired; and returning in the
evening, when the brothers were sitting at table, gave him some of the old
moss which grew on the surface of the wood. As he sat at table, having no
place to bestow the gift which was brought him, he put it into his bosom;
and forgetting, when he went to bed, to put it away, left it in his bosom.
Awaking in the middle of the night, he felt something cold lying by his
side, and putting his hand upon it to feel what it was, he found his arm
and hand as sound as if he had never felt any such pain.

Chap. III. How the same king Oswald, asking a bishop of the Scottish
nation, had Aidan sent him, and granted him an episcopal see in the Isle
of Lindisfarne. [635 A.D.]

The same Oswald, as soon as he ascended the throne, being desirous that
all the nation under his rule should be endued with the grace of the
Christian faith, whereof he had found happy experience in vanquishing the
barbarians, sent to the elders of the Scots,(293) among whom himself and
his followers, when in banishment, had received the sacrament of Baptism,
desiring that they would send him a bishop, by whose instruction and
ministry the English nation, which he governed, might learn the privileges
and receive the Sacraments of the faith of our Lord. Nor were they slow in
granting his request; for they sent him Bishop Aidan, a man of singular
gentleness, piety, and moderation; having a zeal of God, but not fully
according to knowledge; for he was wont to keep Easter Sunday according to
the custom of his country, which we have before so often mentioned,(294)
from the fourteenth to the twentieth of the moon; the northern province of
the Scots, and all the nation of the Picts, at that time still celebrating
Easter after that manner, and believing that in this observance they
followed the writings of the holy and praiseworthy Father Anatolius.(295)
Whether this be true, every instructed person can easily judge. But the
Scots which dwelt in the South of Ireland had long since, by the
admonition of the Bishop of the Apostolic see, learned to observe Easter
according to the canonical custom.(296)

On the arrival of the bishop, the king appointed him his episcopal see in
the island of Lindisfarne,(297) as he desired. Which place, as the tide
ebbs and flows, is twice a day enclosed by the waves of the sea like an
island; and again, twice, when the beach is left dry, becomes contiguous
with the land. The king also humbly and willingly in all things giving ear
to his admonitions, industriously applied himself to build up and extend
the Church of Christ in his kingdom; wherein, when the bishop, who was not
perfectly skilled in the English tongue, preached the Gospel, it was a
fair sight to see the king himself interpreting the Word of God to his
ealdormen and thegns, for he had thoroughly learned the language of the
Scots during his long banishment. From that time many came daily into
Britain from the country of the Scots, and with great devotion preached
the Word to those provinces of the English, over which King Oswald
reigned, and those among them that had received priest’s orders,(298)
administered the grace of Baptism to the believers. Churches were built in
divers places; the people joyfully flocked together to hear the Word;
lands and other property were given of the king’s bounty to found
monasteries; English children, as well as their elders, were instructed by
their Scottish teachers in study and the observance of monastic
discipline. For most of those who came to preach were monks. Bishop Aidan
was himself a monk, having been sent out from the island called Hii,(299)
whereof the monastery was for a long time the chief of almost all those of
the northern Scots,(300) and all those of the Picts, and had the direction
of their people. That island belongs to Britain, being divided from it by
a small arm of the sea, but had been long since given by the Picts, who
inhabit those parts of Britain, to the Scottish monks, because they had
received the faith of Christ through their preaching.

Chap. IV. When the nation of the Picts received the faith of Christ. [565

In the year of our Lord 565, when Justin, the younger, the successor of
Justinian, obtained the government of the Roman empire, there came into
Britain from Ireland a famous priest and abbot, marked as a monk by habit
and manner of life, whose name was Columba,(301) to preach the word of God
to the provinces of the northern Picts, who are separated from the
southern parts belonging to that nation by steep and rugged mountains. For
the southern Picts, who dwell on this side of those mountains, had, it is
said, long before forsaken the errors of idolatry, and received the true
faith by the preaching of Bishop Ninias,(302) a most reverend and holy man
of the British nation, who had been regularly instructed at Rome in the
faith and mysteries of the truth; whose episcopal see, named after St.
Martin the bishop, and famous for a church dedicated to him (wherein
Ninias himself and many other saints rest in the body), is now in the
possession of the English nation. The place belongs to the province of the
Bernicians, and is commonly called the White House,(303) because he there
built a church of stone, which was not usual among the Britons.

Columba came into Britain in the ninth year of the reign of Bridius, who
was the son of Meilochon,(304) and the powerful king of the Pictish
nation, and he converted that nation to the faith of Christ, by his
preaching and example. Wherefore he also received of them the gift of the
aforesaid island whereon to found a monastery. It is not a large island,
but contains about five families, according to the English computation;
his successors hold it to this day; he was also buried therein, having
died at the age of seventy-seven, about thirty-two years after he came
into Britain to preach.(305) Before he crossed over into Britain, he had
built a famous monastery in Ireland, which, from the great number of oaks,
is in the Scottish tongue called Dearmach—The Field of Oaks.(306) From
both these monasteries, many others had their beginning through his
disciples, both in Britain and Ireland; but the island monastery where his
body lies, has the pre-eminence among them all.

That island has for its ruler an abbot, who is a priest, to whose
jurisdiction all the province, and even the bishops, contrary to the usual
method, are bound to be subject, according to the example of their first
teacher, who was not a bishop, but a priest and monk;(307) of whose life
and discourses some records are said to be preserved by his disciples. But
whatsoever he was himself, this we know for certain concerning him, that
he left successors renowned for their continence, their love of God, and
observance of monastic rules. It is true they employed doubtful cycles in
fixing the time of the great festival, as having none to bring them the
synodal decrees for the observance of Easter, by reason of their being so
far away from the rest of the world; but they earnestly practised such
works of piety and chastity as they could learn from the Prophets, the
Gospels and the Apostolic writings. This manner of keeping Easter
continued among them no little time, to wit, for the space of 150 years,
till the year of our Lord 715.

But then the most reverend and holy father and priest, Egbert,(308) of the
English nation, who had long lived in banishment in Ireland for the sake
of Christ, and was most learned in the Scriptures, and renowned for long
perfection of life, came among them, corrected their error, and led them
to observe the true and canonical day of Easter; which, nevertheless, they
did not always keep on the fourteenth of the moon with the Jews, as some
imagined, but on Sunday, although not in the proper week.(309) For, as
Christians, they knew that the Resurrection of our Lord, which happened on
the first day of the week, was always to be celebrated on the first day of
the week; but being rude and barbarous, they had not learned when that
same first day after the Sabbath, which is now called the Lord’s day,
should come. But because they had not failed in the grace of fervent
charity, they were accounted worthy to receive the full knowledge of this
matter also, according to the promise of the Apostle, "And if in any thing
ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you."(310) Of
which we shall speak more fully hereafter in its proper place.

Chap. V. Of the life of Bishop Aidan. [635 A.D.]

From this island, then, and the fraternity of these monks, Aidan was sent
to instruct the English nation in Christ, having received the dignity of a
bishop. At that time Segeni,(311) abbot and priest, presided over that
monastery. Among other lessons in holy living, Aidan left the clergy a
most salutary example of abstinence and continence; it was the highest
commendation of his doctrine with all men, that he taught nothing that he
did not practise in his life among his brethren; for he neither sought nor
loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately
among the poor whom he met whatsoever was given him by the kings or rich
men of the world. He was wont to traverse both town and country on foot,
never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity; to the end
that, as he went, he might turn aside to any whomsoever he saw, whether
rich or poor, and call upon them, if infidels, to receive the mystery of
the faith, or, if they were believers, strengthen them in the faith, and
stir them up by words and actions to giving of alms and the performance of
good works.

His course of life was so different from the slothfulness of our times,
that all those who bore him company, whether they were tonsured or laymen,
had to study either reading the Scriptures, or learning psalms. This was
the daily employment of himself and all that were with him, wheresoever
they went; and if it happened, which was but seldom, that he was invited
to the king’s table, he went with one or two clerks, and having taken a
little food, made haste to be gone, either to read with his brethren or to
pray. At that time, many religious men and women, led by his example,
adopted the custom of prolonging their fast on Wednesdays and Fridays,
till the ninth hour, throughout the year, except during the fifty days
after Easter. Never, through fear or respect of persons, did he keep
silence with regard to the sins of the rich; but was wont to correct them
with a severe rebuke. He never gave money to the powerful men of the
world, but only food, if he happened to entertain them; and, on the
contrary, whatsoever gifts of money he received from the rich, he either
distributed, as has been said, for the use of the poor, or bestowed in
ransoming such as had been wrongfully sold for slaves. Moreover, he
afterwards made many of those he had ransomed his disciples, and after
having taught and instructed them, advanced them to priest’s orders.

It is said, that when King Oswald had asked a bishop of the Scots to
administer the Word of faith to him and his nation, there was first sent
to him another man of more harsh disposition,(312) who, after preaching
for some time to the English and meeting with no success, not being gladly
heard by the people, returned home, and in an assembly of the elders
reported, that he had not been able to do any good by his teaching to the
nation to whom he had been sent, because they were intractable men, and of
a stubborn and barbarous disposition. They then, it is said, held a
council and seriously debated what was to be done, being desirous that the
nation should obtain the salvation it demanded, but grieving that they had
not received the preacher sent to them. Then said Aidan, who was also
present in the council, to the priest in question, "Methinks, brother,
that you were more severe to your unlearned hearers than you ought to have
been, and did not at first, conformably to the Apostolic rule, give them
the milk of more easy doctrine, till, being by degrees nourished with the
Word of God, they should be capable of receiving that which is more
perfect and of performing the higher precepts of God." Having heard these
words, all present turned their attention to him and began diligently to
weigh what he had said, and they decided that he was worthy to be made a
bishop, and that he was the man who ought to be sent to instruct the
unbelieving and unlearned; since he was found to be endued preeminently
with the grace of discretion, which is the mother of the virtues. So they
ordained him and sent him forth to preach; and, as time went on, his other
virtues became apparent, as well as that temperate discretion which had
marked him at first.

Chap. VI. Of King Oswald’s wonderful piety and religion. [635-642 A.D.]

King Oswald, with the English nation which he governed, being instructed
by the teaching of this bishop, not only learned to hope for a heavenly
kingdom unknown to his fathers, but also obtained of the one God, Who made
heaven and earth, a greater earthly kingdom than any of his ancestors. In
brief, he brought under his dominion all the nations and provinces of
Britain, which are divided into four languages, to wit, those of the
Britons, the Picts, the Scots, and the English.(313) Though raised to that
height of regal power, wonderful to relate, he was always humble, kind,
and generous to the poor and to strangers.

To give one instance, it is told, that when he was once sitting at dinner,
on the holy day of Easter, with the aforesaid bishop, and a silver dish
full of royal dainties was set before him, and they were just about to put
forth their hands to bless the bread, the servant, whom he had appointed
to relieve the needy, came in on a sudden, and told the king, that a great
multitude of poor folk from all parts was sitting in the streets begging
alms of the king; he immediately ordered the meat set before him to be
carried to the poor, and the dish to be broken in pieces and divided among
them. At which sight, the bishop who sat by him, greatly rejoicing at such
an act of piety, clasped his right hand and said, "May this hand never
decay." This fell out according to his prayer, for his hands with the arms
being cut off from his body, when he was slain in battle, remain
uncorrupted to this day, and are kept in a silver shrine, as revered
relics, in St. Peter’s church in the royal city,(314) which has taken its
name from Bebba, one of its former queens. Through this king’s exertions
the provinces of the Deiri and the Bernicians, which till then had been at
variance, were peacefully united and moulded into one people. He was
nephew to King Edwin through his sister Acha; and it was fit that so great
a predecessor should have in his own family such an one to succeed him in
his religion and sovereignty.

Chap. VII. How the West Saxons received the Word of God by the preaching
of Birinus; and of his successors, Agilbert and Leutherius. [635-670 A.D.]

At that time, the West Saxons, formerly called Gewissae,(315) in the reign
of Cynegils,(316) received the faith of Christ, through the preaching of
Bishop Birinus,(317) who came into Britain by the counsel of Pope
Honorius;(318) having promised in his presence that he would sow the seed
of the holy faith in the farthest inland regions of the English, where no
other teacher had been before him. Hereupon at the bidding of the Pope he
received episcopal consecration from Asterius, bishop of Genoa;(319) but
on his arrival in Britain, he first came to the nation of the Gewissae,
and finding all in that place confirmed pagans, he thought it better to
preach the Word there, than to proceed further to seek for other hearers
of his preaching.

Now, as he was spreading the Gospel in the aforesaid province, it happened
that when the king himself, having received instruction as a catechumen,
was being baptized together with his people, Oswald, the most holy and
victorious king of the Northumbrians, being present, received him as he
came forth from baptism, and by an honourable alliance most acceptable to
God, first adopted as his son, thus born again and dedicated to God, the
man whose daughter(320) he was about to receive in marriage. The two kings
gave to the bishop the city called Dorcic,(321) there to establish his
episcopal see; where having built and consecrated churches, and by his
pious labours called many to the Lord, he departed to the Lord, and was
buried in the same city; but many years after, when Haedde was
bishop,(322) he was translated thence to the city of Venta,(323) and laid
in the church of the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul.

When the king died, his son Coinwalch(324) succeeded him on the throne,
but refused to receive the faith and the mysteries of the heavenly
kingdom; and not long after he lost also the dominion of his earthly
kingdom; for he put away the sister of Penda, king of the Mercians, whom
he had married, and took another wife; whereupon a war ensuing, he was by
him deprived of his kingdom, and withdrew to Anna, king of the East
Angles, where he lived three years in banishment, and learned and received
the true faith; for the king, with whom he lived in his banishment, was a
good man, and happy in a good and saintly offspring, as we shall show

But when Coinwalch was restored to his kingdom, there came into that
province out of Ireland, a certain bishop called Agilbert,(326) a native
of Gaul, but who had then lived a long time in Ireland, for the purpose of
reading the Scriptures. He attached himself to the king, and voluntarily
undertook the ministry of preaching. The king, observing his learning and
industry, desired him to accept an episcopal see there and remain as the
bishop of his people. Agilbert complied with the request, and presided
over that nation as their bishop for many years. At length the king, who
understood only the language of the Saxons, weary of his barbarous tongue,
privately brought into the province another bishop, speaking his own
language, by name Wini,(327) who had also been ordained in Gaul; and
dividing his province into two dioceses, appointed this last his episcopal
see in the city of Venta, by the Saxons called Wintancaestir.(328)
Agilbert, being highly offended, that the king should do this without
consulting him, returned into Gaul, and being made bishop of the city of
Paris, died there, being old and full of days. Not many years after his
departure out of Britain, Wini was also expelled from his bishopric by the
same king, and took refuge with Wulfhere, king of the Mercians, of whom he
purchased for money the see of the city of London,(329) and remained
bishop thereof till his death. Thus the province of the West Saxons
continued no small time without a bishop.

During which time, the aforesaid king of that nation, sustaining
repeatedly very great losses in his kingdom from his enemies, at length
bethought himself, that as he had been before expelled from the throne for
his unbelief, he had been restored when he acknowledged the faith of
Christ; and he perceived that his kingdom, being deprived of a bishop, was
justly deprived also of the Divine protection. He, therefore, sent
messengers into Gaul to Agilbert, with humble apologies entreating him to
return to the bishopric of his nation. But he excused himself, and
protested that he could not go, because he was bound to the bishopric of
his own city and diocese; notwithstanding, in order to give him some help
in answer to his earnest request, he sent thither in his stead the priest
Leutherius,(330) his nephew, to be ordained as his bishop, if he thought
fit, saying that he thought him worthy of a bishopric. The king and the
people received him honourably, and asked Theodore, then Archbishop of
Canterbury, to consecrate him as their bishop. He was accordingly
consecrated in the same city, and many years diligently governed the whole
bishopric of the West Saxons by synodical authority.

Chap. VIII. How Earconbert, King of Kent, ordered the idols to be
destroyed; and of his daughter Earcongota, and his kinswoman Ethelberg,
virgins consecrated to God. [640 A.D.]

In the year of our Lord 640, Eadbald,(331) king of Kent, departed this
life, and left his kingdom to his son Earconbert, who governed it most
nobly twenty-four years and some months. He was the first of the English
kings that of his supreme authority commanded the idols throughout his
whole kingdom to be forsaken and destroyed, and the fast of forty days to
be observed; and that the same might not be lightly neglected, he
appointed fitting and condign punishments for the offenders. His daughter
Earcongota, as became the offspring of such a parent, was a most virtuous
virgin, serving God in a monastery in the country of the Franks, built by
a most noble abbess, named Fara, at a place called In Brige;(332) for at
that time but few monasteries had been built in the country of the Angles,
and many were wont, for the sake of monastic life, to repair to the
monasteries of the Franks or Gauls; and they also sent their daughters
there to be instructed, and united to their Heavenly Bridegroom,
especially in the monasteries of Brige, of Cale,(333) and Andilegum.(334)
Among whom was also Saethryth,(335) daughter of the wife of Anna, king of
the East Angles, above mentioned; and Ethelberg,(336) the king’s own
daughter; both of whom, though strangers, were for their virtue made
abbesses of the monastery of Brige. Sexburg,(337) that king’s elder
daughter, wife to Earconbert, king of Kent, had a daughter called
Earcongota,(338) of whom we are about to speak.

Many wonderful works and miracles of this virgin, dedicated to God, are to
this day related by the inhabitants of that place; but for us it shall
suffice to say something briefly of her departure out of this world to the
heavenly kingdom. The day of her summoning drawing near, she began to
visit in the monastery the cells of the infirm handmaidens of Christ, and
particularly those that were of a great age, or most noted for their
virtuous life, and humbly commending herself to their prayers, she let
them know that her death was at hand, as she had learnt by revelation,
which she said she had received in this manner. She had seen a band of
men, clothed in white, come into the monastery, and being asked by her
what they wanted, and what they did there, they answered, "They had been
sent thither to carry away with them the gold coin that had been brought
thither from Kent." Towards the close of that same night, as morning began
to dawn, leaving the darkness of this world, she departed to the light of
heaven. Many of the brethren of that monastery who were in other houses,
declared they had then plainly heard choirs of singing angels, and, as it
were, the sound of a multitude entering the monastery. Whereupon going out
immediately to see what it might be, they beheld a great light coming down
from heaven, which bore that holy soul, set loose from the bonds of the
flesh, to the eternal joys of the celestial country. They also tell of
other miracles that were wrought that night in the same monastery by the
power of God; but as we must proceed to other matters, we leave them to be
related by those whose concern they are. The body of this venerable virgin
and bride of Christ was buried in the church of the blessed protomartyr,
Stephen. It was thought fit, three days after, to take up the stone that
covered the tomb, and to raise it higher in the same place, and whilst
they were doing this, so sweet a fragrance rose from below, that it seemed
to all the brethren and sisters there present, as if a store of balsam had
been opened.

Her aunt also, Ethelberg, of whom we have spoken, preserved the glory,
acceptable to God, of perpetual virginity, in a life of great self-denial,
but the extent of her virtue became more conspicuous after her death.
Whilst she was abbess, she began to build in her monastery a church, in
honour of all the Apostles, wherein she desired that her body should be
buried; but when that work was advanced half way, she was prevented by
death from finishing it, and was buried in the place in the church which
she had chosen. After her death, the brothers occupied themselves with
other things, and this structure was left untouched for seven years, at
the expiration whereof they resolved, by reason of the greatness of the
work, wholly to abandon the building of the church, and to remove the
abbess’s bones thence to some other church that was finished and
consecrated. On opening her tomb, they found the body as untouched by
decay as it had been free from the corruption of carnal concupiscence, and
having washed it again and clothed it in other garments, they removed it
to the church of the blessed Stephen, the Martyr. And her festival is wont
to be celebrated there with much honour on the 7th of July.

Chap. IX. How miracles of healing have been frequently wrought in the
place where King Oswald was killed; and how, first, a traveller’s horse
was restored and afterwards a young girl cured of the palsy. [642 A.D.]

Oswald, the most Christian king of the Northumbrians, reigned nine years,
including that year which was held accursed for the barbarous cruelty of
the king of the Britons and the reckless apostacy of the English kings;
for, as was said above,(339) it is agreed by the unanimous consent of all,
that the names and memory of the apostates should be erased from the
catalogue of the Christian kings, and no year assigned to their reign.
After which period, Oswald was killed in a great battle, by the same pagan
nation and pagan king of the Mercians, who had slain his predecessor
Edwin, at a place called in the English tongue Maserfelth,(340) in the
thirty-eighth year of his age, on the fifth day of the month of

How great his faith was towards God, and how remarkable his devotion, has
been made evident by miracles even after his death; for, in the place
where he was killed by the pagans, fighting for his country, sick men and
cattle are frequently healed to this day. Whence it came to pass that many
took up the very dust of the place where his body fell, and putting it
into water, brought much relief with it to their friends who were sick.
This custom came so much into use, that the earth being carried away by
degrees, a hole was made as deep as the height of a man. Nor is it
surprising that the sick should be healed in the place where he died; for,
whilst he lived, he never ceased to provide for the poor and the sick, and
to bestow alms on them, and assist them. Many miracles are said to have
been wrought in that place, or with the dust carried from it; but we have
thought it sufficient to mention two, which we have heard from our elders.

It happened, not long after his death, that a man was travelling on
horseback near that place, when his horse on a sudden fell sick, stood
still, hung his head, and foamed at the mouth, and, at length, as his pain
increased, he fell to the ground; the rider dismounted, and taking off his
saddle,(342) waited to see whether the beast would recover or die. At
length, after writhing for a long time in extreme anguish, the horse
happened in his struggles to come to the very place where the great king
died. Immediately the pain abated, the beast ceased from his frantic
kicking, and, after the manner of horses, as if resting from his
weariness, he rolled from side to side, and then starting up, perfectly
recovered, began to graze hungrily on the green herbage. The rider
observing this, and being an intelligent man, concluded that there must be
some wonderful sanctity in the place where the horse had been healed, and
he marked the spot. After which he again mounted his horse, and went on to
the inn where he intended to stop. On his arrival he found a girl, niece
to the landlord, who had long been sick of the palsy; and when the members
of the household, in his presence, lamented the girl’s grievous calamity,
he gave them an account of the place where his horse had been cured. In
brief, she was put into a wagon and carried to the place and laid down
there. At first she slept awhile, and when she awoke, found herself healed
of her infirmity. Upon which she called for water, washed her face,
arranged her hair, put a kerchief on her head, and returned home on foot,
in good health, with those who had brought her.

Chap. X. How the dust of that place prevailed against fire. [After 642

About the same time, another traveller, a Briton, as is reported, happened
to pass by the same place, where the aforesaid battle was fought.
Observing one particular spot of ground greener and more beautiful than
any other part of the field, he had the wisdom to infer that the cause of
the unusual greenness in that place must be that some person of greater
holiness than any other in the army had been killed there. He therefore
took along with him some of the dust of that piece of ground, tying it up
in a linen cloth, supposing, as was indeed the case, that it would be of
use for curing sick people, and proceeding on his journey, came in the
evening to a certain village, and entered a house where the villagers were
feasting at supper. Being received by the owners of the house, he sat down
with them at the entertainment, hanging the cloth, with the dust which he
had carried in it, on a post in the wall. They sat long at supper and
drank deep. Now there was a great fire in the middle of the room, and it
happened that the sparks flew up and caught the roof of the house, which
being made of wattles and thatch, was suddenly wrapped in flames; the
guests ran out in panic and confusion, but they were not able to save the
burning house, which was rapidly being destroyed. Wherefore the house was
burnt down, and only that post on which the dust hung in the linen cloth
remained safe and untouched by the fire. When they beheld this miracle,
they were all amazed, and inquiring into it diligently, learned that the
dust had been taken from the place where the blood of King Oswald had been
shed. These wonderful works being made known and reported abroad, many
began daily to resort to that place, and received the blessing of health
for themselves and their friends.

Chap. XI. How a light from Heaven stood all night over his relics, and how
those possessed with devils were healed by them. [679-697 A.D.]

Among the rest, I think we ought not to pass over in silence the miracles
and signs from Heaven that were shown when King Oswald’s bones were found,
and translated into the church where they are now preserved. This was done
by the zealous care of Osthryth, queen of the Mercians,(343) the daughter
of his brother Oswy, who reigned after him, as shall be said hereafter.

There is a famous monastery in the province of Lindsey, called
Beardaneu,(344) which that queen and her husband Ethelred greatly loved
and venerated, conferring upon it many honours. It was here that she was
desirous to lay the revered bones of her uncle. When the wagon in which
those bones were carried arrived towards evening at the aforesaid
monastery, they that were in it were unwilling to admit them, because,
though they knew him to be a holy man, yet, as he was a native of another
province, and had obtained the sovereignty over them, they retained their
ancient aversion to him even after his death. Thus it came to pass that
the relics were left in the open air all that night, with only a large
tent spread over the wagon which contained them. But it was revealed by a
sign from Heaven with how much reverence they ought to be received by all
the faithful; for all that night, a pillar of light, reaching from the
wagon up to heaven, was visible in almost every part of the province of
Lindsey. Hereupon, in the morning, the brethren of that monastery who had
refused it the day before, began themselves earnestly to pray that those
holy relics, beloved of God, might be laid among them. Accordingly, the
bones, being washed, were put into a shrine which they had made for that
purpose, and placed in the church, with due honour; and that there might
be a perpetual memorial of the royal character of this holy man, they hung
up over the monument his banner of gold and purple. Then they poured out
the water in which they had washed the bones, in a corner of the
cemetery.(345) From that time, the very earth which received that holy
water, had the power of saving grace in casting out devils from the bodies
of persons possessed.

Lastly, when the aforesaid queen afterwards abode some time in that
monastery, there came to visit her a certain venerable abbess, who is
still living, called Ethelhild, the sister of the holy men, Ethelwin(346)
and Aldwin, the first of whom was bishop in the province of Lindsey, the
other abbot of the monastery of Peartaneu;(347) not far from which was the
monastery of Ethelhild. When this lady was come, in a conversation between
her and the queen, the discourse, among other things, turning upon Oswald,
she said, that she also had that night seen the light over his relics
reaching up to heaven. The queen thereupon added, that the very dust of
the pavement on which the water that washed the bones had been poured out,
had already healed many sick persons. The abbess thereupon desired that
some of that health-bringing dust might be given her, and, receiving it,
she tied it up in a cloth, and, putting it into a casket, returned home.
Some time after, when she was in her monastery, there came to it a guest,
who was wont often in the night to be on a sudden grievously tormented
with an unclean spirit; he being hospitably entertained, when he had gone
to bed after supper, was suddenly seized by the Devil, and began to cry
out, to gnash his teeth, to foam at the mouth, and to writhe and distort
his limbs. None being able to hold or bind him, the servant ran, and
knocking at the door, told the abbess. She, opening the monastery door,
went out herself with one of the nuns to the men’s apartment, and calling
a priest, desired that he would go with her to the sufferer. Being come
thither, and seeing many present, who had not been able, by their efforts,
to hold the tormented person and restrain his convulsive movements, the
priest used exorcisms, and did all that he could to assuage the madness of
the unfortunate man, but, though he took much pains, he could not prevail.
When no hope appeared of easing him in his ravings, the abbess bethought
herself of the dust, and immediately bade her handmaiden go and fetch her
the casket in which it was. As soon as she came with it, as she had been
bidden, and was entering the hall of the house, in the inner part whereof
the possessed person was writhing in torment, he suddenly became silent,
and laid down his head, as if he had been falling asleep, stretching out
all his limbs to rest. "Silence fell upon all and intent they gazed,"(348)
anxiously waiting to see the end of the matter. And after about the space
of an hour the man that had been tormented sat up, and fetching a deep
sigh, said, "Now I am whole, for I am restored to my senses." They
earnestly inquired how that came to pass, and he answered, "As soon as
that maiden drew near the hall of this house, with the casket she brought,
all the evil spirits that vexed me departed and left me, and were no more
to be seen." Then the abbess gave him a little of that dust, and the
priest having prayed, he passed that night in great peace; nor was he,
from that time forward, alarmed by night, or in any way troubled by his
old enemy.

Chap. XII. How a little boy was cured of a fever at his tomb.

Some time after, there was a certain little boy in the said monastery, who
had been long grievously troubled with a fever; he was one day anxiously
expecting the hour when his fit was to come on, when one of the brothers,
coming in to him, said, "Shall I tell you, my son, how you may be cured of
this sickness? Rise, enter the church, and go close to Oswald’s tomb; sit
down and stay there quiet and do not leave it; do not come away, or stir
from the place, till the time is past, when the fever leaves you: then I
will go in and fetch you away." The boy did as he was advised, and the
disease durst not assail him as he sat by the saint’s tomb; but fled in
such fear that it did not dare to touch him, either the second or third
day, or ever after. The brother that came from thence, and told me this,
added, that at the time when he was talking with me, the young man was
then still living in the monastery, on whom, when a boy, that miracle of
healing had been wrought. Nor need we wonder that the prayers of that king
who is now reigning with our Lord, should be very efficacious with Him,
since he, whilst yet governing his temporal kingdom, was always wont to
pray and labour more for that which is eternal. Nay, it is said, that he
often continued in prayer from the hour of morning thanksgiving(349) till
it was day; and that by reason of his constant custom of praying or giving
thanks to God, he was wont always, wherever he sat, to hold his hands on
his knees with the palms turned upwards. It is also commonly affirmed and
has passed into a proverb, that he ended his life in prayer; for when he
was beset with the weapons of his enemies, and perceived that death was at
hand, he prayed for the souls of his army. Whence it is proverbially said,
" ‘Lord have mercy on their souls,’ said Oswald, as he fell to the

Now his bones were translated to the monastery which we have mentioned,
and buried therein: but the king who slew him commanded his head, and
hands, with the arms, to be cut off from the body, and set upon stakes.
But his successor in the throne, Oswy, coming thither the next year with
his army, took them down, and buried his head in the cemetery of the
church of Lindisfarne,(350) and the hands and arms in his royal city.(351)

Chap. XIII. How a certain person in Ireland was restored, when at the
point of death, by his relics.

Nor was the fame of the renowned Oswald confined to Britain, but,
spreading rays of healing light even beyond the sea, reached also to
Germany and Ireland. For the most reverend prelate, Acca,(352) is wont to
relate, that when, in his journey to Rome,(353) he and his bishop Wilfrid
stayed some time with Wilbrord,(354) the holy archbishop of the Frisians,
he often heard him tell of the wonders which had been wrought in that
province at the relics of that most worshipful king. And he used to say
that in Ireland, when, being yet only a priest, he led the life of a
stranger and pilgrim for love of the eternal country, the fame of that
king’s sanctity was already spread far and near in that island also. One
of the miracles, among the rest, which he related, we have thought fit to
insert in this our history.

"At the time," said he, "of the plague which made such widespread havoc in
Britain and Ireland, among others, a certain scholar of the Scottish race
was smitten with the disease, a man learned in the study of letters, but
in no way careful or studious of his eternal salvation; who, seeing his
death near at hand, began to fear and tremble lest, as soon as he was
dead, he should be hurried away to the prison-house of Hell for his sins.
He called me, for I was near, and trembling and sighing in his weakness,
with a lamentable voice made his complaint to me, after this manner: ‘You
see that my bodily distress increases, and that I am now reduced to the
point of death. Nor do I question but that after the death of my body, I
shall be immediately snatched away to the everlasting death of my soul,
and cast into the torments of hell, since for a long time, amidst all my
reading of divine books, I have suffered myself to be ensnared by sin,
instead of keeping the commandments of God. But it is my resolve, if the
Divine Mercy shall grant me a new term of life, to correct my sinful
habits, and wholly to devote anew my mind and life to obedience to the
Divine will. But I know that I have no merits of my own whereby to obtain
a prolongation of life, nor can I hope to have it, unless it shall please
God to forgive me, wretched and unworthy of pardon as I am, through the
help of those who have faithfully served him. We have heard, and the
report is widespread, that there was in your nation a king, of wonderful
sanctity, called Oswald, the excellency of whose faith and virtue has been
made famous even after his death by the working of many miracles. I
beseech you, if you have any relics of his in your keeping, that you will
bring them to me; if haply the Lord shall be pleased, through his merits,
to have mercy on me.’ I answered, ‘I have indeed a part of the stake on
which his head was set up by the pagans, when he was killed, and if you
believe with steadfast heart, the Divine mercy may, through the merits of
so great a man, both grant you a longer term of life here, and render you
worthy to be admitted into eternal life.’ He answered immediately that he
had entire faith therein. Then I blessed some water, and put into it a
splinter of the aforesaid oak, and gave it to the sick man to drink. He
presently found ease, and, recovering of his sickness, lived a long time
after; and, being entirely converted to God in heart and deed, wherever he
went, he spoke of the goodness of his merciful Creator, and the honour of
His faithful servant."

Chap. XIV. How on the death of Paulinus, Ithamar was made bishop of
Rochester in his stead; and of the wonderful humility of King Oswin, who
was cruelly slain by Oswy. [644-651 A.D.]

Oswald being translated to the heavenly kingdom, his brother Oswy,(355) a
young man of about thirty years of age, succeeded him on the throne of his
earthly kingdom, and held it twenty-eight years with much trouble, being
attacked by the pagan nation of the Mercians, that had slain his brother,
as also by his son Alchfrid,(356) and by his nephew Oidilwald,(357) the
son of his brother who reigned before him. In his second year, that is, in
the year of our Lord 644, the most reverend Father Paulinus, formerly
Bishop of York, but at that time Bishop of the city of Rochester, departed
to the Lord, on the 10th day of October, having held the office of a
bishop nineteen years, two months, and twenty-one days; and was buried in
the sacristy of the blessed Apostle Andrew,(358) which King Ethelbert had
built from the foundation, in the same city of Rochester. In his place,
Archbishop Honorius ordained Ithamar,(359) of the Kentish nation, but not
inferior to his predecessors in learning and conduct of life.

Oswy, during the first part of his reign, had a partner in the royal
dignity called Oswin, of the race of King Edwin, and son to Osric(360) of
whom we have spoken above, a man of wonderful piety and devotion, who
governed the province of the Deiri seven years in very great prosperity,
and was himself beloved by all men. But Oswy, who governed all the other
northern part of the nation beyond the Humber, that is, the province of
the Bernicians, could not live at peace with him; and at last, when the
causes of their disagreement increased, he murdered him most cruelly. For
when each had raised an army against the other, Oswin perceived that he
could not maintain a war against his enemy who had more auxiliaries than
himself, and he thought it better at that time to lay aside all thoughts
of engaging, and to reserve himself for better times. He therefore
disbanded the army which he had assembled, and ordered all his men to
return to their own homes, from the place that is called
Wilfaraesdun,(361) that is, Wilfar’s Hill, which is about ten miles
distant from the village called Cataract, towards the north-west. He
himself, with only one trusty thegn, whose name was Tondhere, withdrew and
lay concealed in the house of Hunwald, a noble,(362) whom he imagined to
be his most assured friend. But, alas! it was far otherwise; for Hunwald
betrayed him, and Oswy, by the hands of his reeve, Ethilwin, foully slew
him and the thegn aforesaid. This happened on the 20th of August, in the
ninth year of his reign, at a place called Ingetlingum, where afterwards,
to atone for this crime, a monastery was built,(363) wherein prayers
should be daily offered up to God for the redemption of the souls of both
kings, to wit, of him that was murdered, and of him that commanded the

King Oswin was of a goodly countenance, and tall of stature, pleasant in
discourse, and courteous in behaviour; and bountiful to all, gentle and
simple alike; so that he was beloved by all men for the royal dignity of
his mind and appearance and actions, and men of the highest rank came from
almost all provinces to serve him. Among all the graces of virtue and
moderation by which he was distinguished and, if I may say so, blessed in
a special manner, humility is said to have been the greatest, which it
will suffice to prove by one instance.

He had given a beautiful horse to Bishop Aidan, to use either in crossing
rivers, or in performing a journey upon any urgent necessity, though the
Bishop was wont to travel ordinarily on foot. Some short time after, a
poor man meeting the Bishop, and asking alms, he immediately dismounted,
and ordered the horse, with all his royal trappings, to be given to the
beggar; for he was very compassionate, a great friend to the poor, and, in
a manner, the father of the wretched. This being told to the king, when
they were going in to dinner, he said to the Bishop, "What did you mean,
my lord Bishop, by giving the poor man that royal horse, which it was
fitting that you should have for your own use? Had not we many other
horses of less value, or things of other sorts, which would have been good
enough to give to the poor, instead of giving that horse, which I had
chosen and set apart for your own use?" Thereupon the Bishop answered,
"What do you say, O king? Is that son of a mare more dear to you than that
son of God?" Upon this they went in to dinner, and the Bishop sat in his
place; but the king, who had come in from hunting, stood warming himself,
with his attendants, at the fire. Then, on a sudden, whilst he was warming
himself, calling to mind what the bishop had said to him, he ungirt his
sword, and gave it to a servant, and hastened to the Bishop and fell down
at his feet, beseeching him to forgive him; "For from this time forward,"
said he, "I will never speak any more of this, nor will I judge of what or
how much of our money you shall give to the sons of God." The bishop was
much moved at this sight, and starting up, raised him, saying that he was
entirely reconciled to him, if he would but sit down to his meat, and lay
aside all sorrow. The king, at the bishop’s command and request, was
comforted, but the bishop, on the other hand, grew sad and was moved even
to tears. His priest then asking him, in the language of his country,
which the king and his servants did not understand, why he wept, "I know,"
said he, "that the king will not live long; for I never before saw a
humble king; whence I perceive that he will soon be snatched out of this
life, because this nation is not worthy of such a ruler." Not long after,
the bishop’s gloomy foreboding was fulfilled by the king’s sad death, as
has been said above. But Bishop Aidan himself was also taken out of this
world, not more than twelve days after the death of the king he loved, on
the 31st of August,(364) to receive the eternal reward of his labours from
the Lord.

Chap. XV. How Bishop Aidan foretold to certain seamen that a storm would
arise, and gave them some holy oil to calm it. [Between 642 and 645 A.D.]

How great the merits of Aidan were, was made manifest by the Judge of the
heart, with the testimony of miracles, whereof it will suffice to mention
three, that they may not be forgotten. A certain priest, whose name was
Utta,(365) a man of great weight and sincerity, and on that account
honoured by all men, even the princes of the world, was sent to Kent, to
bring thence, as wife for King Oswy, Eanfled,(366) the daughter of King
Edwin, who had been carried thither when her father was killed. Intending
to go thither by land, but to return with the maiden by sea, he went to
Bishop Aidan, and entreated him to offer up his prayers to the Lord for
him and his company, who were then to set out on so long a journey. He,
blessing them, and commending them to the Lord, at the same time gave them
some holy oil, saying, "I know that when you go on board ship, you will
meet with a storm and contrary wind; but be mindful to cast this oil I
give you into the sea, and the wind will cease immediately; you will have
pleasant calm weather to attend you and send you home by the way that you

All these things fell out in order, even as the bishop had foretold. For
first, the waves of the sea raged, and the sailors endeavoured to ride it
out at anchor, but all to no purpose; for the sea sweeping over the ship
on all sides and beginning to fill it with water, they all perceived that
death was at hand and about to overtake them. The priest at last,
remembering the bishop’s words, laid hold of the phial and cast some of
the oil into the sea, which at once, as had been foretold, ceased from its
uproar. Thus it came to pass that the man of God, by the spirit of
prophecy, foretold the storm that was to come to pass, and by virtue of
the same spirit, though absent in the body, calmed it when it had arisen.
The story of this miracle was not told me by a person of little credit,
but by Cynimund, a most faithful priest of our church,(367) who declared
that it was related to him by Utta, the priest, in whose case and through
whom the same was wrought.

Chap. XVI. How the same Aidan, by his prayers, saved the royal city when
it was fired by the enemy [Before 651 A.D.]

Another notable miracle of the same father is related by many such as were
likely to have knowledge thereof; for during the time that he was bishop,
the hostile army of the Mercians, under the command of Penda, cruelly
ravaged the country of the Northumbrians far and near, even to the royal
city,(368) which has its name from Bebba, formerly its queen. Not being
able to take it by storm or by siege, he endeavoured to burn it down; and
having pulled down all the villages in the neighbourhood of the city, he
brought thither an immense quantity of beams, rafters, partitions, wattles
and thatch, wherewith he encompassed the place to a great height on the
land side, and when he found the wind favourable, he set fire to it and
attempted to burn the town.

At that time, the most reverend Bishop Aidan was dwelling in the Isle of
Farne,(369) which is about two miles from the city; for thither he was
wont often to retire to pray in solitude and silence; and, indeed, this
lonely dwelling of his is to this day shown in that island. When he saw
the flames of fire and the smoke carried by the wind rising above the city
walls, he is said to have lifted up his eyes and hands to heaven, and
cried with tears, "Behold, Lord, how great evil is wrought by Penda!"
These words were hardly uttered, when the wind immediately veering from
the city, drove back the flames upon those who had kindled them, so that
some being hurt, and all afraid, they forebore any further attempts
against the city, which they perceived to be protected by the hand of God.

Chap. XVII. How a prop of the church on which Bishop Aidan was leaning
when he died, could not be consumed when the rest of the Church was on
fire; and concerning his inward life. [651 A.D.]

Aidan was in the king’s township, not far from the city of which we have
spoken above, at the time when death caused him to quit the body, after he
had been bishop sixteen(370) years; for having a church and a chamber in
that place, he was wont often to go and stay there, and to make excursions
from it to preach in the country round about, which he likewise did at
other of the king’s townships, having nothing of his own besides his
church and a few fields about it. When he was sick they set up a tent for
him against the wall at the west end of the church, and so it happened
that he breathed his last, leaning against a buttress that was on the
outside of the church to strengthen the wall. He died in the seventeenth
year of his episcopate, on the 31st of August.(371) His body was thence
presently translated to the isle of Lindisfarne, and buried in the
cemetery of the brethren. Some time after, when a larger church was built
there and dedicated in honour of the blessed prince of the Apostles, his
bones were translated thither, and laid on the right side of the altar,
with the respect due to so great a prelate.

Finan,(372) who had likewise been sent thither from Hii, the island
monastery of the Scots, succeeded him, and continued no small time in the
bishopric. It happened some years after, that Penda, king of the Mercians,
coming into these parts with a hostile army, destroyed all he could with
fire and sword, and the village where the bishop died, along with the
church above mentioned, was burnt down; but it fell out in a wonderful
manner that the buttress against which he had been leaning when he died,
could not be consumed by the fire which devoured all about it. This
miracle being noised abroad, the church was soon rebuilt in the same
place, and that same buttress was set up on the outside, as it had been
before, to strengthen the wall. It happened again, some time after, that
the village and likewise the church were carelessly burned down the second
time. Then again, the fire could not touch the buttress; and,
miraculously, though the fire broke through the very holes of the nails
wherewith it was fixed to the building, yet it could do no hurt to the
buttress itself. When therefore the church was built there the third time,
they did not, as before, place that buttress on the outside as a support
of the building, but within the church, as a memorial of the miracle;
where the people coming in might kneel, and implore the Divine mercy. And
it is well known that since then many have found grace and been healed in
that same place, as also that by means of splinters cut off from the
buttress, and put into water, many more have obtained a remedy for their
own infirmities and those of their friends.(373)

I have written thus much concerning the character and works of the
aforesaid Aidan, in no way commending or approving his lack of wisdom with
regard to the observance of Easter; nay, heartily detesting it, as I have
most manifestly proved in the book I have written, "De Temporibus";(374)
but, like an impartial historian, unreservedly relating what was done by
or through him, and commending such things as are praiseworthy in his
actions, and preserving the memory thereof for the benefit of the readers;
to wit, his love of peace and charity; of continence and humility; his
mind superior to anger and avarice, and despising pride and vainglory; his
industry in keeping and teaching the Divine commandments, his power of
study and keeping vigil; his priestly authority in reproving the haughty
and powerful, and at the same time his tenderness in comforting the
afflicted, and relieving or defending the poor. To be brief, so far as I
have learnt from those that knew him, he took care to neglect none of
those things which he found in the Gospels and the writings of Apostles
and prophets, but to the utmost of his power endeavoured to fulfil them
all in his deeds.

These things I greatly admire and love in the aforesaid bishop, because I
do not doubt that they were pleasing to God; but I do not approve or
praise his observance of Easter at the wrong time, either through
ignorance of the canonical time appointed, or, if he knew it, being
prevailed on by the authority of his nation not to adopt it.(375) Yet this
I approve in him, that in the celebration of his Easter, the object which
he had at heart and reverenced and preached was the same as ours, to wit,
the redemption of mankind, through the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension
into Heaven of the Man Christ Jesus, who is the mediator between God and
man. And therefore he always celebrated Easter, not as some falsely
imagine, on the fourteenth of the moon, like the Jews, on any day of the
week, but on the Lord’s day, from the fourteenth to the twentieth of the
moon; and this he did from his belief that the Resurrection of our Lord
happened on the first day of the week, and for the hope of our
resurrection, which also he, with the holy Church, believed would truly
happen on that same first day of the week, now called the Lord’s day.

Chap. XVIII. Of the life and death of the religious King Sigbert. [_Circ._
631 A.D.]

At this time, the kingdom of the East Angles, after the death of Earpwald,
the successor of Redwald, was governed by his brother Sigbert,(376) a good
and religious man, who some time before had been baptized in Gaul, whilst
he lived in banishment, a fugitive from the enmity of Redwald. When he
returned home, as soon as he ascended the throne, being desirous to
imitate the good institutions which he had seen in Gaul, he founded a
school wherein boys should be taught letters, and was assisted therein by
Bishop Felix, who came to him from Kent, and who furnished them with
masters and teachers after the manner of the people of Kent.(377)

This king became so great a lover of the heavenly kingdom, that at last,
quitting the affairs of his kingdom, and committing them to his kinsman
Ecgric, who before had a share in that kingdom, he entered a monastery,
which he had built for himself, and having received the tonsure, applied
himself rather to do battle for a heavenly throne. A long time after this,
it happened that the nation of the Mercians, under King Penda, made war on
the East Angles; who finding themselves no match for their enemy,
entreated Sigbert to go with them to battle, to encourage the soldiers. He
was unwilling and refused, upon which they drew him against his will out
of the monastery, and carried him to the army, hoping that the soldiers
would be less afraid and less disposed to flee in the presence of one who
had formerly been an active and distinguished commander. But he, still
mindful of his profession, surrounded, as he was, by a royal army, would
carry nothing in his hand but a wand, and was killed with King Ecgric; and
the pagans pressing on, all their army was either slaughtered or

They were succeeded in the kingdom by Anna,(378) the son of Eni, of the
blood royal, a good man, and the father of good children, of whom, in the
proper place, we shall speak hereafter. He also was afterwards slain like
his predecessors by the same pagan chief of the Mercians.

Chap. XIX. How Fursa built a monastery among the East Angles, and of his
visions and sanctity, to which, his flesh remaining uncorrupted after
death bore testimony. [_Circ._ 633 A.D.]

Whilst Sigbert still governed the kingdom, there came out of Ireland a
holy man called Fursa,(379) renowned both for his words and actions, and
remarkable for singular virtues, being desirous to live as a stranger and
pilgrim for the Lord’s sake, wherever an opportunity should offer. On
coming into the province of the East Angles, he was honourably received by
the aforesaid king, and performing his wonted task of preaching the
Gospel, by the example of his virtue and the influence of his words,
converted many unbelievers to Christ, and confirmed in the faith and love
of Christ those that already believed.

Here he fell into some infirmity of body, and was thought worthy to see a
vision of angels; in which he was admonished diligently to persevere in
the ministry of the Word which he had undertaken, and indefatigably to
apply himself to his usual watching and prayers; inasmuch as his end was
certain, but the hour thereof uncertain, according to the saying of our
Lord, "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour."(380)
Being confirmed by this vision, he set himself with all speed to build a
monastery on the ground which had been given him by King Sigbert, and to
establish a rule of life therein. This monastery was pleasantly situated
in the woods, near the sea; it was built within the area of a fort, which
in the English language is called Cnobheresburg, that is, Cnobhere’s
Town;(381) afterwards, Anna, king of that province, and certain of the
nobles, embellished it with more stately buildings and with gifts.

This man was of noble Scottish(382) blood, but much more noble in mind
than in birth. From his boyish years, he had earnestly applied himself to
reading sacred books and observing monastic discipline, and, as is most
fitting for holy men, he carefully practised all that he learned to be

Now, in course of time he himself built a monastery,(383) wherein he might
with more freedom devote himself to his heavenly studies. There, falling
sick, as the book concerning his life clearly informs us, he fell into a
trance, and quitting his body from the evening till cockcrow, he was
accounted worthy to behold the sight of the choirs of angels, and to hear
their glad songs of praise. He was wont to declare, that among other
things he distinctly heard this refrain: "The saints shall go from
strength to strength."(384) And again, "The God of gods shall be seen in
Sion."(385) Being restored to his body, and again taken from it three days
after, he not only saw the greater joys of the blessed, but also fierce
conflicts of evil spirits, who by frequent accusations wickedly
endeavoured to obstruct his journey to heaven; but the angels protected
him, and all their endeavours were in vain. Concerning all these matters,
if any one desires to be more fully informed, to wit, with what subtlety
of deceit the devils recounted both his actions and idle words, and even
his thoughts, as if they had been written down in a book; and what joyous
or grievous tidings he learned from the holy angels and just men who
appeared to him among the angels; let him read the little book of his life
which I have mentioned, and I doubt not that he will thereby reap much
spiritual profit.

But there is one thing among the rest, which we have thought it may be
beneficial to many to insert in this history. When he had been taken up on
high, he was bidden by the angels that conducted him to look back upon the
world. Upon which, casting his eyes downward, he saw, as it were, a dark
valley in the depths underneath him. He also saw four fires in the air,
not far distant from each other. Then asking the angels, what fires those
were, he was told, they were the fires which would kindle and consume the
world. One of them was of falsehood, when we do not fulfil that which we
promised in Baptism, to renounce the Devil and all his works. The next was
of covetousness, when we prefer the riches of the world to the love of
heavenly things. The third was of discord, when we do not fear to offend
our neighbour even in needless things. The fourth was of ruthlessness when
we think it a light thing to rob and to defraud the weak. These fires,
increasing by degrees, extended so as to meet one another, and united in
one immense flame. When it drew near, fearing for himself, he said to the
angel, "Lord, behold the fire draws near to me." The angel answered, "That
which you did not kindle will not burn you; for though this appears to be
a terrible and great pyre, yet it tries every man according to the merits
of his works; for every man’s concupiscence shall burn in this fire; for
as a man burns in the body through unlawful pleasure, so, when set free
from the body, he shall burn by the punishment which he has deserved."

Then he saw one of the three angels, who had been his guides throughout
both visions, go before and divide the flaming fires, whilst the other
two, flying about on both sides, defended him from the danger of the fire.
He also saw devils flying through the fire, raising the flames of war
against the just. Then followed accusations of the envious spirits against
himself, the defence of the good spirits, and a fuller vision of the
heavenly hosts; as also of holy men of his own nation, who, as he had
learnt, had worthily held the office of priesthood in old times, and who
were known to fame; from whom he heard many things very salutary to
himself, and to all others that would listen to them. When they had ended
their discourse, and returned to Heaven with the angelic spirits, there
remained with the blessed Fursa, the three angels of whom we have spoken
before, and who were to bring him back to the body. And when they
approached the aforesaid great fire, the angel divided the flame, as he
had done before; but when the man of God came to the passage so opened
amidst the flames, the unclean spirits, laying hold of one of those whom
they were burning in the fire, cast him against him, and, touching his
shoulder and jaw, scorched them. He knew the man, and called to mind that
he had received his garment when he died. The holy angel, immediately
laying hold of the man, threw him back into the fire, and the malignant
enemy said, "Do not reject him whom you before received; for as you
received the goods of the sinner, so you ought to share in his
punishment." But the angel withstood him, saying, "He did not receive them
through avarice, but in order to save his soul." The fire ceased, and the
angel, turning to him, said, "That which you kindled burned you; for if
you had not received the money of this man that died in his sins, his
punishment would not burn you." And he went on to speak with wholesome
counsel of what ought to be done for the salvation of such as repented in
the hour of death.

Being afterwards restored to the body, throughout the whole course of his
life he bore the mark of the fire which he had felt in the spirit, visible
to all men on his shoulder and jaw; and the flesh openly showed, in a
wonderful manner, what the spirit had suffered in secret. He always took
care, as he had done before, to teach all men the practice of virtue, as
well by his example, as by preaching. But as for the story of his visions,
he would only relate them to those who, from desire of repentance,
questioned him about them. An aged brother of our monastery is still
living, who is wont to relate that a very truthful and religious man told
him, that he had seen Fursa himself in the province of the East Angles,
and heard those visions from his lips; adding, that though it was in
severe winter weather and a hard frost, and the man was sitting in a thin
garment when he told the story, yet he sweated as if it had been in the
heat of mid-summer, by reason of the great terror or joy of which he

To return to what we were saying before, when, after preaching the Word of
God many years in Scotland,(386) he could not well endure the disturbance
of the crowds that resorted to him, leaving all that he looked upon as his
own, he departed from his native island, and came with a few brothers
through the Britons into the province of the English, and preaching the
Word there, as has been said, built a famous monastery.(387) When this was
duly carried out, he became desirous to rid himself of all business of
this world, and even of the monastery itself, and forthwith left the care
of it and of its souls, to his brother Fullan, and the priests Gobban and
Dicull,(388) and being himself free from all worldly affairs, resolved to
end his life as a hermit. He had another brother called Ultan, who, after
a long monastic probation, had also adopted the life of an anchorite. So,
seeking him out alone, he lived a whole year with him in self-denial and
prayer, and laboured daily with his hands.

Afterwards seeing the province thrown into confusion by the irruptions of
the pagans,(389) and foreseeing that the monasteries would also be in
danger, he left all things in order, and sailed over into Gaul, and being
there honourably entertained by Clovis, king of the Franks,(390) or by the
patrician Ercinwald, he built a monastery in the place called
Latineacum,(391) and falling sick not long after, departed this life. The
same Ercinwald, the patrician, took his body, and kept it in the porch of
a church he was building in his town of Perrona,(392) till the church
itself should be dedicated. This happened twenty-seven days after, and the
body being taken from the porch, to be re-buried near the altar, was found
as whole as if he had died that very hour. And again, four years after,
when a more beautiful shrine had been built to receive his body to the
east of the altar, it was still found without taint of corruption, and was
translated thither with due honour; where it is well known that his
merits, through the divine operation, have been declared by many miracles.
We have briefly touched upon these matters as well as the incorruption of
his body, that the lofty nature of the man may be better known to our
readers. All which, as also concerning the comrades of his warfare,
whosoever will read it, will find more fully described in the book of his

Chap. XX. How, when Honorius died, Deusdedit became Archbishop of
Canterbury; and of those who were at that time bishops of the East Angles,
and of the church of Rochester. [653 A.D.]

In the meantime, Felix, bishop of the East Angles, dying, when he had held
that see seventeen years,(393) Honorius ordained Thomas his deacon, of the
province of the Gyrwas,(394) in his place; and he being taken from this
life when he had been bishop five years, Bertgils, surnamed Boniface,(395)
of the province of Kent, was appointed in his stead. Honorius(396) himself
also, having run his course, departed this life in the year of our Lord
653, on the 30th of September; and when the see had been vacant a year and
six months, Deusdedit(397) of the nation of the West Saxons, was chosen
the sixth Archbishop of Canterbury. To ordain him, Ithamar,(398) bishop of
Rochester, came thither. His ordination was on the 26th of March, and he
ruled the church nine years, four months, and two days; and when Ithamar
died, he consecrated in his place Damian,(399) who was of the race of the
South Saxons.

Chap. XXI. How the province of the Midland Angles became Christian under
King Peada. [653 A.D.]

At this time, the Middle Angles, that is, the Angles of the Midland
country,(400) under their Prince Peada, the son of King Penda, received
the faith and mysteries of the truth. Being an excellent youth, and most
worthy of the name and office of a king, he was by his father elevated to
the throne of that nation, and came to Oswy, king of the Northumbrians,
requesting to have his daughter Alchfled(401) given him to wife; but he
could not obtain his desire unless he would receive the faith of Christ,
and be baptized, with the nation which he governed. When he heard the
preaching of the truth, the promise of the heavenly kingdom, and the hope
of resurrection and future immortality, he declared that he would
willingly become a Christian, even though he should not obtain the maiden;
being chiefly prevailed on to receive the faith by King Oswy’s son
Alchfrid,(402) who was his brother-in-law and friend, for he had married
his sister Cyneburg,(403) the daughter of King Penda.

Accordingly he was baptized by Bishop Finan, with all his nobles and
thegns,(404) and their servants, that came along with him, at a noted
township, belonging to the king, called At the Wall.(405) And having
received four priests, who by reason of their learning and good life were
deemed proper to instruct and baptize his nation, he returned home with
much joy. These priests were Cedd and Adda, and Betti and Diuma;(406) the
last of whom was by nation a Scot, the others English. Adda was brother to
Utta, whom we have mentioned before,(407) a renowned priest, and abbot of
the monastery which is called At the Goat’s Head.(408) The aforesaid
priests, arriving in the province with the prince, preached the Word, and
were heard willingly; and many, as well of the nobility as the common
sort, renouncing the abominations of idolatry, were daily washed in the
fountain of the faith.

Nor did King Penda forbid the preaching of the Word even among his people,
the Mercians, if any were willing to hear it; but, on the contrary, he
hated and despised those whom he perceived to be without the works of
faith, when they had once received the faith of Christ, saying, that they
were contemptible and wretched who scorned to obey their God, in whom they
believed. These things were set on foot two years before the death of King

But when he was slain, and the most Christian king, Oswy, succeeded him in
the throne, as we shall hereafter relate, Diuma,(409) one of the aforesaid
four priests, was made bishop of the Midland Angles, as also of the
Mercians, being ordained by Bishop Finan; for the scarcity of priests made
it necessary that one prelate should be set over two nations. Having in a
short time gained many people to the Lord, he died among the Midland
Angles, in the country called Infeppingum;(410) and Ceollach, also of the
Scottish nation, succeeded him in the bishopric. But he, not long after,
left his bishopric, and returned to the island of Hii,(411) which, among
the Scots, was the chief and head of many monasteries. His successor in
the bishopric was Trumhere,(412) a godly man, and trained in the monastic
life, an Englishman, but ordained bishop by the Scots. This happened in
the days of King Wulfhere, of whom we shall speak hereafter.

Chap. XXII. How under King Sigbert, through the preaching of Cedd, the
East Saxons again received the faith, which they had before cast off. [653

At that time, also, the East Saxons, at the instance of King Oswy, again
received the faith, which they had formerly cast off when they expelled
Mellitus, their bishop.(413) For Sigbert,(414) who reigned next to Sigbert
surnamed The Little, was then king of that nation, and a friend to King
Oswy, who, when Sigbert came to the province of the Northumbrians to visit
him, as he often did, used to endeavour to convince him that those could
not be gods that had been made by the hands of men; that a stock or a
stone could not be proper matter to form a god, the residue whereof was
either burned in the fire, or framed into any vessels for the use of men,
or else was cast out as refuse, trampled on and turned into dust. That God
is rather to be understood as incomprehensible in majesty and invisible to
human eyes, almighty, eternal, the Creator of heaven and earth and of
mankind; Who governs and will judge the world in righteousness, Whose
eternal abode must be believed to be in Heaven, and not in base and
perishable metal; and that it ought in reason to be concluded, that all
those who learn and do the will of Him by Whom they were created, will
receive from Him eternal rewards. King Oswy having often, with friendly
counsel, like a brother, said this and much more to the like effect to
King Sigbert, at length, aided by the consent of his friends, he believed,
and after he had consulted with those about him, and exhorted them, when
they all agreed and assented to the faith, he was baptized with them by
Bishop Finan, in the king’s township above spoken of, which is called At
the Wall,(415) because it is close by the wall which the Romans formerly
drew across the island of Britain, at the distance of twelve miles from
the eastern sea.

King Sigbert, having now become a citizen of the eternal kingdom, returned
to the seat of his temporal kingdom, requesting of King Oswy that he would
give him some teachers, to convert his nation to the faith of Christ, and
cleanse them in the fountain of salvation. Wherefore Oswy, sending into
the province of the Midland Angles, summoned the man of God, Cedd,(416)
and, giving him another priest for his companion, sent them to preach the
Word to the East Saxons. When these two, travelling to all parts of that
country, had gathered a numerous Church to the Lord, it happened once that
Cedd returned home, and came to the church of Lindisfarne to confer with
Bishop Finan; who, finding that the work of the Gospel had prospered in
his hands, made him bishop of the nation of the East Saxons, calling to
him two other bishops(417) to assist at the ordination. Cedd, having
received the episcopal dignity, returned to his province, and pursuing the
work he had begun with more ample authority, built churches in divers
places, and ordained priests and deacons to assist him in the Word of
faith, and the ministry of Baptism,(418) especially in the city which, in
the language of the Saxons, is called Ythancaestir,(419) as also in that
which is named Tilaburg.(420) The first of these places is on the bank of
the Pant, the other on the bank of the Thames. In these, gathering a flock
of Christ’s servants, he taught them to observe the discipline of a rule
of life, as far as those rude people were then capable of receiving it.

Whilst the teaching of the everlasting life was thus, for no small time,
making daily increase in that province to the joy of the king and of all
the people, it happened that the king, at the instigation of the enemy of
all good men, was murdered by his own kindred. They were two brothers who
did this wicked deed; and being asked what had moved them to it, they had
nothing else to answer, but that they had been incensed against the king,
and hated him, because he was too apt to spare his enemies, and calmly
forgave the wrongs they had done him, upon their entreaty. Such was the
crime for which the king was killed, because he observed the precepts of
the Gospel with a devout heart; but in this innocent death his real
offence was also punished, according to the prediction of the man of God.
For one of those nobles(421) that murdered him was unlawfully married, and
when the bishop was not able to prevent or correct the sin, he
excommunicated him, and commanded all that would give ear to him not to
enter this man’s house, nor to eat of his meat. But the king made light of
this command, and being invited by the noble, went to a banquet at his
house. As he was going thence, the bishop met him. The king, beholding
him, immediately dismounted from his horse, trembling, and fell down at
his feet, begging pardon for his offence; for the bishop, who was likewise
on horseback, had also alighted. Being much incensed, he touched the
prostrate king with the rod he held in his hand, and spoke thus with the
authority of his office: "I tell thee, forasmuch as thou wouldest not
refrain from the house of that sinful and condemned man, thou shalt die in
that very house." Yet it is to be believed, that such a death of a
religious man not only blotted out his offence, but even added to his
merit; because it happened on account of his piety and his observance of
the commands of Christ.

Sigbert was succeeded in the kingdom by Suidhelm,(422) the son of Sexbald,
who was baptized by the same Cedd, in the province of the East Angles, in
the royal township, called Rendlaesham,(423) that is, Rendil’s Dwelling;
and Ethelwald,(424) king of the East Angles, brother to Anna, king of the
same people, received him as he came forth from the holy font.

Chap. XXIII. How Bishop Cedd, having a place for building a monastery
given him by King Ethelwald, consecrated it to the Lord with prayer and
fasting; and concerning his death. [659-664 A.D.]

The same man of God, whilst he was bishop among the East Saxons, was also
wont oftentimes to visit his own province, Northumbria, for the purpose of
exhortation. Oidilwald,(425) the son of King Oswald, who reigned among the
Deiri, finding him a holy, wise, and good man, desired him to accept some
land whereon to build a monastery, to which the king himself might
frequently resort, to pray to the Lord and hear the Word, and where he
might be buried when he died; for he believed faithfully that he should
receive much benefit from the daily prayers of those who were to serve the
Lord in that place. The king had before with him a brother of the same
bishop, called Caelin, a man no less devoted to God, who, being a priest,
was wont to administer to him and his house the Word and the Sacraments of
the faith; by whose means he chiefly came to know and love the bishop. So
then, complying with the king’s desires, the Bishop chose himself a place
whereon to build a monastery among steep and distant mountains, which
looked more like lurking-places for robbers and dens of wild beasts, than
dwellings of men; to the end that, according to the prophecy of Isaiah,
"In the habitation of dragons, where each lay, might be grass with reeds
and rushes;"(426) that is, that the fruits of good works should spring up,
where before beasts were wont to dwell, or men to live after the manner of

But the man of God, desiring first to cleanse the place which he had
received for the monastery from stain of former crimes, by prayer and
fasting, and so to lay the foundations there, requested of the king that
he would give him opportunity and leave to abide there for prayer all the
time of Lent, which was at hand. All which days, except Sundays, he
prolonged his fast till the evening, according to custom, and then took no
other sustenance than a small piece of bread, one hen’s egg, and a little
milk and water. This, he said, was the custom of those of whom he had
learned the rule of regular discipline, first to consecrate to the Lord,
by prayer and fasting, the places which they had newly received for
building a monastery or a church. When there were ten days of Lent still
remaining, there came a messenger to call him to the king; and he, that
the holy work might not be intermitted, on account of the king’s affairs,
entreated his priest, Cynibill, who was also his own brother, to complete
his pious undertaking. Cynibill readily consented, and when the duty of
fasting and prayer was over, he there built the monastery, which is now
called Laestingaeu,(427) and established therein religious customs
according to the use of Lindisfarne, where he had been trained.

When Cedd had for many years held the office of bishop in the aforesaid
province, and also taken charge of this monastery, over which he placed
provosts,(428) it happened that he came thither at a time when there was
plague, and fell sick and died. He was first buried without the walls; but
in the process of time a church was built of stone in the monastery, in
honour of the Blessed Mother of God, and his body was laid in it, on the
right side of the altar.

The bishop left the monastery to be governed after him by his brother
Ceadda,(429) who was afterwards made bishop, as shall be told hereafter.
For, as it rarely happens, the four brothers we have mentioned, Cedd and
Cynibill, and Caelin and Ceadda, were all celebrated priests of the Lord,
and two of them also came to be bishops. When the brethren who were in his
monastery, in the province of the East Saxons,(430) heard that the bishop
was dead and buried in the province of the Northumbrians, about thirty men
of that monastery came thither, being desirous either to live near the
body of their father, if it should please God, or to die and be buried
there. Being gladly received by their brethren and fellow soldiers in
Christ, all of them died there struck down by the aforesaid pestilence,
except one little boy, who is known to have been saved from death by the
prayers of his spiritual father. For being alive long after, and giving
himself to the reading of Scripture, he was told that he had not been
regenerated by the water of Baptism, and being then cleansed in the laver
of salvation, he was afterwards promoted to the order of priesthood, and
was of service to many in the church. I do not doubt that he was delivered
at the point of death, as I have said, by the intercession of his father,
to whose body he had come for love of him, that so he might himself avoid
eternal death, and by teaching, offer the ministry of life and salvation
to others of the brethren.

Chap. XXIV. How when King Penda was slain, the province of the Mercians
received the faith of Christ, and Oswy gave possessions and territories to
God, for building monasteries, as a thank offering for the victory
obtained. [655 A.D.]

At this time, King Oswy was exposed to the cruel and intolerable invasions
of Penda, king of the Mercians, whom we have so often mentioned, and who
had slain his brother;(431) at length, compelled by his necessity, he
promised to give him countless gifts and royal marks of honour greater
than can be believed, to purchase peace; provided that he would return
home, and cease to waste and utterly destroy the provinces of his kingdom.
The pagan king refused to grant his request, for he had resolved to blot
out and extirpate all his nation, from the highest to the lowest;
whereupon King Oswy had recourse to the protection of the Divine pity for
deliverance from his barbarous and pitiless foe, and binding himself by a
vow, said, "If the pagan will not accept our gifts, let us offer them to
Him that will, the Lord our God." He then vowed, that if he should win the
victory, he would dedicate his daughter to the Lord in holy virginity, and
give twelve pieces of land whereon to build monasteries. After this he
gave battle with a very small army: indeed, it is reported that the pagans
had thirty times the number of men; for they had thirty legions, drawn up
under most noted commanders.(432) King Oswy and his son Alchfrid met them
with a very small army, as has been said, but trusting in Christ as their
Leader; his other son, Egfrid,(433) was then kept as a hostage at the
court of Queen Cynwise,(434) in the province of the Mercians. King
Oswald’s son Oidilwald,(435) who ought to have supported them, was on the
enemy’s side, and led them on to fight against his country and his uncle;
though, during the battle, he withdrew, and awaited the event in a place
of safety. The engagement began, the pagans were put to flight or killed,
the thirty royal commanders, who had come to Penda’s assistance, were
almost all of them slain; among whom was Ethelhere,(436) brother and
successor to Anna, king of the East Angles. He had been the occasion of
the war, and was now killed, having lost his army and auxiliaries. The
battle was fought near the river Winwaed,(437) which then, owing to the
great rains, was in flood, and had overflowed its banks, so that many more
were drowned in the flight than destroyed in battle by the sword.

Then King Oswy, according to the vow he had made to the Lord, returned
thanks to God for the victory granted him, and gave his daughter
Elfled,(438) who was scarce a year old, to be consecrated to Him in
perpetual virginity; bestowing also twelve small estates of land, wherein
the practice of earthly warfare should cease, and place and means should
be afforded to devout and zealous monks to wage spiritual warfare, and
pray for the eternal peace of his nation. Of these estates six were in the
province of the Deiri, and the other six in that of the Bernicians. Each
of the estates contained ten families, that is, a hundred and twenty in
all. The aforesaid daughter of King Oswy, who was to be dedicated to God,
entered the monastery called Heruteu,(439) or, "The Island of the Hart,"
at that time ruled by the Abbess Hilda,(440) who, two years after, having
acquired an estate of ten families, at the place called
Streanaeshalch,(441) built a monastery there, in which the aforesaid
king’s daughter was first trained in the monastic life and afterwards
became abbess; till, at the age of fifty-nine, the blessed virgin departed
to be united to her Heavenly Bridegroom. In this monastery, she and her
father, Oswy, her mother, Eanfled, her mother’s father, Edwin,(442) and
many other noble persons, are buried in the church of the holy Apostle
Peter. King Oswy concluded this war in the district of Loidis, in the
thirteenth year of his reign, on the 15th of November,(443) to the great
benefit of both nations; for he delivered his own people from the hostile
depredations of the pagans, and, having made an end of their heathen
chief, converted the Mercians and the adjacent provinces to the grace of
the Christian faith.

Diuma was made the first bishop of the Mercians, as also of Lindsey and
the Midland Angles, as has been said above,(444) and he died and was
buried among the Midland Angles. The second was Ceollach,(445) who, giving
up his episcopal office before his death, returned into Scotland. Both
these bishops belonged to the nation of the Scots. The third was Trumhere,
an Englishman, but educated and ordained by the Scots. He was abbot of the
monastery that is called Ingetlingum,(446) and is the place where King
Oswin was killed, as has been said above; for Queen Eanfled, his
kinswoman, in expiation of his unjust death, begged of King Oswy that he
would give Trumhere, the aforesaid servant of God, a place there to build
a monastery, because he also was kinsman to the slaughtered king; in which
monastery continual prayers should be offered up for the eternal welfare
of the kings, both of him that was murdered, and of him that commanded the
murder. The same King Oswy governed the Mercians, as also the people of
the other southern provinces, three years after he had slain King Penda;
and he likewise subdued the greater part of the Picts to the dominion of
the English.

At this time he gave to the above-mentioned Peada, son to King Penda,
because he was his kinsman, the kingdom of the Southern Mercians,(447)
consisting, as is said, of 5,000 families, divided by the river Trent from
the Northern Mercians, whose land contains 7,000 families; but Peada was
foully slain in the following spring, by the treachery, as is said, of his
wife,(448) during the very time of the Easter festival. Three years after
the death of King Penda, the Mercian chiefs, Immin, and Eafa, and Eadbert,
rebelled against King Oswy, setting up for their king, Wulfhere,(449) son
to the said Penda, a youth whom they had kept concealed; and expelling the
ealdormen of the foreign king, they bravely recovered at once their
liberty and their lands; and being thus free, together with their king,
they rejoiced to serve Christ the true King, for the sake of an
everlasting kingdom in heaven. This king governed the Mercians seventeen
years, and had for his first bishop Trumhere,(450) above spoken of; the
second was Jaruman;(451) the third Ceadda;(452) the fourth Wynfrid.(453)
All these, succeeding each other in order under King Wulfhere, discharged
episcopal duties to the Mercian nation.

Chap. XXV. How the question arose about the due time of keeping Easter,
with those that came out of Scotland.(454) [664 A.D.]

In the meantime, Bishop Aidan being taken away from this life, Finan, who
was ordained and sent by the Scots, succeeded him in the bishopric, and
built a church in the Isle of Lindisfarne, fit for the episcopal see;
nevertheless, after the manner of the Scots, he made it, not of stone, but
entirely of hewn oak, and covered it with reeds; and it was afterwards
dedicated in honour of the blessed Peter the Apostle, by the most reverend
Archbishop Theodore. Eadbert,(455) also bishop of that place, took off the
thatch, and caused it to be covered entirely, both roof and walls, with
plates of lead.

