Bede: Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation


PREFACE. To the most glorious King Ceolwulph, Bede, the servant of Christ and Priest


I. Of the situation of Britain and Ireland, and of their ancient inhabitants

II. Caius Julius Caesar, the first Roman that came into Britain

III. Claudius, the second of the Romans who came into Britain, brought the Islands Orcades into subjection to the Roman Empire; and Vespian, sent by him, reduced the Isle of Wight under their dominion

IV. Lucius, king of Britain, writing to Pope Eleutherus, desires to be made a Christian

V. How the Emperor Severus divided that part of Britain, which he subdued, from the rest by a rampart

VI. The reign of Diocletian, and how he persecuted the Christians

VII. The passion of St. Alban and his companions, who at that time shed their blood for our Lord [A.D. 305]

VIII. The persecution ceasing, the church in Britain enjoys peace till the time of the Arian heresy [A.D. 307­337]

IX. How during the reign of Gratian, Maximus, being created emperor in Britain, returned into Gaul with a mighty army [A.D. 383]

X. How, in the reign of Arcadius, Pelagius, a Briton, insolently impugned the grace of God

XI. How, during the reign of Honorus, Gratian and Constantine were created tyrants in Britain; and soon after the former was slain in Britain, and the latter in Gaul

XII. The Britons, being ravaged by the Scots and Picts, sought succor from the Romans, who, coming a second time, built a wall across the island; but the Britons being again invaded by the aforesaid enemies, were reduced to greater distress than before

XIII. In the reign of Theodosius the younger, Palladius was sent to the Scots that believed in Christ; the Bretons begging assistance of Ætius, the consul, could not obtain it [A.D. 446]

XIV. The Britons, compelled by famine, drove the barbarians out of their territories; soon after there ensued plenty of corn, luxury, plague, and the subversion of the nation [A.D. 426­447]

XV. The Angles, being invited into Britain, at first obliged the enemy to retire to a distance; but not long after, joining in league with them, turned their weapons upon their confederates [A.D. 450­456]

XVI. The Bretons obtained their first victory over the Angles, under the command of Ambrosius, a Roman

XVII. How Germanicus the bishop, sailing into Britain with Lupus, first quelled the tempest of the sea, and afterward that of the Pelagians, by divine power [A.D. 429]

XVIII. The same holy man gave sight to the blind daughter of a tribune, and then coming to St. Alban's, there received some of his relics, and left others of the blessed apostles, and other martyrs

XIX. How the same holy man, being detained there by an indisposition, by his prayers quenched a fire that had broken out among the houses, and was himself cured of a distemper by a vision [A.D. 429]

XX. How the same bishops procured the Britons assistance from Heaven in a battle, and then returned home [A.D. 429]

XXI. The Pelagian heresy again reviving, Germanus, returning into Britain with Severus, first healed a lame youth, then having condemned or converted the heretics, they restored spiritual health to the people of God [A.D. 447]

XXII. The Britons, being for a time delivered from foreign invasions, wasted themselves by civil wars, and then gave themselves up to more heinous crimes

XXIII. How Pope Gregory sent Augustine, with other monks, to preach to the English nation, and encouraged them by a letter of exhortation, not to cease from their labour [A.D. 596]

XXIV. How he wrote to the Bishop of Arles to entertain them [A.D. 596]

XXV. Augustine, coming into Britain, first preached in the Isle of Thanet to King Ethelbert, and having obtained licence, entered the kingdom of Kent, in order to preach therein [A.D. 597]

XXVI. St. Augustine in Kent followed the doctrine and manner of living of the primitive church, and settled his episcopal see in the royal city [A.D. 597]

XXVII. St. Augustine, being made bishop, sends to acquaint Pope Gregory with what has been done, and receives his answer to the doubts he had proposed to him [A.D. 597]

XXVIII. Pope Gregory writes to the Bishop of Arles to assist Augustine in the work of God [A.D. 601]

XXIX. The same Pope sends Augustine the pall, an epistle, and several ministers of the Word [A.D. 601]

XXX. A copy of the letter which Pope Gregory sent to the Abbat Mellitus, then going into Britain [A.D. 601]

XXXI. Pope Gregory, by letter, exhorts Augustine not to glory in his miracles [A.D. 601]

XXXII. Pope Gregory send letters and presents to King Ethelbert

XXXIII. Augustine repairs the church of our Saviour, and builds the monastery of St. Peter the Apostle; Peter the first abbat of the same [A.D. 602]

XXXIV. Ethelfrid, king of the Northumbrians, having vanquished the nations of the Scots, expels them from the territories of the English [A.D. 603]


I. On the Death of the Blessed Pope Gregory. [A.D. 605]

II. Augustine admonished the bishops of the Britons to Catholic peace and unity, and to that effect wrought a heavenly miracle in their presence; and of the vengeance that pursued them for their contempt. [A.D. 603]

III. How St. Augustine made Mellitus and Justus bishops; and of his death [A.D. 604]

IV. Laurentius and his bishops admonish the Scots to observe the unity of the holy Church, particularly in keeping of Easter; Mellitus goes to Rome. [A.D. 605.]

