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Bede’s

‘Ecclesiastical History of the
English People’
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Table of Contents
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3
Acknowledgements
.he translator of this &or( is not clearly indicated, but it seems to be 8## 9ane:s ,4-0
.emple lassics translation# .he text is in the public domain because the copyright has expired#
.his electronic version of the text has been ta(en, &ith (ind permission, from the ;edieval
<ourceboo($ http$%%&&&#fordham#edu%halsall%sboo(6#html Permission is granted for electronic
copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use# +f you do
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)
Preface
.! .HE ;!<. >8!/+!?< @+=> E!8A?8PH, BEDE, .HE <E/2'=. !F H/+<. '=D
P/+E<.
F!/;E/8B, at your reCuest, most readily transmitted to you the Ecclesiastical History of the
English =ation, &hich + had ne&ly published, for you to read, and give it your approbationD and + no&
send it again to be transcribed and more fully considered at your leisure# 'nd + cannot but recommend
the sincerity and Eeal, &ith &hich you not only diligently give ear to hear the &ords of the Holy
<cripture, but also industriously ta(e care to become acCuainted &ith the actions and sayings of former
men of reno&n, especially of our o&n nation# For if history relates good things of good men, the
attentive hearer is excited to imitate that &hich is goodD or if it mentions evil things of &ic(ed persons,
nevertheless the religious and pious hearer or reader, shunning that &hich is hurtful and perverse, is the
more earnestly excited to perform those things &hich he (no&s to be good, and &orthy of >od# !f
&hich you also being deeply sensible, are desirous that the said history should be more fully made
familiar to yourself, and to those over &hom the Divine 'uthority has appointed you governor, from
your great regard to their general &elfare# But to the end that + may remove all occasion of doubting
&hat + have &ritten, both from yourself and other readers or hearers of this history, + &ill ta(e care
briefly to intimate from &hat authors + chiefly learned the same#
;y principal authority and aid in this &or( &as the learned and reverend 'bbot 'lbinusD &ho,
educated in the hurch of anterbury by those venerable and learned men, 'rchbishop .heodore of
blessed memory, and the 'bbot 'drian, transmitted to me by =othelm, the pious priest of the hurch of
8ondon, either in &riting, or &ord of mouth of the same =othelm, all that he though &orthy of
memory, that had been done in the province of @ent, or the adFacent parts, by the disciples of the
blessed Pope >regory, as he had learned the same either from &ritten records, or the traditions of his
ancestors# .he same =otheim, after&ards going to /ome, having, &ith leave of the present Pope
>regory, searched into the archives of the holy /oman hurch, found there some epistles of the blessed
*
Pope >regory, and other popes and returning home, by the advice of the aforesaid most reverend father
'lbinus, brought them to me, to be inserted in my history# .hus, from the beginning of this volume to
the time &hen the English nation received the the faith of hrist, have &e collected the &ritings of our
predecessors and from them gathered matter for our historyD but from that time till the present, &hat
&as transacted in hurch of anterbury, by the disciples of <t# >regory or their successors, and under
&hat (ings the same happened, has been conveyed to us by =othelm through the industry of the
aforesaid 'bbot 'lbinus# .hey also partly informed me by &hat bishops and under &hat (ings the
provinces of the East and Aest <axons, as also of the East 'ngles, and of the =orthumbrians, received
the faith of hrist# +n short + &as chiefly encouraged to underta(e this &or( by the persuasions of the
same 'lbinus# +n li(e manner, Daniel, the most reverend Bishop of the Aest <axons, &ho is still living,
communicated to me in &riting some things relating to the Ecclesiastical History of that province, and
the next adFoining to it of the <outh <axons, as also of the +sle of Aight# But no&, by the pious ministry
of edd and eadda, the province of the ;ercians &as brought to the faith of hrist, &hich they (ne&
not before, and ho& that of the East <axons recovered the same, after having expelled it, and ho& those
fathers lived and died, &e learned from the brethren of the monastery, &hich &as built by them, and is
called 8astingham# Ahat ecclesiastical transactions too( place in the province of the East 'ngles, &as
partly made (no&n to us from the &ritings and tradition of our ancestors, and partly by relation of the
most reverend 'bbot Esius# Ahat &as done to&ards promoting the faith, and &hat &as the sacerdotal
succession in the province of 8indsey, &e had either from the letters of the most reverend prelate
unebert, or by &ord of mouth from other persons of good credit# But &hat &as done in the hurch
throughout the province of the =orthumbians, from the time &hen they received the faith of hrist till
this present, + received not from any particular author, but by the faithful testimony of innumerable
&itnesses, &ho might (no& or remember the same, besides &hat + had of my o&n (no&ledge# Aherein
it is to be observed, that &hat + have &ritten concerning our most holy father, Bishop uthbert, either in
this volume, or in my treatise on his life and actions, + partly too(, and faithfully copied from &hat +
found &ritten of him by the brethren of the hurch of 8indisfarneD but at the same time too( care to add
such things as + could myself have (no&ledge of by the faithful testimony of such as (ne& him# 'nd +
humbly entreat the reader, that, if he shall in this that &e have &ritten find anything not delivered
according to the truth, he &ill not impute the same to me, &ho, as the true rule of history reCuires, have
laboured sincerely to commit to &riting such things as + could gather from common report, for the
instruction of posterity#
7
;oreover, + beseech all men &ho shall hear or read this history of our nation, that for my manifold
infirmities both of mind and body, they &ill offer up freCuent supplications to the throne of >race# 'nd
+ further pray, that in recompense for the labour &here&ith + have recorded in the several countries and
cities those events &hich &ere most &orthy of note, and most grateful to the ears of their inhabitants, +
may for my re&ard have the benefit of their pious prayers#
4
Boo( +
,-
CHAPTER I
!F .HE <+.?'.+!= !F B/+.'+= '=D +/E8'=D, '=D !F .HE+/ '=+E=.
+=H'B+.'=.<
B/+.'+=, an island in the ocean, formerly called 'lbion, is situated bet&een the north and &est,
facing, though at a considerable distance, the coasts of >ermany, France, and <pain, &hich form the
greatest part of Europe# +t extends 7-- miles in length to&ards the north, and is 6-- miles in breadth,
except &here several promontories extend further in breadth, by &hich its compass is made to be 0)*3
miles# .o the south, as you pass along the nearest shore of the Belgic >aul, the first place in Britain
&hich opens to the eye is the city of /utubi Portus, by the English corrupted into /eptacestir# .he
distance from hence across the sea to >essoriacum, the nearest shore of the ;orini, is fifty miles, or as
some &riters say, 13- furlongs# !n the bac( of the island, &here it opens upon the boundless ocean, it
has the islands called !rcades# Britain excels for grain and trees, and is &ell adapted for feeding cattle
and beasts of burden# +t also produces vines in some places, and has plenty of land and &aterfo&ls of
several sortsD it is remar(able also for rivers abounding in fish, and plentiful springs# +t has the greatest
plenty of salmon and eelsD seals are also freCuently ta(en, and dolphins, as also &halesD besides many
sorts of shellfish, such as muscles, in &hich are often found excellent pearls of all colours, red, purple,
violet, and green, but mostly &hite# .here is also a great abundance of coc(les, of &hich the scarlet dye
is madeD a most beautiful colour, &hich never fades &ith the heat of the sun or the &ashing of the rainD
but the older it is, the more beautiful it becomes# +t has both salt and hot springs, and from them flo&
rivers &hich furnish hot baths, proper for all ages and sexes, and arranged according# For &ater, as <t#
Basil says, receives the heating Cuality, &hen it runs along certain metals, and becomes not only hot but
scalding# Britain has also many veins of metals, as copper, iron, lead, and silverD it has much and
excellent Fet, &hich is blac( and spar(ling, glittering at the fire, and &hen heated, drives a&ay serpentsD
being &armed &ith rubbing, it holds fast &hatever is applied to it, li(e amber# .he island &as formerly
embellished &ith t&enty"eight noble cities, besides innumerable castles, &hich &ere all strongly
secured &ith &alls, to&ers, gates, and loc(s# 'nd, from its lying almost under the =orth Pole, the nights
are light in summer, so that at midnight the beholders are often in doubt &hether the evening t&ilight
still continues, or that of the morning is coming onD for the sun, in the night, returns under the earth,
through the northern regions at no great distance from them# For this reason the days are of a great
length in summer, as, on the contrary, the nights are in &inter, for the sun then &ithdra&s into the
,,
southern parts, so that the nights are eighteen hours long# .hus the nights are extraordinarily short in
summer, and the days in &inter, that is, of only six eCuinoctial hours# Ahereas, in 'rmenia, ;acedonia,
+taly, and other countries of the same latitude, the longest day or night extends but to fifteen hours, and
the shortest to nine#
.his island at present, follo&ing the number of the boo(s in &hich the Divine la& &as &ritten,
contains five nations, the English, Britons, <cots, Picts, and 8atins, each in its o&n peculiar dialect
cultivating the sublime study of Divine truth# .he 8atin tongue is, by the study of the <criptures,
become common to all the rest# 't first this island had no other inhabitants but the Britons, from &hom
it derived its name, and &ho, coming over into Britain, as is reported, from 'rmorica, possessed
themselves of the southern parts thereof# Ahen they, beginning at the south, had made themselves
masters of the greatest part of the island, it happened, that the nation of the Picts, from <cythia, as is
reported, putting to sea, in a fe& long ships, &ere driven by the &inds beyond the shores of Britain, and
arrived on the northern coast of +reland, &here, finding the nation of the <cots, they begged to be
allo&ed to settle among them, but could not succeed in obtaining their reCuest# +reland is the greatest
island next to Britain, and lies to the &est of itD but as it is shorter than Britain to the north, so, on the
other hand, it runs out far beyond it to the south, opposite to the northern parts of <pain, though a
spacious sea lies bet&een them# .he Picts, as has been said, arriving in this island by sea, desired to
have a place granted them in &hich they might settle# .he <cots ans&ered that the island could not
contain them bothD but GAe can give you good advice,G said they, G&hat to doD &e (no& there is
another island, not far from ours, to the east&ard, &hich &e often see at a distance, &hen the days are
clear# if you &ill go thither, you &ill obtain settlementsD or, if they should oppose you, you shall have
our assistance#G .he Picts, accordingly, sailing over into Britain, began to inhabit the northern parts
thereof, for the Britons &ere possessed of the southern# =o& the Picts had no &ives, and as(ed them of
the <cotsD &ho &ould not consent to grant them upon any other terms, than that &hen any difficulty
should arise, they should choose a (ing from the female royal race rather than from the male$ &hich
custom, as is &ell (no&n, has been observed among the Picts to this day# +n process of time, Britain,
besides the Britons and the Picts, received a third nation the <cots, &ho, migrating from +reland under
their leader, /euda, either by fair means, or by force of arms, secured to themselves those settlements
among the Picts &hich they still possess# From the name of their commander, they are to this day called
DalreudinsD for, in their language, Dal signifies a part#
+reland, in breadth, and for &holesomeness and serenity of climate, far surpasses BritainD for the
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sno& scarcely ever lies there above three days$ no man ma(es hay in the summer for &inter:s provision,
or builds stables for his beasts of burden# =o reptiles are found there, and no sna(e can live thereD for,
though often carried thither out of Britain, as soon as the ship comes near the shore, and the scent of the
air reaches them, they die# !n the contrary, almost all things in the island are good against poison# +n
short, &e have (no&n that &hen some persons have been bitten by serpents, the scrapings of leaves of
boo(s that &ere brought out of +reland, being put into &ater, and given them to drin(, have
immediately expelled the spreading poison, and assuaged the s&elling# .he island abounds in mil( and
honey, nor is there any &ant of vines, fish, or fo&lD and it is remar(able for deer and goats# +t is
properly the country of the <cots, &ho, migrating from thence, as has been said, added a third nation in
Britain to the Britons and the Picts# .here is a very large gulf of the sea, &hich formerly divided the
nation of the Picts from the BritonsD &hich gulf runs from the &est very far into the land, &here, to this
day, stands the strong city of the Britons, called 'icluith# .he <cots, arriving on the north side of this
bay, settled themselves there#
CHAPTER II
'+?< 9?8+?< 'E<'/, .HE F+/<. /!;'= .H'. ';E +=.! B/+.'+=
B/+.'+= had never been visited by the /omans, and &as, indeed, entirely un(no&n to them
before the time of aius 9ulius aesar, &ho, in the year )40 after the building of /ome, but the sixtieth
year before the incarnation of our 8ord, &as consul &ith 8ucius Bibulus, and after&ards &hile he made
&ar upon the >ermans and the >auls, &hich &ere divided only by the river /hine, came into the
province of the ;orini, from &hence is the nearest and shortest passage into Britain# Here, having
provided about eighty ships of burden and vessels &ith oars, he sailed over into BritainD &here, being
first roughly handled in a battle, and then meeting &ith a violent storm, he lost a considerable part of
his fleet, no small number of soldiers, and almost all his horses# /eturning into >aul, he put his legions
into &inter Cuarters, and gave orders for building six hundred sail of both sorts# Aith these he again
passed over early in spring into Britain, but, &hilst he &as marching &ith a large army to&ards the
enemy, the ships, riding at anchor, &ere, by a tempest either dashed one against another, or driven upon
the sands and &rec(ed# Forty of them perished, the rest &ere, &ith much difficulty, repaired# aesar:s
cavalry &as, at the first charge, defeated by the Britons, and 8abienus, the tribune, slain# +n the second
engagement, he, &ith great haEard to his men, put the Britons to flight# .hence he proceeded to the
river .hames, &here an immense multitude of the enemy had posted themselves on the farthest side of
,0
the river, under the command of assibellaun, and fenced the ban( of the river and almost all the ford
under &ater &ith sharp sta(es$ the remains of these are to be seen to this day, apparently about the
thic(ness of a man:s thigh, and being cased &ith lead, remain fixed immovably in the bottom of the
river# .his, being perceived and avoided by the /omans, the barbarians not able to stand the shoc( of
the legions, hid themselves in the &oods, &hence they grievously galled the /omans &ith repeated
sallies# +n the meantime, the strong city of .rinovantum, &ith its commander 'ndrogeus, surrendered to
aesar, giving him forty hostages# ;any other cities, follo&ing their example, made a treaty &ith the
/omans# By their assistance, aesar at length, &ith much difficulty, too( assibellaun:s to&n, situated
bet&een t&o marshes, fortified by the adFacent &oods, and plentifully furnished &ith all necessaries#
'fter this, aesar returned into >aul, but he had no sooner put his legions into &inter Cuarters, than he
&as suddenly beset and distracted &ith &ars and tumults raised against him on every side#
CHAPTER III
8'?D+?<, .HE <E!=D !F .HE /!;'=< AH! ';E +=.! B/+.'+=, B/!?>H.
