The Venerable Bede: 'Father of English History'

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Bede was a monk who was known as a scholar and an author. He is known as "the father of English history."

Bede was sent at an early age to a monastery at Jarrow to be educated. He ended up spending most of his life in religious surroundings.

His most famous book, An Ecclesiastial History of the English People, tells the story of the Britons, from Caesar's invasion to the present, Bede's present, the 8th Century. In this large book, Bede tells the story of eclipses and battles and kings and conversions, giving facts and sources along the way. He also tells the story of miracles performed by monks and bishops and saintly men leading by spiritual example.

Bede's masterwork was published in 731. The majority of the book is made up of the steady spread of Christianity across the British Isles and stories of how it was spread and by whom.

He also wrote other books, on history and science and grammar and, of course, religion (including hymns, poems, and commentary). He was able to do this in part because of the large library at the Jarrow monastery, created by Benedict Biscop, who founded that monastery and one at nearby Wearmouth, and enlarged by Ceolfrid, the fourth abbot at Jarrow.

Bede wrote in both Latin and English. He is thought to have been the first person to write scholarly works in English. He was also a teacher.

He died in 735, at age 62. He is known as the Venerable Bede.

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David White