At this time, a great and frequently debated question arose about the
observance of Easter;(456) those that came from Kent or Gaul affirming,
that the Scots celebrated Easter Sunday contrary to the custom of the
universal Church. Among them was a most zealous defender of the true
Easter, whose name was Ronan,(457) a Scot by nation, but instructed in the
rule of ecclesiastical truth in Gaul or Italy. Disputing with Finan, he
convinced many, or at least induced them to make a more strict inquiry
after the truth; yet he could not prevail upon Finan, but, on the
contrary, embittered him the more by reproof, and made him a professed
opponent of the truth, for he was of a violent temper. James,(458)
formerly the deacon of the venerable Archbishop Paulinus, as has been said
above, observed the true and Catholic Easter, with all those that he could
instruct in the better way. Queen Eanfled and her followers also observed
it as she had seen it practised in Kent, having with her a Kentish priest
who followed the Catholic observance, whose name was Romanus. Thus it is
said to have sometimes happened in those times that Easter was twice
celebrated in one year; and that when the king, having ended his fast, was
keeping Easter, the queen and her followers were still fasting, and
celebrating Palm Sunday. Whilst Aidan lived, this difference about the
observance of Easter was patiently tolerated by all men, for they well
knew, that though he could not keep Easter contrary to the custom of those
who had sent him, yet he industriously laboured to practise the works of
faith, piety, and love, according to the custom of all holy men; for which
reason he was deservedly beloved by all, even by those who differed in
opinion concerning Easter, and was held in veneration, not only by less
important persons, but even by the bishops, Honorius of Canterbury, and
Felix of the East Angles.

But after the death of Finan, who succeeded him, when Colman, who was also
sent from Scotland,(459) came to be bishop, a greater controversy arose
about the observance of Easter, and other rules of ecclesiastical life.
Whereupon this question began naturally to influence the thoughts and
hearts of many who feared, lest haply, having received the name of
Christians, they might run, or have run, in vain. This reached the ears of
the rulers, King Oswy and his son Alchfrid. Now Oswy, having been
instructed and baptized by the Scots, and being very perfectly skilled in
their language, thought nothing better than what they taught; but
Alchfrid, having for his teacher in Christianity the learned Wilfrid,(460)
who had formerly gone to Rome to study ecclesiastical doctrine, and spent
much time at Lyons with Dalfinus,(461) archbishop of Gaul, from whom also
he had received the crown of ecclesiastical tonsure, rightly thought that
this man’s doctrine ought to be preferred before all the traditions of the
Scots. For this reason he had also given him a monastery of forty
families, at a place called Inhrypum;(462) which place, not long before,
he had given for a monastery to those that were followers of the Scots;
but forasmuch as they afterwards, being left to their choice, preferred to
quit the place rather than alter their custom, he gave it to him, whose
life and doctrine were worthy of it.

Agilbert, bishop of the West Saxons,(463) above-mentioned, a friend of
King Alchfrid and of Abbot Wilfrid, had at that time come into the
province of the Northumbrians, and was staying some time among them; at
the request of Alchfrid, he made Wilfrid a priest in his aforesaid
monastery. He had in his company a priest, whose name was Agatho.(464) The
question being raised there concerning Easter and the tonsure and other
ecclesiastical matters, it was arranged, that a synod should be held in
the monastery of Streanaeshalch,(465) which signifies the Bay of the
Lighthouse, where the Abbess Hilda,(466) a woman devoted to the service of
God, then ruled; and that there this question should be decided. The
kings, both father and son, came thither, and the bishops, Colman with his
Scottish clerks, and Agilbert with the priests Agatho and Wilfrid. James
and Romanus were on their side; but the Abbess Hilda and her followers
were for the Scots, as was also the venerable Bishop Cedd,(467) long
before ordained by the Scots, as has been said above, and he acted in that
council as a most careful interpreter for both parties.

King Oswy first made an opening speech, in which he said that it behoved
those who served one God to observe one rule of life; and as they all
expected the same kingdom in heaven, so they ought not to differ in the
celebration of the heavenly mysteries; but rather to inquire which was the
truer tradition, that it might be followed by all in common; he then
commanded his bishop, Colman, first to declare what the custom was which
he observed, and whence it derived its origin. Then Colman said, "The
Easter which I keep, I received from my elders, who sent me hither as
bishop; all our forefathers, men beloved of God, are known to have
celebrated it after the same manner; and that it may not seem to any
contemptible and worthy to be rejected, it is the same which the blessed
John the Evangelist, the disciple specially beloved of our Lord, with all
the churches over which he presided, is recorded to have celebrated."(468)
When he had said thus much, and more to the like effect, the king
commanded Agilbert to make known the manner of his observance and to show
whence it was derived, and on what authority he followed it. Agilbert
answered, "I beseech you, let my disciple, the priest Wilfrid, speak in my
stead; because we both concur with the other followers of the
ecclesiastical tradition that are here present, and he can better and more
clearly explain our opinion in the English language, than I can by an

Then Wilfrid, being ordered by the king to speak, began thus:—"The Easter
which we keep, we saw celebrated by all at Rome, where the blessed
Apostles, Peter and Paul, lived, taught, suffered, and were buried; we saw
the same done by all in Italy and in Gaul, when we travelled through those
countries for the purpose of study and prayer. We found it observed in
Africa, Asia, Egypt, Greece, and all the world, wherever the Church of
Christ is spread abroad, among divers nations and tongues, at one and the
same time; save only among these and their accomplices in obstinacy, I
mean the Picts and the Britons, who foolishly, in these two remote islands
of the ocean, and only in part even of them, strive to oppose all the rest
of the world." When he had so said, Colman answered, "It is strange that
you choose to call our efforts foolish, wherein we follow the example of
so great an Apostle, who was thought worthy to lean on our Lord’s bosom,
when all the world knows him to have lived most wisely." Wilfrid replied,
"Far be it from us to charge John with folly, for he literally observed
the precepts of the Mosaic Law, whilst the Church was still Jewish in many
points, and the Apostles, lest they should give cause of offence to the
Jews who were among the Gentiles, were not able at once to cast off all
the observances of the Law which had been instituted by God, in the same
way as it is necessary that all who come to the faith should forsake the
idols which were invented by devils. For this reason it was, that Paul
circumcised Timothy,(469) that he offered sacrifice in the temple,(470)
that he shaved his head with Aquila and Priscilla at Corinth;(471) for no
other advantage than to avoid giving offence to the Jews. Hence it was,
that James said to the same Paul, ‘Thou seest, brother, how many thousands
of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the
Law.’(472) And yet, at this time, when the light of the Gospel is
spreading throughout the world, it is needless, nay, it is not lawful, for
the faithful either to be circumcised, or to offer up to God sacrifices of
flesh. So John, according to the custom of the Law, began the celebration
of the feast of Easter, on the fourteenth day of the first month, in the
evening, not regarding whether the same happened on a Saturday, or any
other week-day. But when Peter preached at Rome, being mindful that our
Lord arose from the dead, and gave to the world the hope of resurrection,
on the first day of the week, he perceived that Easter ought to be kept
after this manner: he always awaited the rising of the moon on the
fourteenth day of the first month in the evening, according to the custom
and precepts of the Law, even as John did. And when that came, if the
Lord’s day, then called the first day of the week, was the next day, he
began that very evening to celebrate Easter, as we all do at the present
time. But if the Lord’s day did not fall the next morning after the
fourteenth moon, but on the sixteenth, or the seventeenth, or any other
moon till the twenty-first, he waited for that, and on the Saturday
before, in the evening, began to observe the holy solemnity of Easter.
Thus it came to pass, that Easter Sunday was only kept from the fifteenth
moon to the twenty-first. Nor does this evangelical and apostolic
tradition abolish the Law, but rather fulfil it; the command being to keep
the passover from the fourteenth moon of the first month in the evening to
the twenty-first moon of the same month in the evening; which observance
all the successors of the blessed John in Asia, since his death, and all
the Church throughout the world, have since followed; and that this is the
true Easter, and the only one to be celebrated by the faithful, was not
newly decreed by the council of Nicaea, but only confirmed afresh; as the
history of the Church informs us.(473)

"Thus it is plain, that you, Colman, neither follow the example of John,
as you imagine, nor that of Peter, whose tradition you oppose with full
knowledge, and that you neither agree with the Law nor the Gospel in the
keeping of your Easter. For John, keeping the Paschal time according to
the decree of the Mosaic Law, had no regard to the first day of the week,
which you do not practise, seeing that you celebrate Easter only on the
first day after the Sabbath. Peter celebrated Easter Sunday between the
fifteenth and the twenty-first moon, which you do not practise, seeing
that you observe Easter Sunday from the fourteenth to the twentieth moon;
so that you often begin Easter on the thirteenth moon in the evening,
whereof neither the Law made any mention, nor did our Lord, the Author and
Giver of the Gospel, on that day either eat the old passover in the
evening, or deliver the Sacraments of the New Testament, to be celebrated
by the Church, in memory of His Passion, but on the fourteenth. Besides,
in your celebration of Easter, you utterly exclude the twenty-first moon,
which the Law ordered to be specially observed. Thus, as I have said
before, you agree neither with John nor Peter, nor with the Law, nor the
Gospel, in the celebration of the greatest festival."

To this Colman rejoined: "Did the holy Anatolius,(474) much commended in
the history of the Church, judge contrary to the Law and the Gospel, when
he wrote, that Easter was to be celebrated from the fourteenth to the
twentieth moon? Is it to be believed that our most reverend Father Columba
and his successors, men beloved by God, who kept Easter after the same
manner, judged or acted contrary to the Divine writings? Whereas there
were many among them, whose sanctity was attested by heavenly signs and
miracles which they wrought; whom I, for my part, doubt not to be saints,
and whose life, customs, and discipline I never cease to follow."

"It is evident," said Wilfrid, "that Anatolius was a most holy, learned,
and commendable man; but what have you to do with him, since you do not
observe his decrees? For he undoubtedly, following the rule of truth in
his Easter, appointed a cycle of nineteen years, which either you are
ignorant of, or if you know it, though it is kept by the whole Church of
Christ, yet you despise it as a thing of naught. He so computed the
fourteenth moon in our Lord’s Paschal Feast, that according to the custom
of the Egyptians, he acknowledged it to be the fifteenth moon on that same
day in the evening; so in like manner he assigned the twentieth to
Easter-Sunday, as believing that to be the twenty-first moon, when the sun
had set. That you are ignorant of the rule of this distinction is proved
by this, that you sometimes manifestly keep Easter before the full moon,
that is, on the thirteenth day. Concerning your Father Columba and his
followers, whose sanctity you say you imitate, and whose rule and precepts
confirmed by signs from Heaven you say that you follow, I might answer,
then when many, in the day of judgement, shall say to our Lord, that in
His name they have prophesied, and have cast out devils, and done many
wonderful works, our Lord will reply, that He never knew them. But far be
it from me to speak thus of your fathers, for it is much more just to
believe good than evil of those whom we know not. Wherefore I do not deny
those also to have been God’s servants, and beloved of God, who with rude
simplicity, but pious intentions, have themselves loved Him. Nor do I
think that such observance of Easter did them much harm, as long as none
came to show them a more perfect rule to follow; for assuredly I believe
that, if any teacher, reckoning after the Catholic manner, had come among
them, they would have as readily followed his admonitions, as they are
known to have kept those commandments of God, which they had learned and

"But as for you and your companions, you certainly sin, if, having heard
the decrees of the Apostolic see, nay, of the universal Church, confirmed,
as they are, by Holy Scripture, you scorn to follow them; for, though your
fathers were holy, do you think that those few men, in a corner of the
remotest island, are to be preferred before the universal Church of Christ
throughout the world? And if that Columba of yours, (and, I may say, ours
also, if he was Christ’s servant,) was a holy man and powerful in
miracles, yet could he be preferred before the most blessed chief of the
Apostles, to whom our Lord said, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I
will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,
and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven?’ "(475)

When Wilfrid had ended thus, the king said, "Is it true, Colman, that
these words were spoken to Peter by our Lord?" He answered, "It is true, O
king!" Then said he, "Can you show any such power given to your Columba?"
Colman answered, "None." Then again the king asked, "Do you both agree in
this, without any controversy, that these words were said above all to
Peter, and that the keys of the kingdom of Heaven were given to him by our
Lord?" They both answered, "Yes." Then the king concluded, "And I also say
unto you, that he is the door-keeper, and I will not gainsay him, but I
desire, as far as I know and am able, in all things to obey his laws, lest
haply when I come to the gates of the kingdom of Heaven, there should be
none to open them, he being my adversary who is proved to have the keys."
The king having said this, all who were seated there or standing by, both
great and small, gave their assent, and renouncing the less perfect
custom, hastened to conform to that which they had found to be better.

Chap. XXVI. How Colman, being worsted, returned home; and Tuda succeeded
him in the bishopric; and of the state of the church under those teachers.
[664 A.D.]

The disputation being ended, and the assembly broken up, Agilbert returned
home. Colman, perceiving that his doctrine was rejected, and his party
despised, took with him those who wished to follow him, to wit, such as
would not accept the Catholic Easter and the tonsure in the form of a
crown,(476) (for there was no small dispute about that also,) and went
back into Scotland,(477) to consult with his people what was to be done in
this case. Cedd, forsaking the practices of the Scots, returned to his
bishopric, having submitted to the Catholic observance of Easter. This
debate took place in the year of our Lord 664, which was the twenty-second
year of the reign of King Oswy, and the thirtieth of the episcopate of the
Scots among the English; for Aidan was bishop seventeen years, Finan ten,
and Colman three.

When Colman had gone back into his own country, Tuda, the servant of
Christ, was made bishop of the Northumbrians(478) in his place, having
been instructed and ordained bishop among the Southern Scots, having also
the crown of the ecclesiastical tonsure, according to the custom of that
province, and observing the Catholic rule with regard to the time of
Easter.(479) He was a good and religious man, but he governed the church a
very short time; he had come from Scotland(480) whilst Colman was yet
bishop, and, both by word and deed, diligently taught all men those things
that appertain to the faith and truth. But Eata,(481) who was abbot of the
monastery called Mailros,(482) a man most reverend and gentle, was
appointed abbot over the brethren that chose to remain in the church of
Lindisfarne, when the Scots went away. It is said that Colman, upon his
departure, requested and obtained this of King Oswy, because Eata was one
of Aidan’s twelve boys of the English nation,(483) whom he received in the
early years of his episcopate, to be instructed in Christ; for the king
greatly loved Bishop Colman on account of his innate discretion. This is
that Eata, who, not long after, was made bishop of the same church of
Lindisfarne. Colman carried home with him part of the bones of the most
reverend Father Aidan, and left part of them in the church where he had
presided, ordering them to be interred in the sacristy.

The place which they governed shows how frugal and temperate he and his
predecessors were, for there were very few houses besides the church found
at their departure; indeed, no more than were barely sufficient to make
civilized life possible; they had also no money, but only cattle; for if
they received any money from rich persons, they immediately gave it to the
poor; there being no need to gather money, or provide houses for the
entertainment of the great men of the world; for such never resorted to
the church, except to pray and hear the Word of God. The king himself,
when occasion required, came only with five or six servants, and having
performed his devotions in the church, departed. But if they happened to
take a repast there, they were satisfied with the plain, daily food of the
brethren, and required no more. For the whole care of those teachers was
to serve God, not the world—to feed the soul, and not the belly.

For this reason the religious habit was at that time held in great
veneration; so that wheresoever any clerk or monk went, he was joyfully
received by all men, as God’s servant; and even if they chanced to meet
him upon the way, they ran to him, and with bowed head, were glad to be
signed with the cross by his hand, or blessed by his lips. Great attention
was also paid to their exhortations; and on Sundays they flocked eagerly
to the church, or the monasteries, not to feed their bodies, but to hear
the Word of God; and if any priest happened to come into a village, the
inhabitants came together and asked of him the Word of life; for the
priests and clerks went to the villages for no other reason than to
preach, baptize, visit the sick, and, in a word, to take care of souls;
and they were so purified from all taint of avarice, that none of them
received lands and possessions for building monasteries, unless they were
compelled to do so by the temporal authorities; which custom was for some
time after universally observed in the churches of the Northumbrians. But
enough has now been said on this subject.

Chap. XXVII. How Egbert, a holy man of the English nation, led a monastic
life in Ireland. [664 A.D.]

In the same year of our Lord 664, there happened an eclipse of the sun, on
the third day of May,(484) about the tenth hour of the day. In the same
year, a sudden pestilence(485) depopulated first the southern parts of
Britain, and afterwards attacking the province of the Northumbrians,
ravaged the country far and near, and destroyed a great multitude of men.
By this plague the aforesaid priest of the Lord, Tuda,(486) was carried
off, and was honourably buried in the monastery called Paegnalaech.(487)
Moreover, this plague prevailed no less disastrously in the island of
Ireland. Many of the nobility, and of the lower ranks of the English
nation, were there at that time, who, in the days of the Bishops Finan and
Colman, forsaking their native island, retired thither, either for the
sake of sacred studies, or of a more ascetic life; and some of them
presently devoted themselves faithfully to a monastic life, others chose
rather to apply themselves to study, going about from one master’s cell to
another. The Scots willingly received them all, and took care to supply
them with daily food without cost, as also to furnish them with books for
their studies, and teaching free of charge.

Among these were Ethelhun and Egbert,(488) two youths of great capacity,
of the English nobility. The former of whom was brother to Ethelwin,(489)
a man no less beloved by God, who also at a later time went over into
Ireland to study, and having been well instructed, returned into his own
country, and being made bishop in the province of Lindsey, long and nobly
governed the Church. These two being in the monastery which in the
language of the Scots is called Rathmelsigi,(490) and having lost all
their companions, who were either cut off by the plague, or dispersed into
other places, were both seized by the same sickness, and grievously
afflicted. Of these, Egbert, (as I was informed by a priest venerable for
his age, and of great veracity, who declared he had heard the story from
his own lips,) concluding that he was at the point of death, went out of
the chamber, where the sick lay, in the morning, and sitting alone in a
fitting place, began seriously to reflect upon his past actions, and,
being full of compunction at the remembrance of his sins, bedewed his face
with tears, and prayed fervently to God that he might not die yet, before
he could forthwith more fully make amends for the careless offences which
he had committed in his boyhood and infancy, or might further exercise
himself in good works. He also made a vow that he would spend all his life
abroad and never return into the island of Britain, where he was born;
that besides singing the psalms at the canonical hours, he would, unless
prevented by bodily infirmity, repeat the whole Psalter daily to the
praise of God; and that he would every week fast one whole day and night.
Returning home, after his tears and prayers and vows, he found his
companion asleep; and going to bed himself, he began to compose himself to
rest. When he had lain quiet awhile, his comrade awaking, looked on him,
and said, "Alas! Brother Egbert, what have you done? I was in hopes that
we should have entered together into life everlasting; but know that your
prayer is granted." For he had learned in a vision what the other had
requested, and that he had obtained his request.

In brief, Ethelhun died the next night; but Egbert, throwing off his
sickness, recovered and lived a long time after to grace the episcopal
office, which he received, by deeds worthy of it;(491) and blessed with
many virtues, according to his desire, lately, in the year of our Lord
729, being ninety years of age, he departed to the heavenly kingdom. He
passed his life in great perfection of humility, gentleness, continence,
simplicity, and justice. Thus he was a great benefactor, both to his own
people, and to those nations of the Scots and Picts among whom he lived in
exile, by the example of his life, his earnestness in teaching, his
authority in reproving, and his piety in giving away of those things which
he received from the rich. He also added this to the vows which we have
mentioned: during Lent, he would eat but one meal a day, allowing himself
nothing but bread and thin milk, and even that by measure. The milk, new
the day before, he kept in a vessel, and skimming off the cream in the
morning, drank the rest, as has been said, with a little bread. Which sort
of abstinence he likewise always observed forty days before the Nativity
of our Lord, and as many after the solemnity of Pentecost, that is, of the
fifty days’ festival.

Chap. XXVIII. How, when Tuda was dead, Wilfrid was ordained, in Gaul, and
Ceadda, among the West Saxons, to be bishops for the province of the
Northumbrians. [664 A.D.]

In the meantime, King Alchfrid sent the priest, Wilfrid, to the king of
Gaul,(492) in order that he should cause him to be consecrated bishop for
himself and his people. That prince sent him to be ordained by
Agilbert,(493) of whom we have before spoken, and who, having left
Britain, was made bishop of the city of Paris;(494) and by him Wilfrid was
honourably consecrated, several bishops meeting together for that purpose
in a village belonging to the king, called In Compendio.(495) He stayed
some time in the parts beyond the sea for his ordination, and King Oswy,
following the example of his son’s zeal, sent into Kent a holy man, of
modest character, well read in the Scripture, and diligently practising
those things which he had learned therein, to be ordained bishop of the
church of York. This was a priest called Ceadda,(496) brother to the most
reverend prelate Cedd, of whom mention has been often made, and abbot of
the monastery of Laestingaeu. With him the king also sent his priest
Eadhaed,(497) who was afterwards, in the reign of Egfrid,(498) made bishop
of the church of Ripon. Now when they arrived in Kent, they found that
Archbishop Deusdedit had departed this life, and no other bishop was as
yet appointed in his place; whereupon they betook themselves to the
province of the West Saxons, where Wini was bishop, and by him Ceadda was
consecrated; two bishops of the British nation, who kept Easter Sunday, as
has been often said, contrary to the canonical manner, from the fourteenth
to the twentieth moon, being called in to assist at the ordination; for at
that time there was no other bishop in all Britain canonically ordained,
except Wini.(499)

So Ceadda, being consecrated bishop, began immediately to labour for
ecclesiastical truth and purity of doctrine; to apply himself to humility,
self-denial, and study; to travel about, not on horseback, but after the
manner of the Apostles, on foot, to preach the Gospel in towns, the open
country, cottages, villages, and castles; for he was one of the disciples
of Aidan, and endeavoured to instruct his people by the same manner of
life and character, after his and his own brother Cedd’s example. Wilfrid
also having been now made a bishop, came into Britain, and in like manner
by his teaching brought into the English Church many rules of Catholic
observance. Whence it followed, that the Catholic principles daily gained
strength, and all the Scots that dwelt in England either conformed to
these, or returned into their own country.

Chap. XXIX. How the priest Wighard was sent from Britain to Rome, to be
ordained archbishop; of his death there, and of the letters of the
Apostolic Pope giving an account thereof. [667 A.D.]

At this time the most noble kings of the English, Oswy, of the province of
the Northumbrians, and Egbert of Kent, consulted together to determine
what ought to be done about the state of the English Church, for Oswy,
though educated by the Scots, had rightly perceived that the Roman was the
Catholic and Apostolic Church. They selected, with the consent and by the
choice of the holy Church of the English nation, a priest named
Wighard,(500) one of Bishop Deusdedit’s clergy, a good man and fitted for
the episcopate, and sent him to Rome to be ordained bishop, to the end
that, having been raised to the rank of an archbishop, he might ordain
Catholic prelates for the Churches of the English nation throughout all
Britain. But Wighard, arriving at Rome, was cut off by death, before he
could be consecrated bishop, and the following letter was sent back into
Britain to King Oswy:—

"_To the most excellent lord, our son, Oswy, king of the __ Saxons,
Vitalian,_(_501_)_ bishop, servant of the servants of God._ We have
received to our comfort your Excellency’s letters; by reading whereof we
are acquainted with your most pious devotion and fervent love of the
blessed life; and know that by the protecting hand of God you have been
converted to the true and Apostolic faith, in hope that even as you reign
in your own nation, so you may hereafter reign with Christ. Blessed be the
nation, therefore, that has been found worthy to have as its king one so
wise and a worshipper of God; forasmuch as he is not himself alone a
worshipper of God, but also studies day and night the conversion of all
his subjects to the Catholic and Apostolic faith, to the redemption of his
own soul. Who would not rejoice at hearing such glad tidings? Who would
not exult and be joyful at these good works? For your nation has believed
in Christ the Almighty God, according to the words of the Divine prophets,
as it is written in Isaiah, ‘In that day there shall be a root of Jesse,
which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles
seek.’(502) And again, ‘Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken ye people
from far.’(503) And a little after, ‘It is a light thing that thou
shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the
outcast of Israel. I have given thee for a light to the Gentiles, that
thou mayst be my salvation unto the end of the earth.’(504) And again,
‘Kings shall see, princes also shall arise and worship.’(505) And
immediately after, ‘I have given thee for a covenant of the people, to
establish the earth, and possess the scattered heritages; that thou mayest
say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show
yourselves.’(506) And again, ‘I the Lord have called thee in
righteousness, and have held thine hand, and have kept thee, and have
given thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to
open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoner from the prison, and them
that sit in darkness from the prison-house.’(507)

"Behold, most excellent son, how it is plain as day that it was prophesied
not only of you, but also of all the nations, that they should believe in
Christ, the Creator of all things. Wherefore it behoves your Highness, as
being a member of Christ, in all things continually to follow the pious
rule of the chief of the Apostles, in celebrating Easter, and in all
things delivered by the holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, whose doctrine
daily enlightens the hearts of believers, even as the two lights of heaven
illumine the world."

And after some lines, wherein he speaks of celebrating the true Easter
uniformly throughout all the world,—

"Finally," he adds, "we have not been able now, on account of the length
of the journey, to find a man, apt to teach, and qualified in all respects
to be a bishop, according to the tenor of your letters.(508) But,
assuredly, as soon as such a fit person shall be found, we will send him
well instructed to your country, that he may, by word of mouth, and
through the Divine oracles, with the blessing of God, root out all the
enemy’s tares throughout your island. We have received the presents sent
by your Highness to the blessed chief of the Apostles, for an eternal
memorial of him, and return you thanks, and always pray for your safety
with the clergy of Christ. But he that brought these presents has been
removed out of this world, and is buried at the threshold of the Apostles,
for whom we have been much grieved, because he died here. Nevertheless, we
have caused the blessed gifts of the saints, that is, the relics of the
blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, and of the holy martyrs, Laurentius,
John, and Paul, and Gregory, and Pancratius,(509) to be given to your
servants, the bearers of these our letters, to be by them delivered to
your Excellency. And to your consort(510) also, our spiritual daughter, we
have by the aforesaid bearers sent a cross, with a gold key to it, made
out of the most holy chains of the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul; for,
hearing of her pious zeal, all the Apostolic see rejoices with us, even as
her pious works smell sweet and blossom before God.

"We therefore desire that your Highness should hasten, according to our
wish, to dedicate all your island to Christ our God; for assuredly you
have for your Protector, the Redeemer of mankind, our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who will prosper you in all things, that you may gather together a new
people of Christ, establishing there the Catholic and Apostolic faith. For
it is written, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added unto you.’(511) Truly your Highness
seeks, and shall obtain, and all your islands shall be made subject to
you, even as we desire. Saluting your Excellency with fatherly affection,
we never cease to pray to the Divine Goodness, to vouchsafe to assist you
and yours in all good works, that you may reign with Christ in the world
to come. May the Heavenly Grace preserve your Excellency in safety!"

In the next book we shall have a more suitable occasion to show who was
selected and consecrated in Wighard’s place.

Chap. XXX. How the East Saxons, during a pestilence, returned to idolatry,
but were soon brought back from their error by the zeal of Bishop Jaruman.
[665 A.D.]

At the same time, the Kings Sighere and Sebbi,(512) though themselves
subject to Wulfhere, king of the Mercians, governed the province of the
East Saxons after Suidhelm, of whom we have spoken above.(513) When that
province was suffering from the aforesaid disastrous plague, Sighere, with
his part of the people, forsook the mysteries of the Christian faith, and
turned apostate. For the king himself, and many of the commons and nobles,
loving this life, and not seeking after another, or even not believing in
any other, began to restore the temples that had been abandoned, and to
adore idols, as if they might by those means be protected against the
plague. But Sebbi, his companion and co-heir in the kingdom, with all his
people, very devoutly preserved the faith which he had received, and, as
we shall show hereafter, ended his faithful life in great felicity.

King Wulfhere, hearing that the faith of the province was in part
profaned, sent Bishop Jaruman,(514) who was successor to Trumhere, to
correct their error, and recall the province to the true faith. He acted
with much discretion, as I was informed by a priest who bore him company
in that journey, and had been his fellow labourer in the Word, for he was
a religious and good man, and travelling through all the country, far and
near, brought back both the people and the aforesaid king to the way of
righteousness, so that, either forsaking or destroying the temples and
altars which they had erected, they opened the churches, and gladly
confessed the Name of Christ, which they had opposed, choosing rather to
die in the faith of resurrection in Him, than to live in the abominations
of unbelief among their idols. Having thus accomplished their works, the
priests and teachers returned home with joy.


Chap. I. How when Deusdedit died, Wighard was sent to Rome to receive the
episcopate; but he dying there, Theodore was ordained archbishop, and sent
into Britain with the Abbot Hadrian. [664-669 A.D.]

In the above-mentioned year of the aforesaid eclipse(515) and of the
pestilence which followed it immediately, in which also Bishop Colman,
being overcome by the united effort of the Catholics, returned home,(516)
Deusdedit,(517) the sixth bishop of the church of Canterbury, died on the
14th of July. Earconbert,(518) also, king of Kent, departed this life the
same month and day; leaving his kingdom to his son Egbert, who held it for
nine years. The see then became vacant for no small time, until, the
priest Wighard,(519) a man of great learning in the teaching of the
Church, of the English race, was sent to Rome by King Egbert and Oswy,
king of the Northumbrians, as was briefly mentioned in the foregoing
book,(520) with a request that he might be ordained Archbishop of the
Church of England; and at the same time presents were sent to the
Apostolic pope, and many vessels of gold and silver. Arriving at Rome,
where Vitalian(521) presided at that time over the Apostolic see, and
having made known to the aforesaid Apostolic pope the occasion of his
journey, he was not long after carried off, with almost all his companions
who had come with him, by a pestilence which fell upon them.

But the Apostolic pope having consulted about that matter, made diligent
inquiry for some one to send to be archbishop of the English Churches.
There was then in the monastery of Niridanum, which is not far from Naples
in Campania, an abbot called Hadrian,(522) by nation an African, well
versed in Holy Scripture, trained in monastic and ecclesiastical teaching,
and excellently skilled both in the Greek and Latin tongues. The pope,
sending for him, commanded him to accept the bishopric and go to Britain.
He answered, that he was unworthy of so great a dignity, but said that he
could name another, whose learning and age were fitter for the episcopal
office. He proposed to the pope a certain monk named Andrew, belonging to
a neighbouring nunnery(523) and he was by all that knew him judged worthy
of a bishopric; but the weight of bodily infirmity prevented him from
becoming a bishop. Then again Hadrian was urged to accept the episcopate;
but he desired a respite, to see whether in time he could find another to
be ordained bishop.

There was at that time in Rome, a monk, called Theodore,(524) known to
Hadrian, born at Tarsus in Cilicia, a man instructed in secular and Divine
writings, as also in Greek and Latin; of high character and venerable age,
being sixty-six years old. Hadrian proposed him to the pope to be ordained
bishop, and prevailed; but upon the condition that he should himself
conduct him into Britain, because he had already travelled through Gaul
twice upon different occasions, and was, therefore, better acquainted with
the way, and was, moreover, sufficiently provided with men of his own; as
also, to the end that, being his fellow labourer in teaching, he might
take special care that Theodore should not, according to the custom of the
Greeks, introduce any thing contrary to the truth of the faith into the
Church where he presided.(525) Theodore, being ordained subdeacon, waited
four months for his hair to grow, that it might be shorn into the shape of
a crown; for he had before the tonsure of St. Paul,(526) the Apostle,
after the manner of the eastern people. He was ordained by Pope Vitalian,
in the year of our Lord 668, on Sunday, the 26th of March, and on the 27th
of May was sent with Hadrian to Britain.(527)

They proceeded together by sea to Marseilles, and thence by land to Arles,
and having there delivered to John, archbishop of that city,(528) Pope
Vitalian’s letters of recommendation, were by him detained till
Ebroin,(529) the king’s mayor of the palace, gave them leave to go where
they pleased. Having received the same, Theodore went to Agilbert, bishop
of Paris,(530) of whom we have spoken above, and was by him kindly
received, and long entertained. But Hadrian went first to Emme, Bishop of
the Senones,(531) and then to Faro,(532) bishop of the Meldi, and lived in
comfort with them a considerable time; for the approach of winter had
obliged them to rest wherever they could. King Egbert, being informed by
sure messengers that the bishop they had asked of the Roman prelate was in
the kingdom of the Franks, sent thither his reeve,(533) Raedfrid, to
conduct him. He, having arrived there, with Ebroin’s leave took Theodore
and conveyed him to the port called Quentavic;(534) where, falling sick,
he stayed some time, and as soon as he began to recover, sailed over into
Britain. But Ebroin detained Hadrian, suspecting that he went on some
mission from the Emperor to the kings of Britain, to the prejudice of the
kingdom of which he at that time had the chief charge; however, when he
found that in truth he had never had any such commission, he discharged
him, and permitted him to follow Theodore. As soon as he came to him,
Theodore gave him the monastery of the blessed Peter the Apostle,(535)
where the archbishops of Canterbury are wont to be buried, as I have said
before; for at his departure, the Apostolic lord had enjoined upon
Theodore that he should provide for him in his province, and give him a
suitable place to live in with his followers.

Chap. II. How Theodore visited all places; how the Churches of the English
began to be instructed in the study of Holy Scripture, and in the Catholic
truth; and how Putta was made bishop of the Church of Rochester in the
room of Damianus. [669 A.D.]

Theodore came to his Church in the second year after his consecration, on
Sunday, the 27th of May, and spent in it twenty-one years, three months,
and twenty-six days. Soon after, he visited all the island, wherever the
tribes of the English dwelt, for he was gladly received and heard by all
persons; and everywhere attended and assisted by Hadrian, he taught the
right rule of life, and the canonical custom of celebrating Easter. This
was the first archbishop whom all the English Church consented to obey.
And forasmuch as both of them were, as has been said before, fully
instructed both in sacred and in secular letters, they gathered a crowd of
disciples, and rivers of wholesome knowledge daily flowed from them to
water the hearts of their hearers; and, together with the books of Holy
Scripture, they also taught them the metrical art, astronomy, and
ecclesiastical arithmetic. A testimony whereof is, that there are still
living at this day some of their scholars, who are as well versed in the
Greek and Latin tongues as in their own, in which they were born. Nor were
there ever happier times since the English came into Britain; for having
brave Christian kings, they were a terror to all barbarous nations, and
the minds of all men were bent upon the joys of the heavenly kingdom of
which they had but lately heard; and all who desired to be instructed in
sacred studies had masters at hand to teach them.

From that time also they began in all the churches of the English to learn
Church music, which till then had been only known in Kent. And, excepting
James, of whom we have spoken above,(536) the first teacher of singing in
the churches of the Northumbrians was Eddi, surnamed Stephen,(537) invited
from Kent by the most reverend Wilfrid, who was the first of the bishops
of the English nation that learned to deliver to the churches of the
English the Catholic manner of life.(538)

Theodore, journeying through all parts, ordained bishops in fitting
places, and with their assistance corrected such things as he found
faulty. Among the rest, when he charged Bishop Ceadda with not having been
duly consecrated,(539) he, with great humility, answered, "If you know
that I have not duly received episcopal ordination, I willingly resign the
office, for I never thought myself worthy of it; but, though unworthy, for
obedience sake I submitted, when bidden to undertake it." Theodore,
hearing his humble answer, said that he should not resign the bishopric,
and he himself completed his ordination after the Catholic manner. Now at
the time when Deusdedit died, and a bishop for the church of Canterbury
was by request ordained and sent, Wilfrid was also sent from Britain into
Gaul to be ordained; and because he returned before Theodore, he ordained
priests and deacons in Kent till the archbishop should come to his see.
But when Theodore came to the city of Rochester, where the bishopric had
been long vacant by the death of Damian,(540) he ordained a man named
Putta,(541) trained rather in the teaching of the Church and more addicted
to simplicity of life than active in worldly affairs, but specially
skilful in Church music, after the Roman use, which he had learned from
the disciples of the blessed Pope Gregory.(542)

Chap. III. How the above-mentioned Ceadda was made Bishop of the province
of Mercians. Of his life, death, and burial. [669 A.D.]

At that time, the province of the Mercians was governed by King Wulfhere,
who, on the death of Jaruman,(543) desired of Theodore that a bishop
should be given to him and his people; but Theodore would not ordain a new
one for them, but requested of King Oswy that Ceadda might be their
bishop. He then lived in retirement at his monastery, which is at
Laestingaeu,(544) while Wilfrid administered the bishopric of York, and of
all the Northumbrians, and likewise of the Picts, as far as King Oswy was
able to extend his dominions. And, seeing that it was the custom of that
most reverend prelate to go about the work of the Gospel everywhere on
foot rather than on horseback, Theodore commanded him to ride whenever he
had a long journey to undertake; and finding him very unwilling, in his
zeal and love for his pious labour, he himself, with his own hands, lifted
him on horseback; for he knew him to be a holy man, and therefore obliged
him to ride wherever he had need to go. Ceadda having received the
bishopric of the Mercians and of Lindsey,(545) took care to administer it
with great perfection of life, according to the example of the ancient
fathers. King Wulfhere also gave him land of the extent of fifty families,
to build a monastery, at the place called Ad Barvae,(546) or "At the
Wood," in the province of Lindsey, wherein traces of the monastic life
instituted by him continue to this day.

He had his episcopal see in the place called Lyccidfelth,(547) in which he
also died, and was buried, and where the see of the succeeding bishops of
that province continues to this day. He had built himself a retired
habitation not far from the church, wherein he was wont to pray and read
in private, with a few, it might be seven or eight of the brethren, as
often as he had any spare time from the labour and ministry of the Word.
When he had most gloriously governed the church in that province for two
years and a half, the Divine Providence so ordaining, there came round a
season like that of which Ecclesiastes says, "That there is a time to cast
away stones, and a time to gather stones together;"(548) for a plague fell
upon them, sent from Heaven, which, by means of the death of the flesh,
translated the living stones of the Church from their earthly places to
the heavenly building. And when, after many of the Church of that most
reverend prelate had been taken away out of the flesh, his hour also drew
near wherein he was to pass out of this world to the Lord, it happened one
day that he was in the aforesaid habitation with only one brother, called
Owini,(549) his other companions having upon some due occasion returned to
the church. Now Owini was a monk of great merit, having forsaken the world
with the sole desire of the heavenly reward; worthy in all respects to
have the secrets of the Lord revealed to him in special wise, and worthy
to have credit given by his hearers to what he said. For he had come with
Queen Ethelthryth(550) from the province of the East Angles, and was the
chief of her thegns, and governor of her house. As the fervour of his
faith increased, resolving to renounce the secular life, he did not go
about it slothfully, but so entirely forsook the things of this world,
that, quitting all that he had, clad in a plain garment, and carrying an
axe and hatchet in his hand, he came to the monastery of the same most
reverend father, which is called Laestingaeu. He said that he was not
entering the monastery in order to live in idleness, as some do, but to
labour; which he also confirmed by practice; for as he was less capable of
studying the Scriptures, the more earnestly he applied himself to the
labour of his hands. So then, forasmuch as he was reverent and devout, he
was kept by the bishop in the aforesaid habitation with the brethren, and
whilst they were engaged within in reading, he was without, doing such
things as were necessary.

One day, when he was thus employed abroad, his companions having gone to
the church, as I began to tell, and the bishop was alone reading or
praying in the oratory of that place, on a sudden, as he afterwards said,
he heard a sweet sound of singing and rejoicing descend from heaven to
earth. This sound he said he first heard coming from the sky in the
south-east, above the winter sunrise, and that afterwards it drew near him
gradually, till it came to the roof of the oratory where the bishop was,
and entering therein, filled all the place and encompassed it about. He
listened attentively to what he heard, and after about half an hour,
perceived the same song of joy to ascend from the roof of the said
oratory, and to return to heaven in the same way as it came, with
unspeakable sweetness. When he had stood some time amazed, and earnestly
considering in his mind what this might be, the bishop opened the window
of the oratory, and making a sound with his hand, as he was often wont to
do, bade anyone who might be without to come in to him. He went hastily
in, and the bishop said to him, "Make haste to the church, and cause those
seven brothers to come hither, and do you come with them." When they were
come, he first admonished them to preserve the virtue of love and peace
among themselves, and towards all the faithful; and with unwearied
earnestness to follow the rules of monastic discipline, which they had
either been taught by him, and had seen him observe, or had found in the
words and actions of the former fathers. Then he added that the day of his
death was at hand; for, said he, "that gracious guest, who was wont to
visit our brethren, has vouchsafed also to come to me this day, and to
call me out of this world. Return, therefore, to the church, and speak to
the brethren, that in their prayers they commend my departure to the Lord,
and that they be mindful to prepare for their own, the hour whereof is
uncertain, by watching, and prayer, and good works."

When he had spoken thus much and more to the same end, and they, having
received his blessing, had gone away in great sorrow, he who had heard the
heavenly song returned alone, and prostrating himself on the ground, said,
"I beseech you, father, may I be permitted to ask a question?"—"Ask what
you will," answered the bishop. Then he said, "I beseech you to tell me
what was that song which I heard as of a joyful company coming from heaven
upon this oratory, and after some time returning to heaven?" The bishop
answered: "If you heard the singing, and know of the coming of the
heavenly company, I command you, in the Name of the Lord, that you tell it
not to any before my death. But in truth they were angelic spirits, who
came to call me to my heavenly reward, which I have always loved and
longed after, and they promised that they would return seven days hence,
and take me away with them." Which was indeed fulfilled, as had been said
to him; for being presently seized with bodily infirmity, and the same
daily increasing, on the seventh day, as had been promised to him, when he
had prepared for death by receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord, his
saintly soul being delivered from the prison of the body, led, as may
justly be believed, by the attendant angels, he departed to the joys of

It is no wonder that he joyfully beheld the day of his death, or rather
the day of the Lord, the coming whereof he had always been mindful to
await with earnest expectation. For with all his merits of continence,
humility, teaching, prayer, voluntary poverty, and other virtues, he was
so filled with the fear of the Lord, so mindful of his latter end in all
his actions, that, as I was wont to hear from one of the brothers who
instructed me in the Scriptures, and who had been bred in his monastery,
and under his direction, whose name was Trumbert, if it happened that
there blew a sudden strong gust of wind, when he was reading or doing any
other thing, he forthwith called upon the Lord for mercy, and begged that
it might be granted to all mankind. If the wind grew stronger, he closed
his book, and fell on his face, praying still more earnestly. But, if a
violent storm of wind or rain came on, or if the earth and air were filled
with the terror of thunder and lightning, he would go to the church, and
anxiously devote himself with all his heart to prayers and psalms till the
weather became calm. Being asked by his brethren why he did so, he
answered, "Have not you read—‘The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and
the Highest gave his voice. Yea, he sent out his arrows and scattered
them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.’(551) For the Lord
moves the air, raises the winds, hurls lightning, and thunders from
heaven, to rouse the inhabitants of the earth to fear him; to put them in
mind of judgement to come; to dispel their pride, and confound their
boldness, by recalling to their thoughts that dread time, when the heavens
and the earth being on fire, He will come in the clouds, with great power
and majesty, to judge the quick and the dead. Wherefore," said he, "it
behoves us to respond to His heavenly admonition with due fear and love;
that, as often as the air is moved and He puts forth His hand threatening
to strike, but does not yet let it fall, we may immediately implore His
mercy; and searching the recesses of our hearts, and casting out the dregs
of our sins, we may carefully so act that we may never deserve to be
struck down."

With this revelation and narrative of the aforesaid brother, concerning
the death of this prelate, agrees the account of the most reverend Father
Egbert, above spoken of,(552) who long and zealously led a monastic life
with the same Ceadda, when both were youths, in Ireland, in prayer and
self-denial and meditation on the Holy Scriptures. But whereas Ceadda
afterwards returned into his own country, Egbert continued to live abroad
for the Lord’s sake till the end of his life. A long time after, Hygbald,
a man of great holiness and continence, who was an abbot in the province
of Lindsey,(553) came from Britain to visit him, and whilst, as became
holy men, they were discoursing of the life of the former fathers, and
rejoicing to imitate the same, mention was made of the most reverend
prelate, Ceadda; whereupon Egbert said, "I know a man in this island,
still in the flesh, who, when Ceadda passed away from this world, saw the
soul of his brother Cedd, with a company of angels, descending from
heaven, who, having taken Ceadda’s soul along with them, returned again to
the heavenly kingdom." Whether he said this of himself, or some other, we
do not certainly know; but because it was said by so great a man, there
can be no doubt of the truth thereof.

Ceadda died on the 2nd of March,(554) and was first buried by St. Mary’s
Church, but afterwards, when the church of the most blessed chief of the
Apostles, Peter, was built in the same place, his bones were translated
into it. In both which places, as a testimony of his virtue, frequent
miracles of healing are wont to be wrought. And of late, a certain man
that had a frenzy, wandering about everywhere, arrived there in the
evening, unperceived or disregarded by the keepers of the place, and
having rested there the whole of the night, came forth in his right mind
the next morning, to the surprise and joy of all, and told what a cure had
been wrought on him through the goodness of God. The place of the
sepulchre is a wooden monument, made like a little house, covered, having
a hole in the wall, through which those that go thither for devotion are
wont to put in their hand and take out some of the dust. This they put
into water and give to sick cattle or men to drink, whereupon they are
presently eased of their infirmity, and restored to their desired health.

In his place, Theodore ordained Wynfrid,(555) a man of good and sober
life, to preside, like his predecessors, over the bishoprics of the
Mercians, the Midland Angles, and Lindsey, of all which, Wulfhere, who was
still living, was king. Wynfrid was one of the clergy of the prelate he
succeeded, and had for no small time filled the office of deacon under

Chap. IV. How Bishop Colman, having left Britain, built two monasteries in
the country of the Scots; the one for the Scots, the other for the English
whom he had taken along with him. [667 A.D.]

In the meantime, Colman, the Scottish bishop, departing from Britain,(556)
took along with him all the Scots whom he had gathered about him in the
isle of Lindisfarne, and also about thirty of the English nation, for both
these companies had been trained in duties of the monastic life; and
leaving some brothers in his church, he went first to the isle of
Hii,(557) whence he had been sent to preach the Word of God to the English
nation. Afterwards he retired to a small island, which is to the west of
Ireland, and at some distance from it, called in the language of the
Scots, Inisboufinde,(558) the Island of the White Heifer. Arriving there,
he built a monastery, and placed in it the monks he had brought of both
nations. But they could not agree among themselves, by reason that the
Scots, in the summer season, when the harvest was to be brought in,
leaving the monastery, wandered about through places known to them; but
returned again the next winter, and desired to use in common what the
English had provided. Colman sought to put an end to this dissension, and
travelling about far and near, he found a place in the island of Ireland
fitted to be the site of a monastery, which, in the language of the Scots,
is called Mageo.(559) He bought a small part of it of the chief to whom it
belonged, to build his monastery thereon; upon condition, that the monks
dwelling there should pray to the Lord for him who let them have the
place. Then at once building a monastery, with the assistance of the chief
and all the neighbouring people, he placed the English there, leaving the
Scots in the aforesaid island. This monastery is to this day occupied by
English inhabitants; being the same that, grown from a small beginning to
be very large, is commonly called Muigeo; and as all have long since been
brought to adopt better customs, it contains a notable society of monks,
who are gathered there from the province of the English, and live by the
labour of their own hands, after the example of the venerable fathers,
under a rule and a canonical abbot, in much continence and singleness of

Chap. V. Of the death of the kings Oswy and Egbert, and of the synod held
at the place Herutford,(560) in which Archbishop Theodore presided.
[670-673 A.D.]

In the year of our Lord 670,(561) being the second year after Theodore
arrived in England, Oswy, king of the Northumbrians, fell sick, and died,
in the fifty-eighth year of his age.(562) He at that time bore so great
affection to the Roman Apostolic usages, that he had designed, if he
recovered from his sickness, to go to Rome, and there to end his days at
the holy places, having asked Bishop Wilfrid, with a promise of no small
gift of money, to conduct him on his journey. He died on the 15th of
February, leaving his son Egfrid(563) his successor in the kingdom. In the
third year of his reign, Theodore assembled a council of bishops, along
with many other teachers of the church, who loved and were acquainted with
the canonical statutes of the fathers. When they were met together, he
began, in the spirit which became a bishop, to enjoin the observance of
such things as were in accordance with the unity and the peace of the
Church. The purport of the proceedings of this synod is as follows:—(564)

"In the name of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who reigns for ever
and governs His Church, it was thought meet that we should assemble,
according to the custom prescribed in the venerable canons, to treat about
the necessary affairs of the Church. We met on the 24th day of September,
the first indiction,(565) at the place which is called Herutford: I,
Theodore, albeit unworthy, appointed by the Apostolic see bishop of the
church of Canterbury; our fellow priest and brother, the most reverend
Bisi, bishop of the East Angles; and with us also our brother and fellow
priest, Wilfrid, bishop of the nation of the Northumbrians, represented by
his proxies. There were present also our brothers and fellow priests,
Putta, bishop of the Kentish castle, called Rochester; Leutherius, bishop
of the West Saxons, and Wynfrid, bishop of the province of the
Mercians.(566) When we were all met together, and had sat down in order, I
said, ‘I beseech you, most dear brothers, for the fear and love of our
Redeemer, that we may all treat in common on behalf of our faith; to the
end that whatsoever has been decreed and defined by holy and approved
fathers, may be inviolably observed by all of us.’ This and much more I
spoke tending to charity and the preservation of the unity of the Church;
and when I had ended my preface, I asked every one of them in order,
whether they consented to observe the things that had been of old
canonically decreed by the fathers? To which all our fellow priests
answered, ‘Most assuredly we are all resolved to observe willingly and
heartily whatsoever is laid down in the canons of the holy fathers.’ Then
forthwith I produced the said book of canons,(567) and in the presence of
them all showed ten articles in the same, which I had marked in several
places, because I knew them to be of the most importance to us, and
entreated that these might be most particularly received by them all.

"Article I. That we all in common keep the holy day of Easter on the
Sunday after the fourteenth moon of the first month.

"II. That no bishop intrude into the diocese of another, but be satisfied
with the government of the people committed to him.

"III. That it shall not be lawful for any bishop to disturb in any matter
monasteries dedicated to God, nor to take away forcibly any part of their

"IV. That the monks themselves do not move from one place to another, that
is, from monastery to monastery, unless with the consent of their own
abbot; but that they continue in the obedience which they promised at the
time of their conversion.

"V. That no clerk, forsaking his own bishop, shall wander about, or be
anywhere received without commendatory letters from his diocesan. But if
he shall be once received, and will not return when summoned, both the
receiver, and he that is received shall be under excommunication.

"VI. That bishops and clergy, when travelling, shall be content with the
hospitality that is afforded them; and that it be not lawful for any one
of them to exercise any priestly function without leave of the bishop in
whose diocese he is known to be.

"VII. That a synod be assembled twice a year; but on account of divers
hindrances, it was approved by all, that we should meet once a year, on
the 1st of August, at the place called Clofeshoch.(568)

"VIII. That no bishop, through ambition, shall set himself above another;
but that they shall all observe the time and order of their consecration.

"IX. The ninth Article was discussed in common, to the effect that more
bishops should be made, as the number of the faithful increased; but this
matter for the present was passed over.(569)

"X. Of marriages; that nothing be allowed but lawful wedlock; that none
commit incest; no man leave his own wife, except it be, as the holy Gospel
teaches, for fornication. And if any man shall put away his own wife,
lawfully joined to him in matrimony, that he take no other, if he wishes
to be a true Christian, but continue as he is, or else be reconciled to
his own wife.

"These articles being thus discussed and defined in common, to the end,
that for the future, no stumbling-block of contention might arise from any
one of us, or that things be falsely set forth, it was thought fit that
every one of us should, by the subscription of his own hand, confirm all
the particulars so defined. Which judgement, as defined by us, I dictated
to be written by Titillus our notary. Given in the month and indiction
aforesaid. Whosoever, therefore, shall attempt in any way to oppose or
infringe this decision, confirmed by our consent, and by the subscription
of our hands, according to the decree of the canons, must know, that he is
excluded from all sacerdotal functions, and from our fellowship. May the
Grace of God keep us in safety, living in the unity of His Holy Church."

This synod was held in the year of our Lord 673. In which year Egbert,
king of Kent,(570) died in the month of July; his brother Hlothere(571)
succeeded him on the throne, which he held eleven years and seven months.
Bisi, the bishop of the East Angles, who is said to have been in the
aforesaid synod, a man of great saintliness and piety, was successor to
Boniface,(572) before spoken of; for when Boniface died, after having been
bishop seventeen years, he was ordained by Theodore and made bishop in his
place. Whilst he was still alive, but hindered by grievous infirmity from
administering his episcopal functions, two bishops, Aecci and Badwin, were
elected and consecrated in his place; from which time to the present, that
province has had two bishops.(573)

Chap. VI. How Wynfrid being deposed, Sexwulf received his bishopric, and
Earconwald was made bishop of the East Saxons. [675 A.D.]

Not long after these events, Theodore, the archbishop, taking offence at
some act of disobedience of Wynfrid, bishop of the Mercians,(574) deposed
him from his bishopric when he had held it but a few years, and in his
place ordained Sexwulf bishop,(575) who was founder and abbot of the
monastery which is called Medeshamstead,(576) in the country of the
Gyrwas.(577) Wynfrid, thus deposed, returned to his monastery which is
called Ad Barvae,(578) and there ended his life in holy conversation.

Theodore then also appointed Earconwald,(579) bishop of the East Saxons,
in the city of London, over whom at that time reigned Sebbi and Sighere,
of whom mention has been made above.(580) This Earconwald’s life and
conversation, as well when he was bishop as before that time, is said to
have been most holy, as is even now testified by heavenly miracles; for to
this day, his horse-litter, in which he was wont to be carried when sick,
is kept by his disciples, and continues to cure many of fevers and other
ailments; and not only sick persons who are laid under that litter, or
close by it, are cured; but the very splinters cut from it, when carried
to the sick, are wont immediately to bring healing to them.

This man, before he was made bishop, had built two famous monasteries, the
one for himself, and the other for his sister Ethelburg,(581) and
established them both in regular discipline of the best kind. That for
himself was in the district of Sudergeona, by the river Thames, at a place
called Cerotaesei,(582) that is, the Island of Cerot; that for his sister
in the province of the East Saxons, at a place called In Berecingum,(583)
wherein she might be a mother and nurse of women devoted to God. Being put
into the government of that monastery, she showed herself in all respects
worthy of her brother the bishop, by her own holy life and by her regular
and pious care of those under her rule, as was also manifested by heavenly

Chap. VII. How it was indicated by a light from heaven where the bodies of
the nuns should be buried in the monastery of Berecingum. [675 A.D.?]

In this monastery many miracles were wrought, accounts of which have been
committed to writing by those who were acquainted with them, that their
memory might be preserved, and succeeding generations edified, and these
are in the possession of many persons; some of them we also have taken
pains to include in our History of the Church. At the time of the
pestilence, already often mentioned,(584) which ravaged all the country
far and wide, it had also seized on that part of this monastery where the
men abode, and they were daily hurried away to the Lord. The careful
mother of the community began often to inquire of the sisters, when they
were gathered together; in what part of the monastery they desired to be
buried and a cemetery to be made, when the same affliction should fall
upon that part of the monastery in which the handmaids of the Lord dwelt
together apart from the men, and they should be snatched away out of this
world by the same destruction as the rest. Receiving no certain answer
from the sisters, though she often questioned them, she and all of them
received a most certain answer from the Divine Providence. For one night,
after matins had been sung, and those handmaids of Christ had gone out of
their chapel to the tombs of the brothers who had departed this life
before them, and were singing the customary songs of praise to the Lord,
on a sudden a light from heaven, like a great sheet, came down upon them
all, and struck them with such amazement, that, in consternation, they
even left off singing their hymn. But that resplendent light, in
comparison wherewith the sun at noon-day might seem dark, soon after,
rising from that place, removed to the south side of the monastery, that
is, to the westward of the chapel, and having continued there some time,
and rested upon those parts, in the sight of them all withdrew itself
again to heaven, leaving no doubt in the minds of all, but that the same
light, which was to lead or to receive the souls of those handmaids of
Christ into Heaven, also showed the place in which their bodies were to
rest and await the day of the resurrection. The radiance of this light was
so great, that one of the older brethren, who at the same time was in
their chapel with another younger than himself, related in the morning,
that the rays of light which came in at the crannies of the doors and
windows, seemed to exceed the utmost brightness of daylight.

Chap. VIII. How a little boy, dying in the same monastery, called upon a
virgin that was to follow him; and how another nun, at the point of
leaving her body, saw some small part of the future glory. [675 A.D.?]

There was, in the same monastery, a boy, not above three years old, called
Aesica; who, by reason of his tender age, was being brought up among the
virgins dedicated to God, there to learn his lessons. This child being
seized by the aforesaid pestilence, when his last hour was come, called
three times upon one of the virgins consecrated to Christ, speaking to her
by her own name, as if she had been present, Eadgyth! Eadgyth! Eadgyth!
and thus ending his temporal life, entered into that which is eternal. The
virgin, to whom he called, as he was dying, was immediately seized, where
she was, with the same sickness, and departing this life the same day on
which she had been summoned, followed him that called her into the
heavenly kingdom.

Likewise, one of the same handmaids of God, being smitten with the same
disease, and reduced to the last extremity, began on a sudden, about
midnight, to cry out to them that ministered to her, desiring they would
put out the lamp that was lighted there. And, when she had done this many
times, and yet no one did her will, at last she said, "I know that you
think I am raving, when I say this, but be assured that it is not so; for
I tell you truly, that I see this house filled with so great a light, that
that lamp of yours seems to me to be altogether dark." And when still no
one replied to what she said, or did her bidding, she added, "Burn your
lamp, then, as long as you will; but know, that it is not my light, for my
light will come to me at the dawn of day." Then she began to tell, that a
certain man of God, who had died that same year, had appeared to her,
telling her that at the break of day she should depart to the eternal
light. The truth of which vision was speedily proved by the maiden’s death
as soon as the day appeared.

Chap. IX. Of the signs which were shown from Heaven when the mother of
that community departed this life. [675 A.D.?]

Now when Ethelburg herself, the pious mother of that community devoted to
God, was about to be taken out of this world, a wonderful vision appeared
to one of the sisters, called Tortgyth; who, having lived many years in
that monastery, always endeavoured, in all humility and sincerity, to
serve God herself, and to help the mother to maintain regular discipline,
by instructing and reproving the younger ones. Now, in order that her
virtue might, according to the Apostle, be made perfect in weakness, she
was suddenly seized with a most grievous bodily disease, under which,
through the merciful providence of our Redeemer, she was sorely tried for
the space of nine years; to the end, that whatever stain of evil remained
amidst her virtues, either through ignorance or neglect, might all be
purified in the furnace of long tribulation. This woman, going out of the
chamber where she abode one night, at dusk, plainly saw as it were a human
body, which was brighter than the sun, wrapped in fine linen, and lifted
up on high, being taken out of the house in which the sisters used to
sleep. Then looking earnestly to see what it was that drew up that
appearance of the glorious body which she beheld, she perceived that it
was raised on high as it were by cords brighter than gold, until, entering
into the open heavens, it could no longer be seen by her. Reflecting on
this vision, she made no doubt that some one of the community would soon
die, and her soul be lifted up to heaven by the good works which she had
wrought, as it were by golden cords. And so in truth it befell; for a few
days after, the beloved of God, Ethelburg, mother of that community, was
delivered out of the prison of the flesh; and her life is proved to have
been such that no one who knew her ought to doubt that an entrance into
the heavenly country was open to her, when she departed from this life.

There was also, in the same monastery, a certain nun, of noble origin in
this world, and still nobler in the love of the world to come; who had,
for many years, been so disabled in all her body, that she could not move
a single limb. When she heard that the body of the venerable abbess had
been carried into the church, till it should be buried, she desired to be
carried thither, and to be placed bending towards it, after the manner of
one praying; which being done, she spoke to her as if she had been living,
and entreated her that she would obtain of the mercy of our pitiful
Creator, that she might be delivered from such great and long-continued
pains; nor was it long before her prayer was heard: for being delivered
from the flesh twelve days after, she exchanged her temporal afflictions
for an eternal reward.

For three years after the death of her Superior, the aforesaid handmaid of
Christ, Tortgyth, was detained in this life and was so far spent with the
sickness before mentioned, that her bones scarce held together. At last,
when the time of her release was at hand, she not only lost the use of her
other limbs, but also of her tongue; in which state having continued three
days and as many nights, she was, on a sudden, restored by a spiritual
vision, and opened her lips and eyes, and looking up to heaven, began thus
to speak to the vision which she saw: "Very acceptable to me is thy
coming, and thou art welcome!" Having so said, she was silent awhile, as
it were, waiting for the answer of him whom she saw and to whom she spoke;
then, as if somewhat displeased, she said, "I can in no wise gladly suffer
this;" then pausing awhile, she said again, "If it can by no means be
to-day, I beg that the delay may not be long;" and again holding her peace
a short while, she concluded thus; "If it is certainly so determined, and
the decree cannot be altered, I beg that it may be no longer deferred than
this next night." Having so said, and being asked by those about her with
whom she talked, she said, "With my most dear mother, Ethelburg;" by which
they understood, that she was come to acquaint her that the time of her
departure was at hand; for, as she had desired, after one day and night,
she was delivered alike from the bonds of the flesh and of her infirmity
and entered into the joys of eternal salvation.

Chap. X. How a blind woman, praying in the burial-place of that monastery,
was restored to her sight. [675 A.D.?]

Hildilid, a devout handmaid of God, succeeded Ethelburg in the office of
abbess and presided over that monastery with great vigour many years, till
she was of an extreme old age,(585) in the observance of regular
discipline, and carefully providing all things for the common use. The
narrowness of the space where the monastery is built, led her to determine
that the bones of the servants and handmaidens of Christ, who had been
there buried, should be taken up, and should all be translated into the
church of the Blessed Mother of God, and interred in one place. How often
a brightness of heavenly light was seen there, when this was done, and a
fragrancy of wonderful sweetness arose, and what other signs were
revealed, whosoever reads will find in the book from which we have taken
these tales.(586)

But in truth, I think it by no means fit to pass over the miracle of
healing, which the same book informs us was wrought in the cemetery of
that community dedicated to God. There lived in that neighbourhood a
certain thegn, whose wife was seized with a sudden dimness in her eyes,
and as the malady increased daily, it became so burdensome to her, that
she could not see the least glimpse of light. Having continued some time
wrapped in the night of this blindness, on a sudden she bethought herself
that she might recover her lost sight, if she were carried to the
monastery of the nuns, and there prayed at the relics of the saints. Nor
did she lose any time in fulfilling that which she had conceived in her
mind: for being conducted by her maids to the monastery, which was very
near, and professing that she had perfect faith that she should be there
healed, she was led into the cemetery, and having long prayed there on her
knees, she did not fail to be heard, for as she rose from prayer, before
she went out of the place, she received the gift of sight which she had
desired; and whereas she had been led thither by the hands of her maids,
she now returned home joyfully without help: as if she had lost the light
of this world to no other end than that she might show by her recovery how
great a light is vouchsafed to the saints of Christ in Heaven, and how
great a grace of healing power.

Chap. XI. How Sebbi, king of the same province, ended his life in a
monastery. [694 A.D.]

At that time, as the same little book informs us, Sebbi,(587) a very
devout man, of whom mention has been made above, governed the kingdom of
the East Saxons. His mind was set on religious acts, frequent prayer and
pious fruits of almsgiving; he esteemed a private and monastic life better
than all the wealth and honours of his kingdom, and he would have long
before left his kingdom and adopted that life, had not his wife firmly
refused to be divorced from him; for which reason many were of opinion and
often said that a man of such a disposition ought rather to have been made
a bishop than a king. When he had spent thirty years as a king and a
soldier of the heavenly kingdom, he fell into great bodily infirmity, of
which he afterwards died, and he admonished his wife, that they should
then at least together devote themselves to the service of God, since they
could no longer together enjoy, or rather serve, the world. Having with
much difficulty obtained this of her, he went to Waldhere, bishop of
London, who had succeeded Earconwald,(588) and with his blessing received
the religious habit, which he had long desired. He also carried to him a
considerable sum of money, to be given to the poor, reserving nothing to
himself, but rather coveting to remain poor in spirit for the sake of the
kingdom of Heaven.

When the aforesaid sickness increased, and he perceived the day of his
death to be drawing near, being a man of a royal disposition, he began to
apprehend lest, when in great pain, at the approach of death, he might
commit anything unworthy of his character, either by word or gesture.
Wherefore, calling to him the aforesaid bishop of London, in which city he
then was, he entreated him that none might be present at his death,
besides the bishop himself, and two of his own attendants. The bishop
having promised that he would most willingly grant his request, not long
after the man of God composed himself to sleep, and saw a consoling
vision, which took from him all anxiety concerning the aforesaid
uneasiness; and, moreover, showed him on what day he was to end his life.
For, as he afterwards related, he saw three men in shining garments come
to him; one of whom sat down by his bed, whilst his companions who had
come with him stood and inquired about the state of the sick man they had
come to visit, and he said that the king’s soul should quit his body
without any pain, and with a great splendour of light; and told him that
he should die the third day after. Both these things came to pass, as he
had learnt from the vision; for on the third day after, at the ninth hour,
he suddenly fell, as it were, into a light slumber, and without any sense
of pain he gave up the ghost.

A stone coffin had been prepared for his burial, but when they came to lay
him in it, they found his body a span longer than the coffin. Hereupon
they chipped away as much of the stone as they could, and made the coffin
about two inches longer; but not even so would it contain the body.
Wherefore because of this difficulty of entombing him, they had thoughts
either to get another coffin, or else to shorten the body, by bending it
at the knees, if they could, so that the coffin might contain it. But
Heaven interposed and a miracle prevented the execution of either of those
designs; for on a sudden, in the presence of the bishop and Sighard, who
was the son of that same king and monk, and who reigned after him jointly
with his brother Suefred,(589) and of no small number of men, that coffin
was found to fit the length of the body, insomuch that a pillow might even
be put in at the head; and at the feet the coffin was four inches longer
than the body. He was buried in the church of the blessed teacher of the
Gentiles,(590) by whose doctrine he had learned to hope for heavenly

Chap. XII. How Haedde succeeded Leutherius in the bishopric of the West
Saxons; how Cuichelm succeeded Putta in the bishopric of the church of
Rochester, and was himself succeeded by Gebmund; and who were then bishops
of the Northumbrians. [673-681 A.D.]

Leutherius was the fourth bishop of the West Saxons; for Birinus was the
first, Agilbert the second, and Wini the third.(591) When Coinwalch,(592)
in whose reign the said Leutherius was made bishop, died, the sub-kings
took upon them the government of the nation, and dividing it among
themselves, held it for about ten years; and during their rule he died,
and Haedde(593) succeeded him in the bishopric, having been consecrated by
Theodore, in the city of London. During his episcopate, Caedwalla,(594)
having subdued and removed the sub-kings, took upon himself the supreme
authority. When he had held it for two years, and whilst the same bishop
still governed the church, at length impelled by love of the heavenly
kingdom, he quitted it and, going away to Rome, ended his days there, as
shall be said more fully hereafter.

In the year of our Lord 676, when Ethelred, king of the Mercians,(595)
ravaged Kent with a hostile army, and profaned churches and monasteries,
without regard to pity, or the fear of God, in the general destruction he
laid waste the city of Rochester; Putta,(596) who was bishop, was absent
at that time, but when he understood that his church was ravaged, and
everything taken away from it, he went to Sexwulf, bishop of the
Mercians,(597) and having received of him a certain church, and a small
piece of land, ended his days there in peace; in no way endeavouring to
restore his bishopric, for, as has been said above, he was more
industrious in ecclesiastical than in worldly affairs; serving God only in
that church, and going wherever he was desired, to teach Church music.
Theodore consecrated Cuichelm bishop of Rochester in his stead; but he,
not long after, departing from his bishopric for want of necessaries, and
withdrawing to other parts, Gebmund was put in his place by Theodore.(598)

In the year of our Lord 678, which is the eighth of the reign of Egfrid,
in the month of August, appeared a star, called a comet, which continued
for three months, rising in the morning, and sending forth, as it were, a
tall pillar of radiant flame. The same year a dissension broke out between
King Egfrid and the most reverend prelate, Wilfrid, who was driven from
his see,(599) and two bishops substituted for him, to preside over the
nation of the Northumbrians,(600) namely, Bosa,(601) to govern the
province of the Deiri; and Eata(602) that of the Bernicians; the former
having his episcopal see in the city of York, the latter either in the
church of Hagustald, or of Lindisfarne; both of them promoted to the
episcopal dignity from a community of monks. With them also Eadhaed(603)
was ordained bishop for the province of Lindsey, which King Egfrid had but
newly acquired, having defeated Wulfhere and put him to flight;(604) and
this was the first bishop of its own which that province had; the second
was Ethelwin;(605) the third Edgar;(606) the fourth Cynibert,(607) who is
there at present. Before Eadhaed, Sexwulf(608) was bishop as well of that
province as of the Mercians and Midland Angles; so that, when expelled
from Lindsey, he continued in the government of those provinces. Eadhaed,
Bosa, and Eata, were ordained at York by archbishop Theodore;(609) who
also, three years after the departure of Wilfrid, added two bishops to
their number: Tunbert,(610) appointed to the church of Hagustald, Eata
still continuing in that of Lindisfarne; and Trumwine(611) to the province
of the Picts, which at that time was subject to English rule. Eadhaed
returning from Lindsey, because Ethelred had recovered that province,(612)
was placed by Theodore over the church of Ripon.(613)

Chap. XIII. How Bishop Wilfrid converted the province of the South Saxons
to Christ. [681 A.D.]

But Wilfrid was expelled from his bishopric, and having long travelled in
many lands, went to Rome,(614) and afterwards returned to Britain. Though
he could not, by reason of the enmity of the aforesaid king, be received
into his own country or diocese, yet he could not be restrained from the
ministry of the Gospel; for, taking his way into the province of the South
Saxons,(615) which extends from Kent to the south and west, as far as the
West Saxons, containing land of 7,000 families, and was at that time still
in bondage to pagan rites, he administered to them the Word of faith, and
the Baptism of salvation. Ethelwalch,(616) king of that nation, had been,
not long before, baptized in the province of the Mercians, at the instance
of King Wulfhere,(617) who was present, and received him as his godson
when he came forth from the font, and in token of this adoption gave him
two provinces, to wit, the Isle of Wight, and the province of the
Meanware, in the country of the West Saxons.(618) The bishop, therefore,
with the king’s consent, or rather to his great joy, cleansed in the
sacred font the foremost ealdormen and thegns of that country; and the
priests, Eappa,(619) and Padda, and Burghelm, and Oiddi, either then, or
afterwards, baptized the rest of the people. The queen, whose name was
Eabae, had been baptized in her own country, the province of the
Hwiccas.(620) She was the daughter of Eanfrid, the brother of
Aenhere,(621) who were both Christians, as were their people; but all the
province of the South Saxons was ignorant of the Name of God and the
faith. But there was among them a certain monk of the Scottish nation,
whose name was Dicul,(622) who had a very small monastery, at the place
called Bosanhamm,(623) encompassed by woods and seas, and in it there were
five or six brothers, who served the Lord in humility and poverty; but
none of the natives cared either to follow their course of life, or hear
their preaching.

But Bishop Wilfrid, while preaching the Gospel to the people, not only
delivered them from the misery of eternal damnation, but also from a
terrible calamity of temporal death. For no rain had fallen in that
district for three years before his arrival in the province, whereupon a
grievous famine fell upon the people and pitilessly destroyed them;
insomuch that it is said that often forty or fifty men, wasted with
hunger, would go together to some precipice, or to the sea-shore, and
there, hand in hand, in piteous wise cast them themselves down either to
perish by the fall, or be swallowed up by the waves. But on the very day
on which the nation received the Baptism of the faith, there fell a soft
but plentiful rain; the earth revived, the fields grew green again, and
the season was pleasant and fruitful. Thus the old superstition was cast
away, and idolatry renounced, the heart and flesh of all rejoiced in the
living God, for they perceived that He Who is the true God had enriched
them by His heavenly grace with both inward and outward blessings. For the
bishop, when he came into the province, and found so great misery from
famine there, taught them to get their food by fishing; for their sea and
rivers abounded in fish, but the people had no skill to take any of them,
except eels alone. The bishop’s men having gathered eel-nets everywhere,
cast them into the sea, and by the blessing of God took three hundred
fishes of divers sorts, which being divided into three parts, they gave a
hundred to the poor, a hundred to those of whom they had the nets, and
kept a hundred for their own use. By this benefit the bishop gained the
affections of them all, and they began more readily at his preaching to
hope for heavenly blessings, seeing that by his help they had received
those which are temporal.

At this time, King Ethelwalch gave to the most reverend prelate, Wilfrid,
land to the extent of eighty-seven families, to maintain his company who
were wandering in exile. The place is called Selaeseu,(624) that is, the
Island of the Sea-Calf; it is encompassed by the sea on all sides, except
the west, where is an entrance about the cast of a sling in width; which
sort of place is by the Latins called a peninsula, by the Greeks, a
cherronesos. Bishop Wilfrid, having this place given him, founded therein
a monastery, chiefly of the brethren he had brought with him, and
established a rule of life; and his successors are known to be there to
this day. He himself, both in word and deed performed the duties of a
bishop in those parts during the space of five years, until the death of
King Egfrid,(625) and was justly honoured by all. And forasmuch as the
king, together with the said place, gave him all the goods that were
therein, with the lands and men, he instructed all the people in the faith
of Christ, and cleansed them in the water of Baptism. Among whom were two
hundred and fifty bondsmen and bondswomen, all of whom he saved by Baptism
from slavery to the Devil, and in like manner, by giving them their
liberty, set them free from slavery to man.