.HE +<8'=D< !/'DE< +=.! <?B9E.+!= .! .HE /!;'= E;P+/ED '=D 2E<P'<+'=,
<E=. BB H+; /ED?ED .HE +<8E !F A+>H. ?=DE/ .HE+/ D!;+=+!=
+= the year of /ome *47, laudius, fourth emperor from 'ugustus, being desirous to approve
himself a beneficial prince to the republic, and eagerly bent upon &ar and conCuest, undertoo( an
expedition into Britain, &hich seemed to be stirred up to rebellion by the refusal of the /omans to give
up certain deserters# He &as the only one, either before or after 9ulius aesar, &ho had dared to land
upon the islandD yet, &ithin a very fe& days, &ithout any fight or bloodshed, the greatest part of the
island &as surrendered into his hands# He also added to the /oman empire the !rcades, &hich lie in the
ocean beyond Britain, and then, returning to /ome the sixth month after his departure, he gave his son
the title of Britannicus# .his &ar he concluded in the fourth year of his empire, &hich is the forty"sixth
from the incarnation of our 8ord# +n &hich year there happened a most grievous famine in <yria, &hich,
in the 'cts of the 'postles is recorded to have been foretold by the prophet 'gabus# 2espasian, &ho
&as emperor after =ero, being sent into Britain by the same laudius, brought also under the /oman
dominion the +sle of Aight, &hich is next to Britain on the south, and is about thirty miles in length
from east to &est, and t&elve from north to southD being six miles distant from the <outhern coast of
Britain at the east end, and three only at the &est# =ero, succeeding laudius in the empire, attempted
nothing in martial affairsD and, therefore, among other innumerable detriments brought upon the /oman
,1
state, he almost lost BritainD for under him t&o most noble to&ns &ere there ta(en and destroyed#
CHAPTER IV
8?+?<, @+=> !F B/+.'+=, A/+.+=> .! P!PE E8E?.HE/?<, DE<+/E< .! BE ;'DE
' H/+<.+'=
+= the year of our 8ord:s incarnation ,3), ;arcus 'ntoninus 2erus, the fourteenth from 'ugustus,
&as made emperor, together &ith his brother, 'urelius ommodus# +n their time, &hilst Eleutherus, a
holy man, presided over the /oman church, 8ucius, (ing of the Britons, <ent a letter to him, entreating
that by his command he might be made a hristian# He soon obtained his pious reCuest, and the Britons
preserved the faith, &hich they had received, uncorrupted and entire, in peace and tranCuillity until the
time of the Emperor Diocletian#
CHAPTER V
H!A .HE E;PE/!/ <E2E/?< D+2+DED .H'. P'/. !F B/+.'+=, AH+H HE
<?BD?ED, F/!; .HE /E<. BB ' /';P'/.
+= the year of our 8ord ,74, <everus, an 'frican, born at 8eptis, in the province of .ripolis,
received the imperial purple# He &as the <eventeenth from 'ugustus, and reigned seventeen years#
Being naturally stern, and engaged in many &ars, he governed the state vigorously, but &ith much
trouble# Having been victorious in all the grievous civil &ars &hich happened in his time, he &as dra&n
into Britain by the revolt of almost all the confederate tribesD and, after many great and dangerous
battles, he thought fit to divide that part of the island, &hich he had recovered from the other
unconCuered nations, not &ith a &all, as some imagine, but &ith a rampart# For a &all is made of
stones, but a rampart, &ith &hich camps are fortified to repel the assaults of enemies, is made of sods,
cut out of the earth, and raised above the ground all round li(e a &all, having in front of it the ditch
&hence the sods &ere ta(en, and strong sta(es of &ood fixed upon its top# .hus <everus dre& a great
ditch and strong rampart, fortified &ith several to&ers, from sea to seaD and &as after&ards ta(en sic(
and died at Bor(, leaving t&o sons, Bassianus and >etaD of &hom >eta died, adFudged a public enemyD
but Bassianus, having ta(en the surname of 'ntoninus, obtained the empire#
CHAPTER VI
.HE /E+>= !F D+!8E.+'=, '=D H!A HE PE/<E?.ED .HE H/+<.+'=<
,3
+= the year of our 8ord:s incarnation 67), Diocletian, the thirty"third from 'ugustus, and chosen
emperor by the army, reigned t&enty years, and created ;aximian, surnamed Herculius, his colleague
in the empire# +n their time, one arausius, of very mean birth, but an expert and able soldier, being
appointed to guard the sea"coasts, then infested by the Fran(s and <axons, acted more to the preFudice
than to the advantage of the common&ealthD and from his not restoring to its o&ners the booty ta(en
from the robbers, but (eeping all to himself, it &as suspected that by intentional neglect he suffered the
enemy to infest the frontiers# Hearing, therefore, that an order &as sent by ;aximian that he should be
put to death, too( upon him the imperial robes, and possessed himself of Britain, and having most
valiantly retained it for the space of seven years, he &as at length put to death by the treachery of his
associate, 'llectus# .he usurper, having thus got the island from arausius, held it three years, and &as
then vanCuished by 'sclepiodotus, the captain of the Praetorian bands, &ho thus at the end of ten years
restored Britain to the /oman empire# ;ean&hile, Diocletian in the east, and ;aximian Herculius in
the &est, commanded the churches to be destroyed, and the hristians to be slain# .his persecution &as
the tenth since the reign of =ero, and &as more lasting and bloody than all the others before itD for it
&as carried on incessantly for the space of ten years, &ith burning of churches, outla&ing of innocent
persons, and the slaughter of martyrs# 't length, it reached Britain also, and many persons, &ith the
constancy of martyrs, died in the confession of their faith#
CHAPTER VII
.HE P'<<+!= !F <.# '8B'= '=D H+< !;P'=+!=<, AH! '. .H'. .+;E <HED
.HE+/ B8!!D F!/ !?/ 8!/D# H'#D# 0-3#I
'. that time suffered <t# 'lban, of &hom the priest Fortunatus, in the Praise of 2irgins, &here he
ma(es mention of the blessed martyrs that came to the 8ord from all parts of the &orld, says "
+n Britain:s isle &as holy 'lban born#
.his 'lban, being yet a pagan, at the time &hen the cruelties of &ic(ed princes &ere raging
against hristians, gave entertainment in his house to a certain clergyman, flying from the persecutors#
.his man he observed to be engaged in continual prayer and &atching day and nightD &hen on a sudden
the Divine grace shining on him, he began to imitate the example of faith and piety &hich &as set
before him, and being gradually instructed by his &holesome admonitions, he cast off the dar(ness of
idolatry, and became a hristian in all sincerity of heart# .he aforesaid clergyman having been some
,)
days entertained by him, it came to the ears of the &ic(ed prince, that this holy confessor of hrist,
&hose time of martyrdom had not yet come, &as concealed at 'lban:s house# Ahereupon he sent some
soldiers to ma(e a strict search after him# Ahen they came to the martyr:s house, <t# 'lban immediately
presented himself to the soldiers, instead of his guest and master, in the habit or long coat &hich he
&ore, and &as led bound before the Fudge#
+t happened that the Fudge, at the time &hen 'lban &as carried before him, &as standing at the
altar, and offering sacrifice to devils# Ahen he sa& 'lban, being much enraged that he should thus, of
his o&n accord, put himself into the hands of the soldiers, and incur such danger in behalf of his guest,
he commanded him to be dragged up to the images of the devils, before &hich he stood, saying,
GBecause you have chosen to conceal a rebellious and sacrilegious person, rather than to deliver him up
to the soldiers, that his contempt of the gods might meet &ith the penalty due to such blasphemy, you
shall undergo all the punishment that &as due to him, if, you abandon the &orship of our religion#G But
<t# 'lban, &ho had voluntarily declared himself a hristian to the persecutors of the faith, &as not at all
daunted at the prince:s threats, but putting on the armour of spiritual &arfare, publicly declared that he
&ould not obey the command# .hen said the Fudge, G!f &hat family or race are youJG " GAhat does it
concern you,G ans&ered 'lban, Gof &hat stoc( + amJ +f you desire to hear the truth of my religion be it
(no&n to you, that + am no& a hristian, and bound by hristian duties#G " G+ as( your name,G said the
FudgeD Gtell me it immediately#G " G+ am called 'lban by my parents,G replied heD Gand + &orship and
adore the true and living >od, &ho created all things#G .hen the Fudge, inflamed &ith anger, said, G+f
you &ill enFoy the happiness of eternal life, do not delay to offer sacrifice to the great gods#G 'lban
reFoined, G.hese sacrifices, &hich by you are offered to devils, neither can avail the subFects, nor
ans&er the &ishes or desires of those that offer up their supplications to them# !n the contrary,
&hosoever shall offer sacrifice to these images shall receive the everlasting pains of hell for his
re&ard#G
.he Fudge, hearing these &ords, and being much incensed, ordered this holy confessor of >od to
be scourged by the executioners, believing he might by stripes sha(e that constancy of heart, on &hich
he could not prevail by &ords# He, being most cruelly tortured, bore the same patiently, or rather
Foyfully, for our 8ord:s sa(e# Ahen the Fudge perceived that he &as not to be overcome by tortures, or
&ithdra&n from the exercise of the hristian religion, he ordered him to be put to death# Being led to
execution, he came to a river, &hich, &ith a most rapid course, ran bet&een the &all of the to&n and
the arena &here he &as to be executed# He there sa& a multitude# of persons of both sexes, and of
,*
several ages and conditions, &ho &ere doubtlessly assembled by Divine instinct, to attend the blessed
confessor and martyr, and had so ta(en up the bridge on the river, that he could scarce pass over that
evening# +n short, almost all had gone out, so that the Fudge remained in the city &ithout attendance# <t
'lban, therefore, urged by an ardent and devout &ish to arrive Cuic(ly at martyrdom, dre& near to the
stream, and on lifting up his eyes to heaven, the channel &as immediately dried up, and he perceived
that the &ater had departed and made &ay for him to pass# 'mong the rest, the executioner, &ho &as to
have put him to death, observed this, and moved by Divine inspiration hastened to meet him at the
place of execution, and casting do&n the s&ord &hich he had carried ready dra&n, fell at his feet,
praying that he might rather suffer &ith the martyr, &hom &as ordered to execute or, if possible,
instead of him#
Ahile he thus from a persecutor &as become a companion in the faith, and the other executioners
hesitated to ta(e up the s&ord &hich &as lying on the ground, the reverend confessor, accompanied by
the multitude, ascended a hill, about 3-- paces from the place, adorned, or, rather clothed &ith all (inds
of flo&ers, having its sides neither perpendicular, nor even craggy, but sloping do&n into a most
beautiful plain, &orthy from its lovely appearance to be the scene of a martyr:s sufferings# !n the top of
this hill, <t# 'lban prayed that >od &ould give him &ater, and immediately a living spring bro(e out
before his feet, the course being confined, so that all men perceived that the river also had been dried
up in conseCuence of the martyr:s presence# =or &as it li(ely that the martyr, &ho had left no &ater
remaining in the river, should &ant some on the top of the hill, unless he thought it suitable to the
occasion# .he river having performed the holy service, returned to its natural course, leaving a
testimony of its obedience# Here, therefore, the head of most courageous martyr &as struc( off, and
here he received the cro&n of life, &hich >od has promised to those &ho love Him# But he &ho gave
the &ic(ed stro(e, &as not permitted to reFoice over the deceasedD for his eyes dropped upon the ground
together &ith the blessed martyr:s head#
't the same time &as also beheaded the soldier, &ho before, through the Divine admonition,
refused to give the stro(e to the holy confessor# !f &hom it is apparent, that though he &as not
regenerated by baptism, yet he &as cleansed by the &ashing of his o&n blood, and rendered &orthy to
enter the (ingdom of heaven# .hen the Fudge, astonished at the novelty of so many heavenly miracles,
ordered the persecution to cease immediately, beginning to honour the death of the saints, by &hich he
before thought they might have been diverted from the hristian faith# .he blessed 'lban suffered
death on the t&enty"second day of 9une, near the city of 2erulam, &hich is no& by the English nation
,7
called 2erlamacestir, or 2arlingacestir, &here after&ards, &hen peaceable hristian times &ere
restored, a church of &onderful &or(manship, and suitable to his martyrdom, &as erected# +n &hich
place, there ceases not to this day the cure of sic( persons, and the freCuent &or(ing of &onders#
't the same time suffered 'aron and 9ulius, citiEens of hester, and many more of both sexes in
several placesD &ho, &hen they had endured sundry torments, and their limbs had been torn after an
unheard"of manner, yielded their souls up, to enFoy in the heavenly city a re&ard for the sufferings
&hich they had passed through#
