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Who's Who in Medieval History and the Renaissance

The Venerable Bede

c. 672-735

Writer & Historian


Britain: England

A monk, scholar, teacher, and Doctor of the Church, Bede (also spelled Baeda or Beda) was the first English historian and is most well known for his extensive Ecclesiastical History of England, which would later serve as a major source for the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. His work had a significant influence on English and European scholarship.

Brought to the monastery of St. Peter at Wearmouth at age seven, Bede would move to Jarrow, the monastery where he would spend most of his life, by the year 685. He was ordained a deacon at age 19 and a priest at age 30. By the year 703 he had written his first treatise.

Although Bede wrote extensively about history, saints' lives, and chronology, he also wrote allegorical interpretations of scripture in both prose and verse. The method of dating events relative to Christ's birth (A.D. and B.C.) was popularized with Bede's works. His student Egbert, who became Archbishop of York, founded a school at York in which Bede's influence remained strong and which would later influence Alcuin.

Except for a few trips to Lindisfarne and York, Bede stayed at Jarrow until he died and was buried there. His remains were later moved to the Galilee Chapel of the Durham Cathedral. 

Important Dates

Died: May 25, 735


The Venerable Bede
This public-domain graphic, an illumination from an unknown manuscript, is free for your use. Part of the Medieval and Renaissance History Portrait Gallery here at this site.

At About

Bede - English Historian and Theologian
A three-page article from the 1911 Encyclopedia, here at the Medieval History site.

On the Web

Biographies of Bede
General Sites Concerning Bede
Online Works by the Venerable Bede

In Print

The links below will take you to a site where you can compare prices at booksellers across the web. More in-depth info about the book may be found by clicking on to the book's page at one of the online merchants.

Bede the Venerable
by George H. Brown

The World of Bede
by Peter Hunter Blair

Related Resources

Dark-Age Britain
A directory of sites that examine Britain during late antiquity, or the "dark ages," from Sub-Roman cultures to the end of Anglo-Saxon England.

Indices, primary sources, and general sites focusing on the study of Saints' lives.

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