Chap. XIV. How a pestilence ceased through the intercession of King
Oswald. [681-686 A.D.]

In this monastery, at that time, certain special manifestations of the
heavenly grace are said to have been shown forth; in as much as the
tyranny of the Devil had been recently cast out and Christ had begun to
reign there. Of these I have thought it proper to perpetuate the memory of
one which the most reverend Bishop Acca(626) was wont often to relate to
me, affirming that it had been told him by most creditable brothers of the
same monastery. About the same time that this province had received the
faith of Christ, a grievous pestilence fell upon many provinces of
Britain; which, also, by the Divine dispensation, reached to the aforesaid
monastery, then governed by the most religious priest of Christ,
Eappa;(627) and many, as well of those that had come thither with the
bishop, as of those of the same province of the South Saxons who had been
lately called to the faith, were snatched away out of this world. The
brethren, therefore, thought fit to keep a fast of three days, and humbly
to implore the Divine goodness to vouchsafe to have mercy on them, either
by delivering from instant death those that were in danger by reason of
the disease, or by saving those who were hurried out of this life from the
eternal damnation of their souls.

There was at that time in the monastery, a little boy, of the Saxon
nation, lately called to the faith, who had been attacked by the same
infirmity, and had long kept his bed. On the second day of the aforesaid
fasting and prayer, it happened about the second hour of the day, that
this boy was left alone in the place where he lay sick, when on a sudden,
through the Divine disposition, the most blessed chiefs of the Apostles
vouchsafed to appear to him; for he was a boy of a very simple and gentle
disposition, and with sincere devotion observed the mysteries of the faith
which he had received. The Apostles therefore, greeting him with loving
words, said, "My son, fear not death, concerning which thou art troubled;
for this day we will bring thee to the kingdom of Heaven; but first thou
must needs wait till the Masses are celebrated, that having received thy
voyage provision,(628) the Body and Blood of our Lord, and so being set
free from sickness and death, thou mayest be taken up to the everlasting
joys in Heaven.

"Call therefore to thee the priest, Eappa, and tell him, that the Lord has
heard your prayers, and has favourably looked upon your devotion and your
fast, and not one more shall die of this plague, either in the monastery
or the lands adjacent to it; but all your people who any where labour
under this sickness, shall be raised up from their weakness, and restored
to their former health, saving thee alone, who art this day to be
delivered from death, and to be carried into Heaven, to behold our Lord
Christ, whom thou hast faithfully served. This favour the Divine mercy has
vouchsafed to grant you, through the intercession of the godly King
Oswald, beloved of God, who formerly nobly ruled over the nation of the
Northumbrians, with the authority of a temporal kingdom and the devotion
of Christian piety which leads to the eternal kingdom. For this very day
that king was killed in body by the infidels in war, and straightway taken
up to Heaven to the everlasting joys of souls, and brought into fellowship
with the number of the elect. Let them look in their records,(629) wherein
the burial of the dead is set down, and they will find that he was, this
day, as we have said, taken out of this world. Let them, therefore,
celebrate Masses in all the oratories of this monastery, either in
thanksgiving because their prayers are heard, or else in memory of the
aforesaid King Oswald, who once governed their nation,(630) and therefore
humbly prayed to the Lord for them, as for converts of his nation; and let
all the brethren assemble in the church, and all communicate in the
heavenly Sacrifices, and so let them cease to fast, and refresh the body
also with the food that belongs to it."

The boy called the priest, and repeated all these words to him; and the
priest carefully inquired after the habit and form of the men that had
appeared to him. He answered, "Their habit was altogether noble, and their
countenances most pleasant and beautiful, such as I had never seen before,
nor did I think there could be any men so fair and comely. One of them
indeed was shorn like a clerk, the other had a long beard; and they said
that one of them was called Peter, the other Paul; and they were the
servants of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, sent by Him from Heaven to
protect our monastery." The priest believed what the boy said, and going
thence immediately, looked in his chronicle, and found that King Oswald
had been killed on that very day. He then called the brethren, ordered
dinner to be provided, Masses to be said, and all of them to communicate
as usual; causing also a part of the same Sacrifice of the Lord’s Oblation
to be carried to the sick boy.

Soon after this, the boy died, on that same day; and by his death proved
that the words which he had heard from the Apostles of Christ were true.
And this moreover bore witness to the truth of his words, that none
besides himself, belonging to the same monastery, was taken away at that
time. And without doubt, by this vision, many that heard of it were
wonderfully excited to implore the Divine mercy in adversity, and to
submit to the wholesome remedy of fasting. From that time, the day of
commemoration of that king and soldier of Christ began to be yearly
honoured with the celebration of Masses, not only in that monastery, but
in many other places.

Chap. XV. How King Caedwalla, king of the Gewissae, having slain
Ethelwalch, wasted that Province with cruel slaughter and devastation.
[685 A.D.]

In the meantime, Caedwalla,(631) a young man of great vigour, of the royal
race of the Gewissae,(632) an exile from his country, came with an army,
slew Ethelwalch,(633) and wasted that province with cruel slaughter and
devastation; but he was soon expelled by Berthun and Andhun, the king’s
ealdormen, who held in succession the government of the province. The
first of them was afterwards killed by the same Caedwalla, when he was
king of the Gewissae, and the province was reduced to more grievous
slavery: Ini,(634) likewise, who reigned after Caedwalla, oppressed that
country with the like servitude for many years; for which reason, during
all that time, they could have no bishop of their own; but their first
bishop, Wilfrid, having been recalled home, they were subject to the
bishop of the Gewissae, that is, the West Saxons, who were in the city of

Chap. XVI. How the Isle of Wight received Christian inhabitants, and two
royal youths of that island were killed immediately after Baptism. [686

After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he
took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to
idolatry, and by merciless slaughter endeavoured to destroy all the
inhabitants thereof, and to place in their stead people from his own
province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet
regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the
spoil to the Lord, if he took the island. He fulfilled this vow by giving
the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid, who happened at
the time to have come thither from his own people.(636) The measure of
that island, according to the computation of the English, is of twelve
hundred families, wherefore an estate of three hundred families was given
to the Bishop. The part which he received, he committed to one of his
clerks called Bernwin, who was his sister’s son, assigning to him a
priest, whose name was Hiddila, to administer the Word and laver of life
to all that would be saved.

Here I think it ought not to be omitted that, as the first fruits of those
of that island who believed and were saved, two royal boys, brothers to
Arwald, king of the island,(637) were crowned with the special grace of
God. For when the enemy approached, they made their escape out of the
island, and crossed over into the neighbouring province of the Jutes.(638)
Coming to the place called At the Stone,(639) they thought to be concealed
from the victorious king, but they were betrayed and ordered to be killed.
This being made known to a certain abbot and priest, whose name was
Cynibert, who had a monastery not far from there, at a place called
Hreutford,(640) that is, the Ford of Reeds, he came to the king, who then
lay in concealment in those parts to be cured of the wounds which he had
received whilst he was fighting in the Isle of Wight, and begged of him,
that if the boys must needs be killed, he might be allowed first to
instruct them in the mysteries of the Christian faith. The king consented,
and the bishop having taught them the Word of truth, and cleansed them in
the font of salvation, assured to them their entrance into the kingdom of
Heaven. Then the executioner came, and they joyfully underwent the
temporal death, through which they did not doubt they were to pass to the
life of the soul, which is everlasting. Thus, after this manner, when all
the provinces of Britain had received the faith of Christ, the Isle of
Wight also received the same; yet because it was suffering under the
affliction of foreign subjection, no man there received the office or see
of a bishop, before Daniel, who is now bishop of the West Saxons.(641)

The island is situated opposite the borders of the South Saxons and the
Gewissae, being separated from it by a sea, three miles wide, which is
called Solvente.(642) In this sea, the two tides of the ocean, which break
upon Britain all round its coasts from the boundless northern ocean, daily
meet in conflict beyond the mouth of the river Homelea,(643) which runs
into the aforesaid sea, through the lands of the Jutes, belonging to the
country of the Gewissae; and after this struggle of the tides, they fall
back and return into the ocean whence they come.

Chap. XVII. Of the Synod held in the plain of Haethfelth, Archbishop
Theodore being president. [680 A.D.]

About this time, Theodore being informed that the faith of the Church at
Constantinople was much perplexed by the heresy of Eutyches,(644) and
desiring that the Churches of the English, over which he presided, should
remain free from all such taint, convened an assembly of venerable bishops
and many learned men, and diligently inquired into the faith of each. He
found them all of one mind in the Catholic faith, and this he caused to be
committed to writing by the authority of the synod as a memorial, and for
the instruction of succeeding generations; the beginning of which document
is as follows:

"In the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, under the rule of our
most pious lords, Egfrid, king of of the Northumbrians, in the tenth year
of his reign, the seventeenth of September, the eighth indiction;
Ethelred, king of the Mercians, in the sixth year of his reign; Aldwulf
king of the East Angles, in the seventeenth year of his reign; and
Hlothere, king of Kent, in the seventh year of his reign;(645) Theodore,
by the grace of God, archbishop of the island of Britain, and of the city
of Canterbury, being president, and the other venerable bishops of the
island of Britain sitting with him, the holy Gospels being laid before
them, at the place which, in the Saxon tongue, is called Haethfelth,(646)
we conferred together, and set forth the right and orthodox faith, as our
Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh delivered the same to His disciples, who
beheld His Presence and heard His words, and as it is delivered by the
creed of the holy fathers, and by all holy and universal synods in
general, and by the consent of all approved doctors of the Catholic
Church. We, therefore, following them, in piety and orthodoxy, and
professing accordance with their divinely inspired doctrine, do believe
agreeably to it, and with the holy fathers confess the Father, and Son,
and Holy Ghost, to be properly and truly a Trinity consubstantial in
Unity, and Unity in Trinity, that is, one God in three Subsistences or
consubstantial persons, of equal glory and honour."

And after much more of the same sort, appertaining to the confession of
the right faith, this holy synod added to its document, "We acknowledge
the five holy and general councils(647) of the blessed fathers acceptable
to God; that is, of the 318 assembled at Nicaea, against the most impious
Arius and his tenets; and at Constantinople, of 150, against the madness
of Macedonius and Eudoxius, and their tenets; and at Ephesus, for the
first time, of 200, against the most wicked Nestorius, and his tenets; and
at Chalcedon, of 630, against Eutyches and Nestorius, and their tenets;
and again, at Constantinople, in a fifth council, in the time of Justinian
the younger,(648) against Theodorus, and the epistles of Theodoret and
Ibas, and their tenets in opposition to Cyril." And again a little lower,
"the synod held in the city of Rome, in the time of the blessed Pope
Martin,(649) in the eighth indiction, and in the ninth year of the most
pious Emperor Constantine,(650) we also acknowledge. And we glorify our
Lord Jesus Christ, as they glorified Him, neither adding aught nor taking
away; anathematizing with hearts and lips those whom they anathematized,
and receiving those whom they received; glorifying God the Father, Who is
without beginning, and His only-begotten Son, begotten of the Father
before the worlds, and the Holy Ghost proceeding ineffably from the Father
and the Son,(651) even as those holy Apostles, prophets, and doctors, whom
we have above-mentioned, did declare. And all we, who, with Archbishop
Theodore, have thus set forth the Catholic faith, thereto subscribe."

Chap. XVIII. Of John, the precentor of the Apostolic see, who came into
Britain to teach. [680 A.D.]

Among those who were present at this synod, and confirmed the decrees of
the Catholic faith, was the venerable John,(652) archchanter of the church
of the holy Apostle Peter,(653) and abbot of the monastery of the blessed
Martin, who had come lately from Rome, by order of Pope Agatho, together
with the most reverend Abbot Biscop, surnamed Benedict,(654) of whom
mention has been made above. For the said Benedict, having built a
monastery in Britain, in honour of the most blessed chief of the Apostles,
at the mouth of the river Wear, went to Rome with Ceolfrid,(655) his
companion and fellow-labourer in that work, who was after him abbot of the
same monastery; he had been several times before at Rome, and was now
honourably received by Pope Agatho of blessed memory; from whom he also
asked and obtained, in order to secure the immunities of the monastery
which he had founded, a letter of privilege confirmed by apostolic
authority, according to what he knew to be the will and grant of King
Egfrid, by whose consent and gift of land he had built that monastery.

He was also allowed to take the aforesaid Abbot John with him into
Britain, that he might teach in his monastery the system of singing
throughout the year, as it was practised at St. Peter’s at Rome.(656) The
Abbot John did as he had been commanded by the Pope, teaching the singers
of the said monastery the order and manner of singing and reading aloud,
and committing to writing all that was requisite throughout the whole
course of the year for the celebration of festivals; and these writings
are still preserved in that monastery, and have been copied by many others
elsewhere. The said John not only taught the brothers of that monastery,
but such as had skill in singing resorted from almost all the monasteries
of the same province to hear him, and many invited him to teach in other

Besides his task of singing and reading, he had also received a commission
from the Apostolic Pope, carefully to inform himself concerning the faith
of the English Church, and to give an account thereof on his return to
Rome. For he also brought with him the decision of the synod of the
blessed Pope Martin, held not long before at Rome,(657) with the consent
of one hundred and five bishops, chiefly to refute those who taught that
there is but one operation and will in Christ, and he gave it to be
transcribed in the aforesaid monastery of the most religious Abbot
Benedict. The men who followed such opinion greatly perplexed the faith of
the Church of Constantinople at that time; but by the help of God they
were then discovered and overcome.(658) Wherefore, Pope Agatho, being
desirous to be informed concerning the state of the Church in Britain, as
well as in other provinces, and to what extent it was clear from the
contagion of heretics, gave this matter in charge to the most reverend
Abbot John, then appointed to go to Britain. The synod we have spoken of
having been called for this purpose in Britain, the Catholic faith was
found untainted in all, and a report of the proceedings of the same was
given him to carry to Rome.

But in his return to his own country, soon after crossing the sea, he fell
sick and died; and his body, for the sake of St. Martin, in whose
monastery he presided, was by his friends carried to Tours,(659) and
honourably buried; for he had been kindly entertained by the Church there
on his way to Britain, and earnestly entreated by the brethren, that in
his return to Rome he would take that road, and visit their Church, and
moreover he was there supplied with men to conduct him on his way, and
assist him in the work enjoined upon him. Though he died by the way, yet
the testimony of the Catholic faith of the English nation was carried to
Rome, and received with great joy by the Apostolic Pope, and all those
that heard or read it.

Chap. XIX. How Queen Ethelthryth always preserved her virginity, and her
body suffered no corruption in the grave. [660-696 A.D.]

King Egfrid took to wife Ethelthryth, the daughter of Anna,(660) king of
the East Angles, of whom mention has been often made; a man of true
religion, and altogether noble in mind and deed. She had before been given
in marriage to another, to wit, Tondbert, ealdorman(661) of the Southern
Gyrwas; but he died soon after he had married her, and she was given to
the aforesaid king. Though she lived with him twelve years, yet she
preserved the glory of perfect virginity, as I was informed by Bishop
Wilfrid, of blessed memory, of whom I inquired, because some questioned
the truth thereof; and he told me that he was an undoubted witness to her
virginity, forasmuch as Egfrid promised to give him many lands and much
money if he could persuade the queen to consent to fulfil her marriage
duty, for he knew the queen loved no man more than himself. And it is not
to be doubted that this might take place in our age, which true histories
tell us happened sometimes in former ages, by the help of the same Lord
who promises to abide with us always, even unto the end of the world. For
the divine miracle whereby her flesh, being buried, could not suffer
corruption, is a token that she had not been defiled by man.

She had long asked of the king that he would permit her to lay aside
worldly cares, and to serve only Christ, the true King, in a monastery;
and having at length with difficulty prevailed, she entered the monastery
of the Abbess Aebba,(662) who was aunt to King Egfrid, at the place called
the city of Coludi,(663) having received the veil of the religious habit
from the hands of the aforesaid Bishop Wilfrid; but a year after she was
herself made abbess in the district called Elge,(664) where, having built
a monastery, she began, by the example of a heavenly life and by her
teaching, to be the virgin mother of many virgins dedicated to God. It is
told of her that from the time of her entering the monastery, she would
never wear any linen but only woollen garments, and would seldom wash in a
hot bath, unless just before the greater festivals, as Easter,
Whitsuntide, and the Epiphany, and then she did it last of all, when the
other handmaids of Christ who were there had been washed, served by her
and her attendants. She seldom ate more than once a day, excepting on the
greater festivals, or some urgent occasion. Always, except when grievous
sickness prevented her, from the time of matins till day-break, she
continued in the church at prayer. Some also say, that by the spirit of
prophecy she not only foretold the pestilence of which she was to die, but
also, in the presence of all, revealed the number of those that should be
then snatched away from this world out of her monastery. She was taken to
the Lord, in the midst of her flock, seven years after she had been made
abbess; and, as she had ordered, was buried among them in a wooden coffin
in her turn, according to the order in which she had passed away.

She was succeeded in the office of abbess by her sister Sexburg,(665) who
had been wife to Earconbert, king of Kent. This abbess, when her sister
had been buried sixteen years, thought fit to take up her bones, and,
putting them into a new coffin, to translate them into the church.
Accordingly she ordered some of the brothers to find a stone whereof to
make a coffin for this purpose. They went on board ship, for the district
of Ely is on every side encompassed with water and marshes, and has no
large stones, and came to a small deserted city, not far from thence,
which, in the language of the English, is called Grantacaestir,(666) and
presently, near the city walls, they found a white marble coffin,(667)
most beautifully wrought, and fitly covered with a lid of the same sort of
stone. Perceiving, therefore, that the Lord had prospered their journey,
they returned thanks to Him and carried it to the monastery.

When the grave was opened and the body of the holy virgin and bride of
Christ was brought into the light of day, it was found as free from
corruption as if she had died and been buried on that very day; as the
aforesaid Bishop Wilfrid, and many others that know it, testify. But the
physician, Cynifrid, who was present at her death, and when she was taken
up out of the grave, had more certain knowledge. He was wont to relate
that in her sickness she had a very great tumour under her jaw. "And I was
ordered," said he, "to lay open that tumour to let out the noxious matter
in it, which I did, and she seemed to be somewhat more easy for two days,
so that many thought she might recover from her infirmity; but on the
third day she was attacked by the former pains, and being soon snatched
out of the world, she exchanged all pain and death for everlasting life
and health. And when, so many years after, her bones were to be taken out
of the grave, a pavilion being spread over it, and all the congregation,
the brothers on the one side, and the sisters on the other, standing about
it singing, while the abbess, with a few others, had gone within to take
up and wash the bones, on a sudden we heard the abbess within cry out with
a loud voice, ‘Glory be to the name of the Lord.’ Not long after they
called me in, opening the door of the pavilion, and I found the body of
the holy virgin taken out of the grave and laid on a bed, like one asleep;
then taking off the veil from the face, they also showed me that the
incision which I had made was healed up; so that, in marvellous wise,
instead of the open gaping wound with which she had been buried, there
then appeared only the slightest trace of a scar. Besides, all the linen
clothes in which the body had been wrapped, appeared entire and as fresh
as if they had been that very day put about her chaste limbs."

It is said that when she was sore troubled with the aforesaid tumour and
pain in her jaw and neck, she took great pleasure in that sort of
sickness, and was wont to say, "I know of a surety that I deservedly bear
the weight of my trouble on my neck, for I remember that, when I was a
young maiden, I bore on it the needless weight of necklaces;(668) and
therefore I believe the Divine goodness would have me endure the pain in
my neck, that so I may be absolved from the guilt of my needless levity,
having now, instead of gold and pearls, the fiery heat of a tumour rising
on my neck." It happened also that by the touch of those same linen
clothes devils were expelled from bodies possessed, and other diseases
were at divers times healed; and the coffin wherein she was first buried
is said to have cured some of infirmities of the eyes, who, praying with
their heads resting upon that coffin, were presently relieved of the pain
or dimness in their eyes. So they washed the virgin’s body, and having
clothed it in new garments, brought it into the church, and laid it in the
sarcophagus that had been brought, where it is held in great veneration to
this day. The sarcophagus was found in a wonderful manner to fit the
virgin’s body as if it had been made purposely for her, and the place for
the head, which was fashioned separately, appeared exactly shaped to the
measurement of her head.

Elge is in the province of the East Angles, a district of about six
hundred families, of the nature of an island, encompassed, as has been
said, with marshes or waters, and therefore it has its name from the great
plenty of eels taken in those marshes; there the aforesaid handmaid of
Christ desired to have a monastery, because, as we have before mentioned,
she came, according to the flesh, of that same province of the East

Chap. XX. A Hymn concerning her.

It seems fitting to insert in this history a hymn concerning virginity,
which we composed in elegiac verse many years ago, in praise and honour of
the same queen and bride of Christ, and therefore truly a queen, because
the bride of Christ; and to imitate the method of Holy Scripture, wherein
many songs are inserted in the history, and these, as is well known, are
composed in metre and verse.

"Trinity,(669) Gracious, Divine, Who rulest all the ages; favour my task,
Trinity, Gracious, Divine.

"Let Maro sound the trumpet of war, let us sing the gifts of peace; the
gifts of Christ we sing, let Maro sound the trumpet of war.

"Chaste is my song, no rape of guilty Helen; light tales shall be told by
the wanton, chaste is my song.

"I will tell of gifts from Heaven, not wars of hapless Troy; I will tell
of gifts from Heaven, wherein the earth is glad.

"Lo! the high God comes to the womb of a holy virgin, to be the Saviour of
men, lo! the high God comes.

"A hallowed maid gives birth to Him Who gave the world its being; Mary,
the gate of God, a maiden gives Him birth.

"The company of her fellows rejoices over the Virgin Mother of Him Who
wields the thunder; a shining virgin band, the company of her fellows

"Her honour has made many a blossom to spring from that pure shoot, virgin
blossoms her honour has made to spring.

"Scorched by the fierce flames, the maiden Agatha(670) yielded not; in
like manner Eulalia endures, scorched by the fierce flames.

"The lofty soul of chaste Tecla overcomes the wild beasts; chaste Euphemia
overcomes the accursed wild beasts.

"Agnes joyously laughs at the sword, herself stronger than steel, Cecilia
joyously laughs at the foemen’s sword.

"Many a triumph is mighty throughout the world in temperate hearts;
throughout the world love of the temperate life is mighty.

"Yea, and our day likewise a peerless maiden has blessed; peerless our
Ethelthryth shines.

"Child of a noble sire, and glorious by royal birth, more noble in her
Lord’s sight, the child of a noble sire.

"Thence she receives queenly honour and a sceptre in this world; thence
she receives honour, awaiting higher honour above.

"What need, gracious lady, to seek an earthly lord, even now given to the
Heavenly Bridegroom?

"Christ is at hand, the Bridegroom (why seek an earthly lord?) that thou
mayst follow even now, methinks, in the steps of the Mother of Heaven’s
King, that thou too mayst be a mother in God.

"Twelve years(671) she had reigned, a bride dedicated to God, then in the
cloister dwelt, a bride dedicated to God.

"To Heaven all consecrated she lived, abounding in lofty deeds, then to
Heaven all consecrated she gave up her soul.

"Twice eight Novembers(672) the maid’s fair flesh lay in the tomb, nor did
the maid’s fair flesh see corruption in the tomb.

"This was Thy work, O Christ, that her very garments were bright and
undefiled even in the grave; O Christ, this was Thy work.

"The dark serpent(673) flies before the honour due to the holy raiment;
disease is driven away, and the dark serpent flies.

"Rage fills the foe who of old conquered Eve; exultant the maiden triumphs
and rage fills the foe.

"Behold, O bride of God, thy glory upon earth; the glory that awaits thee
in the Heavens behold, O bride of God.

"In gladness thou receivest gifts, bright amidst the festal torches;
behold! the Bridegroom comes, in gladness thou receivest gifts.

"And a new song thou singest to the tuneful harp; a new-made bride, thou
exultest in the tuneful hymn.

"None can part her from them which follow the Lamb enthroned on high, whom
none had severed from the Love enthroned on high."

Chap. XXI. How Bishop Theodore made peace between the kings Egfrid and
Ethelred. [679 A.D.]

In the ninth year of the reign of King Egfrid, a great battle(674) was
fought between him and Ethelred, king of the Mercians, near the river
Trent, and Aelfwine,(675) brother to King Egfrid, was slain, a youth about
eighteen years of age, and much beloved by both provinces; for King
Ethelred had married his sister Osthryth.(676) There was now reason to
expect a more bloody war, and more lasting enmity between those kings and
their fierce nations; but Theodore, the bishop, beloved of God, relying on
the Divine aid, by his wholesome admonitions wholly extinguished the
dangerous fire that was breaking out; so that the kings and their people
on both sides were appeased, and no man was put to death, but only the due
mulct(677) paid to the king who was the avenger for the death of his
brother; and this peace continued long after between those kings and
between their kingdoms.

Chap. XXII. How a certain captive’s chains fell off when Masses were sung
for him. [679 A.D.]

In the aforesaid battle, wherein King Aelfwine was killed, a memorable
incident is known to have happened, which I think ought by no means to be
passed over in silence; for the story will be profitable to the salvation
of many. In that battle a youth called Imma, one of the king’s thegns, was
struck down, and having lain as if dead all that day and the next night
among the bodies of the slain, at length he came to himself and revived,
and sitting up, bound his own wounds as best as he could. Then having
rested awhile, he stood up, and went away to see if he could find any
friends to take care of him; but in so doing he was discovered and taken
by some of the enemy’s army, and carried before their lord, who was one of
King Ethelred’s nobles.(678) Being asked by him who he was, and fearing to
own himself a thegn, he answered that he was a peasant, a poor man and
married, and he declared that he had come to the war with others like
himself to bring provisions to the army. The noble entertained him, and
ordered his wounds to be dressed, and when he began to recover, to prevent
his escaping, he ordered him to be bound at night. But he could not be
bound, for as soon as they that bound him were gone, his bonds were

Now he had a brother called Tunna, who was a priest and abbot of a
monastery in the city which is still called Tunnacaestir after him.(679)
This man, hearing that his brother had been killed in the battle, went to
see if haply he could find his body; and finding another very like him in
all respects, he believed it to be his. So he carried it to his monastery,
and buried it honourably, and took care often to say Masses for the
absolution of his soul; the celebration whereof occasioned what I have
said, that none could bind him but he was presently loosed again. In the
meantime, the noble that had kept him was amazed, and began to inquire why
he could not be bound; whether perchance he had any spells about him, such
as are spoken of in stories. He answered that he knew nothing of those
arts; "but I have," said he, "a brother who is a priest in my country, and
I know that he, supposing me to be killed, is saying frequent Masses for
me; and if I were now in the other life, my soul there, through his
intercession, would be delivered from penalty."

When he had been a prisoner with the noble some time, those who
attentively observed him, by his countenance, habit, and discourse, took
notice, that he was not of the meaner sort, as he had said, but of some
quality. The noble then privately sending for him, straitly questioned
him, whence he came, promising to do him no harm on that account if he
would frankly confess who he was. This he did, declaring that he had been
a thegn of the king’s, and the noble answered, "I perceived by all your
answers that you were no peasant. And now you deserve to die, because all
my brothers and relations were killed in that fight; yet I will not put
you to death, that I may not break my promise."

As soon, therefore, as he was recovered, he sold him to a certain Frisian
at London, but he could not in any wise be bound either by him, or as he
was being led thither. But when his enemies had put all manner of bonds on
him, and the buyer perceived that he could in no way be bound, he gave him
leave to ransom himself if he could. Now it was at the third hour, when
the Masses were wont to be said, that his bonds were most frequently
loosed. He, having taken an oath that he would either return, or send his
owner the money for the ransom, went into Kent to King Hlothere, who was
son to the sister of Queen Ethelthryth,(680) above spoken of, for he had
once been that queen’s thegn. From him he asked and obtained the price of
his freedom, and as he had promised, sent it to his master for his ransom.

Returning afterwards into his own country, and coming to his brother, he
gave him an exact account of all his misfortunes, and the consolation
afforded to him in them; and from what his brother told him he understood,
that his bonds had been generally loosed at those times when Masses had
been celebrated for him; and he perceived that other advantages and
blessings which had fallen to his lot in his time of danger, had been
conferred on him from Heaven, through the intercession of his brother, and
the Oblation of the saving Sacrifice. Many, on hearing this account from
the aforesaid man, were stirred up in faith and pious devotion to prayer,
or to alms-giving, or to make an offering to God of the Sacrifice of the
holy Oblation, for the deliverance of their friends who had departed this
world; for they knew that such saving Sacrifice availed for the eternal
redemption both of body and soul. This story was also told me by some of
those who had heard it related by the man himself to whom it happened;
therefore, since I had a clear understanding of it, I have not hesitated
to insert it in my Ecclesiastical History.

Chap. XXIII. Of the life and death of the Abbess Hilda. [614-680 A.D.]

In the year after this, that is the year of our Lord 680, the most
religious handmaid of Christ, Hilda,(681) abbess of the monastery that is
called Streanaeshalch,(682) as we mentioned above, after having done many
heavenly deeds on earth, passed thence to receive the rewards of the
heavenly life, on the 17th of November, at the age of sixty-six years. Her
life falls into two equal parts, for the first thirty-three years of it
she spent living most nobly in the secular habit; and still more nobly
dedicated the remaining half to the Lord in the monastic life. For she was
nobly born, being the daughter of Hereric,(683) nephew to King Edwin, and
with that king she also received the faith and mysteries of Christ, at the
preaching of Paulinus, of blessed memory,(684) the first bishop of the
Northumbrians, and preserved the same undefiled till she attained to the
vision of our Lord in Heaven.

When she had resolved to quit the secular habit, and to serve Him alone,
she withdrew into the province of the East Angles, for she was allied to
the king there;(685) being desirous to cross over thence into Gaul,
forsaking her native country and all that she had, and so to live a
stranger for our Lord’s sake in the monastery of Cale,(686) that she might
the better attain to the eternal country in heaven. For her sister
Heresuid, mother to Aldwulf,(687) king of the East Angles, was at that
time living in the same monastery, under regular discipline, waiting for
an everlasting crown; and led by her example, she continued a whole year
in the aforesaid province, with the design of going abroad; but
afterwards, Bishop Aidan recalled her to her home, and she received land
to the extent of one family on the north side of the river Wear;(688)
where likewise for a year she led a monastic life, with very few

After this she was made abbess in the monastery called Heruteu,(689) which
monastery had been founded, not long before, by the pious handmaid of
Christ, Heiu,(690) who is said to have been the first woman in the
province of the Northumbrians who took upon her the vows and habit of a
nun, being consecrated by Bishop Aidan; but she, soon after she had
founded that monastery, retired to the city of Calcaria,(691) which is
called Kaelcacaestir by the English, and there fixed her dwelling. Hilda,
the handmaid of Christ, being set over that monastery, began immediately
to order it in all things under a rule of life, according as she had been
instructed by learned men; for Bishop Aidan, and others of the religious
that knew her, frequently visited her and loved her heartily, and
diligently instructed her, because of her innate wisdom and love of the
service of God.

When she had for some years governed this monastery, wholly intent upon
establishing a rule of life, it happened that she also undertook either to
build or to set in order a monastery in the place called Streanaeshalch,
and this work which was laid upon her she industriously performed; for she
put this monastery under the same rule of monastic life as the former; and
taught there the strict observance of justice, piety, chastity, and other
virtues, and particularly of peace and charity; so that, after the example
of the primitive Church, no one there was rich, and none poor, for they
had all things common, and none had any private property. Her prudence was
so great, that not only meaner men in their need, but sometimes even kings
and princes, sought and received her counsel; she obliged those who were
under her direction to give so much time to reading of the Holy
Scriptures, and to exercise themselves so much in works of justice, that
many might readily be found there fit for the priesthood and the service
of the altar.

Indeed we have seen five from that monastery who afterwards became
bishops, and all of them men of singular merit and sanctity, whose names
were Bosa,(692) Aetla,(693) Oftfor,(694) John,(695) and Wilfrid.(696) Of
the first we have said above that he was consecrated bishop of York; of
the second, it may be briefly stated that he was appointed bishop of
Dorchester. Of the last two we shall tell hereafter, that the former was
ordained bishop of Hagustald, the other of the church of York; of the
third, we may here mention that, having applied himself to the reading and
observance of the Scriptures in both the monasteries of the Abbess
Hilda,(697) at length being desirous to attain to greater perfection, he
went into Kent, to Archbishop Theodore, of blessed memory; where having
spent some time in sacred studies, he resolved to go to Rome also, which,
in those days, was esteemed a very salutary undertaking. Returning thence
into Britain, he took his way into the province of the Hwiccas,(698) where
King Osric then ruled,(699) and continued there a long time, preaching the
Word of faith, and showing an example of good life to all that saw and
heard him. At that time, Bosel, the bishop of that province,(700) laboured
under such weakness of body, that he could not himself perform episcopal
functions; for which reason, Oftfor was, by universal consent, chosen
bishop in his stead, and by order of King Ethelred,(701) consecrated by
Bishop Wilfrid,(702) of blessed memory, who was then Bishop of the Midland
Angles, because Archbishop Theodore was dead, and no other bishop ordained
in his place. A little while before, that is, before the election of the
aforesaid man of God, Bosel, Tatfrid,(703) a man of great industry and
learning, and of excellent ability, had been chosen bishop for that
province, from the monastery of the same abbess, but had been snatched
away by an untimely death, before he could be ordained.

Thus this handmaid of Christ, the Abbess Hilda, whom all that knew her
called Mother, for her singular piety and grace, was not only an example
of good life, to those that lived in her monastery, but afforded occasion
of amendment and salvation to many who lived at a distance, to whom the
blessed fame was brought of her industry and virtue. For it was meet that
the dream of her mother, Bregusuid, during her infancy, should be
fulfilled. Now Bregusuid, at the time that her husband, Hereric, lived in
banishment, under Cerdic,(704) king of the Britons, where he was also
poisoned, fancied, in a dream, that he was suddenly taken away from her
and she was seeking for him most carefully, but could find no sign of him
anywhere. After an anxious search for him, all at once she found a most
precious necklace under her garment, and whilst she was looking on it very
attentively, it seemed to shine forth with such a blaze of light that it
filled all Britain with the glory of its brilliance. This dream was
doubtless fulfilled in her daughter that we speak of, whose life was an
example of the works of light, not only blessed to herself, but to many
who desired to live aright.

When she had governed this monastery many years, it pleased Him Who has
made such merciful provision for our salvation, to give her holy soul the
trial of a long infirmity of the flesh, to the end that, according to the
Apostle’s example, her virtue might be made perfect in weakness. Struck
down with a fever, she suffered from a burning heat, and was afflicted
with the same trouble for six years continually; during all which time she
never failed either to return thanks to her Maker, or publicly and
privately to instruct the flock committed to her charge; for taught by her
own experience she admonished all men to serve the Lord dutifully, when
health of body is granted to them, and always to return thanks faithfully
to Him in adversity, or bodily infirmity. In the seventh year of her
sickness, when the disease turned inwards, her last day came, and about
cockcrow, having received the voyage provision(705) of Holy Housel, and
called together the handmaids of Christ that were within the same
monastery, she admonished them to preserve the peace of the Gospel among
themselves, and with all others; and even as she spoke her words of
exhortation, she joyfully saw death come, or, in the words of our Lord,
passed from death unto life.

That same night it pleased Almighty God, by a manifest vision, to make
known her death in another monastery, at a distance from hers, which she
had built that same year, and which is called Hacanos.(706) There was in
that monastery, a certain nun called Begu,(707) who, having dedicated her
virginity to the Lord, had served Him upwards of thirty years in the
monastic life. This nun was resting in the dormitory of the sisters, when
on a sudden she heard in the air the well-known sound of the bell, which
used to awake and call them to prayers, when any one of them was taken out
of this world, and opening her eyes, as she thought, she saw the roof of
the house open, and a light shed from above filling all the place. Looking
earnestly upon that light, she saw the soul of the aforesaid handmaid of
God in that same light, being carried to heaven attended and guided by
angels. Then awaking, and seeing the other sisters lying round about her,
she perceived that what she had seen had been revealed to her either in a
dream or a vision; and rising immediately in great fear, she ran to the
virgin who then presided in the monastery in the place of the abbess,(708)
and whose name was Frigyth, and, with many tears and lamentations, and
heaving deep sighs, told her that the Abbess Hilda, mother of them all,
had departed this life, and had in her sight ascended to the gates of
eternal light, and to the company of the citizens of heaven, with a great
light, and with angels for her guides. Frigyth having heard it, awoke all
the sisters, and calling them to the church, admonished them to give
themselves to prayer and singing of psalms, for the soul of their mother;
which they did earnestly during the remainder of the night; and at break
of day, the brothers came with news of her death, from the place where she
had died. They answered that they knew it before, and then related in
order how and when they had learnt it, by which it appeared that her death
had been revealed to them in a vision that same hour in which the brothers
said that she had died. Thus by a fair harmony of events Heaven ordained,
that when some saw her departure out of this world, the others should have
knowledge of her entrance into the eternal life of souls. These
monasteries are about thirteen miles distant from each other.

It is also told, that her death was, in a vision, made known the same
night to one of the virgins dedicated to God, who loved her with a great
love, in the same monastery where the said handmaid of God died. This nun
saw her soul ascend to heaven in the company of angels; and this she
openly declared, in the very same hour that it happened, to those
handmaids of Christ that were with her; and aroused them to pray for her
soul, even before the rest of the community had heard of her death. The
truth of which was known to the whole community in the morning. This same
nun was at that time with some other handmaids of Christ, in the remotest
part of the monastery, where the women who had lately entered the monastic
life were wont to pass their time of probation, till they were instructed
according to rule, and admitted into the fellowship of the community.

Chap. XXIV. That there was in her monastery a brother, on whom the gift of
song was bestowed by Heaven.(709) [680 A.D.]

There was in the monastery of this abbess a certain brother, marked in a
special manner by the grace of God, for he was wont to make songs of piety
and religion, so that whatever was expounded to him out of Scripture, he
turned ere long into verse expressive of much sweetness and penitence, in
English, which was his native language. By his songs the minds of many
were often fired with contempt of the world, and desire of the heavenly
life. Others of the English nation after him attempted to compose
religious poems, but none could equal him, for he did not learn the art of
poetry from men, neither was he taught by man, but by God’s grace he
received the free gift of song, for which reason he never could compose
any trivial or vain poem, but only those which concern religion it behoved
his religious tongue to utter. For having lived in the secular habit till
he was well advanced in years, he had never learned anything of
versifying; and for this reason sometimes at a banquet, when it was agreed
to make merry by singing in turn, if he saw the harp come towards him, he
would rise up from table and go out and return home.

Once having done so and gone out of the house where the banquet was, to
the stable, where he had to take care of the cattle that night, he there
composed himself to rest at the proper time. Thereupon one stood by him in
his sleep, and saluting him, and calling him by his name, said, "Caedmon,
sing me something." But he answered, "I cannot sing, and for this cause I
left the banquet and retired hither, because I could not sing." Then he
who talked to him replied, "Nevertheless thou must needs sing to me."
"What must I sing?" he asked. "Sing the beginning of creation," said the
other. Having received this answer he straightway began to sing verses to
the praise of God the Creator, which he had never heard, the purport
whereof was after this manner: "Now must we praise the Maker of the
heavenly kingdom, the power of the Creator and His counsel, the deeds of
the Father of glory. How He, being the eternal God, became the Author of
all wondrous works, Who being the Almighty Guardian of the human race,
first created heaven for the sons of men to be the covering of their
dwelling place, and next the earth." This is the sense but not the order
of the words as he sang them in his sleep; for verses, though never so
well composed, cannot be literally translated out of one language into
another without loss of their beauty and loftiness. Awaking from his
sleep, he remembered all that he had sung in his dream, and soon added
more after the same manner, in words which worthily expressed the praise
of God.

In the morning he came to the reeve(710) who was over him, and having told
him of the gift he had received, was conducted to the abbess, and bidden,
in the presence of many learned men, to tell his dream, and repeat the
verses, that they might all examine and give their judgement upon the
nature and origin of the gift whereof he spoke. And they all judged that
heavenly grace had been granted to him by the Lord. They expounded to him
a passage of sacred history or doctrine, enjoining upon him, if he could,
to put it into verse. Having undertaken this task, he went away, and
returning the next morning, gave them the passage he had been bidden to
translate, rendered in most excellent verse. Whereupon the abbess,
joyfully recognizing the grace of God in the man, instructed him to quit
the secular habit, and take upon him monastic vows; and having received
him into the monastery, she and all her people admitted him to the company
of the brethren, and ordered that he should be taught the whole course of
sacred history. So he, giving ear to all that he could learn, and bearing
it in mind, and as it were ruminating, like a clean animal,(711) turned it
into most harmonious verse; and sweetly singing it, made his masters in
their turn his hearers. He sang the creation of the world, the origin of
man, and all the history of Genesis, the departure of the children of
Israel out of Egypt, their entrance into the promised land, and many other
histories from Holy Scripture; the Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection of
our Lord, and His Ascension into heaven; the coming of the Holy Ghost, and
the teaching of the Apostles; likewise he made many songs concerning the
terror of future judgement, the horror of the pains of hell, and the joys
of heaven; besides many more about the blessings and the judgements of
God, by all of which he endeavoured to draw men away from the love of sin,
and to excite in them devotion to well-doing and perseverance therein. For
he was a very religious man, humbly submissive to the discipline of
monastic rule, but inflamed with fervent zeal against those who chose to
do otherwise; for which reason he made a fair ending of his life.

For when the hour of his departure drew near, it was preceded by a bodily
infirmity under which he laboured for the space of fourteen days, yet it
was of so mild a nature that he could talk and go about the whole time. In
his neighbourhood was the house to which those that were sick, and like to
die, were wont to be carried. He desired the person that ministered to
him, as the evening came on of the night in which he was to depart this
life, to make ready a place there for him to take his rest. The man,
wondering why he should desire it, because there was as yet no sign of his
approaching death, nevertheless did his bidding. When they had lain down
there, and had been conversing happily and pleasantly for some time with
those that were in the house before, and it was now past midnight, he
asked them, whether they had the Eucharist within?(712) They answered,
"What need of the Eucharist? for you are not yet appointed to die, since
you talk so merrily with us, as if you were in good health."
"Nevertheless," said he, "bring me the Eucharist." Having received It into
his hand, he asked, whether they were all in charity with him, and had no
complaint against him, nor any quarrel or grudge. They answered, that they
were all in perfect charity with him, and free from all anger; and in
their turn they asked him to be of the same mind towards them. He answered
at once, "I am in charity, my children, with all the servants of God."
Then strengthening himself with the heavenly Viaticum, he prepared for the
entrance into another life, and asked how near the time was when the
brothers should be awakened to sing the nightly praises of the Lord?(713)
They answered, "It is not far off." Then he said, "It is well, let us
await that hour;" and signing himself with the sign of the Holy Cross, he
laid his head on the pillow, and falling into a slumber for a little
while, so ended his life in silence.

Thus it came to pass, that as he had served the Lord with a simple and
pure mind, and quiet devotion, so he now departed to behold His Presence,
leaving the world by a quiet death; and that tongue, which had uttered so
many wholesome words in praise of the Creator, spake its last words also
in His praise, while he signed himself with the Cross, and commended his
spirit into His hands; and by what has been here said, he seems to have
had foreknowledge of his death.

Chap. XXV. Of the vision that appeared to a certain man of God before the
monastery of the city Coludi was burned down.

At this time, the monastery of virgins, called the city of Coludi,(714)
above-mentioned, was burned down, through carelessness; and yet all that
knew it might have been aware that it happened by reason of the wickedness
of those who dwelt in it, and chiefly of those who seemed to be the
greatest. But there wanted not a warning of the approaching punishment
from the Divine mercy whereby they might have been led to amend their
ways, and by fasting and tears and prayers, like the Ninevites, have
averted the anger of the just Judge.

For there was in that monastery a man of the Scottish race, called
Adamnan,(715) leading a life entirely devoted to God in continence and
prayer, insomuch that he never took any food or drink, except only on
Sundays and Thursdays; and often spent whole nights in watching and
prayer. This strictness in austerity of life he had first adopted from the
necessity of correcting the evil that was in him; but in process of time
the necessity became a custom.

For in his youth he had been guilty of some sin for which, when he came to
himself, he conceived a great horror, and dreaded lest he should be
punished for the same by the righteous Judge. Betaking himself, therefore,
to a priest, who, he hoped, might show him the way of salvation, he
confessed his guilt, and desired to be advised how he might escape the
wrath to come. The priest having heard his offence, said, "A great wound
requires greater care in the healing thereof; wherefore give yourself as
far as you are able to fasting and psalms, and prayer, to the end that
thus coming before the presence of the Lord in confession,"(716) you may
find Him merciful. But he, being oppressed with great grief by reason of
his guilty conscience, and desiring to be the sooner loosed from the
inward fetters of sin, which lay heavy upon him, answered, "I am still
young in years and strong of body, and shall, therefore, easily bear all
whatsoever you shall enjoin me to do, if so be that I may be saved in the
day of the Lord, even though you should bid me spend the whole night
standing in prayer, and pass the whole week in abstinence." The priest
replied, "It is much for you to continue for a whole week without bodily
sustenance; it is enough to observe a fast for two or three days; do this
till I come again to you in a short time, when I will more fully show you
what you ought to do, and how long to persevere in your penance." Having
so said, and prescribed the measure of his penance, the priest went away,
and upon some sudden occasion passed over into Ireland, which was his
native country, and returned no more to him, as he had appointed. But the
man remembering this injunction and his own promise, gave himself up
entirely to tears of penitence, holy vigils and continence; so that he
only took food on Thursdays and Sundays, as has been said; and continued
fasting all the other days of the week. When he heard that his priest had
gone to Ireland, and had died there, he ever after observed this manner of
abstinence, which had been appointed for him as we have said; and as he
had begun that course through the fear of God, in penitence for his guilt,
so he still continued the same unremittingly for the love of God, and
through delight in its rewards.

Having practised this carefully for a long time, it happened that he had
gone on a certain day to a distance from the monastery, accompanied by one
the brothers; and as they were returning from this journey, when they drew
near to the monastery, and beheld its lofty buildings, the man of God
burst into tears, and his countenance discovered the trouble of his heart.
His companion, perceiving it, asked what was the reason, to which he
answered: "The time is at hand when a devouring fire shall reduce to ashes
all the buildings which you here behold, both public and private." The
other, hearing these words, when they presently came into the monastery,
told them to Aebba,(717) the mother of the community. She with good cause
being much troubled at that prediction, called the man to her, and
straitly questioned him concerning the matter and how he came to know it.
He answered, "Being engaged one night lately in watching and singing
psalms, on a sudden I saw one standing by me whose countenance I did not
know, and I was startled at his presence, but he bade me not to fear, and
speaking to me like a friend he said, ‘You do well in that you have chosen
rather at this time of rest not to give yourself up to sleep, but to
continue in watching and prayer.’ I answered, ‘I know I have great need to
continue in wholesome watching and earnest prayer to the Lord to pardon my
transgressions.’ He replied, ‘You speak truly, for you and many more have
need to redeem their sins by good works, and when they cease from temporal
labours, then to labour the more eagerly for desire of eternal blessings;
but this very few do; for I, having now gone through all this monastery in
order, have looked into the huts(718) and beds of all, and found none of
them except yourself busy about the health of his soul; but all of them,
both men and women, are either sunk in slothful sleep, or are awake in
order to commit sin; for even the cells that were built for prayer or
reading, are now converted into places of feasting, drinking, talking, and
other delights; the very virgins dedicated to God, laying aside the
respect due to their profession, whensoever they are at leisure, apply
themselves to weaving fine garments, wherewith to adorn themselves like
brides, to the danger of their state, or to gain the friendship of strange
men; for which reason, as is meet, a heavy judgement from Heaven with
raging fire is ready to fall on this place and those that dwell
therein.’ " The abbess said, "Why did you not sooner reveal to me what you
knew?" He answered, "I was afraid to do it, out of respect to you, lest
you should be too much afflicted; yet you may have this comfort, that the
blow will not fall in your days." This vision being made known, the
inhabitants of that place were for a few days in some little fear, and
leaving off their sins, began to do penance; but after the death of the
abbess they returned to their former defilement, nay, they committed worse
sins; and when they said "Peace and safety," the doom of the aforesaid
judgement came suddenly upon them.

That all this fell out after this manner, was told me by my most reverend
fellow-priest, Aedgils, who then lived in that monastery. Afterwards, when
many of the inhabitants had departed thence, on account of the
destruction, he lived a long time in our monastery,(719) and died there.
We have thought fit to insert this in our History, to admonish the reader
of the works of the Lord, how terrible He is in His doing toward the
children of men, lest haply we should at some time or other yield to the
snares of the flesh, and dreading too little the judgement of God, fall
under His sudden wrath, and either in His righteous anger be brought low
with temporal losses, or else be more strictly tried and snatched away to
eternal perdition.

Chap. XXVI. Of the death of the Kings Egfrid and Hlothere. [684-685 A.D.]

In the year of our Lord 684, Egfrid, king of the Northumbrians, sending
his general, Berct,(720) with an army into Ireland, miserably laid waste
that unoffending nation, which had always been most friendly to the
English; insomuch that the invading force spared not even the churches or
monasteries. But the islanders, while to the utmost of their power they
repelled force with force, implored the assistance of the Divine mercy,
and with constant imprecations invoked the vengeance of Heaven; and though
such as curse cannot inherit the kingdom of God, yet it was believed, that
those who were justly cursed on account of their impiety, soon suffered
the penalty of their guilt at the avenging hand of God. For the very next
year, when that same king had rashly led his army to ravage the province
of the Picts,(721) greatly against the advice of his friends, and
particularly of Cuthbert,(722) of blessed memory, who had been lately
ordained bishop, the enemy made a feigned retreat, and the king was drawn
into a narrow pass among remote mountains,(723) and slain, with the
greater part of the forces he had led thither, on the 20th of May, in the
fortieth year of his age, and the fifteenth of his reign.(724) His
friends, as has been said, advised him not to engage in this war; but
since he had the year before refused to listen to the most reverend
father, Egbert,(725) advising him not to attack the Scots, who were doing
him no harm, it was laid upon him as a punishment for his sin, that he
should now not listen to those who would have prevented his death.

From that time the hopes and strength of the Anglian kingdom "began to ebb
and fall away;"(726) for the Picts recovered their own lands, which had
been held by the English, and so did also the Scots that were in Britain;
and some of the Britons(727) regained their liberty, which they have now
enjoyed for about forty-six years. Among the many English that then either
fell by the sword, or were made slaves, or escaped by flight out of the
country of the Picts, the most reverend man of God, Trumwine,(728) who had
been made bishop over them, withdrew with his people that were in the
monastery of Aebbercurnig,(729) in the country of the English, but close
by the arm of the sea which is the boundary between the lands of the
English and the Picts. Having commended his followers, wheresoever he
could, to his friends in the monasteries, he chose his own place of abode
in the monastery, which we have so often mentioned, of servants and
handmaids of God, at Streanaeshalch;(730) and there for many years, with a
few of his own brethren, he led a life in all monastic austerity, not only
to his own benefit, but to the benefit of many others, and dying there, he
was buried in the church of the blessed Peter the Apostle,(731) with the
honour due to his life and rank. The royal virgin, Elfled,(732) with her
mother, Eanfled, whom we have mentioned before, then presided over that
monastery; but when the bishop came thither, that devout teacher found in
him the greatest help in governing, and comfort in her private life.
Aldfrid(733) succeeded Egfrid in the throne, being a man most learned in
the Scriptures, said to be brother to Egfrid, and son to King Oswy; he
nobly retrieved the ruined state of the kingdom, though within narrower

The same year, being the 685th from the Incarnation of our Lord,
Hlothere,(734) king of Kent, died on the 6th of February, when he had
reigned twelve years after his brother Egbert,(735) who had reigned nine
years: he was wounded in battle with the South Saxons, whom Edric,(736)
the son of Egbert, had raised against him, and died whilst his wound was
being dressed. After him, this same Edric reigned a year and a half. On
his death, kings of doubtful title, or of foreign origin,(737) for some
time wasted the kingdom, till the lawful king, Wictred,(738) the son of
Egbert, being settled in the throne, by his piety and zeal delivered his
nation from foreign invasion.

Chap. XXVII. How Cuthbert, a man of God, was made bishop; and how he lived
and taught whilst still in the monastic life. [685 A.D.]

In the same year in which King Egfrid departed this life,(739) he, as has
been said, caused the holy and venerable Cuthbert(740) to be ordained
bishop of the church of Lindisfarne. He had for many years led a solitary
life, in great continence of body and mind, in a very small island, called
Farne,(741) in the ocean about nine miles distant from that same church.
From his earliest childhood(742) he had always been inflamed with the
desire of a religious life; and he adopted the name and habit of a monk
when he was quite a young man: he first entered the monastery of
Mailros,(743) which is on the bank of the river Tweed, and was then
governed by the Abbot Eata,(744) a man of great gentleness and simplicity,
who was afterward made bishop of the church of Hagustald or
Lindisfarne,(745) as has been said above. The provost of the monastery at
that time was Boisil,(746) a priest of great virtue and of a prophetic
spirit. Cuthbert, humbly submitting himself to this man’s direction, from
him received both a knowledge of the Scriptures, and an example of good

After he had departed to the Lord, Cuthbert became provost of that
monastery, where he instructed many in the rule of monastic life, both by
the authority of a master, and the example of his own behaviour. Nor did
he bestow his teaching and his example in the monastic life on his
monastery alone, but laboured far and wide to convert the people dwelling
round about from the life of foolish custom, to the love of heavenly joys;
for many profaned the faith which they held by their wicked actions; and
some also, in the time of a pestilence, neglecting the mysteries of the
faith which they had received, had recourse to the false remedies of
idolatry, as if they could have put a stop to the plague sent from God, by
incantations, amulets, or any other secrets of the Devil’s art. In order
to correct the error of both sorts, he often went forth from the
monastery, sometimes on horseback, but oftener on foot, and went to the
neighbouring townships, where he preached the way of truth to such as had
gone astray; which Boisil also in his time had been wont to do. It was
then the custom of the English people, that when a clerk or priest came to
a township, they all, at his summons, flocked together to hear the Word;
willingly heard what was said, and still more willingly practised those
things that they could hear and understand. And such was Cuthbert’s skill
in speaking, so keen his desire to persuade men of what he taught, such a
light shone in his angelic face, that no man present dared to conceal from
him the secrets of his heart, but all openly revealed in confession what
they had done, thinking doubtless that their guilt could in nowise be
hidden from him; and having confessed their sins, they wiped them out by
fruits worthy of repentance, as he bade them. He was wont chiefly to
resort to those places and preach in those villages which were situated
afar off amid steep and wild mountains, so that others dreaded to go
thither, and whereof the poverty and barbarity rendered them inaccessible
to other teachers. But he, devoting himself entirely to that pious labour,
so industriously ministered to them with his wise teaching, that when he
went forth from the monastery, he would often stay a whole week, sometimes
two or three, or even sometimes a full month, before he returned home,
continuing among the hill folk to call that simple people by his preaching
and good works to the things of Heaven.

This venerable servant of the Lord, having thus spent many years in the
monastery of Mailros, and there become conspicuous by great tokens of
virtue, his most reverend abbot, Eata, removed him to the isle of
Lindisfarne, that he might there also, by his authority as provost and by
the example of his own practice, instruct the brethren in the observance
of regular discipline; for the same reverend father then governed that
place also as abbot. From ancient times, the bishop was wont to reside
there with his clergy, and the abbot with his monks, who were likewise
under the paternal care of the bishop; because Aidan, who was the first
bishop of the place, being himself a monk, brought monks thither, and
settled the monastic institution there;(747) as the blessed Father
Augustine is known to have done before in Kent, when the most reverend
Pope Gregory wrote to him, as has been said above, to this effect: "But in
that you, my brother, having been instructed in monastic rules, must not
live apart from your clergy in the Church of the English, which has been
lately, by the will of God, converted to the faith, you must establish the
manner of conversation of our fathers in the primitive Church, among whom,
none said that aught of the things which they possessed was his own; but
they had all things common."(748)

Chap. XXVIII. How the same St. Cuthbert, living the life of an Anchorite,
by his prayers obtained a spring in a dry soil, and had a crop from seed
sown by the labour of his hands out of season. [676 A.D.]

After this, Cuthbert, as he grew in goodness and intensity of devotion,
attained also to a hermit’s life of contemplation in silence and solitude,
as we have mentioned. But forasmuch as many years ago we wrote enough
concerning his life and virtues, both in heroic verse and prose,(749) it
may suffice at present only to mention this, that when he was about to go
to the island, he declared to the brothers, "If by the grace of God it
shall be granted to me, that I may live in that place by the labour of my
hands, I will willingly abide there; but if not, God willing, I will very
soon return to you." The place was quite destitute of water, corn, and
trees; and being infested by evil spirits, was very ill suited for human
habitation; but it became in all respects habitable, at the desire of the
man of God; for at his coming the wicked spirits departed. When, after
expelling the enemy, he had, with the help of the brethren, built himself
a narrow dwelling, with a mound about it, and the necessary cells in it,
to wit, an oratory and a common living room, he ordered the brothers to
dig a pit in the floor of the room, although the ground was hard and
stony, and no hopes appeared of any spring. When they had done this
relying upon the faith and prayers of the servant of God, the next day it
was found to be full of water, and to this day affords abundance of its
heavenly bounty to all that resort thither. He also desired that
instruments for husbandry might be brought him, and some wheat; but having
prepared the ground and sown the wheat at the proper season, no sign of a
blade, not to speak of ears, had sprouted from it by the summer. Hereupon,
when the brethren visited him according to custom, he ordered barley to be
brought him, if haply it were either the nature of the soil, or the will
of God, the Giver of all things, that such grain rather should grow there.
He sowed it in the same field, when it was brought him, after the proper
time of sowing, and therefore without any likelihood of its bearing fruit;
but a plentiful crop immediately sprang up, and afforded the man of God
the means which he had desired of supporting himself by his own labour.

When he had here served God in solitude many years, the mound which
encompassed his dwelling being so high, that he could see nothing from it
but heaven, which he thirsted to enter, it happened that a great synod was
assembled in the presence of King Egfrid, near the river Alne, at a place
called Adtuifyrdi,(750) which signifies "at the two fords," in which
Archbishop Theodore, of blessed memory, presided, and there Cuthbert was,
with one mind and consent of all, chosen bishop of the church of
Lindisfarne. They could not, however, draw him from his hermitage, though
many messengers and letters were sent to him. At last the aforesaid king
himself, with the most holy Bishop Trumwine,(751) and other religious and
powerful men, sailed to the island; many also of the brothers from the
isle of Lindisfarne itself, assembled together for the same purpose: they
all knelt, and conjured him by the Lord, with tears and entreaties, till
they drew him, also in tears, from his beloved retreat, and forced him to
go to the synod. When he arrived there, he was very reluctantly overcome
by the unanimous resolution of all present, and compelled to take upon
himself the duties of the episcopate; being chiefly prevailed upon by the
words of Boisil, the servant of God, who, when he had prophetically(752)
foretold all things that were to befall him, had also predicted that he
should be a bishop. Nevertheless, the consecration was not appointed
immediately; but when the winter, which was then at hand, was over, it was
carried out at Easter,(753) in the city of York, and in the presence of
the aforesaid King Egfrid; seven bishops coming together for his
consecration, among whom, Theodore, of blessed memory, was Primate. He was
first elected bishop of the church of Hagustald, in the place of
Tunbert,(754) who had been deposed from the episcopate; but because he
chose rather to be placed over the church of Lindisfarne, in which he had
lived, it was thought fit that Eata should return to the see of the church
of Hagustald, to which he had been first ordained, and that Cuthbert
should take upon him the government of the church of Lindisfarne.(755)

Following the example of the blessed Apostles, he adorned the episcopal
dignity by his virtuous deeds; for he both protected the people committed
to his charge by constant prayer, and roused them, by wholesome
admonitions, to thoughts of Heaven. He first showed in his own life what
he taught others to do, a practice which greatly strengthens all teaching;
for he was above all things inflamed with the fire of Divine charity, of
sober mind and patient, most diligently intent on devout prayers, and
kindly to all that came to him for comfort. He thought it stood in the
stead of prayer to afford the weak brethren the help of his exhortation,
knowing that he who said "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," said
likewise, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour." He was noted for penitential
abstinence, and was always through the grace of compunction, intent upon
heavenly things. And when he offered up to God the Sacrifice of the saving
Victim, he commended his prayer to the Lord, not with uplifted voice, but
with tears drawn from the bottom of his heart.

Chap. XXIX. How this bishop foretold that his own death was at hand to the
anchorite Herebert. [687 A.D.]

Having spent two years in his bishopric, he returned to his island and
hermitage,(756) being warned of God that the day of his death, or rather
of his entrance into that life which alone can be called life, was drawing
near; as he, at that time, with his wonted candour, signified to certain
persons, though in words which were somewhat obscure, but which were
nevertheless afterwards plainly understood; while to others he declared
the same openly.

There was a certain priest, called Herebert, a man of holy life, who had
long been united with the man of God, Cuthbert, in the bonds of spiritual
friendship. This man leading a solitary life in the island of that great
lake from which the river Derwent flows at its beginning,(757) was wont to
visit him every year, and to receive from him the teaching of everlasting
salvation. Hearing that Bishop Cuthbert was come to the city of
Lugubalia,(758) he went thither to him, according to his custom, seeking
to be more and more inflamed in heavenly desires through his wholesome
admonitions. Whilst they alternately entertained one another with draughts
of the celestial life, the bishop, among other things, said, "Brother
Herebert, remember at this time to ask me and speak to me concerning all
whereof you have need to ask and speak; for, when we part, we shall never
again see one another with bodily eyesight in this world. For I know of a
surety that the time of my departure is at hand, and that shortly I must
put off this my tabernacle." Hearing these words, Herebert fell down at
his feet, with tears and lamentations, and said, "I beseech you, by the
Lord, not to forsake me; but to remember your most faithful companion, and
entreat the mercy of God that, as we have served Him together upon earth,
so we may depart together to behold His grace in Heaven. For you know that
I have always endeavoured to live according to the words of your lips, and
likewise whatsoever faults I have committed, either through ignorance or
frailty, I have instantly sought to amend according to the judgement of
your will." The bishop applied himself to prayer, and having presently had
intimation in the spirit that he had obtained what he asked of the Lord,
he said, "Rise, brother, and do not weep, but rejoice greatly because the
mercy of Heaven has granted what we desired."

The event established the truth of this promise and prophecy, for after
their parting, they never again saw one another in the flesh; but their
spirits quitting their bodies on one and the same day, to wit, the 20th of
March,(759) were immediately united in fellowship in the blessed vision,
and together translated to the heavenly kingdom by the ministry of angels.
But Herebert was first wasted by a long-continued infirmity, through the
dispensation of the Lord’s mercy, as may be believed, to the end that if
he was in any wise inferior in merit to the blessed Cuthbert, that which
was lacking might be supplied by the chastening pain of a long sickness,
that being thus made equal in grace to his intercessor, as he departed out
of the body at one and the same time with him, so he might be accounted
worthy to be received into the like abode of eternal bliss.

The most reverend father died in the isle of Farne, earnestly entreating
the brothers that he might also be buried there, where he had served no
small time under the Lord’s banner. But at length yielding to their
entreaties, he consented to be carried back to the isle of Lindisfarne,
and there buried in the church.(760) This being done, the venerable Bishop
Wilfrid held the episcopal see of that church one year,(761) till such
time as a bishop should be chosen to be ordained in the room of Cuthbert.
Afterwards Eadbert(762) was ordained, a man renowned for his knowledge of
the Holy Scriptures, as also for his observance of the heavenly precepts,
and chiefly for almsgiving, so that, according to the law, he gave every
year the tenth part, not only of four-footed beasts, but also of all corn
and fruit, as also of his garments, to the poor.

Chap. XXX. How his body was found altogether uncorrupted after it had been
buried eleven years; and how his successor in the bishopric departed this
world not long after. [698 A.D.]

In order to show forth the great glory of the life after death of the man
of God, Cuthbert, whereas the loftiness of his life before his death had
been revealed by the testimony of many miracles, when he had been buried
eleven years, Divine Providence put it into the minds of the brethren to
take up his bones. They thought to find them dry and all the rest of the
body consumed and turned to dust, after the manner of the dead, and they
desired to put them into a new coffin, and to lay them in the same place,
but above the pavement, for the honour due to him. They made known their
resolve to Bishop Eadbert, and he consented to it, and bade them to be
mindful to do it on the anniversary of his burial. They did so, and
opening the grave, found all the body whole, as if he were still alive,
and the joints of the limbs pliable, like one asleep rather than dead;
besides, all the vestments in which he was clothed were not only
undefiled, but marvellous to behold, being fresh and bright as at the
first. The brothers seeing this, were struck with a great dread, and
hastened to tell the bishop what they had found; he being then alone in a
place remote from the church, and encompassed on all sides by the shifting
waves of the sea. There he always used to spend the time of Lent, and was
wont to pass the forty days before the Nativity of our Lord, in great
devotion with abstinence and prayer and tears. There also his venerable
predecessor, Cuthbert, had for some time served as the soldier of the Lord
in solitude before he went to the isle of Farne.

They brought him also some part of the garments that had covered the holy
body; which presents he thankfully accepted, and gladly heard of the
miracles, and he kissed the garments even, with great affection, as if
they had been still upon his father’s body, and said, "Let new garments be
put upon the body, in place of these you have brought, and so lay it in
the coffin which you have prepared; for I know of a surety that the place
will not long remain empty, which has been hallowed with so great grace of
heavenly miracles; and how happy is he to whom the Lord, the Author and
Giver of all bliss, shall vouchsafe to grant the privilege of resting
therein." When the bishop had made an end of saying this and more in like
manner, with many tears and great compunction and with faltering tongue,
the brothers did as he had commanded them, and when they had wrapped the
body in new garments, and laid it in a new coffin, they placed it above
the pavement of the sanctuary. Soon after, Bishop Eadbert, beloved of God,
fell grievously sick, and his fever daily increasing in severity, ere
long, that is, on the 6th of May,(763) he also departed to the Lord, and
they laid his body in the grave of the blessed father Cuthbert, placing
over it the coffin, with the uncorrupted remains of that father. The
miracles of healing, sometimes wrought in that place testify to the merits
of them both; of some of these we have before preserved the memory in the
book of his life. But in this History we have thought fit to add some
others which have lately come to our knowledge.

Chap. XXXI. Of one that was cured of a palsy at his tomb.

There was in that same monastery a brother whose name was Badudegn, who
had for no small time ministered to the guests of the house, and is still
living, having the testimony of all the brothers and strangers resorting
thither, of being a man of much piety and religion, and serving the office
put upon him only for the sake of the heavenly reward. This man, having
one day washed in the sea the coverings or blankets which he used in the
guest chamber, was returning home, when on the way, he was seized with a
sudden infirmity, insomuch that he fell to the ground, and lay there a
long time and could scarce at last rise again. When he got up, he felt one
half of his body, from the head to the foot, struck with palsy, and with
great trouble made his way home by the help of a staff. The disease
increased by degrees, and as night approached, became still worse, so that
when day returned, he could scarcely rise or walk alone. Suffering from
this trouble, he conceived the wise resolve to go to the church, as best
he could, and approach the tomb of the reverend father Cuthbert, and
there, on his knees, humbly beseech the mercy of God that he might either
be delivered from that disease, if it were well for him, or if by the
grace of God it was ordained for him to be chastened longer by this
affliction, that he might bear the pain which was laid upon him with
patience and a quiet mind.

He did accordingly as he had determined, and supporting his weak limbs
with a staff, entered the church. There prostrating himself before the
body of the man of God, he prayed with pious earnestness, that, through
his intercession, the Lord might be propitious to him. As he prayed, he
seemed to fall into a deep sleep, and, as he was afterwards wont to
relate, felt a large and broad hand touch his head, where the pain lay,
and likewise pass over all that part of his body which had been benumbed
by the disease, down to his feet. Gradually the pain departed and health
returned. Then he awoke, and rose up in perfect health, and returning
thanks to the Lord for his recovery, told the brothers what had been done
for him; and to the joy of them all, returned the more zealously, as if
chastened by the trial of his affliction, to the service which he was wont
before to perform with care.

Moreover, the very garments which had been on Cuthbert’s body, dedicated
to God, either while he was alive, or after his death, were not without
the virtue of healing, as may be seen in the book of his life and
miracles, by such as shall read it.

Chap. XXXII. Of one who was lately cured of a disease in his eye at the
relics of St. Cuthbert.

Nor is that cure to be passed over in silence, which was performed by his
relics three years ago, and was told me lately by the brother himself, on
whom it was wrought. It happened in the monastery, which, being built near
the river Dacore,(764) has taken its name from the same, over which, at
that time, the religious Suidbert(765) presided as abbot. In that
monastery was a youth whose eyelid was disfigured by an unsightly tumour,
which growing daily greater, threatened the loss of the eye. The
physicians endeavoured to mitigate it by applying ointments, but in vain.
Some said it ought to be cut off; others opposed this course, for fear of
greater danger. The brother having long laboured under this malady, when
no human means availed to save his eye, but rather, it grew daily worse,
on a sudden, through the grace of the mercy of God, it came to pass that
he was cured by the relics of the holy father, Cuthbert. For when the
brethren found his body uncorrupted, after having been many years buried,
they took some part of the hair, to give, as relics, to friends who asked
for them, or to show, in testimony of the miracle.

One of the priests of the monastery, named Thruidred, who is now abbot
there, had a small part of these relics by him at that time. One day he
went into the church and opened the box of relics, to give some part of
them to a friend who asked for it, and it happened that the youth who had
the diseased eye was then in the church. The priest, having given his
friend as much as he thought fit, gave the rest to the youth to put back
into its place. But he having received the hairs of the holy head,
prompted by some salutary impulse, applied them to the diseased eyelid,
and endeavoured for some time, by the application of them, to abate and
mitigate the tumour. Having done this, he again laid the relics in the
box, as he had been bidden, believing that his eye would soon be cured by
the hairs of the man of God, which had touched it; nor did his faith
disappoint him. It was then, as he is wont to relate, about the second
hour of the day; but while he was occupied with other thoughts and
business of the day, on a sudden, about the sixth hour of the same,
touching his eye, he found it and the eyelid as sound as if there never
had been any disfigurement or tumour on it.


Chap. I. How Ethelwald, successor to Cuthbert, leading a hermit’s life,
calmed a tempest by his prayers when the brethren were in danger at sea.
[687-699 A.D.]

The venerable Ethelwald(766) succeeded the man of God, Cuthbert, in the
exercise of a solitary life, which he spent in the isle of Farne(767)
before he became a bishop. After he had received the priesthood, he
consecrated his office by deeds worthy of that degree for many years in
the monastery which is called Inhrypum.(768) To the end that his merit and
manner of life may be the more certainly made known, I will relate one
miracle of his, which was told me by one of the brothers for and on whom
the same was wrought; to wit, Guthfrid, the venerable servant and priest
of Christ, who also, afterwards, as abbot, presided over the brethren of
the same church of Lindisfarne, in which he was educated.

"I came," says he, "to the island of Farne, with two others of the
brethren, desiring to speak with the most reverend father, Ethelwald.
Having been refreshed with his discourse, and asked for his blessing, as
we were returning home, behold on a sudden, when we were in the midst of
the sea, the fair weather in which we were sailing, was broken, and there
arose so great and terrible a tempest, that neither sails nor oars were of
any use to us, nor had we anything to expect but death. After long
struggling with the wind and waves to no effect, at last we looked back to
see whether it was possible by any means at least to return to the island
whence we came, but we found that we were on all sides alike cut off by
the storm, and that there was no hope of escape by our own efforts. But
looking further, we perceived, on the island of Farne, our father
Ethelwald, beloved of God, come out of his retreat to watch our course;
for, hearing the noise of the tempest and raging sea, he had come forth to
see what would become of us. When he beheld us in distress and despair, he
bowed his knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in prayer for our
life and safety; and as he finished his prayer, he calmed the swelling
water, in such sort that the fierceness of the storm ceased on all sides,
and fair winds attended us over a smooth sea to the very shore. When we
had landed, and had pulled up our small vessel from the waves, the storm,
which had ceased a short time for our sake, presently returned, and raged
furiously during the whole day; so that it plainly appeared that the brief
interval of calm had been granted by Heaven in answer to the prayers of
the man of God, to the end that we might escape."

The man of God remained in the isle of Farne twelve years, and died there;
but was buried in the church of the blessed Apostle Peter, in the isle of
Lindisfarne, beside the bodies of the aforesaid bishops.(769) These things
happened in the days of King Aldfrid,(770) who, after his brother Egfrid,
ruled the nation of the Northumbrians for nineteen years.

Chap. II. How Bishop John cured a dumb man by his blessing. [687 A.D.]

In the beginning of Aldfrid’s reign, Bishop Eata(771) died, and was
succeeded in the bishopric of the church of Hagustald by the holy man
John,(772) of whom those that knew him well are wont to tell many
miracles, and more particularly Berthun,(773) a man worthy of all
reverence and of undoubted truthfulness, and once his deacon, now abbot of
the monastery called Inderauuda,(774) that is, "In the wood of the Deiri":
some of which miracles we have thought fit to hand on to posterity. There
is a certain remote dwelling(775) enclosed by a mound, among scattered
trees, not far from the church of Hagustald, being about a mile and a half
distant and separated from it by the river Tyne, having an oratory(776)
dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel, where the man of God used
frequently, as occasion offered, and specially in Lent, to abide with a
few companions and in quiet give himself to prayer and study. Having come
hither once at the beginning of Lent to stay, he bade his followers find
out some poor man labouring under any grievous infirmity, or want, whom
they might keep with them during those days, to receive alms, for so he
was always used to do.