CHAPTER VIII
.HE PE/<E?.+!= E'<+=>, .HE H?/H += B/+.'+= E=9!B< PE'E .+88 .HE
.+;E !F .HE '/+'= HE/E<B# H'#D# 0-*"00*#I
AHE= the storm of persecution ceased, the faithful hristians, &ho, during the time of danger,
had hidden themselves in &oods and deserts, and secret caves, appearing in public, rebuilt the churches
&hich had been levefled &ith the groundD founded, erected, and finished the temples of the holy
martyrs, and, as it &ere, displayed their conCuering ensigns in all placesD they celebrated festivals, and
performed their sacred rites &ith clean hearts and mouths# .his peace continued in the churches of
Britain until &hole &orld, infected this island also, so far removed fr time of the 'rian madness, &hich,
having corrupted the rest of the globe, &ith the poison of its arro&sD &hen the plague &as thus
conveyed across the sea, all the venom of every heresy immediately rushed into the island, ever fond of
something ne&, and never holding firm to anything#
't this time, onstantius, &ho, &hilst Diocletian &as alive, governed >aul and <pain, a man of
extraordinary mee(ness and courtesy, died in Britain# .his man left his son onstantine, born of Helen
his concubine, emperor of the >auls# Eutropius &rites, that onstantine, being created emperor in
Britain, succeeded his father in the sovereignty# +n his time the 'rian heresy bro(e out, and although it
&as detected and condemned in the ouncil of =ice, yet it nevertheless infected not only all the
churches of the continent, but even those of the islands, &ith its pestilent and fatal doctrines#
CHAPTER IX
H!A D?/+=> .HE /E+>= !F >/'.+'=, ;'5+;?<, BE+=> /E'.ED E;PE/!/ +=
B/+.'+=, /E.?/=ED +=.! >'?8 A+.H ' ;+>H.B '/;B# H'#D# 070#I
,4
+= the year of our 8ord:s incarnation, 0**, >ratian, the fortieth from 'ugustus, held the empire six
years after the death of 2alensD though he had long before reigned &ith his uncle 2alens, and his
brother 2alentinian# Finding the state of the common&ealth much impaired, and almost gone to ruin, he
loo(ed around for some one &hose abilities might remedy the existing evilsD and his choice fell on
.heodosius, a <paniard# Him he invested at <irmium &ith the royal robes, and made him emperor of
.hrace and the Eastern provinces# 't &hich time, ;aximus, a man of valour and probity, and &orthy to
be an emperor, if he had not bro(en the oath of allegiance &hich he had ta(en, &as made emperor by
the army, passed over into >aul, and there by treachery sle& the Emperor >ratian, &ho &as in a
consternation at his sudden invasion, and attempting to escape into +taly# His brother, 2alentinian,
expelled from +taly, fled into the East, &here he &as entertained by .heodosius &ith fatherly affection,
and soon restored to the empire# ;aximus the tyrant, being shut up in 'Cuileia, &as there ta(en and put
to death#
CHAPTER X
H!A, += .HE /E+>= !F '/'D+?<, PE8'>+?<, ' B/+.!=, +=<!8E=.8B +;P?>=ED
.HE >/'E !F >!D
+= the year of our 8ord 041, 'rcadius, the son of .heodosius, the forty"third from 'ugustus,
ta(ing the empire upon him, &ith his brother Honorius, held it thirteen years# +n his time, Pelagius, a
Briton, spread far and near the infection of his perfidious doctrine against the assistance of the Divine
grace, being seconded therein by his associate 9ulianus of ampania, &hose anger &as (indled by the
loss of his bishopric, of &hich he had been Fust deprived# <t# 'ugustine, and the other orthodox fathers,
Cuoted many thousand catholic authorities against them, yet they &ould not orrect their madnessD but,
or the contrary, their folly &as rather increased by contradiction, and they refused to embrace the truthD
&hich Prosper, the rhetorician, has beautifully expressed thus in heroic verse"
G' scribbler vile, inflamed &ith hellish spite,
'gainst the great 'ugustine dared to AriteD
Presumptuous serpentK from &hat midnight den
Durst thou to cra&l on earth and loo( at menJ
<ure thou &ast fed on Britain:s sea"girt plains,
!r in thy breast 2esuvian sulphur reigns#G
6-
CHAPTER XI
H!A D?/+=> .HE /E+>= !F H!=!/+?<, >/'.+'= '=D !=<.'=.+=E AE/E
/E'.ED .B/'=.< += B/+.'+=D '=D 3-- 'F.E/ .HE F!/;E/ A'< <8'+= += B/+.'+=,
'=D .HE 8'..E/ += >'?8
+= the year 1-*, Honorius, the younger <on of .heodosius and the forty"fourth from 'ugustus,
being emperor, t&o years before the invasion of /ome by 'laric, (ing of the >oths, &hen the nations of
the 'lani, <uevi, 2andals, and many others &ith them, having defeated the Fran(s and passed the
/hine, ravaged all >aul, >ratianus ;uniceps &as set up as tyrant and (illed# +n his place, onstantine,
one of the meanest soldiers, only for his name:s sa(e, and &ithout any &orth to recommend him, &as
chosen emperor# 's soon as he had ta(en upon him the command, he passed over into France, &here
being often imposed upon by the barbarians &ith faithless treaties, he caused much inFury to the
ommon&ealth# Ahereupon ount onstantius by the command of Honorius, marching into >aul &ith
an army, besieged him in the ity of 'rles, and put him to death# His son onstans, &hom of a mon(
he had created aesar, &as also put to death by his o&n ount >erontius, at 2ienne#
/ome &as ta(en by the >oths, in the year from its foundation, ,,)1# .hen the /omans ceased to
rule in Britain, almost 1*- years after aius 9ulius aesar entered the island# .hey resided &ithin the
rampart, &hich, as &e have mentioned, <everus made across the island, on the south side of it, as the
cities, temples, bridges, and paved roads there made, testify to this dayD but they had a right of
dominion over the farther parts of Britain, as also over the islands that are beyond Britain#
CHAPTER XII
.HE B/+.!=<, BE+=> /'2'>ED BB .HE <!.< '=D P+.<, <!?>H. <?!?/
F/!; .HE /!;'=<, AH!, !;+=> ' <E!=D .+;E, B?+8. ' A'88 '/!<< .HE
+<8'=DD B?. .HE B/+.!=< BE+=> '>'+= +=2'DED BB .HE 'F!/E<'+D E=E;+E<,
AE/E /ED?ED .! >/E'.E/ D+<./E<< .H'= BEF!/E
F/!; that time, the south part of Britain, destitute of armed soldiers, of martial stores, and of all
its active youth, &hich had been led a&ay by the rashness of the tyrants, never to return, &as &holly
exposed to rapine, as being totally ignorant of the use of &eapons# Ahereupon they suffered many
years under t&o very savage foreign nations, the <cots from the &est, and the Picts from the north# Ae
call these foreign nations, not on account of their being seated out of Britain, but because they &ere
6,
remote from that part of it &hich &as possessed by the BritonsD t&o inlets of the sea lying bet&een
them, one of &hich runs in far and broad into the land of Britain, from the Eastern !cean, and the other
from the Aestern, though they do not reach so as touch one another# .he eastern has in the midst of it
the city >iudi# .he &estern has on it, that is, on the right hand thereof, the city 'lcluith, &hich in their
language signifies the /oc( luith, for it is close by the river of that name#
!n account of the irruption of these nations, the Britons sent messengers to /ome &ith letters in
mournful manner, praying for succours, and promising perpetual subFection, provided that the
impending enemy should be driven a&ay# 'n armed legion &as immediately sent them, &hich, arriving
in the island, and engaging the enemy, sle& a great multitude of them, drove the rest out of the
territories of their allies, and having delivered them from their cruel oppressors, advised them to build a
&all bet&een the t&o seas across the island, that it might secure them, and (eep off the enemyD and thus
they returned home &ith great triumph# .he islanders raising the &all, as they had been directed, not of
stone, as having no artist capable of such a &or(, but of sods, made it of no use# Ho&ever, they dre& it
for many miles bet&een the t&o bays or inlets of the seas, &hich &e have spo(en ofD to the end that
&here the defense of the &ater &as &anting, they might use the rampart to defend their borders from
the irruptions of the enemies# !f &hich &or( there erected, that is, of a rampart of extraordinary
breadth and height, there are evident remains to be seen at this day# +t begins at about t&o miles:
distance from the monastery of 'bercurnig, on the &est, at a place called in the Pictish language,
Peanfahel, but in the English tongue, Penneltun, and running to the &est&ard, ends near the city
'lcluith#
But the former enemies, &hen they perceived that the /oman soldiers &ere gone, immediately
coming by sea, bro(e into the borders, trampled and overran all places, and li(e men mo&ing ripe corn,
bore do&n all before them# Hereupon messengers are again sent to /ome, imploring aid, lest their
&retched country should be utterly extirpated, and the name of a /oman province, so long reno&ned
among them, overthro&n by the cruelties of barbarous foreigners, might become utterly contemptible#
' legion is accordingly sent again, and, arriving unexpectedly in autumn, made great slaughter of the
enemy# obliging all those that could escape, to flee beyond the seaD &hereas before, they &ere &ont
yearly to carry off their booty &ithout any opposition# .hen the /omans declared to the Britons, that
they could not for the future underta(e such troublesome expeditions for their sa(e, advising them
rather to handle their &eapons li(e men, and underta(e themselves the charge of engaging their
enemies, &ho &ould not prove too po&erful for them, unless they &ere deterred by co&ardiceD and,
66
thin(ing that it might be some help to the allies, &hom they &ere forced to abandon, they built a strong
stone &all from sea to sea, in a straight line bet&een the to&ns that had been there built for fear of the
enemy, and not far from the trench of <everus# .his famous &all, &hich is still to be seen, &as built at
the public and private expense, the Britons also lending their assistance# +t is eight feet in breadth, and
t&elve in height, in a straight line from east to &est, as is still visible to beholders# .his being finished,
they gave that dispirited people good advice, &ith patterns to furnish them &ith arms# Besides, they
built to&ers on the sea"coast to the south&ard, at proper distances, &here their ships &ere, because
there also the irruptions of the barbarians &ere apprehended, and so too( leave of their friends, never to
return again#
'fter their departure, the <cots and Picts, understanding that they had declared they &ould come
no more, speedily returned, and gro&ing more confident than they had been before, occupied all the
northern and farthest part of the island, as far as the &all# Hereupon a timorous guard &as placed upon
the &all, &here they pined a&ay day and night in the utmost fear# !n the other side, the enemy attac(ed
them &ith hoo(ed &eapons, by &hich the co&ardly defenders &ere dragged from the &all, and dashed
against the ground# 't last, the Britons, forsa(ing their cities and &all, too( to flight and &ere
dispersed# .he enemy pursued, and the slaughter &as greater than on any former occasionD for the
&retched natives &ere torn in pieces by their enemies, as lambs are torn by &ild beasts# .hus, being
expelled their d&ellings and possessions, they saved themselves from starvation, by robbing and
plundering one another, adding to the calamities occasioned by foreigners, by their o&n domestic
broils, till the &hole country &as left destitute of food, except such as could be procured in the chase#
CHAPTER XIII
+= .HE /E+>= !F .HE!D!<+?< .HE B!?=>E/, P'88'D+?< A'< <E=. .! .HE
<!.< .H'. BE8+E2ED += H/+<.D .HE B/+.!=< BE>>+=> '<<+<.'=E !F L.+?<, .HE
!=<?8, !?8D =!. !B.'+= +.# H'#D# 11)#I
+= the year of our 8ord 160, .heodosius the younger, next to Honorius, being the forty"fifth from
'ugustus, governed the /oman empire t&enty"six years# +n the eighth year of his reign, Palladius &as
sent by elestinus, the /oman pontiff, to the <cots that believed in hrist, to be their first bishop# +n the
t&enty"third year of his reign, Ltius, a reno&ned person, being also a patrician, discharged his third
consulship &ith <ymmachus for his colleague# .o him the &retched remains of the Britons sent a letter,
&hich began thus " G.o Ltius, thrice onsul, the groans of the Britons#G 'nd in the seCuel of the letter
60
they thus expressed their calamities " G.he barbarians drive us to the seaD the sea drives us bac( to the
barbarians$ bet&een them &e are to t&o sorts of deathD &e are either slain or dro&ned#G Bet neither
could all this procure any assistance from him, as he &as then engaged in most dangerous &ars &ith
Bledla and 'ttila, (ings of the Huns# 'nd, though the year before this, Bledla had been murdered by the
treachery of his brother 'ttila, yet 'ttila himself remained so intolerable an enemy to the /epublic, that
he ravaged almost all Europe, invading and destroying cities and castles# 't the same time there &as a
famine at onstantinople, and shortly after, a plague follo&ed, and a great part of the &alls of that city,
&ith fifty"seven to&ers, fell to the ground# ;any cities also &ent to ruin, and the famine and
pestilential state of the air destroyed thousands of men and cattle#
CHAPTER XIV