V. How, after the death of the kings Ethelbert and Sabert, their successors restored idolatry; for which reason, both Mellitus and Justus departed out of Britain. [A.D. 616]

VI. Laurentius, being reproved by the apostle, converts King Eadbald to Christ; Mellitus and Justus are recalled. [A.D. 616]

VII. Bishop Mellitus by prayer quenches a file in his city. [A.D. 619]

VIII. Pope Boniface sends the pall and an epistle to Justus, successor to Mellitus. [A.D. 624]

IX. The reign of King Edwin, and how Paulinus, coming to preach the Gospel, first converted his daughter and others to the faith of Christ. [A.D. 625]

X. Pope Boniface, by letter, exhorts the same king to embrace the Faith. [A.D. 625]

XI. Pope Boniface advises Queen Ethelberga to use her best endeavours for the salvation of her consort, King Edwin. [A.D. 625]

XII. King Edwin is persuaded to believe by a vision which he had seen when he was in exile. [Before A.D. 625]

XIII. Of the council he held with his chief men about embracing the faith of Christ, and how the high priest profaned his own alters. [A.D. 627]

XIV. King Edwin and his nation become Christians; Paulinus baptizes them. [A.D. 627]

XV. The province of the East Angles receives the faith of Christ. [A.D. 627]

XVI. How Paulinus preached in the province of Lindsey; and of the reign of Edwin. [A.D. 628]

XVII. Edwin receives letters of exhortation from Pope Honorius, who also sends Paulinus the pall. [A.D. 634]

XVIII. Honorius who succeeded Justus in the bishopric of Canterbury, receives the pall and letters from Pope Honorius. [A.D. 634]

XIX. How the aforesaid Honorius first, and afterwards John, wrote letters to the nation of the Scots, concerning the observance of Easter, and the Pelagian heresy. [A.D. 634]

XX. Edwin being slain, Paulinus returns into Kent, and has the bishopric of Rochester conferred upon him. [A.D. 633]


I. How King Edwin's next successors lost both the faith or their nation and the kingdom; but the most Christian King Oswald retrieved both. [A.D. 633]

II. How, among innumerable other miraculous cures wrought by the cross, which King Oswald, being ready to engage against the barbarians, erected, a certain youth had his lame arm healed. [A.D. 635]

III. The same King Oswald, asking a bishop of the Scottish nation, had Aidan sent him, and granted him an episcopal see in the Isle of Lindisfarne. [A.D. 635]

IV. When the nation of the Picts received the Faith. [A.D. 565]

V. Of the life of Bishop Aidan. [A.D. 635]

VI. Of King Oswald's wonderful piety. [A.D. 635]

VII. How the West Saxons received the Word of God by the preaching of Birinus; and of his successors, Agilbert and Eleutherius. [A. . 635]

VIII. How Earconbert, king of Kent, ordered the idols to he destroyed; and of his daughter Earcongota, and his kinswoman Ethelberga, virgins, consecrated to God. [A.D. 640]

IX. How miraculous cures have been frequently done in the place where King Oswald was killed; and how, first, a traveler's horse was restored and afterwards a young girl cured of the palsy. [A.D. 642]

X. The power of the earth of that place against fire. [A.D. 642]

XI. Of the heavenly light that appeared all the night over the bones of King Oswald, and how persons possessed with devils were delivered by his bones. [A.D. 697]

XII. Of a boy cured of an ague at St. Oswald's tomb. [A. D. 642]

XIII. Of a certain person in Ireland that was recovered, when at the point of death, by the bones of King Oswald. [A.D. 642]

XIV. On the death of Paulinus, Ithamar, was made bishop of Rochester in his stead. Of the wonderful humility of King Oswin, who was cruelly slain by Oswy. [A.D. 642]

XV. How Bishop Aidan foretold to certain seamen a storm that would happen, and gave them some holy oil to lay it. [A.D. 651]

XVI. How the same Aidan, by his prayers, saved the royal city when fired by the enemy. [A.D. 651]

XVII. How the post of the church on which Bishop Aidan was leaning when he died, could not be burnt when the rest of the church was consumed by fire; and of his inward life. [A.D. 651]

XVIII. Of the life and death of the religious King Sigebert. [A.D. 635]

XIX. How Fursey built a monastery among the East Angles, and of his visions and sanctity, of which, his flesh remaining uncorrupted after death bore testimony. [A.D. 633]