There was in a township not far off, a certain youth who was dumb, known
to the bishop, for he often used to come into his presence to receive
alms. He had never been able to speak one word; besides, he had so much
scurf and scab on his head, that no hair could ever grow on the top of it,
but only some rough hairs stood on end round about it. The bishop caused
this young man to be brought, and a little hut to be made for him within
the enclosure of the dwelling, in which he might abide, and receive alms
from him every day. When one week of Lent was over, the next Sunday he
bade the poor man come to him, and when he had come, he bade him put his
tongue out of his mouth and show it him; then taking him by the chin, he
made the sign of the Holy Cross on his tongue, directing him to draw it
back so signed into his mouth and to speak. "Pronounce some word," said
he; "say ‘gae,’ " which, in the language of the English, is the word of
affirming and consenting, that is, yes. The youth’s tongue was immediately
loosed, and he spoke as he was bidden. The bishop then added the names of
the letters: "Say A." He said A. "Say B;" he said B also. When he had
repeated all the letters after the bishop, the latter proceeded to put
syllables and words to him, and when he had repeated them all rightly he
bade him utter whole sentences, and he did it. Nor did he cease all that
day and the next night, as long as he could keep awake, as those who were
present relate, to say something, and to express his private thoughts and
wishes to others, which he could never do before; after the manner of the
man long lame, who, when he was healed by the Apostles Peter and
John,(777) leaping up, stood and walked, and entered with them into the
temple, walking, and leaping, and praising the Lord, rejoicing to have the
use of his feet, which he had so long lacked. The bishop, rejoicing with
him at his cure, caused the physician to take in hand the healing of the
sores of his head. He did as he was bidden, and with the help of the
bishop’s blessing and prayers, a goodly head of hair grew as the skin was
healed. Thus the youth became fair of countenance, ready of speech, with
hair curling in comely fashion, whereas before he had been ill-favoured,
miserable, and dumb. Thus filled with joy at his recovered health,
notwithstanding that the bishop offered to keep him in his own household,
he chose rather to return home.

Chap. III. How he healed a sick maiden by his prayers. [705 A.D.]

The same Berthun told another miracle concerning the said bishop. When the
most reverend Wilfrid, after a long banishment, was admitted to the
bishopric of the church of Hagustald,(778) and the aforesaid John, upon
the death of Bosa,(779) a man of great sanctity and humility, was, in his
place, appointed bishop of York, he himself came, once upon a time, to the
monastery of nuns, at the place called Wetadun,(780) where the Abbess
Heriburg then presided. "When we were come thither," said he, "and had
been received with great and universal joy, the abbess told us, that one
of the nuns, who was her own daughter after the flesh, laboured under a
grievous sickness, for she had been lately let blood in the arm, and
whilst she was under treatment,(781) was seized with an attack of sudden
pain, which speedily increased, while the wounded arm became worse, and so
much swollen, that it could scarce be compassed with both hands; and she
lay in bed like to die through excess of pain. Wherefore the abbess
entreated the bishop that he would vouchsafe to go in and give her his
blessing; for she believed that she would soon be better if he blessed her
or laid his hands upon her. He asked when the maiden had been let blood,
and being told that it was on the fourth day of the moon, said, ‘You did
very indiscreetly and unskilfully to let blood on the fourth day of the
moon; for I remember that Archbishop Theodore,(782) of blessed memory,
said, that blood-letting at that time was very dangerous, when the light
of the moon is waxing and the tide of the ocean is rising. And what can I
do for the maiden if she is like to die?’

"But the abbess still earnestly entreated for her daughter, whom she
dearly loved, and designed to make abbess in her stead,(783) and at last
prevailed with him to go in and visit the sick maiden. Wherefore he went
in, taking me with him to the maid, who lay, as I said, in sore anguish,
and her arm swelling so greatly that it could not be bent at all at the
elbow; and he stood and said a prayer over her, and having given his
blessing, went out. Afterwards, as we were sitting at table, at the usual
hour, some one came in and called me out, saying, ‘Quoenburg’ (that was
the maid’s name) ‘desires that you should immediately go back to her.’
This I did, and entering the chamber, I found her of more cheerful
countenance, and like one in good health. And while I was sitting beside
her, she said, ‘Shall we call for something to drink?’—‘Yes,’ said I, ‘and
right glad am I, if you can.’ When the cup was brought, and we had both
drunk, she said, ‘As soon as the bishop had said the prayer for me and
given me his blessing and had gone out, I immediately began to mend; and
though I have not yet recovered my former strength, yet all the pain is
quite gone both from my arm, where it was most burning, and from all my
body, as if the bishop had carried it away with him; notwithstanding the
swelling of the arm still seems to remain.’ But when we departed thence,
the cure of the pain in her limbs was followed by the assuaging of the
grievous swelling; and the maiden being thus delivered from pains and
death, returned praise to our Lord and Saviour, in company with His other
servants who were there."

Chap. IV. How he healed a thegn’s wife that was sick, with holy water.

The same abbot related another miracle, not unlike the former, of the
aforesaid bishop. "Not very far from our monastery," he said, "to wit,
about two miles off, was the township(784) of one Puch, a thegn, whose
wife had lain sick of a very grievous disease for nearly forty days,
insomuch that for three weeks she could not be carried out of the chamber
where she lay. It happened that the man of God was, at that time, called
thither by the thegn to consecrate a church; and when that was done, the
thegn desired him to come into his house and dine. The bishop declined,
saying that he must return to the monastery, which was very near. The
thegn, entreating him more earnestly, vowed he would also give alms to the
poor, if so be that the bishop would vouchsafe to enter his house that day
and break his fast. I joined my entreaties to his, promising in like
manner to give alms for the relief of the poor,(785) if he would but go
and dine at the thegn’s house, and give his blessing. Having at length,
with much difficulty, prevailed, we went in to refresh ourselves. The
bishop had sent to the woman that lay sick some of the holy water, which
he had blessed for the consecration of the church, by one of the brothers
who had come with me, ordering him to give her some to drink, and wash
that part of her where he found that her pain was greatest, with some of
the same water. This being done, the woman immediately got up whole and
sound, and perceiving that she had not only been delivered from her long
sickness, but at the same time had recovered the strength which she had
lost for so great a time, she presented the cup to the bishop and to us,
and continued serving us with meat and drink as she had begun, till dinner
was over; following the example of the blessed Peter’s wife’s mother, who,
having been sick of a fever, arose at the touch of our Lord’s hand, and
having forthwith received health and strength, ministered to them."(786)

Chap. V. How he likewise recalled by his prayers a thegn’s servant from

At another time also, being called to consecrate the church(787) of a
thegn named Addi, when he had performed the required duty, he was
entreated by the thegn to go in to one of his servants, who lay
dangerously ill, insomuch that having lost all use of his limbs, he seemed
to be at the point of death; and moreover the coffin had been made ready
wherein to bury him after his death. The thegn urged his entreaties with
tears, earnestly beseeching him that he would go in and pray for the
servant, because his life was of great moment to him; and he believed that
if the bishop would lay his hand upon him and give him his blessing, he
would soon mend. So the bishop went in, and saw him very near death, and
by his side the coffin in which he was to be laid for his burial, whilst
all mourned. He said a prayer and blessed him, and going out, spake the
wonted words of comfort, "Good health be yours and that speedily."
Afterwards, when they were sitting at table, the servant sent to his lord,
desiring that he would let him have a cup of wine, because he was thirsty.
The thegn, rejoicing greatly that he could drink, sent him a cup of wine,
blessed by the bishop; and, as soon as he had drunk it, he immediately got
up, and, shaking off the heaviness of his infirmity, dressed himself and
went forth, and going in to the bishop, saluted him and the other guests,
saying that he also would gladly eat and drink with them. They bade him
sit down with them at table, greatly rejoicing at his recovery. He sat
down, ate and drank and made merry, and behaved himself like the rest of
the company; and living many years after, continued in the same health
which he had gained. The aforesaid abbot says this miracle was not wrought
in his presence, but that he had it from those who were present.

Chap. VI. How, both by his prayers and blessing, he recalled from death
one of his clerks, who had bruised himself by a fall.

Nor do I think that this miracle, which Herebald,(788) the servant of
Christ, says was wrought upon himself by the bishop, is to be passed over
in silence. He was then one of that bishop’s clergy, but now presides as
abbot in the monastery at the mouth of the river Tyne.(789) "Living with
him," said he, "and being very well acquainted with his course of life, I
found it to be in all points worthy of a bishop, as far as it is lawful
for men to judge; but I have known by the experience of others, and more
particularly by my own, how great his merit was before Him Who seeth the
heart; having been by his prayer and blessing recalled from the threshold
of death and brought back to the way of life. For, when in the prime of my
youth, I lived among his clergy, applying myself to reading and singing,
but not having yet altogether withdrawn my heart from youthful pleasures,
it happened one day that, as we were travelling with him, we came into a
plain and open road, well fitted for galloping. The young men that were
with him, and especially the laymen, began to entreat the bishop to give
them leave to gallop, and make trial of their horses one with another. He
at first refused, saying that it was an idle request; but at last,
overcome by the unanimous desire of so many, ‘Do so,’ said he, ‘if you
will, but let Herebald have no part in the trial.’ Then I earnestly prayed
that I might have leave to compete with the rest, for I relied on an
excellent horse, which he had himself given me, but I could in no wise
obtain my request.

"When they had several times galloped backwards and forwards, the bishop
and I looking on, my wanton humour prevailed, and I could no longer
refrain, but though he forbade me, I struck in among them at their sport,
and began to ride with them at full speed; whereat I heard him call after
me with a groan, ‘Alas! how much you grieve me by riding after that
manner.’ Though I heard him, I went on against his command; but
immediately the fiery horse taking a great leap over a hollow place in the
way, I fell, and at once lost all sense and motion, like one dying; for
there was in that place a stone, level with the ground, covered with only
a thin coating of turf, and no other stone was to be found in all that
expanse of plain; and it happened by chance, or rather by Divine
Providence so ordering it, to punish my disobedience, that my head and my
hand, which in falling I had put under my head, struck upon that stone, so
that my thumb was broken and my skull fractured, and I became, as I said,
like one dead.

"And because I could not move, they stretched a tent there for me to lie
in. It was about the seventh hour of the day, and having lain still and as
it were dead from that time till the evening, I then revived a little, and
was carried home by my companions, and lay speechless all the night,
vomiting blood, because something was broken within me by the fall. The
bishop was very much grieved at my fall and my misfortune, for he bore me
extraordinary affection. Nor would he stay that night, as he was wont,
among his clergy; but spent it alone in watching and prayer, imploring the
Divine goodness, as I suppose, for my preservation. Coming to me early in
the morning, and having said a prayer over me, he called me by my name,
and when I awoke as it were out of a heavy sleep, he asked whether I knew
who it was that spoke to me? I opened my eyes and said, ‘Yes; you are my
beloved bishop.’—‘Can you live?’ said he. I answered, ‘I can, through your
prayers, if the Lord will.’

"He then laid his hand on my head, with the words of blessing, and
returned to prayer; when he came again to see me, in a short time, he
found me sitting and able to talk; and, being moved by Divine inspiration,
as it soon appeared, began to ask me, whether I knew for certain that I
had been baptized? I answered that I knew beyond all doubt that I had been
washed in the font of salvation, for the remission of sins, and I named
the priest by whom I knew that I had been baptized. He replied, ‘If you
were baptized by that priest, your baptism is not perfect; for I know him,
and that when he was ordained priest, he could in no wise, by reason of
the dulness of his understanding, learn the ministry of catechizing and
baptizing; for which reason I enjoined upon him altogether to desist from
presuming to exercise that ministry, which he could not duly perform.’
This said, he set himself to catechize me that same hour; and it came to
pass that when he breathed on my face,(790) straightway I felt better. He
called the surgeon and ordered him to set and bind up my skull where it
was fractured; and presently having received his blessing, I was so much
better that I mounted on horseback the next day, and travelled with him to
another place; and being soon after perfectly recovered, I was washed in
the water of life."

He continued in his bishopric thirty-three years,(791) and then ascending
to the heavenly kingdom, was buried in St. Peter’s Chapel, in his own
monastery, which is called, "In the wood of the Deiri,"(792) in the year
of our Lord 721. For having, by his great age, become unable to govern his
bishopric, he ordained Wilfrid,(793) his priest, bishop of the church of
York, and retired to the aforesaid monastery, and there ended his days in
godly conversation.

Chap. VII. How Caedwalla, king of the West Saxons, went to Rome to be
baptized; and his successor Ini, also devoutly journeyed to the same
threshold of the holy Apostles. [688 A.D.]

In the third year of the reign of Aldfrid,(794) Caedwalla, king of the
West Saxons, having most vigorously governed his nation for two years,
quitted his crown for the sake of the Lord and an everlasting kingdom, and
went to Rome, being desirous to obtain the peculiar honour of being
cleansed in the baptismal font at the threshold of the blessed Apostles,
for he had learned that in Baptism alone the entrance into the heavenly
life is opened to mankind; and he hoped at the same time, that being made
clean by Baptism, he should soon be freed from the bonds of the flesh and
pass to the eternal joys of Heaven; both which things, by the help of the
Lord, came to pass according as he had conceived in his mind. For coming
to Rome, at the time that Sergius(795) was pope, he was baptized on the
Holy Saturday before Easter Day,(796) in the year of our Lord 689, and
being still in his white garments,(797) he fell sick, and was set free
from the bonds of the flesh on the 20th of April, and obtained an entrance
into the kingdom of the blessed in Heaven. At his baptism, the aforesaid
pope had given him the name of Peter, to the end, that he might be also
united in name to the most blessed chief of the Apostles, to whose most
holy body his pious love had led him from the utmost bounds of the earth.
He was likewise buried in his church, and by the pope’s command an
epitaph(798) was written on his tomb, wherein the memory of his devotion
might be preserved for ever, and the readers or hearers thereof might be
stirred up to give themselves to religion by the example of what he had

The epitaph was this:—

"High estate, wealth, offspring, a mighty kingdom, triumphs, spoils,
chieftains, strongholds, the camp, a home; whatsoever the valour of his
sires, whatsoever himself had won, Caedwal, mighty in war, left for the
love of God, that, a pilgrim king, he might behold Peter and Peter’s seat,
receive at his font pure waters of life, and in bright draughts drink of
the shining radiance whence a quickening glory streams through all the
world. And even as he gained with eager soul the prize of the new life, he
laid aside barbaric rage, and, changed in heart, he changed his name with
joy. Sergius the Pope bade him be called Peter, himself his father,(799)
when he rose born anew from the font, and the grace of Christ, cleansing
him, bore him forthwith clothed in white raiment to the heights of Heaven.
O wondrous faith of the king, but greatest of all the mercy of Christ,
into whose counsels none may enter! For he came in safety from the ends of
the earth, even from Britain, through many a nation, over many a sea, by
many a path, and saw the city of Romulus and looked upon Peter’s sanctuary
revered, bearing mystic gifts. He shall walk in white among the sheep of
Christ in fellowship with them; for his body is in the tomb, but his soul
on high. Thou mightest deem he did but change an earthly for a heavenly
sceptre, whom thou seest attain to the kingdom of Christ."

"Here was buried Caedwalla, called also Peter, king of the Saxons, on the
twentieth day of April, in the second indiction, aged about thirty years,
in the reign of our most pious lord, the Emperor Justinian,(800) in the
fourth year of his consulship, in the second year of the pontificate of
our Apostolic lord, Pope Sergius."

When Caedwalla went to Rome, Ini(801) succeeded to the kingdom, being of
the blood royal; and having reigned thirty-seven years over that nation,
he in like manner left his kingdom and committed it to younger men, and
went away to the threshold of the blessed Apostles, at the time when
Gregory(802) was pope, being desirous to spend some part of his pilgrimage
upon earth in the neighbourhood of the holy places, that he might obtain
to be more readily received into the fellowship of the saints in heaven.
This same thing, about that time, was wont to be done most zealously by
many of the English nation, nobles and commons, laity and clergy, men and

Chap. VIII. How, when Archbishop Theodore died, Bertwald succeeded him as
archbishop, and, among many others whom he ordained, he made the learned
Tobias bishop of the church of Rochester. [690 A.D.]

The year after that in which Caedwalla died at Rome, that is, 690 after
the Incarnation of our Lord, Archbishop Theodore, of blessed memory,
departed this life, being old and full of days, for he was eighty-eight
years of age; which number of years he had been wont long before to
foretell to his friends that he should live, the same having been revealed
to him in a dream. He held the bishopric twenty-two years,(803) and was
buried in St. Peter’s church,(804) where all the bodies of the bishops of
Canterbury are buried. Of whom, as well as of his fellows of the same
degree, it may rightly and truly be said, that their bodies are buried in
peace, and their names shall live to all generations. For to say all in
few words, the English Churches gained more spiritual increase while he
was archbishop, than ever before. His character, life, age, and death, are
plainly and manifestly described to all that resort thither, by the
epitaph on his tomb, in thirty-four heroic verses.(805) The first whereof
are these:

"Here in the tomb rests the body of the holy prelate, called now in the
Greek tongue Theodore. Chief pontiff, blest high priest, pure doctrine he
set forth to his disciples."

The last are as follow:

"For September had reached its nineteenth day, when his spirit went forth
from the prison-bars of the flesh. Mounting in bliss to the gracious
fellowship of the new life, he was united to the angelic citizens in the
heights of Heaven."

Bertwald(806) succeeded Theodore in the archbishopric, being abbot of the
monastery called Racuulfe,(807) which stands at the northern mouth of the
river Genlade.(808) He was a man learned in the Scriptures, and perfectly
instructed in ecclesiastical and monastic teaching, yet in no wise to be
compared to his predecessor. He was chosen bishop in the year of our Lord
692,(809) on the first day of July, when Wictred and Suaebhard were kings
in Kent;(810) but he was ordained the next year, on Sunday the 29th of
June, by Godwin, metropolitan bishop of Gaul,(811) and was enthroned on
Sunday the 31st of August. Among the many bishops whom he ordained was
Tobias,(812) a man instructed in the Latin, Greek, and Saxon tongues, and
otherwise of manifold learning, whom he consecrated in the stead of
Gedmund, bishop of the Church of Rochester, who had died.

Chap. IX. How the holy man, Egbert, would have gone into Germany to
preach, but could not; and how Wictbert went, but because he availed
nothing, returned into Ireland, whence he came. [Circ. 688 A.D.]

At that time the venerable servant of Christ, and priest, Egbert,(813) who
is to be named with all honour, and who, as was said before, lived as a
stranger and pilgrim in Ireland to obtain hereafter a country in heaven,
purposed in his mind to profit many, taking upon him the work of an
apostle, and, by preaching the Gospel, to bring the Word of God to some of
those nations that had not yet heard it; many of which tribes he knew to
be in Germany, from whom the Angles or Saxons, who now inhabit Britain,
are known to have derived their race and origin; for which reason they are
still corruptly called "Garmans"(814) by the neighbouring nation of the
Britons. Such are the Frisians, the Rugini, the Danes, the Huns, the Old
Saxons, and the Boructuari.(815) There are also in the same parts many
other peoples still enslaved to pagan rites, to whom the aforesaid soldier
of Christ determined to go, sailing round Britain, if haply he could
deliver any of them from Satan, and bring them to Christ; or if this might
not be, he was minded to go to Rome, to see and adore the thresholds of
the holy Apostles and martyrs of Christ.

But a revelation from Heaven and the working of God prevented him from
achieving either of these enterprises; for when he had made choice of most
courageous companions, fit to preach the Word, inasmuch as they were
renowned for their good deeds and their learning, and when all things
necessary were provided for the voyage, there came to him on a certain day
early in the morning one of the brethren, who had been a disciple of the
priest, Boisil,(816) beloved of God, and had ministered to him in Britain,
when the said Boisil was provost of the monastery of Mailros,(817) under
the Abbot Eata, as has been said above.(818) This brother told him a
vision which he had seen that night. "When after matins," said he, "I had
laid me down in my bed, and was fallen into a light slumber, Boisil, that
was sometime my master and brought me up in all love, appeared to me, and
asked, whether I knew him? I said, ‘Yes, you are Boisil.’ He answered, ‘I
am come to bring Egbert a message from our Lord and Saviour, which must
nevertheless be delivered to him by you. Tell him, therefore, that he
cannot perform the journey he has undertaken; for it is the will of God
that he should rather go to teach the monasteries of Columba.’ "(819) Now
Columba was the first teacher of the Christian faith to the Picts beyond
the mountains northward, and the first founder of the monastery in the
island of Hii, which was for a long time much honoured by many tribes of
the Scots and Picts. The said Columba is now by some called Columcille,
the name being compounded from "Columba" and "Cella."(820) Egbert, having
heard the words of the vision, charged the brother that had told it him,
not to tell it to any other, lest haply it should be a lying vision. But
when he considered the matter secretly with himself, he apprehended that
it was true, yet would not desist from preparing for his voyage which he
purposed to make to teach those nations.

A few days after the aforesaid brother came again to him, saying that
Boisil had that night again appeared to him in a vision after matins, and
said, "Why did you tell Egbert so negligently and after so lukewarm a
manner that which I enjoined upon you to say? Yet, go now and tell him,
that whether he will or no, he must go to Columba’s monasteries, because
their ploughs are not driven straight; and he must bring them back into
the right way." Hearing this, Egbert again charged the brother not to
reveal the same to any man. Though now assured of the vision, he
nevertheless attempted to set forth upon his intended voyage with the
brethren. When they had put aboard all that was requisite for so long a
voyage, and had waited some days for fair winds, there arose one night so
violent a storm, that part of what was on board was lost, and the ship
itself was left lying on its side in the sea. Nevertheless, all that
belonged to Egbert and his companions was saved. Then he, saying, in the
words of the prophet, "For my sake this great tempest is upon you,"(821)
withdrew himself from that undertaking and was content to remain at home.

But one of his companions, called Wictbert,(822) notable for his contempt
of the world and for his learning and knowledge, for he had lived many
years as a stranger and pilgrim in Ireland, leading a hermit’s life in
great perfection, took ship, and arriving in Frisland, preached the Word
of salvation for the space of two whole years to that nation and to its
king, Rathbed;(823) but reaped no fruit of all his great labour among his
barbarous hearers. Returning then to the chosen place of his pilgrimage,
he gave himself up to the Lord in his wonted life of silence, and since he
could not be profitable to strangers by teaching them the faith, he took
care to be the more profitable to his own people by the example of his

Chap. X. How Wilbrord, preaching in Frisland, converted many to Christ;
and how his two companions, the Hewalds, suffered martyrdom. [690 A.D.]

When the man of God, Egbert, perceived that neither he himself was
permitted to go and preach to the nations, being withheld for the sake of
some other advantage to the holy Church, whereof he had been forewarned by
a revelation; nor that Wictbert, when he went into those parts, had
availed to do anything; he nevertheless still attempted to send holy and
industrious men to the work of the Word, among whom the most notable was
Wilbrord,(824) a man eminent for his merit and rank as priest. They
arrived there, twelve in number, and turning aside to Pippin,(825) duke of
the Franks, were gladly received by him; and as he had lately subdued the
nearer part of Frisland, and expelled King Rathbed,(826) he sent them
thither to preach, supporting them at the same time with his sovereign
authority, that none might molest them in their preaching, and bestowing
many favours on those who consented to receive the faith. Thus it came to
pass, that with the help of the Divine grace, in a short time they
converted many from idolatry to the faith of Christ.

Following their example, two other priests of the English nation, who had
long lived as strangers in Ireland, for the sake of the eternal country,
went into the province of the Old Saxons, if haply they could there win
any to Christ by their preaching. They were alike in name as in devotion,
Hewald being the name of both, with this distinction, that, on account of
the different colour of their hair, the one was called Black Hewald and
the other White Hewald.(827) They were both full of religious piety, but
Black Hewald was the more learned of the two in Scripture. When they came
into the province, these men took up their lodging in the guesthouse of a
certain township-reeve, and asked of him that he would conduct them to the
ealdorman(828) who was over him, for that they had a message concerning
matters of importance to communicate to him. For those Old Saxons have no
king, but many ealdormen set over their nation; and when any war is on the
point of breaking out, they cast lots indifferently, and on whomsoever the
lot falls, him they all follow and obey during the time of war; but as
soon as the war is ended, all those ealdormen are again equal in power. So
the reeve received and entertained them in his house some days, promising
to send them to the ealdorman who was over him, as they desired.

But when the barbarians perceived that they were of another religion,—for
they continually gave themselves to singing of psalms and prayer, and
daily offered up to God the Sacrifice of the saving Victim, having with
them sacred vessels and a consecrated table for an altar,—they began to
grow suspicious of them, lest if they should come into the presence of
their ealdorman, and converse with him, they should turn his heart from
their gods, and convert him to the new religion of the Christian faith;
and thus by degrees all their province should be forced to change its old
worship for a new. Wherefore on a sudden they laid hold of them and put
them to death; and White Hewald they slew outright with the sword; but
they put Black Hewald to lingering torture and tore him limb from limb in
horrible fashion, and they threw their bodies into the Rhine. The
ealdorman, whom they had desired to see, hearing of it, was very angry
that strangers who desired to come to him had not been suffered to come;
and therefore he sent and put to death all those villagers and burned
their village. The aforesaid priests and servants of Christ suffered on
the 3rd of October.(829)

Miracles from Heaven were not lacking at their martyrdom. For their dead
bodies, having been cast into the river by the pagans, as has been said,
were carried against the stream for the space of almost forty miles, to
the place where their companions were. Moreover, a long ray of light,
reaching up to heaven, shone every night above them wheresoever they
chanced to be, and that too in the sight of the very pagans that had slain
them. Moreover, one of them appeared in a vision by night to one of his
companions, whose name was Tilmon, a man of renown and of noble birth in
this world, who having been a thegn had become a monk, telling him that he
might find their bodies in that place, where he should see rays of light
reaching from heaven to the earth. And so it befell; and their bodies
being found, were buried with the honour due to martyrs; and the day of
their passion or of the finding of their bodies, is celebrated in those
parts with fitting veneration. Finally, Pippin, the most glorious duke of
the Franks, learning these things, caused the bodies to be brought to him,
and buried them with much honour in the church of the city of Cologne, on
the Rhine.(830) And it is said that a spring burst forth in the place
where they were killed, which to this day affords a plentiful stream in
that same place.

Chap. XI. How the venerable Suidbert in Britain, and Wilbrord at Rome,
were ordained bishops for Frisland. [692 A.D.]

At their first coming into Frisland, as soon as Wilbrord found that he had
leave given him by the prince to preach there, he made haste to go to
Rome, where Pope Sergius(831) then presided over the Apostolic see, that
he might undertake the desired work of preaching the Gospel to the
nations, with his licence and blessing; and hoping to receive of him some
relics of the blessed Apostles and martyrs of Christ; to the end, that
when he destroyed the idols,(832) and erected churches in the nation to
which he preached, he might have the relics of saints at hand to put into
them, and having deposited them there, might accordingly dedicate each of
those places to the honour of the saint whose relics they were. He desired
also there to learn or to receive many other things needful for so great a
work. Having obtained his desire in all these matters, he returned to

At which time, the brothers who were in Frisland, attending on the
ministry of the Word, chose out of their own number a man of sober life,
and meek of heart, called Suidbert,(833) to be ordained bishop for them.
He, being sent into Britain, was consecrated, at their request, by the
most reverend Bishop Wilfrid, who, having been driven out of his country,
chanced then to be living in banishment among the Mercians;(834) for Kent
had no bishop at that time, Theodore being dead, and Bertwald, his
successor, who had gone beyond the sea to be ordained, having not yet
returned to his episcopal see.

The said Suidbert, being made bishop, returned from Britain, and not long
after departed to the Boructuari; and by his preaching brought many of
them into the way of truth; but the Boructuari being not long after
subdued by the Old Saxons, those who had received the Word were dispersed
abroad; and the bishop himself with certain others went to Pippin, who, at
the request of his wife, Blithryda,(835) gave him a place of abode in a
certain island on the Rhine, called in their tongue, Inlitore;(836) there
he built a monastery, which his successors still possess, and for a time
dwelt in it, leading a most continent life, and there ended his days.

When they who had gone thither had spent some years teaching in Frisland,
Pippin, with the consent of them all, sent the venerable Wilbrord to Rome,
where Sergius was still pope, desiring that he might be consecrated
archbishop over the nation of the Frisians; which was accordingly done, as
he had made request, in the year of our Lord 696. He was consecrated in
the church of the Holy Martyr Cecilia,(837) on her festival; and the said
pope gave him the name of Clement, and forthwith sent him back to his
bishopric, to wit, fourteen days after his arrival in the city.

Pippin gave him a place for his episcopal see, in his famous fort, which
in the ancient language of those people is called Wiltaburg, that is, the
town of the Wilts; but, in the Gallic tongue, Trajectum.(838) The most
reverend prelate having built a church there,(839) and preaching the Word
of faith far and near, drew many from their errors, and built many
churches and not a few monasteries. For not long after he himself
constituted other bishops in those parts from the number of the brethren
that either came with him or after him to preach there; of whom some are
now fallen asleep in the Lord; but Wilbrord himself, surnamed Clement, is
still living, venerable for his great age, having been thirty-six years a
bishop, and now, after manifold conflicts of the heavenly warfare, he
longs with all his heart for the recompense of the reward in Heaven.(840)

Chap. XII. How one in the province of the Northumbrians, rose from the
dead, and related many things which he had seen, some to be greatly
dreaded and some to be desired. [Circ. 696 A.D.]

At this time a memorable miracle, and like to those of former days, was
wrought in Britain; for, to the end that the living might be roused from
the death of the soul, a certain man, who had been some time dead, rose
again to the life of the body, and related many memorable things that he
had seen; some of which I have thought fit here briefly to describe. There
was a certain householder in that district of the Northumbrians which is
called Incuneningum,(841) who led a godly life, with all his house. This
man fell sick, and his sickness daily increasing, he was brought to
extremity, and died in the beginning of the night; but at dawn he came to
life again, and suddenly sat up, whereat all those that sat about the body
weeping fled away in great terror, only his wife, who loved him better,
though trembling and greatly afraid, remained with him. And he comforting
her, said, "Fear not, for I am now in very deed risen from death whereof I
was holden, and permitted again to live among men; nevertheless, hereafter
I must not live as I was wont, but after a very different manner." Then
rising immediately, he went to the oratory of the little town, and
continuing in prayer till day, forthwith divided all his substance into
three parts; one whereof he gave to his wife, another to his children, and
the third, which he kept himself, he straightway distributed among the
poor. Not long after, being set free from the cares of this world, he came
to the monastery of Mailros,(842) which is almost enclosed by the winding
of the river Tweed, and having received the tonsure, went apart into a
place of abode which the abbot had provided, and there he continued till
the day of his death, in so great contrition of mind and mortifying of the
body, that even if his tongue had been silent, his life would have
declared that he had seen many things either to be dreaded or coveted,
which were hidden from other men.

Thus he related what he had seen.(843) "He that led me had a countenance
full of light, and shining raiment, and we went in silence, as it seemed
to me, towards the rising of the summer sun. And as we walked we came to a
broad and deep valley of infinite length; it lay on our left, and one side
of it was exceeding terrible with raging flames, the other no less
intolerable for violent hail and cold snows drifting and sweeping through
all the place. Both sides were full of the souls of men which seemed to be
tossed from one side to the other as it were by a violent storm; for when
they could no longer endure the fervent heat, the hapless souls leaped
into the midst of the deadly cold; and finding no rest there, they leaped
back again to be burnt in the midst of the unquenchable flames. Now
whereas an innumerable multitude of misshapen spirits were thus tormented
far and near with this interchange of misery, as far as I could see,
without any interval of rest, I began to think that peradventure this
might be Hell, of whose intolerable torments I had often heard men talk.
My guide, who went before me, answered to my thought, saying, ‘Think not
so, for this is not the Hell you believe it to be.’

"When he had led me farther by degrees, sore dismayed by that dread sight,
on a sudden I saw the place before us begin to grow dark and filled with
shadows. When we entered into them, the shadows by degrees grew so thick,
that I could see nothing else, save only the darkness and the shape and
garment of him that led me. As we went on ‘through the shades in the lone
night,’(844) lo! on a sudden there appeared before us masses of foul flame
constantly rising as it were out of a great pit, and falling back again
into the same. When I had been led thither, my guide suddenly vanished,
and left me alone in the midst of darkness and these fearful sights. As
those same masses of fire, without intermission, at one time flew up and
at another fell back into the bottom of the abyss, I perceived that the
summits of all the flames, as they ascended were full of the spirits of
men, which, like sparks flying upwards with the smoke, were sometimes
thrown on high, and again, when the vapours of the fire fell, dropped down
into the depths below. Moreover, a stench, foul beyond compare, burst
forth with the vapours, and filled all those dark places.

"Having stood there a long time in much dread, not knowing what to do,
which way to turn, or what end awaited me, on a sudden I heard behind me
the sound of a mighty and miserable lamentation, and at the same time
noisy laughter, as of a rude multitude insulting captured enemies. When
that noise, growing plainer, came up to me, I beheld a crowd of evil
spirits dragging five souls of men, wailing and shrieking, into the midst
of the darkness, whilst they themselves exulted and laughed. Among those
human souls, as I could discern, there was one shorn like a clerk, one a
layman, and one a woman. The evil spirits that dragged them went down into
the midst of the burning pit; and it came to pass that as they went down
deeper, I could no longer distinguish between the lamentation of the men
and the laughing of the devils, yet I still had a confused sound in my
ears. In the meantime, some of the dark spirits ascended from that flaming
abyss, and running forward, beset me on all sides, and with their flaming
eyes and the noisome fire which they breathed forth from their mouths and
nostrils, tried to choke me; and threatened to lay hold on me with fiery
tongs, which they had in their hands, yet they durst in no wise touch me,
though they assayed to terrify me. Being thus on all sides encompassed
with enemies and shades of darkness, and casting my eyes hither and
thither if haply anywhere help might be found whereby I might be saved,
there appeared behind me, on the way by which I had come, as it were, the
brightness of a star shining amidst the darkness; which waxing greater by
degrees, came rapidly towards me: and when it drew near, all those evil
spirits, that sought to carry me away with their tongs, dispersed and

"Now he, whose approach put them to flight, was the same that led me
before; who, then turning towards the right, began to lead me, as it were,
towards the rising of the winter sun, and having soon brought me out of
the darkness, led me forth into an atmosphere of clear light. While he
thus led me in open light, I saw a vast wall before us, the length on
either side, and the height whereof, seemed to be altogether boundless. I
began to wonder why we went up to the wall, seeing no door in it, nor
window, nor any way of ascent. But when we came to the wall, we were
presently, I know not by what means, on the top of it, and lo! there was a
wide and pleasant plain full of such fragrance of blooming flowers that
the marvellous sweetness of the scents immediately dispelled the foul
stench of the dark furnace which had filled my nostrils. So great was the
light shed over all this place that it seemed to exceed the brightness of
the day, or the rays of the noontide sun. In this field were innumerable
companies of men clothed in white, and many seats of rejoicing multitudes.
As he led me through the midst of bands of happy inhabitants, I began to
think that this perchance might be the kingdom of Heaven, of which I had
often heard tell. He answered to my thought, saying, ‘Nay, this is not the
kingdom of Heaven, as you think.’

"When we had also passed those mansions of blessed spirits, and gone
farther on, I saw before me a much more beautiful light than before, and
therein heard sweet sounds of singing, and so wonderful a fragrance was
shed abroad from the place, that the other which I had perceived before
and thought so great, then seemed to me but a small thing; even as that
wondrous brightness of the flowery field, compared with this which I now
beheld, appeared mean and feeble. When I began to hope that we should
enter that delightful place, my guide, on a sudden stood still; and
straightway turning, led me back by the way we came.

"In our return, when we came to those joyous mansions of the white-robed
spirits, he said to me, ‘Do you know what all these things are which you
have seen?’ I answered, ‘No,’ and then he said, ‘That valley which you
beheld terrible with flaming fire and freezing cold, is the place in which
the souls of those are tried and punished, who, delaying to confess and
amend their crimes, at length have recourse to repentance at the point of
death, and so go forth from the body; but nevertheless because they, even
at their death, confessed and repented, they shall all be received into
the kingdom of Heaven at the day of judgement; but many are succoured
before the day of judgement, by the prayers of the living and their alms
and fasting, and more especially by the celebration of Masses. Moreover
that foul flaming pit which you saw, is the mouth of Hell, into which
whosoever falls shall never be delivered to all eternity. This flowery
place, in which you see this fair and youthful company, all bright and
joyous, is that into which the souls of those are received who, indeed,
when they leave the body have done good works, but who are not so perfect
as to deserve to be immediately admitted into the kingdom of Heaven; yet
they shall all, at the day of judgement, behold Christ, and enter into the
joys of His kingdom; for such as are perfect in every word and deed and
thought, as soon as they quit the body, forthwith enter into the kingdom
of Heaven; in the neighbourhood whereof that place is, where you heard the
sound of sweet singing amidst the savour of a sweet fragrance and
brightness of light. As for you, who must now return to the body, and
again live among men, if you will seek diligently to examine your actions,
and preserve your manner of living and your words in righteousness and
simplicity, you shall, after death, have a place of abode among these
joyful troops of blessed souls which you behold. For when I left you for
awhile, it was for this purpose, that I might learn what should become of
you.’ When he had said this to me, I much abhorred returning to the body,
being delighted with the sweetness and beauty of the place which I beheld,
and with the company of those I saw in it. Nevertheless, I durst not ask
my guide anything; but thereupon, on a sudden, I found myself, I know not
how, alive among men."

Now these and other things which this man of God had seen, he would not
relate to slothful men, and such as lived negligently; but only to those
who, being terrified with the dread of torments, or ravished with the hope
of everlasting joys, would draw from his words the means to advance in
piety. In the neighbourhood of his cell lived one Haemgils, a monk, and
eminent in the priesthood, whose good works were worthy of his office: he
is still living, and leading a solitary life in Ireland, supporting his
declining age with coarse bread and cold water. He often went to that man,
and by repeated questioning, heard of him what manner of things he had
seen when out of the body; by whose account those few particulars which we
have briefly set down came also to our knowledge. And he related his
visions to King Aldfrid,(845) a man most learned in all respects, and was
by him so willingly and attentively heard, that at his request he was
admitted into the monastery above-mentioned, and received the crown of the
monastic tonsure; and the said king, whensoever he came into those parts,
very often went to hear him. At that time the abbot and priest
Ethelwald,(846) a man of godly and sober life, presided over that
monastery. He now occupies the episcopal see of the church of Lindisfarne,
leading a life worthy of his degree.

He had a place of abode assigned him apart in that monastery, where he
might give himself more freely to the service of his Creator in continual
prayer. And inasmuch as that place was on the banks of the river, he was
wont often to go into the same for the great desire he had to do penance
in his body, and oftentimes to plunge in it, and to continue saying psalms
or prayers in the same as long as he could endure it, standing still,
while the waves flowed over him, sometimes up to the middle, and sometimes
even to the neck in water; and when he went ashore, he never took off his
cold, wet garments till they grew warm and dry on his body. And when in
the winter the cracking pieces of ice were floating about him, which he
had himself sometimes broken, to make room to stand or plunge in the
river, and those who beheld it would say, "We marvel, brother Drythelm
(for so he was called), that you are able to endure such severe cold;" he
answered simply, for he was a simple and sober-spirited man, "I have seen
greater cold." And when they said, "We marvel that you choose to observe
so hard a rule of continence," he replied, "I have seen harder things."
And so, until the day of his calling hence, in his unwearied desire of
heavenly bliss, he subdued his aged body with daily fasting, and forwarded
the salvation of many by his words and life.

Chap. XIII. How another contrarywise before his death saw a book
containing his sins, which was shown him by devils. [704-709 A.D.]

But contrarywise there was a man in the province of the Mercians, whose
visions and words, but not his manner of life, were of profit to others,
though not to himself. In the reign of Coenred,(847) who succeeded
Ethelred, there was a layman who was a king’s thegn, no less acceptable to
the king for his outward industry, than displeasing to him for his neglect
of his own soul. The king diligently admonished him to confess and amend,
and to forsake his evil ways, lest he should lose all time for repentance
and amendment by a sudden death. But though frequently warned, he despised
the words of salvation, and promised that he would do penance at some
future time. In the meantime, falling sick he betook himself to his bed,
and was tormented with grievous pains. The king coming to him (for he
loved the man much) exhorted him, even then, before death, to repent of
his offences. But he answered that he would not then confess his sins, but
would do it when he was recovered of his sickness, lest his companions
should upbraid him with having done that for fear of death, which he had
refused to do in health. He thought he spoke very bravely, but it
afterwards appeared that he had been miserably deceived by the wiles of
the Devil.

The disease increasing, when the king came again to visit and instruct
him, he cried out straightway with a lamentable voice, "What will you now?
What are you come for? for you can no longer do aught for my profit or
salvation." The king answered, "Say not so; take heed and be of sound
mind." "I am not mad," replied he, "but I now know the worst and have it
for certain before my eyes." "What is that?" said the king. "Not long
since," said he, "there came into this room two fair youths, and sat down
by me, the one at my head, and the other at my feet. One of them drew
forth a book most beautiful, but very small, and gave it me to read;
looking into it, I there found all the good actions I had ever done in my
life written down, and they were very few and inconsiderable. They took
back the book and said nothing to me. Then, on a sudden, appeared an army
of evil spirits of hideous countenance, and they beset this house without,
and sitting down filled the greater part of it within. Then he, who by the
blackness of his gloomy face, and his sitting above the rest, seemed to be
the chief of them, taking out a book terrible to behold, of a monstrous
size, and of almost insupportable weight, commanded one of his followers
to bring it to me to read. Having read it, I found therein most plainly
written in hideous characters, all the crimes I ever committed, not only
in word and deed, but even in the least thought; and he said to those
glorious men in white raiment who sat by me, ‘Why sit ye here, since ye
know of a surety that this man is ours?’ They answered, ‘Ye speak truly;
take him and lead him away to fill up the measure of your damnation.’ This
said, they forthwith vanished, and two wicked spirits arose, having in
their hands ploughshares, and one of them struck me on the head, and the
other on the foot. And these ploughshares are now with great torment
creeping into the inward parts of my body, and as soon as they meet I
shall die, and the devils being ready to snatch me away, I shall be
dragged into the dungeons of hell."

Thus spoke that wretch in his despair, and soon after died, and now in
vain suffers in eternal torments that penance which he failed to suffer
for a short time with the fruits of forgiveness. Of whom it is manifest,
that (as the blessed Pope Gregory writes of certain persons) he did not
see these things for his own sake, since they did not avail him, but for
the sake of others, who, knowing of his end, should be afraid to put off
the time of repentance, whilst they have leisure, lest, being prevented by
sudden death, they should perish impenitent. And whereas he saw diverse
books laid before him by the good and evil spirits, this was done by
Divine dispensation, that we may keep in mind that our deeds and thoughts
are not scattered to the winds, but are all kept to be examined by the
Supreme Judge, and will in the end be shown us either by friendly angels
or by the enemy. And whereas the angels first drew forth a white book, and
then the devils a black one; the former a very small one, the latter one
very great; it is to be observed, that in his first years he did some good
actions, all which he nevertheless obscured by the evil actions of his
youth. If, contrarywise, he had taken care in his youth to correct the
errors of his boyhood, and by well-doing to put them away from the sight
of God, he might have been admitted to the fellowship of those of whom the
Psalm says, "Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose
sins are covered."(848) This story, as I learned it of the venerable
Bishop Pechthelm,(849) I have thought good to set forth plainly, for the
salvation of such as shall read or hear it.

Chap. XIV. How another in like manner, being at the point of death, saw
the place of punishment appointed for him in Hell.

I myself knew a brother, would to God I had not known him, whose name I
could mention if it were of any avail, dwelling in a famous monastery, but
himself living infamously. He was oftentimes rebuked by the brethren and
elders of the place, and admonished to be converted to a more chastened
life; and though he would not give ear to them, they bore with him long
and patiently, on account of their need of his outward service, for he was
a cunning artificer. But he was much given to drunkenness, and other
pleasures of a careless life, and more used to stop in his workshop day
and night, than to go to church to sing and pray and hear the Word of life
with the brethren. For which reason it befell him according to the saying,
that he who will not willingly humble himself and enter the gate of the
church must needs be led against his will into the gate of Hell, being
damned. For he falling sick, and being brought to extremity, called the
brethren, and with much lamentation, like one damned, began to tell them,
that he saw Hell opened, and Satan sunk in the depths thereof; and
Caiaphas, with the others that slew our Lord, hard by him, delivered up to
avenging flames. "In whose neighbourhood," said he, "I see a place of
eternal perdition prepared for me, miserable wretch that I am." The
brothers, hearing these words, began diligently to exhort him, that he
should repent even then, whilst he was still in the flesh. He answered in
despair, "There is no time for me now to change my course of life, when I
have myself seen my judgement passed."

Whilst uttering these words, he died without having received the saving
Viaticum, and his body was buried in the farthest parts of the monastery,
nor did any one dare either to say Masses or sing psalms, or even to pray
for him.(850) Oh how far asunder hath God put light from darkness! The
blessed Stephen, the first martyr, being about to suffer death for the
truth, saw the heavens opened, and the glory of God, and Jesus standing on
the right hand of God;(851) and where he was to be after death, there he
fixed the eyes of his mind, that he might die the more joyfully. But this
workman, of darkened mind and life, when death was at hand, saw Hell
opened, and witnessed the damnation of the Devil and his followers; he saw
also, unhappy wretch! his own prison among them, to the end that,
despairing of salvation, he might himself die the more miserably, but
might by his perdition afford cause of salvation to the living who should
hear of it. This befell of late in the province of the Bernicians, and
being noised abroad far and near, inclined many to do penance for their
sins without delay. Would to God that this also might come to pass through
the reading of our words!

Chap. XV. How divers churches of the Scots, at the instance of Adamnan,
adopted the Catholic Easter; and how the same wrote a book about the holy
places. [703 A.D.]

At this time a great part of the Scots in Ireland,(852) and some also of
the Britons in Britain,(853) by the grace of God, adopted the reasonable
and ecclesiastical time of keeping Easter. For when Adamnan,(854) priest
and abbot of the monks that were in the island of Hii, was sent by his
nation on a mission to Aldfrid, king of the English,(855) he abode some
time in that province, and saw the canonical rites of the Church.
Moreover, he was earnestly admonished by many of the more learned sort,
not to presume to live contrary to the universal custom of the Church,
either in regard to the observance of Easter, or any other ordinances
whatsoever, with those few followers of his dwelling in the farthest
corner of the world. Wherefore he so changed his mind, that he readily
preferred those things which he had seen and heard in the English
churches, to the customs which he and his people had hitherto followed.
For he was a good and wise man, and excellently instructed in knowledge of
the Scriptures. Returning home, he endeavoured to bring his own people
that were in Hii, or that were subject to that monastery, into the way of
truth, which he had embraced with all his heart; but he could not prevail.
He sailed over into Ireland,(856) and preaching to those people, and with
sober words of exhortation making known to them the lawful time of Easter,
he brought back many of them, and almost all that were free from the
dominion of those of Hii, from the error of their fathers to the Catholic
unity, and taught them to keep the lawful time of Easter.

Returning to his island, after having celebrated the canonical Easter in
Ireland, he was instant in preaching the Catholic observance of the season
of Easter in his monastery, yet without being able to achieve his end; and
it so happened that he departed this life before the next year came
round,(857) the Divine goodness so ordaining it, that as he was a great
lover of peace and unity, he should be taken away to everlasting life
before he should be obliged, on the return of the season of Easter, to be
at greater variance with those that would not follow him into the truth.

This same man wrote a book concerning the holy places, of great profit to
many readers; his authority was the teaching and dictation of Arculf, a
bishop of Gaul,(858) who had gone to Jerusalem for the sake of the holy
places; and having wandered over all the Promised Land, travelled also to
Damascus, Constantinople, Alexandria, and many islands in the sea, and
returning home by ship, was cast upon the western coast of Britain by a
great tempest. After many adventures he came to the aforesaid servant of
Christ, Adamnan, and being found to be learned in the Scriptures, and
acquainted with the holy places, was most gladly received by him and
gladly heard, insomuch that whatsoever he said that he had seen worthy of
remembrance in the holy places, Adamnan straightway set himself to commit
to writing. Thus he composed a work, as I have said, profitable to many,
and chiefly to those who, being far removed from those places where the
patriarchs and Apostles lived, know no more of them than what they have
learnt by reading. Adamnan presented this book to King Aldfrid, and
through his bounty it came to be read by lesser persons.(859) The writer
thereof was also rewarded by him with many gifts and sent back into his
country. I believe it will be of advantage to our readers if we collect
some passages from his writings, and insert them in this our History.(860)

Chap. XVI. The account given in the aforesaid book of the place of our
Lord’s Nativity, Passion, and Resurrection.

He wrote concerning the place of the Nativity of our Lord, after this
manner:(861) "Bethlehem, the city of David, is situated on a narrow ridge,
encompassed on all sides with valleys, being a mile in length from west to
east, and having a low wall without towers, built along the edge of the
level summit. In the eastern corner thereof is a sort of natural half
cave, the outward part whereof is said to have been the place where our
Lord was born; the inner is called the manger of our Lord. This cave
within is all covered with rich marble, and over the particular spot where
our Lord is said to have been born, stands the great church of St. Mary."
He likewise wrote about the place of His Passion and Resurrection in this
manner: "Entering the city of Jerusalem on the north side, the first place
to be visited, according to the disposition of the streets, is the church
of Constantine, called the Martyrium. It was built by the Emperor
Constantine, in a royal and magnificent manner, because the Cross of our
Lord was said to have been found there by his mother Helena. Thence, to
the westward, is seen the church of Golgotha, in which is also to be found
the rock which once bore the Cross to which the Lord’s body was nailed,
and now it upholds a large silver cross, having a great brazen wheel with
lamps hanging over it. Under the place of our Lord’s Cross, a crypt is
hewn out of the rock, in which the Sacrifice is offered on an altar for
the dead that are held in honour, their bodies remaining meanwhile in the
street. To the westward of this church is the round church of the
Anastasis or Resurrection of our Lord, encompassed with three walls, and
supported by twelve columns. Between each of the walls is a broad passage,
which contains three altars at three different points of the middle wall;
to the south, the north, and the west. It has eight doors or entrances in
a straight line through the three walls; four whereof face the south-east,
and four the east.(862) In the midst of it is the round tomb of our Lord
cut out of the rock, the top of of which a man standing within can touch
with his hand; on the east is the entrance, against which that great stone
was set. To this day the tomb bears the marks of the iron tools within,
but on the outside it is all covered with marble to the very top of the
roof, which is adorned with gold, and bears a large golden cross. In the
north part of the tomb the sepulchre of our Lord is hewn out of the same
rock, seven feet in length, and three hand-breadths above the floor; the
entrance being on the south side, where twelve lamps burn day and night,
four within the sepulchre, and eight above on the edge of the right side.
The stone that was set at the entrance to the tomb is now cleft in two;
nevertheless, the lesser part of it stands as an altar of hewn stone
before the door of the tomb; the greater part is set up as another altar,
four-cornered, at the east end of the same church, and is covered with
linen cloths. The colour of the said tomb and sepulchre is white and red
mingled together."(863)

Chap. XVII. What he likewise wrote of the place of our Lord’s Ascension,
and the tombs of the patriarchs.

Concerning the place of our Lord’s Ascension, the aforesaid author writes
thus. "The Mount of Olives is equal in height to Mount Sion, but exceeds
it in breadth and length; it bears few trees besides vines and olives, and
is fruitful in wheat and barley, for the nature of that soil is not such
as to yield thickets,(864) but grass and flowers. On the very top of it,
where our Lord ascended into heaven, is a large round church,(865) having
round about it three chapels with vaulted roofs. For the inner building
could not be vaulted and roofed, by reason of the passage of our Lord’s
Body; but it has an altar on the east side, sheltered by a narrow roof. In
the midst of it are to be seen the last Footprints of our Lord, the place
where He ascended being open to the sky; and though the earth is daily
carried away by believers, yet still it remains, and retains the same
appearance, being marked by the impression of the Feet. Round about these
lies a brazen wheel, as high as a man’s neck, having an entrance from the
west, with a great lamp hanging above it on a pulley and burning night and
day. In the western part of the same church are eight windows; and as many
lamps, hanging opposite to them by cords, shine through the glass as far
as Jerusalem; and the light thereof is said to thrill the hearts of the
beholders with a certain zeal and compunction. Every year, on the day of
the Ascension of our Lord, when Mass is ended, a strong blast of wind is
wont to come down, and to cast to the ground all that are in the church."

Of the situation of Hebron, and the tombs of the fathers,(866) he writes
thus. "Hebron, once a habitation and the chief city of David’s kingdom,
now only showing by its ruins what it then was, has, one furlong to the
east of it, a double cave in the valley, where the sepulchres of the
patriarchs are encompassed with a wall four-square, their heads lying to
the north. Each of the tombs is covered with a single stone, hewn like the
stones of a church, and of a white colour, for the three patriarchs.
Adam’s is of meaner and poorer workmanship, and he lies not far from them
at the farthest end of the northern part of that wall. There are also some
poorer and smaller monuments of the three women. The hill Mamre is a mile
from these tombs, and is covered with grass and flowers, having a level
plain on the top. In the northern part of it, the trunk of Abraham’s oak,
being twice as high as a man, is enclosed in a church."

Thus much, gathered from the works of the aforesaid writer, according to
the sense of his words, but more briefly and in fewer words, we have
thought fit to insert in our History for the profit of readers. Whosoever
desires to know more of the contents of that book, may seek it either in
the book itself, or in that abridgement which we have lately made from it.

Chap. XVIII. How the South Saxons received Eadbert and Eolla, and the West
Saxons, Daniel and Aldhelm, for their bishops; and of the writings of the
same Aldhelm. [705 A.D.]

In the year of our Lord 705, Aldfrid, king of the Northumbrians, died(867)
before the end of the twentieth year of his reign. His son Osred,(868) a
boy about eight years of age, succeeding him in the throne, reigned eleven
years. In the beginning of his reign, Haedde, bishop of the West
Saxons,(869) departed to the heavenly life; for he was a good man and a
just, and his life and doctrine as a bishop were guided rather by his
innate love of virtue, than by what he had gained from books. The most
reverend bishop, Pechthelm, of whom we shall speak hereafter in the proper
place,(870) and who while still deacon or monk was for a long time with
his successor Aldhelm,(871) was wont to relate that many miracles of
healing have been wrought in the place where he died, through the merit of
his sanctity; and that the men of that province used to carry the dust
thence for the sick, and put it into water, and the drinking thereof, or
sprinkling with it, brought health to many sick men and beasts; so that
the holy dust being frequently carried away, a great hole was made there.

Upon his death, the bishopric of that province was divided into two
dioceses.(872) One of them was given to Daniel,(873) which he governs to
this day; the other to Aldhelm, wherein he presided most vigorously four
years; both of them were fully instructed, as well in matters touching the
Church as in the knowledge of the Scriptures. Aldhelm, when he was as yet
only a priest and abbot of the monastery which is called the city of
Maildufus,(874) by order of a synod of his own nation, wrote a notable
book(875) against the error of the Britons, in not celebrating Easter at
the due time, and in doing divers other things contrary to the purity of
doctrine and the peace of the church; and through the reading of this book
many of the Britons, who were subject to the West Saxons, were led by him
to adopt the Catholic celebration of our Lord’s Paschal Feast. He likewise
wrote a famous book on Virginity,(876) which, after the example of
Sedulius,(877) he composed in twofold form, in hexameters and in prose. He
wrote some other books, being a man most instructed in all respects, for
he had a polished style,(878) and was, as I have said, of marvellous
learning both in liberal and ecclesiastical studies. On his death,
Forthere(879) was made bishop in his stead, and is living at this time,
being likewise a man very learned in the Holy Scriptures.

Whilst they administered the bishopric, it was determined by a synodal
decree, that the province of the South Saxons, which till that time
belonged to the diocese of the city of Winchester, where Daniel then
presided, should itself have an episcopal see, and a bishop of its
own.(880) Eadbert, at that time abbot of the monastery of Bishop Wilfrid,
of blessed memory, called Selaeseu,(881) was consecrated their first
bishop. On his death, Eolla succeeded to the office of bishop. He also
died some years ago, and the bishopric has been vacant to this day.(882)

Chap. XIX. How Coinred, king of the Mercians, and Offa, king of the East
Saxons, ended their days at Rome, in the monastic habit; and of the life
and death of Bishop Wilfrid. [709 A.D.]

In the fourth year of the reign of Osred,(883) Coenred,(884) who had for
some time nobly governed the kingdom of the Mercians, much more nobly
quitted the sceptre of his kingdom. For he went to Rome, and there
receiving the tonsure and becoming a monk, when Constantine(885) was pope,
he continued to his last hour in prayer and fasting and alms-deeds at the
threshold of the Apostles. He was succeeded in the throne by Ceolred,(886)
the son of Ethelred, who had governed the kingdom before Coenred. With him
went the son of Sighere,(887) the king of the East Saxons whom we
mentioned before, by name Offa, a youth of a most pleasing age and
comeliness, and greatly desired by all his nation to have and to hold the
sceptre of the kingdom. He, with like devotion, quitted wife, and lands,
and kindred and country, for Christ and for the Gospel, that he might
"receive an hundred-fold in this life, and in the world to come life
everlasting."(888) He also, when they came to the holy places at Rome,
received the tonsure, and ending his life in the monastic habit, attained
to the vision of the blessed Apostles in Heaven, as he had long desired.

The same year that they departed from Britain, the great bishop, Wilfrid,
ended his days in the province called Inundalum,(889) after he had been
bishop forty-five years.(890) His body, being laid in a coffin, was
carried to his monastery, which is called Inhrypum,(891) and buried in the
church of the blessed Apostle Peter, with the honour due to so great a
prelate. Concerning whose manner of life, let us now turn back, and
briefly make mention of the things which were done.(892) Being a boy of a
good disposition, and virtuous beyond his years, he conducted himself so
modestly and discreetly in all points, that he was deservedly beloved,
respected, and cherished by his elders as one of themselves.(893) At
fourteen years of age he chose rather the monastic than the secular life;
which, when he had signified to his father, for his mother was dead, he
readily consented to his godly wishes and desires, and advised him to
persist in that wholesome purpose. Wherefore he came to the isle of
Lindisfarne, and there giving himself to the service of the monks, he
strove diligently to learn and to practise those things which belong to
monastic purity and piety; and being of a ready wit, he speedily learned
the psalms and some other books, having not yet received the tonsure, but
being in no small measure marked by those virtues of humility and
obedience which are more important than the tonsure; for which reason he
was justly loved by his elders and his equals. Having served God some
years in that monastery, and being a youth of a good understanding, he
perceived that the way of virtue delivered by the Scots was in no wise
perfect, and he resolved to go to Rome, to see what ecclesiastical or
monastic rites were in use at the Apostolic see. When he told the
brethren, they commended his design, and advised him to carry out that
which he purposed. He forthwith went to Queen Eanfled, for he was known to
her, and it was by her counsel and support that he had been admitted into
the aforesaid monastery, and he told her of his desire to visit the
threshold of the blessed Apostles. She, being pleased with the youth’s
good purpose, sent him into Kent, to King Earconbert,(894) who was her
uncle’s son, requesting that he would send him to Rome in an honourable
manner. At that time, Honorius,(895) one of the disciples of the blessed
Pope Gregory, a man very highly instructed in ecclesiastical learning, was
archbishop there. When he had tarried there for a space, and, being a
youth of an active spirit, was diligently applying himself to learn those
things which came under his notice, another youth, called Biscop, surnamed
Benedict,(896) of the English nobility, arrived there, being likewise
desirous to go to Rome, of whom we have before made mention.

The king gave him Wilfrid for a companion, and bade Wilfrid conduct him to
Rome. When they came to Lyons, Wilfrid was detained there by
Dalfinus,(897) the bishop of that city; but Benedict hastened on to Rome.
For the bishop was delighted with the youth’s prudent discourse, the grace
of his comely countenance, his eager activity, and the consistency and
maturity of his thoughts; for which reason he plentifully supplied him and
his companions with all necessaries, as long as they stayed with him; and
further offered, if he would have it, to commit to him the government of
no small part of Gaul, to give him a maiden daughter of his own
brother(898) to wife, and to regard him always as his adopted son. But
Wilfrid thanked him for the loving-kindness which he was pleased to show
to a stranger, and answered, that he had resolved upon another course of
life, and for that reason had left his country and set out for Rome.

Hereupon the bishop sent him to Rome, furnishing him with a guide and
supplying plenty of all things requisite for his journey, earnestly
requesting that he would come that way, when he returned into his own
country. Wilfrid arriving at Rome, and daily giving himself with all
earnestness to prayer and the study of ecclesiastical matters, as he had
purposed in his mind, gained the friendship of the most holy and learned
Boniface, the archdeacon,(899) who was also counsellor to the Apostolic
Pope, by whose instruction he learned in their order the four Gospels, and
the true computation of Easter; and many other things appertaining to
ecclesiastical discipline, which he could not learn in his own country, he
acquired from the teaching of that same master. When he had spent some
months there, in successful study, he returned into Gaul, to
Dalfinus;(900) and having stayed with him three years, received from him
the tonsure, and Dalfinus esteemed him so highly in love that he had
thoughts of making him his heir; but this was prevented by the bishop’s
cruel death, and Wilfrid was reserved to be a bishop of his own, that is,
the English, nation. For Queen Baldhild(901) sent soldiers with orders to
put the bishop to death; whom Wilfrid, as his clerk, attended to the place
where he was to be beheaded, being very desirous, though the bishop
strongly opposed it, to die with him; but the executioners, understanding
that he was a stranger, and of the English nation, spared him, and would
not put him to death with his bishop.

Returning to Britain, he won the friendship of King Alchfrid,(902) who had
learnt to follow always and love the catholic rules of the Church; and
therefore finding him to be a Catholic, he gave him presently land of ten
families at the place called Stanford;(903) and not long after, the
monastery, with land of thirty families, at the place called
Inhrypum;(904) which place he had formerly given to those that followed
the doctrine of the Scots, to build a monastery there. But, forasmuch as
they afterwards, being given the choice, had rather quit the place than
adopt the Catholic Easter and other canonical rites, according to the
custom of the Roman Apostolic Church, he gave the same to him whom he
found to be instructed in better discipline and better customs.

At the same time, by the said king’s command, he was ordained priest in
the same monastery, by Agilbert,(905) bishop of the Gewissae
above-mentioned, the king being desirous that a man of so much learning
and piety should attend him constantly as his special priest and teacher;
and not long after, when the Scottish sect had been exposed and
banished,(906) as was said above, he, with the advice and consent of his
father Oswy, sent him into Gaul, to be consecrated as his bishop,(907)
when he was about thirty years of age, the same Agilbert being then bishop
of the city of Paris. Eleven other bishops met at the consecration of the
new bishop, and that function was most honourably performed. Whilst he yet
tarried beyond the sea, the holy man, Ceadda,(908) was consecrated bishop
of York(909) by command of King Oswy, as has been said above; and having
nobly ruled that church three years, he retired to take charge of his
monastery of Laestingaeu, and Wilfrid was made bishop of all the province
of the Northumbrians.

Afterwards, in the reign of Egfrid, he was expelled from his bishopric,
and others were consecrated bishops in his stead, of whom mention has been
made above.(910) Designing to go to Rome, to plead his cause before the
Apostolic Pope, he took ship, and was driven by a west wind into
Frisland,(911) and honourably received by that barbarous people and their
King Aldgils, to whom he preached Christ, and he instructed many thousands
of them in the Word of truth, washing them from the defilement of their
sins in the Saviour’s font. Thus he began there the work of the Gospel
which was afterwards finished with great devotion by the most reverend
bishop of Christ, Wilbrord.(912) Having spent the winter there
successfully among this new people of God, he set out again on his way to
Rome,(913) where his cause being tried before Pope Agatho and many
bishops,(914) he was by the judgement of them all acquitted of all blame,
and declared worthy of his bishopric.

At the same time, the said Pope Agatho assembling a synod at Rome, of one
hundred and twenty-five bishops, against those who asserted that there was
only one will and operation in our Lord and Saviour,(915) ordered Wilfrid
also to be summoned, and, sitting among the bishops, to declare his own
faith and the faith of the province or island whence he came; and he and
his people being found orthodox in their faith, it was thought fit to
record the same among the acts of that synod, which was done in in this
manner: "Wilfrid, the beloved of God, bishop of the city of York,
appealing to the Apostolic see, and being by that authority acquitted of
every thing, whether specified against him or not, and being appointed to
sit in judgement with one hundred and twenty-five other bishops in the
synod, made confession of the true and catholic faith, and confirmed the
same with his subscription in the name of all the northern part of Britain
and Ireland, and the islands inhabited by the nations of the English and
Britons, as also by the Scots and Picts."

After this, returning into Britain,(916) he converted the province of the
South Saxons from their idolatrous worship to the faith of Christ.(917) He
also sent ministers of the Word to the Isle of Wight;(918) and in the
second year of Aldfrid, who reigned after Egfrid, was restored to his see
and bishopric by that king’s invitation.(919) Nevertheless, five years
after, being again accused, he was deprived of his bishopric by the same
king and certain bishops.(920) Coming to Rome,(921) he was allowed to make
his defence in the presence of his accusers, before a number of bishops
and the Apostolic Pope John.(922) It was shown by the judgement of them
all, that his accusers had in part laid false accusations to his charge;
and the aforesaid Pope wrote to the kings of the English, Ethelred and
Aldfrid, to cause him to be restored to his bishopric, because he had been
unjustly condemned.(923)

His acquittal was much forwarded by the reading of the acts of the synod
of Pope Agatho,(924) of blessed memory, which had been formerly held, when
Wilfrid was in Rome and sat in council among the bishops, as has been said
before. For the acts of that synod being, as the case required, read, by
order of the Apostolic Pope, before the nobility and a great number of the
people for some days, they came to the place where it was written,
"Wilfrid, the beloved of God, bishop of the city of York, appealing to the
Apostolic see, and being by that authority acquitted of everything,
whether specified against him or not," and the rest as above stated. This
being read, the hearers were amazed, and the reader ceasing, they began to
ask of one another, who that Bishop Wilfrid was. Then Boniface, the Pope’s
counsellor,(925) and many others, who had seen him there in the days of
Pope Agatho, said that he was the same bishop that lately came to Rome, to
be tried by the Apostolic see, being accused by his people, and "who, said
they, having long since come here upon the like accusation, the cause and
contention of both parties being heard and examined, was proved by Pope
Agatho, of blessed memory, to have been wrongfully expelled from his
bishopric, and was held in such honour by him, that he commanded him to
sit in the council of bishops which he had assembled, as a man of
untainted faith and an upright mind." This being heard, the Pope and all
the rest said, that a man of so great authority, who had held the office
of a bishop for nearly forty years, ought by no means to be condemned, but
being altogether cleared of the faults laid to his charge, should return
home with honour.

When he came to Gaul, on his way back to Britain, on a sudden he fell
sick, and the sickness increasing, he was so weighed down by it, that he
could not ride, but was carried in his bed by the hands of his servants.
Being thus come to the city of Maeldum,(926) in Gaul, he lay four days and
nights, as if he had been dead, and only by his faint breathing showed
that he had any life in him. Having continued thus four days, without meat
or drink, without speech or hearing, at length, on the fifth day, at
daybreak, as it were awakening out of a deep sleep, he raised himself and
sat up, and opening his eyes, saw round about him a company of brethren
singing psalms and weeping. Sighing gently, he asked where Acca,(927) the
priest, was. This man, straightway being called, came in, and seeing him
somewhat recovered and able to speak, knelt down, and gave thanks to God,
with all the brethren there present. When they had sat awhile and begun to
discourse, with great awe, of the judgements of heaven, the bishop bade
the rest go out for a time, and spoke to the priest, Acca, after this

"A dread vision has even now appeared to me, which I would have you hear
and keep secret, till I know what God will please to do with me. There
stood by me a certain one, glorious in white raiment, and he told me that
he was Michael, the Archangel, and said, ‘I am sent to call you back from
death: for the Lord has granted you life, through the prayers and tears of
your disciples and brethren, and the intercession of His Blessed Mother
Mary, of perpetual virginity; wherefore I tell you, that you shall now
recover from this sickness; but be ready, for I will return and visit you
at the end of four years. And when you come into your country, you shall
recover the greater part of the possessions that have been taken from you,
and shall end your days in peace and quiet.’ " The bishop accordingly
recovered, whereat all men rejoiced and gave thanks to God, and setting
forward on his journey, he arrived in Britain.

Having read the letters which he brought from the Apostolic Pope,
Bertwald, the archbishop, and Ethelred,(928) sometime king, but then
abbot, readily took his part; for the said Ethelred, calling to him
Coenred,(929) whom he had made king in his own stead, begged him to be
friends with Wilfrid, in which request he prevailed; nevertheless Aldfrid,
king of the Northumbrians, disdained to receive him. But he died soon
after,(930) and so it came to pass that, during the reign of his son
Osred,(931) when a synod was assembled before long by the river Nidd,(932)
after some contention on both sides, at length, by the consent of all, he
was restored to the government of his own church;(933) and thus he lived
in peace four years, till the day of his death. He died in his monastery,
which he had in the province of Undalum,(934) under the government of the
Abbot Cuthbald;(935) and by the ministry of the brethren, he was carried
to his first monastery which is called Inhrypum,(936) and buried in the
church of the blessed Apostle Peter, hard by the altar on the south side,
as has been mentioned above, and this epitaph was written over him:

"Here rests the body of the great Bishop Wilfrid, who, for love of piety,
built these courts and consecrated them with the noble name of Peter, to
whom Christ, the Judge of all the earth, gave the keys of Heaven. And
devoutly he clothed them with gold and Tyrian purple; yea, and he placed
here the trophy of the Cross, of shining ore, uplifted high; moreover he
caused the four books of the Gospel to be written in gold in their order,
and he gave a case meet for them of ruddy gold. And he also brought the
holy season of Easter, returning in its course, to accord with the true
teaching of the catholic rule which the Fathers fixed, and, banishing all
doubt and error, gave his nation sure guidance in their worship. And in
this place he gathered a great throng of monks, and with all diligence
safeguarded the precepts which the Fathers’ rule enjoined. And long time
sore vexed by many a peril at home and abroad, when he had held the office
of a bishop forty-five years, he passed away and with joy departed to the
heavenly kingdom. Grant, O Jesus, that the flock may follow in the path of
the shepherd."

Chap. XX. How Albinus succeeded to the godly Abbot Hadrian, and Acca to
Bishop Wilfrid. [709 A.D.]

The next year after the death of the aforesaid father,(937) which was the
fifth year of King Osred, the most reverend father, Abbot Hadrian,(938)
fellow labourer in the Word of God with Bishop Theodore(939) of blessed
memory, died, and was buried in the church of the Blessed Mother of God,
in his own monastery,(940) this being the forty-first year after he was
sent by Pope Vitalian with Theodore, and the thirty-ninth after his
arrival in England. Among other proofs of his learning, as well as
Theodore’s, there is this testimony, that Albinus,(941) his disciple, who
succeeded him in the government of his monastery, was so well instructed
in literary studies, that he had no small knowledge of the Greek tongue,
and knew the Latin as well as the English, which was his native language.

Acca,(942) his priest, succeeded Wilfrid in the bishopric of the church of
Hagustald, being likewise a man of zeal and great in noble works in the
sight of God and man. He enriched the structure of his church, which is
dedicated in honour of the blessed Apostle Andrew with manifold adornments
and marvellous workmanship. For he gave all diligence, as he does to this
day, to procure relics of the blessed Apostles and martyrs of Christ from
all parts, and to raise altars in their honour in separate side-chapels
built for the purpose within the walls of the same church. Besides which,
he industriously gathered the histories of their martyrdom, together with
other ecclesiastical writings, and erected there a large and noble
library. He likewise carefully provided holy vessels, lamps, and other
such things as appertain to the adorning of the house of God. He in like
manner invited to him a notable singer called Maban,(943) who had been
taught to sing by the successors of the disciples of the blessed Pope
Gregory in Kent, to instruct himself and his clergy, and kept him twelve
years, to the end that he might teach such Church music as they did not
know, and by his teaching restore to its former state that which was
corrupted either by long use, or through neglect. For Bishop Acca himself
was a most skilful singer, as well as most learned in Holy Writ, sound in
the confession of the catholic faith, and well versed in the rules of
ecclesiastical custom; nor does he cease to walk after this manner, till
he receive the rewards of his pious devotion. For he was brought up from
boyhood and instructed among the clergy of the most holy and beloved of
God, Bosa, bishop of York.(944) Afterwards, coming to Bishop Wilfrid in
the hope of a better plan of life, he spent the rest of his days in
attendance on him till that bishop’s death, and going with him to Rome,
learned there many profitable things concerning the ordinances of the Holy
Church, which he could not have learned in his own country.

Chap. XXI. How the Abbot Ceolfrid sent master-builders to the King of the
Picts to build a church, and with them an epistle concerning the Catholic
Easter and the Tonsure. [710 A.D.]