.HE B/+.!=<, !;PE88ED BB F';+=E, D/!2E .HE B'/B'/+'=< !?. !F .HE+/
.E//+.!/+E<D <!!= 'F.E/ .HE/E E=<?ED P8E=.B !F !/=, 8?5?/B, P8'>?E, '=D
.HE <?B2E/<+!= !F .HE ='.+!=# H'#D# 16)"11*#I
+= the meantime, the aforesaid famine distressing the Britons more and more, and leaving to
posterity lasting memorials of its mischievous effects, obliged many of them to submit themselves to
the depredatorsD though others still held out, confiding in the Divine assistance, &hen none &as to be
had from men# .hese continually made excursions from the mountains, caves, and &oods, and, at
length, began to inflict severe losses on their enemies, &ho had been for so many years plundering the
country# .he +rish robbers thereupon returned home, in order to come again soon after# .he Picts, both
then and after&ards, remained Cuiet in the farthest part of the island, save that sometimes they &ould
do some mischief, and carry off booty from the Britons#
Ahen ho&ever, the ravages of the enemy at length ceased, the island began to abound &ith such
plenty of grain as had never been (no&n in any age beforeD &ith plenty, luxury increased, and this &as
immediately attended &ith all sorts of crimesD in particular, cruelty, hatred of truth, and love of
falsehoodD insomuch, that if any one among them happened to be milder than the rest, and inclined to
truth, all the rest abhorred and persecuted him, as if he had been the enemy of his country# =or &ere the
laity only guilty of these things, but even our 8ord:s o&n floc(, and his pastors also, addicting
themselves to drun(enness, animosity, litigiousness, contention, envy, and other such li(e crimes, and
casting off the light yo(e of hrist# +n the meantime, on a sudden, a severe plague fell upon that corrupt
generation, &hich soon destroyed such numbers of them, that the living &ere scarcely sufficient to bury
61
the dead$ yet, those that survived, could not be &ithdra&n from the spiritual death, &hich their sins had
incurred, either by the death of their friends, or the fear of their o&n# Ahereupon, not long after, a more
severe vengeance, for their horrid &ic(edness, fell upon the sinful nation# .hey consulted &hat &as to
be done, and &here they should see( assistance to prevent or repel the cruel and freCuent incursions of
the northern nationsD and they all agreed &ith their @ing 2ortigern to call over to their aid, from the
parts beyond the sea, the <axon nationD &hich, as the event still more evidently sho&ed, appears to
have been done by the appointment of our 8ord Himself, that evil might fall upon them for their
&ic(ed deeds#
CHAPTER XV
.HE '=>8E<, BE+=> +=2+.ED +=.! B/+.'+=, '. F+/<. !B8+>ED .HE E=E;B .!
/E.+/E .! ' D+<.'=ED B?. =!. 8!=> 'F.E/, 9!+=+=> += 8E'>?E A+.H .HE;,
.?/=ED .HE+/ AE'P!=< ?P!= .HE+/ !=FEDE/'.E<# H'#D# 13-"13)#I
+= the year of our 8ord 114, ;artian being made emperor &ith 2alentinian, and the forty"sixth
from 'ugustus, ruled the empire seven years# .hen the nation of the 'ngles, or <axons, being invited
by the aforesaid (ing, arrived in Britain &ith three long ships, and had a place assigned them to reside
in by the same (ing, in the eastern part of the island, that they might thus appear to be fighting for their
country, &hilst their real intentions &ere to enslave it# 'ccordingly they engaged &ith the enemy, &ho
&ere come from the north to give battle, and obtained the victoryD &hich, being (no&n at home in their
o&n country, as also the fertility of the country, and the co&ardice of the Britons, a more considerable
fleet &as Cuic(ly sent over, bringing a still greater number of men, &hich, being added to the former,
made up an invincible army# .he ne&comers received of the Britons a place to inhabit, upon condition
that they should &age &ar against their enemies for the peace and security of the country, &hilst the
Britons agreed to furnish them &ith pay# .hose &ho came over &ere of the three most po&erful nations
of >ermany " <axons, 'ngles, and 9utes# From the 9utes are descended the people of @ent, and of the
+sle of Aight, and those also in the province of the Aest <axons &ho are to this day called 9utes, seated
opposite to the +sle of Aight# From the <axons, that is, the country &hich is no& called !ld <axony,
came the East <axons, the <outh <axons, and the Aest <axons# From the 'ngles, that is, the country
&hich is called 'nglia, and &hich is said, from that time, to remain desert to this day, bet&een the
provinces of the 9utes and the <axons, are descended the East 'ngles, the ;idland 'ngles, ;ercians,
all the race of the =orthumbrians, that is, of those nations that d&ell on the north side of the river
63
Humber, and the other nations of the English# .he t&o first commanders are said to have been Hengist
and Horsa# !f &hom Horsa, being after&ards slain in battle by the Britons, &as buried in the eastern
parts of @ent, &here a monument, bearing his name, is still in existence# .hey &ere the sons of
2ictgilsus, &hose father &as 2ecta, son of AodenD from &hose stoc( the royal race of many provinces
deduce their original# +n a short time, s&arms of the aforesaid nations came over into the island, and
they began to increase so much, that they became terrible to the natives themselves &ho had invited
them# .hen, having on a sudden entered into league &ith the Picts, &hom they had by this time repelled
by the force of their arms, they began to turn their &eapons against their confederates# 't first, they
obliged them to furnish a greater Cuantity of provisionsD and, see(ing an occasion to Cuarrel, protested,
that unless more plentiful supplies &ere brought them, they &ould brea( the confederacy, and ravage
all the islandD nor &ere they bac(&ard in putting their threats in execution# +n short, the fire (indled by
the hands of these pagans proved >od:s Fust revenge for the crimes of the peopleD not unli(e that &hich,
being once lighted by the haldeans, consumed the &alls and city of 9erusalem# For the barbarous
conCuerors acting here in the same manner, or rather the Fust 9udge ordaining that they should so act,
they plundered all the neighbouring cities and country, spread the conflagration from the eastern to the
&estern sea, &ithout any opposition, and covered almost every part of the devoted island# Public as
&ell as private structures &ere overturnedD the priests &ere every&here slain before the altarsD the
prelates and the people, &ithout any respect of persons, &ere destroyed &ith fire and s&ordD nor &as
there any to bury those &ho had been thus cruelly slaughtered# <ome of the miserable remainder, being
ta(en in the mountains, &ere butchered in heapsD others, spent &ith hunger, came forth and submitted
themselves to the enemy for food, being destined to undergo perpetual servitude, if they &ere not (illed
even upon the spot some, &ith sorro&ful hearts, fled beyond the seas# !thers, continuing in their o&n
country, led a miserable life among the &oods, roc(s, and mountains, &ith scarcely enough food to
support life, and expecting every moment to be their last#
CHAPTER XVI
.HE B/+.!=< !B.'+=ED .HE+/ F+/<. 2+.!/B !2E/ .HE '=>8E<, ?=DE/ .HE
!;;'=D !F ';B/!<+?<, ' /!;'=
AHE= the victorious army, having destroyed and dispersed the natives, had returned home to
their o&n settlements, the Britons began by degrees to ta(e heart, and gather strength, sallying out of
the lur(ing places &here they had concealed themselves, and unanimously imploring the Divine
6)
assistance, that they might not utterly be destroyed# .hey had at that time for their leader, 'mbrosius
'urelius, a modest man, &ho alone, by chance, of the /oman nation had survivcd the storm, in &hich
his parents, &ho &ere of the royal race, had perished# ?nder him the Britons revived, and offering
battle to the victors, by the help of >od, came off victorious# From that day, sometimes the natives, and
sometimes their enemies, prevailed, till the year of the siege of Baddesdo&n"hill, &hen they made no
small slaughter of those invaders, about forty"four years after their arrival in England# But of this
hereafter#
CHAPTER XVII
H!A >E/;'=?< .HE B+<H!P, <'+8+=> +=.! B/+.'+= A+.H 8?P?<, F+/<.
M?E88ED .HE .E;PE<. !F .HE <E', '=D 'F.E/A'/D< .H'. !F .HE PE8'>+'=<, BB
D+2+=E P!AE/, H'#D# 164#I
<!;E fe& years before their arrival, the Pelagian heresy brought over by 'gricola, the son of
<everianus, a Pelagian bishop, had sadly corrupted the faith of the Britons But &hereas they absolutely
refused to embrace that perverse doctrine, so blasphemous against the grace of hrist, and &ere not
able of themselves to confute its subtlety by force of argument, they thought of an excellent plan,
&hich &as to crave aid of the >allican prelates in that spiritual &ar# Hereupon having gathered a great
synod, they consulted together &hat persons should be sent thither, and by unanimous consent, choice
&as made of the apostolical priests, >ermanus, bishop of 'uxerre, and 8upus of .royes, to go into
Britain to confirm it in the faith# .hey readily complied &ith the reCuest and commands of the holy
hurch, and putting to sea, sailed half &ay over from >aul to Britain &ith a fair &ind# .here on a
sudden they &ere obstructed by the malevolence of demons, &ho &ere Fealous that such men should be
sent to bring bac( the Britons to the faith# .hey raised storms, and dar(ened the s(y &ith clouds# .he
sails could not bear the fury of the &inds, the sailors: s(ill &as forced to give &ay, the ship &as
sustained by prayer, not by strength, and as it happened, their spiritual commander and bishop, being
spent &ith &eariness, had fallen asleep# .hen the tempest, as if the person that opposed it had given
&ay, gathered strength, and the ship, overpo&ered by the &aves, &as ready to sin(# .hen the blessed
8upus and all the rest a&a(ened their elder, that he might oppose the raging elements# He, sho&ing
himself the more resolute in proportion to the greatness of the danger, called upon hrist, and having,
in the name of the Holy .rinity, sprin(led a little &ater, Cuelled the raging &aves, admonished his
companion, encouraged all, and all unanimously fell to prayer# .he Deity heard their cry, the enemies
6*
&ere put to flight, a calm ensued, the &inds veering about applied themselves to for&ard their voyage,
and having soon traversed the ocean, they enFoyed the Cuiet of the &ished for shore# ' multitude
floc(ing thither from all parts, received the priests, &hose coming had been foretold by the predictions
even of their adversaries# For the &ic(ed spirits declared &hat they feared, and &hen the priests
after&ards expelled them from the bodies they had ta(en possession of, they made (no&n the nature of
the tempest, and the dangers they had occasioned, and that they had been overcome by the merits and
authority of the saints#
+n the meantime, the apostolical priests filled the island of Britain &ith the fame of their preaching
and virtuesD and the &ord of >od &as by them daily administered, not only in the churches, but even in
the streets and fields, so that the atholics &ere every&here confirmed, and those &ho had gone astray,
corrected# 8i(e&ise the apostles, they had honour and authority through a good conscience, obedience
to their doctrine through their sound learning, &hilst the re&ard of virtue attended upon their numerous
merits# .hus the generality of the people readily embraced their opinionsD the authors of the erroneous
doctrines (ept themselves in the bac(ground, and, li(e evil spirits, grieved for the loss of the people
that &ere rescued from them# 't length, after mature deliberation they had the boldness to enter the
lists, and appeared for public disputation, conspicuous for riches, glittering in apparel, and supported by
the flatteries of manyD choosing rather to haEard the combat, than to undergo the dishonour among the
people of having been silenced, lest they should seem by saying nothing to condemn themselves# 'n
immense multitude &as there assembled &ith their &ives and children# .he people stood round as
spectators and FudgesD but the parties present differed much in appearanceD on the one side &as Divine
faith, on the other human presumptionD on the one side piety, on the other prideD on the one side
Pelagius on the other hrist# .he holy priests, >ermanus and 8upus, permitted their adversaries to
spea( first, &ho long too( up the time, and filled the ears &ith empty &ords# .hen the venerable
prelates poured forth the torrent of their apostolical and evangelical eloCuence# .heir discourse &as
interspersed &ith scriptural sentences, and they supported their most &eighty assertions by reading the
&ritten testimonies of famous &riters# 2anity &as convinced, and perfidiousness confutedD so, that at
every obFection made against them, not being able to reply, they confessed their errors# .he people,
&ho &ere Fudges, could scarcely refrain from violence, but signified their Fudgment by their
acclamations#
67
CHAPTER XVIII
.HE <';E H!8B ;'= >'2E <+>H. .! .HE B8+=D D'?>H.E/ !F ' ./+B?=E, '=D
.HE= !;+=> .! <.# '8B'=:<, .HE/E /EE+2ED <!;E !F H+< /E8+< '=D 8EF.
