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Saxons, Daniel and Forthere are bishops; in the province of the Mercians, Aldwin. Among those people who live beyond the river Severn to the westward, Walstod is bishop; in the province of the Wiccians, Wilfrid; in the province of the Lindisfarnes, Cynebert presides; the bishopric of the Isle of Wight belongs to Daniel, bishop of Winchester. The province of the South Saxons, having now continued some years without a bishop, receives the episcopal ministry from the prelate of the West Saxons. All these provinces, and the others southward to the bank of the river Humber, with their kings, are subject to King Ethelbald.
But in the province of the Northumbrians, where King Ceolwulf reigns, four bishops now preside; Wilfrid in the church of York, Ethelwald in that of Lindisfarne, Acca in that of Hagulstad, Pechthalm in that which is called the White House, which, from the increased number of believers, has lately become an episcopal see, and has him for its first prelate.* The Picts also at this time are at peace with the English nation, and rejoice in being united in peace and truth with the whole Catholic Church. The Scots that inhabit Britain, satisfied with their own territories, meditate no hostilities against the nation of the English. The Britons, though they, for the most part, through innate hatred, are adverse to the English nation, and wrongfully, and from wicked custom, oppose the appointed Easter of the whole Catholic Church; yet, from both the Divine and human power withstanding them, can in no way prevail as they desire; for though in part they are their own masters, yet elsewhere they are also brought under subjection to the English. Such being the peaceable and calm disposition of the times, many of the Northumbrians, as well of the nobility as private persons, laying aside their weapons, rather incline to dedicate both themselves and their children to the tonsure and monastic vows, than to study martial discipline. What will be the end hereof, the next age will
* Bede here speaks of Pechthelm as the first bishop of Whitherne, which must be understood as the first under the Saxon dynasty; for in book iii. ch. 4, page 114, he mentions St. Ninias as the founder of the see, A.D. 412. There was probably an interruption in the succession of the prelates during the three hundred years which intervened between the death of St. Ninias and the appointment of Pechthelm, owing to the civil wars and the invasion of the Saxons.
show. This is for the present the state of all Britain; in the year since the coming of the English into Britain about 285, but in the 731st year of the incarnation of our Lord, in whose reign may the earth ever rejoice; may Britain exult in the profession of his faith; and may many islands be glad, and sing praises in honour of his holiness!
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 more at large, according to the distinction of times, for the better preserving them in memory.
In the sixtieth year before the incarnation of our Lord, Caius Julius Cæsar, first of the Romans, invaded Britain, and was victorious, yet could not gain the kingdom.
In the year from the incarnation of our Lord, 46, Claudius, second of the Romans, invading Britain, had a great part of the island surrendered to him, and added the Orkney islands to the Roman empire.
In the year from the incarnation of our Lord 167, Eleutherius, being made bishop at Rome, governed the Church most gloriously fifteen years. Lucius, king of Britain, writing to him, requested to be made a Christian, and succeeded in obtaining his request.
In the year from the incarnation of our Lord 189, Severus, being made emperor, reigned seventeen years; he enclosed Britain with a trench from sea to sea.
In the year 381, Maximus, being made emperor in Britain, sailed over into Gaul, and slew Gratian.
In the year 409, Rome was crushed by the Goths, from which time Roman emperors began to reign in Britain.
In the year 430, Palladius was sent to be first the bishop of the Scots that believed in Christ, by Pope Celestine.
In the year 449, Martian being made emperor with Valentinian, reigned seven years; in whose time the English, being called by the Britons, came into Britain.
In the year 538, there happened an eclipse of the sun, on the 16th of February, from the first to the third hour.
In the year 540, an eclipse of the sun happened 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; from him the royal family of the Northumbrians derives its original; he reigned twelve years.
In the year 565, the priest, Columba, came out of Scotland, into Britain, to instruct the Picts, and he built a monastery in the isle of Hii.
In the year 596, Pope Gregory sent Augustine with monks into Britain, to preach the word of God to the English nation.
In the year 597, the aforesaid teachers arrived in Britain; being about the 150th year from the coming of the English into Britain.
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.
In the year 603, a battle was fought at Degsastane.