At that time,(945) Naiton, King of the Picts, who inhabit the northern
parts of Britain, taught by frequent meditation on the ecclesiastical
writings, renounced the error whereby he and his nation had been holden
till then, touching the observance of Easter, and brought himself and all
his people to celebrate the catholic time of our Lord’s Resurrection. To
the end that he might bring this to pass with the more ease and greater
authority, he sought aid from the English, whom he knew to have long since
framed their religion after the example of the holy Roman Apostolic
Church. Accordingly, he sent messengers to the venerable Ceolfrid,(946)
abbot of the monastery of the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, which
stands at the mouth of the river Wear, and near the river Tyne, at the
place called Ingyruum,(947) which he gloriously governed after
Benedict,(948) of whom we have before spoken; desiring, that he would send
him a letter of exhortation, by the help of which he might the better
confute those that presumed to keep Easter out of the due time; as also
concerning the form and manner of tonsure whereby the clergy should be
distinguished,(949) notwithstanding that he himself had no small knowledge
of these things. He also prayed to have master-builders sent him to build
a church of stone in his nation after the Roman manner,(950) promising to
dedicate the same in honour of the blessed chief of the Apostles.
Moreover, he and all his people, he said, would always follow the custom
of the holy Roman Apostolic Church, in so far as men so distant from the
speech and nation of the Romans could learn it. The most reverend Abbot
Ceolfrid favourably receiving his godly desires and requests, sent the
builders he desired, and likewise the following letter:(951)

"_To the most excellent lord, and glorious King Naiton, Abbot Ceolfrid,
greeting in the Lord._ We most readily and willingly endeavour, according
to your desire, to make known to you the catholic observance of holy
Easter, according to what we have learned of the Apostolic see, even as
you, most devout king, in your godly zeal, have requested of us. For we
know, that whensoever the lords of this world labour to learn, and to
teach and to guard the truth, it is a gift of God to his Holy Church. For
a certain profane writer(952) has most truly said, that the world would be
most happy if either kings were philosophers, or philosophers were kings.
Now if a man of this world could judge truly of the philosophy of this
world, and form a right choice concerning the state of this world, how
much more is it to be desired, and most earnestly to be prayed for by such
as are citizens of the heavenly country, and strangers and pilgrims in
this world, that the more powerful any are in the world the more they may
strive to hearken to the commands of Him who is the Supreme Judge, and by
their example and authority may teach those that are committed to their
charge, to keep the same, together with themselves.

"There are then three rules given in the Sacred Writings, whereby the time
of keeping Easter has been appointed for us and may in no wise be changed
by any authority of man; two whereof are divinely established in the law
of Moses; the third is added in the Gospel by reason of the Passion and
Resurrection of our Lord. For the law enjoined, that the Passover should
be kept in the first month of the year, and the third week of that month,
that is, from the fifteenth day to the one-and-twentieth. It is added, by
Apostolic institution, from the Gospel, that we are to wait for the Lord’s
day in that third week, and to keep the beginning of the Paschal season on
the same. Which threefold rule whosoever shall rightly observe, will never
err in fixing the Paschal feast. But if you desire to be more plainly and
fully informed in all these particulars, it is written in Exodus, where
the people of Israel, being about to be delivered out of Egypt, are
commanded to keep the first Passover,(953) that the Lord spake unto Moses
and Aaron, saying, ‘This month shall be unto you the beginning of months;
it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the
congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall
take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a
lamb for an house.’ And a little after,(954) ‘And ye shall keep it up
until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the
congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.’ By which words it
most plainly appears, that in the Paschal observance, though mention is
made of the fourteenth day, yet it is not commanded that the Passover be
kept on that day; but on the evening of the fourteenth day, that is, when
the fifteenth moon, which is the beginning of the third week, appears in
the sky, it is commanded that the lamb be killed; and that it was the
night of the fifteenth moon, when the Egyptians were smitten and Israel
was redeemed from long captivity. He says,(955) ‘Seven days shall ye eat
unleavened bread.’ By which words all the third week of that same first
month is appointed to be a solemn feast. But lest we should think that
those same seven days were to be reckoned from the fourteenth to the
twentieth, He forthwith adds,(956) ‘Even the first day ye shall put away
leaven out of your houses; for whosoever eateth leavened bread, from the
first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel;’
and so on, till he says,(957) ‘For in this selfsame day I will bring your
army out of the land of Egypt.’

"Thus he calls that the first day of unleavened bread, in which he was to
bring their army out of Egypt. Now it is evident, that they were not
brought out of Egypt on the fourteenth day, in the evening whereof the
lamb was killed, and which is properly called the Passover or Phase, but
on the fifteenth day, as is most plainly written in the book of
Numbers:(958) ‘and they departed from Rameses on the fifteenth day of the
first month, on the morrow after the Passover the Israelites went out with
an high hand.’ Thus the seven days of unleavened bread, on the first
whereof the people of the Lord were brought out of Egypt, are to be
reckoned from the beginning of the third week, as has been said, that is,
from the fifteenth day of the first month, till the end of the
one-and-twentieth of the same month. But the fourteenth day is named apart
from this number, by the title of the Passover, as is plainly shown by
that which follows in Exodus:(959) where, after it is said, ‘For in this
self-same day I will bring your army out of the land of Egypt;’ it is
forthwith added, ‘And ye shall observe this day in your generations by an
ordinance for ever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the
month, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one-and-twentieth day of
the month at even. Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your
houses.’ Now, who is there that does not perceive, that there are not only
seven days, but rather eight, from the fourteenth to the
one-and-twentieth, if the fourteenth be also reckoned in the number? But
if, as appears by diligent study of the truth of the Scriptures, we reckon
from the evening of the fourteenth day to the evening of the
one-and-twentieth, we shall certainly find, that, while the Paschal feast
begins on the evening of the fourteenth day, yet the whole sacred
solemnity contains no more than only seven nights and as many days.
Wherefore the rule which we laid down is proved to be true, when we said
that the Paschal season is to be celebrated in the first month of the
year, and the third week of the same. For it is in truth the third week,
because it begins on the evening of the fourteenth day, and ends on the
evening of the one-and-twentieth.

"But since Christ our Passover is sacrificed,(960) and has made the Lord’s
day, which among the ancients was called the first day of the week, a
solemn day to us for the joy of His Resurrection, the Apostolic tradition
has included it in the Paschal festival; yet has decreed that the time of
the legal Passover be in no wise anticipated or diminished; but rather
ordains, that according to the precept of the law, that same first month
of the year, and the fourteenth day of the same, and the evening thereof
be awaited. And when this day should chance to fall on a Saturday, every
man should take to him a lamb, according to the house of his fathers, a
lamb for an house, and he should kill it in the evening, that is, that all
the Churches throughout the world, making one Catholic Church, should
provide Bread and Wine for the Mystery of the Flesh and Blood of the
spotless Lamb ‘that hath taken away the sins of the world;’(961) and after
a fitting solemn service of lessons and prayers and Paschal ceremonies,
they should offer up these to the Lord, in hope of redemption to come. For
this is that same night in which the people of Israel were delivered out
of Egypt by the blood of the lamb; this is the same in which all the
people of God were, by Christ’s Resurrection, set free from eternal death.
Then, in the morning, when the Lord’s day dawns, they should celebrate the
first day of the Paschal festival; for that is the day on which our Lord
made known the glory of His Resurrection to His disciples, to their
manifold joy at the merciful revelation. The same is the first day of
unleavened bread, concerning which it is plainly written in
Leviticus,(962) ‘In the fourteenth day of the first month, at even, is the
Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast
of unleavened bread unto the Lord; seven days ye must eat unleavened
bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation.’

"If therefore it could be that the Lord’s day should always happen on the
fifteenth day of the first month, that is, on the fifteenth moon, we might
always celebrate the Passover at one and the same time with the ancient
people of God, though the nature of the mystery be different, as we do it
with one and the same faith. But inasmuch as the day of the week does not
keep pace exactly with the moon, the Apostolic tradition, which was
preached at Rome by the blessed Peter, and confirmed at Alexandria by Mark
the Evangelist,(963) his interpreter, appointed that when the first month
was come, and in it the evening of the fourteenth day, we should also wait
for the Lord’s day, between the fifteenth and the one-and-twentieth day of
the same month. For on whichever of those days it shall fall, Easter will
be rightly kept on the same; seeing that it is one of those seven days on
which the feast of unleavened bread is commanded to be kept. Thus it comes
to pass that our Easter never falls either before or after the third week
of the first month, but has for its observance either the whole of it, to
wit, the seven days of unleavened bread appointed by the law, or at least
some of them. For though it comprises but one of them, that is, the
seventh, which the Scripture so highly commends, saying,(964) ‘But the
seventh day shall be a more holy convocation, ye shall do no servile work
therein,’ none can lay it to our charge, that we do not rightly keep
Easter Sunday, which we received from the Gospel, in the third week of the
first month, as the Law prescribes.

"The catholic reason of this observance being thus explained, the
unreasonable error, on the other hand, of those who, without any
necessity, presume either to anticipate, or to go beyond the term
appointed in the Law, is manifest. For they that think Easter Sunday is to
be observed from the fourteenth day of the first month till the twentieth
moon, anticipate the time prescribed in the law, without any necessary
reason; for when they begin to celebrate the vigil of the holy night from
the evening of the thirteenth day, it is plain that they make that day the
beginning of their Easter, whereof they find no mention in the commandment
of the Law; and when they avoid celebrating our Lord’s Easter on the
one-and-twentieth day of the month, it is surely manifest that they wholly
exclude that day from their solemnity, which the Law many times commends
to be observed as a greater festival than the rest; and thus, perverting
the proper order, they sometimes keep Easter Day entirely in the second
week, and never place it on the seventh day of the third week. And again,
they who think that Easter is to be kept from the sixteenth day of the
said month till the two-and-twentieth(965) no less erroneously, though on
the other side, deviate from the right way of truth, and as it were
avoiding shipwreck on Scylla, they fall into the whirlpool of Charybdis to
be drowned. For when they teach that Easter is to be begun at the rising
of the sixteenth moon of the first month, that is, from the evening of the
fifteenth day, it is certain that they altogether exclude from their
solemnity the fourteenth day of the same month, which the Law first and
chiefly commends; so that they scarce touch the evening of the fifteenth
day, on which the people of God were redeemed from Egyptian bondage, and
on which our Lord, by His Blood, rescued the world from the darkness of
sin, and on which being also buried, He gave us the hope of a blessed rest
after death.

"And these men, receiving in themselves the recompense of their error,
when they place Easter Sunday on the twenty-second day of the month,
openly transgress and do violence to the term of Easter appointed by the
Law, seeing that they begin Easter on the evening of that day in which the
Law commanded it to be completed and brought to an end; and appoint that
to be the first day of Easter, whereof no mention is any where found in
the Law, to wit, the first of the fourth week. And both sorts are
mistaken, not only in fixing and computing the moon’s age, but also
sometimes in finding the first month; but this controversy is longer than
can be or ought to be contained in this letter. I will only say thus much,
that by the vernal equinox, it may always be found, without the chance of
an error, which must be the first month of the year, according to the
lunar computation, and which the last. But the equinox, according to the
opinion of all the Eastern nations, and particularly of the
Egyptians,(966) who surpass all other learned men in calculation, falls on
the twenty-first day of March, as we also prove by horological
observation. Whatsoever moon therefore is at the full before the equinox,
being on the fourteenth or fifteenth day, the same belongs to the last
month of the foregoing year, and consequently is not meet for the
celebration of Easter; but that moon which is full after the equinox, or
at the very time of the equinox, belongs to the first month, and on that
day, without a doubt, we must understand that the ancients were wont to
celebrate the Passover; and that we also ought to keep Easter when the
Sunday comes. And that this must be so, there is this cogent reason. It is
written in Genesis,(967) ‘And God made two great lights; the greater light
to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.’ Or, as another
edition(968) has it, ‘The greater light to begin the day, and the lesser
to begin the night.’ As, therefore, the sun, coming forth from the midst
of the east, fixed the vernal equinox by his rising, and afterwards the
moon at the full, when the sun set in the evening, followed from the midst
of the east; so every year the same first lunar month must be observed in
the like order, so that its full moon must not be before the equinox; but
either on the very day of the equinox, as it was in the beginning, or
after it is past. But if the full moon shall happen to be but one day
before the time of the equinox, the aforesaid reason proves that such moon
is not to be assigned to the first month of the new year, but rather to
the last of the preceding, and that it is therefore not meet for the
celebration of the Paschal festival.

"Now if it please you likewise to hear the mystical reason in this matter,
we are commanded to keep Easter in the first month of the year, which is
also called the month of new things, because we ought to celebrate the
mysteries of our Lord’s Resurrection and our deliverance, with the spirit
of our minds renewed to the love of heavenly things. We are commanded to
keep it in the third week of the same month, because Christ Himself, who
had been promised before the Law, and under the Law, came with grace, in
the third age of the world, to be sacrificed as our Passover; and because
rising from the dead the third day after the offering of His Passion, He
wished this to be called the Lord’s day, and the Paschal feast of His
Resurrection to be yearly celebrated on the same; because, also, we do
then only truly celebrate His solemn festival, if we endeavour with Him to
keep the Passover, that is, the passing from this world to the Father, by
faith, hope, and charity. We are commanded to observe the full moon of the
Paschal month after the vernal equinox, to the end, that the sun may first
make the day longer than the night, and then the moon may show to the
world her full orb of light; inasmuch as first ‘the Sun of righteousness,
with healing in His wings,’(969) that is, our Lord Jesus, by the triumph
of His Resurrection, dispelled all the darkness of death, and so ascending
into Heaven, filled His Church, which is often signified by the name of
the moon, with the light of inward grace, by sending down upon her His
Spirit. Which order of our salvation the prophet had in his mind, when he
said ‘The sun was exalted and the moon stood in her order.’(970)

"He, therefore, who shall contend that the full Paschal moon can happen
before the equinox, disagrees with the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures, in
the celebration of the greatest mysteries, and agrees with those who trust
that they may be saved without the grace of Christ preventing them,(971)
and who presume to teach that they might have attained to perfect
righteousness, though the true Light had never by death and resurrection
vanquished the darkness of the world. Thus, after the rising of the sun at
the equinox, and after the full moon of the first month following in her
order, that is, after the end of the fourteenth day of the same month, all
which we have received by the Law to be observed, we still, as we are
taught in the Gospel, wait in the third week for the Lord’s day; and so,
at length, we celebrate the offering of our Easter solemnity, to show that
we are not, with the ancients, doing honour to the casting off of the yoke
of Egyptian bondage; but that, with devout faith and love, we worship the
Redemption of the whole world, which having been prefigured in the
deliverance of the ancient people of God, was fulfilled in Christ’s
Resurrection, and that we may signify that we rejoice in the sure and
certain hope of our own resurrection, which we believe will likewise
happen on the Lord’s day.

"Now this computation of Easter, which we set forth to you to be followed,
is contained in a cycle of nineteen years, which began long since to be
observed in the Church, to wit, even in the time of the Apostles,
especially at Rome and in Egypt, as has been said above.(972) But by the
industry of Eusebius,(973) who took his surname from the blessed martyr
Pamphilus,(974) it was reduced to a plainer system; insomuch that what
till then used to be enjoined every year throughout all the Churches by
the Bishop of Alexandria, might, from that time forward, be most easily
known by all men, the occurrence of the fourteenth moon being regularly
set forth in its course. This Paschal computation, Theophilus,(975) Bishop
of Alexandria, made for the Emperor Theodosius, for a hundred years to
come. Cyril(976) also, his successor, comprised a series of ninety-five
years in five cycles of nineteen years. After whom, Dionysius Exiguus(977)
added as many more, in order, after the same manner, reaching down to our
own time. The expiration of these is now drawing near, but there is at the
present day so great a number of calculators, that even in our Churches
throughout Britain, there are many who, having learned the ancient rules
of the Egyptians, can with great ease carry on the Paschal cycles for any
length of time, even to five hundred and thirty-two years,(978) if they
will; after the expiration of which, all that appertains to the succession
of sun and moon, month and week, returns in the same order as before. We
therefore forbear to send you these same cycles of the times to come,
because, desiring only to be instructed respecting the reason for the
Paschal time, you show that you have enough of those catholic cycles
concerning Easter.

"But having said thus much briefly and succinctly, as you required,
concerning Easter, I also exhort you to take heed that the tonsure,
concerning which likewise you desired me to write to you, be in accordance
with the use of the Church and the Christian Faith. And we know indeed
that the Apostles were not all shorn after the same manner, nor does the
Catholic Church now, as it agrees in one faith, hope, and charity towards
God, use one and the same form of tonsure throughout the world. Moreover,
to look back to former times, to wit, the times of the patriarchs, Job,
the pattern of patience, when tribulation came upon him, shaved his
head,(979) and thus made it appear that he had used, in time of
prosperity, to let his hair grow. But concerning Joseph, who more than
other men practised and taught chastity, humility, piety, and the other
virtues, we read that he was shorn when he was to be delivered from
bondage,(980) by which it appears, that during the time of his bondage, he
was in the prison with unshorn hair. Behold then how each of these men of
God differed in the manner of their appearance abroad, though their inward
consciences agreed in a like grace of virtue. But though we may be free to
confess, that the difference of tonsure is not hurtful to those whose
faith is pure towards God, and their charity sincere towards their
neighbour, especially since we do not read that there was ever any
controversy among the Catholic fathers about the difference of tonsure, as
there has been a contention about the diversity in keeping Easter, and in
matters of faith; nevertheless, among all the forms of tonsure that are to
be found in the Church, or among mankind at large, I think none more meet
to be followed and received by us than that which that disciple wore on
his head, to whom, after his confession of Himself, our Lord said,(981)
‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates
of Hell shall not prevail against it, and I will give unto thee the keys
of the kingdom of Heaven.’ Nor do I think that any is more rightly to be
abhorred and detested by all the faithful, than that which that man used,
to whom that same Peter, when he would have bought the grace of the Holy
Ghost, said,(982) ‘Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought
that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part
nor lot in this word.’ Nor do we shave ourselves in the form of a crown
only because Peter was so shorn; but because Peter was so shorn in memory
of the Passion of our Lord, therefore we also, who desire to be saved by
the same Passion, do with him bear the sign of the same Passion on the top
of our head, which is the highest part of our body. For as all the Church,
because it was made a Church by the death of Him that gave it life, is
wont to bear the sign of His Holy Cross on the forehead, to the end, that
it may, by the constant protection of His banner, be defended from the
assaults of evil spirits, and by the frequent admonition of the same be
taught, in like manner, to crucify the flesh with its affections and
lusts;(983) so also it behoves those, who having either taken the vows of
a monk, or having the degree of a clerk, must needs curb themselves the
more strictly by continence, for the Lord’s sake, to bear each one of them
on his head, by the tonsure, the form of the crown of thorns which He bore
on His head in His Passion, that He might bear the thorns and thistles of
our sins, that is, that he might bear them away and take them from us; to
the end that they may show on their foreheads that they also willingly,
and readily, endure all scoffing and reproach for his sake; and that they
may signify that they await always ‘the crown of eternal life, which God
hath promised to them that love him,’(984) and that for the sake of
attaining thereto they despise both the evil and the good of this world.
But as for the tonsure which Simon Magus is said to have used, who is
there of the faithful, I ask you, who does not straightway detest and
reject it at the first sight of it, together with his magic? Above the
forehead it does seem indeed to resemble a crown; but when you come to
look at the neck, you will find the crown cut short which you thought you
saw; so that you may perceive that such a use properly belongs not to
Christians but to Simoniacs, such as were indeed in this life by erring
men thought worthy of the glory of an everlasting crown; but in that which
is to follow this life are not only deprived of all hope of a crown, but
are moreover condemned to eternal punishment.

"But do not think that I have said thus much, as though I judged them
worthy to be condemned who use this tonsure, if they uphold the catholic
unity by their faith and works; nay, I confidently declare, that many of
them have been holy men and worthy servants of God. Of which number is
Adamnan,(985) the notable abbot and priest of the followers of Columba,
who, when sent on a mission by his nation to King Aldfrid, desired to see
our monastery, and forasmuch as he showed wonderful wisdom, humility, and
piety in his words and behaviour, I said to him among other things, when I
talked with him, ‘I beseech you, holy brother, how is it that you, who
believe that you are advancing to the crown of life, which knows no end,
wear on your head, after a fashion ill-suited to your belief, the likeness
of a crown that has an end? And if you seek the fellowship of the blessed
Peter, why do you imitate the likeness of the tonsure of him whom St.
Peter anathematized? and why do you not rather even now show that you
choose with all your heart the fashion of him with whom you desire to live
in bliss for ever.’ He answered, ‘Be assured, my dear brother, that though
I wear the tonsure of Simon, according to the custom of my country, yet I
detest and abhor with all my soul the heresy of Simon; and I desire, as
far as lies in my small power, to follow the footsteps of the most blessed
chief of the Apostles.’ I replied, ‘I verily believe it; nevertheless it
is a token that you embrace in your inmost heart whatever is of Peter the
Apostle, if you also observe in outward form that which you know to be
his. For I think your wisdom easily discerns that it is much better to
estrange from your countenance, already dedicated to God, the fashion of
his countenance whom with all your heart you abhor, and of whose hideous
face you would shun the sight; and, on the other hand, that it beseems you
to imitate the manner of his appearance, whom you seek to have for your
advocate before God, even as you desire to follow his actions and his

"This I said at that time to Adamnan, who indeed showed how much he had
profited by seeing the ordinances of our Churches, when, returning into
Scotland,(986) he afterwards by his preaching led great numbers of that
nation to the catholic observance of the Paschal time; though he was not
yet able to bring back to the way of the better ordinance the monks that
lived in the island of Hii over whom he presided with the special
authority of a superior. He would also have been mindful to amend the
tonsure, if his influence had availed so far.

"But I now also admonish your wisdom, O king, that together with the
nation, over which the King of kings, and Lord of lords, has placed you,
you strive to observe in all points those things which are in accord with
the unity of the Catholic and Apostolic Church; for so it will come to
pass, that after you have held sway in a temporal kingdom, the blessed
chief of the Apostles will also willingly open to you and yours with all
the elect the entrance into the heavenly kingdom. The grace of the eternal
King preserve you in safety, long reigning for the peace of us all, my
dearly beloved son in Christ."

This letter having been read in the presence of King Naiton and many
learned men, and carefully interpreted into his own language by those who
could understand it, he is said to have much rejoiced at the exhortation
thereof; insomuch that, rising from among his nobles that sat about him,
he knelt on the ground, giving thanks to God that he had been found worthy
to receive such a gift from the land of the English. "And indeed," he
said, "I knew before, that this was the true celebration of Easter, but
now I so fully learn the reason for observing this time, that I seem in
all points to have known but little before concerning these matters.
Therefore I publicly declare and protest to you that are here present,
that I will for ever observe this time of Easter, together with all my
nation; and I do decree that this tonsure, which we have heard to be
reasonable, shall be received by all clerks in my kingdom." Without delay
he accomplished by his royal authority what he had said. For straightway
the Paschal cycles of nineteen years were sent by command of the State
throughout all the provinces of the Picts to be transcribed, learned, and
observed, the erroneous cycles of eighty-four years being everywhere
blotted out.(987) All the ministers of the altar and monks were shorn
after the fashion of the crown; and the nation thus reformed, rejoiced, as
being newly put under the guidance of Peter, the most blessed chief of the
Apostles, and committed to his protection.

Chap. XXII. How the monks of Hii, and the monasteries subject to them,
began to celebrate the canonical Easter at the preaching of Egbert. [716

Not long after, those monks also of the Scottish nation, who lived in the
isle of Hii, with the other monasteries that were subject to them, were by
the Lord’s doing brought to the canonical observance with regard to
Easter, and the tonsure. For in the year of our Lord 716, when Osred(988)
was slain, and Coenred(989) took upon him the government of the kingdom of
the Northumbrians, the father and priest,(990) Egbert, beloved of God, and
worthy to be named with all honour, whom we have before often mentioned,
came to them from Ireland, and was honourably and joyfully received. Being
a most gracious teacher, and most devout in practising those things which
he taught, and being willingly heard by all, by his pious and diligent
exhortations, he converted them from that deep-rooted tradition of their
fathers, of whom may be said those words of the Apostle, "That they had a
zeal of God, but not according to knowledge."(991) He taught them to
celebrate the principal solemnity after the catholic and apostolic manner,
as has been said, wearing on their heads the figure of an unending
crown.(992) It is manifest that this came to pass by a wonderful
dispensation of the Divine goodness; to the end, that the same nation
which had willingly, and without grudging, taken heed to impart to the
English people that learning which it had in the knowledge of God, should
afterwards, by means of the English nation, be brought, in those things
which it had not, to a perfect rule of life. Even as, contrarywise, the
Britons, who would not reveal to the English the knowledge which they had
of the Christian faith, now, when the English people believe, and are in
all points instructed in the rule of the Catholic faith, still persist in
their errors, halting and turned aside from the true path, expose their
heads without a crown, and keep the Feast of Christ apart from the
fellowship of the Church of Christ.(993)

The monks of Hii, at the teaching of Egbert, adopted the catholic manner
of conversation, under Abbot Dunchad, about eighty years after they had
sent Bishop Aidan to preach to the English nation.(994) The man of God,
Egbert, remained thirteen years in the aforesaid island, which he had thus
consecrated to Christ, as it were, by a new ray of the grace of fellowship
and peace in the Church; and in the year of our Lord 729, in which Easter
was celebrated on the 24th of April, when he had celebrated the solemnity
of the Mass, in memory of the Resurrection of our Lord, that same day he
departed to the Lord and thus finished, or rather never ceases endlessly
to celebrate, with our Lord, and the Apostles, and the other citizens of
heaven, the joy of that greatest festival, which he had begun with the
brethren, whom he had converted to the grace of unity. And it was a
wonderful dispensation of the Divine Providence, that the venerable man
passed from this world to the Father, not only at Easter, but also when
Easter was celebrated on that day,(995) on which it had never been wont to
be celebrated in those parts. The brethren rejoiced in the sure and
catholic knowledge of the time of Easter, and were glad in that their
father, by whom they had been brought into the right way, passing hence to
the Lord should plead for them. He also gave thanks that he had so long
continued in the flesh, till he saw his hearers accept and keep with him
as Easter that day which they had ever before avoided. Thus the most
reverend father being assured of their amendment, rejoiced to see the day
of the Lord, and he saw it and was glad.

Chap. XXIII. Of the present state of the English nation, or of all
Britain. [725-731 A.D.]

In the year of our Lord 725, being the seventh year of Osric,(996) king of
the Northumbrians, who had succeeded Coenred, Wictred,(997) the son of
Egbert, king of Kent, died on the 23rd of April, and left his three sons,
Ethelbert, Eadbert, and Alric,(998) heirs of that kingdom, which he had
governed thirty-four years and a half. The next year Tobias,(999) bishop
of the church of Rochester, died, a most learned man, as has been said
before; for he was disciple to those masters of blessed memory, Theodore,
the archbishop, and Abbot Hadrian, wherefore, as has been said, besides
having a great knowledge of letters both ecclesiastical and general, he
learned both the Greek and Latin tongues to such perfection, that they
were as well known and familiar to him as his native language. He was
buried in the chapel of St. Paul the Apostle, which he had built within
the church of St. Andrew(1000) for his own place of burial. After him
Aldwulf(1001) took upon him the office of bishop, having been consecrated
by Archbishop Bertwald.

In the year of our Lord 729, two comets appeared about the sun, to the
great terror of the beholders. One of them went before the sun in the
morning at his rising, the other followed him when he set in the evening,
as it were presaging dire disaster to both east and west; or without doubt
one was the forerunner of the day, and the other of the night, to signify
that mortals were threatened with calamities at both times. They carried
their flaming brands towards the north, as it were ready to kindle a
conflagration. They appeared in January, and continued nearly a fortnight.
At which time a grievous blight fell upon Gaul, in that it was laid waste
by the Saracens with cruel bloodshed; but not long after in that country
they received the due reward of their unbelief.(1002) In that year the
holy man of God, Egbert, departed to the Lord, as has been said above, on
Easter day;(1003) and immediately after Easter, that is, on the 9th of
May, Osric,(1004) king of the Northumbrians, departed this life, after he
had reigned eleven years, and appointed Ceolwulf,(1005) brother to
Coenred,(1006) who had reigned before him, his successor; the beginning
and progress of whose reign have been so filled with many and great
commotions and conflicts, that it cannot yet be known what is to be said
concerning them, or what end they will have.

In the year of our Lord 731, Archbishop Bertwald died of old age, on the
13th of January, having held his see thirty-seven years, six months and
fourteen days.(1007) In his stead, the same year, Tatwine,(1008) of the
province of the Mercians, was made archbishop, having been a priest in the
monastery called Briudun.(1009) He was consecrated in the city of
Canterbury by the venerable men, Daniel,(1010) bishop of Winchester,
Ingwald of London,(1011) Aldwin of Lichfield,(1012) and Aldwulf of
Rochester,(1013) on Sunday, the 10th of June, being a man renowned for
piety and wisdom, and of notable learning in Holy Scripture.

Thus at the present time,(1014) the bishops Tatwine and Aldwulf preside in
the churches of Kent; Ingwald is bishop in the province of the East
Saxons. In the province of the East Angles, the bishops are Aldbert and
Hadulac;(1015) in the province of the West Saxons, Daniel and
Forthere;(1016) in the province of the Mercians, Aldwin.(1017) Among those
peoples who dwell beyond the river Severn to the westward,(1018) Walhstod
is bishop; in the province of the Hwiccas, Wilfrid;(1019) in the province
of Lindsey, Bishop Cynibert(1020) presides; the bishopric of the Isle of
Wight(1021) belongs to Daniel, bishop of the city of Winchester. The
province of the South Saxons,(1022) having now continued some years
without a bishop, receives episcopal ministrations from the prelate of the
West Saxons. All these provinces, and the other southern provinces, as far
as the boundary formed by the river Humber, with their several kings, are
subject to King Ethelbald.(1023)

But in the province of the Northumbrians, where King Ceolwulf reigns, four
bishops now preside; Wilfrid(1024) in the church of York, Ethelwald(1025)
in that of Lindisfarne, Acca(1026) in that of Hagustald, Pecthelm(1027) in
that which is called the White House, which, as the number of the faithful
has increased, has lately become an episcopal see, and has him for its
first prelate. The Pictish people also at this time are at peace with the
English nation, and rejoice in having their part in Catholic peace and
truth with the universal Church. The Scots(1028) that inhabit Britain,
content with their own territories, devise no plots nor hostilities
against the English nation. The Britons,(1029) though they, for the most
part, as a nation hate and oppose the English nation, and wrongfully, and
from wicked lewdness, set themselves against the appointed Easter of the
whole Catholic Church; yet, inasmuch as both Divine and human power
withstand them, they can in neither purpose prevail as they desire; for
though in part they are their own masters, yet part of them are brought
under subjection to the English. In these favourable times of peace and
calm,(1030) many of the Northumbrians, as well of the nobility as private
persons, laying aside their weapons, and receiving the tonsure, desire
rather both for themselves and their children to take upon them monastic
vows, than to practise the pursuit of war. What will be the end hereof,
the next age will see. This is for the present the state of all Britain;
about two hundred and eighty-five years after the coming of the English
into Britain, and in the 731st year of our Lord, in Whose kingdom that
shall have no end let the earth rejoice; and Britain being one with them
in the joy of His faith, let the multitude of isles be glad, and give
thanks at the remembrance of His holiness.

Chap. XXIV. Chronological recapitulation of the whole work: also
concerning the author himself.

I have thought fit briefly to sum up those things which have been related
at length under their particular dates, that they may be the better kept
in memory.(1031)

In the sixtieth year before the Incarnation of our Lord, Caius Julius
Caesar, first of the Romans invaded Britain, and was victorious, yet could
not maintain the supreme power there. [I, 2.]

In the year of our Lord, 46, Claudius, being the second of the Romans who
came to Britain, received the surrender of a great part of the island, and
added the Orkney islands to the Roman empire. [I, 3.]

In the year of our Lord 167, Eleuther, being made bishop at Rome, governed
the Church most gloriously fifteen years.(1032) To whom Lucius, king of
Britain, sent a letter, asking to be made a Christian, and succeeded in
obtaining his request. [I, 4.]

In the year of our Lord 189, Severus, being made emperor, reigned
seventeen years; he fortified Britain with a rampart from sea to sea. [I,

In the year 381, Maximus, being made emperor in Britain, crossed over into
Gaul, and slew Gratian. [I, 9.]

In the year 409, Rome was overthrown by the Goths, from which time the
Romans ceased to rule in Britain. [I, 11.]

In the year 430, Palladius was sent by Pope Celestine to the Scots that
believed in Christ to be their first bishop. [I, 13.]

In the year 449, Marcian being made emperor with Valentinian, reigned
seven years; in whose time the English, being called in by the Britons,
came into Britain. [I, 15.]

In the year 538, an eclipse of the sun came to pass on the 16th of
February, from the first hour until the third.(1033)

In the year 540, an eclipse of the sun came to pass on the 20th of June,
and the stars appeared during almost half an hour after the third hour of
the day.

In the year 547, Ida(1034) began to reign; he was the founder of the royal
family of the Northumbrians, and he reigned twelve years.

In the year 565, the priest, Columba, came out of Scotland,(1035) into
Britain, to teach the Picts, and he built a monastery in the isle of Hii.
[III, 4.]

In the year 596, Pope Gregory sent Augustine with monks into Britain, to
preach the good tidings of the Word of God to the English nation. [I, 23.]

In the year 597, the aforesaid teachers arrived in Britain; being about
the 150th year from the coming of the English into Britain. [I, 25.]

In the year 601, Pope Gregory sent the pall into Britain to Augustine, who
was already made bishop; he sent also several ministers of the Word, among
whom was Paulinus. [I, 29.]

In the year 603, a battle was fought at Degsastan. [I, 34.]

In the year 604, the East Saxons received the faith of Christ, under King
Sabert, Mellitus being bishop. [II, 3.]

In the year 605, Gregory died. [II, 1.]

In the year 616, Ethelbert, king of Kent died. [II, 5.]

In the year 625, Paulinus was ordained bishop of the Northumbrians by
Archbishop Justus. [II, 9.]

In the year 626, Eanfled, daughter of King Edwin, was baptized with twelve
others, on the eve of Whitsunday. [_Ib._]

In the year 627, King Edwin was baptized, with his nation, at Easter. [II,

In the year 633, King Edwin being killed, Paulinus returned to Kent. [II,

In the year 640, Eadbald, king of Kent, died. [III, 8.]

In the year 642, King Oswald was slain. [III, 9.]

In the year 644, Paulinus, formerly bishop of York, but then of the city
of Rochester, departed to the Lord. [III, 14.]

In the year 651, King Oswin was killed, and Bishop Aidan died. [_Ibid._]

In the year 653, the Middle Angles, under their prince, Penda, were
admitted to the mysteries of the faith. [III, 21.]

In the year 655, Penda was slain, and the Mercians became Christians.
[III, 24.]

In the year 664, an eclipse came to pass; Earconbert, king of Kent, died;
and Colman with the Scots returned to his people; a pestilence arose;
Ceadda and Wilfrid were ordained bishops of the Northumbrians. [III,
26-28, IV, 1.]

In the year 668, Theodore was ordained bishop. [IV, 1.]

In the year 670, Oswy, king of the Northumbrians, died. [IV, 5.]

In the year 673, Egbert, king of Kent, died; and a synod was held at
Hertford, in the presence of King Egfrid, Archbishop Theodore presiding:
the synod was of great profit, and its decrees are contained in ten
articles. [_Ibid._]

In the year 675,(1036) Wulfhere, king of the Mercians, when he had reigned
seventeen years, died and left the government to his brother Ethelred.

In the year 676, Ethelred ravaged Kent. [IV, 12.]

In the year 678, a comet appeared; Bishop Wilfrid was driven from his see
by King Egfrid; and Bosa, Eata, and Eadhaed were consecrated bishops in
his stead. [_Ibid._; V, 19.]

In the year 679, Aelfwine was killed. [IV, 21.]

In the year 680, a synod was held in the plain of Haethfelth, concerning
the Catholic faith, Archbishop Theodore presiding; John, the Roman abbot,
was also present. The same year also the Abbess Hilda died at
Streanaeshalch. [IV, 17, 18, 23.]

In the year 685, Egfrid, king of the Northumbrians, was slain. The same
year Hlothere, king of Kent, died. [IV, 26.]

In the year 688, Caedwald, king of the West Saxons, went to Rome from
Britain. [V, 7.]

In the year 690, Archbishop Theodore died. [V, 8.]

In the year 697, Queen Osthryth was murdered by her own nobles, to wit,
the nobles of the Mercians.(1037)

In the year 698, Berctred, an ealdorman of the king of the Northumbrians,
was slain by the Picts.(1038)

In the year 704, Ethelred, after he had reigned thirty-one years over the
nation of the Mercians, became a monk, and gave up the kingdom to Coenred.
[V, 19.](1039)

In the year 705, Aldfrid, king of the Northumbrians, died. [V, 18.]

In the year 709, Coenred, king of the Mercians, having reigned five years,
went to Rome. [V, 19.]

In the year 711, the commander Bertfrid fought with the Picts.(1040)

In the year 716, Osred, king of the Northumbrians, was killed; and
Ceolred, king of the Mercians, died; and the man of God, Egbert, brought
the monks of Hii to observe the Catholic Easter and the ecclesiastical
tonsure. [V, 22.]

In the year 725, Wictred, king of Kent, died. [V, 23.]

In the year 729, comets appeared; the holy Egbert passed away; and Osric
died. [_Ibid._]

In the year 731, Archbishop Bertwald died. [_Ibid._]

The same year Tatwine was consecrated ninth archbishop of the church of
Canterbury, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Ethelbald, king of the
Mercians. [_Ibid._]

Thus much of the Ecclesiastical History of Britain, and more especially of
the English nation, as far as I could learn either from the writings of
the ancients, or the tradition of our forefathers, or of my own knowledge,
with the help of the Lord, I, Bede,(1041) the servant of Christ, and
priest of the monastery of the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, which is
at Wearmouth and Jarrow,(1042) have set forth. Having been born in the
territory of that same monastery, I was given, by the care of kinsmen, at
seven years of age, to be educated by the most reverend Abbot
Benedict,(1043) and afterwards by Ceolfrid,(1044) and spending all the
remaining time of my life a dweller in that monastery, I wholly applied
myself to the study of Scripture; and amidst the observance of monastic
rule, and the daily charge of singing in the church, I always took delight
in learning, or teaching, or writing. In the nineteenth year of my age, I
received deacon’s orders; in the thirtieth, those of the priesthood, both
of them by the ministry of the most reverend Bishop John,(1045) and at the
bidding of the Abbot Ceolfrid. From the time when I received priest’s
orders, till the fifty-ninth year of my age, I have made it my business,
for my own needs and those of my brethren, to compile out of the works of
the venerable Fathers, the following brief notes on the Holy Scriptures,
and also to make some additions after the manner of the meaning and
interpretation given by them:(1046)

On the Beginning of Genesis, to the birth of Isaac and the casting out of
Ishmael, four books.

Concerning the Tabernacle and its Vessels, and of the Vestments of the
Priests, three books.

On the first part of Samuel, to the Death of Saul, three books.

Concerning the Building of the Temple, of Allegorical Exposition, and
other matters, two books.

Likewise on the Book of Kings, thirty Questions.(1047)

On the Proverbs of Solomon, three books.

On the Song of Songs, seven books.

On Isaiah, Daniel, the twelve Prophets, and Part of Jeremiah, Divisions of
Chapters, collected from the Treatise of the blessed Jerome.

On Ezra and Nehemiah, three books.

On the song of Habakkuk, one book.

On the Book of the blessed Father Tobias, one Book of Allegorical
Explanation concerning Christ and the Church.

Also, Chapters of Readings on the Pentateuch of Moses, Joshua, and Judges;

On the Books of Kings and Chronicles;

On the Book of the blessed Father Job;

On the Proverbs,(1048) Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs;

On the Prophets Isaiah, Ezra, and Nehemiah.

On the Gospel of Mark, four books.

On the Gospel of Luke, six books.

Of Homilies on the Gospel, two books.

On the Apostle,(1049) whatsoever I have found in the works of St.
Augustine I have taken heed to transcribe in order.

On the Acts of the Apostles, two books.

On the seven Catholic Epistles, a book on each.

On the Revelation of St. John, three books.

Likewise, Chapters of Lessons on all the New Testament, except the Gospel.

Likewise a book of Epistles to divers Persons, of which one is of the Six
Ages of the world; one of the Halting-places of the Children of Israel;
one on the words of Isaiah, "And they shall be shut up in the prison, and
after many days shall they be visited";(1050) one of the Reason of
Leap-Year, and one of the Equinox, according to Anatolius.(1051)

Likewise concerning the Histories of Saints: I translated the Book of the
Life and Passion of St. Felix, Confessor,(1052) from the metrical work of
Paulinus, into prose; the Book of the Life and Passion of St.
Anastasius,(1053) which was ill translated from the Greek, and worse
amended by some ignorant person, I have corrected as to the sense as far
as I could; I have written the Life of the Holy Father Cuthbert,(1054) who
was both monk and bishop, first in heroic verse, and afterwards in prose.

The History of the Abbots of this monastery, in which I rejoice to serve
the Divine Goodness, to wit, Benedict, Ceolfrid, and Huaetbert,(1055) in
two books.

The Ecclesiastical History of our Island and Nation, in five books.

The Martyrology of the Festivals of the Holy Martyrs, in which I have
carefully endeavoured to set down all whom I could find, and not only on
what day, but also by what sort of combat, and under what judge they
overcame the world.

A Book of Hymns in divers sorts of metre, or rhythm.

A Book of Epigrams in heroic or elegiac verse.

Of the Nature of Things, and of the Times, one book of each; likewise, of
the Times, one larger book.

A book of Orthography arranged in Alphabetical Order.

Likewise a Book of the Art of Poetry, and to it I have added another
little Book of Figures of Speech or Tropes; that is, of the Figures and
Modes of Speech in which the Holy Scriptures are written.

And I beseech Thee, good Jesus, that to whom Thou hast graciously granted
sweetly to drink in the words of Thy knowledge, Thou wilt also vouchsafe
in Thy loving-kindness that he may one day come to Thee, the Fountain of
all wisdom, and appear for ever before Thy face.


_The Continuation of Bede._(1056)

In the year 731 King Ceolwulf was taken prisoner, and tonsured, and sent
back to his kingdom; Bishop Acca was driven from his see.

In the year 732, Egbert(1057) was made Bishop of York, in the room of

[Cynibert Bishop of Lindsey died.]

[In the year of our Lord 733, Archbishop Tatwine, having received the pall
by Apostolic authority, ordained Alwic(1058) and Sigfrid,(1059) bishops.]

In the year 733, there was an eclipse of the sun on the 14th day of August
about the third hour, in such wise that the whole orb of the sun seemed to
be covered with a black and gloomy shield.

In the year 734, the moon, on the 31st of January, about the time of
cock-crowing, was, for about a whole hour, coloured blood-red, after which
a blackness followed, and she regained her wonted light.

In the year from the Incarnation of Christ, 734, bishop Tatwine died.

In the year 735, Nothelm was ordained archbishop; and bishop Egbert,
having received the pall from the Apostolic see, was the first to be
established as archbishop(1060) after Paulinus, and he ordained
Frithbert,(1061) and Frithwald(1062) bishops; and the priest Bede

In the year 737, an excessive drought rendered the land unfruitful; and
Ceolwulf, voluntarily receiving the tonsure, left the kingdom to

In the year 739, Edilhart,(1065) king of the West-Saxons, died, as did
Archbishop Nothelm.

In the year 740, Cuthbert(1066) was consecrated in Nothelm’s stead.
Ethelbald, king of the Mercians, cruelly and wrongfully wasted part of
Northumbria, their king, Eadbert, with his army, being employed against
the Picts. Bishop Ethelwald died also, and Conwulf,(1067) was consecrated
in his stead. Arnwin(1068) and Eadbert(1069) were slain.

In the year 741, a great drought came upon the country. Charles,(1070)
king of the Franks, died; and his sons, Caroloman and Pippin,(1071)
reigned in his stead.

In the year 745, Bishop Wilfrid and Ingwald, Bishop of London, departed to
the Lord.

In the year 747, the man of God, Herefrid,(1072) died.

In the year 750, Cuthred, king of the West Saxons, rose up against king
Ethelbald and Oengus; Theudor and Eanred died; Eadbert added the plain of
Kyle and other places to his dominions.(1073)

In the year 753, in the fifth year of King Eadbert, on the 9th of
January,(1074) an eclipse of the sun came to pass; afterwards, in the same
year and month, on the 24th day of January, the moon suffered an eclipse,
being covered with a gloomy, black shield, in like manner as was the sun a
little while before.

In the year 754, Boniface,(1075) called also Winfrid, Bishop of the
Franks, received the crown of martyrdom, together with fifty-three others;
and Redger was consecrated archbishop in his stead, by pope Stephen.

In the year 757, Ethelbald, king of the Mercians, was treacherously and
miserably murdered, in the night, by his own guards; Beornred(1076) began
his reign; Cyniwulf,(1077) king of the West Saxons, died; and the same
year, Offa, having put Beornred to flight, sought to gain the kingdom of
the Mercians by bloodshed.

In the year 758, Eadbert, king of the Northumbrians, receiving St. Peter’s
tonsure for the love of God, and to the end that he might take the
heavenly country by force,(1078) left the kingdom to his son Oswulf.

In the year 755, Oswulf was wickedly murdered by his own thegns; and
Ethelwald, being chosen the same year by his people, entered upon the
kingdom; in whose second year there was great tribulation by reason of
pestilence, which continued almost two years, divers grievous sicknesses
raging, but more especially the disease of dysentery.

In the year 761, Oengus,(1079) king of the Picts, died; who, from the
beginning to the end of his reign, continued to be a blood-stained and
tyrannical butcher; Oswin(1080) was also slain.

In the year 765, King Aluchred came to the throne.(1081)

In the year 766 A.D., Archbishop Egbert, of the royal race, and endued
with divine knowledge, as also Frithbert, both of them truly faithful
bishops, departed to the Lord.


Aaron, British Martyr, 18.

Aaron, High Priest, 361.

"Abbots, Anonymous History of the," editorial references to, xxxv, 257 n.,
389 n.;
_and see_ Bede.

Abercorn or Aebbercurnig, Monastery of, xxix, 286.

Abraham’s Oak, 342.

Abraham’s Tomb, 341.

Acca, friend of Bede, afterwards Bishop of Hexham, in succession to
Wilfrid, xxx, 161, 248, 357, 358, 379 n., 381;
his attachment to Wilfrid, 161, 355, 358;
driven from his see, 161, 390;
his good works, musical gifts and learning, 358;
educated by Bosa, 358.

Acha, sister of Edwin, wife of Ethelfrid, and mother of Oswald, 147, 383

Acts of the Apostles, quoted, 11, 197, 304, 335, 371.

"Adalbert, Life of," editorial reference to, 143 n.

Adam, 130, 341 n.;
his tomb, 341.

Adamnan, Abbot of Iona, 140 n., 285 n.;
his work on the Holy Places ("De Locis Sanctis"), xxii, xxx, 337, 338;
his "Life of St. Columba," 336 n.;
his missions to King Aldfrid, 336, 372;
converts the Irish to the Catholic Easter and ecclesiastical tonsure,
336, 337, 372, 373;
his death, 337;
receives Arculf, 338;
return to Ireland, 373.

Adamnan, Monk of Coldingham, foretells the burning of Coldingham
Monastery, xxix, 283, 284;
his vision, 281, 283, 284;
his penitence, 282, 283;
his austerity, 281, 282, 283.

Ad Barvae, or At the Wood, Monastery of, 219, 231.

Adda, Northumbrian priest, xxvii, 180, 181.

Addi, a thegn, 308.

Adeodatus, 179 n.

Adgefrin, _see_ Yeavering.

Adtuifyrdi, _see_ Twyford.

Adulwald, _see_ Eadbald.

Aebba, Abbess of Coldingham, half-sister of Oswy, 260, 283, 284;
account of, 260 n.;
her name, 260 n.;
founds the monasteries of Ebchester and Coldingham, 260 n.;
her friendship for Cuthbert, 260 n.;
intercedes for Wilfrid, 260 n., 352 n.;
her death, 284.

Aebbercurnig, _see_ Abercorn.

Aecci, Bishop of Dunwich, 231.

Aedan, King of Scots, defeated by Ethelfrid, 73, 74.

Aedgils, fellow priest of Bede, 284.

Aelfric ("Grammaticus") editorial reference to, 288 n.

Aelfric, father of Osric, 134, 164 n.

Aelfwine, brother of Egfrid, 267, 385.

Aelli, King of Deira, 73, 83;
Gregory’s pun on his name, 83.

Aelli, King of Sussex, first Bretwalda, 94, 245 n.

Aenhere, King of the Hwiccas, 246.

Aescwine, Sub-king of Wessex, 241 n.

Aesica, a little boy dedicated to religion, xxxiii, 234.

Aetherius, Archbishop of Lyons, 44, 49, 63.

Aetius, the Consul, 26, 27;
put to death by Valentinian, 27, 41.

Aetla, Bishop of Dorchester, 272, 273.

Aetswinapathe, _see_ Ouestraefelda.

Africa, Churches of, 196.

Agabus, the prophet, 11.

Agatha, St., 265.

Agatho, Pope, 254 n.;
sends John the precentor to report on the English Church, 257, 258, 259;
holds a Synod against the Monothelites, 352;
tries Wilfrid’s cause, 352, 353, 354.

Agatho, a priest, companion of Agilbert, 195.

Agilbert, missionary to the West Saxons, Bishop of Dorchester, 147, 148,
149, 194, 241;
offended by Coinwalch, returns to Gaul, 150;
made Bishop of Paris, 150, 350;
refuses to return to England, and sends Leutherius in his place, 150,
at the Whitby Synod, 195, 196, 201;
his ignorance of English, 196;
entertains Theodore, 215;
consecrates Wilfrid, 206, 350.

Agnes, St., 54 n., 265.

Agricola, 11 n.

Agricola, son of Severianus, a Pelagian, 32.

Aidan, Monk of Iona, Abbot and Bishop of Lindisfarne, xxv, xxvi, 4 n., 139
n., 140, 201, 347 n.;
Bede’s admiration for, xxxix;
his mission to Northumbria, 138, 144, 146, 376;
his life, 144, 146;
ordination, 144;
his character, 138, 144, 145, 170, 171;
his doctrine, 144, 145;
his good example, 144, 145;
his rebuke to Corman, 145;
gives his horse to a beggar, 165;
his friendship for Oswin, 165, 166;
death, 166, 169, 192, 288 n., 384;
his prevision of Oswin’s death, 166;
foretells and calms a storm, 166, 167;
his miracles, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170;
at Farne, 168;
saves Bamborough from fire, 168;
his body translated to Lindisfarne, 169, 202;
his observance of Easter, 170, 171, 193;
his disciples, 202, 208;
his rule, 290;
persuades Hilda to return to Northumbria, 271;
consecrates Heiu as a nun, 271.

Aire, the River, 189 n.

Akeburgh (perhaps Jacobsburgh), 132 n.

Alani, the, 22, 41.

Alaric, 22.

Alban, St., xxiii, 39;
his conversion, 14, 15, 16;
Lives of, 15 n.;
miracles, 17;
his tomb, 36;
his blood, 36.

Albinus, Abbot of St. Augustine’s Monastery, Canterbury, in succession to
Hadrian, xxx, 2 n., 3, 357;
his scholarship, 2, 357;
furnishes Bede with materials for the "Ecclesiastical History," 2, 3.

Albion, early name of Britain, 5.

Alchfled, daughter of Oswy, wife of Peada, 180, 191.

Alchfrid, King of Deira, son of Oswy, xxvii, 195, 206, 377 n.;
rebels against Oswy, 163, 207 n.;
account of, 163 n.;
converts Peada, 180;
death, 180 n.;
at the battle of the Winwaed, 188;
friendship for Wilfrid, 194, 350;
his observance of Easter, 194, 195;
at Whitby, 195;
friendship for Coinwalch of Wessex, 350.

Alcluith, or Dumbarton, _see_ Dumbarton.

Alcuin, his letter to the monks of Wearmouth, xxxv;
his influence on learning, xxxvi;
his anecdote of Bede, xxxvii;
his "De Sanct. Ebor." quoted, 243 n., 273 n.;
his "Life of Wilbrord" quoted, 143 n.;
ref. to, 319 n., 320, 323 n., 325 n.

Aldbert, Bishop of Dunwich, 379, 380.

Aldfrid, King of Northumbria after Egfrid, xxix, 287, 302, 312, 353 n.,
372, 377 n.;
death, xxx, 342, 356, 385, 391 n.;
his relations with Wilfrid, 247 n., 353, 354, 356;
account of, 287 n.;
retrieves the fortunes of Northumbria, 287;
visits Drythelm, 331;
friendship for Adamnan, 336, 338;
his exile in Iona, 336 n.

Aldgils, King of Frisland, 351.

Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne, xxx, 148 n., 210 n., 265 n., 343, 345 n.;
his women scholars, 237 n.;
letter to Geraint, 336 n., 344;
account of, 343 n.;
letter to Wilfrid’s clergy, 343 n.;
made Abbot of Malmesbury, 343 n., 344;
death, 343 n., 344;
buried at St. Michael’s, Malmesbury, 343 n.;
his literary works, 344.

Aldwin, Abbot of Partney or Peartaneu, 158.

Aldwin, or Worr, Bishop of Lichfield, 379, 380.

Aldwulf, Bishop of Rochester, 378, 379, 380.

Aldwulf, King of East Anglia, son of Ethelhere, 121, 254, 271;
his support of Ethelthryth, 260 n.

Alemanni, the, 92 n.

Alexandria, 338, 364.

Alexandria, Bishop of, _see_ Cyril, Theophilus.

Alexandrians, the, 366 n.

Alfred, his translation of the "Ecclesiastical History," xx, 321 n.

"Alfrid," King of Northumbria, 377 n.

Allectus, 14.

Allelujah, or Hallelujah, 83.

All Martyrs, the Festival of, later the festival of All Saints, 93 n.

All Saints, the Festival of, introduced by Pope Boniface, 93 n.

Alne, the River, 292.

Alric, son of Wictred of Kent, 377.

Aluchred, King of Northumbria, 393.

Alweo, brother of Penda, 380 n.

Alwic, Bishop of Lindsey, 390.

Amasea, Bishop of, _see_ Asterius.

Amber, 6.

Ambleteuse, _see_ Amfleat.

Ambrose, St., quoted, xlii.

Ambrosius Aurelianus, 31, 32.

Amfleat, or Ambleteuse, 72, 73.

Amphibalus, St., 15.

Amulets, 289.

Anastasis (Resurrection of our Lord), Church at Jerusalem, 339.

Anastasius, St., 388.

Anatolius, Bishop of Laodicea, authority on the Easter question, 139, 198,
199, 368 n., 388.

Ancyra, a cloak of, 109.

Andeley-sur-Seine, Monastery of, 152.

Andhun, ealdorman, rules the South Saxons, 251.

Andilegum, _see_ Andeley-sur-Seine.

Andragius, _see_ Androgius.

Andredsweald, the, 245 n.

Andrew, a monk, refuses the English Archbishopric, 214.

Andrew, St., 42 n., 89, 163.

Androgius, Andragius, Androgorius or Mandubracius, Chief of the
Trinovantes, 10.

Angels, xxxviii, 174, 175, 176, 221, 222, 333, 334.

Angles, 29, 30, 31, 82;
Gregory’s pun upon, 82.

Anglesea, 94, 102.

Anglia, the name of, 30.

Angrivarii, the, 317 n.

Angulus, _see_ Anglia.

Anna, King of East Anglia, 149, 152, 172, 185, 189, 232, 260 n., 271 n.;
his piety, 149, 172, 259;
his good children, 149, 173;
slain by Penda, 173;
enriches the monastery of Cnobheresburg, 174.

"Annales Cambriae," editorial references to, 32 n., 337 n.

"Annales Francorum," editorial reference to, 323 n.

Annegray, Monastery of, 92 n.

Annemundus (Dalfinus), Archbishop of Lyons, 194;
his kindness to Wilfrid, 248, 348;
his execution, 349.

Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, 72 n.

Antioch, Patriarch of, _see_ Anastasius.

Antoninus Pius, his rampart, 24.

Antonius, Bassianus, Emperor, 13.

Antwerp, xxi.

Appleby, Thomas, Bishop of Carlisle, 294 n.

Apollinarianism, 255 n.

Apostles, the, their manner of tonsure, 370.

Aquila, 197.

Aquileia, 20.

Aquitaine, 21 n., 33 n., 369 n.

Arcadius, Emperor of the East, son of Theodosius, 20.

Arculf, Bishop of Gaul, 337-340.

Argyll, 8 n.

Arianism, xxiii, 19, 20, 148 n., 255.

Arles, 22, 49, 215;
Bishop of, 54.

Arles, Archbishop of, _see_ John, Vergilius.

Armagh, Abbot of, _see_ Tomene.

Armagh, Bishop of, _see_ Tomene.

Armenia, 6.

Armorica, 7.

Armoricans, 41.

Arnwin, 391.

Arwald, King of the Isle of Wight, 252;
his brothers, 252, 253.

Asclepiodotus, restores Britain to the Romans, 14.

Ascension, the Basilica of the, at Jerusalem, 340, 341.

Asia, Churches of, 196.

Asterius, Bishop of Genoa (Archbishop of Milan), 148.

Asterius, Bishop of Amasea, 265 n.

Astronomy, 217.

Athelstan, 303 n.

Atlantic, the, 5.

At the Stone, _see_ Stoneham.

At the Wood, _see_ Ad Barvae.

Attila, King of the Huns, 27, 317 n.

Audrey, popular form of Ethelthryth, 263 n.

Augustine, St., sent by Pope Gregory to convert the English, xxi, xxii,
xxiii, xxiv, 42, 43, 47, 48, 81, 86, 94 n., 98, 126, 210 n.;
ordained abbot, 43;
recommended to Aetherius, 44;
lands in Thanet, 45, 93, 94, 142 n., 383;
received by Ethelbert and Bertha, 45, 46, 47;
settles at Canterbury, 47, 48, 72;
his report to Gregory, 49;
ordained Archbishop of the English at Arles, 49, 383;
his see, 49 n.;
recommended by Gregory to Vergilius, 63, 64;
receives the pall, 64, 65, 66, 383;
his miracles, 68, 69, 81, 83, 85;
recommended to Ethelbert by Gregory, 70, 71;
restores the Church of St. Saviour, Canterbury, 72;
builds the Monastery of SS. Peter and Paul, 72;
calls a Synod, 83;
his dispute with the British bishops, 85, 87;
his prophecy of disaster, 87, 89;
ordains Mellitus and Justus, 89;
death, 88, 89, 90;
buried in the Church of SS. Peter and Paul, 72, 90;
his tomb and epitaph, 90;
his body translated, 90 n.;
his monastic rule, 290.

Augustine, St., Bishop of Hippo, 21, 388;
The Sentences of, 341 n.

Augustine’s Ác, or Augustine’s Oak, Synod at, 84-86.

Augustus, Emperor, 11, 12, 13, 20, 22, 26, 29, 42.

Aurelius Commodus, Emperor, 12.

Aurelius Victor, quoted, 135 n.

Aust, probably Augustine’s Ác, 84 n.

Austerfield, Northumbria, 353 n.

Austrasia, King of, _see_ Dagobert.

Avon, the River, in Linlithgow, 189 n.

Aylesford, Kent, 30.

Ayrshire, 325 n., 392 n.

Babbanburch, _see_ Bamborough.

Badbury, Dorsetshire, supposed to be Badon Hill, 32 n.

Badon Hill, Battle of, 32, 42 n.

Baducing, patronymic of Benedict Biscop, 257 n.

Badudegn, a monk of Lindisfarne, 298, 299.

Badwin, Bishop of Elmham, 231.

Baithanus, Irish bishop, 128.

Balder, the God, 323 n.

Baldhild, or Bathild, Queen Regent of Neustria, wife of Clovis II, 152 n.,

Ballads, English, 277 n.

Baltic, The, 317 n.

Bamborough, Babbanburch, Bebbanburh, or Bebburgh, 147, 161, 168, 383 n.,
385 n.

Bangor, alleged birthplace of Pelagius, 21.

Bangor-is-Coed, or Bancornaburg, monastery of, 86, 86 n., 88.

Bangor, Abbot of, _see_ Dinoot.

Baptism, of women, 55, 56;
of children, 55, 56;
its practice in the British Church, 87;
in the Roman Church, 87;
proper days for, 104 n.;
ritual of, 119.

Bardney, Monastery of, 123 n., 157, 158, 224, 241 n.;
endowed by Ethelred and Osthryth, 157;
burial place of Oswald, 157, 158.

Bardney, Abbot of, _see_ Ethelred, Hygbald.

Barking, or In Berecingum, Monastery of, xxviii, xxxiii, 232, 233, 234,
235, 237, 238.

Barking, Abbess of, _see_ Ethelburg.

Barrow, Lincolnshire, 219 n.

Barton-on-Humber, 219 n.

Basil, St., his Hexameron, quoted, 6.

Bassianus, _see_ Antonius.

Bassus, Edwin’s thegn, 132.

Bathild, _see_ Baldhild.

Baths of Britain, 6.

Bay of the Lighthouse, _see_ Whitby.

Beardaneu, _see_ Bardney.

Bebba, Queen, 147, 168.

Bebbanburh, or Bebburgh, _see_ Bamborough.

Bede, or Beda, the author, called "Venerable," xxi, xxxiv;
account of his life, xxxiii-xliii;
his family, xxxiii;
born near Wearmouth, xxxiii, xxxiv, 386;
his instructors, xxxiii, xxxiv, 222, 257 n., 386;
his ordination, xxxiii, 273 n., 386;
his life spent in the Monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow, xxxiii, xxxiv,
137 n., 386;
dates of his birth and death, xxxiv;
his autobiography, xxxiv, 386-389;
his diligence, xxxiv;
his eyes dim in age, xxxiv;
his death, xix, xxxiv, xxxix-xliii, 391;
his epitaph, xxxiv;
his learning, xxxiv, xxxv, xxxvi;
his style, xxxvi;
visits Lindisfarne, xxxvi;
visits York, xxxvi;
Egbert his pupil, xxxvi;
his "Epistola ad Ecgbertum," xxxvi, 273 n., 342 n.;
his influence, xxxvi;
his last illness, xxxvi, xxxix, xl, xlii, xliii;
his "Life of Cuthbert" in prose and verse, xxxvi, 4 n., 260 n., 285 n.,
287 n., 288 n., 291, 309;
story of his visit to Rome, xxxvi;
story of his residence at Cambridge, xxxvi;
his writings, xxxvii, 311 n.;
list of his literary works and compilations, 386-389;
his studies, xxxvii, 386-389;
his duties, xxxvii;
his character, xxxvii, xxxviii, xxxix;
his zeal for Catholic usages, xxxviii, xxxix;
his admiration for Aidan, xxxix;
dictates to Wilbert his translation of St. John and St. Isidore, xlii,
buried at Jarrow, xl;
his relics stolen by Elfred and carried to Durham, xl;
translated with those of St. Cuthbert to the new Cathedral, xl;
a shrine erected to him by Hugh de Puisac, xl;
his chronology corrected, 9, 11, 12, 13 n., 20 n., 22 n., 23 n., 27 n.,
28 n., 29 n., 42 n., 63 n., 68 n., 75 n., 94 n., 241 n., 254
n., 287 n., 314 n.;
his "Martyrology," editorial references to, 27 n., 99 n., 265 n.;
his friendship for Acca, 161 n.;
his "De Temporibus," 170;
his "De temporum Ratione," 170, 227 n.;
his "History of the Abbots," 213 n., 215 n., 257 n., 287 n.;
uses the Caesarean system of Indictions, 227 n.;
his "De Locis Santis," 337 n., 338 n.;
said to have written Ceolfrid’s Letter to Naiton, 360 n.;
his "Expositio in Marci Evangelium," 364 n.;
his "Ecclesiastical History," _see_ Ecclesiastical.

Bega, Irish Saint, 271 n., 275 n.

Begu, a nun, has a vision of Hilda’s death, 275, 276.

Belgium, or Belgic Gaul, 5, 13 n.

Benedict I, Pope, 83.

Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, 215 n., 359, 389;
Bede trained under, xxxiii, 386;
founds the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, xxxiv, 257;
his library, xxxv, 257 n., 287 n.;
temporary abbot of SS. Peter and Paul’s Monastery, 216 n.;
goes to Rome, 257, 348;
account of, 257 n.;
brings John the Precentor back with him to Britain, 257, 258;
obtains a letter of privilege for his monastery, 257, 258;
his monastic rule, 257 n.

Benedictus Crispus, Archbishop of Milan, 313 n.

Benedictine Order of Monks, 275 n.

Beneventum, 21 n.

Benjamin, 73.

Beornred, King of Mercia, said to have murdered Ethelbald, 392.

Berct, Berctred, Brectrid or Briht, Egfrid’s General, lays Ireland waste,
285, 336 n.;
slain by the Picts, 385.

Berecingum, or Barking, _see_ Barking.

Berkshire, 10 n., 343 n.

Bernicia, History of, xxvi, 82 n., 83 n., 120, 137, 141, 147, 190;
diocese of, 244 n.

Bernicia, Bishop of, _see_ Eata.

Bernicia, King of, _see_ Eanfrid, Ethelric, Ida, Oswald, Oswy.

Bernwin, Wilfrid’s nephew, his mission to the Isle of Wight, 252.

Bersted, Witenagemot of, 316 n.

Bertfrid, Osrid’s Ealdorman, 385.

Bertgils, surnamed Boniface, _see_ Boniface.

Bertha, daughter of Charibert, wife of Ethelbert of Kent, 46, 48, 94, 95
n., 132 n.

Berthun, Ethelwalch’s Ealdorman, 251.

Berthun, Abbot of Beverley, 273 n., 302, 303, 305.

Bertwald, Archbishop of Canterbury after Theodore, xxx, xxxi, 239 n., 314,
315, 343 n., 344 n., 353 n.;
his burial place, 90;
his election and consecration, 274 n., 316, 323;
Abbot of Reculver, 315;
his learning, 315;
ordains Tobias, 316;
returns from the Continent, 323 n.;
reconciled to Wilfrid, 354 n., 355, 356 n.;
at the Synod on the Nidd, 356 n.;
consecrates Aldwulf, 378;
death, 378, 386.

Berwickshire, 260 n.

Betendune, _see_ Watton.

Bethlehem, 338, 339.

Betti, a Northumbrian priest, xxvii, 180, 181.

Beverley, Inderauuda, or In the Wood of the Deiri, Monastery of, founded
by John and Berthun, 273 n., 303, 307.

Beverley, Abbot of, _see_ Berthun, John.

Bewcastle, 163 n.

Birinus, Bishop of Dorchester, converts the West Saxons, xxvi, 147, 148,
consecrated by Asterius, 148;
death, 148;
buried at Dorchester, 148;
his body translated to Winchester, 148, 149.

Biscop, _see_ Benedict.

Bishop Burton, 307 n.

Bishops, rules for, 49, 50, 228, 229;
their stipends, 49, 50;
consecration of, 53, 54, 65, 85 n.

Bishoprics, English, List of in 731 A.D., 379 n.;
subdivision of, 122 n., 229, 231, 242-4, 272 n., 273 n., 343.

Bisi, Bishop of Dunwich after Boniface, 227, 228 n., 230.

Blackwater, the River, 183 n.

Blaecca, Reeve of Lincoln, converted, 122.

Bledla, King of the Huns, 27.

Blessed Mother of God, Church of the, at Lastingham, 187;
at Barking, 237;
in St. Augustine’s, Canterbury, 357.

Blithryda, or Plectrude, wife of Pippin, 324.

Blood-letting, 305, 306.

Bobbio, Monastery of, 92 n.

Boethius referred to, 145 n.

Boisil, Provost of Melrose, 288;
teaches Cuthbert, 288, 289, 292;
death, 289;
appears to one of his disciples in dreams, and forbids Egbert to go to
the Germans, 317, 318, 319.

Boniface IV, Pope, 92, 93;
his pastoral letters to the English Church, 93.

Boniface V, Pope, xxv, 112, 124;
his letters, 98, 100, 101, 105, 111, 380 n.;
sends the pall to Justus, 100;
sends gifts to Edwin, 109;
to Ethelberg, 111;
death, 105 n.

Boniface, St., editorial references to, 3 n., 87 n., 179 n., 237 n., 324
n., 325 n., 342 n., 346 n., 391 n.;
his martyrdom, 392;
account of, 392 n.

Boniface, or Bertgils, Bishop of Dunwich, or of the East Angles, 179, 206
n., 207 n.;
death, 230.

Boniface, the Archdeacon, Pope’s Counsellor at Wilfrid’s second trial,
349, 354.

Boniface (probably St. Cuiritin), missionary, converts Naiton to Roman
usages, 359 n.

Bordeaux, Pilgrim of, 340 n.

Borrowdale, 294 n.

Boructuari, The, 245 n., 317;
converted by Suidbert, 324.

Bosa, Bishop of Deira or York, 243, 244, 358;
account of, 243 n.;
consecrated in Wilfrid’s place, 244, 385;
educated at Whitby under Hilda, 272, 273;
death, 305, 356 n.

Bosel, Bishop of Worcester, 273, 274.

Bosham, or Bosanhamm, Monastery of, 246.

Bothelm, 137, 138.

Boulogne, or Gessoriacum, 5, 13, 72 n., 73.

Bowmont Water, 120 n.

Bowness-on-Solway, 25 n.

Boy, a Saxon, his dying vision of SS. Peter and Paul, 248, 249, 250, 251.

Bradford-on-Avon, 210 n.

Bredon, or Briudun, monastery of, 379.

Bregusuid, mother of Hilda, 274.

Bretwalda, _see_ Aelli, Caelin, Edwin, Ethelbert, Oswald, Oswy, Redwald.

Bridius, or Bruide Mac Maelchon, King of the Picts, 141 n., 142.

Brige, In Brige, or Faremoutier-en-Brie, monastery of, 151, 152.

Brige, Abbess of, _see_ Fara, Ethelberg, Saethryth.

Bright, his "Early English Church History," vi;
references to, 12 n., 51 n., 84 n., 105 n., 121 n., 148 n., 151 n., 183
n., 195 n., 214 n., 242 n., 251 n., 292 n., 326 n.

Briht, _see_ Berct.

Britain, xxiii;
Roman occupation of, xxiii, 9-23;
description of, 5, 6;
language, 6, 80;
freed from Roman rule, 22, 23, 26, 382;
the Romans return to, 24;
its corruption during peace, 28, 41, 42;
suffers from a plague, 28, 29;
overrun by the Angles and Saxons, 29, 31, 32;
civil wars in, 41;
converted to Christianity, 80.

Britain, Church of, _see_ British.

Britain, King of, _see_ Lucius.

Britannicus, son of Claudius, 11.

British Church, xxiii, xxiv, xxxix, 19, 54, 55, 86, 92;
its attitude towards the Easter question, xxiv, 91, 196, 336, 344, 376
n., 381;
refuses allegiance to Augustine, 87;
approached by Laurentius, 92.

British Museum, The, 331 n.

Britons, or Brythons, xxxi;
defeated by Ethelfrid, xxiv, 73;
origin of, 6, 7;
language, 6.

Britons of Strathclyde, 286, 336 n.

Britons of Strathclyde, King of, _see_ Theudor.

Brittany, 7 n.

Briudun, _see_ Bredon.

Brocmail, Welsh Prince, 88.

Bromnis, 352 n.

Bructeri, The, 317 n.

Bruide, _see_ Bridius.

Bruide Mac Bili, King of the Picts, 285 n.

Brythons, _see_ Britons.

Buckinghamshire, 10 n.

Bulgarians, 317 n.

Burford, Battle of, 380 n., 392 n.

Burgh Castle, Monastery of, 174, 177.

Burgh Castle, Abbot of, _see_ Fursa.

Burghelm, a priest of Wilfrid’s, 245.

Burgundians, 92 n.

Burgundofarus, _see_ Faro.

Burgundy, 122.

Burton, _see_ Bishop, North, South.

Bury, Professor, his "Life of St. Patrick," reference to, 27 n.

Butler, his "Lives of the Saints," reference to, 388 n.

Cadvan, father of Caedwalla the Briton, 130 n.

Cadwalader, son of Caedwalla the Briton, 241 n.

Cadwallon, _see_ Caedwalla.

Caedmon, the Poet, his life and death, 277-281.

Caedwalla, or Cadwallon, King of Gwynedd in Wales, xxv, 241 n.;
account of, 130 n.;
his revolt against Edwin, 130, 131;
allied with Penda, 130;
his cruelty, 131, 135;
a Christian, 131;
besieged by Osric in York, 134, 135;
kills Osric, 134, 135;
kills Eanfrid by treachery, 135;
slain by Oswald, 135.

Caedwalla, King of Wessex, xxx, 287 n., 353 n.;
account of, 241 n.;
in exile, 251;
kills Ethelwalch in battle, 251;
expelled by Andhun and Berthun, 251;
kills Berthun, 251;
conquers and reunites Wessex, 241, 251, 252;
conquers the South Saxons and the Isle of Wight, 252, 253;
his relations with Wilfrid, 252;
kills Arwald’s brothers, 252, 253;
in concealment at Redbridge, 253;
wounded in the Isle of Wight, 253;
abdicates, 241, 345 n.;
his pilgrimage to Rome, 241, 312, 313, 314, 345, 385;
baptized under the name of Peter, 312, 313;
dies at Rome, 241, 312, 314;
buried in St. Peter’s, 313;
his epitaph, 313, 314.

