The Venerable Bede

Time required – 60 minutes

The surviving 7th century foundation stone of St. Paul's Church, Jarrow
The surviving 7th century foundation stone of St. Paul's Church, Jarrow which Bede may have helped to build.

This is a wonderful account of the 'Father of English History'. The presentation describes the life and work of the remarkable Northumbrian monk who laid the foundation for our knowledge of the country’s history.

The light and beautifully illustrated material focuses on North-East England in the 7th and 8th centuries, when the Venerable Bede completed his most famous manuscript. It shows the esteem in which he was held by men like King Offa and Alfred the Great who had Bede's work translated from Latin into 'Old English'.

The talk indicates possible connections with other renowned manuscripts that were written around the same time and includes photographs of artefacts and buildings that have survived from the days when Bede walked the corridors and paths. The presentation explores the issues that inspired this highly intelligent man and describes how he and Pope Gregory the Great were very influential in selecting 'England' as the most appropriate name for the collection of disparate regions.

Most of the talk concerns Bede's 'Ecclesiastical History of our Island and Nation', which remains vitally important to our understanding of the 5th and 6th century invasions of the Anglo-Saxons. There will be a description of his beautiful commentary on 'Caedmon's Hymn' which is one of the oldest surviving texts in the Anglo-Saxon language.

The presentation finishes with a description of Bede’s death and eventual burial followed by an account of the trials and tribulations endured by his famous manuscript between the 9th and 16th centuries.

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