XX. Honorius dying, Deusdedit is chosen archbishop of Canterbury, of those who were at that time bishops of the East Angles, and of the Church of Rochester. [A.D. 653]

XXI. How the province of the Midland Angles became Christian under King Peada. [A.D. 653]

XXII. How the East Saxons again received the Faith, which they had before cast off under King Sigebert, through the preaching of Cedd. [A.D. 653]

XXIII. Bishop Cedd, having a place given him by King Ethelwald, consecrates the same to our Lord with prayer and fasting. Of his death. [A.D. 659]

XXIV. King Penda being slain, the Mercians received the faith of Christ, and Oswy gave possessions and territories to God, for building monasteries, in acknowledgment for the victory obtained. [A.D. 655]

XXV. How the controversy arose about the due time of keeping Easter, with those that came out of Scotland. [A.D. 652]

XXVI. Colman, being worsted, returned home; Tuda succeeded him in the bishopric; the state of the church under those teachers. [A.D. 664]

XXVII. Egbert, a holy man of the English nation, led a monastic life in Ireland. [A.D. 664]

XXVIII. Tuda being dead, Wilfrid was ordained, in France, and Chad, in the province of the West Saxons, to be bishops of the Northumbrians. [A.D. 665]

XXIX. How the priest Wighard was sent from Britain to Rome, to he consecrated archbishop, of his death there, and of the letters of the apostolic pope giving an account thereof. [A.D. 665]

XXX. The East Saxons, during a pestilence, returning to idolatry, are immediately brought back from their error by the Bishop Jaruman. [A. D. 665]  


I. Deusdedit, archbishop of Canterbury, dying, Wighard was sent to Rome to succeed him in that dignity; but he dying there, Theodore - was ordained archbishop, and sent into Britain with the Abbot Hadrian. [A.D. 664]

II. Theodore visits all places; the churches of the English begin to be instructed in holy literature, and in the Catholic truth; Putta is made bishop of the church of Rochester in the room of Damianus. [A.D. 669]

III. How Chad, above-mentioned, was made bishop of the Mercians. Of his life, death, and burial. [A. D. 669]

IV. Bishop Colman, having left Britain, built two monasteries in Scotland; the one for the Scots, the other for the English he had taken along with him. [A.D. 667]

V. Of the death of the kings Oswy and Egbert, and of the synod held at Hertford, in which Archbishop Theodore presided. [A.D. 670]

VI. Winfrid being deposed, Sexwulf was put into his see, and Earconwald made bishop of the East Saxons. [A.D. 674]

VII. How it was indicated by a heavenly light where the bodies of the nuns should be buried in the monastery of Barking. [A.D. 676]

VIII. A little boy, dying in the same monastery, called upon a virgin that was to follow him; another at the point of leaving her body, saw some small part of the future glory. [A.D. 676]

IX. Of the signs which were shown from heaven when the mother of that congregation departed this life. [A.D. 676]

X. A blind woman, praying in the burial place of that monastery, was restored to her sight. [A.D. 676]

XI. Sebbi, king of the same province, ends his life in a monastery. [A.D. 694]

XII. Hedda succeeds Eleutherius in the bishopric of the West Saxons; Cuichelm succeeds Putta in that of Rochester, and is himself succeeded by Gebmund; and who were then bishops of the Northumbrians. [A.D. 673]

XIII. Bishop Wilfrid converts the province of the South Saxons to Christ. [A.D. 681]

XIV. How a pestilential mortality ceased through the intercession of King Oswald. [A.D. 681]

XV. King Cædwalla, having slain Ethelwalch, king of the West Saxons, wasted that province with rapine and slaughter. [A.D. 685]

XVI. How the Isle of Wight received Christian inhabitants, and two royal youths of that island were killed immediately after baptism. [A.D. 686]

XVII. Of the synod held in the plain of Heathfield, where Archbishop Theodore presided. [A.D. 680]

XVIII. Of John, the singer of the apostolic See, who came into Britain to teach. [A. 0. 680]

XIX. How Queen Etheldrida always preserved her virginity, and her body suffered no corruption in the grave. [A.D. 660]

XX. A hymn on the aforesaid holy virgin. [A.D. 660]

XXI. Bishop Theodore made peace between the kings Egfrid and Ethelred. [A.D. 679]

XXII. How a certain captive's chains fell off when masses were sung for him. [A.D. 679]

XXIII. Of the life and death of the Abbess Hilda. [A.D. 680]

XXIV. There was in the same monastery a brother, on whom the gift of writing verses was bestowed by Heaven. [A.D. 680]

XXV. Of the vision that appeared to a certain man of God before the monastery of the city Coludi was burned down. [A.D. 679]