Caelin, or Ceaulin, King of the West Saxons, second Bretwalda, 94, 241 n.

Caelin, brother of Cedd, 185, 187.

Caerleon-on-Usk, or City of Legions, 18.

Caesar, Caius Julius, editorial references to his works, 5 n., 10;
his invasion of Britain, 9, 10, 11, 23, 382;
returns to Gaul, 10.

Caesarea, library of, 369 n.;
Bishop of, _see_ Eusebius.

Caesarean System of Indictions, 227 n., 254 n.

Caiaphas, 335.

Cairbre Riada, _see_ Reuda.

Caistor, or Cyneburgacaster, Abbess of, _see_ Cyneburg.

Calcaria, or Kaelcacaestir, now Tadcaster, 271, 272.

Cale, _see_ Chelles.

Caledonians, the, 14 n.

Cambridge, xix, xxxvi, 172 n., 261 n.

Cambridgeshire, 112 n., 179 n., 259 n.

Campania, 21, 214, 388 n.

Campodonum, or Donafeld, 120.

Canche, the, 215 n.

Candidus, a presbyter, 44.

Cannes, 33 n.

Canons of the Western Church, 228.

Canterbury, or Doruvernis, 47, 48, 49, 210 n., 254, 255, 379;
churches of, xxii, 3, 51 n., 72;
see of, 49 n., 379 n.;
monastery at, 72;
almost destroyed by fire, 99;
school of, 121 n., 316 n., 343 n.

Canterbury, Archbishop of, _see_ Anselm, Augustine, Bertwald, Cuthbert,
Deusdedit, Honorius, Justus, Lanfranc, Laurentius, Mellitus,
Nothelm, Tatwine, Theodore.

Cantuarians, the, 133.

Cantuarii, 245 n.

Cantus Ambrosianus, 133 n.

Cantus Romanus, 133 n.

Cantyre, or Kintyre, 8 n., 142 n.

Caracalla, _see_ Antonius Bassianus.

Carausius, 13, 14.

Carlegion, _see_ Chester.

Carlisle, Luel, or Lugubalia, 73 n., 285 n., 294.

Carlisle, Bishop of, _see_ Appleby.

Carloman, King of the Franks, son of Charles Martel, 391, 392.

"Carmen Paschale," _see_ Sedulius.

Carpophorus, St., 99 n.

Carriden (probably Urbs Iudeu), 23 n., 189 n.

Cassobellaunus, chief of the Catuvellauni, 10.

Catterick Bridge, Cataract, or Cataractonium, 120, 132, 164.

Catuvellauni, the, 10 n.

Ceadda, or Chad, St., afterwards Bishop of Lichfield and York, xxvii, 3,
Abbot of Lastingham, xxxv, 187;
consecrated Bishop of York in Wilfrid’s place, 206, 207, 351;
reconsecrated by Theodore, 207 n., 217;
on Wilfrid’s return retires to Lastingham, 218, 351;
made Bishop of Lichfield, 192, 218, 219;
a disciple of Aidan, 208;
his holy life, 207, 219, 222, 223;
builds the monastery of Ad Barvae, 219;
account of his death, xxxviii, 219, 222, 224;
buried at Lichfield, 219, 224;
his posthumous miracles, 224;
his relics, 224 n.

Cearl, King of Mercia, 119.

Ceaulin, _see_ Caelin.

Cecilia, St., 265, 324.

Cedd, afterwards Bishop of Essex, xxvii, 3, 183, 206 n., 207, 208;
his mission to Mid-Anglia, 180, 181;
reconverts the East Saxons, 182, 183;
excommunicates a "gesith" for his unlawful marriage, 184;
rebukes King Sigbert and prophecies his death, 184;
baptizes King Suidhelm, 184, 185;
visits Northumbria, 185;
his self-imposed discipline, 186;
founds the monastery of Lastingham, 185, 186;
his brothers, 185, 186, 187;
his death, 185, 186;
burial, 186, 187;
trained at Lindisfarne, 186;
posthumous miracle, 187;
at Whitby, 195;
forsakes the Celtic Easter, 201;
his spirit appears at the time of Ceadda’s death, 224.

Celestine, or Celestinus, Pope, sends Palladius to the Irish, 27, 33 n.,
382, 383.

Celtic Churches, xxiii, xxiv, xxx, xxxi;
and _see_ British Church, Irish Church.

Celtic Missions, xxv, xxvi, xxx, 139 n.

"Celtic Scotland," Skene’s, _see_ Skene.

Celts, 7 n.;
their observance of Easter, 84 n., 87;
and _see_ Easter Controversy.

Centwine, sub-king of Wessex, 241 n., 352 n.;
his wife, 352 n.

Ceolfrid, Abbot of Wearmouth and Jarrow, xxx, xxxiv, xxxv, 387, 389;
educates Bede, xxxiii, 386;
enlarges the library of Wearmouth and Jarrow, xxxv;
Pope Sergius’ letter to, xxxvi;
account of, 257;
sends builders to Naiton, King of the Picts, 359;
his letter to Naiton (said to be written by Bede), 360-374.

Ceollach, Bishop of Mid-Anglia and Mercia, 181, 191.

Ceolred, King of Mercia, son of Ethelred, succeeds Coinred, 346;
his bad character, 346 n.;
his death, 346 n., 380 n., 386;
his enmity to Ethelbald, 380 n.

Ceolwulf, King of Northumbria, brother of Coenred, succeeds Osric, xxxi,
375 n., 381;
"Ecclesiastical History" dedicated to, xxii, 1;
account of, 1;
taken prisoner, tonsured, and sent back to his kingdom, 390;
leaves the kingdom to Eadbert, 391.

Cerdic, British King, 274.

Cerot, Island of, 232.

Cerotaesei, _see_ Chertsey.

Chad, St., _see_ Ceadda.

Chalcedon, 265 n.;
council of, 228 n., 254 n.

Chaldeans, the, 31.

Charibert, King of Paris, 46 n., 132 n.

Charles Martel, King of the Franks, defeats the Saracens, 378;
supports Boniface’s mission, 392 n.;
death, 391.

Charybdis, 365.

Chauci, the, 317 n.

Chelles, or Cale, monastery of, 152, 271, 349 n.

Chepstow, 84 n.

Chertsey, Cerotaesei, or the Island of Cerot, monastery of, xxviii, 232.

Cherusci, the, 317 n.

Cheshire, 204 n.

Chester, Carlegion, City of Legions, or Legacaestir, 18 n.;
Battle of, xxiv, 87, 88.

Chester-le-Street, or Cunungaceaster, 295 n., 325 n.

Chichester, 246 n., 247 n.

Childebert, King of Austrasia and Burgundy, 49 n.

Chilperic, King of Neustria, brother of Charibert, 132 n.

Chosroes II, King of Persia, 340 n.

Chrism, 87 n.

Christ Church Cathedral, Canterbury, 72.

Christians, persecuted under Diocletian and Maximian, 14-19;
under Nero, 14.

Christmas, 206.

"Chronological Recapitulation of the whole Work," 382, _et seq._

Church Furniture, 65;
Music, 133, 358, 386.

"Church Historians," _see_ Stevenson.

Churches of Wood, 170, 192, 360;
of stone, 192, 359;
covered with lead, 192.

Cilicia, 214.

City of Legions, _see_ Caerleon and Chester.

Claudius, Emperor, invades Britain and conquers the Orkneys, 11, 382.

Clement, St., 91.

Clement, name given to Wilbrord, 179 n., 324.

Clergy, rules for, 50, 229.

Cliff-at-Hoe, Clofeshoch, or Clovesho, 229 n., 255 n.

Clonard, 140 n.

Clonard, Abbot of, _see_ Colman or Columbanus.

Clothaire III, King of Neustria, 206, 215, 349 n.

Clothilde, wife of Clovis I, 152 n.

Clovesho, _see_ Cliff-at-Hoe.

Clovis I, King of the Franks, 152 n.

Clovis II, King of Neustria, 152 n., 178, 349 n.

Clyde, or Cluith, the river, 24.

Cnobheresburg, or Cnobhere’s Town, _see_ Burgh Castle.

Coenred, or Coinred, King of Mercia after Ethelred, son of Wulfhere, xxx,
332, 356, 385;
his thegn’s visions, 332, 333, 334;
gives up his throne and goes to Rome, 345, 346, 385;
becomes a monk, 345, 346;
reconciled to Wilfrid, 356.

Coenred, King of Northumbria, 375, 377, 378.

Coenwald, Theodore’s representative at Wilfrid’s trial, 352 n.

Coifi, a pagan priest converted to Christianity, 116, 117, 118.

Coinwalch, King of Wessex, son of Cynegils, xxvi, 149, 350 n.;
in exile in East Anglia, 149;
puts away his wife, Penda’s sister, and marries another, 149;
restored to his kingdom, 149;
his relations with Agilbert, 149, 150;
death, 241.

Coldingham, or Coludi, monastery of, xxix, 260, 266 n., 281, 283, 284.

Coldingham, Abbess of, _see_ Aebba.

Coldstream, 120 n.

Colman, Bishop of Northumbria, xxviii, 194, 201;
at the Whitby Synod, 195, 196, 198, 200;
returns to Ireland, 201, 204, 213, 225, 384;
takes some of Aidan’s bones with him, 202;
his frugality and plain living, 202, 203;
at Iona, 225;
at Innisboffin, 225;
at Mayo, 225, 226.

Colman, or Columbanus, Irish bishop, 128, 129 n.

Cologne, 322.

Coludi, _see_ Coldingham.

Columba, or Columcille, St., Bishop of Iona, 151 n., 372;
his mission to the Picts, xxv, xxvi, 140, 141, 142, 359 n., 383;
converts King Bridius, 142;
account of, 140 n.;
his name, 140 n., 318;
founds the monastery of Iona, xxvi, 142, 383;
builds the monastery of Dearmach, 142;
his rule and jurisdiction, 142, 143;
records of him, 143;
miracles, 199, 200;
death, 142 n.;
buried at Iona, 142.

"Columba, St., Life of," _see_ Adamnan and Reeves.

Columban Monasteries, Egbert’s mission to, 318, 319, 375 n.

Columbanus, Irish missionary to the continent, 92.

Columbanus, _see_ Colman.

Columcille, _see_ Columba.

Comb sent by Boniface to Ethelberg, 111.

Comets, xxxi, 242, 378, 385, 386.

Communion, Holy, 53, 54, 55, 56, 58, 60, 61, 62, 65, 96, 101, 249, 275,
280, 363.

Compiègne, Royal Villa, 206.

Conall, King of the Dalriadic Scots, 142 n.

Confirmation, the rite of, 87 n.

Connor, Bishop of, _see_ Dima.

Conquest, the Norman, 343 n.

Conrad, Prior of Canterbury, 72 n.

Constans II, or Constantine IV, Emperor, 256.

Constans, son of Constantine, Tyrant of Britain, 22.

Constantine I, Pope, 345.

Constantine the Great, Emperor, 19, 210 n.;
establishes Christianity, 70;
completes the Basilica of the Anastasis, and builds the Church of the
Martyrium, Jerusalem, 339, 340.

Constantine III, Emperor, 127.

Constantine IV, _see_ Constans II.

Constantine, Tyrant in Britain, 22.

Constantinople, xxxviii, 27, 77, 254 n., 338;
Church at, 254;
councils of, 254, 255, 256, 258, 352 n.

Constantinople, Bishop of, _see_ Eudoxius, Macedonius, Nestorius.

Constantinopolitan System of Indictions, the, 227 n.

Constantius, father of Constantine the Great, 19.

Constantius, Count, 22.

Constantius Chlorus, Emperor, 14 n.

Constantius of Lyons, his "Life of Germanus," xxii;
editorial references to, 33 n., 36 n., 38 n.

Continuation of Bede, the, 390, _et seq._

Conwulf, Bishop of Lindisfarne, after Ethelwald, 391.

Corinth, 197.

Corinthians, Epistle to the, quoted, 103, 111, 363.

Corman, his unsuccessful mission to the Northumbrians, 145.

Cornish Britons, 7 n., 336 n.

Cornwall, 33 n., 84 n.

Corrib, Lough, monastery on, 174.

"Cotton MSS.," xix.

Councils, 116, 128, 255 n., 256;
and _see_ Constantinople, Rome, and Synods.

Cousins, marriage of, 52.

Cricklade, 84 n.

Crimea, the, 256 n.

Croes Oswallt, _see_ Oswestry.

Cromanus, or Cronan, Bishop of Nendrum, 129.

Cross, The, in procession, 46;
sign of the, 304;
Invention of the Holy, by Helena, 339, 340 n.

Cross, erected by Oswald, at Hefenfelth, 136, 137, 138.

Cross at Maserfelth, 154 n.

Cudwald, _see_ Cuthbald.

Cuichelm, King of Wessex, son of Cynegils, 103, 104, 149 n.

Cuichelm, Bishop of Rochester after Putta, 241, 242.

Cuiritin, Irish saint, 359 n.

"Culdees, The," _see_ Reeves.

Cunningham, 325 n.

Cunungaceaster, _see_ Chester-le-Street.

Cuthbald, Abbot of Medeshamstead, 356 n.

Cuthbald, or Cudwald, Abbot of Oundle, 356.

Cuthbert, St., Bishop of Lindisfarne, xxii, xxix, xxxviii, 4, 161 n., 168
n., 192 n., 244 n., 331 n., 389;
history of, 288-295;
at Farne, 288;
at Melrose, 288, 289;
succeeds Boisil as Provost, 289;
at Ripon, 194 n.;
his consecration, 285, 288, 292, 293;
Bishop of Hexham, 293;
of Lindisfarne, 293;
his friendship for Elfled, 189 n.;
foretells Egfrid’s defeat by the Picts, and death, 189 n., 285, 286;
his vision, 288 n.;
his spiritual powers, 289;
his missionary journeys, 289, 290;
his hermitage on Farne Island, 291, 292, 294;
attends the Synod at Twyford, 292;
his piety, 293, 297;
at Carlisle, 294;
foretells his own death to Herebert, 294, 295;
death, 295;
buried at Lindisfarne, 295, 302;
his body preserved from corruption, 295 n., 296, 297, 300;
removal of his relics, 295 n., 302 n.;
miracles, 291, 292, 297, 298, 299, 300;
Anonymous Life of, xxii, 285 n.;
Bede’s Life of, _see_ Bede.

Cuthbert, Archbishop of Canterbury after Nothelm, 90 n., 391.

Cuthbert, Abbot of Wearmouth and Jarrow, pupil of Bede, xxxix, xl;
his letter to Cuthwin describing Bede’s death, xxxiv, xxxv, xxxix,

Cuthred, King of Wessex, 391, 392 n.

Cuthwin, xxxiv, xl, _et seq._

Cuthwine, father of Coenred, King of Northumbria, 375 n.

Cycles, Paschal, 84 n., 368, 369, 370, 374.

Cyneburg, St., daughter of Penda, wife of Alchfrid, Abbess of Caistor,

Cyneburga, daughter of Cynegils, wife of Oswald, 148.

Cyneburgacaster, _see_ Caistor.

Cynegils, King of Wessex, xxvi, 103 n., 147;
baptized with all his people, 148;
his daughter married to Oswald, 148;
divides the West Saxon diocese, 150;
death, 149.

Cynibert, Bishop of Lindsey or Sidnacester, 4, 243, 244, 379 n., 380;
death, 390.

Cynibert, Abbot of Redbridge, 253.

Cynibill, brother of Cedd, 186, 187.

Cynifrid, surgeon to Ethelthryth, 262.

Cynimund, a priest, 167.

Cyniwulf, King of Wessex, 392.

Cynwise, wife of Penda, 188, 227 n.

Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, 255 n., 256, 369.

Cyrus, in Syria, Bishop of, _see_ Theodoret.

Dacre, or Dacore, The Monastery of, 299;
a monk of, miraculously cured of a tumour, 299, 300.

Dacre, Abbot of, _see_ Suidbert, Thruidred.

Dacre, The River, 299.

Dagan, Bishop of Inverdaeile, or Ennereilly, 92.

Dagobert I, King of the Franks, 132.

Dagobert II, King of Austrasia, 351 n.

Dal, Signification of, 8.

Dalfinus, Archbishop of Lyons, _see_ Annemundus.

Dalfinus, Count of Lyons, 194 n., 348.

Dalriada, the Dalreudini or Dalriadic Scots, history, xxiv, 8, 73, 142 n.,
286, 392 n.

Dalriadic Scots, King of, _see_ Conall.

Dalston, near Carlisle, 73 n.

Damascus, 338.

Damian, or Damianus, Bishop of Rochester after Ithamar, 179, 216, 245 n.;
account of, 179 n.;
death, 206 n., 218.

Danes, 30, 317;
their invasions of England, 122 n., 161 n., 231 n., 295 n., 303 n.

Daniel, Bishop of Winchester, xxx, 3, 148 n., 253, 344, 345, 379, 380.

Danube, The River, 317 n.

Darling, Grace, 168 n.

David, 61, 338, 341.

Dawstane Rig, Liddesdale, 73 n.

Dearmach, Durrow, or Field of Oaks, Monastery of, 142.

Decius, Emperor, 265, 388 n.

Deda, Abbot of Partney, 123.

Degsastan, or Degsa Stone, Battle of, 73, 74, 383.

"De Ingratis," _see_ Prosper.

Deira, History of, xxvi, 82 n., 83 n., 120, 134, 147, 190, 270 n., 383 n.;
diocese of, 243 n.;
Gregory’s pun on the name, 82.

Deira, King of, _see_ Aelli, Ethelfrid, Ethelric, Oidilwald, Osric, Oswin,

Deira, Sub-king of, _see_ Aelfwine, Egfrid.

Deira, Bishop of, _see_ Bosa.

"De Locis Sanctis," _see_ Adamnan and Bede.

"De Mensura Orbis Terrae," the author of, 246 n.

Denisesburna, or The Brook of Denis, Battle of, 135, 136.

Deogratias, 179 n.

Derbyshire, 181 n.

Derwent, the River (Cumberland), 294.

Derwent, the River (Durham), 260.

Derwent, the River (Yorkshire), 104, 118, 350 n.

Derwentwater, 294.

Deusdedit, Pope, 98, 100, 179 n.

Deusdedit, or Frithonas, Archbishop of Canterbury, after Honorius, xxvi,
178, 179, 208, 351 n.;
death, 179, 206 n., 207, 213, 217.

Deusdedit, The name of, 179 n.

Deuteronomy, quoted, 55, 279.

Devils, 328, 332, 333, 334, 335, 336.

Devil’s Water, 135 n.

Devon and Cornwall, Kingdom of, _see_ Dumnonia.

Diarmaid, Irish King, 140 n.

"Dictionary of Christian Antiquities," referred to, vi, 227 n.

"Dictionary of Christian Biography," referred to, vi, 19 n., 49 n., 387 n.

Dicul, an Irish monk of Bosham, 246.

Dicull, one of Fursa’s priests, 177.

Dima, Bishop of Connor, 129 n.

Dinnaus, probably Dima, 128.

Dinoot, Donatus, Dunawd or Dunod, Abbot of Bangor, 86.

Diocletian, Emperor, 12, 13, 14, 19, 265 n.

Dionysius Exiguus, 228 n., 369.

Discipline, Augustine’s Questions and Gregory’s Answers on, 49-64.

Diuma, Bishop of Lindsey, Mercia, and Mid-Anglia, xxvii, 181, 190;
accompanies Peada into Mid-Anglia, 180, 181;
death, 181, 190;
burial, 190, 191.

Divorce, 230, 238, 239.

Dolphins in Britain, 5.

Domesday-Book, 268 n.

Dommoc, _see_ Dunwich.

Don, The River, 189.

Donafeld, _see_ Campodonum.

Donatus, _see_ Dinoot.

Doncaster (perhaps Campodonum), 120 n., 131.

Dooms, of Edric, 287 n.;
of Ethelbert, 95 n.;
of Hlothere, 287 n.;
of Ini, 231 n., 251 n.

Dorchester (Oxfordshire), See at, xxvi, 148, 272 n., 273.

Dorchester, Bishop of, _see_ Aetla, Agilbert, Birinus.

Dorsetshire, 343 n.

Dorubrevis, _see_ Rochester.

Doruvernis, _see_ Canterbury.

Double Procession of the Holy Spirit, Doctrine of, 256.

Doulting, 343 n.

Dreams, _see_ Visions.

Driffield, or Field of Deira, 342 n.

Drought, An excessive, 391.

Drythelm, a Northumbrian, his visions of Death, Hell and Judgement, xxx,
retires into the monastery of Melrose, 326, 331;
death, 332.

Ducange, editorial references to, 77, 90, 135 n., 266 n., 305 n., 340 n.

Dudden, F. Homes, his "Gregory the Great," editorial references to, 75 n.,
81 n., 133 n.

Dugdale’s "Monasticon," editorial references to, 18 n., 275 n.

Dumbarton, Alcluith, or Dúnbrettan, 9, 24, 25.

Dumnonia, 344 n.

Dumnonia, King of, _see_ Geraint.

Dunawd, _see_ Dinoot.

Dunbar, 352 n.

Dúnbrettan, _see_ Dumbarton.

Dunchad, Abbot of Iona, 376.

Dunnechtan, _see_ Nechtansmere.

Dunnichen, 285 n.

Dunod, _see_ Dinoot.

Dunwich, or Dommoc, Diocese of, 122 n., 172 n.

Dunwich, Bishop of, _see_ Aecci, Aldbert, Bisi, Boniface.

Durham, xl, 161 n., 190, 204 n., 288 n., 302;
Cathedral, 295 n.

Durham, Reginald of, _see_ Reginald.

Durrow, _see_ Dearmach.

Dysentery, 393.

Eabae, daughter of Eanfrid, wife of Ethelwalch, baptized, 246.

Eadbald, King of Kent, son of Ethelbert, xxiv, xxvi, 95, 99, 127, 348 n.;
his wickedness, 95;
marries his stepmother, 95, 97;
gives her up, 97;
converted by Laurentius, 97, 98, 101, 105 n., 107, 110;
recalls Mellitus and Justus, 98;
builds the Church of the Mother of God, 98;
his letters to Pope Boniface, 101;
gives his sister in marriage to Edwin, 102, 103;
welcomes Paulinus back to Kent, 132;
death, 151, 384.

Eadbert, King of Kent, son of Wictred, 377.

Eadbert, King of Northumbria after Ceolwulf, 391, 392, 393.

Eadbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, 192, 296, 297, 353 n.;
illness and death, 297;
buried with Cuthbert at Lindisfarne, 297, 302 n.;
posthumous miracles, 297, 298.

Eadbert, Abbot of Selsey, afterwards Bishop of Selsey, 345.

Eadbert, (unknown), slain, 391.

Eadbert, Mercian Chief, 191, 192.

Eadfrid, Bishop of Lindisfarne, 331 n.

Eadfrid, son of Edwin, baptized, 119;
killed by Penda, 131.

Eadgyth, a nun of Barking, 234.

Eadhaed, Bishop of Lindsey, 207, 243;
translated to Ripon, 244, 385.

Eadwulf, usurps the throne of Northumbria, 342 n., 391 n.;
besieges Bamborough, 385 n.

Eafa, Mercian Chief, 191, 192.

Eanfled, daughter of Edwin, wife of Oswy, xxv, 165 n., 167, 189 n., 191;
her birth, 104;
baptism, 104, 384;
taken by her mother and Paulinus into Kent, xxv, 132, 167;
observes the Catholic Easter, 193;
receives a cross from Pope Vitalian, 211;
befriends Wilfrid, 347, 348;
joint Abbess of Whitby with her daughter Elfled, 189 n., 286, 306 n.;
buried at Whitby, 190;
her relatives, 348.

Eanfrid, King of Bernicia, son of Ethelfrid, 134.

Eanfrid, King of the Hwiccas, 246.

Eanred, 392.

Eappa, a priest of Wilfrid’s, afterwards Abbot of Selsey, 245, 248, 249,

Earconbert, King of Kent, son of Eadbald, xxvi, 151, 261;
suppresses idolatry, xxvi, 151;
sends Wilfrid and Benedict Biscop to Rome, 348;
death, 213, 384.

Earcongota, daughter of Earconbert and granddaughter of Anna, xxvi, 149
n., 151, 152, 153.

Earconwald, St., Bishop of London, xxviii, 231, 232, 239.

Earpwald, King of East Anglia, son of Redwald, xxv, 171;
converted by Edwin, xxv, 120, 121;
slain by Ricbert, 121.

East Angles, The, 30, 45 n.

East Anglia, History of, xxvi, 3, 112 n., 177, 220, 271;
establishment of Christianity in, xxv, 121, 122;
diocese of, xxviii, 231, 379 n., 380.

East Anglia, King of, _see_ Aldwulf, Anna, Earpwald, Ecgric, Ethelhere,
Ethelwald, Redwald, Sigbert, Tytilus, Uuffa.

East Anglia, Bishop of, _see_ Bisi, Boniface, Thomas.

Easter Controversy, The, xxiv, xxv, xxvi, xxviii, xxx, xxxi, xxxviii,
xxxix, 84, 85, 87, 91, 128, 129, 138, 139, 143, 170, 171,
192-201, 210, 216, 228, 336, 337, 344, 350, 359-370, 374-376,
381, 386.

Easter kept twice in one year, 193.

Eastern Church, _see_ Greek.

East Lothian, 325 n.

East Saxons, 30, 45, 191 n.;
diocese of, _see_ London;
province of, _see_ Essex.

Eata, Abbot of Melrose, afterwards Bishop of Hexham, 194 n., 243, 244 n.,
288, 290, 318, 385;
ordained at York in Wilfrid’s place, 244;
Bishop of Lindisfarne, 202, 244 n., 288;
death, 302.

Eata Glinmaur, father of Eadbert of Northumbria, 391 n.

Ebbsfleet, 45 n.

Ebchester, Monastery of, 260 n.

Ebroin, Mayor of the Palace to Clothaire III, 192 n., 349;
plots against Wilfrid, 192 n., 351 n.;
detains Hadrian and Theodore, 215, 216;
murdered, 215 n.

"Ecclesiastes," quoted, 220.

Ecclesiastical Arithmetic, 217.

"Ecclesiastical History," Bede’s, MSS. of, xix, 277 n.;
sources of, xxi, xxii, 5 n.;
editions of, xix, xx;
translations of, xx, xxi, 249 n., 321 n.;
date of, 379 n.;
Bede’s own account of, 386;
and _passim_.

Ecgric, King of East Anglia, after Sigbert, 172.

Eclanum, Bishop of, _see_ Julianus.

Eclipses of the Moon, 390, 392;
of the Sun, 203, 213, 383, 384, 390, 392.

Eddi, or Eddius, surnamed Stephen, editorial references to, his "Life of
Wilfrid," 189 n., 217 n., 218 n., 244 n., 252 n., 267 n., 346
n., 347 n., 348 n., 349 n., 350 n., 351 n., 353 n.;
teaches the Northumbrians to sing in church, 217.

Edessa, Bishop of, _see_ Ibas.

Edgar, Bishop of Lindsey, 243.

Edilhart, King of Wessex, 391.

Edinburgh (perhaps Urbs Iudeu), 23 n., 189 n.

Edric, King of Kent, 287.

Edwin, King of Deira, afterwards of Northumbria, 5th Bretwalda, 109, 127,
147, 164, 243 n., 348 n.;
his early history, xxv, 112, 115, 130 n.;
marries Ethelberg of Kent, xxiv, 102, 103;
conquers the Mevanian Islands, 94, 102;
his dominion, 102;
his vision, 112, 113, 114, 115;
his conversion and baptism, xxv, 102, 105, 110, 111, 115, 116, 118, 131,
270, 271, 384;
allows his daughter to be baptized, 104, 384;
his children, 104, 119, 132;
receives letters from Pope Honorius, 124, 125;
converts Earpwald, xxv, 120, 121;
Eumer’s attack on his life, 103, 104;
his war against the West Saxons, 104, 105;
builds St. Peter’s, York, 118, 119, 131;
bestows the see of York upon Paulinus, 118;
marries Quenburga, 119;
his glorious reign, 123, 124, 130;
Caedwalla rebels against him, 130;
defeated and killed at the battle of Hatfield, xxv, 119, 130, 131, 134,
135 n., 154, 167, 384;
buried at Whitby, 131 n., 190;
his head laid in St. Gregory’s Chapel in St. Peter’s, York, 131, 190 n.;
his Cross and Chalice preserved at Canterbury, 132.

Edwin’s Cliff, 393 n.

Edwinspath, _see_ Ouestraefelda.

Egbert, Bishop of York after Wilfrid II, afterwards Archbishop, pupil of
Bede, xxxvi, 273 n., 342 n., 390, 391;
founder of the School of York, xxxvi;
Bede’s "Epistola ad Ecgbertum" addressed to, xxxvi, 390 n.;
Bede visits, xxxvi, xxxix;
death, 393.

Egbert, English monk in Ireland, probably bishop, xxx, xxxi, 143, 203,
205, 316;
account of, 143 n.;
seized with the plague, 204;
his vow and recovery, 205;
his attempted mission to Frisland, 161 n., 316;
dissuaded by a revelation, 317, 318;
sends Wilbrord instead, 320;
saved from shipwreck, 319;
his good example, 205, 206;
his account of Ceadda’s death, 223, 224;
advises Egfrid against the war with the Scots, 286;
his mission to the Columban monasteries, 318, 319, 375, 376, 386;
death, on Easter Day, 205, 376, 377, 378, 386.

Egbert, King of Kent, after Earconbert, xxvii, 213, 287, 377;
consults with Oswy on Church matters, 208;
sends Wighard to Rome, 208, 213;
sends Raedfrid to meet Theodore, 215;
death, 226, 230, 384.

Egfrid, King of Northumbria, son of Oswy, xxviii, xxix, 137 n., 207, 227,
254, 260, 266 n., 302, 352 n., 353;
hostage with Queen Cynwise, 188, 189, 227 n.;
defeats Wulfhere and annexes Lindsey, 191 n., 243, 244;
his conquests, 226 n.;
defeated by Ethelred at the battle of the Trent, 267;
reconciled to Ethelred by Theodore, 267;
gives Benedict Biscop land for the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow,
xxxiv, 258;
his dispute with Wilfrid, 242, 245, 385;
marries Ethelthryth, 259;
his relations with her, 259, 260;
appoints Cuthbert Bishop of Lindisfarne, 288, 293;
at the Synod of Twyford, 292;
at the Synod of Hertford, 384;
his death foretold by Cuthbert, 189 n., 285 n.;
sends an army to ravage Ireland, 285;
his expedition against the Picts and Scots, 244 n., 285, 286;
defeated and killed at the battle of Nechtansmere, 247, 285, 286, 288,
342 n., 381 n., 385;
buried at Iona, 285 n.

Egwin, St., Bishop of Worcester, 380 n.

Egypt, 67, 361, 362, 363, 368;
churches of, 196.

Egyptians, their skill in calculation, 366.

Elafius, British Chief, his son cured of his lameness by Germanus, 39, 40.

Elbe, The river, 317 n.

Eleutherus, or Eleuther, Pope, 12, 382.

Elfled, daughter of Oswy, dedicated to religion by her father, xxxiii,
188, 189;
account of, 189 n.;
trained at Whitby, 190;
enters the Monastery of Hartlepool, 190;
joint Abbess of Whitby with her mother, Eanfled, 189 n., 190, 285 n.,
286, 306 n.;
her friendship with Trumwine, 286, 287;
death, 190;
buried at Whitby, 190.

Elford-on-Trent, 267 n.

Elfred the priest, carries Bede’s bones to Durham, xl.

Elge, _see_ Ely.

Elizabeth, Queen, "The Ecclesiastical History," translated for her
benefit, xxi.

Ellmyn, Celtic name for the English, 317 n.

Elmet Wood, 120.

Elmham, Bishop of, _see_ Badwin, Hadulac.

Ely, Isle of, 260 n., 261, 263;
Monastery of, 260, 261, 262;
St. Audrey’s Fair at, 263 n.

Ely, Abbess of, _see_ Ermingild, Ethelthryth, Sexburg.

Emme, Emmo, or Haymo, Bishop of Sens, 215.

Ems, The, 317 n.

End of the World, 71.

English, The, come to Britain, 383;
idolatry among, 67, 70;
called Garmans, 317;
Saxons, 317 n.;
Ellmyn, 317 n.;
Church, xxiii, xxvii, xxix, 53, 65;
language, 6, 45 n.;
religious poetry, 277.

"English Historical Review, The," editorial reference to, 32 n.

Eni, father of Anna, 172.

Ennereilly, _see_ Inver Daeile.

Eolla, Bishop of Selsey, 345.

Eormenburg, second wife of Egfrid, 242 n., 352 n.;
warned by Cuthbert of Egfrid’s death, 285 n.

"Ephesians, Epistle to the," quoted, 110.

Ephesus, Council of, 255 n.

Epigrams, 389.

"Epistola ad Ecgbertum," _see_ Bede.

Epternach, Wilbrord’s monastery at, 324 n.

Equinox, the Vernal, 84 n., 366, 388.

Ercinwald, Mayor of the Palace to Clovis II, 178, 215 n., 349 n.

Ermingild, daughter of Sexburg, and wife of Wulfhere, 149 n., 261 n.;
Abbess of Ely and Sheppey, 261 n.

Ermynge, or Ixning, 266 n.

Erneshow, or Herneshaw, now St. John’s Lee, Hexham, 303 n.

Ernianus, Irish priest, 129.

Esi, Abbot, 3.

Esquiline, The, Rome, 257 n.

Essex, History of, xxiv, xxvii, xxx, 3, 10 n., 89, 150 n., 182, 183, 212,
245 n., 380, 383;
diocese of, _see_ London.

Essex, King of, _see_ Offa, Sabert, Sebbi, Sigbert, Sighard, Sighere,
Suefred, Suidhelm.

Estrefeld, Council of, _see_ Ouestraefelda.

Etaples, 215.

Eternal punishment, 51, 53.

Ethelbald, King of Mercia, son of Alweo, 346 n., 380, 386;
account of, 380 n.;
ravages Northumbria, 391;
murdered, 392.

Ethelberg, daughter of Anna, Abbess of Brige, 149 n., 151, 152, 153, 232

Ethelberg, or Tata, daughter of Ethelbert of Kent, wife of Edwin of
Northumbria, xxiv, 102, 103, 104, 119, 348 n.;
receives a letter and gifts from Pope Boniface, 109, 111;
her piety, 110;
after Edwin’s death, returns with her children and Paulinus into Kent,
xxv, 131, 132;
sends Wusfrea and Yffi to King Dagobert, 132.

Ethelbert, King of Kent, third Bretwalda, xxiv, 45, 83, 89, 94, 102;
his wife Bertha, 46;
converted by St. Augustine, 45, 46, 47, 90, 94;
receives a letter and gift from Gregory, 69;
builds St. Paul’s, London, and St. Andrew’s, Rochester, 89, 163;
endows the bishoprics of London, Rochester and Canterbury, 89;
receives a letter from Boniface, 93;
account of his reign, 93, 94;
his "dooms," 94;
death, xxiv, 93, 94, 95, 384;
burial, 94;
genealogy, 95;
his second wife marries his son Eadbald, 95, 97.

Ethelbert, King of Kent, son of Wictred, 377.

Ethelburg, St., sister of Earconwald, Abbess of Barking, xxviii, 232, 233;
her miracles, 232, 233, 236, 237;
death, 235, 236, 237;
burial, 236;
her spirit appears to Tortgyth, 237;
"Life of," xxii, 237 n.

Ethelfrid, King of Northumbria, xxiv, 112, 134;
defeats the Britons at Legacaestir, xxiv, 87, 88;
defeats the Scots at Degsastan, xxiv, 73, 74;
his genealogy and reign, 73, 74;
his persecution of Edwin, 112, 113;
killed in battle by Redwald, 115;
his wives, 147 n.;
his sons, 163.

Ethelhere, King of East Anglia, 121 n., 185 n., 260 n., 271 n.;
occasions the war between Penda and Oswy, 189;
slain at the Winwaed, 189.

Ethelhild, Abbess, 158.

Ethelhun, son of Edwin, 119.

Ethelhun, brother of Ethelwin, 204, 205.

Ethelred, King of Mercia, son of Penda, xxix, 254, 268, 332, 346, 352 n.,
353, 385;
account of, 241 n.;
defeats Egfrid at the battle of the Trent, 267;
reconciled to Egfrid by Theodore, 267;
recovers Lindsey, 207 n. 244, 267;
ravages Kent, 241, 242, 385;
his veneration for Bardney Monastery, 157;
appoints Oftfor Bishop of Worcester, 274;
reconciled to Wilfrid, 355, 356;
resigns his throne to Coinred, and becomes a monk, 355, 356;
Abbot of Bardney, 355, 356;
reconciles Coinred to Wilfrid, 356.

Ethelric, King of Northumbria, son of Ida, 73 n., 270 n.

Ethelthryth, St. (of Audrey), daughter of Anna, wife of Tondbert and of
Egfrid, xxix, 149 n., 220, 263, 269;
her history, 266;
her virginity, 259, 260, 264, 267;
her virtues, 260, 261;
her gift of prophecy, 261;
gives land for a church at Hexham, 137 n.;
obtains a divorce and retires into the Monastery of Coldingham, 260;
founds the Monastery of Ely, 260, 263;
dies of a tumour, 261, 262, 263;
her flesh preserved from corruption, 260, 262, 266;
her posthumous miracles, 262, 263;
her bones translated by Sexburg, 261, 262, 263;
Bede’s hymn in her honour, 264-267.

Ethelthryth, daughter of Edwin, baptized, 119.

Ethelwalch, King of the South Saxons, 245, 247, 251.

Ethelwald, or Oidilwald, sub-king of Deira, son of Oswald, xxvii, 185;
rebels against his uncle Oswy and supports Penda, 163, 189;
gives Cedd land for a monastery at Lastingham, 185, 186.

Ethelwald, King of East Anglia, 185.

Ethelwald, King of Northumbria after Oswulf, 393.

Ethelwald, Abbot of Melrose and Bishop of Lindisfarne, 331, 379 n., 381;
his death, 391;
his gifts to Lindisfarne, 331 n.

Ethelwald, Hermit, 301, 302.

Ethelward, of the Hwiccas, 243 n.

Ethelwin, Bishop of Lindsey, 158, 204, 243.

Ethelwulf, 143 n.

Ethilwin, Oswy’s reeve, 164.

Eucharist, The, _see_ Communion.

Eucherius, 340 n.

Eudoxius, heretic Bishop of Constantinople, 255 n., 256.

Eugenius I, Pope, 349 n.

Eulalia, St., 265.

Eumer, attempts to murder Edwin, 103, 104.

Euphemia, St., 265.

Europe, 5.

Eusebius Pamphili, Bishop of Caesarea, 369.

Eusebius, name in religion given to Huaetbert, 389 n.

Eutropius, quoted, xxii, 19.

Eutyches, founder of Eutychianism, 78 n., 254 n., 256.

Eutychius, heretic patriarch of Constantinople, 78.

Eve, 266.

Excommunication, 184.

"Excursus on Paschal Controversy," _see_ Plummer.

"Exodus," quoted, 361, 362.

Exorcism of Evil Spirits, 311 n.

"Ezekiel, Commentary on," by Gregory, 79.

"Ezra," 387, 388.

Fainéant, Roi, _see_ Clothaire III.

Famines, 26, 27, 28.

Fara, or Burgundofara, foundress of the Monastery of Brige, 151, 215 n.

Faremoutier-en-Brie, or Farae Monasterium in Brige, _see_ Brige.

Farne, Isle of, or House Island, xxix, 168, 288, 295, 301, 302.

Faro, or Burgundofarus, Bishop of Meaux, 215.

Fasting, 145, 151, 206, 282, 307 n.

Feliskirk, Yorkshire, 121 n.

Felix, St., 388.

Felix III, Pope, 75.

Felix IV, Pope, 75.

Felix, Bishop of Dunwich, xxv, 121, 122, 193;
his school, 172;
death, 122, 178.

Felixstowe, 121 n.

Fen Country, The, 179 n.

Fergus, father of Oengus, 392 n.

Field-of-Oaks, _see_ Dearmach.

Fina, mother of Aldfrid, 287.

Finan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, after Aidan, 169, 201, 204;
baptizes Peada, 180;
ordains Diuma, 181;
baptizes Sigbert, 182;
ordains Cedd, 183;
builds a church at Lindisfarne, 192;
his controversy with Ronan on the Easter question, 193;
death, 193.

Finchale, 204 n.

Fire, future punishment by, 175.

Fire of London, 240 n.

Fish of Britain, 5.

Fiskerton, 123 n.

Flintshire, 86 n.

Florence of Worcester, editorial references to, 191 n., 218 n., 231 n.,
241 n., 244 n., 272 n., 273, 274, 301 n., 377 n., 380 n.

Foillan, _see_ Fullan.

Folcard, his Life of St. John of Beverley, editorial references to, 303
n., 305 n.

Fontaines, Monastery of, 92 n.

Forfar, 285 n., 360 n.

Forth, the, or Sea of Giudan, 23 n., 24 n., 142 n., 285 n., 286 n.

Forthere, Bishop of Sherborne after Aldhelm, 344, 345, 379 n., 380.

Forthhere, Edwin’s thegn, 104.

Fortunatus, Venantius, Bishop of Poitiers, 14, 265 n.;
his "Praise of Virgins" quoted, 15.

Fosite, the god, son of Balder, 323 n.

Fosse, monastery of, 177 n.

Fosse, Abbot of, _see_ Ultan.

France, 5.

Franks, the, 13, 22, 92 n.;
their language, 45 n.;
Church of, 51, 54, 55;
and _see_ Gaul.

Franks, King of the, _see_ Carloman, Charles Martel, Charibert,
Childebert, Chilperic, Clothaire III, Clovis, Dagobert,
Pippin, Theodebert, Theoderic.

Franks, Duke of the, _see_ Pippin of Heristal.

Freeman’s "Norman Conquest," editorial references to, 32, 246 n.

Frigyth, Prioress of Hackness, 276.

Frisia, or Frisland, 317, 353 n.;
Wictbert’s mission to, 319;
conquered by Pippin, 320;
Wilbrord’s mission to, 320;
Wilfrid’s mission in, 351.

Frisland, Archbishop of, _see_ Wilbrord.

Frisland, King of, _see_ Aldgils.

Frisland, Bishop of, _see_ Suidbert.

Frithbert, Bishop of Hexham, 391, 393.

Frithonas, _see_ Deusdedit.

Frithwald, Bishop of Whitern, 391.

Fullan, or Foillan, brother of Fursa, 177.

Fuller, his story about Bede’s epitaph, xxxiv.

Fünen, 317 n.

Fursa, St., xxvi, 173-178.

"Fursa, Life of St.," xxii, 173 n., 174, 178.

Gaels, _see_ Goidels.

"Galatians, Epistle to the," quoted, 371.

"Gallican Martyrology," editorial reference to, 322 n.

Galloway, 141 n.

Garmans, English so-called by the Britons, 317.

Gateshead-on-Tyne, or At-the-Goat’s Head, 180.

Gateshead, Abbot of, _see_ Utta.

Gaul, history of, xxxi, 5, 7, 10, 14 n., 19, 20, 22, 33, 44 n., 55, 92 n.,
96, 98, 150, 178, 214, 378, 382;
Church of, 51, 54, 55, 196;
schools of, 121 n., 172.

Gaul, Archbishop of, _see_ Annemundus, Godwin.

Gaul, Bishop of, _see_ Arculf.

Gauls, 9.

Gebmund, Bishop of Rochester, 241, 242, 316.

Genesis, quoted, 73, 110, 366, 370.

Genlade, the river, 315.

Genoa, Bishop of, _see_ Asterius.

Geraint, or Gerontius, Count, 22.

Geraint, or Gerontius, King of Dumnonia, 336 n., 344 n.

Germans, 9, 22 n.

Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, sent to Britain to confute the Pelagians,
xxii, xxiii, 14 n., 32, 33, 34;
church dedicated to, 33 n.;
stills a tempest, 33, 34;
casts out evil spirits, 34;
converts the heretics, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40, 41;
heals a blind girl, 35;
at St. Alban’s tomb, 35, 36;
quenches a fire, 36, 37;
healed of lameness by a vision, 36, 37;
assists the Britons in battle, 37, 38;
goes to Ravenna, 41;
Duke of Armorica, 41 n.;
returns to Britain, 39, 40;
his death, 41.

"Germanus, Life of," _see_ Constantius.

Germany, xxiii, xxx, 5, 161, 392 n.;
English missions to, 316, 317, 319, 320.

Gerontius, _see_ Geraint.

Gertrude, St., 177 n.

Gessoriacum, _see_ Boulogne.

Geta, son of Severus, 13.

Gewissae, _see_ West Saxons.

Gidley, Rev. L., his translation of the "Ecclesiastical History," xxi.

Gildas, historian, editorial references to, xxii, 5 n., 19 n., 25 n., 42
his "De Excidio Liber Querulus," quoted, 42.

Giles, Dr., his translation of the "Ecclesiastical History," v, xx, xxi.

Gilling, 165 n.

Gilling, Abbot of, _see_ Trumhere, Tunbert.

Giudan, Sea of, _i.e._, Firth of Forth, 23 n.

Giudi (probably Inchkeith), 23.

Glen, the river, 120.

Glendale, 119 n.

Gloucestershire, 84 n.

Goat’s Head, At the, _see_ Gateshead.

Gobban, one of Fursa’s priests, 177.

Godmunddingaham, or Goodmanham, 118.

Godwin, Archbishop of Lyons, 316.

Godwine, 246 n.

Goidels, or Gaels, 7 n., 24 n.

Golgotha, 339, 340 n., 341 n.

Goodmanham, _see_ Godmunddingaham.

Gordianus, father of Gregory, 75.

Gore’s "Bampton Lectures," editorial references to, 19 n., 255 n.

Goths, The, 22, 382.

Grampians, the, 141.

Grantacaestir, or Grantchester, 261, 262.

Gratian, Emperor, 20;
slain by Maximus, 382.

Gratian, or Gratianus, tyrant in Britain, 22.

Greece, churches of, 196.

Greek, or Eastern Church, practices of the, 214, 215.

Green, J. R., his "Making of England," editorial references to, 32 n., 84
n., 188 n.

Gregorian Music, 77 n., 133, 358.

"Gregorian Sacramentary," _see_ "Liber Sacramentorum."

Gregory the Great, St., Pope, xxiv, xxv, xxxviii, 2, 3, 45, 93, 122 n.,
126, 213 n., 218;
account of, 42 n., 75-83;
his genealogy, 75, 76;
his character, 75;
his pontificate, 75, 81;
sent to Constantinople, 77, 83 n.;
confutes the heresy of Eutychius, 78;
his learning and literary works, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81;
his connection with Church music, 133 n.;
his meeting with the Anglian slaves, 82;
sends Augustine on a mission to Britain to convert the English, 42, 43,
45, 49, 75, 80, 83, 131, 383;
letter recommending Augustine and Candidus to Aetherius, 44;
letters to Augustine and the English mission, 43, 64, 65, 68, 69, 290;
letter to Vergilius, 63, 64;
letter to Mellitus, 66, 67, 68;
sends the pall to Augustine, 64, 65, 383;
letter to Ethelbert, 69-72;
his gifts to Ethelbert, 69, 71;
his answers to Augustine’s questions on discipline, xxiv, 49-63, 79, 84
n., 85 n.;
private letters, 79;
sends Paulinus to Britain, 64, 383;
his weak health, 79;
death, 75, 81, 384;
burial, 81;
epitaph, 81, 82;
altar dedicated to him at SS. Peter and Paul’s, Canterbury, 90;
quoted, 333, 334;
his disciples, 348, 358;
lives of, 75 n., 83 n.;
and _see_ Dudden, Whitby.

Gregory, St., Martyr, 210.

Gregory II, Pope, 2, 314.

Gregory III, Pope, 2 n.

Guest, editorial reference to, 32 n.

Guthfrid, Abbot of Lindisfarne, 301, 302.

Guthlac, St., his Hermitage, 380 n.

Gwynedd, King of, _see_ Caedwalla, Cadvan.

Habakkuk, quoted, 368.

Habetdeus, 179 n.

Hackness, or Hacanos, Monastery of, 275, 276.

Hackness, Abbess of, _see_ Hilda.

Hackness, Prioress of, _see_ Frigyth.

Haddan and Stubbs, "Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents," editorial
references to, 84 n., 87 n., 306 n., 315 n., 316 n., 319 n.,
343 n., 345 n., 379 n., 380 n., 391 n.

Haddenham, 220 n.

Hades, 326, 327, 329, 330.

Hadrian, Pope, 219 n.

Hadrian, Emperor, his wall, 13 n., 25, 26, 136 n., 137.

Hadrian, Abbot of Niridanum and later of St. Augustine’s Monastery,
Canterbury, xxviii, xxx, 214, 316 n., 343 n., 377;
refuses the English Archbishopric, 2, 214;
recommends Andrew, 214;
recommends Theodore, 2 n., 214;
accompanies Theodore on his journey to Britain, 2 n., 213, 214, 215;
detained by Ebroin at Quentavic, 216;
his arrival in Britain, 216, 357;
made Abbot of St. Augustine’s, 216;
his learning, 216, 217, 357;
accompanies Theodore in his pastoral visitations, 216, 217;
death, 357;
buried in St. Augustine’s, 357.

Hadulac, Bishop of Elmham, 379 n., 380.

Haedde, Bishop of Winchester after Leutherius, 148, 241;
supposed to be identical with Aetla, 272 n.;
his character, 342;
resists Bertwald’s division of the Bishopric, 343 n.;
death, 342, 343;
posthumous miracles, 343.

Haemgils, a monk, 330.

Haethfelth (Hatfield Chase, near Doncaster), Battle of, xxv, 131.

Haethfelth (Hatfield, Hertfordshire), Synod of, xxix, 254, 255, 256, 259,

Hagustald, _see_ Hexham.

Hallelujah, or Allelujah, 80, 83.

Hallelujah victory of Germanus, 38, 39.

Hallington, 136 n.

Halydene, 136 n.

Hamble, or Homelea, The River, 253.

Hampshire, 253 n., 343 n.

Harold, 246 n.

Hartlepool, Heruteu, or the Island of the Hart, Monastery at, 190, 271.

Hartlepool, Abbess of, _see_ Heiu, Hilda.

"Hateful Year, The," in Northumbria, xxv, 135.

Hatfield, _see_ Haethfelth.

Hatfield Chase, _see_ Haethfelth.

Haverfield, editorial reference to, 13 n.

Haymo, _see_ Emme.

Healaugh, Monastery of, 271 n.

Heavenly Field, the, _see_ Hefenfelth.

"Hebrews, The Epistle to the," quoted, 79.

Hebron, 341, 342.

Hecana, _see_ Hereford.

Hedda, Bishop of Lichfield, 379 n.

Hefenfelth, or The Heavenly Field, 136, 137.

Heiu, first Northumbrian nun, 271, 275 n.;
founds the monastery of Hartlepool, 271;
retires to Calcaria, 271, 272;
her gravestone, 271 n.

Helen, 264.

Helena, mother of Constantine, 19;
legality of her marriage, 19 n.;
her Finding of the True Cross, 339, 340 n.

Heliand, The, 277 n.

Heligoland, 323 n.

Hell, 51, 327, 328, 335.

Hengist, leader of the Anglo-Saxons, 30, 45 n., 95.

Henry VIII, 275 n.

Heracleonas, or Heraclius, Emperor, son of Heraclius, 127.

Heraclius, Emperor, 127 n.

Herbert, _see_ Herebert.

Herebald, Abbot of Tynemouth, 309, 310, 311.

Herebert, St., a hermit, the friend of Cuthbert, 294, 295.

Hereford, See of, 218 n., 380 n.

Hereford, Bishop of, _see_ Putta, Tyrhtel, Torthere, Wahlstod.

Herefrid, 391.

Hereric, nephew of Edwin, and father of Hilda, 270;
poisoned by Cerdic, 274.

Heresuid, sister of Hilda, and wife of Ethelhere, 271.

Heriburg, Abbess of Watton, her daughter healed by John of Beverley’s
prayers, 305, 306, 307.

Hermit, a British, lays a trap for Augustine, 86.

Hertford, Synod of, xxviii, 226, 227, 384.

Hertfordshire, 10 n., 18 n., 255 n.

Heruteu, _see_ Hartlepool.

Herutford, _see_ Hertford.

Hewalds, The Two (Black and White), martyrs, 320, 321, 322.

Hexham, or Hagustald, xxx, 136 n., 137, 243 n., 303 n.;
diocese of, 137 n., 353 n.

Hexham, Bishop of, _see_ Acca, Eata, Frithbert, John, Tunbert, Wilfrid.

Hiddila, priest to Bernwin, 252.

Hii, _see_ Iona.

Hilarus, arch-presbyter, 129.

Hilda, St., daughter of Hereric, Abbess of Hartlepool and afterwards of
Whitby, xxix, 190, 270, 271, 272;
account of her life, 270-275;
builds the monastery of Streanaeshalch or Whitby, 190, 272;
her attitude on the Easter question, 195;
her opposition to Wilfrid, 195 n.;
her character, 272;
her pupils, 272, 273, 274;
illness and death, 270, 275, 385;
friendship for Aidan, 272.

Hildilid, pupil of Aldhelm, Abbess of Barking after Ethelburg, 237, 344 n.

"History of the Abbots," Anonymous, _see_ Abbots;
Bede’s, _see_ Bede.

Hlothere, King of Kent after Egbert, xxviii, xxix, 230, 254, 269;
Edric’s revolt against, 287;
grants Bertwald land in Thanet, 315;
death, 285, 287, 385.

Holder, editor of the "Ecclesiastical History," xx.

Holmhurst, 18 n.

Holy Island, _see_ Lindisfarne.

Holy Housel, 275.

Homelea, _see_ Hamble.

Honorius, Emperor, 21, 22, 26.

Honorius, Pope, xxv, 105 n., 124, 132;
sends the Pall to Paulinus, and to Archbishop Honorius, 124, 125, 126,
his letters, 124-130;
sends Birinus to the West Saxons, xxvi, 147, 148.

Honorius, Archbishop of Canterbury after Justus, xxv, 123, 125, 126, 132,
163, 164, 193;
ordained by Paulinus, 126;
receives the Pall from Pope Honorius, 125, 126;
sends Felix to East Anglia, 122;
a disciple of Pope Gregory, 348;
death, 178, 179.

Horsa, brother of Hengist, 30.

Horse, miraculously cured at Oswald’s death-place, 155.

Horsted, 30.

House Island, _see_ Farne.

Hreutford, _see_ Redbridge.

Hrof, 89.

Hrofaescaestrae, _see_ Rochester.

Huaetbert, Abbot of Wearmouth and Jarrow, xxxiv, xl, 389.

Huddersfield, 120 n.

Hugh de Puisac, erects a shrine at Durham, for the bones of Bede and
others, xl.

Hull, The River, 303 n.

Humber, The River, 30, 45, 82 n., 89, 94, 102, 122, 164, 320, 380.

Hunt, Dr., his "History of the English Church," editorial references to,
vi, 84 n.

Huntingdonshire, 179 n.

Huns, The, 27, 317.

Hunwald, betrays Oswin, 164.

Hurst, W., his translation of the "Ecclesiastical History," xxi.

Hussey, his edition of the "Ecclesiastical History," xx, 392 n.

Hwiccas, The, 84, 243 n.;
diocese of, _see_ Worcester.

Hwiccas, King of the, _see_ Aenhere, Eanfrid.

Hwiccas, sub-king of the, 377 n.;
and _see_ Osric.

Hygbald, Abbot of Bardney, 223, 224.

Hymns, 264-267, 389.

I (Iona), 140 n.

Ibas, Bishop of Edessa, his heresy, 255 n., 256.

Ida, first King of Bernicia, 73 n., 383, 391;
account of, 383 n.;
founds Bamborough, 147 n., 383 n.

Idle, the Battle of the, 115.

Idols, destruction of, 67, 70, 151.

Ii (Iona), 140 n.

Imma, 268, 269, 270.

Immersion, Single, 87 n.

Immin, Mercian chief, 191, 192.

Importunus, Bishop of Paris, 194 n.

In Berecingum, _see_ Barking.

In Brige, _see_ Brige.

In Compendio, _see_ Compiègne.

Incuneningum, 325.

Inderauuda, _see_ John of Beverley.

Indictions, 227, 254.

Indulgences, 294 n.

Infeppingum, 181.

Ingetlingum, monastery of, 164, 165, 191.

Ingwald, Bishop of London, 379, 380, 391.

Ingyruum, 359, and _see_ Jarrow.

Inhrypum, _see_ Ripon.

Ini, or Ine, King of Wessex after Caedwalla, xxx, 314;
conquers Sussex, 251;
his "Dooms," 231 n., 251 n.;
Aldhelm’s influence with, 343 n.;
his abdication and pilgrimage to Rome, 314, 345 n.

Inisboufinde, _see_ Innisboffin.

Inishmahee, Bishop of, _see_ Cronan.

Inlade, the river, 315.

Inlitore, now Kaiserwerth, Monastery at, 324.

Innisboffin, Inisboufinde, or The Island of the White Heifer, 225, 226.

Intiningaham, _see_ Tininghame.

Inundalum, _see_ Oundle.

Inver Daeile, or Ennereilly, Bishop of, _see_ Dagan.

Inverness, 140 n.

Iona, Hii, I or Ii, the island of, included in Ireland, xxv, xxvi, 92 n.,
191 n., 201, 225;
given to Columba by Bridius or by Conall, xxvi, 142;
its monastery founded by Columba, xxvi, 142, 383;
its constitution and jurisdiction, xxvi, 139 n., 140, 142, 169, 181, 183
n., 318;
its monks converted to Catholic usages, xxvi, xxxi, xxxix, 337, 373,
374, 375, 376, 377;
piety of its Abbots, 143;
derivation of the name, 140 n.

Iona, Abbot of, _see_ Adamnan, Columba, Segeni.

Ireland, History of, xxix, 5, 7, 8, 9, 91, 92, 94, 161, 177, 191 n., 204,
285, 306 n., 337, 373, 383;
description of, 7, 8, 9;
its hospitality to the English monks, 204.

Irish, or Scots, Bishop of the, _see_ Palladius.

Irish Annals, editorial reference to, 337 n.

Irish Church, xxiii, xxv, xxx, xxxix, 87 n., 138, 139, 142 n., 143, 144,
193-201, 336, 374-377.

Irminric, father of Ethelbert, King of Kent, 95.

Isaac, 387;
his tomb, 341.

Isaiah, quoted, 186, 209.

Ishmael, 378 n.

Isle of Wight, _see_ Wight.

Israel, 67, 341 n.

Itala, the, 366, 368.

Italian Sea, the, 132.

Italy, 6, 20, 79, 92 n., 93, 196.

Itchen, the river, 252 n.

Ithamar, Bishop of Rochester, 164, 178 n., 179.

Iudeu, 23 n., 189 n.

Ixning, _see_ Ermynge.

Jacobsburgh, _see_ Akeburgh.

Jacob’s Tomb, 341 n.

James, St., quoted, 197, 372.

James the Less, St., 215 n.

James the Deacon, companion of Paulinus, xxv, 123;
left at York when Paulinus flees into Kent, 132;
a village named after him, 132;
teaches Church music, 132, 133, 217;
observes the Catholic Easter, 193, 195;
at Whitby, 195;
death, 133.

Jarrow, _see_ Wearmouth and Jarrow.

Jarrow, Abbot of, _see_ Benedict Biscop, Ceolfrid, Huaetbert.

Jaruman, Bishop of Mercia, xxviii, 192, 206 n., 351 n.;
his mission to the East Saxons, 212, 245 n.;
death, 218.

Jerome, 21 n., 387.

Jerusalem, 337, 339, 340, 341.

Jet, 6.

Jezebel, 349 n.

Job, quoted, 80, 370;
his tonsure, 370;
"Commentary on," _see_ Gregory.

John the Baptist, St., his martyrdom, 53.

John the Deacon, author of "Life of Gregory," 75 n., 81 n., 83 n.

John the Evangelist, St., xlii, 304;
his celebration of Easter, 196, 197, 198;
quoted, 335, 363.

John IV, Pope, consecrated, 128 n.;
his letter to the Scots, 128, 129, 130, 144 n.

John VI, Pope, Wilfrid’s cause tried before, 353.

John, Archbishop of Arles, 215.

John, Chief of the Papal notaries, 129.

John of Beverley, Bishop of Hexham after Eata, xxix, 302, 353 n.;
a pupil of Hilda, 273;
of Theodore, 305 n.;
appointed Bishop of York, 305, 356 n.;
ordains Bede, xxxiii, 386;
his miracles, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, 310, 311;
at Erneshow, 303, 304;
at Watton, 305, 306;
consecrates churches, 307, 308;
resigns the bishopric of York and retires to Beverley, 312;
ordains his successor, Wilfrid II, Bishop of York, 312;
death, 311, 312;
buried at St. Peter’s, Beverley, 311, 312.

John, a martyr, 210.

John, the precentor, brought into Britain to teach Church music, 258;
Abbot of St. Martin’s Monastery, 257;
at the Synod of Haethfelth, 257, 258, 259, 385;
dies on his way back to Rome, 259;
buried at Tours, 259.

Jonah, quoted, 319.

Joseph, 341 n., 370.

Julianus of Campania, heretic Bishop of Eclanum, 21.

Julius, British martyr, 18.

Julius Caesar, _see_ Caesar.

Justin II, Emperor, 140.

Justinian I, Emperor, 140, 203 n., 256.

Justinian II, Emperor, 314.

Justus, Bishop of Rochester, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, xxiv,
89, 92, 100;
sent by Gregory to Augustine, 64;
takes refuge in Gaul, xxiv, 96, 97;
ordains Romanus Bishop of Rochester, 100;
ordains Paulinus, 103, 384;
sends Romanus on a mission to Pope Honorius, 132;
death, 123, 125.

Jutes, the, 30, 31, 245 n., 252.

Jutland, 30, 317 n.

Kaelcacaestir, _see_ Calcaria.

Kaiserswerth, 324 n.

Katwyk, 320 n.

Kent, history, xxii, xxix, 2, 5 n., 30, 89, 93, 94, 96, 102 n., 127 n.,
130, 152, 166, 172, 179, 217, 241, 242, 245, 261, 269, 273,
316 n., 385;
language of, 45 n.;
settlement of Christianity in, xxii, xxiv, xxix, 95, 193, 290;
diocese of, 323, 379 n., 380;
and _see_ Canterbury and Rochester.

Kent, king of, _see_ Alric, Eadbert, Earconbert, Egbert, Ethelbert,
Hlothere, Irminric, Mul, Octa, Oeric, Suaebhard, Wictred.

Kerslake, T., his "Vestiges of the Supremacy of Mercia," editorial
reference to, 255 n.

Kyle, Plain of, conquered by Eadbert, 392.

Labienus, the Tribune, slain in battle with the Britons, 10.

Laestingaeu, _see_ Lastingham.

Lagny-on-the-Marne, or Latineacum, 178.

Laistranus, Irish priest, 129.

Lammermuir Hills, 288 n.

Lancashire, 204 n.

Lanfranc, Archbishop, rebuilds Canterbury Cathedral, 72 n.

Langres, 257 n.

Laodicea, Bishop of, _see_ Anatolius.

Lastingham, or Laestingaeu, Monastery of, xxvii, xxxv, 3, 185, 186, 187,
207, 218, 220, 351.

Lastingham, Abbot of, _see_ Ceadda, Cedd.

Lateran Councils, 256 n., 352.

Latin Language, 6;
poetry, 264 n.

Latineacum, _see_ Lagny.

Laurentius, St., Deacon and Martyr, 210.

Laurentius, second Archbishop of Canterbury, xxiv, 49, 64 n., 91, 92, 93,
sent by Augustine to Gregory, 49;
consecrates the Church of SS. Peter and Paul, Canterbury, 90;
his letters to the Scots and Britons, 91, 92;
rebuked and scourged by St. Peter in a dream, 97;
converts King Eadbald, 97;
death and burial, 98.

Leah’s Tomb, 341 n., 342.

Leeds, or Loidis, 120, 189 n.

Leeds, or Loidis and Elmet, King of, _see_ Cerdic.

Legacaestir, _see_ Chester.

Legions, City of, _see_ Chester and Caerleon-on-Usk.

Leicester, Diocese of, 148 n., 379 n.

Leicester, Bishop of, 274 n.

Leicestershire, 179 n.

Leinster, 92 n., 141 n., 142 n.

Lent, 38, 151, 186, 206.

Leptis in Tripolis, 12.

Lérins, 33.

Leutherius, or Hlothere, Bishop of Wessex, nephew of Agilbert, 147, 150,
consecrated by Theodore, 151;
at the Hertford Synod, 228;
ordains Aldhelm, 343 n.;
death, 241.

Leviticus, quoted 279, 364.

"Liber Sacramentorum," or Gregorian Sacramentary, attributed to Gregory,
81 n.

"Liber Eliensis," editorial reference to, 266 n.

Lichfield, Diocese of, xxviii, 219 n.;
Cathedral, 224 n.

Lichfield, Bishop of, _see_ Aldwin, Ceadda, Hedda, Sexwulf, Wynfrid.

Liddesdale, 73 n.

Liège, 177 n.

Light, Supernatural, 157, 232, 233, 234, 322.

Lilla, gives his life for Edwin’s, 104.

Lincoln, 122, 123, 126.

Lincolnshire, 122 n., 123 n., 157, 179 n., 219 n.

Lindisfari, 245 n.

Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, Monastery of, xxv, xxxvi, 1 n., 4, 139, 169,
186, 202, 203, 225, 290, 347;
Church of, xxiii, 4, 183, 192, 295, 302;
diocese of, xxv, 243 n., 325 n., 351 n., 353.

Lindisfarne, Abbot of, _see_ Aidan, Guthfrid.

Lindisfarne, Bishop of, _see_ Aidan, Colman, Conwulf, Cuthbert, Eadbert,
Eadfrid, Eata, Ethelwald, Finan, Tuda.

Lindsey, history, xxv, 3, 4, 157, 191, 207 n., 243 n., 244, 267 n., 353
diocese of, 225, 243 n., 380 n.

Lindsey, Bishop of, _see_ Alwic, Ceadda, Cynibert, Diuma, Eadhaed, Edgar,

Linlithgow, 32, 189 n.

Littleborough, 123 n.

Liudhard, Bishop, Chaplain to Bertha, 46, 51 n.

Loidis, _see_ Leeds.

Lombards, 148 n.;
King of the, _see_ Perctarit.

London, metropolis of the East Saxons, 89, 241;
diocese of, 49 n., 65, 183 n.

London, Bishop of, _see_ Earconwald, Ingwald, Mellitus, Waldhere, Wini.

Looking-glass, sent by Pope Boniface to Queen Ethelberg, 111.

Lord’s Day, the, 197.

Lothians, the, 189 n.

Louth, County, 204 n.

Lucius, King of Britain, his conversion, xxiii, 12, 149 n., 382.

Lucius Bibulus, Consul, 9.

Lucius Verus, Emperor, _see_ Aurelius.

Lugubalia, _see_ Carlisle.

Luke, St., quoted, 78.

Lul, Archbishop of Mainz, 392 n.

Lupus, Bishop of Troyes, 40;
sent to Britain to confute the Pelagians, xxiii, 32, 33, 34;
churches dedicated to, 33;
casts out evil spirits, 34.

Luxeuil, Monastery of, 92 n.

Lyccidfelth, _see_ Lichfield.

Lyons, 194, 316 n.

Lyons, Archbishop of, _see_ Aetherius, Annemundus, Godwin.

Lyons, Count of, _see_ Dalfinus.

Maas, the, 317 n.

Maban, or Mafa, a teacher of Church music, 358.

Macedonia, 6.

Macedonius, Heretic Bishop of Constantinople, 255 n., 256.

Maelduib, _see_ Maildufus.

Maeldum, _see_ Meaux.

Maelmin, Northumbria, 120.

Maestricht, 177 n.

Maes-y-Garmon, or Field of Germanus, said to be the scene of the
Hallelujah Victory, 38 n.

Mafa, _see_ Maban.

Mageo, _see_ Mayo.

Maildufus, or Maelduib founds the Monastery of Malmesbury, 343 n., 344.

Mailros, _see_ Melrose.

Maintz, Bishop of, _see_ Boniface, Redger, Lul.

"Making of England, The," _see_ Green.

Malachi, quoted, 367.

Malmesbury, or City of Maildufus, 343, 344;
perhaps Augustine’s Ác, 84 n.

Malmesbury, Abbot of, _see_ Aldhelm.

Malmesbury, William of, _see_ William.

Mamre, Hill of, 342.

Man, Isle of, 94, 102;
and _see_ Mevanian Islands.

Mandubracius, _see_ Androgius.

Marcellinus, his "Life of Suidbert," 323 n.

Marcian, Emperor, 29, 41, 383.

Marcus, Emperor in Britain, 22 n.

Marcus Antoninus Verus, or Marcus Aurelius, Emperor, 12.

Marigena, _see_ Pelagius.

Mark, St., quoted, 110;
his observance of Easter, 364.

Market Weighton, 118.

Maro (Vergil), 264.

Marriage, of the lower clergy, 50;
lawful and unlawful, 52, 53, 95, 97, 184;
customs of, 54;
rules and discipline of, 56, 57, 59, 60, 61, 230.

Marseilles, 215.

Martial, editorial reference to, 264 n.

Martin, St., Bishop of Tours, 48, 141, 257 n., 259 n.

Martin, Pope, 256, 258.

Martyrium Church at Jerusalem, 339, 340.

"Martyrology," Bede’s, _see_ Bede.

Martyrs, Church of the Four Crowned, Canterbury, 99.

Mary, the Virgin, 264, 266, 355;
churches of, 224, 339.

Maserfelth, Battle of, xxvi, 154, 155.

Masses, 51, 81, 96, 268, 269, 270;
and _see_ Communion.

Mason, Dr., his "Mission of St. Augustine," editorial references to, vi,
45 n.

Matthew, St., quoted, 100, 101, 110, 126, 127, 173, 200, 211, 371, 393.

Matthew of Westminster, editorial reference to, 345 n.

Maurice, or Mauritius, Emperor, 42, 43, 44, 64, 66, 68, 71, 72, 81.

Maximian, surnamed Herculius, Emperor, 13, 14.

Maximus, Emperor in Britain, 20, 382.

Mayo, Mageo or Muigeo, 225 n., 226.

Mayor and Lumby’s edition of Books III and IV of the "Ecclesiastical
History," editorial references to, vi, xx, xxxv n., 220 n.,
261 n.

Mayor of the Palace, _see_ Ebroin, Ercinwald.

Meanware, 245.

Meaux, or Maeldum, 355.

Meaux, Bishop of, _see_ Faro.

Medeshamstead, _see_ Peterborough.

Medeshamstead, Abbot of, _see_ Cuthbald.

Meilochon, father of Bridius, King of the Picts, 142.

Meldi, the, 215.

Melfont, or Mellifont, 204 n.

Mellitus, Bishop of London and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, sent
by Gregory to Augustine, xxiv, 64, 66, 89, 92, 231 n., 383;
account of, 64 n.;
goes to Rome, 92, 93;
expelled by the East Saxons, takes refuge with Justus in Gaul, 96, 97,
returns from Gaul, 98;
succeeds Laurentius as Archbishop of Canterbury, 98, 99;
suffers from gout, 98;
death and burial, 99, 100;
his character, 98, 99.

Melrose, or Mailros, Monastery of, 194 n., 202, 288, 290, 318, 326.

Melrose, Abbot of, _see_ Eata, Ethelwald;
Provost of, _see_ Boisil.

Menapia, Belgium, 13 n.

Meon, East and West, 245 n.

Meonstoke, 245 n.

Mercia, history of, xxvii, xxix, xxx, 3, 45, 115, 122 n., 163, 172, 179
n., 226 n., 323, 352 n., 353 n., 379, 380 n., 385;
its conversion, xxvii, xxviii, 177, 190, 384;
diocese of, 148 n., 218 n., 219 n., 243 n., 244 n., 272 n., 273 n., 379
n., 380.

Mercia, King of, _see_ Beornred, Cearl, Ceolred, Coenred, Ethelbald,
Ethelred, Offa, Penda, Wulfhere.

Mercia, Bishop of, _see_ Aldwin, Ceadda, Jaruman, Sexwulf, Wilfrid,
_and see_ Mid-Anglia.

Mercians, 30.

Merivale, editorial reference to, 18 n.

Metals of Britain, 6.

Metrical Art, the, 217.

Mevanian Islands (Man and Anglesea), conquered by Edwin, 94, 102.

Michael, the Archangel, appears to Wilfrid in a dream, 355.

Mid-Anglia, conversion of, xxvi, xxvii, 30, 179, 181, 384.

Mid-Anglia and Mercia, Bishop of, _see_ Diuma, Ceollach, Trumhere.

Middlesex, 10 n.

Milan, 132 n.

Milan, Archbishop of, _see_ Asterius.

Millfield (perhaps Maelmin), 120 n.