In the year 604, the East Saxons received the faith of Christ, under King Sabert, and Bishop Mellitus. In the year 605, Gregory died.
In the year 616, Ethelbert, king of Kent, died.
In the year 625, the venerable Paulinus was, by Archbishop Justus, ordained bishop of the Northumbrians.
In the year 626, Eanfleda, daughter to King Edwin, was baptized with twelve others, on Whit-Saturday.
In the year 627, King Edwin was baptized, with his nation, at Easter.
In the year 633, King Edwin being killed, Paulinus returned to Kent.
In the year 640, Eadbald, king of Kent, died.
In the year 642, King Oswald was slain.
In the year 644, Paulinus, first bishop of York, but now of the city of Rochester, departed to our Lord.
In the year 651, King Oswin was killed, and Bishop Aidan
In the year 653, the Midland Angles, under their prince, Penda, received the mysteries of the faith.
In the year 655, Penda was slain, and the Mercians became Christians.
In the year 664, there happened an eclipse of the sur
Earconbert, king of Kent. died; and Colman returned to the Scots; a pestilence arose; Ceadda and Wilfrid were ordained bishops of the Northumbrians.
In the year 668, Theodore was ordained bishop.
In the year 670, Oswy, king of the Northumbrians, died. 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 did much good, and its decrees are contained in ten chapters.
In the year 675, Wulfhere, king of the Mercians, dying, when he had reigned seventeen years, left the crown to his brother Ethelred.
In the year 676, Ethelred ravaged Kent.
In the year 678, a comet appeared; Bishop Wilfrid was driven from his see by King Egfrid; and Bosa, Eata, and Eadhed were consecrated bishops in his stead.
In the year 679, Elfwine was killed.
In the year 680, a synod was held in the field called Hethfeld, concerning the Christian faith, Archbishop Theodore presiding; John, the Roman abbat, was also present. The same year also the Abbess Hilda died at Streaneshalch.
In the year 685, Egfrid, king of the Northumbrians, was slain.
The same year, Lothere, king of Kent died.
In the year 688, Cadwalla, king of the West Saxons, went to Rome from Britain.
In the year 690, Archbishop Theodore died.
In the year 697, Queen Ostritha was murdered by her own people, that is, the nobility of the Mercians.
In the year 698, Berthred, the royal commander of the Northumbrians, was slain by the Picts.
In the year 704, Ethelred became a monk, after he had reigned thirty years over the nation of the Mercians, and gave up the kingdom to Coenred.
In the year 705, Alfrid, king of the Northumbrians, died. In the year 709, Coenred, king of the Mercians, having reigned six years, went to Rome.
In the year 711, Earl Bertfrid fought with the Picts.
In the year 716, Osred, king of the Northumbrians, was killed; and Colred, king of the Mercians, died; and Egbert,
the man of God, brought the monks of Hii to observe the Catholic Easter and ecclesiastical tonsure.
In the year 725, Withred, king of Kent, died.
In the year 729, comets appeared; the holy Egbert departed; and Osric died.
In the year 731, Archbishop Bertwald died.
The same year Tatwine was consecrated ninth archbishop of Canterbury, in the fifteenth year of Ethelbald, king of Kent.
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 ancestors, or of my own knowledge, has, with the help of God, been digested by me, Bede, the servant of God, and priest of the monastery of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, which is at Wearmouth and Jarrow; who being born in the territory of that same monastery, was given, at seven years of age, to be educated by the most reverend Abbat Benedict, and afterwards by Ceolfrid; and spending all the remaining time of my life in that monastery, I wholly applied myself to the study of Scripture, and amidst the observance of regular discipline, and the daily care of singing in the church, I always took delight in learning, teaching, and 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 by order of the Abbat Ceolfrid. From which time, till the fifty-ninth year of my age, I have made it my business, for the use of me and mine, to compile out of the works of the venerable Fathers, and to interpret and explain according to their meaning these following pieces :
On the Beginning of Genesis, to the Nativity of Isaac and the Reprobation of Ismael, three books.
Of the Tabernacle and its Vessels, and of the Priestly Vestments, three books.
On the first Part of Samuel, to the Death of Saul, four books.