!.HE/< !F .HE B8E<<ED 'P!<.8E<, '=D !.HE/ ;'/.B/<
'F.E/ this, a certain man, &ho had the Cuality of a tribune, came for&ard &ith his &ife, and
presented his blind daughter, ten years of age, for the priests to cure# they ordered her to be set before
their adversaries, &ho, being convinced by guilt of conscience, Foined their entreaties to those of the
child:s parents, and besought the priests that she might be cured# .he priests, therefore, perceiving their
adversaries to yield, made a short prayer, and then >ermanus, full of the Holy >host, invo(ed the
.rinity, and ta(ing into his hands a cas(et &ith relics of saints, &hich hung about his nec(, applied it to
the girl:s eyes, &hich &ere immediately delivered from dar(ness and filled &ith the light of truth# .he
parents reFoiced, and the people &ere astonished at the miracleD after &hich, the &ic(ed opinions &ere
so fully obliterated from the minds of all, that they ardently embraced the doctrine of the priests#
.his damnable heresy being thus suppressed, and the authors thereof confuted, and all the people:s
hearts settled in the purity of the faith, the priests repaired to the tomb the martyr, <t# 'lban, to give
than(s to >od through him# .here >ermanus, having &ith him relics of all the 'postles, and of several
martyrs, after offering up his prayers, commanded the tomb to be opened, that he might lay up therein
some precious giftsD Fudging it convenient, that the limbs of saints brought together from several
countries, as their eCual merits had procured them admission into heaven, should he preserved in one
tomb# .hese being honourably deposited, and laid together, he too( up a parcel of dust from the place
&here the martyr:s blood had been shed, to carry a&ay &ith him, &hich dust having retained the blood,
it appeared that the slaughter of the martyrs had communicated a redness to it, &hilst the persecutor
&as struc( pale# +n conseCuence of these things, an innumerable multitude of people &as that day
converted to the 8ord#
CHAPTER XIX
H!A .HE <';E H!8B ;'=, BE+=> DE.'+=ED .HE/E BB '= +=D+<P!<+.+!=, BB
H+< P/'BE/< M?E=HED ' F+/E .H'. H'D B/!@E= !?. ';!=> .HE H!?<E<, '=D
A'< H+;<E8F ?/ED !F ' D+<.E;PE/ BB ' 2+<+!=# H'#D# 164#I
'< they &ere returning from thence, >ermanus fell and bro(e his leg, by the contrivance of the
64
Devil, &ho did not (no& that, li(e 9ob, his merits &ould be enhanced by the affliction of his body#
Ahilst he &as thus detained some time in the same place by illness, a fire bro(e out in a cottage
neighbouring to that in &hich he &asD and having burned do&n the other houses &hich &ere thatched
&ith reed, &as carried on by the &ind to the d&elling in &hich he lay# .he people all floc(ed to the
prelate, entreating that they might lift him in their arms, and save him from the impending danger# He,
ho&ever, rebu(ed them, and relying on faith, &ould not suffer himself to be removed# .he multitude, in
despair, ran to oppose the conflagrationD ho&ever, for the greater manifestation of the Divine po&er,
&hatsoever the cro&d endeavoured to save, &as destroyedD but &hat he &ho &as disabled and
motionless occupied, the flame avoided, sparing the house that gave entertainment to the holy man, and
raging about on every side of itD &hilst the house in &hich he lay appeared untouched, amid the general
conflagration# .he multitude reFoiced at the miracle, and praised the superior po&er of >od# 'n infinite
number of the poorer sort &atched day and night before the cottageD some to heal their souls, and some
their bodies# +t is impossible to relate &hat hrist &rought by his servant, &hat &onders the sic( man
performed$ for &hilst he &ould suffer no medicines to be applied to his distemper, he one night sa& a
person in garments as &hite as sno&, standing by him, &ho reaching out his hand, seemed to raise him
up, and ordered him to stand boldly upon his feetD from &hich time his pain ceased, and he &as so
perfectly restored, that &hen the day came on, he, &ithout any hesitation, set forth upon his Fourney#
CHAPTER XX
H!A .HE <';E B+<H!P< P/!?/ED .HE B/+.!=< '<<+<.'=E F/!; HE'2E= +=
' B'..8E, '=D .HE= /E.?/=ED H!;E# H'#D# 164#I
+= the meantime, the <axons and Picts, &ith their united forces, made &ar upon the Britons, &ho,
being thus by fear and necessity compelled to ta(e up arms, and thin(ing themselves uneCual to their
enemies, implored the assistance of the holy bishopsD &ho, hastening to them as they had promised,
inspired so much courage into these fearful people, that one &ould have thought they had been Foined
by a mighty army# .hus, by these holy apostolic men, hrist Himself commanded in their camp# .he
holy days of 8ent &ere also at hand, and &ere rendered more religious by the presence of the priests,
insomuch that the people being instructed by daily sermons, resorted in cro&ds to be baptiEedD for most
of the army desired admission to the saving &aterD a church &as prepared &ith boughs for the feast of
the resurrection of our 8ord, and so fitted up in that martial camp, as if it &ere in a city# .he army
advanced, still &et &ith the baptismal &aterD the faith of the people &as strengthened and &hereas
0-
human po&er had before been despaired of, the Divine assistance &as no& relied upon# .he enemy
received advice of the state of the army, and not Cuestioning their success against an unarmed
multitude, hastened for&ards, but their approach &as, by the scouts, made (no&n to the BritonsD the
greater part of &hose forces being Fust come from the font, after the celebration of Easter, and
preparing to arm and carry on the &ar, >ermanus declared he &ould be their leader# He pic(ed out the
most active, vie&ed the country round about, and observed, in the &ay by &hich the enemy &as
expected, a valley encompassed &ith hills# +n that place he dre& up his inexperienced troops, himself
acting as their general# ' multitude of fierce enemies appeared, &hom as soon as those that lay in
ambush sa& a Pp roaching, >ermanus, bearing in his hands the standard instructed his men all in a loud
voice to repeat his &ords, and the enemy advancing securely, as thin(ing to ta(e them by surprise, the
priests three times cried, HalleluFah# ' universal shout of the same &ord follo&ed, and the hills
resounding the echo on all sides, the enemy &as struc( &ith dread, fearing, that not only the
neighbouring roc(s, but even the very s(ies &ere falling upon them and such &as their terror, that their
feet &ere not s&ift enough to deliver them from it# .hey fled in disorder, casting a&ay their arms, and
&ell satisfied if, &ith their na(ed bodies, they could escape the dangerD many of them, in their
precipitate and hasty flight, &ere s&allo&ed up by the river &hich they &ere passing# .he Britons,
&ithout the loss of a man, beheld their vengeance complete, and became inactive spectators of their
victory# .he scattered spoils &ere gathered up, and the pious soldiers reFoiced in the success &hich
heaven had granted them# .he prelates thus triumphed over the enemy &ithout bloodshed, and gained a
victory by faith, &ithout the aid of human force and, having settled the affairs of the +sland, and
restored tranCuillity by the defeat, as &ell as of the invisibleD as of the carnal enemies, prepared to
return home# .heir o&n merits, and the intercession of the holy martyr 'lban, obtained them a safe
passage, and the happy vessel restored them in peace to their reFoicing people#
CHAPTER XXI
.HE PE8'>+'= HE/E<B '>'+= /E2+2+=>, >E/;'=?<, /E.?/=+=> +=.! B/+.'+=
A+.H <E2E/?<, F+/<. HE'8ED ' 8';E B!?.H, .HE= H'2+=> !=DE;=ED !/
!=2E/.ED .HE HE/E.+<, .HEB /E<.!/ED <P+/+.?'8 HE'8.H .! .HE PE!P8E !F
>!D# H'#D# 11*#I
=!. long after, advice &as brought from the same island that certain persons &ere again
attempting to set forth and spread abroad the Pelagian heresy# .he holy >ermanus &as entreated by all
0,
the priests, that he &ould again defend the cause of >od, &hich he had before asserted# He speedily
complied &ith their reCuestD and ta(ing &ith him <everus, a man of singular sanctity &ho &as disciple
to the most holy father, 8upus, bishop of .royes, and after&ards, as bishop of .reves, preached the
&ord of >od in the adFacent parts of >ermany, put to sea, and &as calmly &afted over into Britain#
+n the meantime, the &ic(ed spirits flying about the &hole island, foretold by constraint that
>ermanus &as coming, insomuch that one Elafius, a chief of that region, hastened to meet the holy
men, &ithout having received any certain ne&s, carrying &ith him his son, &ho laboured under a
&ea(ness of his limbs in the very flo&er of his youthD for the nerves being &ithered, his leg &as so
contracted that the limb &as useless, and he could not &al(# 'll the country follo&ed this Elafius# .he
priests arrived, and &ere met by the ignorant multitude, &hom they blessed, and preached the &ord of
>od to them# .hey found the people constant in the faith as they had left themD and learning that but
fe& had gone astray, they found out the authors, and condemned them# .hen Elafius cast himself at the
feet of the priests, presenting his son, &hose distress &as visible, and needed no &ords to express it# 'll
&ere grieved, but especially the priests, &ho put up their prayers for him before the throne of mercyD
and >ermanus, causing the youth to sit do&n, gently passed his healing hand over the leg &hich &as
contractedD the limb recovered its strength and soundness by the po&er of his touch, the &ithered
nerves &ere restored, and the youth &as, in the presence of all the people delivered &hole to his father#
.he multitude &as amaEed at the miracle, and the atholic faith &as firmly planted in the minds of allD
after &hich, they &ere, in a sermon &arned and exhorted to ma(e amends for their errors# By the
Fudgment of all, the spreaders of the heresy, &ho had been expelled the island, &ere brought before the
priests, to be conveyed up into the continent, that the country might be rid of them, and they corrected
of their errors# .hus the faith in those parts continued long after pure and untainted# 'll things being
settled, he blessed prelates returned home as prosperously as they came#
But >ermanus, after this, &ent to /avenna to intercede for the tranCuillity of the 'rmoricans,
&here, being very honourably received by 2alentinian and his mother, Placidia, he departed to hristD
his body &as conveyed to his o&n city &ith a splendid retinue, and numberless deeds of charity
accompanied him to the grave# =ot long after, 2alentinian &as murdered by the follo&ers of Ltius, the
PatricianD &hom he had put to death, in the sixth year of the reign of ;arcianus, and &ith him ended
the empire of the Aest#
06
CHAPTER XXII
.HE B/+.!=<, BE+=> F!/ ' .+;E DE8+2E/ED F/!; F!/E+>= +=2'<+!=<, A'<.ED
.HE;<E82E< BB +2+8 A'/<, '=D .HE= >'2E .HE;<E82E< ?P .! ;!/E HE+=!?<
/+;E<
+= the meantime, in Britain, there &as some respite from foreign, but not from civil &ar# .here
still remained the ruins of cities destroyed by the enemy, and abandonedD and the natives, &ho had
escaped the enemy, no& fought against each other# Ho&ever, the (ings, priests, private men, and the
nobility, still remembering the late calamities and slaughters, in some measure (ept &ithin boundsD but
&hen these died, and another generation succeeded, &hich (ne& nothing of those times, and &as only
acCuainted &ith the present peaceable state of things, all the bonds of sincerity and Fustice &ere so
entirely bro(en, that there &as not only no trace of them remaining, but fe& persons seemed to be
a&are that such virtues had ever existed# 'mong other most &ic(ed actions, not to be expressed, &hich
their o&n historian, >ildas, mournfully ta(es notice of, they added this " that they never preached the
faith to the <axons, or English, &ho d&elt amongst themD ho&ever, the goodness of >od did not
forsa(e his people &hom He fore(ne&, but sent to the aforesaid nation much more &orthy preachers, to
bring it to the faith#
CHAPTER XXIII
H!A P!PE >/E>!/B <E=. '?>?<.+=E, A+.H !.HE/ ;!=@<, .! P/E'H .! .HE
E=>8+<H ='.+!=, '=D E=!?/'>ED .HE; BB ' 8E..E/ !F E5H!/.'.+!=, =!. .!