Miracles, xxix, xxxix, 232, 233, 237, 238, 268, 269, 270, 325;
of Aidan, 167;
of Augustine, 81, 83;
of Cedd, 187;
of Cuthbert, 291, 292, 297, 300;
of Earcongota, 152, 153;
of Earconwald, 232;
of Ethelthryth, 262, 263;
of Ethelwald, 301, 302;
of Haedde, 343;
of the Hewalds, 322;
of John of Beverley, 302-311;
of Oswald, xxvi, 136, 137, 138, 154-160, 162, 163, 248, 249, 250;
of Paulinus, 122;
of Sebbi, 240.

Miracles, Gregory on, 68, 69.

"Mission of St. Augustine," _see_ Mason.

Moberly, his edition of the "Ecclesiastical History," xx.

Moinenn, name for Ninias, 141 n.

Moll, King of Northumbria, 393.

Monasteries, in England, xxvi, 151;
in Gaul, xxvi, 151;
double or mixed, 151 n., 177 n., 190, 233, 260 n., 273, 283, 284;
rules for, 229;
constitution of, 142 n.;
hereditary succession in, 306 n.

"Monasticon," _see_ Dugdale.

Monk, an ungodly, his wicked life and miserable death, 334, 335;
his visions of hell, 335.

Monophysite Heresy, the, 254 n.

Monothelitism, xxix, 214 n., 254 n., 258, 352.

"Monumenta Historica Britannica," xx.

Moore, Bishop, his MS. of the "Ecclesiastical History," xix, xx.

Moray Frith, 360 n.

Mopsuestia, Bishop of, _see_ Theodore.

Morgan, _see_ Pelagius.

Morini, The, 5, 9.

Mosaic Law, 196, 198, 361.

Mount of Olives, 340, 341.

Mount Sion, 340.

Muigeo, _see_ Mayo.

Mul, usurper in Kent, 287 n.

Music, Church, 133, 217, 218, 258, 265 n., 358, 386;
supernatural, 221.

Naiton, or Nechtan mac Derili, King of the Picts, xxx, xxxi;
adopts Catholic usages, 359, 360, 374;
asks Ceolfrid for advice and builders, 359;
builds a stone church, 359;
expels the Columban clergy, 359 n.;
receives Ceolfrid’s letter, 374.

Namur MS. of the "Ecclesiastical History," xix.

Naples, 214.

Nativity of our Lord, _see_ Christmas.

Nechtan mac Derili, _see_ Naiton.

Nechtansmere, or Dunnechtan, battle of, 285.

Nendrum, or Inishmahee, Bishop of, _see_ Cromanus.

Nennius, editorial references to, 23 n., 147 n., 188 n., 189 n., 391 n.

Nero, Emperor, 11, 14.

Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, his heresy, 255 n., 256.

Neustria, King of, _see_ Chilperic, Clothaire III, Clovis II.

Neustrians defeated by Pippin, 320 n.

Newark, 123 n.

Newcastle, 180 n.

Nicaea, Council of, 19, 128, 198, 227 n., 255, 369 n.

Nicene Creed, 256 n.

Nidd, Synod of the, 356, 385 n.

Ninian, Ninias or Moinenn, Bishop of Whitern, 48 n., 141;
his mission to the Southern Picts, 141.

Niridanum, monastery of, 214.

Nisan, the month, 84 n., 365 n.

Nivelles, monastery of, 177 n.

Nola, Campania, 388 n.

Nola, Bishop of, _see_ Paulinus.

Norfolk, Bishopric of, 231 n.

"Norman Conquest, The," _see_ Freeman.

Northamptonshire, 179 n., 180, 268 n., 346 n.

North Burton, 308.

North Pole, the, 6.

Northumberland, 4 n., 292 n.

Northumbria, Bede’s acquaintance with its history, xxii, xxiii;
history of, xxiv, xxv, xxvii, xxix, 82 n., 122 n., 127 n., 131, 164,
168, 185, 190 n., 195, 204, 226 n., 286, 325, 352 n., 380
n., 393 n.;
establishment of Christianity in, xxiv, xxv, 102, 104, 117, 118, 119,
120, 132, 133, 139, 381;
diocese of, xxvii, xxix, 3, 4, 137 n., 219, 242, 351 n., 379 n., 381.

Northumbria, King of, _see_ Aldfrid, "Alfrid," Aluchred, Ceolwulf,
Coenred, Eadbert, Eadwulf, Edwin, Egfrid, Ethelfrid,
Ethelwald, Moll, Osred, Osric, Oswald, Oswulf, Oswy.

Northumbria, Bishop of, 143 n.;
and _see_ Bishops of Lindisfarne and York.

Northumbrians, 30.

North Wales, 86 n.

Norwich, the diocese of, 122 n., 231 n.

Nothelm, Archbishop of Canterbury, xxii, 2, 390;
his research, xxii, 2;
his questions to Bede answered, 387 n.;
death, 391.

Nottinghamshire, 115 n.

Numbers, quoted, 362.

Oak, the (possibly Augustine’s Ác), 84 n.

Octa, grandfather of Ethelbert, King of Kent, 95.

Oder, the river, 317 n.

Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, 346 n.

Oecumenical Councils, _see_ Councils.

Oengus, Angus or Ungust, King of the Picts, son of Fergus, 392 n., 393.

Oeric, Oisc, son of Hengist, 95.

Offa, King of Essex, son of Sighere, his abdication and pilgrimage to
Rome, xxx, 345 n., 346.

Offa, King of Mercia, 18 n., 219 n., 392.

Offerings at the Altar, divisions of, 49, 50.

Oftfor, Bishop of Worcester, 273, 274, 380 n.

Oiddi, a priest of Wilfrid’s, 245.

Oidilwald, sub-king of Deira, _see_ Ethelwald.

Oil calms a storm, 167.

Oisc, _see_ Oeric.

Oiscings, the, 94.

Olivet, Mount, _see_ Mount of Olives.

Old Saxons, The, 317, 320, 321, 322.

Old Sarum, 343 n.

Opus Paschale, _see_ Sedulius.

Orcades, The, _see_ Orkneys.

Ordination of bishops, 49, 50, 53, 54.

Orkneys, The, 5, 11, 142 n., 382.

Orosius, xxii, 5 n., 25 n.

Orthography, 389.

Osfrid, son of Edwin, baptized, 119;
slain in battle, 131;
his son, 132.

Osred, King of Northumbria, after Aldfrid, xxx, 342, 345, 346 n., 356,
357, 377 n., 385 n.;
besieged in Bamborough by Eadwulf, 385 n.;
killed in battle, 375, 386.

Osric, sub-king of the Hwiccas, 273 n.

Osric, King of Deira after Edwin, son of Aelfric, 134, 135, 164.

Osric, King of Northumbria after Coenred, xxxi, 1 n., 273 n., 375 n., 377;
his parentage, 377 n.;
death, 378, 386.

Osthryth, daughter of Oswy, wife of Ethelred, King of Mercia, 157, 267,
352 n.;
her love for Bardney Monastery, 157, 158;
murdered by her nobles, 385.

Oswald, King of Northumbria after Eanfrid and Osric, and sixth Bretwalda,
xxv, 94, 131, 132, 135, 185, 189, 243 n.;
unites Bernicia and Deira, xxvi, 134, 164 n., 383 n.;
extent of his dominions, 146;
his mother, 147 n.;
his victory over Caedwalla at Hefenfelth, xxv, 135;
erects a cross at Hefenfelth, 136;
invites Aidan to restore Northumbria to Christianity, xxv, 134, 138,
baptized, 138;
appoints Aidan Bishop of Lindisfarne, 138, 139;
his relations with Cynegils, 148;
marries Cynegils’ daughter, 148;
makes Birinus Bishop of Dorchester, 148;
finishes building St. Peter’s, York, 119;
his piety, 136, 146, 147, 154, 160;
church built in his honour, 137;
length of his reign, 135, 154;
slain at Maserfelth, xxvi, 137, 154, 160, 163, 164 n., 384;
burial and translation of his remains, 157, 158, 160, 161;
his arms miraculously preserved from corruption, 147;
his posthumous miracles, xxvi, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161,
averts a pestilence by his posthumous prayers, 248, 249, 250;
legend connected with his name, 154 n.;
the day of his death celebrated, 250, 251;
"Life of," _see_ Reginald.

Oswald’s Tree, Oswestry, or Croes Oswallt (Cross Oswald), 154 n.

Oswin, King of Deira, son of Osric, xxvi, 164, 181 n., 185 n.;
his love for Aidan, 165, 166;
his character and appearance, 164, 165, 166;
his reign, 164;
murdered by Oswy, xxvi, 164, 166, 191, 384;
monastery built in his memory, 165.

Oswin, an Aetheling, killed by Moll, 393.

Oswinthorp, 120 n.

Oswulf, King of Northumbria, son of Eadbert, 393.

Oswy, King of Bernicia and afterwards of Northumbria, seventh Bretwalda,
son of Ethelfrid, xxvi, xxvii, xxviii, 94, 157, 179 n., 201,
218, 224 n., 257 n., 260 n., 287, 377 n.;
murders Oswin, xxvi, 163, 164;
buries Oswald’s head and arms, 160, 161;
his reign, 163;
his dominions, 218, 219;
attacks upon him, 163;
his struggle with and defeat of Penda of Mercia, 181, 188, 189, 190,
191, 243 n.;
marries Eanfled, daughter of Edwin, 167;
dedicates his daughter Elfled to a religious life, xxxiii, 188, 189;
his daughter Alchfled married to Peada, son of Penda, 180, 191;
sends Cedd to convert the East Saxons, 182, 183;
endows monasteries, 188, 189, 190, 191;
instructed by the Scots, 194;
converted to Catholic usages, 200, 201, 226;
at the Whitby Synod, 195, 200, 201;
at Lindisfarne, 202, 203;
sends Ceadda into Kent, 207;
his conference with Egbert, 208;
sends Wighard to Rome, 208, 213;
his treatment of Wilfrid, 350, 351;
Pope Vitalian’s letter to, 208, 209, 210, 211;
intends to go to Rome, 226, 227;
sickness and death, 226, 384;
buried at Whitby, 190.

Othona, 183 n.

Ouestraefelda (Estrefeld), Aetswinapathe, or Edwins-path, Synod of, 343
n., 353 n., 356 n.

Oundle, or Inundalum, Monastery at, 346, 356.

Oundle, Abbot of, _see_ Cuthbald.

Ovid, editorial reference to, 264 n.

Owini, 220, 221;
his narrative of Ceadda’s death, 221, 222, 223, 224.

Oxford, 148 n., 260 n.

Oxford, Bishop of, _see_ Paget.

Padda, a priest of Wilfrid’s, 245.

Paegnalaech, or Paegnalech, Monastery of, 204.

Paget, Dr., Bishop of Oxford, his "Studies in the Christian Character,"
quoted, xxxviii.

Palestine, 338.

Pall, the, 49 n., 54, 100, 101, 124, 132, 273 n., 383, 390.

Palladius, Bishop, sent by Pope Celestine to the Christian Irish, xxiii,
26, 27, 33 n., 382, 383.

Pallinsburn, 120 n.

Palsy, girl miraculously cured of the, 155.

Pamphilus, Martyr, 369.

Pancras, or Pancratius, St., 210 n.

Pant, The River, afterwards the Blackwater, 183.

Pantheon, The, given by Phocas to the Church, 93.

Paris, 152 n.

Paris, King of, _see_ Charibert.

Paris, Bishop of, _see_ Agilbert, Importunus.

Parker, editorial reference to, 48 n.

Parochial system, The, 183 n.

Partney, or Peartaneu Monastery, 123.

Partney, Abbot of, _see_ Aldwin, Deda.

Paschal, Pope, 265 n.

Paschal Controversy, _see_ Easter.

Paschal Cycles, _see_ Cycles.

Passover and Easter, 84 n., 361, 362, _et seq._

"Pastoral Care, The," _see_ Gregory.

Patriarchs, The, their tonsure, 370.

Patriarchs’ tombs, The, 341, 342.

Patrick, St., Missionary to the Irish, 27 n., 48 n.

Paul, St., 72, 81, 196, 197, 210, 211, 240, 265 n.;
quoted, xli, 60;
his tonsure, 215;
appears to a Saxon boy, 248, 249, 250.

Paul a Martyr, 210.

Paul the Deacon, his "Life of Gregory," 75 n., 83 n.

Paulinus, Archbishop of York, xxv, 118, 193, 391;
sent by Gregory to Augustine, 64, 383;
goes to Northumbria with Queen Ethelberg, 102, 103;
his conversion of Edwin, 102, 104, 112, 115, 116, 270, 271;
converts the Northumbrians, 103, 120, 124;
his ordination, 103, 105 n., 384;
baptizes Edwin’s daughter Eanfled, 104;
teaches and baptizes in Northumbria, 119, 120;
preaches in Lindsey, 122, 123;
converts Blaecca of Lincoln, 122;
builds St. Paul’s, Lincoln, 122;
consecrates Honorius, 123, 126;
his appearance, 123;
receives the pall from Pope Honorius, 124, 125;
converts Osric, 134;
converts Hilda, 270, 271;
on Edwin’s death takes Ethelberg and her children back to Kent, 130,
131, 132, 384;
made Bishop of Rochester, 130, 132;
death and burial, 132, 163, 384.

Paulinus, Bishop of Nola, his poems, 388.

Peada, son of Penda, xxvii, 231 n.;
his conversion, 179, 180, 384;
made King of the South Mercians by Oswy, 179 n., 180, 191;
his character, 180;
marries Oswy’s daughter Alchfled, 180;
slain by the treachery of his wife, 191.

Peanfahel, or Penneltun, 24, 25.

Pearls of various colours, 5.

Peartaneu, _see_ Partney.

Pechthelm, Bishop of Whitern, 334, 343, 379 n., 381.

Pelagians, The, xxiii, xxv, 128, 129, 130, 368;
in Britain, 21, 32, 39;
at the conference of St. Albans, 34, 35;
their teachers confuted and expelled by Germanus, 40, 41.

Pelagius II, Pope, 83 n.

Pelagius, the heretic, 20, 21 n., 32 n., 35;
his doctrine, 21 n.;
refuted by St. Augustine, 21 n.

Penda, King of Mercia, xxv, xxvii, 179, 180, 190 n., 241 n., 380 n.;
his war against Edwin, 130, 131;
treacherously slays Eadfrid, 131;
his attitude towards Christianity, 131, 181;
his sister married to and divorced by Coinwalch, 149;
deprives Coinwalch of his kingdom, 149;
kills Oswald, 154, 188;
kills Sigbert and Ecgric in battle, 172;
conquers Lindsey, 243 n.;
invades and ravages Northumbria, 168, 169, 188;
attempts to burn Bamborough, 168;
burns the church where Aidan died, 170;
his children, 180;
slain by Oswy at the Battle of Winwaed, 181, 188, 189, 191, 384.

Pentecost, _see_ Whitsuntide.

Perctarit, King of the Lombards, 351 n.

Perrona, or Péronne, Church at, 178;
Monastery of, 177 n., 178 n.

Péronne, Abbot of, _see_ Ultan.

Persia, King of, _see_ Chosroes.

Peter, St., 71, 72, 81, 109, 127, 196, 200, 201, 210, 211, 304, 356, 372,
his tomb, 54 n.;
founds the Church of Rome, 91;
said to have consecrated Clement, 91;
his observance of Easter, 198, 364;
monastery dedicated to, 231 n.;
appears in a vision to a Saxon boy, 248, 249, 250;
his wife’s mother, 308;
church built by Naiton dedicated to, 360;
preaching at Rome, 364;
his tonsure, 371, 374.

Peter, Gregory’s Deacon, 76, 79.

Peter, first Abbot of St. Augustine’s Monastery, 49, 72, 73.

Peter, name given to Caedwalla in his baptism, 312, 313.

Peterborough, or Medeshamstead, Monastery founded by Sexwulf, 231.

Peterborough, Abbot of, _see_ Cuthbald, Sexwulf.

Phase, or Passover, 362.

"Philippians, Epistle to the," quoted, 144.

Phocas, Emperor, 42 n., 74, 81, 93.

Phrygia, 78 n.

Picardy, 215 n.

Pickering, 3 n.

Picts, the, xxiii, xxvi, xxix, xxx, xxxi, 7, 9, 205, 219, 385, 391;
their law of succession, 8;
their incursions, 7, 8, 20 n., 23, 26, 28, 30;
subdued by Oswy and made subject to Northumbria, 94, 191, 244, 381 n.;
regain their Independence, 244 n., 286, 381 n.;
defeat Egfrid at Nechtansmere, 285;
at peace with the English, 381;
their conversion, 141, 359 n., 383;
attitude towards Easter question, 196, 359, 374.

Picts, King of, _see_ Bridius, Bruide Mac Bili, Naiton, Oengus.

Picts, Bishop of, _see_ Trumwine.

Pilgrimages, 294 n., 312, 313, 314, 345, 346, 385.

Pilgrim of Bordeaux, The, 340 n.

Pincahala, 204 n.

Pippin of Heristal, Duke of the Franks, account of, 320;
his kindness to Wilbrord, 320, 324;
buries the Hewalds, 322;
gives Suidbert land for a monastery at Inlitore, 324.

Pippin the Short, King of the Franks, son of Charles Martel, grandson of
Pippin of Heristal, 320 n., 391, 392 n.

Placidia, Mother of Valentinian, 41.

Plague, The, xxvii, xxviii, xxxv, 28, 162, 179 n., 186, 187, 201 n., 203,
204, 212, 213, 220, 233, 234, 237 n., 288 n., 289, 350 n.,

Plato, quoted, 360.

Plectrude, _see_ Blithryda.

Pliny, xxii, 5 n.

Plummer, editorial references to his edition of the "Ecclesiastical
History" and Historical Works of Bede, v, xix, xx, 2 n., 13
n., 32 n., 68 n., 84 n., 90 n., 226 n., 277 n., 305 n., 324
n., 326 n., 387 n., 390 n.

Poetry, English Religious, 277, 278, 279;
Latin, 246 n.

Poitiers, Bishop of, _see_ Fortunatus.

Pontifical System of Indictions, The, 227 n., 254 n.

Pontus, The, 317 n.

Praetorian Guards, The, 14.

"Praise of Virgins, The," _see_ Fortunatus.

Priestfield, Rochester, 89 n.

Primacy, The, 49, 65, 66.

Priscilla, 197.

Promised Land, The, 338.

Prosper of Aquitaine, xxii, 33 n.;
account of, 21 n.;
quoted, 21.

Prosper Tiro, 21 n.

"Psalms, The," quoted, 101, 107, 174, 223, 334.

Puch, a thegn, his wife healed by John of Beverley, 307, 308.

Putta, Bishop of Rochester, 216, 218;
at the Hertford Synod, 228;
leaves Rochester for Mercia, 242;
his unworldliness, 242;
teaches Church music, 242;
death, 242.

Putta, Bishop of Hereford, 218 n., 380 n.

Purgatory, 326, 327, 329, 330.

Quartodecimans, 84 n., 129 n., 143 n., 196 n.

Quenburga, daughter of Cearl, first wife of Edwin, 119.

Quentavic, Quentae vicus, or Etaples, _see_ Etaples.

Quodvultdeus, 179 n.

Quoenburg, daughter of Heriburg, healed by the prayers of Bishop John of
Beverley, 305-307.

Racuulfe, _see_ Reculver.

Raedfrid, Egbert’s reeve, 215.

Raegenheri, son of Redwald, 115.

Rameses, 362.

Ramsbury, Diocese of, 343 n.

Rathbed, King of Frisland, 319, 320.

Rathmelsigi, Monastery of, 204.

Ravenna, 41.

Rebecca’s Tomb, 341 n., 342.

Reculver or Racuulfe, Monastery of, 315.

Reculver, Abbot of, _see_ Bertwald.

Redbridge, Ford of Reeds, or Hreutford, Monastery of, 253.

Redbridge, Abbot of, _see_ Cynibert.

Redger, Archbishop of Maintz, 392.

Redwald, King of the East Angles, fourth Bretwalda, 94, 112, 120, 171;
his protection of Edwin, 112-115;
leads an army against Ethelfrid, 115;
banishes Sigbert, 121, 172;
his conversion and perversion, 121;
his genealogy, 121;
his Queen, 114, 115, 121.

Reeves, Dr., editorial reference to his "Culdees," 23 n.;
to his edition of Adamnan’s "Life of St. Columba," 140 n., 142 n.

Reginald of Durham, editorial references to his "Life of St. Oswald," 148
n., 154 n.

Religious Orders, 202, 203.

Rendlesham, Rendlaesham or Rendil’s Dwelling, 185.

Reppington, _see_ Repton.

Reptacaestir, _see_ Richborough.

Reptiles, their absence from Ireland, 8.

Repton or Reppington, 181 n.

Responsa, Gregory’s, _see_ Gregory’s Answers.

Restennet, near Forfar, 360.

Resurrection, Doctrine of the, 78.

Retford, 115 n.

Reuda, leader of the Scots, 8.

Rhine, the River, 9, 22, 322, 324.

Rhys, Dr., editorial references to his "Celtic Britain," vi, 7 n., 8 n.,
23 n., 29 n., 73 n., 86 n., 317 n.

Riada, _see_ Reuda.

Richard of Hexham, editorial references to, 244 n., 303 n.

Richborough, Reptacaestir or Rutubi Portus, Kent, 5, 45 n.

Richmond, Yorks., 120 n.

Ricula, sister of Ethelbert, 89.

Ricbert kills Earpwald, 121.

Ripon, or Inhrypum, 120 n.;
Monastery of, 161 n., 194, 218 n., 244, 257 n., 295 n., 301, 320 n.,
346, 350, 353 n., 356;
diocese of, 244 n., 353 n.

Ripon, Bishop of, _see_ Eadhaed.

Ripon, Abbot of, _see_ Wilfrid.

Ritual, 51, 85.

Rochester, Dorubrevis, Hrofaescaestrae or The Kentish Castle, 163, 228,
229 n., 242;
diocese of, 89, 132, 179.

Rochester, Bishop of, _see_ Aldwulf, Cuichelm, Damian, Gebmund, Ithamar,
Justus, Paulinus, Putta, Romanus, Tobias.

Roger of Wendover, editorial references to, 252 n., 321 n.

Roman Law, 52.

Roman remains at Grantchester, 261.

Romans, The, in Britain, xxiii, 9-23, 25, 26, 382.

Rome, 9, 11, 54 n., 78, 92, 93, 99 n., 133 n., 161, 194, 196, 214, 226,
241, 245, 257, 273, 312, 313, 317, 324, 343 n., 345, 348, 351,
353, 358, 364, 368, 385;
Bede’s alleged visit to, xxxvi;
taken by the Goths, 23, 382;
Apostolic see of, 75, 83, 91;
councils held at, 254 n., 256, 258, 352, 353 n., 354.

Romanus, Bishop of Rochester after Justus, 100;
drowned on his way to Rome, 132.

Romanus, a priest of Queen Eanfled’s, 193, 195.

Romulus, 313.

Romulus Augustulus, Emperor, 41 n.

Ronan, 193.

Rosemarkie, on the Moray Frith, 360 n.

Rowley Water, 135 n.

Rufinianus, Abbot of St. Augustine’s Monastery, 64.

Rügen, 317 n.

Rügenwalde, 317 n.

Rugii, the, 317 n.

Rugini, the, 317.

Rutubi Portus, _see_ Richborough.

Saba, or Sabert, King of Essex, xxiv, 89, 96, 383;
his pagan sons, 95, 96;
death, xxiv, 93, 95.

Sacrarium, Signification of, 158.

Sacrilege, 51, 52, 95.

Sacrifice of Animals, 67.

Saethryth, Abbess of Brige, step-daughter of Anna, 149 n., 152.

Saewulf, quoted, 341 n.

St. Abb’s Head, 260 n.

St. Agnes’ Convent, Rome, 54 n.

St. Alban’s, Vaeclingacaestir, Verlamacaestir, or Verulam, 18;
Monastery of, 18 n.;
conference at, 34 n.

St. Amphibalus, Church of, at Winchester, 149 n.

St. Andrew’s Church, Hexham, 358.

St. Andrew’s, Rochester, built by Ethelbert, 89, 163, 377, 378.

St. Andrew’s Monastery, Rome, 42 n.

St. Audrey’s Fair, Ely, 263 n.

St. Audrey’s Lace, or Tawdry Lace, 263 n.

St. Augustine’s Monastery, (Monastery of SS. Peter and Paul), founded by
Augustine, at Canterbury, xxx, 2 n., 64 n., 72, 90, 121 n.,
216, 357;
Augustine and subsequent archbishops buried there, 90, 98, 216, 391 n.

St. Augustine’s, Abbot of, _see_ Albinus, Benedict, Hadrian, Peter,

St. Bees, 271 n.

St. Boswells, 288 n.

St. Cecilia in Trastevere, 324.

St. Cunibert’s Church, Cologne, 322.

St. Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, 260 n.

St. Gallen, Monastery of, 75 n.;
its MS. of Cuthbert’s Letter to Cuthwin, _see_ Cuthbert.

St. Gregory’s Chapel in St. Peter’s, York, 131.

St. Herbert’s Island, Derwentwater, 294.

St. John’s Lee, Hexham, 303 n.

St. Lawrence’s Church, Bradford-on-Avon, 210 n.

St. Martin of Tours, 48, 141, 259.

St. Martin’s Church, Canterbury, 48, 51 n.

St. Martin’s Church, Tours, 259 n.

St. Martin’s Church, Utrecht, 324 n.

St. Martin’s Church, Whitern, 141.

St. Martin’s Monastery, Rome, 257, 259.

St. Martin’s, Rome, Abbot of, _see_ John.

St. Mary’s Church, Bethlehem, 339.

St. Mary’s Church, Lichfield, 224.

St. Michael’s Church, Malmesbury, 343 n.

St. Michael’s Oratory, Erneshow, 303.

St. Oswald’s, near Hexham, 137.

St. Pancras Church, Canterbury, 210 n.

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, 89, 240.

St. Paul’s Church, Rome, 81.

St. Peter, the patrimony of, in Gaul, 44 n.

St. Peter’s Church, Bamborough, 147.

St. Peter’s Church, Lindisfarne, 169, 192, 295, 302.

St. Peter’s Church, Ripon, 346, 356.

St. Peter’s, Rome, 81, 257, 313.

St. Peter’s Church, Whitby, 190.

St. Peter’s Church, York, now York Minster, 118, 119.

SS. Peter and Paul, Church and Monastery of, Canterbury, 94, 98 n., 314;
and _see_ St. Augustine’s.

SS. Peter and Paul, Church of, at Dorchester, 148 n.

SS. Peter and Paul, Church of, at Winchester, 149.

SS. Peter and Paul, monastery of, at Wearmouth and Jarrow, 386;
and _see_ Wearmouth.

St. Saviour’s Church, Utrecht, 324.

St. Stephen’s Church, Faremoutier-en-Brie, 153.

Santi Quattro Coronati, Church of, at Rome, 99 n.

S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura, Rome, 210 n.

Saracens, The, xxxi; origin of, 378.

Sarah’s Tomb, 341 n., 342.

Saranus, or Saran Ua Critain, Irish Ecclesiastic, 129.

Saul, 73, 387.

Saxon, the name, 317 n.

"Saxon Chronicle, The," editorial references to, 125 n., 231 n., 241 n.,
342 n., 385 n.

Saxons, The, xxiii, 13;
called in to help the Britons, 29;
conquer Britain, 29, 30, 31;
settled in Britain, 37, 42.

Saxony, Old, 30.

Scandinavia, 7 n., 317 n.

Scarborough, 275 n.

Scarlet Dye made from snails, 5.

Scellanus, Irish priest, 129.

Schleswig, 30 n.

Schools, founded by Sigbert, 172;
in Gaul, 121 n., 172;
in Kent, 121 n., 172.

Scotland, _see_ Ireland.

Scottia, signification of, 92 n.

Scottish Language, 6.

Scots, _i.e._, Irish, xxiii, xxxi, 7, 8, 9, 91, 191;
incursions of, 20 n., 23, 26;
Christianity among, 8, 26, 27;
their observance of Easter, 91, 92, 128, 129;
expelled from England, 28, 73, 74, 94;
of Dalriada, 8, 73, 142 n., 286, 381.

Scots, King of, _see_ Aedan, Conall.

Scott, Sir W., editorial reference to his "Antiquary," 25 n.

Scylla, 365.

Scythia, 7.

Seals in Britain, 5.

Sebbi, Joint King of Essex, brother of Sigbert the Little, xxviii, 212,
232, 316 n.;
his piety, 212, 238, 239;
his queen, 238, 240;
retires into a monastery, 238, 239;
his vision, 239, 240;
death, 212, 239, 240;
burial, 240;
posthumous miracle, 240.

Sedulius, author of "Carmen Paschale," and "Opus Paschale," 344.

Segeni, Abbot of Iona, 144.

Segenus, Irish priest, 129.

Selaeseu, _see_ Selsey.

Selred, King of the East Saxons, 346 n.

Selsey, Selaeseu, or the Island of the Sea-calf, monastery at, 247;
diocese of, 251 n., 345, 379 n.

Selsey, Bishop of, _see_ Eadbert, Eolla, Sigfrid.

Selsey, Abbot of, _see_ Eappa, Eadbert.

Senlis, Bishop of, _see_ Liudhard.

Senones, 215.

Sens, Archbishop of, _see_ Emme, Wulfram.

Sepulchre, The Holy, 339, 340.

Sergius I, Pope, xxxvi, 312, 313, 314, 323, 343 n.

Serpent, the Devil, 266.

Severianus, St., 99 n.

Severianus, Pelagian Bishop, 32.

Severinus, Pope, 128, 129.

Severn, The river, 84 n., 380.

Severus, Emperor, divides Britain by a rampart, 12, 13, 25, 382;
his government of Britain, 12;
death, 12, 13.

Severus, Bishop of Trèves, accompanies Germanus to Britain, 39, 40.

Sexbald of Essex, 184.

Sexburg, daughter of Anna, wife of Earconbert, 149 n., 152, 269;
Abbess of Ely and of Sheppey, 261;
acts as regent, 261 n.;
translates Ethelthryth’s bones, 261, 262.

Sexburg, wife of Coinwalch, reigns in Wessex, 241 n.

Sexwulf, Abbot of Medeshamstead, afterwards Bishop of Mercia, in place of
Wynfrid, 218 n., 231, 242, 244, 356 n.;
account of, 231 n.;
expelled from Mercia, 244 n.

Sheppey, Monastery of, 261 n.

Sheppey, Abbess of, _see_ Ermingild, Sexburg.

Sherborne, Diocese of, xxx, 343 n.

Sherborne, Bishop of, _see_ Aldhelm, Forthere.

Sidnacaestir, 4, 243 n.

Sigbert, King of East Anglia, half-brother to Earpwald, xxv, xxvi, 121,
171, 182 n.;
driven into exile by Redwald, 121 n., 172;
returns home, 172;
restores Christianity in East Anglia, 121;
his piety and good works, 171, 172;
abdicates and retires into a monastery, 172;
drawn out to lead his people against the Mercians, and killed in battle,

Sigbert the Good, King of Essex, xxvii, 182, 183, 184.

Sigbert the Little, King of Essex, 182, 212 n.

Sigfrid, Bishop of Selsey, 345 n., 390.

Sighard, King of Essex, son of Sebbi, reigns jointly with his brother
Suefred, 240.

Sighere, Joint King of Essex, son of Sigbert the Little, 212, 232, 346.

Simeon of Durham, editorial references to, xxxiv, xl, 204 n., 244 n., 288
n., 294 n., 295 n., 309 n., 325 n., 377 n., 391 n.

Simoniacs, 372.

Simon Magus, his tonsure, 371, 372, 373.

Sinai, Mount, 60.

Sirmium, 20.

Sister-in-law, marriage with a, 52, 53.

Skene, editorial references to his "Celtic Scotland," 32 n., 73 n., 140,
325 n.

Slack (perhaps Campodonum), 120 n.

Slave Market at Rome, 82.

Slaves, 82, 145, 202 n., 248, 349 n.

Smith, his edition of the "Ecclesiastical History," editorial references
to, xix, xx, 125 n., 303 n., 305 n., 322 n.

Snails, dye made from, 5.

Snakes, 8.

Soissons, 194 n.

Solent, or Solvente, The, 253.

Solinus, xxii, 5 n.

Solvente, _see_ Solent.

Solway, The, 13 n., 136 n.

Somerset, 343 n.

Southampton, 252 n.

Southampton Water, 245 n.

South Brabant, 177 n.

South Burton, now Bishop Burton, 307.

South Downs, the, 245.

Southern Gyrwas, locality of, 259 n.;
ealdorman of, _see_ Tondbert.

South Mercia, King of, _see_ Peada.

South Saxons, 30, 45;
diocese of, _see_ Selsey;
kingdom of, _see_ Sussex.

South Wales, 84 n.

Southwell, 123 n.

Spain, 5, 7, 19;
Church of, 87 n., 256 n.

Springs, salt and hot, 5, 6.

Staffordshire, 267 n.

Stamford, Lincs., 350 n.

Stamford Bridge, Yorks., 350 n.

Stanford, 350.

Stapleton, Thomas, his translation of the "Ecclesiastical History," xxi,
249 n.

Stephen, St., 153, 335.

Stephen III, Pope, 324 n., 392.

Stephen, surname of Eddius, 217.

Stepmother, marriage with a, 52, 53, 95, 97.

Stevens, John, his translation of the "Ecclesiastical History," v, xxi.

Stevenson, editorial references to his edition of the "Ecclesiastical
History," xx;
to his "Church Historians," xl, 246 n.

Stevenson, W. H., editorial reference to, 32.

Stigmata, 176.

Stokes, Margaret, editorial reference to her "Three Months in the Forests
of France," 173 n.

Stonar, 45 n.

Stone, used in building churches, 119, 141, 142, 359.

Stoneham, or At the Stone, 252.

Stour, the river, 45 n.

Stow, 243 n.

Strathclyde, 141 n., 286 n., 325 n., 336 n., 392 n.

Streanaeshalch, 195, and _see_ Whitby.

Stubbs, editorial references to his "Constitutional History," 267 n., 321
to his articles in "Dictionary of Christian Biography," 237 n., 377 n.;
and _see_ Haddan and Stubbs.

"Studies in the Christian Character," _see_ Paget.

Suaebhard, Joint King of Kent, 240 n., 287 n., 315, 316 n.

Sudergeona (Surrey), 232.

Suefred, or Swefred, King of Essex, son of Sebbi, reigns jointly with his
brother Sighard, 240, 316 n.;
grants land at Twickenham to Waldhere, 239 n.

Suevi, the, 22, 92 n.

Suffolk, 112 n., 122 n., 174 n., 185 n., 266 n.;
bishopric of, 231 n.

Suidbert, Abbot of Dacre, 299.

Suidbert, St., 319, 323, 324.

Suidhelm, King of Essex after Sigbert, son of Sexwald, xxvii, 184, 185,

Supernatural Appearances, 234, 235, 236, 237;
fragrance, 237, _and see_ Visions.

Surnames, 179.

Surrey, 232 n., 343 n.

Sussex, History, xxix, 3, 179 n., 245 n., 246, 343 n.

Sussex, King of, _see_ Aelli, Ethelwalch.

Swale, the river, 120.

Swefred, _see_ Suefred.

Sylvester, St., 257 n.

Symmachus, Pope, 257 n.

Synods, or Councils, xxvii, xxviii, xxix, 33, 34, 84, 86, 87, 92, 93, 151,
194 n., 195-201, 227, 254, 255, 292, 305 n., 343 n., 350 n.,
356, 384, 385;
rules for, 229.

Synodical Epistle, _see_ Gregory.

Syria, 11, 255 n.

Tacitus, editorial references to, 11 n., 317 n.

Tadcaster, 271 n.

Tanfield (perhaps Campodonum), 120 n.

Tarsus, Cilicia, 2 n., 214.

Tata, _see_ Ethelberg.

Tatfrid, bishop elect of the Hwiccas, 274.

Tatwine, a priest of Bredon, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, xxxi,
379, 386, 390.

Tawdry, 263 n.

Tecla, St., 265.

Tees, the river, 82 n.

Temples, Heathen, to be converted into churches, 67;
to be destroyed, 70;
half Christian and half heathen, 121.

Testry, battle of, 320 n.

Thame, the river, 148 n.

Thames, the river, 10, 84 n., 148 n., 183.

Thanet, Isle of, 32 n., 45, 315 n.

Theft, Sacrilegious, _see_ Sacrilege.

Theium, 78 n.

Theodbald, brother of Ethelfrid, 73, 74.

Theodebert, King of Austrasia, 45 n.

Theoderic, King of Burgundy, 45 n.

Theodore, of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, xxviii, xxix, xxx, 122 n.,
151, 207 n., 273, 316 n., 351 n., 357, 377;
account of, 2 n., 214;
his journey to Britain, 215, 216;
arrival, 216, 226;
ordination and consecration, 213, 214, 215, 216, 384;
his learning, 2, 216, 217;
his subdivision of bishoprics, 137 n., 218 n., 219 n., 231, 244, 343 n.;
dedicates St. Peter’s, Lindisfarne, 192;
his tonsure, 214, 215;
his visitation, 216;
his teaching, 216, 217;
bishops consecrated by him, 217, 218, 224, 225, 230, 231, 232, 241, 242,
244, 293;
presides at the Synod of Hertford, 226-231, 384;
of Hatfield, 254, 255, 256, 385;
of Twyford, 292;
his quarrel and reconciliation with Wilfrid, 228 n., 231 n., 352 n., 353
reconciles Egfrid and Ethelred, 267;
on blood-letting, 306;
his decrees of 678, 353 n.;
length of his episcopate, 216;
foretells the length of his life, 314;
death, 314, 323, 385;
burial, 90, 314;
his epitaph, 315;
his character, 315.

Theodore, or Theodorus, Bishop of Mopsuestia, heretic, 255 n., 256.

Theodore, the name, 179 n.

Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus, heretic, 255 n., 256.

Theodorus, 340 n.;
and _see_ Theodore.

Theodosius the Great, Emperor, 20, 22, 369.

Theodosius, father of Theodosius the Great, 20 n.

Theodosius the Younger, Emperor, 26.

Theophilus, Archbishop of Alexandria, his Paschal computation, 369.

Thetford, Diocese of, 231 n.

Theudor, King of the Britons of Strathclyde, 391, 392.

Thomas, Bishop of East Anglia after Felix, 178 n., 179.

Thomas of Elmham, editorial references to, 287 n., 316 n.

Thrace, 20.

"Three Months in the Forests of France," _see_ Stokes.

Thruidred, Abbot of Dacre, 300.

Thuuf, or Tufa, a banner, 124.

Thrydwulf, Abbot, 120.

Tiberius Constantine, Emperor, 78.

Tiburtina, Via, Rome, 210 n.

"Tighernach, Annals of," editorial references to, 140 n., 337 n.

Tilbury, or Tilaburg, 183, 187 n.

Till, The River, 120 n.

Tilmon, his vision of the Hewalds, 322.

Timothy, 197;
"The Epistle to," quoted, 50.

Tininghame, or Intiningaham, 325 n.

Tiowulfingacaestir, 123.

Titillus, Theodore’s notary, 230.

Tobias, Bishop of Rochester, disciple of Theodore and Hadrian, xxxi, 314,
316, 377, 387;
account of, 316 n.;
his learning, 377;
death, 316 n., 377;
burial, 377, 378.

Toledo, Council of, 256 n.

Tomene, or Tomianus, Abbot and Bishop of Armagh, 128, 129 n.

Tondbert, first husband of Ethelthryth, 259, 266 n.

Tondhere, Oswin’s thegn, 164.

Tonsure, the, 85 n., 201, 214, 215, 370-373, 386.

Tours, 141 n., 259;
battle of, 378 n.

Tours, Bishop of, _see_ Martin.

Torksey, 123 n.

Tortgyth, a nun of Barking, 235, 236, 237.

Torthere, Bishop of Hereford, 380 n.

Tovecester, or Towcester, 268 n.

Trajectum, _see_ Wiltaburg.

Trent, The River, 45, 115 n., 123;
the battle of the, xxix, 267, 268.

Trèves, or the Treveri, 40, 324 n.

Trèves, Bishop of, _see_ Severus.

Trinity, Invocation of the, xxxiv, 87 n.

Trinovantes, 10.

Tripolis, 12.

Troyes, Bishop of, _see_ Lupus.

Trumbert, one of Bede’s teachers, his account of Ceadda, xxxv, 222, 223.

Trumhere, Abbot of Gilling, Bishop of Mid-Anglia and Mercia, 181, 191,
192, 212.

Trumwine, Bishop of the Picts, xxix, 244;
account of, 244 n.;
retires to Whitby, 244 n., 286;
assists Elfled with his counsels, 287;
at the Synod of Twyford, 292;
death and burial at Whitby, 286.

Tuam, Archbishopric of, 226 n.

Tuda, Bishop of Lindisfarne after Colman, 201;
dies of the Plague, 204, 206, 350 n.;
buried at Paegnalaech, 204.

Tunbert, Abbot of Gilling, Bishop of Hexham, 244;
appointed and deposed by Theodore, 244, 293.

Tunna, Abbot of Tunnacaestir, his prayers miraculously release his brother
Imma, 268, 269, 270.

Tunnacaestir, 268.

Tweed, The River ("Tuidi flumen"), 202 n., 288, 326.

Twickenham, 239 n.

Twyford, Adtuifyrdi, or At the Two Fords, Synod at, 292.

Tyne, The River, 13 n., 82 n., 136 n., 303, 309, 359.

Tynemouth, Monasteries at, 309.

Tynemouth, Abbot of, _see_ Herebald.

Tyrhtel, Bishop of Hereford, 380 n.

Tytilus, father of Redwald, King of East Anglia, 121.

Ulster, 8 n.

"Ulster, the Annals of," editorial references to, 225 n., 385 n.

Ultan, a hermit, Abbot of Fosse and Péronne, brother of Fursa, 177.

Undalum, _see_ Oundle.

Urbs Giudi, 23 n.

Urbs Iudeu, 23 n.

Utrecht, 320 n., 324 n.

Utrecht, Archbishop of, _see_ Wilbrord.

Utta, Abbot of Gateshead, 166, 180;
sent to fetch Eanfled from Kent, 166, 167;
calms a storm with oil, 167.

Uuffa, grandfather of Redwald, King of East Anglia, 121.

Uuffings, _i.e._, Kings of East Anglia, 121.

Uurtigern, _see_ Vortigern.

Vaeclingacaestir, _see_ St. Albans.

Valens, Emperor, 20.

Valentinian II, Emperor, 20;
expelled from Italy, 20;
restored, 20;
kills Maximus, 20.

Valentinian III, Emperor, 29, 383;
murders Aetius, 27 n., 41;
murdered, 41.

Valerian, Emperor, 388 n.

Vandals, the, 22.

Vecta, 30.

Venantius Fortunatus, _see_ Fortunatus.

Venta, _see_ Winchester.

Vergil, quoted, 113, 118, 159, 286, 327.

Vergilius, Archbishop of Arles, 49 n., 54, 55, 63, 64.

Verlamacaestir, or Verulam, _see_ St. Albans.

Vespasian conquers the Isle of Wight, 11.

Vestments, Ecclesiastical, 65.

Viaticum, the, 249 n., 275, 280.

Victgilsus, Father of Hengist and Horsa, 30.

Victorinus, St., 99 n.

Victorius, or Victorinus of Aquitaine, his Paschal Cycle, 369 n.

Vienne, 22.

Vines in Britain, 5;
in Ireland, 9.

Virgil, _see_ Vergil.

Virginity, poem in honour of, 264, 265, 266, 267;
Aldhelm’s work on, 237 n., 344.

Visions, xxx, 248, 249, 250, 332, 333, 334, 335, 336;
seen by Adamnan, 281, 282, 283, 284;
by Begu, 275, 276;
by a nun at Whitby, 277;
by Bregusuid, 274;
by Caedmon, 278, 279;
by Drythelm, 325-331;
at Barking, 232-237;
by Earcongota, 152, 153;
by Edwin, 112, 113, 114;
by a disciple of Boisil, 224, 317, 318, 319;
by Fursa, 173-177;
by Sebbi, 239;
by Theodore, 314;
by Tilmon, 322;
by Wilfrid, 355.

Vitalian, Pope, xxvii, 2 n., 216;
his letter to Oswy, 208, 209, 210, 211;
seeks a suitable Archbishop for Canterbury, 213, 214;
ordains Theodore, 215;
sends Theodore and Hadrian to Britain, 357.

Vitta, 30.

Voyage Provision, _i.e._, the Viaticum, 249, 275.

Vortigern, or Uurtigern, King of Britain, calls in the Saxons, 29, 95.

Vulgate, the, quoted, 80, 107, 174, 209, 282, 361-372.

Wagele, perhaps Whalley, 204 n.

Wahlstod, Bishop of Hereford, 379 n., 380.

Walbottle, 180 n.

Waldhere, Bishop of London, 239.

Wales, 33 n.

Wall, At the, 180, 182.

Walls, Roman, 12, 13, 24, 25, 26, 183.

Wallsend-on-Tyne, 25 n.

Walton, near Newcastle, 180 n.

Wantsum, the River, 45.

Wash, the, 3.

Watling Street, 18 n., 120 n.

Watton, Betendune, or Wetadun, Monastery of, 305.

Watton, Abbess of, _see_ Heriburg.

Welsh, The, 7 n., 336 n.

Wear, The River, 271, 359.

Wearmouth and Jarrow, Monastery, of, xxiii, xxx, xxxiii, xxxiv, xxxv, 137
n., 167, 177, 257, 284, 359;
its library, xxxv.

Wearmouth and Jarrow, Abbot of, _see_ Benedict, Ceolfrid, Cuthbert,

Went, the River, 189 n.

Wergild, the, 267.

Wessex, History of, xxix, xxx, 3, 45, 84, 96, 97, 147, 148, 179, 191 n.,
206, 241, 245 n., 247 n., 251, 336 n., 342, 344, 352 n., 380,
392 n.;
diocese of, xxx, 3 n., 149, 150, 251, 342, 343, 344, 345, 350, 379 n.,

Wessex, King of, _see_ Aescwine, Caedwalla, Caelin, Centwine, Coinwalch,
Cuichelm, Cuthred, Cynegils, Cyniwulf, Edilhart, Ini.

Wessex, Bishop of, _see_ Agilbert, Birinus, Daniel, Haedde, Leutherius,

Westphalia, 317 n.

West Saxons, called Gewissae or Gewissi, 30, 96, 147, 148;
history and province of, _see_ Wessex.

Wetadun, _see_ Watton.

Whales in Britain, 5.

Whalley, 204 n.

Wharfe, The River, 271 n.

Whelock, Abraham, his edition of the "Ecclesiastical History," xix.

Whitby, Bay of the Lighthouse or Streanaeshalch, xxix, 195, 275 n., 349
monastery of, built by Hilda, 190, 243 n., 244 n., 270, 272-281, 286,
306 n., 385;
Synod of, xxvii, xxviii, 84 n., 194 n., 195, 196-201, 350 n.

Whitby, Abbess of, _see_ Eanfled, Elfled, Hilda.

Whitby, a monk of, editorial references to his "Life of Gregory," 75 n.,
190 n.

Whitern or White House, 141, 244 n.;
diocese of, 381 n.

Whitern, Bishop of, _see_ Frithwald, Ninian, Pechthelm.

Whitsuntide, xli n., 206.

Whittingham, 292 n.

Wicklow, 92 n.

Wictbert, Irish hermit, his unsuccessful mission to Frisland, 319, 320,
323 n.

Wictred, King of Kent, son of Egbert, xxix, xxxi, 287, 315, 316 n.;
his sons, 377;
death, 377, 386.

Wighard, a disciple of Gregory’s, sent to Rome to be ordained Archbishop,
dies there, xxvii, 208, 210, 211, 213.

Wight, Isle of, history, xxix, 3, 11, 30, 245, 252, 253;
Christianity introduced into, 252, 253;
described, 253;
bishopric of, 380.

Wight, the Isle of, King of, _see_ Arwald.

Wigton Bay, 141 n.

Wilbert, a boy to whom Bede dictates the last sentences of his
translations, xliii.

Wilbrord, Missionary, Archbishop of Frisland, xxx, 143 n., 161, 319 n.;
account of, 161 n., 320 n.;
at Rome, 323;
his mission to Frisland, 320, 321 n., 323, 351, 375 n.;
destroys idols and kills the sacred cattle of Fosite, 323;
his consecration, 324;
given the name of Clement in religion, 324;
his see at Utrecht, 324;
his monastery near Trèves, 324 n.;
calendar said to contain an entry by him, 324 n.;
builds St. Saviour’s, and rebuilds St. Martin’s Church, Utrecht, 324 n.;
date of his death, 325 n.;
"Life of," _see_ Alcuin.

Wilfaraesdun or Wilfar’s Hill, 164.

Wilfrid, St., Bishop, xxx, 137 n., 161, 163 n., 227, 257 n., 343 n.;
account of his life and character, 347-357;
his birth and family, 347 n.;
educated at Lindisfarne, 347;
sent to the Court of Oswy, 347 n.;
to Lindisfarne, 347;
resolves to go to Rome, 347;
assisted by Queen Eanfled, 347, 348;
starts with Benedict Biscop, 348;
detained at Lyons by Annemundus, 348;
in Rome, 348, 349;
on his way home stays at Lyons, 349;
his fidelity to Annemundus, 349;
wins the friendship of Alchfrid, 194, 350;
given land at Stanford, 350;
made Abbot of Ripon, 194, 350, 351 n.;
at the Whitby Synod, xxvii, 195-200, 217 n.;
made Bishop of Northumbria, xxvii, 218, 219, 350, 351, 384;
consecrated in Gaul by Agilbert, 206, 218, 350;
superseded by Ceadda, xxvii, 207 n., 351;
returns to Britain, 351;
shipwrecked on the coast of Sussex, 351 n.;
discharges episcopal functions for Mercia and Kent, 218, 219 n., 351 n.;
restored by Theodore, 351;
his relations with Ethelthryth, 242 n., 260, 262;
his relations with Theodore, 228 n., 229 n., 231 n., 244 n., 353 n.;
represented at Hertford by proxy, 228;
his Catholic teaching, xxvii, 208, 217;
invites Eddi from Kent to teach church singing, 217;
expelled from his see by Egfrid, 242, 243 n., 244, 245, 267 n., 351,
foretells the battle of the Trent, 267 n.;
demands an explanation from the King and Archbishop, 242 n.;
goes to Rome to plead his cause, 243 n., 245, 351;
Ebroin’s plot against his life, 192 n., 351 n.;
on his way to Rome driven by the wind to Frisland, 351;
visits Dagobert II of Austrasia, and Perctarit, King of the Lombards,
351 n.;
acquitted by Agatho and the Lateran Council, 352;
his confession of faith on behalf of the English Church, 254 n., 352;
returns to Britain, 352, accused of bribery, 352 n.;
imprisoned at Bromnis, 352 n.;
at Dunbar, 352 n.;
released at Aebba’s request, 260 n., 352 n.;
takes refuge in Mercia, 267 n., 323, 352 n.;
expelled from Mercia, 267 n., 352 n.;
converts the South Saxons and the Isle of Wight, 179 n., 245-248, 252,
352, 353;
founds the Monastery of Selsey, 247, 345;
his restoration to York, Hexham, and Ripon, 243 n., 247 n., 296, 353 n.,
356 n.;
administers Lindisfarne, 296;
his second expulsion, 274 n., 296 n., 323, 353;
second sojourn in Mercia, 353 n.;
consecrates Oftfor, 274;
consecrates Suidbert, 323;
excommunicated by the Council of Ouestraefelda, 353 n.;
second visit to Frisland, 161;
again goes to Rome to plead his cause, 353;
acquitted by Pope John and the Council, 353, 354;
taken ill at Meaux on his way back to Britain, 354, 355;
his vision, 355;
arrives in Britain, 355;
reconciled to Bertwald, Ethelred and Coenred, 355, 356;
Aldfrid refuses to receive him, 356;
Elfled’s influence in his favour, 189 n.;
restored to his bishopric of Hexham by the Synod on the Nidd, 356;
dies at Oundle, 346, 356, 391;
buried at St. Peter’s, Ripon, 346, 356;
his epitaph, 356, 357;
length of his episcopate, 346;
his relics, 346 n.;
his character, 347;
churches built by him, 351;
"Life of," _see_ Eddius.

Wilfrid II, Bishop of York, 273, 346 n., 379 n., 380 n., 381, 390;
account of, 273;
ordained by John, 312.

Wilfrid, Bishop of Worcester, 379 n., 380.

Wilgils, father of Wilbrord, 320 n.

William III, xix.

William of Malmesbury, editorial references to, xxxvi, 86 n., 87 n., 125
n., 232 n., 239 n., 287 n., 346 n., 377 n., 392 n.

Wiltaburg, Wiltenburg, the Town of the Wilts, or Trajectum, now Utrecht,

Wiltshire, 343 n.

Wincanheale, 204 n.

Winchester, Venta, or Wintancaestir, 228 n.;
churches at, 149;
diocese of, xxvi, xxx, 3 n., 148, 149, 150, 251, 343 n., 345.

Winchester, Bishop of, _see_ Daniel, Haedde, Leutherius, Wini.

Winfrid, _see_ Boniface.

Wini, Bishop of Winchester, 150, 241;
consecrates Ceadda, 207;
expelled from Winchester, purchases the bishopric of London, 150, 231
returns to Winchester, 228 n.

Wintancaestir, _see_ Winchester.

"Winter’s Tale, The," editorial reference to, 263 n.

Winwaed, Battle of the, xxvii, 185 n., 188, 189.

Winwaed, The River, 189.

Witberg, daughter of Anna, 149 n.

Witenagemot, The, xxv, 94, 95, 116, 151 n., 231 n., 242 n., 251 n., 316 n.

Woden, 30;
the sons of, 83 n.

Wooler, 119.

Worcester, diocese of the Hwiccas, 273 n., 379 n., 380.

Worcester, Bishop of, _see_ Bosel, Egwin, Oftfor, Tatfrid, Wilfrid.

Worcestershire, 84 n., 379 n.

Worr, _see_ Aldwin.

Wulfhere, King of Mercia, son of Penda, xxvii, xxviii, 149 n., 150, 181,
218, 226 n., 241 n., 261 n., 332 n.;
account of, 191 n.;
with the aid of Immin, Eafa, and Eadbert, recovers Mercia from Oswy,
his reign, 192;
his realm, 225;
conquers Lindsey, 243 n.;
sends Jaruman to the East Saxons, 212, 245 n.;
brings about the conversion of Ethelwalch, 245;
endows monasteries, 219, 346 n.;
invades Northumbria, 191 n.;
defeated by Egfrid, 191 n.;
death, 191 n., 384 n., 385.

Wulfram, St., Archbishop of Sens, 319 n.

Wuscfrea, son of Edwin, baptized, 119;
taken by his mother into Kent, and sent into Gaul, where he dies in
infancy, 132.

Wynfrid, Bishop of Lichfield, 192, 224, 225;
account of, 192 n.;
deacon under Ceadda, 225;
at the Hertford Synod, 228;
deposed by Theodore, 231, 244 n.;
retires to Ad Barvae, 231;
death, 231.

Yeavering or Adgefrin, 119, 120.

Yellow pest, a bubonic plague, 203, 204.

Yffi, first King of Deira, 83 n.

Yffi, son of Osfrid, 119, 132.

York, xxxvi, 13, 118, 131, 132, 135, 244, 293, 354;
diocese of, xxv, 65, 66, 243 n., 351 n.;
Cathedral, 119.

York, Archbishop of, _see_ Egbert, Paulinus;
Bishop of, _see_ Bosa, Ceadda, John, Wilfrid, Wilfrid II.

Yorkshire, 3 n., 118 n., 204 n., 305 n., 342 n.

Ythancaestir, Monastery of, 183, 187.

Zacharias, Pope, letter to Boniface, 87 n.

Zeuss, his "Die Deutschen und die Nachbarstämme," 317 n.

Zozimus, Pope, 21 n.


1 The St. Gallen MS. (ninth century) has, however, "VII Id. Mai."
Messrs. Mayor and Lumby, adopting this reading, place his death as
late as 742, in which year the eve of Ascension Day fell on May 9th.
For their argument, _v._ Mayor and Lumby, pp. 401, 402.

2 The phrase is the present Bishop of Oxford’s in "Studies in the
Christian Character."

3 Stevenson, "Church Historians," vol. i.

4 From Easter to Whitsuntide.

5 Rogation Wednesday.

6 King of Northumbria, cf. V, 23. He succeeded Osric, 729 A.D. In a
revolt he was forcibly tonsured, 731, but restored. He voluntarily
became a monk in Lindisfarne in 737. The fact that Bede submitted
the Ecclesiastical History to him for revision bears witness to his
piety and learning.

7 Albinus, the first English abbot of the monastery of SS. Peter and
Paul at Canterbury, succeeded Hadrian in 709 or 710. On his
scholarship, cf. V, 20.

8 Theodore, the great archbishop, noted for his organization of the
English Church and his services to education, consecrated in 668, at
the age of sixty-five, by Pope Vitalian, on the recommendation of
Hadrian, who had himself twice declined the office of archbishop.
Theodore was a native of Tarsus, in Cilicia, a man of great learning
and scholarly attainments. Cf. IV, 1.

9 Hadrian (_v._ previous note, cf. IV, 1), an African by birth, sent
to England by Pope Vitalian along with Theodore, became Abbot of SS.
Peter and Paul, Canterbury. He co-operated with Theodore in his
educational work.

10 A presbyter of London, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, 735.
Received the _pallium_ (_v._ I, 27, p. 54, note) in 736.

11 Gregory I (the Great), who sent the Roman mission to England.

12 Gregory II, _v._ Plummer _ad loc._ for arguments showing
conclusively that Gregory III cannot be meant.

13 Cf. IV, 16, and V, 18. In V, 23 he is more accurately described as
"Ventanus antistes." He was consecrated Bishop of Winchester when
the West Saxon bishopric was divided in 705; and his diocese
comprised only the smaller part of Wessex. He was the friend and
counsellor of St. Boniface.

14 Bishop of the East Saxons, cf. III, 21 foll.

15 St. Chad, Bishop of the Northumbrians, afterwards of Lichfield;
brother of Cedd: _v._ III, 23, 28; IV, 2, 3; V, 19.

16 Lastingham, near Pickering in Yorkshire N.R., _v._ III, 23.

17 Nothing further is known of him.

18 The district to the north of the Wash.

19 Bishop of Sidnacester, in the province of Lindsey. He died in 732:
_v._ IV, 12; V, 23.

20 The saint and hermit who was for two years Bishop of Lindisfarne,
685-687: _v._ IV, 26-32. Bede wrote his life both in prose and

21 Holy Island, off the coast of Northumberland. Aidan chose it as the
place of his see and monastery in 635: _v._ III, 3.

22 This total varies in different authors. The first few pages of Bede
are to a great extent copied out of Pliny, Solinus, Orosius, and

23 Richborough, Kent.

24 Boulogne.

25 Cf. Caes., B.G., _passim_; Verg., Aen., VIII, 727.

26 In his Hexameron.

27 Latin is included as being the ecclesiastical language common to
all. Bede does not imply that there was a Latin-speaking race still
in the island.

28 In Caesar’s time, the whole district lying along the north-western
coast of Gaul, afterwards narrowed down to the modern Brittany. That
the Britons (or Brythons) came from Gaul is doubtless a fact.
Another branch of the Celtic race, the Goidels or Gaels, appears to
have been in possession in Britain before them.

29 By Scythia Bede means Scandinavia. He only mentions this account as
a tradition. The problem of the Picts has not been solved yet.
According to one view, they belonged to the pre-Aryan inhabitants of
Britain, pushed westward and northward by the Celtic invaders. In
Scotland they held their own for a considerable time in a wide tract
of country, and they may have to some extent amalgamated with the
Celts who dispossessed them (Rhys). Others regard them as Celts of
the same branch as Welsh, Cornish, and Britons, being probably
nearest to Cornish. The absence of all but the scantiest remains of
their language makes the question of their origin one of great

30 The legend is an attempt to account for the law of Pictish
succession, which was vested in the mother, _v._ Rhys, "Celtic
Britain," pp. 170-171.

31 "Dal," a division or part, is common in Irish names. Dalriada was a
district in the north-eastern part of Ulster. From there, a tribe of
Scots (a Celtic race who settled in Ireland at some unknown period)
came to Kintyre and spread along the coasts of Argyll, which took
from them the name of Dalriada (probably _circ._ 500 A.D.). They
brought the Christian religion with them. Bede follows that version
of the legend which makes Cairbre Riada, the eponymous hero of the
Irish Dalriada (_circ._ 200 A.D.), himself found the colony in

32 Dumbarton; _v. infra_ c. 12, p. 24 and note.

33 Caesar’s invasion took place A.U.C. 699 and 700; B.C. 55 and 54.

34 Cf. Caes., B.G., V, 11, 18 ff. A powerful British chief. His
territory lay north and north-east of the Thames, roughly comprising
Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Berkshire, but the exact limits
are uncertain. His people were the Catuvellauni (the name is Gaulish
in form).

35 Cf. Caes., B.G., V, 20. The Trinovantes occupied Essex and part of

36 Variations of this name given by ancient authors are Andragius and
Androgorius. Caesar calls him Mandubracius.

37 The position of this place is unknown.

38 Claudius came to Britain A.U.C. 796, 43 A.D.

39 He can only have done so in name; it was probably Agricola who first
conquered the Orkneys. Cf. Tac., Agric., 10.

40 Cf. Tac., Agric., 13.

41 Marcus Antoninus Verus, commonly called Marcus Aurelius, succeeded
in 161 A.D. His colleague in the empire was his adopted brother,
Lucius Verus, whose full adoptive name was Lucius Aurelius Antoninus
Verus Commodus. He died in 169. Eleutherus became Pope between 171
and 177. Bede’s chronology is therefore wrong.

42 Most modern authorities consider the story fabulous. But cf. Bright,
"Early English Church History," pp. 3-5.

43 Severus succeeded in 193 A.D. He died in 211.

44 This is the earthwork which runs parallel to the wall of Hadrian,
between the Solway and the Tyne, at an interval of from 30 to 1,300
yards from it. Its origin and purpose are doubtful. Ancient
authorities afford conflicting evidence with regard to the Roman
walls in Britain. Modern research seems to show that Severus built
no wall or rampart, though some ancient historians assert that he
did (_v._ Haverfield, quoted by Plummer, _ad loc._; cf. _infra_ c.
12 and note).

45 Bassianus Antoninus, surnamed Caracalla. Geta was murdered by

46 Diocletian succeeded in 284.

47 Carausius was a native of Menapia, in Belgium, appointed to command
the Roman fleet stationed at Boulogne to guard the coasts. He took
the fleet with him when he usurped imperial authority in Britain.
Maximian, failing to reduce him, recognized his authority and gave
him the title of Augustus. He governed vigorously and prosperously.

48 Allectus was a follower of Carausius. His revolt was apparently
supported by the independent tribes, probably Caledonians.

49 Asclepiodotus was serving under Constantius Chlorus (one of the
reigning Caesars), who sailed to Britain and marched against

50 The statement that the Diocletian persecution extended to Britain
rests on no trustworthy evidence at all. Yet though the time
assigned is probably wrong, there seems to be no reason to doubt the
existence of the British Protomartyr. The story rests upon a local
tradition traceable up to the visit of Germanus in 429 A.D., _v.
infra_ c. 18.

51 Venantius Fortunatus, a Christian poet, Bishop of Poitiers, b. 530
A.D. He was the last Latin poet of any note in Gaul.

52 In the lives of St. Alban (all later than Bede) this clerk is called
St. Amphibalus, a name probably invented from his cloak

53 The text of this passage is probably corrupt, but all the MSS.
agree. I believe the above gives the intended meaning.

54 There is again probably some confusion in the text.

55 Now St. Albans in Hertfordshire, on the Watling Street, hence
probably the name, Vaeclingacaestir.

56 The place was afterwards called Holmhurst. The church mentioned by
Bede was superseded by the monastery of St. Alban, the foundation of
which is attributed to Offa, _circ._ 793 A.D. Certain extraordinary
privileges were granted to it, and its abbot obtained a superiority
over all other English abbots (Dugdale, "Monasticon").

57 The evidence for their martyrdom is very doubtful.

58 Caerleon-on-Usk, the headquarters of the Second legion, is here
meant (_v._ Merivale, H.R., vi, 248), though the name was also
applied to Chester, seat of the Twentieth legion (cf. II, 2, p. 87,
"civitas legionum").

59 Constantine the Great. For the legality of the marriage, _v._ Dict.
of Christian Biography, article "Helena."

60 The First General Council, 325 A.D. It asserted the doctrine of the
xe1xbdx81xcexbcxcexbfxcexbfxe1xbdxbbxcfx83xcexb9xcexbfxcexbd against Arius. For a short account of the heresy, _v._
Gore, Bampton Lectures, pp. 89-92. All the evidence goes to show
that this heresy affected Britain much less than Bede, on the
authority of Gildas, here implies.

61 Valens died 378.

62 Another of the insular usurpers (cf. c. 6). He had served under the
elder Theodosius in Britain. He revolted from Rome, successfully
repressed incursions of Picts and Scots, then crossed to Gaul, where
he maintained himself for four years, but was killed by the Emperor,
the younger Theodosius, at Aquileia, in 388.

63 The real date is 395.

64 Pelagius, the founder of the heresy known as Pelagianism, was
probably born in 370 A.D., and is said to have been a Briton, but
the tradition that his real name was Morgan (Marigena, Graecised
xcexa0xcexb5xcexbbxe1xbdxb1xcexb3xcexb9xcexbfxcfx82), and that he was a native of Bangor, rests on very
doubtful authority. His great opponent, St. Augustine, speaks of him
as a good and holy man; later slanders are to be attributed to
Jerome’s abusive language. The cardinal point in his doctrine is his
denial of original sin, involving a too great reliance on the human
will in achieving holiness, and a limitation of the action of the
grace of God.

65 Julianus of Campania is regarded as the founder of semi-Pelagianism,
_i.e._, an intermediate position between the orthodox view and the
heresy of Pelagius. He was Bishop of Eclanum, near Beneventum, and
was along with seventeen other Italian bishops deposed in 418 A.D.
for refusing to sign the circular letter of Pope Zosimus condemning
the heresy.

66 A native of Aquitaine, born probably about 403 A.D., a strong
opponent of the Pelagians. It is uncertain whether he was in Holy
Orders or not. He wrote in prose and verse; his longest poem is
called "De Ingratis" (_i.e._, opponents of the grace of God). His
best known work is a Chronicle, not to be confused with the shorter
chronicle of Prosper Tiro.

67 Bede includes elegiacs under this term, cf. V, 8.

68 The date of Honorius is correct, but the invasion of Alaric is put a
year too late, if Bede refers to the first siege of Rome, in 408.

69 The British army, alarmed by the inroads of barbarians, and actuated
by a spirit of revolt against Roman authority, set up three local
emperors in rapid succession: Marcus, Gratian, and Constantine. The
first two they summarily deposed and killed, but Constantine by a
great victory made himself master of Gaul and Britain and extorted
from the Emperor Honorius a share in the Imperial authority.
Meanwhile, the Britons expelled the few remaining Roman officials,
and Honorius avenged himself on Constantine for the loss of Britain
in the manner described in the text.

70 A Roman general, afterwards associated with Honorius in the empire
for a few months.

71 Gerontius (Welsh _Geraint_, akin to Irish _Gerat_ or _Gerait_, a
champion), was a Briton, one of Constantine’s generals. Turning
against his master, he invited the Germans to invade Gaul and
Britain, probably intending to secure Britain for himself. But his
own men conspired against him and he died by his own hand.

72 Rome was taken 1163 A.U.C.; 410 A.D.

73 Possibly "light-houses."

74 Probably Inchkeith in the Forth. The Irish called the Firth of Forth
the "Sea of Giudan" (_v._ Reeves’ "Culdees," p. 124). But Professor
Rhys is inclined to think that Bede has confused the island Giudi
with Urbs Giudi, which may perhaps be identified with the Urbs Iudeu
of Nennius, probably either Carriden or Edinburgh (Rhys, "Celtic

75 Alcluith is the Welsh name (Ail = a rock). The Goidels called it
Dúnbrettan = the fortress of the Britons. Hence its modern name,
Dumbarton. The river is, of course, the Clyde.

76 This is the earthen rampart, about thirty-five miles in length,
between the Clyde and the Forth, now attributed to Antoninus Pius.
Little is known about it, and it is probable that it was soon

77 Abercorn, a village on the south bank of the Firth of Forth.

78 The name is probably Celtic (Goidelic), though, if the view which
regards the Picts as a non-Celtic people be correct, it may show
traces of Pictish influence. It seems to be connected with the Latin
term "penna valli" = wing of (_i.e._, pinnacle or turret at end of)
the _vallum_. Readers of Scott’s "Antiquary" will remember the
celebrated dispute with regard to this word. The Anglian _Penneltun_
is derived from the Goidelic name.

79 This probably refers to the wall now attributed to Hadrian (_v.s._
c. 5 note). It ran for a distance of about eighty-five miles from
Bowness-on-Solway to Wallsend-on-Tyne. Bede’s authorities are
Orosius and Gildas. The accounts he gives here and in c. 5 are an
attempt to explain the difficulties and conflicting evidence with
regard to these walls.

80 In 431 A.D. There is much confusion with regard to the mission of
Palladius. According to later accounts, he was an unsuccessful
forerunner of St. Patrick, but Bede here, following Prosper of
Aquitaine, represents the Irish (Scotti) as in part already
Christian. The origin of Irish Christianity is very obscure, and
some have even doubted the existence of St. Patrick. Bede only
mentions him once, viz., in the "Martyrology," which has been
largely interpolated, and is, perhaps, not his genuine work. St.
Patrick’s latest biographer, Professor Bury, has, however, clearly
established a certain amount of fact underlying much legendary
matter. Some later authorities represent Palladius as preaching to
the Scots (in the modern sense) and Patrick to the Irish.

81 The great Roman general who preserved the Western Empire against the
invasions of the barbarians for many years. He was assassinated by
Valentinian in 454 A.D.

82 Really two years before, 444 A.D.

83 Though he is the subject of many legends, Vortigern is doubtless a
historical figure, a ruler of south-eastern Britain. Bede’s form of
the name, Uurtigernus, is right. It is a British word, meaning
"supreme lord" (Rhys).

84 The date of Marcian’s succession is 450.

85 Bede only professes to give the date of the invasion approximately:
cf. V, 24 ("quorum tempore"), I, 23; II, 14; V, 23 ("circiter"),
calculating in round numbers apparently. He refers here to their
first settlement, which, of course, does not preclude earlier

_ 86 I.e._, Vortigern.

_ 87 Anglia_ was believed to be derived from _Angulus_. The country is
the modern Schleswig, which the Angles appear to have almost
entirely evacuated. For the Continental Saxons, cf. V, 9. It has
been supposed that the Jutes came from Jutland, where, at a later
period, they mingled with the Danes (_ibid._), but this is now
regarded as doubtful.

88 At Aylesford, in Kent. Horsted is the traditional burial-place of

_ 89 I.e._, in Thanet.

90 The most probable view is that he was the last of those Romans who
usurped imperial authority in Britain (_v.s._ cc. 6, 9).

91 The identification of this place with Badbury, in Dorsetshire
(Guest, followed by Freeman and Green) seems to be disproved (W. H.
Stevenson, in the "English Historical Review," xvii, pp. 633, 634).
The locality is quite uncertain; Skene actually places it near
Linlithgow. According to Bede’s reckoning the date of the battle
would be 493 approximately. The "Annales Cambriae" give 516. For a
full discussion of the question, _v._ Plummer, _ad loc._ Cf. also
Mr. Stevenson’s article.

92 Nothing more is known of them. Pelagius left Britain in early life
and did not himself spread his heresy there.

93 The life of Germanus was written by Constantius, a priest of Lyons,
who is Bede’s authority for cc. 17-21. According to him, these
bishops were sent to Britain by a Gallican Synod. Prosper of
Aquitaine attributes the origin of the mission to Pope Celestine,
"acting on the advice of the deacon Palladius" (probably the
missionary to the Irish mentioned c. 13). The two statements are not
irreconcilable (cf. Bright, p. 18). There are churches dedicated to
SS. Germanus and Lupus in Wales and Cornwall. Both had been trained
in the school of Lérins, a monastery in the group of islands off the
coast at Cannes.

94 This conference is said to have been held at Verulam.

95 Bede’s authority, Constantius, shows here the first trace of any
acquaintance of early historians with the story of St. Alban. The
last sentence is somewhat obscure. Probably the idea is that the
blood of the martyrs continues to cry aloud for vengeance.

96 Reading "reserato." The reading "reservato" is perhaps easier and
has some MS. authority.

97 Reading "castitatis," from which it is difficult to extract any
meaning. The above strains the Latin unduly. Constantius has
"castrorum," which gives a better sense.

98 Maes-y-Garmon ("The Field of Germanus"), near Mold, in Flintshire,
has been fixed upon as the scene of the Hallelujah Victory, and the
river in which the army was baptized is said to be the Alyn (Ussher,
"Antiqq."). The story is generally regarded as legendary.

99 Thirteenth bishop of Trèves. This account sums up nearly all that is
known of him.

100 This second voyage of St. Germanus is supposed to have taken place
about eighteen years after the first, _i.e._, in 447.