XXVI. Of the death of the kings Egfrid and Lothere. [A.D. 684]

XXVII. Cuthbert, a man of God, is made Bishop; and how he lived and taught whilst still in a monastic life. [A.D. 685]

XXVIII. The same St. Cuthhert, being an anchorite, by his prayers obtained a spring in a dry soil, and had a crop from seed sown by himself out of season. [A.D. 664]

XXIX. St. Cuthbert foretold to the anchorite, Herebert, that his death was at hand. [A.D. 687]

XXX. St. Cuthbert's body was found altogether uncorrupted after it had been buried eleven years; his successor in the bishopric departed this world not long after. [A.D. 698]

XXXI. Of one that was cured of a palsy at the tomb of St. Cuthbert. [A.D. 698]

XXXII. Of one who was cured of a distemper in his eye at the relics of St. Cuthbert. [A.D. 698]  


I. How Ethelwald, successor to Cuthbert, leading an eremitical life, calmed a tempest when the brethren were in danger at sea. [A.D. 687]

II. How Bishop John cured a dumb man by blessing him. [A.D. 685]

III. The same bishop, John, by his prayers, healed a sick maiden. [A.D. 686]

IV. The same bishop healed an earl's wife that was sick, with holy water. [A.D. 686]

V. The same bishop recovered one of the earl's servants from death. [A.D. 686]

VI. The same bishop, by his prayers and blessing, delivered from death one of his clerks, who had bruised himself by a fall. [A.D. 686]

VII. Cædwalla, king of the West Saxon,, went to Rome to be baptized; his successor Ina also devoutly repaired to the same church of the holy apostles. [A.D. 688]

VIII. Archbishop Theodore dies, Berthwald succeeds him as archbishop, and among many others whom he ordained, he made Tobias, a most learned man, bishop of the church of Rochester. [A.D. 690]

IX. Egbert, a holy man, would have gone into Germany to preach, but could not; Wictbert went, but meeting with no success, returned into Ireland, from whence he came. [A.D. 689]

X. Wilbrord, preaching in Frisland, converted many to Christ; his two companions, the Hewalds, suffered martyrdom. [A.D. 690]

XI. How the venerable Swidbert in Britain, and Wilbrord at Rome, were ordained bishops for Frisland. [A.D. 692]

XII. Of one among the Northumbrians, who rose from the dead, and related the things which he had seen, some exciting terror and other, delight. [A.D. 696]

XIII. Of another, who before his death saw a book containing all his sin,, which was showed him by the devils. [A.D. 704-709]

XIV. Of another, who being at the point of death, saw the place of punishment appointed for him in hell. [A.D. 704]

XV. Several churches of the Scot, at the instance of Adamnan, conformed to the Catholic Easter; the same person wrote a book about the holy places. [A.D. 703]

XVI. The account given by the aforesaid book of the place of our Lord's nativity, passion, and resurrection. [A.D. 704]

XVII. Of the place of our Lord's ascension, and the tombs of the patriarchs. [A.D. 704]

XVIII. The South Saxons received Eadbert and Eolla, and the West Saxons, Daniel and Aldhelm, for their bishops. Of the writings of the same Aldhelm. [A.D. 705]

XIX. Coinred, king of the Mercians, and Offa, of the East Saxons, ended their days at Rome, in the monastic habit. Of the life and death of Bishop Wufrid. [A.D. 709]

XX. Albinus succeeded to the religions Abbot Hadrian, and Acca to bishop Wufrid. [A.D. 709]

XXI. Abbot Ceolfrid sent the King of the Picts architects to build a church, and with them an epistle concerning the Catholic Easter and tonsure. [A.D. 710]

XXII. The monks of Hii, and the monasteries subject to them, begin to celebrate the canonical Easter at the preaching of Egbert. [A.D. 716]

XXIII. Of the present state of the English nation, or of all Britain. [A.D. 725-731]

XXIV. Chronological recapitulation of the whole work: also concerning the author himself.


The Age of Bede, Bede (Editor), et al (Paperback - September 1998)

Ecclesiastical History of the English People With Bede's Letter to Egbert and Cuthberts Letter on the Death of Bede (Penguin Classics), Bede, et al (Paperback - May 1991)

Bede: A Biblical Miscellany (Translated Texts for Historians Series, Vol 28), W. Trent Foley (Preface), Arthur G. Holder (Introduction) (Paperback - February 1999)

The World of Bede, Peter Hunter Blair, Peter Hunter Blair (Paperback - January 1991)

The B Text of the Old English Bede. A Linguistic Commentary., Raymond J.S. Grant (Library Binding - January 1989)

Miracles in the Venerable Bede (Studies and Texts, No 118), William D. McCready (Hardcover - November 1994)

This text is in the public domain.  First internet electronic version provided by the  Internet Medieval Source Book. This version differs in minor details from version available at that location.

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