E'<E F/!; .HE+/ 8'B!?/# H'#D# 34)#I
+= the year of our 8ord 376, ;aurice, the fifty"fourth from 'ugustus, ascended the throne, and
reigned t&enty"one years# +n the tenth year of his reign, >regory, a man reno&ned for learning and
behaviour, &as promoted to the apostolical see of /ome, and presided over it thirteen years, six months
and ten days# He, being moved by Divine inspiration, in the fourteenth year of the same emperor, and
about the one hundred and fiftieth after the coming of the English into Britain, sent the servant of >od,
'ugustine, and &ith him several other mon(s, &ho feared the 8ord, to preach the &ord of >od to the
English nation# they having, in obedience to the pope:s commands, underta(en that &or(, &ere, on their
Fourney, seiEed &ith a sudden fear, and began to thin( of returning home, rather than proceed to a
barbarous, fierce, and unbelieving nation, to &hose very language they &ere strangersD and this they
unanimously agreed &as the safest course# +n short, they sent bac(# 'ugustine, &ho had been appointed
00
to be consecrated bishop in case they &ere received by the English, that he might, by humble entreaty,
obtain of the Holy >regory, that they should not be compelled to underta(e so dangerous, toilsome, and
uncertain a Fourney# .he pope, in reply, sent them a hortatory epistle, persuading them to proceed in the
&or( of the Divine &ord, and rely on the assistance of the 'lmighty# .he purport of &hich letter &as as
follo&s
GGregory, the servant of the servants of God, to the servants of our Lord. Forasmuch as it had
been better not to begin a good &or(, than to thin( of desisting from that &hich has been begun, it
behooves you, my beloved sons, to fulfil the good &or(, &hich, by the help of our 8ord, you have
underta(en# 8et not, therefore, the toil of the Fourney, nor the tongues of evil spea(ing men, after youD
but &ith all possible earnestness and Eeal perform that &hich, by >od:s direction, you have underta(enD
being assured, that much labour is follo&ed by an eternal re&ard# Ahen 'ugustine, your chief, returns,
&hom &e also constitute your abbot, humbly obey him in all thingsD (no&ing, that &hatsoever you
shall do by his direction, &ill, in all respects, be available to your souls# 'lmighty >od protect you &ith
his grace, and grant that + may, in the heavenly country, see the fruits of your labour# +n +nasmuch as,
though + cannot labour &ith you, + shall parta(e in the Foy of the re&ard, because + am &illing to labour#
>od (eep you in safety, my most beloved sons# Dated the 60rd of 9uly, in the fourteenth year of the
reign of our pious and most august lord, ;auritius .iberius, the thirteenth year after the consulship of
our said lord# .he fourteenth indiction#G
CHAPTER XXIV
H!A HE A/!.E .! .HE B+<H!P !F '/8E< .! E=.E/.'+= .HE;# H'#D# 34)#I
.HE same venerable pope also sent a letter to Ltheriuis, bishop of 'rles, exhorting him to give
favourable entertainment to 'ugustine on his &ay to BritainD &hich letter &as in these &ords "
"To his most reverend and holy brother and fellow bishop Ætherius, Gregory, the servant of the
servants God. 'lthough religious men stand in need of no recommendation &ith priests &ho have the
charity &hich is pleasing to >odD yet as a proper opportunity is offered to &rite, &e have thought fit to
send you this our letter, to inform you, that &e have directed thither, for the good of souls, the bearer of
these presents, 'ugustine, the servant of >od, of &hose industry &e are assured, &ith other servants of
>od, &hom it is reCuisite that your holiness assist &ith priestly affection, and afford him all the comfort
in your po&er# 'nd to the end that you may be the more ready in your assistance, &e have enFoined him
01
particularly to inform you of the occasion of his comingD (no&ing, that &hen you are acCuainted &ith
it, you &ill as the matter reCuires, for the sa(e of >od, Eealously afford him your relief# Ae also in all
things recommend to your charity, andidus, the priest, our common son, &hom &e have transferred to
the government of a small patrimony in our church# >od (eep you in safety, most reverend brother#
Dated the 60rd day of 9uly, in the fourteenth year of the reign of our most pious and august lord,
;auritius .iberius, the thirteenth ycar after the consulship of our lord aforesaid# .he fourteenth
indiction#G
CHAPTER XXV
'?>?<.+=E, !;+=> +=.! B/+.'+=, F+/<. P/E'HED += .HE +<8E !F .H'=E. .!
@+=> E.HE8BE/., '=D H'2+=> !B.'+=ED 8+E=E, E=.E/ED .HE @+=>D!; !F
@E=., += !/DE/ .! P/E'H .HE/E+=# H'#D# 34*#I
'?>?<.+=E, thus strengthened by the confirmation of the blessed Father >regory, returned to
the &or( of the &ord of >od, &ith the servants of hrist, and arrived in Britain# .he po&erful Ethelbert
&as at that time (ing of @entD he had extended his dominions as far as the great river Humber, by
&hich the <outhern <axons are divided from the =orthern# !n the east of @ent is the large +sle of
.hanet containing according to the English &ay of rec(oning, )-- families, divided from the other land
by the river Aantsum, &hich is about three furlongs over, and fordable only in t&o places, for both
ends of it run into the sea# +n this island landed the servant of our 8ord, 'ugustine, and his companions,
being, as is reported, nearly forty men# .hey had, by order of the blessed Pope >regory, ta(en
interpreters of the nation of the Fran(s, and sending to Ethelbert, signified that they &ere come from
/ome, and brought a Foyful message, &hich most undoubtedly assured to all that too( advantage of it
everlasting Foys in heaven and a (ingdom that &ould never end &ith the living and true >od# .he (ing
having heard this, ordered them to stay in that island &here they had landed, and that they should be
furnished &ith all necessaries, till he should consider &hat to do &ith them# For he had before heard of
the hristian religion, having a hristian &ife of the royal family of the Fran(s, called BerthaD &hom
he had received from her parents, upon condition that she should be permitted to practice her religion
&ith the Bishop 8uidhard, &ho &as sent &ith her to preserve her faith# <ome days after, the (ing came
into the island, and sitting in the open air, ordered 'ugustine and his companions to be brought into his
presence# For he had ta(en precaution that they should not come to him in any house, lest, according to
an ancient superstition, if they practiced any magical arts, they might impose upon him, and so get the
03
better of him# But they came furnished &ith Divine, not &ith magic virtue, bearing a silver cross for
their banner, and the image of our 8ord and <aviour painted on a boardD and singing the litany, they
offered up their prayers to the 8ord for the eternal salvation both of themselves and of those to &hom
they &ere come# Ahen he had sat do&n, pursuant to the (ing:s commands, and preached to him and his
attendants there present, the &ord of life, the (ing ans&ered thus$ " GBour &ords and promises are very
fair, but as they are ne& to us, and of uncertain import, + cannot approve of them so far as to forsa(e
that &hich + have so long follo&ed &ith the &hole English nation# But because you are come from far
into my (ingdom, and, as + conceive, are desirous to impart to us those things &hich you believe to be
true, and most beneficial, &e &ill not molest you, but give you favourable entertainment, and ta(e care
to supply you &ith your necessary sustenanceD nor do &e forbid you to preach and gain as many as you
can to your religion#G 'ccordingly he permitted them to reside in the city of anterbury, &hich &as the
metropolis of all his dominions, and, pursuant to his promise, besides allo&ing them sustenance, did
not refuse them liberty to preach# +t is reported that, as they dre& near to the city, after their manner,
&ith the holy cross, and the image of our sovereign 8ord and @ing, 9esus hrist, they, in concert, sung
this litany$ GAe beseech .hee, ! 8ord, in all .hy mercy, that thy anger and &rath be turned a&ay from
this city, and from the holy house, because &e have sinned# HalleluFah#G
CHAPTER XXVI
<.# '?>?<.+=E += @E=. F!88!AED .HE D!./+=E '=D ;'==E/ !F 8+2+=> !F
.HE P/+;+.+2E H?/H, '=D <E..8ED H+< EP+<!P'8 <EE += .HE /!B'8 +.B# H'#D#
34*#I
's soon as they entered the d&elling"place assigned them they began to imitate the course of life
practiced in the primitive churchD applying themselves to freCuent prayer, &atching and fastingD
preaching the &ord of life to as many as they couldD despising all &orldly things, as not belonging to
themD receiving only their necessary food from those they taughtD living themselves in all respects
conformably to &hat they prescribed to others, and being al&ays disposed to suffer any adversity, and
even to die for that truth &hich they preached# +n short, several believed and &ere baptiEed, admiring
the simplicity of their innocent life, and the s&eetness of their heavenly doctrine# .here &as on the east
side of the city a church dedicated to the honour of <t# ;artin, built &hilst the /omans &ere still in the
island, &herein the Cueen, &ho, as has been said before, &as a hristian, used to pray# +n this they first
began to meet, to sing, to pray, to say mass, to preach, and to baptiEe, till the (ing, being converted to
0)
the faith, allo&ed them to preach openly, and build or repair churches in all places#
Ahen he, among the rest, induced by the unspotted life of these holy men, and their delightful
promises, &hich, by many miracles, they proved to be most certain, believed and &as baptiEed, greater
numbers began daily to floc( together to hear the &ord, and, forsa(ing their heathen rites, to associate
themselves, by believing, to the unity of the church of hrist# .heir conversion the (ing so far
encouraged, as that he compelled none to embrace hristianity, but only sho&ed more affection to the
believers, as to his fello&"citiEens in the heavenly (ingdom# for he had learned from his instructors and
leaders to salvation, that the service of hrist ought to be voluntary, not by compulsion# =or &as it long
before he gave his preachers a settled residence in his metropolis of anterbury, &ith such possessions
of different (inds as &ere necessary for their subsistence#
CHAPTER XXVII
<.# '?>?<.+=E, BE+=> ;'DE B+<H!P, <E=D< .! 'M?'+=. P!PE >/E>!/B A+.H
AH'. H'D BEE= D!=E, '=D /EE+2E< H+< '=<AE/ .! .HE D!?B.< HE H'D
P/!P!<ED .! H+;# H'#D# 34*#I
+= the meantime, 'ugustine, the man of >od, repaired to 'rles, and, pursuant to the orders
received from the holy Father >regory, &as ordained archbishop of the English nation, by Ltherius,
archbishop of that city# .hen returning into Britain, he sent 8aurentius the priest, and Peter the mon(, to
/ome, to acCuaint Pope >regory, that the nation of the English had received the faith of hrist, and that
he &as himself made their bishop# 't the same time, he desired his solution of some doubts that
occurred to him# He soon received proper ans&ers to his Cuestions &hich &e have also thought fit to
insert in this, our history "
The First Question of Augustine, ishop of the !hur"h of !anterbury. "oncerning bishops, ho&
they are to behave themselves to&ards their clergyJ or into ho& many portions the things given by the
faithful to the altar are to he dividedJ and ho& the bishop is to act in the churchJ
Gregory, #ope of the !ity of $ome, answers. " Holy Arit, &hich no doubt you are &ell versed in,
testifies, and particularly <t# Paul:s Epistle to .imothy, &herein he endeavours to instruct him ho& he
should behave himself in the house of >odD but it is the custom of the apostolic see to prescribe rules to
bishops ne&ly ordained, that all emoluments &hich accrue, are to he divided into four portionsD " one
for the bishop and his family, because of hospitality and entertainmentsD another for the clergyD a third
0*
for the poorD and the fourth for the repair of churches# But in regard that you, my brother, being brought
up under monastic rules, are not to live apart from your clergy in the English church, &hich, by >od:s
assistance, has been lately brought to the faithD you are to follo& that course of life &hich our
forefathers did in the time of the primitive church, &hen none of them said anything that he possessed
&as his o&n, but all things &ere in common among them#
But if there are any cler(s not received into holy orders &ho cannot live continent, they are to ta(e
&ives, and receive their stipends abroadD because &e (no& it is &ritten, that out of the same portions
above"mentioned a distribution &as, made to each of them according to every one:s &antsD are is also
to be ta(en of their stipends, and provision to be made, and they are to be (ept under ecclesiastical
rules, that they may live orderly and attend to singing of psalms, and, by the help of >od, preserve their
hearts, and tongues, and bodies from all that is unla&ful# But as for those that live in common, &hy
need &e say anything of ma(ing portions, or (eeping hospitality and exhibiting mercyJ inasmuch as all
that can be spared is to be spent in pious and religious &or(s, according to the commands of Him &ho
is the 8ord and ;aster of all, G>ive alms of such things as you have, and behold all things are clean
unto you#G
Augustine%s &e"ond Question. " Ahereas the faith is one and the same, &hy are there different
customs in different churchesJ and &hy is one custom of masses observed in the holy /oman church,
and another in the >ailican churchJ
#ope Gregory answers. " Bou (no&, my brother, the custom of the /oman church in &hich you
remember you &ere bred up# But it pleases me, that if you have found anything, either in the /oman, or