101 The Armoricans had revolted, and Aetius (_v.s._ c. 13 and note) had
enlisted the services of the Alani against them. Germanus, who had
at one time been duke of the Armoricans, went to the Imperial Court
at Ravenna to intercede for them.

102 Really the fifth (16th March, 455 A.D.). Romulus Augustulus is
usually regarded as the last emperor of the west. He was overthrown
in 476 A.D.

103 The British historian, author of the "De Excidio Liber Querulus," so
called from the historian’s denunciations of the sins of the
Britons. He himself tells us that he was born in the year of the
battle of Badon Hill (Mons Badonicus), and that he wrote his History
forty-four years after that date. According to Bede (cf. c. 15, _ad
init._, and c. 16, _ad fin._) this would place his birth
approximately in the year 493, but see note on c. 16.

104 Gregory the Great. Cf. Preface. Bede places the date of his
accession a year too late as well as that of his death (_v._, II, 1,
_ad init._, but in the same chapter he rightly places his death in
the second year of Phocas, _i.e._, 604).

105 Augustine was prior of St. Gregory’s Monastery dedicated to St.
Andrew in Rome.

106 Cf. IV, 5, p. 227, note.

107 This is a mistake. Aetherius was archbishop of Lyons. Vergilius was
archbishop of Arles. The letter given here, however, is the letter
sent to Aetherius. Similar letters were despatched to other bishops
at this time; among them one to Vergilius of Arles.

108 A presbyter sent into Gaul by Gregory in 595 A.D. to administer the
little patrimony of St. Peter in Gaul, to collect its revenues and
to invest them in raiment for the poor, or in English slave lads to
serve in the monasteries and receive a Christian education.

109 Ethelbert was the third Bretwalda or dominant king. He had
established a practical hegemony over the East Anglians, the
Mercians of the Trent Valley, the South Saxons, East Saxons, and
even the West Saxons (cf. II, 5, p. 94).

110 Families, _i.e._, _hides_. The hide, probably, was as much land as
would support a family, hence the extent must have varied with the
different conditions in different parts of the country.

111 In Bede’s time Thanet was divided from the rest of Kent by a broad
channel called the Wantsum, now partly represented by the River

112 The conjecture that they landed at Ebbsfleet, which is also
traditionally regarded as the landing-place of Hengist, has been
generally adopted. Other possible landing-places are Stonar and
Richborough. For a full discussion of the question, _v._ "The
Mission of St. Augustine," ed. Rev. A. T. Mason, D.D.

113 It has been supposed, on the strength of this passage, that the
speech of the Franks and the English was still mutually
intelligible. This is supported by a statement of Gregory (letter to
Theoderic and Theodebert) that he had desired Augustine to take some
Frankish priests with him. It is assumed that these priests were the
interpreters. On the other hand, in view of the fact that only fifty
years later we find the language of the Franks regarded in England
as a "barbara loquella" (III, 7), it has been inferred that the
interpreters were men who had acquired a knowledge of the dialect of
Kent through commerce or otherwise.

114 Daughter of Charibert, king of Paris.

115 Said (on doubtful authority) to have been bishop of Senlis. He acted
as the queen’s private chaplain. There is nothing to show that
either he or Bertha attempted to spread their religion in England,
though probably their influence may not have been without effect on

116 The old Roman town of Doruvernis, which is the name Bede gives to it
throughout the History.

117 St. Martin was regarded with special reverence in Britain and
Ireland. Possibly some of the earliest missionaries may have been
his disciples, _e.g._, St. Ninian and St. Patrick. The Roman church
of St. Martin at Canterbury has been frequently altered and partly
rebuilt, so that "small portions only of the Roman walls remain.
Roman bricks are used as old materials in the parts rebuilt"

118 Augustine was not consecrated as archbishop either of London or
Canterbury, but by the general title of "Archbishop of the English."
According to Gregory’s original scheme, London, not Canterbury, was
to have been the seat of the primacy of southern England (cf. c.
29), London and York being doubtless the most important cities of
south and north known to him from their history during the Roman
occupation. But Christianity was not permanently established in
London till it was too late to remove the see from Canterbury, which
would obviously commend itself to Augustine as the most suitable
place to be the metropolitan city.

119 For Aetherius read Vergilius (_v._ c. 24, note). "The occupant of
the see of Arles was in some sense primate of France at this time,
and, as such, Vergilius received the _pallium_ and the papal
vice-gerentship in the kingdom of Childebert" (Dict. Christ. Biog.).

120 He succeeded Augustine as archbishop. For his history, _v._ II, 6,

121 Cf. _infra_ c. 33.

_ 122 I.e._, those in minor orders; all below the subdiaconate.

123 St. Luke, xi, 41. _Quod superest_ (Vulgate) = xcfx80xcexbbxe1xbdxb5xcexbd (R.V.,"Howbeit";
A.V., "But rather"), adverbial. Gregory takes it to mean "what is

124 Augustine must have observed these differences of ritual as he
travelled through Gaul. Presumably also he found the Gallic use
adopted at St. Martin’s, Canterbury, by Liudhard. Dr. Bright
summarizes these differences, "Early English Church History," p. 64.

125 Reading "fratris et sororis" (for "frater et soror"), as the sense
requires, but there is no MS. authority for the change.

126 The text of this passage is corrupt, but no very satisfactory
emendations have been suggested.

127 The _Pallium_ is a long strip of fine cloth ornamented with crosses.
It is made from wool of lambs reared in the convent of St. Agnes at
Rome, and is laid for a night on the tomb of St. Peter. It is worn
passing over the shoulders, with the ends hanging down in front and
behind, somewhat in the form of the letter Y. (The form has varied
at different times.) In the east it is called "omophorion:" the
bishops wear it during the celebration of the Eucharist. It
originally formed part of the imperial habit and was granted by the
emperor as a special mark of honour. Afterwards the pope claimed the
exclusive right of bestowing it, and its possession became
restricted to metropolitans, and was considered necessary for the
exercise of their functions.

128 Deut., xxiii, 25.

129 The reference may be to the third General Council held at Ephesus in
431 A.D., at which the rule was laid down "that no bishop may act in
any province which has not always been subject to him."

130 This is Bede’s attempt to reconcile the discrepancy created by his
mistake in cc. 24 and 27.

131 Mellitus was consecrated Bishop of London in 604, and succeeded
Laurentius in the see of Canterbury in 619. Justus was consecrated
Bishop of Rochester in 604, and succeeded Mellitus as Primate in 624
(_v._ II, 3, foll.). Paulinus was the great missionary bishop of the
Northumbrians (_v._ II, 9, foll.). Rufinianus was the third abbot of
St. Augustine’s monastery (SS. Peter and Paul).

132 Cf. c. 27 _ad init._, note. Gregory’s symmetrical scheme was never
carried out, and it was not till 735 that York became a metropolitan

133 The date is obviously wrong, as it makes this letter earlier than
that in c. 29. The name of the month is omitted in two of the oldest
MSS. A satisfactory emendation (_v._ Plummer, _ad loc._) is
_Augustarum_ (for _Juliarum_), the last month in Maurice’s reign (XV
Kal. Aug., _i.e._ 18th July).

134 St. Luke, x, 17-20.

135 The Cathedral: Christchurch, Canterbury; but the original structure
was destroyed by fire about 1067. It was rebuilt by Lanfranc, and
enlarged under his successor, St. Anselm. Prior Conrad finished and
decorated the chancel, and the Church was dedicated in 1130. The
choir was again burnt down in 1174, but at once rebuilt. It was
completed in 1184. A new nave and transept were built between 1378
and 1410, and the great central tower was carried up to its present
height by the end of the fifteenth century.

136 Afterwards called St. Augustine’s Abbey.

137 Cf. c. 27 _ad init._

138 Ambleteuse, a small sea-port, about six miles to the north of

139 II, 2, 12; III, 1. He was the grandson of Ida, first king of
Bernicia (V, 24, and note). His father, Ethelric, seized Deira on
the death of Aelli (II, 1, p. 83), and Ethelfrid ruled over both the
Northumbrian kingdoms from 593 to 617.

140 Gen., xlix, 27.

_ 141 I.e._, the Dalriadic Scots, _v.s._ c. 1, and note. For Aedan and
his wars, _v._ Rhys, "Celtic Britain," pp. 157-159.

142 Perhaps Dalston, near Carlisle; more probably, on philological
grounds, Dawstane Rig in Liddesdale; _v._ Skene, "Celtic Scotland,"
I, p. 162.

143 For a detailed study of St. Gregory, _v._ "Gregory the Great, his
place in History and Thought," by F. Homes Dudden, B.D. (1905). The
oldest biographies are: (1) a Life of Gregory, written by a monk of
Whitby, probably about 713 A.D., recently discovered in a MS.
belonging to the Monastery of St. Gallen; (2) the Life by Paul the
Deacon, written towards the end of the eighth century; (3) the Life
by John the Deacon, written about the end of the ninth century.

144 Cf. I, 23. Gregory’s pontificate extended from 590 to 604.

145 1 Cor., ix, 2.

146 We cannot be certain which Felix is meant. The choice seems to lie
between Felix III, Bishop of Rome, 483-492, and Felix IV, 526-530.
Mr. Homes Dudden decides in favour of the latter, on the authority
of John the Deacon. In either case, the word _atavus_ cannot be used
in its strict sense.

_ 147 Apocrisiarius_, official representative of the see of Rome at the
Imperial Court of Constantinople (Latin: _responsalis_). Ducange
explains the word as: "nomen inditum legatis, quod xe1xbcx80xcfx80xcexbfxcexbaxcfx81xe1xbdxb7xcfx83xcexb5xcexb9xcfx82 seu
responsa principum deferrent."

148 His "Moralia," a commentary on the Book of Job, expounding it
historically, allegorically, and in its practical bearing on morals.
His other undoubtedly genuine works are those mentioned in the text:
Twenty-two homilies on Ezekiel; forty homilies on the Gospels for
the day, preached by himself at various times; the "Liber Regulae
Pastoralis," on the duties and responsibilities of the pastoral
office, a very widely studied book; four books of Dialogues, "De
vita et miraculis patrum Italicorum et de aeternitate animae," also
one of his most famous works; and fourteen books of letters to
various persons on many subjects. There are also some doubtful
works. Of these, the "Liber Sacramentorum" (_v. infra_), the "Liber
Antiphonarius" (a collection of Antiphons for Mass), and the Hymns
have been generally regarded as genuine, but recent research seems
to show that they cannot be attributed to Gregory. That he
introduced the "Cantus Gregorianus" can also probably be no longer
maintained; _v. infra_ c. 20, _ad fin._ note.

149 Patriarch of Constantinople, celebrated as a saint by the Greeks. He
was born at Theium in Phrygia, _circ._ 512 A.D. Towards the end of
his life he maintained the above theory in a book on the
Resurrection. He was opposed by Gregory, and the book was burnt by
order of the Emperor Tiberius, who, however, visited him when he
fell ill soon after, and received his blessing. He died on Easter
Day, 582, and the "heresy" was suffered to rest. (He is, of course,
not to be confused with Eutyches, author of the heresy known as
"Eutychianism," _v._ IV, 17.)

150 St. Luke, xxiv, 39.

151 Tiberius II, emperor of the East, 578-582 A.D.

152 I, 27.

153 A Synodical epistle, such as newly-elected bishops were in the habit
of sending to other bishops. The subject-matter is the same as that
of the "Pastoral Care."

154 Heb., xii, 6.

155 Job, xxix, 11-17.

156 The quotation is from the Vulgate (Job, xxxi, 16-18). The sentence
is finished in v. 22: "Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder

157 John the Deacon attributes to Gregory the "Liber Sacramentorum," or
Gregorian Sacramentary, a revision of the Gelasian Sacramentary. It
seems probable, however, that it is of much later date. Only a few
alterations in the Liturgy and in the ceremonial of the Mass are
proved to have been effected by Gregory. In the Canon of the Mass he
introduced two changes, viz.: (1) he inserted the words here quoted;
(2) he altered the position of the Lord’s Prayer (_v._ Homes Dudden,
pp. 264-271).

_ 158 I.e._, 604 A.D., cf. I, 23; II, 1, _ad init._, note.

159 Deira was the southern part of the province of Northumbria, the
northern part being Bernicia. Deira was bounded on the south by the
Humber; on the north, according to some authorities, by the Tyne,
according to others, by the Tees. The discrepancy doubtless arose
from the fact that the part between the two latter rivers was a
desert subject to no authority. To the west lay the British

160 The son of Yffi, the first king of Deira. The ancient pedigrees
trace the descent of the royal houses of Deira and Bernicia from two
sons of Woden.

161 This pope was either Benedict I (574-578) or Pelagius II (578-590),
the immediate predecessor of Gregory. The oldest extant life of
Gregory (_v.s._ p. 75, note) makes him Benedict, and is followed by
John the Deacon. If this is right, the incident related in the text
must be placed before Gregory’s departure to Constantinople in 579.
Paul the Deacon places it after his return in 585 or 586, and
asserts that the pope was Pelagius II.

162 The date of the synod is uncertain. It was probably about 602 or 603
A.D., after the arrival of Gregory’s "Responsa." The "nearest
province" must mean what we call South Wales, though it is possible
that the Britons of Cornwall were also represented. The scene of the
conference has been generally supposed to be Aust, on the Severn,
opposite Chepstow, and the name may possibly preserve the memory of
Augustine, though more probably it is derived from "Trajectus
Augusti" (Haddan and Stubbs). Other possible sites are Malmesbury
(Green, "Making of England"), and a spot called "the Oak," near
Cricklade, on the Upper Thames, which would be on the borders of the
Hwiccas and West Saxons (_v._ Plummer, _ad loc._).

163 The Hwiccas were in the present Gloucestershire and Worcestershire,
north-west of Wessex.

164 Cf. especially III, 25, and V, 21. (Other references are: II, 4, 19;
III, 3, 4, 26, 29; V, 15, 22.)

A full discussion of this involved question is beyond our scope.
Readers are referred to Plummer (Excursus on Paschal Controversy),
Bright, or Hunt. Here, the point at issue may be briefly stated. It
was regarded as essential by the Roman Church that Easter Day should
be kept on a Sunday, in the third week of the first month, _i.e._,
the month in which the full moon occurred on or after the vernal
equinox. The Celts observed the Feast on Sunday, and were,
therefore, not rightly called "Quartodecimans" (the name given to
those who observed it on the 14th of the month Nisan, the day of the
Jewish Passover, without regard to the day of the week). They
differed from the Romans in fixing the vernal equinox at March 25th,
instead of March 21st, and in their reckoning of the third week,
holding it to be from the 14th to the 20th of the moon inclusive.
The Roman Church originally reckoned it from the 16th to the 22nd,
but ultimately fixed it from the 15th to the 21st (cf. V, 21, p.

There was a further divergence in the "cycles" adopted to ascertain
the day in each year on which the Paschal moon would fall. The Celts
retained an old cycle of eighty-four years, while the Romans had
finally adopted one of nineteen. It is obvious that these
differences must necessarily lead to great divergence in practice
and consequently serious inconvenience. The real importance of this
and the other points of difference, settled afterwards at the Synod
of Whitby, lay in the question whether England was to conform to the
practice of the Catholic Church, or to isolate herself from it by
local peculiarities (cf. the reply of the British to Augustine:
"They would do none of those things nor receive him as their

_ 165 E.g._, Consecration of bishops by a single bishop, certain
differences of ritual (Gregory’s "Responsa" admit of some latitude
in these matters), and the tonsure, which was a more controversial
point (cf. III, 26, and V, 21). The Romans shaved only the top of
the head, letting the hair grow in the form of a crown. The Celts
shaved the whole front of the head from ear to ear, leaving the hair
at the back. A third method was the Oriental, which consisted in
shaving the whole head (cf. IV, 1).

166 The place of the second conference is not mentioned. It is generally
assumed that it was the same as that of the first. All attempts to
determine the names and sees of these bishops rest upon the most
uncertain evidence.

167 Probably Bangor-is-Coed, in Flintshire, from which it appears that
North Wales was represented at the second conference. The size and
importance of the monastery are inferred by William of Malmesbury,
writing in the twelfth century, from the extent of the ruins, which
were all that was left of it in his time.

168 Dunawd, or Dunod; Latin: Donatus (Rhys).

169 It is not known in what way the practice of the British Church
differed from that of the Romans in the rite of Baptism. It may have
been by the neglect of Confirmation as the completion of Baptism
(cf. "compleatis" in the text). Other suggestions are: single
immersion (but this was permitted in Spain); the omission of chrism,
an omission which was affirmed of the Irish at a later period; some
defect in the invocation of the Trinity. This conjecture rests on a
canon respecting Baptism established in the English Church from the
time of Augustine (quoted by Haddan and Stubbs from a letter of Pope
Zacharias to Boniface), which enforces the full invocation.

170 I, 34.

171 Chester, the seat of the Twentieth legion. "Legionum civitas, quae
nunc simpliciter Cestra vocatur." (William of Malmesbury.) Cf. note
on I, 7, p. 18. The date of the battle cannot be accurately fixed.
The "Annales Cambriae" give 613, but it may have been a few years
later. Bede only tells us that it was a considerable time after
Augustine’s death, which was probably in 604 or 605.

172 Cf. _supra_ p. 86, note 2.

173 Nothing certain is known of this Welsh prince.

174 I, 29, and note.

175 The site is covered by the present cathedral.

176 Rochester. The new see was closely dependent on Canterbury, and till
1148 the archbishop had the appointment to this bishopric.

177 Probably in memory of his monastery on the Coelian (cf. I, 23).
According to Rochester tradition, Ethelbert gave to the church some
land called Priestfield to the south of the city, and other lands to
the north. There exists a charter of Ethelbert to the city of
Rochester, believed to be genuine.

178 The year is not given, and is not certainly known. It is generally
assumed to have been 604 or 605.

179 This was in 613, by Laurentius. St. Augustine’s body was translated
on September 13th. It was moved again in the twelfth century and
placed under the high altar.

180 "Porticus"; variously translated: "porch," "aisle," "transept," and
"chapel." Ducange explains it as "aedis sacrae propylaeum in
porticus formam exstructum," and says it was also used improperly
for the sanctuary. Plummer (_ad loc._) says it means side chapel, as
often. The mention of the altar just below seems to support this
meaning (if, indeed, _haec_ refers to the "porticus," and not to the
church itself, as is assumed in the A.S. version).

181 For Theodore _v._ Preface, p. 2, note 2; IV, 1; V, 8, _et saep._;
and for Bertwald, V, 8. Cuthbert (740-758) was the first archbishop
buried in Christ Church, Canterbury, instead of at St. Augustine’s.

182 Cf. I, 27, _ad init._

183 Bede thus distinguishes them from the colony in Scotland. Cf. I, 1,
and note.

184 Ireland. Iona may be included, as may be inferred from a comparison
of III, 21 ("reversus est ad insulam Hii") with III, 24 ("ad
Scottiam rediit"). But Bede does not use "Scottia" for Scotland.

185 Bishop of Inver Daeile (Ennereilly) in Wicklow.

186 The most famous of the great Irish missionaries who laboured on the
Continent. He was born in Leinster about 540, went to Gaul about
574, founded three monasteries (Annegray, Luxeuil, and Fontaines),
worked for twenty years among the Franks and Burgundians, afterwards
among the Suevi and Alemanni, and finally in Italy, where he founded
a monastery at Bobbio and died there in 615. He was a vigorous
supporter of the Celtic usages and an active opponent of Arianism.
He instituted a monastic rule of great severity.

187 Nothing more is known of this council. The pope was Boniface IV,

188 610 A.D.

189 To commemorate the dedication the pope introduced into the Western
Church the Festival of All Saints, celebrated at first probably on
13th May. The Eastern Church had from early times observed a
Festival of All Martyrs, which became later the Festival of All
Saints, kept by them on the Sunday after Whitsunday.

190 As Bretwalda, or paramount sovereign (_v._ Stubbs, "Constitutional
History," I, pp. 162-163). Aelli and Ceaulin are not elsewhere
mentioned in this work. For Redwald, _v. infra_ c. 12; for Edwin, c.
9, foll.; for Oswald, III, 1, foll.; and for Oswy, III, 14, foll.

191 Anglesea and Man.

192 This is inaccurate and inconsistent with Bede’s own statement in V.
24. Augustine did not arrive in Britain till 597. The dates given
above, at the beginning of this chapter, are, however, probably
correct, if he means that Ethelbert died twenty-one years after the
dispatch of the mission from Rome.

193 The Witenagemot, the supreme assembly. This is the first recorded
instance of its legislative action. The "decisions" are the
so-called "dooms."

194 "—ing" is a Saxon patronymic.

195 It was Ethelbert’s second wife. Bertha had died before him.

196 Or Gewissae. The West Saxons, an antiquated term for them. Cf. III,
7: "Occidentalium Saxonum, qui antiquitus Gewissae vocabantur" (cf.
"visi" = west, in "Visigoth").

197 At Canterbury, to the east of the church of SS. Peter and Paul, to
which it was afterwards joined.

198 619 A.D.

199 Boniface V.

200 Their names are said to have been: Severus, Severianus, Victorinus,
and Carpophorus (v. addition to Bede’s Martyrology at 8th November).
They suffered martyrdom at Rome in the Diocletian persecution. A
church was erected in their honour on the Coelian, and on its site
stands the present church of the Santi Quattro Coronati.

201 St. Matt., xxviii, 20.

_ 202 I.e._, the reward is bestowed on that gift of faithful and
successful service which he might hand on in its results to
posterity. But the text is probably corrupt, and it is difficult to
extract sense from it.

203 St. Matt., x, 22.

204 He means Eadbald.

205 Ps. xix, 4.

206 Cf. c. 5, p. 94.

207 I, 29.

208 Except Kent. Cf. _supra_, c. 5.

_ 209 Ibid._

210 A term of endearment.

211 2 Cor., xi, 2.

212 2 Cor., iv, 4.

213 Apparently joint king with his father, Cynegils (III, 7). The
hegemony which the West-Saxon Ceaulin had possessed (_v.s._ c. 5)
had passed to Northumbria.

_ 214 I.e._, Easter Eve, April 19th, 626.

215 Supposed to be at Aldby, near Stamford Bridge, but other conjectures
have been advanced.

216 Twelve in some MSS. and in V, 24. The baptism was on the Eve of
Whitsunday (cf. V. 24, "in Sabbato Pentecostes"). The Eves of Easter
and Whitsunday were usual days for baptisms; the Roman Church tried
to limit them to these seasons, but Christmas and Epiphany were also
favourite times.

217 Boniface V, unless, as Dr. Bright suggests, the name is a scribe’s
error for Honorius, his successor. Boniface V died in October, 625.
Paulinus had only been consecrated in the preceding July, so it is
impossible that Boniface could have heard of Edwin’s delay in
receiving the faith; _v._ following letter (c. 11). But there is a
reference in the same letter to Eadbald’s conversion, the news of
which must have come in the time of Boniface rather than of
Honorius. The difficulty is not cleared up.

218 Reading "profert" for the impossible "proferetur." The style of this
letter is very involved and there seems to be a good deal of
corruption in the text.

219 Adopting the conjecture "propinemus."

220 The MSS. reading ("totius creaturae suae dilatandi subdi") yields no
sense here, but no satisfactory conjecture has been made.

221 From the Vulgate, Ps. xcv, 5 (Ps. xcvi, 5 in our Psalter).

222 Ps. cxiii, 5-8 (cxv in our Psalter).

223 Gen., ii, 24; St. Matt., xix, 5; St. Mark, x, 7; Eph., v, 31.

224 1 Cor., vii, 14, cf. 16.

225 Reading "conversione."

_ 226 I.e._, of East Anglia (Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire). Cf.
c. 5, _ad init._

227 I, 34, and note.

228 Cf. Verg. Aen., IV, 2, "caeco carpitur igni."

229 A tributary of the Trent. The battle is supposed to have been fought
near Retford, in Nottinghamshire, before April 12th, 617. Cf. Bede’s
statement that Edwin was baptized on April 12th, 627, in the
eleventh year of his reign (c. 14).

230 The Witenagemot.

231 Goodmanham, near Market Weighton, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

232 Cf. Verg. Aen., II. 502.

_ 233 I.e._, Easter Eve. Cf. c. 9, p. 104, note 3.

234 On the site now covered by York Cathedral. The little wooden oratory
was carefully preserved and adorned with gifts. The church has been
repeatedly rebuilt, and of the Saxon building nothing remains but
the central wall of the crypt.

235 Cf. _infra_ c. 20.

236 The newly-baptized wore white garments till the octave of the day of
their baptism, and appeared in church daily with lighted tapers and
accompanied by their sponsors.

237 For Wuscfrea and Yffi, _v. infra_ c. 20, p. 132.

238 Yeavering in Glendale, near Wooler in Northumberland. The name,
Adgefrin, is one of those (common in Anglo-Saxon) in which the
preposition is prefixed. "Æt" (Latin _ad_) and "in" are so used. The
idiom is preserved in the Latin. Cf. Ad Murum, Ad Caprae Caput (III,
21), Infeppingum _(ibid.), et saep._

239 The stream, in its upper reaches called the Bowmont Water, is still
called the Glen at Yeavering. It is a tributary of the Till.
Pallinsburn, in the neighbourhood of Coldstream, preserves by its
name the memory of similar baptisms by Paulinus.

240 Perhaps Millfield, near Wooler; but Mindrum and Kirknewton in the
same district have also been suggested.

241 Catterick Bridge (the Roman station Cataractonium, on the Watling
Street), near Richmond in the North Riding of Yorkshire.

242 Perhaps Doncaster. Other suggestions are Slack, near Huddersfield,
and Tanfield, near Ripon. The Anglo-Saxon version has Donafeld.

243 Leeds. The royal township (_villa_) is said to have been at

244 Elmet Wood, near Leeds.

245 Cf. IV, 17, 23. His father was Ethelhere, King of East Anglia (III,

246 For the patronymic, cf. _supra_ c. 5, p. 95, and note.

247 Cf. III, 18. He was Earpwald’s half-brother, and had been driven
into exile by his step-father, Redwald. Besides becoming a
Christian, he had acquired a taste for secular learning in the
ecclesiastical schools of Gaul.

248 Cf. III, 18, 20. "An important feature of this mission, as it was of
the Kentish, was the combination of education with religion, by
means of a school such as Sigbert had seen abroad, and as by this
time existed at Canterbury in connection with the house of SS. Peter
and Paul" (Bright, p. 143). The name of Felix is preserved in
Felixstowe, on the coast of Suffolk, and in Feliskirk, a Yorkshire

_ 249 Infra_ cc. 16, 18, _et saep._ He was a disciple of Pope Gregory,
"vir in rebus ecclesiasticis sublimiter institutus" (V, 19).

250 Dunwich, on the coast of Suffolk, once an important town, afterwards
partially submerged. The diocese was divided into two by Theodore,
and both sees became extinct during the Danish invasions. After
various vicissitudes, the seat of the East Anglian bishopric was
established at Norwich. Cf. IV, 5, p. 231, note 1.

251 Lindsey, the largest of the three divisions of Lincolnshire, was at
times Mercian, at times Northumbrian. At this time it appears to
have been dependent on Northumbria; cf. IV, 12, note.

252 Cf. _infra_ c. 18, _ad init._ The church which stands on the
probable site of this church is called St. Paul’s. The name has been
supposed to be a corruption of "Paulinus."

253 Partney, in Lincolnshire; afterwards it became a cell of Bardney

254 The place cannot be identified with certainty. Torksey, Southwell,
Newark, Fiskerton, and Littleborough have all been suggested.

255 Cf. _infra_ c. 20, _ad fin._

256 A form of standard adopted from the Romans. It was made of feathers
attached to a spear.

257 Cf. the instructions of Gregory: I, 29.

258 Bede does not mention the year of his death. The Saxon Chronicle
places it in 627, and this is supported by William of Malmesbury.
Smith places it in 630.

259 St. Matt., xi, 28.

260 St. Matt., xxv, 21.

_ 261 I.e._, the kings of Northumbria and Kent. For similar combined
action on the part of a Northumbrian and a Kentish king, cf. III,

_ 262 I.e._, Heracleonas, son of Heraclius and half-brother of
Constantine III; associated with them in the Empire.

_ 263 I.e._, Irish. For their error with regard to Easter, _v.s._ c. 4.

264 John IV, consecrated December 25th, 640. Severinus was Pope for a
few months only. Apparently (cf. _infra_) the Irish ecclesiastics
had consulted him about the Easter question.

265 Cf. _supra_ c. 2, p. 84, note. On the Paschal question the Council
of Nicaea passed no canon, but the understanding was established
that "all the brethren in the East, who formerly celebrated Easter
with the Jews, will henceforth keep it agreeably with the Romans and
ourselves and all who from ancient time have kept Easter as we";
_i.e._, that they should all keep Easter on the first day of the
week, but never on the 14th of the month Nisan, even when it fell on
a Sunday. The object of the rule was to avoid the day of the Jewish

266 Cf. I, 10, note.

267 These bishops have been identified as follows: Tomianus is Tomene,
Abbot and Bishop of Armagh; Columbanus is Colman, Abbot of Clonard
(also a bishop); Cromanus is Cronan, Bishop of Nendrum, or
Inishmahee; Dinnaus is probably Dima, Bishop of Connor; Baithanus
has not been identified with any certainty. With regard to the
priests the proposed identifications are more conjectural. Saranus
is a certain Saran Ua Critain. Two vice-gerents of the Papal see are
associated with the Pope elect in writing this letter. The
arch-presbyter and the "primicerius notariorum," with the
archdeacon, acted as vice-gerents during a vacancy, or in the
absence of the Pope (cf. Plummer _ad loc._).

268 This is not fairly stated. The Irish were not "Quartodecimans,"
_i.e._, did not insist on the celebration of Easter being on the
fourteenth of the moon. They only included that day as a possible
one for Easter (cf. _supra_ c. 2, p. 84, note 3).

269 Ps. li, 5, in our Psalter. The quotation is partly from the Vulgate,
partly from the "Roman" Psalter, _i.e._, Jerome’s revision of the
old Italic version.

270 Or Cadwallon, King of Gwynedd, in North Wales. His father Cadvan,
had sheltered Edwin during his exile. Afterwards, when Cadwallon
invaded Northumbria, Edwin defeated him and drove him from his
kingdom. Having regained it, Cadwallon now allied himself with
Penda, king of the Mercians (626- or 627-655) in a successful
attempt to shake off the Northumbrian supremacy.

271 Generally identified with Hatfield Chase, north-east of Doncaster.

272 C. 14, p. 119.

_ 273 Ibid._

274 His body was ultimately buried at Whitby; cf. III, 24, p. 190, and

275 For Eanfled, _v.s._ c. 9. For Yffi and Wuscfrea, c. 14.

276 Cf. c. 5.

277 He was a kinsman. Ethelberg’s mother, Bertha, was a daughter of
Charibert, King of Paris (cf. I, 25, note). His brother, Chilperic,
was Dagobert’s grandfather.

278 Cf. c. 8.

279 C. 16, and III, 25.

280 Cf. c. 14. The village cannot be identified. Akeburgh has been
suggested, the name being regarded as a corruption of "Jacobsburgh."

281 The "Cantus Romanus," brought to England by the Roman mission;
_i.e._, the style of Church music according to the use of Rome. The
theory that Gregory the Great was the founder of Gregorian music,
which superseded the old "Cantus Ambrosianus" everywhere in the West
except at Milan, must in all probability be abandoned. It seems to
be established that no change of any importance was made till nearly
a hundred years after Gregory’s time, and "the terms ‘Gregorianus,’
‘Ambrosianus Cantus,’ probably mean nothing more than the style of
singing according to the respective uses of Rome and Milan." (F.
Homes Dudden, "Gregory the Great," I, p. 274.)

282 Cf. II, 1, p. 82, note.

283 I, 34; II, 2, 12.

_ 284 I.e._, Osric and Eanfrid.

285 Cf. II, 20, _ad init._

286 "In oppido municipio." Commentators are agreed that Bede means York.
It was a Roman "Colonia," and is called a "municipium" by Aurelius
Victor, though whether Bede attaches any definitely Roman meaning to
the term seems doubtful. Ducange explains "municipium" as "castrum,"
"castellum muris cinctum."

287 From the death of Edwin (October 12th, 633), for Oswald’s reign is
reckoned as lasting nine years, including the "hateful year," and he
was killed August 5th, 642. Cf. _infra_ c. 9.

_ 288 I.e._, probably before the end of 634.

289 Not identified with any certainty, but probably the Rowley Water or
a tributary of it. It cannot be, as has been suggested, the Devil’s
Water, which is clearly distinguished from it in a charter of the
thirteenth century. Caedwalla must have fled southwards for eight or
nine miles after the battle (cf. next note).

290 For another instance of a name with an inner meaning, cf. II, 15.
The site of the battle is probably seven or eight miles north of
Hexham (v. next note), Oswald having taken up his position on the
northern side of the Roman wall between the Tyne and the Solway
(_i.e._, the wall attributed to Hadrian, cf. I, 12, p. 25, note).
According to tradition the battle was finally won at a place called
Halydene (Hallington?), two miles to the east.

291 Hexham. Wilfrid built a magnificent church there between the years
672-678 on land given by Ethelthryth, wife of Egfrid, king of
Northumbria. It became the see of a bishop in 678 when the great
northern diocese was subdivided by Theodore (_v._ IV, 12). Bede’s
own monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow was in the diocese of Hexham.
The bishopric became extinct in 821.

292 The place is still called St. Oswald’s, and a little chapel probably
marks the spot.

_ 293 I.e._, Irish.

294 Cf. II, 2, note on Paschal Controversy.

295 Bishop of Laodicea, _circ._ 284 A.D. According to Eusebius, he was
the first to arrange the cycle of nineteen years. The Canon quoted
by the Celts in support of their observance of Easter is proved to
be a forgery, probably of the seventh century and of British origin.

296 Probably they adopted Catholic customs about 633, after the return
of their delegates sent to consult the Roman Church on this question
in 631.

297 Cf. Preface, p. 4, note 3. The Celtic missionaries were generally
attracted to remote sites, and this, the first mission station of
the Celtic Church in Northumbria, was doubtless chosen for the
resemblance of its physical features to Iona. The constitution was
also modelled on that of Iona, with this difference, that it was an
episcopal see as well as a monastery. It was included in the
"province" of the Abbot of Iona. The Bishop and all the clergy were
monks, and Aidan himself was Abbot as well as Bishop.

298 "Sacerdotali," perhaps (but not necessarily here) = "episcopal," as
often. There may have been a number of the Irish non-diocesan
bishops in the mission.

299 Iona, a name supposed to have arisen from a mistaken reading of
_Ioua_, an adjectival form used by Adamnan (_v. infra_ note 4),
feminine, agreeing with _insula_, formed from the Irish name, I, Ii,
Hii, etc. (the forms vary greatly). Then "Iona" was fancifully
regarded as the Hebrew equivalent for _Columba_ (= a dove), and this
helped to preserve the name.

_ 300 I.e._, Irish.

301 For St. Columba, _v._ Dr. Reeves’s edition of the life by Adamnan,
Abbot of Iona, 679-704 (cf. V, 15, note). Authorities are divided
with regard to the date of his coming to Britain. Dr. Reeves and Mr.
Skene, following the Annals of Tighernach, decide in favour of 563.
For his name, "Columcille," cf. V, 9, note. He was of Irish birth,
connected with the Dalriadic Scots, and of royal descent on both
sides of his house. He was ordained priest at Clonard, but was never
a bishop. Many ecclesiastical and monastic foundations throughout
Ireland and Scotland are attributed to him. He travelled much in
both countries, visited Bruide (_v. infra_) at Inverness, and
founded churches all over the north of Scotland. He also worked
indefatigably in his own monastery of Iona. In his earlier years his
excitable, impatient temperament seems to have involved him in
various wars. He is said to have stirred up his kinsmen against the
Irish king, Diarmaid; and it has been supposed that his mission to
the Picts was undertaken in expiation of the bloodshed for which he
was responsible.

302 There is much that is legendary in the account of St. Ninias, and
Bede only professes to give the tradition. He was a Briton, probably
a native of Strathclyde. He studied at Rome and received episcopal
consecration there; came under the influence of St. Martin of Tours,
to whom he afterwards dedicated his church in Galloway, and returned
as a missionary to Britain. His preaching led to the conversion of
the Picts of Galloway and those to whom Bede alludes here as
situated to the south of the Grampians. Irish tradition, difficult
to reconcile with Bede’s statement that he was buried at Whitern,
tells that he spent the last years of his life in Ireland and
founded a church at Leinster. He was commemorated there on September
16th, under the name of Moinenn. The traditional date of his death,
September 16th, 432, has no authority.

303 Whitern, on Wigton Bay, so called from the white appearance of the
stone church, as compared with the usual wooden buildings. The
dedication must have been subsequent to St. Martin’s death, _circ._
397. The see was revived as an Anglian one in Bede’s own time (_v._
V. 23, p. 381). For the form of the name, "Ad Candidam Casam," cf.
II, 14, p. 119, note 5.

304 Bruide Mac Maelchon had defeated the Dalriadic Scots in 560 A.D. and
driven them back to Cantyre. Northwards his dominion extended as far
as the Orkneys and it is probable that it included the eastern
lowlands north of the Forth (cf. Rhys, "Celtic Britain"). Another
tradition (Irish) represents Conall, King of the Dalriadic Scots, as
the donor of Iona, but the earliest Irish authority (ninth or tenth
century) agrees with Bede.

305 The year in which he died, as well as the ultimate resting-place of
his relics, is uncertain. Dr. Reeves places his death in 597, the
year of St. Augustine’s landing.

_ 306 I.e._, in Irish. The place is Durrow in Leinster.

307 There was no diocesan episcopate in the early Irish Church; it was
organized on a monastic system. Bishops performed all episcopal
functions (ordination, etc.), but they lived in the monastery,
subject to the supreme authority of the abbot, who was aided in the
government by a council of senior monks. Bishops were also sent out
as missionaries. The functions of abbot and bishop might be combined
in one man, but the abbot, as such, could discharge no episcopal
duties. A great monastery was head of a "provincia" ("diocesis,"
"parochia"), and had many monasteries and churches dependent on it.

308 Cf. c. 27, IV, 3, 26; V, 9, 10, 22, 23, 24. Perhaps "sacerdos"
should be translated "bishop" here (_v. supra_ c. 3, note; _infra_
c. 27, note). Early writers allude to him as a bishop, _e.g._,
Alcuin, Ethelwulf. In the life of St. Adalbert, one of Wilbrord’s
companions (cf. V. 10), he is called "Northumbrorum episcopus."

_ 309 I.e._, they were not "Quartodecimans" (cf. II, 2, p. 84, note 3).

310 Phil., iii, 15.

311 Cf. II, 19. He is probably to be identified with the Segenus
mentioned there as one of the priests to whom Pope John’s letter was
addressed. He was Abbot of Iona, 623-652.

312 Hector Boethius gives his name as Corman.

313 Cf. I, 1, p. 6, note 2.

314 Bamborough (Bebbanburh, Bebburgh, Babbanburch, etc. There are many
forms of the name). It is uncertain who the queen was. Nennius says
she was the wife of Ethelfrid. His wife, Oswald’s mother, was Acha
(_v. infra_), but he may have been married twice. It was Ida, the
first king of Bernicia, who founded Bamborough (Sax. Chron.).

315 Cf. II, 5 _ad fin._, note.

316 Cf. note on Cuichelm, II, 9. Cynegils began to reign in 611 and
reigned about thirty-one years.

317 This account tells us substantially all that is known of him.
Additional details are either legendary or conjectural. He was made
a missionary ("regionary") bishop, _i.e._, had no fixed see assigned
to him.

318 II, 17, 18, 19, 20.

319 He was Archbishop of Milan, residing at Genoa. "Asterius ... like
his predecessors from 568, avoided contact with the dominant Arian
Lombards by residing within the imperial territory at Genoa"

320 Called Cyneburga by Reginald of Durham (Life of St. Oswald).

321 Dorchester, about nine miles from Oxford, near the junction of the
Thame and the Thames. The Abbey Church of SS. Peter and Paul stands
on the traditional site of Cynegil’s baptism. The see became extinct
on the retirement of Agilbert (_v. infra_), but there are some
grounds for believing that it was revived for a short time as a
Mercian see in 679 (_v._ p. 272, note), after which it again
disappeared till, in the ninth century, the Bishop of Leicester
moved his see to Dorchester.

322 IV, 12; V, 18. Haedde became bishop in 676 (Sax. Chron.). His see
was at Winchester. He removed the bones of Birinus, because
Dorchester had ceased to be an episcopal see. Winchester continued
to be the only West Saxon see till the diocese was again divided
(_v._ V, 18), when Daniel was established at Winchester, and Aldhelm
at Sherborne.

323 Winchester; _Gwent_ (Celtic) = a plain. This, the "old Church," as
distinguished from the present Cathedral, was built by Coinwalch on
his restoration to his kingdom. There are legends of early British
churches on the site, the first founded by "King Lucius" (I, 4), the
second dedicated to "St. Amphibalus" (I, 7, p. 15, note).

324 Cuichelm (_v._ II, 9, and note) had died before his father,

325 Bede reverts more than once to the subject of Anna’s pious
offspring, _v. infra_ cc. 8, 18; IV, 19, 20. He had four daughters:
Sexburg (c. 8, IV, 19, 22), Ethelberg (c. 8), Ethelthryth (IV, 19,
20; cf. IV, 3, 22), and Witberg (not mentioned by Bede); two
granddaughters, Earcongota (c. 8) and Ermingild, the wife of
Wulfhere of Mercia; all of whom entered convents, as did also his
step-daughter, Saethryth (c. 8).

326 Cc. 25, 26, 28; IV, 1; V, 19. The name is a Frankish form of the
English "Aethelbert." He was apparently consecrated in Gaul, but not
appointed to any diocese.

327 Cf. c. 28. It is not known why he was expelled (_v. infra_). There
is a tradition that he spent the last three years of his life at
Winchester as a penitent, doubtless for the act of simony related
below, but this is inconsistent with Bede’s statement that he
remained Bishop of London till his death.

328 Winchester; _v.s._ pp. 148-9, notes.

329 London was an East Saxon bishopric, but Wulfhere (_v._ c. 24, _ad
fin._) had acquired the supremacy over the East Saxons (_v._ c. 30).

330 Hlothere, consecrated 670. Apparently he was appointed by a West
Saxon Synod ("ex synodica sanctione"). Dr. Bright thinks the term is
used loosely for a Witenagemot.

331 II, 5-9, 20; V, 24.

332 Faremoutier-en-Brie (Farae Monasterium in Brige), founded _circ._
617 by Fara, or Burgundofara, a Burgundian lady of noble birth, said
to have been dedicated by St. Columba in her infancy. The monastery
was a double one, _i.e._, consisted of monks and nuns (cf. _infra_,
"many of the brethren").

333 Chelles, near Paris, founded by Clothilde, wife of Clovis I,
restored and enlarged by Bathild, wife of Clovis II (_v._ V, 19,

334 Andeley-sur-Seine, also founded by Clothilde, wife of Clovis I.

335 Cf. _supra_ c. 7, note on Anna.

_ 336 Ibid._

_ 337 Ibid._

_ 338 Ibid._

339 Cf. c. 1.

340 The place is commonly supposed to be near Oswestry in Shropshire
(_i.e._, Oswald’s Tree). There is a legend (related by Reginald)
which tells of a tree near the spot, to which a large bird carried
the king’s right arm from the stake (cf. c. 12 _ad fin._). The Welsh
name of the place, "Croes Oswallt" (Cross-Oswald), points to the
explanation that the "tree" was a wooden cross set up to mark the

341 642, _i.e._, nine years after the death of Edwin.

342 Reading _stramine subtracto_, on the authority of the oldest MSS.,
in which case we must assume (with Plummer) that _stramen_ is used
incorrectly for _stragulus_ in the sense of "saddle," or
"horse-cloth," from the classical use, _sternere equum_ = to saddle.
Cf. "stratus regaliter," c. 14. Later MSS. read _stramine substrato_
(= "spreading straw under him").

343 Wife of Ethelred of Mercia (cf. IV, 21), murdered by her own people
in 697 (V, 24).

344 Bardney, in Lincolnshire. Ethelred became first a monk, afterwards
abbot of the monastery.

345 "Sacrarium." Probably here = the cemetery. But we find it elsewhere
in Bede for the sacristy, and it is also used of the sanctuary.

346 Cf. c. 27; IV, 12.

347 Partney: cf. II, 16, and note. This is the only mention of its
abbot, Aldwin.

348 Aen. II, 1. Quotations from Vergil are frequent in Bede. Cf. II, 13,
_ad fin._; v. 12, p. 327.

_ 349 I.e._, matins (between midnight and 3 A.M.).

350 It was removed in 875, during the Danish invasions, in the coffin of
St. Cuthbert, and finally interred in the same tomb with the body of
Cuthbert at Durham, where it was found in 1827. Hence St. Cuthbert
is often represented holding St. Oswald’s head in his hands.

351 Bamborough: cf. c. 6, note.

352 Bishop of Hexham, 709-731: _v._ V, 20 (cf. also IV, 14; V, 19). He
was a much loved friend of Bede, many of whose works were undertaken
at his instigation. He was devotedly attached to Wilfrid, whom he
succeeded at Hexham. The "Continuation" says that he was expelled
from his see in 731, and he probably never regained it.

353 Cf. V. 19, p. 353. This was probably Wilfrid’s third journey to
Rome, undertaken in 703-704, for, at the time of his earlier journey
(in 678), when he spent the winter in Frisland, Wilbrord was not yet

354 The great missionary archbishop of the Frisians. He was trained as a
boy in Wilfrid’s abbey at Ripon, studied some time in Ireland, and
with eleven companions undertook in 690 the mission to Frisland
planned by Egbert: _v._ V, 10, 11. (For Egbert, _v._ c. 4, p. 143,
and note.)

355 The third of Ethelfrid’s seven sons (_v._ Sax. Chron.) to succeed to
the sovereignty. With his brothers he had spent his youth in
banishment among the Picts and Scots (_v.s._ c. 1).

356 Cc. 21, 24, 25, 28. The pupil and friend of Wilfrid. He was made
sub-king of Deira in place of Ethelwald (_v._ next note). The date
and circumstances of his rebellion are not known. A cross at
Bewcastle in Cumberland, erected in 670 or 671, commemorates him and
asks prayers for his soul.

357 Ethelwald, _v._ cc. 23, 24.

358 Cf. II, 3.

359 The first bishop of English birth. For Honorius, _v._ II, 15, note.

360 The apostate king of Deira, Osric, son of Aelfric, was first cousin
to Edwin (cf. c. 1). Oswald united the two Northumbrian kingdoms,
but at his death, Oswin, son of Osric, succeeded to Deira. He was
canonised, and his tragic death led him to be regarded as a martyr.

361 Not identified. The village ("a vico Cataractone") is probably the
one called Cataracta in II, 14 (_v._ note, _ad loc._).

_ 362 Comes_, A.S. _gesith_.

363 At Queen Eanfled’s request (_v._ c. 24, p. 191). The place is
generally identified with Gilling in the North Riding of Yorkshire.
For the form of the name, _v._ II, 14, p. 119, note 5.

364 In 651 A.D. Cf. V. 24.

365 Cf. c. 21.

366 II, 9, 20; III, 24, 25, 29; V, 19.

367 The monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow. Cf. IV, 18; V, 21 _ad init._,

368 Bamborough, _v._ cc. 6, 12.

369 The scene of St. Cuthbert’s hermit life: _v._ IV, 27, 28, 29; V, 1.
It is called the "House Island," and is the largest of the Farne
group of seventeen islands off the coast of Northumberland, opposite
Bamborough, famous in modern times for the rescue of a shipwrecked
crew by Grace Darling.

_ 370 v.l._ seventeen. The MS. authority is about equal; but cf. _infra_,
the statement that he died in the seventeenth year of his
episcopate, which seems to be correct.

371 651 A.D.; _v.s._ c. 14 _ad fin._

372 Cc. 21, 22, 25, 26, 27. For his character, _v._ c. 25 (though some
suppose the reference to be to Ronan). For Hii, _v._ c. 3, note.

373 The church and the buttress were evidently both of wood.

374 He probably refers to the "De Temporum Ratione," the longer of his
two chronological works. It treats the Paschal question at length.
But in the "De Temporibus" he also briefly discusses it.

375 Cf. c. 3.

376 II, 15, and note.

377 Cf. _ib._ The school was probably in the episcopal city of Dunwich,
though it has been maintained that it was the origin of Cambridge
University. For this there seems to be no authority except a
seventeenth century addition to this passage in a twelfth or
thirteenth century MS: "Grantebrig schola a Sigberto Rege."

378 Cf. c. 7, p. 149, and note.

379 For a full account of St. Fursa and his brothers, and other
companions mentioned in this chapter, _v._ Miss Margaret Stokes’s
"Three months in the Forests of France, a pilgrimage in search of
vestiges of the Irish Saints in France." Bede’s narrative is taken
from an extant ancient Latin life of St. Fursa (or Fursey), the
"libellus de vita ejus conscriptus" to which he refers several times
(_v. infra_).

380 St. Matt., xxv, 13.

381 Burgh Castle in Suffolk, where there was a Roman fortress,

_ 382 I.e._, Irish.

383 His monastery on Lough Corrib. It is obvious from the sequel that
this vision was prior to his journey to Britain, and is distinct
from the vision mentioned above.

384 Ps. lxxxiv, 7; (lxxxiii, 8, in the Vulgate). The reading is that of
the Vulgate and the Gallican Psalter: "Ibunt de virtute in virtutem:
videbitur Deus deorum in Sion."

_ 385 Ibid._

_ 386 I.e._, Ireland.

387 The monastery at Burgh Castle.

388 Fullan, or Foillan, was apparently a bishop (the others are called
"presbyteri"). He and Ultan after Fursa’s death (_circ._ 650) went
to South Brabant. Ultan founded a monastery at Fosse in the diocese
of Liège (then of Maestricht), and Fullan laboured in conjunction
with St. Gertrude in the double monastery of Nivelles. Ultan became
abbot, first of Fosse and later of Péronne. The name Gobban occurs
frequently in Irish Church History, Dicull occasionally. There is a
Dicull mentioned in IV, 13.

_ 389 I.e._, the Mercians; _v.s._ c. 18.

390 Clovis II, King of Neustria, 638-656. Ercinwald was his Mayor of the

391 Lagny on the Marne, near Paris.

392 Péronne on the Somme. The monastery founded there after his death
was called "Perrona Scotorum" from the number of Irish who resorted
to it.

_ 393 Circ._ 647. The rapid increase in the number of native bishops may
be seen from this chapter. The only one before Thomas was Ithamar
(cf. c. 14, p. 164).

394 The Fen country. The province included part of the counties of
Lincoln, Northampton, Huntingdon, and Cambridge.

395 Such changes of name were frequent: cf. Benedict for Biscop (IV,
18), Boniface for Winfrid (_v._ "Continuation"), Clement for
Wilbrord (V, 11), and cf. _infra_, "Deusdedit."

396 II, 15, note.

397 The first archbishop of English birth. He died in 664 (_v._ IV, 1).
His original name is said to have been Frithonas; Deusdedit is the
Latin form of Theodore. There was a Pope of the same name, 615-618
(_v._ II, 7). Similar names were common in the African Church,
_e.g._, "Adeodatus," "Habetdeus," "Quodvultdeus," "Deogratias."

398 Cf. c. 14, and note.

399 Cf. IV, 2. It has been supposed that he died of the plague of 664.
After his death the see was vacant for several years. It is
remarkable that he came of a race which had not yet become
Christian. The South Saxons continued to be pagan till Wilfrid
evangelized them, 681-686 (IV, 13).

400 For their origin, _v._ I, 15. Their country, which was subject to
Mercia, was the present Leicestershire. They are probably to be
identified with the Southern Mercians; _v._ c. 24, where we find
Peada confirmed by Oswy in the government of that people.

401 She caused his death by treachery: _v._ c. 24 _ad fin._

402 C. 14, _ad init._, and note.

403 After Alchfrid’s death, she took the veil and ruled the monastery of
Caistor (? Cyneburgacaster) in Northamptonshire. She was one of the
five children of the heathen Penda, who were canonized as saints.

_ 404 Comitibus ac militibus._ A.S. "geferum" (companions) and "king’s

405 Cf. c. 22. Variously identified with Walton and Walbottle, both near
Newcastle. For the preposition, _v._ II, 14, p. 119, note 5.

406 For Cedd, _v._ Preface, and _infra_ cc. 22, 23, 25, 26. The names of
Adda and Betti do not occur again. For Diuma: _v. infra_ and c. 24.

407 III, 15.

408 Gateshead on the Tyne, opposite Newcastle. For the preposition, cf.
II, 14, p. 119, note 5.

409 Penda was killed in 655. Diuma was probably consecrated in 656.

410 Not identified. Perhaps Repton (Reppington) in Derbyshire, where it
is supposed that Diuma had fixed his see. For the form of the name,
cf. II, 14, p. 119, note 5.

411 He probably returned at the time of the rebellion of Mercia in 658;
_v._ c. 24, _ad fin._ For Hii, _v.s._ c. 3, _ad fin._

412 Abbot of Gilling. He was a kinsman of Oswin: _v._ c. 24, p. 191.

413 Cf. II, 5. Since then, the East Saxons had remained pagan.

414 Sometimes surnamed the "Good." (He must not be confused with
Sigbert, King of the East Angles, II, 15, and III, 18, 19.) Sigbert
the Little was the successor of the three young kings who expelled
Mellitus (II, 5).

415 C. 21 and note.

416 C. 21 and note.

417 They must have been Celtic bishops, probably of the Irish Church and
subject to the authority of Iona. Cedd seems to have had no fixed
see. He is not called Bishop of London, like Mellitus.

418 Dr. Bright regards this organization as a foreshadowing of the
parochial system, which, however, was not thoroughly established
till long after.

419 Identified with the Roman military station, Othona, on the
Blackwater, formerly called the Pant, in Essex. The town is now

420 Tilbury.

_ 421 Comes._ A.S. "gesith."

422 He was his brother probably. But the relationships of these East
Saxon kings are very difficult to determine.

423 Rendlesham in Suffolk.

424 Distinguish from Ethelwald, or Oidilwald, sub-King of Deira (_v.s._
c. 14, and _infra_ cc. 23, 24). Ethelwald, King of the East Angles,
succeeded his brother, Ethelhere, who was the successor of Anna (cf.
_supra_ cc. 7, 18, 19), and was killed in the battle of the Winwaed
(_v. infra_ c. 24).

425 Cf. _supra_ c. 14; _infra_ c. 24. Apparently he succeeded Oswin as
sub-King of Deira.

426 Isaiah, xxxv, 7.

427 Lastingham (_v._ Preface). Cedd was its first abbot, though it was
not in his own diocese.

428 Doubtless only one at a time. The "Provost" is the prior of later
times. The charge of the monastery would devolve upon him while Cedd
was absent in his diocese.

429 Or, as he is commonly called, St. Chad, the greatest of this
remarkable group of brothers; _v._ Preface and _infra passim_.

430 Ythancaestir, or Tilbury (_v._ c. 22).

431 Oswald; _v.s._ c. 9.

432 "Ealdormen," Green, "Making of England," p. 301. But they probably
included many British chiefs (_v._ Nennius, and cf. _infra_ "duces

433 Oswy’s younger son. He succeeded his father in 670 or 671 (_v._ IV,
5, and for the events of his reign, IV, V, _passim_).

434 The wife of Penda.

435 Cc. 14 and 23. The reason for his conduct is not explained. Probably
he had hoped to establish his claims on Northumbria through Penda’s
assistance, but shrank from actually fighting against his country.

436 Cf. c. 22, _ad fin._, note. How he gave occasion for the war is not

437 The river has not been identified, and there is great uncertainty
even with regard to the district. Below, Bede says that Oswy
concluded the war in the district of "Loidis," by which he must mean
Leeds, as in II, 14, and most commentators adopt this view. In this
case, the river may be the Aire, or more probably the Went, a
tributary of the Don. Others believe the district to be the
Lothians, following the account in Nennius, who describes Oswy as
taking refuge before the battle in a city called Iudeu, supposed to
be either Edinburgh or Carriden (cf. I, 12, note), and the river has
been supposed to be the Avon in Linlithgow.

438 She is mentioned as joint-abbess with her mother, Eanfled, of the
monastery of Whitby (IV, 26). Eddius calls her "sapientissima
virgo," "semper totius provinciae consolatrix optimaque
consiliatrix." Her influence helped to restore Wilfrid to the
bishopric. She was the friend of St. Cuthbert, who is said to have
wrought a miraculous cure on her behalf. It was to her that he
prophesied the death of her brother Egfrid (IV, 26, p. 285, note).

439 Hartlepool in the county of Durham (cf. IV, 23).

440 For the main facts of her life, _v._ IV, 23. She was Abbess of
Whitby at the time of the Synod (c. 25).

441 Whitby. It was a mixed monastery (cf. IV, 23).

442 The ancient life of Gregory the Great, by a monk of Whitby, tells
how Edwin’s body was translated thither from the place where he
fell. For the fate of his head, cf. II, 20.

443 In 655: cf. V, 24 (death of Penda).

444 Cf. c. 21, where, however, Lindsey is not mentioned. For the
successive conquests of Lindsey by Northumbria and Mercia, _v._ IV,
12, p. 243, note. Though it must have passed to Northumbria after
Oswy’s victory, it was still apparently included in the Mercian

445 C. 21, _ad fin._ and note. "Scottia," as usual, means Ireland, which
includes Iona (cf. II, 4).

446 Cf. c. 14.

_ 447 I.e._, he confirmed Peada in the government conferred on him by his
father, Penda, if we may assume the Southern Mercians to be
identical with the Middle Angles: cf. c. 21, p. 180.

448 Alchfled, Oswy’s daughter: _v.s._ _ibid._

449 He has been already mentioned, cc. 7, 21. He was a vigorous ruler;
he freed Mercia from Northumbria, reconquered Lindsey, established
his supremacy over the East Saxons (cf. c. 30), and curtailed the
power of Wessex. His attempt, however, to extend his power to the
north of the Humber ended in 675 in his disastrous defeat by Egfrid,
King of Northumbria (IV, 12) and his death followed immediately
after. He was the first Christian king of all Mercia, and he was
zealous in putting down idolatry (Florence of Worcester).

450 Cf. _supra_ and c. 21.

451 He succeeded in 662. Cf. c. 30.

452 C. 23, p. 187, and note.

453 IV, 3, 5, 6. He was deposed by Theodore for some act of disobedience
not known (IV, 6), and went to the Continent, where, travelling in
Neustria, he was mistaken for Wilfrid and cruelly ill-treated by the
emissaries of Ebroin (_v._ V, 19, note), "errore bono unius syllabae
seducti," as Eddius, the biographer of Wilfrid, remarks.

_ 454 I.e._, Ireland.

455 He succeeded Cuthbert as Bishop of Lindisfarne; _v._ IV, 29, 30.

456 Cf. II, 2, p. 84, note 3.

457 Nothing certain is known of him.

458 II, 16, 20; IV, 2.

_ 459 I.e._, Iona: cf. IV, 4, _ad init._ Colman succeeded in 661.

460 For his life: _v._ V, 19.

461 Really Annemundus. He was Archbishop of Lyons. Cf. V, 8, note on
Godwin. He is confused with his brother Dalfinus, Count of Lyons:
_v._ V, 19, p. 348, note.

462 Ripon. For the preposition, cf. II, 14, p. 119, note 5. The
monastery was first given to Eata (_v._ c. 26), to be organized by
him, and among the monks he brought with him from Melrose was
Cuthbert (cf. IV, 27). They were forced to retire in 661, but after
the Synod of Whitby they conformed to the Catholic rules.

463 Cf. c. 7, where Bede’s summary account obscures the sequence of
events. Here he is still called Bishop of the West Saxons. It is
probable that he had retired from Wessex by this time, but had not
yet gone to Gaul. He did not become Bishop of Paris before 666, for
in that year we find his predecessor, Importunus, witnessing a
"privilegium" for a nunnery at Soissons.

464 We hear nothing more of this priest.

465 C. 24. The etymology is generally considered impossible. But cf.
Bright, "Early English Church History," p. 213.

466 C. 24. After the Synod it appears that she conformed to the Catholic
usages. But she continued to be an opponent of Wilfrid till the end
of her life.

467 Cc. 21, 22, 23.

468 The practice of the churches of Asia, traditionally derived from St.
John, was to disregard the day of the week and observe as Easter Day
the 14th of the month Nisan. Therefore the claim to the authority of
St. John, advanced by the Celts, was inaccurate and gives some
colour to the charge, often brought against them, of being

469 Acts, xvi, 3.

_ 470 Ibid._, xxi, 26.

_ 471 Ibid._, xviii, 18.

_ 472 Ibid._, xxi, 20.

473 Cf. II, 19, note.

474 Cf. c. 3, note.

475 St. Matt., xvi, 18-19.

476 Cf. II, 2, p. 85, note 1.

477 To Iona; _v._ IV, 4, _ad init._

478 Fourth Bishop of Lindisfarne and the last of the Irish bishops in
that see. He died of the plague in 664: _v._ c. 27.

479 Cf. c. 3, p. 139, and note.

_ 480 I.e._, Ireland.

481 IV, 12, 27, 28; V, 2.

482 Old Melrose, "Quod Tuidi fluminis circumflexu maxima ex parte
clauditur," V, 12. The more famous monastery is of later date and is
to the west of the older site.

483 Cf. c. 3, _ad fin._ (where, however, there is only a general
allusion to the instruction of English children). It has been
suggested that they may have been redeemed from slavery. Cf. c. 5,
p. 145.

484 Really on the 1st.

485 Called the "Yellow Pest" from the colour of its victims. It was a
bubonic plague; it probably came from the East and was the same as
that which raged in Europe in Justinian’s reign. There were several
outbreaks in England in the seventh century, but this was the most
virulent. For subsequent visitations, cf. IV, 7, 14, 19.

486 Cf. c. 26, p. 201.

487 The Saxon Chronicle has "on Wagele," which is supposed to be
Whalley, on the borders of Lancashire, Cheshire, and Yorkshire, but
the name varies greatly in different chroniclers. Smith considers
that Bede’s form "Paegnalaech" or "Paegnalech" points to Finchale
(Wincanheale, in Simeon of Durham, or Pincahala), near Durham.

488 Cf. c. 4.

489 Cf. c. 11; IV, 12.

490 Said, on doubtful authority, to be Melfont, or Mellifont, in County

491 "Acceptum sacerdotii gradum," A.S. "biscophade onfeng" = he received
the episcopate. Cf. c. 4, note.

492 In 664. This was the young "Fainéant" king of Neustria, Clothaire
III. Wilfrid was probably sent abroad at his own request. Doubtless
he desired to have the canonical number of three bishops at his
consecration, and Boniface of Dunwich (c. 20; IV, 5) was the only
prelate in England whose orders he would have regarded as entirely
satisfactory, for Wini might be considered a usurper, and Cedd and
Jaruman had been consecrated by schismatics. Archbishop Deusdedit
was dead (III, 20, note) and so probably was Damian of Rochester.

493 He was Wilfrid’s friend: _v.s._ c. 25, pp. 194-5.

494 Cf. _ibid._, note.

495 Compiègne, a royal "villa." For the preposition, _v._ II, 14, note.
The ceremony was a specially magnificent one, Wilfrid being carried
in a golden chair by twelve bishops in choral procession, according
to an ancient custom of the Gallican Church.

496 Preface, III, 23, _et saep._ Why Oswy, who had consented to
Wilfrid’s consecration (_v._ V, 19) acted in this manner is not
clear. Probably it implies that the Celtic party, during Wilfrid’s
prolonged absence, had to some extent recovered their ascendency;
and, if it was at this time that Alchfrid (who is not heard of
again) rebelled against his father (_v.s._ c. 14, _ad init._) and
was deprived of his kingdom, Wilfrid would have lost his warmest

497 He retired to Ripon from Lindsey, of which he was the first separate
bishop, when Ethelred recovered that province for Mercia in 679. But
cf. IV, 12, _ad fin._, note, for the statement that he was "Bishop"
of Ripon.

498 King of Northumbria, _v.s._ c. 24, p. 188, note 3.

499 It does not appear why Boniface (Bertgils) of Dunwich, Bishop of the
East Angles, 652-669 (c. 20, IV, 5), is ignored. Ceadda’s
consecration was afterwards regarded as of doubtful validity and was
completed by Theodore (_v._ IV, 12). The British (probably Cornish)
bishops were schismatical, and Wini’s position was irregular.
Moreover, the see to which Ceadda was consecrated was not vacant.

500 IV, 1.

501 Consecrated in 657—died in 672.

502 Isaiah, xi, 10.

_ 503 Ibid._, xlix, 1.

_ 504 Ibid._, 6.

_ 505 Ibid._, 7.

_ 506 Ibid._, 8-9.

_ 507 Ibid._, xlii, 6-7. The readings are from the Vulgate.

508 It has not been stated that Oswy and Egbert asked the Pope to
provide an archbishop, failing Wighard. But this seems to be implied
in IV, 1: "episcopum, quem petierant." Or, as is generally supposed,
Vitalian may have arbitrarily assumed this to be the intention of
their letter.

509 There were several martyrs of the name of Laurentius, but the best
known is the Roman deacon, St. Laurence, who suffered at Rome in 258
A.D. He was buried in the Via Tiburtina, where a church dedicated to
him is said to have been founded by Constantine the Great. On the
site stands the present Church of S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura, the
older part of which dates from the sixth century at least. One of
Aldhelm’s foundations (V, 18) was a little church dedicated to St.
Laurence at Bradford-on-Avon in 705, probably the small Saxon church
which still stands there. There were many martyrs named John and
Paul, and more than one Gregory. St. Pancras was a boy-martyr, a
Phrygian by birth, who suffered at Rome in 304 A.D., when he was
only fourteen years of age. His martyrdom was widely celebrated, and
miraculous powers were attributed to his tomb outside the walls of
Rome. An old British church at Canterbury, which had been desecrated
by the heathen invaders, was restored for Christian use and
dedicated to St. Pancras by Augustine.

510 Eanfled, _v.s._ c. 15 and note.

511 St. Matt., vi, 33.

512 Cf. IV, 6. Sighere was the son, Sebbi the brother, of Sigbert the
Little (_v.s._ c. 22, _ad init._).

513 C. 22, _ad fin._

514 C. 24, _ad fin._; IV, 3.

515 664 A.D.: cf. III, 27, _ad init._

516 Cf. III, 26, _ad init._

517 Cf. III, 20 and note.

518 Cf. III, 8; V, 19, p. 348.

519 Cf. III, 29. From Bede’s "History of the Abbots" we learn that he
was a pupil of Pope Gregory’s Roman disciples in Kent.

520 III, 29.

_ 521 Ibid._, and note.

522 Cf. Preface, p. 2, note 3.

523 He was probably chaplain of the nunnery.

524 Cf. Preface, p. 2, note 2.

525 Cf. Bright, cc. 252, 253. He sees here an allusion to the
Monothelite controversy.

_ 526 I.e._, the Eastern, which consisted in shaving the whole head. This
method was supposed to have the authority of St. Paul (an idea
derived from Acts, xviii, 18), and of St. James "the Less." Cf. II,
2, p. 85, note.

527 They were accompanied by Benedict Biscop (_v._ c. 18) whom Vitalian
had asked to act as their guide and interpreter ("Hist. Abb.," § 3).

528 Archbishop of Arles, 658-675.

529 From this it has been inferred that Arles belonged to Neustria. The
king was Clothaire III, king of Neustria. Ebroin had succeeded
Ercinwald (_v._ III, 19, _ad fin._) as Mayor of the Palace. He was
murdered in 681.

530 III, 7, 25, 26, 28.

531 Called also Emmo, or Haymo; Bishop of Sens, 658-675.

532 Or Burgundofarus, Bishop of Meaux, 626-672. He was brother of Fara,
mentioned III, 8.

533 "Praefectus."

534 Etaples in Picardy; "Quentae (or ‘ad Quantiam’) vicus" = the village
at the mouth of the Canche. It was an important commercial town and

535 SS. Peter and Paul (St. Augustine’s): cf. I, 33. Theodore had placed
Benedict Biscop over it while Hadrian was still abroad.

536 II, 16, 20.

537 Eddius, the biographer of Wilfrid. He mentions himself ("Life of
Wilfrid," Chapter XIV) as a "cantor."

538 Bede can scarcely mean to impeach the orthodoxy of the bishops of
native birth prior to Wilfrid. Probably the reference is mainly to
the prominent part he took in bringing about the decision at Whitby.

539 Cf. III, 28, note.

540 Cf. III, 20, and note.

541 Cc. 5, 12. Florence of Worcester mentions a Putta, Bishop of
Hereford, who died in 688, but it is very doubtful whether he can be
identified with the above. Bede’s words in Chapter 12 do not imply
that Putta, Bishop of Rochester, became Bishop of Hereford. Hereford
was not one of the five sees into which Florence tells us that
Theodore divided the great Mercian bishopric, but it appears soon
after as a separate see for Hecana (Herefordshire). Possibly Putta,
who is traditionally reckoned as its first bishop, may have acted as
Sexwulf’s deputy there.

542 Cf. II, 20 _ad fin._, note.

543 III, 24, 30. He had probably died two years before Chad’s
appointment, _i.e._, in 667, and the see had been vacant in the
interval, for Wilfrid, then in retirement at Ripon, is said (by
Eddius) to have discharged episcopal functions for the Mercians.

544 Lastingham. Cf. Preface, p. 3; III, 23, 28.

545 Lindsey at this time belonged to Mercia. Cf. c. 12, p. 243, note 5.

546 Smith believed this place to be Barton-on-Humber. It is now
generally identified with Barrow in Lincolnshire. For the
preposition, cf. II, 14, p. 119, note 5.

547 It had not previously been an episcopal see, though Wulfhere had
wished to establish Wilfrid there during the vacancy in the Mercian
bishopric (p. 218, note 4). When the bishopric of Mercia and Lindsey
was subdivided by Theodore in 679, Lichfield remained the see of the
bishopric of Mercia proper. In 787, under Offa, King of Mercia, with
the consent of Pope Hadrian, it was raised into a separate
archbishopric for Mercia and East Anglia, but in 802 Canterbury was
re-established as the sole archbishopric for the Southern Province.
The popular derivation of the name, Lichfield ("Field of the Dead")
is from _lic_ = a corpse, and the place is traditionally connected
with the martyrdom of a great number of British Christians. Another
derivation, however (from _leccian_ = to irrigate), points to the
meaning "the watered field."

548 Eccl., iii. 5.

549 A stone which is believed to have formed part of Owini’s tomb was
found at the end of the eighteenth century at Haddenham, near Ely,
and is now in Ely Cathedral. It bears the inscription, "Lucem tuam
Ovino da Deus et requiem. Amen" (Mayor and Lumley).

550 Cf. c. 19.

551 Ps. xviii, 13, 14.

552 III, 4, 27.

553 He is said to have been Abbot of Bardney.

554 In 672. The original Church of St. Mary at Lichfield, said to have
been built by Oswy in 656-657, was replaced about 1140 by the new
Cathedral, and Ceadda’s relics were soon after removed to it.

555 Cf. III, 24, _ad fin._, note.

556 Cf. III, 26, _ad init._

557 Iona. Cf. III, 3, _ad fin._, note.

558 Innisboffin, off the coast of Mayo. The annals of Ulster give 667 as
the date of his retirement to it.

559 Mayo, called from this settlement, "Mayo of the Saxons." It
continued to be an English monastery (_v. infra_), and after awhile
adopted those usages, to avoid which Colman had left England. It
became an episcopal see, which in 1559 was annexed to the
archbishopric of Tuam.

560 Hertford.

561 It seems probable that we ought to read 671; cf. Plummer _ad loc._

562 Oswy is the last king in Bede’s list of those who held an "imperium"
(_v._ II, 5). With the rise of Mercia under Wulfhere (III, 24), the
supremacy of Northumbria had virtually passed away. After Oswy’s
death, the position of Northumbria was an isolated one, and it was
by conquests over Britons, not Englishmen, that Egfrid enlarged the
bounds of his kingdom.

563 In his youth he had been a hostage at the court of Queen Cynwise,
wife of Penda (III, 24, p. 188).

564 This is of supreme importance as the first English provincial
Council and the first national assembly of the English. The rule
laid down at Nicaea and confirmed by later councils was that
provincial synods should meet twice a year to settle all
ecclesiastical matters which affected the province as a unity.

565 24th September, 673, falls in the first indiction, whether the
Pontifical or the "Caesarean" system is meant (_v._ Haddan and
Stubbs, III, 121). Bede himself used the Caesarean indiction, of
which we get the first notice in his "De Temporum Ratione." It began
on 24th September. It does not, however, follow that Theodore also
used it. The oldest scheme, viz., the Constantinopolitan, began on
1st September; the Roman or Pontifical, on New Year’s Day as
received at the time, _i.e._, 25th December, 1st January, or 21st
March. For Indictions, _v._ "Dictionary of Christian Antiquities."
They were cycles of fifteen years, a mode of reckoning dates which
appeared in the fourth century, based upon the Imperial fiscal
system, but which came to be used irrespective of taxation. "1st
indiction" stands for "1st year of the indiction."

566 Of the six suffragans only four were present. Wilfrid was at this
time (669-678) in possession of his see; why he did not appear in
person is not explained. Possibly his action foreshadows the future
troubles between him and Theodore. Wini, Bishop of London, was still
alive (_v._ III, 7, and