Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England, ed. by A.M. Sellar, , at sacred-texts.com
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.
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. 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, 5.]
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.
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 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, 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 Whit-Sunday. [lb.]
In the year 627, King Edwin was baptized, with his nation, at Easter. [II, 14.]
In the year 633, King Edwin being killed, Paulinus returned to Kent. [II, 20.]
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, Peada, 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, 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. (Not in the narrative)
In the year 698, Berctred, an ealdorman of the king of the Northumbrians, was slain by the Picts. (Not in the narrative)
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.]
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. (Not in the narrative)
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, 23.1
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, the servant of Christ, and priest of the monastery of the blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul, which is at Wearmouth and Jarrow, 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, and afterwards by Ceolfrid, 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, 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:
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.
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, Ecciesiastes, 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, (ie Paul) 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" ; one of the Reason of Leap-Year, and one of the Equinox, according to Anatolius. (see III,3)
Likewise concerning the Histories of Saints: I translated the Book of the Life and Passion of St. Felix, Confessor, from the metrical work of Paulinus, into prose; the Book of the Life and Passion of St. Anastasius, 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, (see IV, 26-32) 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, 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.
(ie a continuation of the annotated history of Bede, written by a later hand, except, perhaps entries under the years 731, 732, 733 and 734 which Mr Plummer believes were added by Bede himself.)
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 was made Bishop of York, in the room of Wilfrid. [Cynibert Bishop of Lindsey died.]
[In the year of our Lord 733, Archbishop Tatwine, having received the pall by Apostolic authority, ordained Alwic and Sigfrid, 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.
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 after Paulinus, and he ordained Frithbert, and Frithwald bishops; and the priest Bede died.
In the year 737, an excessive drought rendered the land unfruitful; and Ceolwulf, voluntarily receiving the tonsure, left the kingdom to Eadbert.
In the year 739, Edilhart, king of the West-Saxons, died, as did Archbishop Nothelm.
In the year 740, Cuthbert 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, was consecrated in his stead. Arnwin and Eadbert were slain.
In the year 741, a great drought came upon the country. Charles, king of the Franks, died; and his sons, Caroloman and Pippin, 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, 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.
In the year 753, in the fifth year of King Eadbert, on the 9th of January, 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, 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 began his reign; Cyniwulf, 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, 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, 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 was also slain.
In the year 765, King Aluchred came to the throne.
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.