the >allican, or any other church, &hich may be more acceptable to 'lmighty >od, you carefully ma(e
choice of the same, and sedulously teach the church of the English, &hich as yet is ne& ln the faith,
&hatsoever you can gather from the several churches# For things are not to be loved for the sa(e of
places, but places for the sa(e of good things# hoose, therefore, from every church those things that
are pious, religious, and upright, and &hen you have, as it &ere, made them up into one body, let the
minds of the English be accustomed thereto#
Augustine%s Third Question. " + beseech you to inform me, &hat punishment must be inflicted, if
any one shall ta(e anything by stealth from the churchJ
Gregory answers. " Bou may Fudge, my brother, by the person of the thief, in &hat manner he is to
be corrected# For there are some, &ho, having substance, commit theftD and there are others, &ho
07
transgress in this point through &ant# Aherefore it is reCuisite, that some be punished in their purses,
others &ith stripesD some &ith more severity, and some more mildly# 'nd &hen the severity is more, it
is to proceed from charity, not from passionD because this is done to him &ho is corrected, that he may
not be delivered up to hell"fire# For it behooves us to maintain discipline among the faithful, as good
parents do &ith their carnal children, &hom they punish &ith stripes for their faults, and yet design to
ma(e those their heirs &hom they chastiseD and they preserve &hat they possess for those &hom they
seem in anger to persecute# .his charity is, therefore, to be (ept in mind, and it dictates the measure of
the punishment, so that the mind may do nothing beyond the rule of reason# Bou may add, that they are
to restore those things &hich they have stolen from the church# But, >od forbid, that the church should
ma(e profit from those earthly things &hich it seems to lose, or see( gain out of such vanities#
Augustine%s Fourth Question. " Ahether t&o brother may marry t&o sisters, &hich are of a family
far removed from themJ
Gregory answers. " .his may la&fully be doneD for nothing is found in holy &rit that seems to
contradict it#
Augustine%s Fifth Question. " ! &hat degree may the faithful marry &ith their (indredJ and
&hether it is la&ful for men to marry their stepmother and relationsJ
Gregory answers. " ' certain &orldly la& in the /oman common&ealth allo&s, that the son and
daughter of a brother and sister, or of t&o brothers, or t&o sisters, may be Foined in matrimonyD but &e
have found, by experience, that no offspring can come of such &edloc(D and the Divine 8a& forbids a
man to Guncover the na(edness of his (indred#G Hence of necessity it must be the third or fourth
generation of the faithful, that can be la&fully Foined in matrimonyD for the second, &hich &e have
mentioned, must altogether abstain from one another# .o marry &ith one:s stepmother is a heinous
crime, because is &ritten in the 8a&, G.hou shalt not uncover the na(edness of thy fatherG$ no& the
son, indeed, cannot uncover his father:s na(ednessD but in regard that it is &ritten, G.hey shall be t&o in
one flesh,G he that presumes to uncover the na(edness of his stepmother, &ho &as one flesh &ith his
father, certainly uncovers the na(edness of his father# +t is also prohibited to marry &ith a sister"in"la&,
because by the former union she is become the brother:s flesh# For &hich thing also 9ohn the Baptist
&as beheaded, and ended his life in holy martyrdom# For, though he &as not ordered to deny hrist,
and indeed &as (illed for confessing hrist, yet in regard that the same 9esus hrist, our 8ord, said, G+
am the .ruth,G because 9ohn &as (illed for the truth, be also shed his blood for hrist#
04
But forasmuch as there are many of the English, &ho &hilst they &ere still in infidelity, are said to
have been Foined in this execrable matrimony, &hen they come to the faith they are to be admonished
to abstain, and be made to (no& that this is a grievous sin# 8et them fear the dreadful Fudgment of >od,
lest, for the gratification of their carnal appetites, they incur the torments# of eternal punishment# Bet
they are not on this account to be deprived of the communion of the body and blood of hrist, lest they
seem to be punished for those things &hich they did through ignorance before they had received
baptism# For at this time the Holy hurch chastises some things through Eeal, and tolerates some
through mee(ness, and connives at some things through discretion, that so she may often, by this
forbearance and connivance, suppress the evil &hich she disapproves# But all that come to the Faith are
to be admonished not to do such things# 'nd if any shall be guilty of them, they are to be excluded
from the communion of the body and blood of hrist# For as the offence is, in some measure, to be
tolerated in those &ho did it through ignorance, so it is to be strenuously prosecuted in those &ho do
not fear to sin (no&ingly#
Augustine%s &i'th Question. " Ahether a bishop may be ordained &ithout other bishops being
present, in case there be so great a distance bet&een them, that they cannot easily come togetherJ
Gregory answers. " 's for the church of England, in &hich you are as yet the only bishop, you can
no other&ise ordain a bishop than in the absence of other bishopsD unless some bishops should come
over from >aul, that they may be present as &itnesses to you in ordaining a bishop# But &e &ould have
you, my brother, to ordain bishops in such a manner, that the said bishops may not be far asunder, that
&hen a ne& bishop is to he ordained, there be no difficulty, but that other bishops, and pastors also,
&hose presence is necessary, may easily come together# .hus, &hen, by the help of >od, bishops shall
be so constituted in places every&here near to one another, no ordination of a bishop is to be performed
&ithout assembling three or four bishops# For, even in spiritual affairs, &e may ta(e example by the
temporal, that they may he &isely and discreetly conducted# +t is certain, that &hen marriages are
celebrated in the &orld, some married persons are assembled, that those &ho &ent before in the &ay of
matrimony, may also parta(e in the Foy of the succeeding couple# Ahy, then, at this spiritual ordination,
&herein, by means of the sacred ministry, man is Foined to >od, should not such persons be assembled,
as may either reFoice in the advancement of the ne& bishop, or Fointly pour forth their prayers to
'lmighty >od for his preservationJ
Augustine%s &eventh Question. " Ho& are &e to deal &ith the bishops of France and BritainJ
1-
Gregory answers. " Ae give you no authority over the bishops of France, because the bishop of
'ries received the pall in ancient times from my predecessor, and &e are not to deprive him of the
authority he has received# +f it shall therefore happen, my brother, that you go over into the province of
France, you are to concert &ith the said bishop of 'ries, ho&, if there be any faults among the bishops,
they may be amended# 'nd if he shall be lu(e&arm in (eeping up discipline, he is to be corrected by
your EealD to &hom &e have also &ritten, that &hen your holiness shall be in France, he may also use
all his endeavours to assist you, and put a&ay from the behaviour of the bishops all that shall be
opposite to the command of our reator# But you, of your o&n authority, shall not have po&er to Fudge
the bishops of France, but by persuading, soothing, and sho&ing good &or(s for them to imitateD you
shall reform the minds of &ic(ed men to the pursuit of holinessD for it is &ritten in the 8a&, GAhen
thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbours, then thou mayest pluc( the ears &ith thine handD
but thou shalt not move a sic(le unto thy neighbours: standing corn# For thou mayest not apply the
sic(le of Fudgment in the harvest &hich seems to have been committed to anotherD but by the effect of
good &or(s thou shalt clear the 8ord:s &heat of the chaff of their vices, and convert them into the body
of the hurch, as it &ere, by eating# But &hatsoever is to be done by authority, must be transacted &ith
the aforesaid bishop of 'ries, lest that should be omitted, &hich the ancient institution of the fathers has
appointed# But as for all the bishops of Britain, &e commit them to your care, that the unlearned may
be taught, the &ea( stregthened by persuasion, and the perverse corrected by authority#
Augustine%s (ighth Question. " Ahether a &oman &ith child ought to be baptiEedJ !r ho& long
after she has brought forth, may she come into the churchJ 's also, after ho& many days the infant
born may be baptiEed, lest he be prevented by deathJ !r ho& long after her husband may have carnal
(no&ledge of herJ !r &hether it is la&ful for her to come into the church &hen she has her coursesJ !r
to receive the holy sacrament of communionJ !r &hether a man, under certain circumstances, may
come into the church before he has &ashed &ith &aterJ !r approach to receive the mystery of the holy
communionJ 'll &hich things are reCuisite to be (no&n by the rude nation of the English#
Gregory answers. " + do not doubt but that these Cuestions have been put to you, my brother, and +
thin( + have already ans&ered you therein# But + believe you &ould &ish the opinion &hich you
yourself might give to be confirmed by mine also# Ahy should not a &oman &ith child be baptiEed,
since the fruitfulness of the flesh is no difference in the eyes of 'lmighty >odJ For &hen our first
parents sinned in Paradise, they forfeited the immortality &hich they had received, by the Fust Fudgment
of >od# Because, therefore, 'lmighty >od &ould not for their fault &holly destroy the human race, He
1,
both deprived man of immortality for his sin, and, at the same time, of his great goodness, reserved to
him the po&er of propagating his race after him# !n &hat account then can that &hich is preserved to
the human race, by the free gift of 'lmighty >od, be excluded from the privilege of baptismJ For it is
very foolish to imagine that the gift of grace opposes that mystery in &hich all sin is blotted out# Ahen
a &oman is delivered, after ho& many days she may come into the church, you have been informed by
reading the !ld .estament, viE# that she is to abstain for a male child thirty"three days, and sixty"six for
a female# =o& you must (no& that this is to be ta(en in a mysteryD for if she enters the church the very
hour that she is delivered, to return than(s, she is not guilty of any sinD because the pleasure of the flesh
is in fault, and not the painD but the pleasure is in the copulation of the flesh, &hereas there is pain in
bringing forth the child# Aherefore it is said to the first mother of all, G+n sorro& shalt thou bring forth
children#G +f, therefore, &e forbid a &oman that has brought forth, to enter the church, &e ma(e a crime
of her very punishment# .o baptiEe either a &oman &ho has brought forth, if there be danger of death,
even the very hour that she brings forth, or that &hich she has brought forth the very hour it is born, is
no &ay prohibited, because, as the grace of the holy mystery is to be &ith much discretion provided for
the living and understanding, so is it to be &ithout any delay offered to the dyingD lest, &hile a further
time is sought to confer the mystery of redemption, a small delay intervening, the person that is to be
redeemed is dead and gone#
Her husband is not to approach her, till the infant born be &eaned# ' bad custom is sprung up in
the behaviour of married people, that is, that &omen disdain to suc(le the children &hich they bring
forth, and give them to other &omen to suc(leD &hich seems to have been invented on no other account
but incontinencyD because, as they &ill not be continent, they &ill not suc(le the children &hich they
bear# .hose &omen, therefore, &ho, from bad custom, give their children to others to bring up, must
not approach their husbands till the time of purification is past# For even &hen there has been no child"
birth, &omen are forbidden to do so, &hilst they have their monthly courses, insomuch that the 8a&
condemns to death any man that shall approach unto a &oman during her uncleanness# Bet the &oman,
nevertheless, must not be forbidden to come into the church &hilst she has her monthly coursesD
because the superfluity of nature cannot be imputed to her as a crimeD and it is not Fust that she should
be refused admittance into the church, for that &hich she suffers against her &ill# For &e (no&, that the
&oman &ho had the issue of blood, humbly approaching behind our 8ord:s bac(, touched the hem of
his garment, and her distemper immediately departed from her# +f, therefore, she that had an issue of
blood might commendably touch the garment of our 8ord, &hy may not she, &ho has the monthly
16
courses, la&fully enter into the church of >odJ But you may say, Her distemper compelled her,
&hereas these &e spea( of are bound by custom# onsider, then, most dear brother, that all &e suffer in
this mortal flesh, through the infirmity of our nature, is ordained by the Fust Fudgment of >od after the
fallD for to hunger, to thirst, to be hot, to be cold, to be &eary, is from the infirmity of our natureD and
&hat else is it to see( food against hunger, drin( against thirst, air against heat, clothes against cold,
rest against &eariness, than to procure a remedy against distempersJ .hus to a &oman her monthly
courses are a distemper# +f, therefore, it &as a commendable boldness in her, &ho in her disease
touched our 8ord:s garment, &hy may not that &hich is allo&ed to one infirm person, be granted to all
