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Biography of The Venerable Bede

Painting of the Venerable Bede

The Venerable Bede was a seventh/eighth century scholar of history and the church.

When and Where was the he Born?

673.

Family Background:

Nothing is known of the Venerable Bede’s parentage. He was taken to the monastery of St. Peter at Wearmouth at the age of 7 by the Abbott, St. Benedict Biscop.

Education:

Educated by Monks at Wearmouth and Jarrow.

Timeline of the Venerable Bede:

Bede was famous for popularising a new dating system, which began events from the birth of Christ. (Anno Domini or AD).

680: Bede enters St. Peter’s Monastery at Monkwearmouth at the age of seven.

St Peter's Church, Sunderland
St Peter’s Church, Monkwearmouth Sunderland
. The Abbey buildings where Bede studied were to the right of the church as we look at it and although long gone, the recent floodings from the River Wear have shown up outlines of the foundations. The porch in the tower would have been used by Bede himself
 (copyright Anthony Blagg)

686: The Venerable Bede goes to Jarrow, where he spends much of the rest of his life.

703: He is ordained as a priest and is associated with the Monastery of St. Paul at Jarrow. He teaches Greek, Latin Hebrew and Theology.

He spends much of his time in prayer and writing. He wrote works on the lives of five abbots and 114 saints as well as several biblical commentaries, hymns, verses and books. He also wrote works on astronomy, medicine, physical science and grammar. He made several commentaries on the Old and New Testaments and translated the Gospel of St. John into Anglo-Saxon just before his death.

(836): The Synod of Aachen posthumously awarded him the title “Venerable”.

(1899): Bede was Canonised: (made a Saint by the Pope).

Written Works:

725: “De Temporum Ratione” about the reckoning of the date for Easter.

731: “Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum” (Ecclesiastical History of the English People). (This work earned him the title of the “Father of English History”).

Various: (Bede wrote many other works particularly on books of the Bible throughout his life such as “On the Revelation of St. John” in three volumes. These are listed at the back of “Anglorum”).

(He introduced the custom of dating events from the birth of Christ).

When and Where did he Die?

26th May 735, Jarrow, North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear. He collapsed on the floor of his monk’s cell after singing “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit”. Cuthbert, one of his disciples, wrote a letter stating that he fell ill just before Easter and “suffered breathlessness without pain” which got worse and his “feet swelled” two days before he died.

Age at Death:

63.

Venerable Bede Statue
Statue to the Venerable Bede erected in the Twentieth Century on the seafront at Roker, Sunderland (copyright Anthony Blagg)

Marriage:

Never married.

Bede Statue detail
Carving on the statue to Bede, 
Sunderland showing Bede’s last Moments (copyright Anthony Blagg)

Site of Grave:

Originally at Jarrow but his bones were moved in the Eleventh Century to the Galilee Porch, Durham Cathedral, Durham, County Durham, England.

Places of Interest:

COUNTY DURHAM:

Durham Cathedral.

Durham Cathedral
Durham Cathedral with the tower under renovation (copyright Anthony Blagg)

TYNE AND WEAR:

St Peter’s Church, Monkwearmouth, Sunderland.
The Bede Monastery Museum, Jarrow.
Statue to Bede on the seafront at Roker.

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