&omen, &ho, through the fault of their nature, are distemperedJ
<he must not, therefore, be forbidden to receive the mystery of the holy communion during those
days# But if any one out of profound respect does not presume to do it, she is to be commendedD yet if
she receives it, she is not to be Fudged# For it is the part of noble minds in some manner to ac(no&ledge
their faults, even &here there is no offenceD because very often that is done &ithout a fault, &hich,
nevertheless, proceeded from a fault# .herefore, &hen &e are hungry, it is no crime to eatD yet our being
hungry proceeds from the sin of the first man# .he monthly courses are no crime in &omenD because
they naturally happenD ho&ever, because our nature itself is so depraved, that it appears to be so
&ithout the concurrence of the &ill, the fault proceeds from sin, and thereby human nature may herself
(no& &hat she is become by Fudgment# 'nd let man, &ho &ilfully committed the offence, bear the
guilt of that offence# 'nd, therefore, let &omen consider &ith themselves, and if they do not presume,
during their monthly courses, to approach the sacrament of the body and blood of our 8ord, they are to
be commended for their praise&orthy considerationD but &hen they are carried a&ay &ith love of the
same mystery to receive it out of the usual custom of religious life, they are not to be restrained, as &e
said before# For as in the !ld .estament the out&ard &or(s are observed, so in the =e& .estament, that
&hich is out&ardly done, is not so diligently regarded as that &hich is in&ardly thought, in order to
punish it by a discerning Fudgment# For &hereas the 8a& forbids the eating of many things as unclean,
yet our 8ord says in the >ospel, G=ot that &hich goeth into the mouth defileth a manD but that &hich
cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man#G 'nd presently after He added, expounding the same,
G!ut of the heart proceed evil thoughts#G Ahere it is sufficiently sho&n, that that is declared by
'lmighty >od to be polluted in fact, &hich proceeds from the root of a polluted thought# Ahence also
Paul the 'postle says, G?nto the pure all things are pure, but unto them that are defiled and
unbelieving, nothing is pure#G 'nd presently after, declaring the cause of that defilement, he adds, GFor
10
even their mind and conscience is defiled#G +f, therefore, meat is not unclean to him &ho has a clean
mind, &hy shall that &hich a clean &oman suffers according to nature, be imputed to her as
uncleannessJ
' man &ho has approached his o&n &ife is not to enter the church unless &ashed &ith &ater, nor
is he to enter immediately although &ashed# .he 8a& prescribed to the ancient people, that a man in
such cases should be &ashed &ith &ater, and not enter into the church before the setting of the sun#
Ahich, nevertheless, may be understood spiritually, because a man acts so &hen the mind is led by the
imagination to unla&ful concupiscenceD for unless the fire of concupiscence be first driven from his
mind, he is not to thin( himself &orthy of the congregation of the brethren, &hilst he thus indulges an
unla&ful passion# For though several nations have different opinions concerning this affair, and seem to
observe different rules, it &as al&ays the custom of the /omans, from ancient times, for such an one to
be cleansed by &ashing, and for some time respectfully to forbear entering the church# =or do &e, in so
saying, assign matrimony to be a faultD but forasmuch as la&ful intercourse cannot be had &ithout the
pleasure of the flesh, it is proper to forbear entering the holy place, because the pleasure itself cannot be
&ithout a fault# For he &as not born of adultery or fornication, but of la&ful marriage, &ho said,
GBehold + &as conceived in iniCuity, and in sin my mother brought me forth#G For he &ho (ne& himself
to have been conceived in iniCuity, lamented that he &as born from sin, because the tree in its bough
bears the moisture it dre& from the root# +n &hich &ords, ho&ever, he does not call the union of the
married couple iniCuity, but the pleasure of the copulation# For there are many things &hich are proved
to be la&ful, and yet &e are some&hat defiled in doing them# 's very often by being angry &e correct
faults, and at the same time disturb our o&n peace of mindD and though that &hich &e do is right, yet it
is not to be approved that our mind should be discomposed# For he &ho said G;y eye &as disturbed
&ith anger,G had been angry at the vices of those &ho had offended# =o&, in regard that only a sedate
mind can apply itself to contemplation, he grieved that his eye &as disturbed &ith angerD because,
&hilst he &as correcting evil actions belo&, he &as obliged to be &ithdra&n and disturbed from the
contemplation of things above# 'nger against vice is, therefore, commendable, and yet painful to a
man, because he thin(s that by his mind being agitated, he has incurred some guilt# 8a&ful commerce,
therefore, must be for the sa(e of children, not of pleasureD and must be to procure offspring, not to
satisfy vices# But if any man is led not by the desire of pleasure, but only for the sa(e of getting
children, such a man is certainly to be left to his o&n Fudgment, either as to entering the church, or as to
receiving the mystery of the body and blood of our 8ord, &hich he, &ho being placed in the fire cannot
11
burn, is not to be forbidden by us to receive# But &hen, not the love of getting children, but of pleasure
prevails, the pair have cause to lament their deed# For this the holy preaching allo&s them, and yet fills
the mind &ith dread of the very allo&ance# For &hen Paul the 'postle said, G8et him that cannot
contain, have his &ifeDG he presently too( care to subFoin, GBut this + say by &ay of indulgence, not by
&ay of command#G For this is not granted by &ay of indulgence &hich is la&ful, because it is FustD and,
therefore, that &hich he said he indulged, he sho&ed to be an offence#
+t is seriously to be considered, that &hen >od &as to spea( to the people on ;ount <inai, He first
commanded them to abstain from &omen# 'nd if so much cleanness of body &as there reCuired, &here
>od spo(e to the people by the means of a subFect creature, that those &ho &ere to hear the &ords of
>od should not do soD ho& much more ought &omen, &ho receive the body of 'lmighty >od, to
preserve themselves in cleanness of flesh, lest they be burdened &ith the very greatness of that
unutterable mysteryJ For this reason, it &as said to David, concerning his men, by the priest, that if
they &ere clean in this particular, they should receive the she&"bread, &hich they &ould not have
received at all, had not David first declared them to be clean# .hen the man, &ho, after&ards, has been
&ashed &ith &ater, is also capable of receiving the mystery of the holy communion, &hen it is la&ful
for him, according to &hat has been before declared, to enter the church#
Augustine%s )inth Question. " Ahether after an illusion such as happens in a dream, any man may
receive the body of our 8ord, or if he be a priest, celebrate the Divine mysteriesJ
Gregory answers. " .he .estament of the !ld 8a&, as has been said already in the article above,
calls such a man polluted, and allo&s him not to enter into the church till the evening after being
&ashed &ith &ater# Ahich, nevertheless, spiritual people, ta(ing in another sense, &ill understand in
the same manner as aboveD because he is imposed upon as it &ere in a dream, &ho, being tempted &ith
filthiness, is defiled by real representations in thought, and he is to be &ashed &ith &ater, that he may
cleanse a&ay the sins of thought &ith tearsD and unless the fire of temptation depart before, may (no&
himself to be guilty as it &ere until the evening# But discretion is very necessary in that illusion, that
one may seriously consider &hat causes it to happen in the mind of the person sleepingD for sometimes
it proceeds from excess of eating or drin(ingD sometimes from the superfluity or infirmity of nature,
and sometimes from the thoughts# 'nd &hen it happens, either through superfluity or infirmity of
nature, such an illusion is not to be feared, because it is rather to be lamented, that the mind of the
person, &ho (ne& nothing of it, suffers the same, than that he occasioned it# But &hen the appetite of
13
gluttony commits excess in food, and thereupon the receptacles of the humours are oppressed, the mind
from thence contracts some guiltD yet not so much as to obstruct the receiving of the holy mystery, or
celebrating mass, &hen a holy day reCuires it, or necessity obliges the sacrament to be administered,
because there is no other priest in the placeD for if there be others &ho can perform the ministry, the
illusion proceeding from overeating is not to exclude a man from receiving the sacred mysteryD but +
am of opinion he ought humbly to abstain from offering the sacrifice of the mysteryD but not from
receiving it, unless the mind of the person sleeping has been filled &ith some foul imagination# For
there are some, &ho for the most part so suffer the illusion, that their mind, even during the sleep of the
body, is not defiled &ith filthy thoughts# +n &hich case, one thing is evident, that the mind is guilty
even in its o&n FudgmentD for though it does not remember to have seen any thing &hilst the body &as
sleeping, yet it calls to mind that &hen &a(ing it fell into bodily gluttony# But if the sleeping illusion
proceeds from evil thoughts &hen &a(ing, then the guilt is manifest to the mindD for the man perceives
from &hence that filth sprung, because &hat he had (no&ingly thought of, that he after&ards
un&ittingly revealed# But it is to be considered, &hether that thought &as no more than a suggestion, or
proceeded to enFoyment, or, &hich is still more criminal, consented to sin# For all sin is fulfilled in
three &ays, viE#, by suggestion, by delight, and by consent# <uggestion is occasioned by the Devil,
delight is from the flesh, and consent from the mind# For the serpent suggested the first offence, and
Eve, as fleshD &as delighted &ith it, but 'dam consented, as the spirit, or mind# 'nd much discretion is
reCuisite for the mind to sit as Fudge bet&een suggestion and delight, and bet&een delight and consent#
For if the evil spirit suggest a sin to the mind, if there ensue no delight in the sin, the sin is in no &ay
committedD but &hen the flesh begins to be delighted, then sin begins to gro&# But if it deliberately
consents, then the sin is (no&n to be perfected# .he beginning, therefore, of sin is in the suggestion, the
nourishing of it in delight, but in the consent is its perfection# 'nd it often happens that &hat the evil
spirit so&s in the thought, the flesh dra&s to delight, and yet the soul does not consent to that delight#
'nd &hereas the flesh cannot be delighted &ithout the mind, yet the mind struggling against the
pleasures of the flesh is some&hat un&illingly tied do&n by the carnal delight, so that through reason it
contradicts, and does not consent, yet being influenced by delight, it grievously laments its being so
bound# Aherefore that principal soldier of our 8ord:s host, sighing, said, G+ see another la& in my
members &arring against the la& of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the la& of sin, &hich is
in my members#G =o& if he &as a captive, he did not fightD but if he did fight, ho& &as he a captiveJ
he therefore fought against the la& of the mind, &hich the la& that is in the members opposedD if he
1)
fought so, he &as no captive# .hus, then, man is, as + may say, a captive and yet free# Free on account
of Fustice, &hich he loves, a captive by the delight &hich he un&illingly bears &ithin him#
CHAPTER XXVIII
P!PE >/E>!/B A/+.E< .! .HE B+<H!P !F '/8E< .! '<<+<. '?>?<.+=E += .HE
A!/@ !F >!D# H'#D# )-,#I
.H?< far the ans&ers of the holy Pope >regory, to the Cuestions of the most reverend prelate,
'ugustine# But the epistle, &hich he says he had &ritten to the bishop of 'ries, &as directed to
2ergilius, successor to Ltherius, the copy &hereof follo&s "
"To his most reverend and holy brother and fellow bishop, *ergilius+ Gregory, servant of the
servants of God. Aith ho& much affection brethren, coming of their o&n accord, are to be entertained,
is &ell (no&n, by their being for the most# part invited on account of charity# .herefore, if our common
brother, Bishop 'ugustine, shall happen to come to you, + desire your love &ill, as is becoming, receive
him so (indly and affectionately, that he may be supported by the honour of your consolation, and
others be informed ho& brotherly charity is to be cultivated# 'nd, since it often happens that those &ho
are at a distance, sooner than others, understand the things that need correction, if any crimes of priests
or others shall happen to be laid before you, you &ill, in conFunction &ith him sharply inCuire into the
same# 'nd do you both act so strictly and carefully against those things &hich offend >od, and provo(e
his &rath, that for the amendment of others, the punishment may fall upon the guilty, and the innocent
may not suffer an ill name# >od (eep you in safety, most reverend brother# >iven the 66nd day of 9une,
in the nineteenth year of the reign of our pious and august emperor, ;auritius .iberius, and the
eighteenth year after the consulship of our said lord# .he fourth indiction#G
CHAPTER XXIX
.HE <';E P!PE <E=D< '?>?<.+=E .HE P'88, '= EP+<.8E '=D <E2E/'8
;+=+<.E/< !F .HE A!/D# H'#D# )-,#I
;!/E!2E/, the same Pope >regory, hearing from Bishop 'ugustine, that he had a great
harvest, and but fe& labourers, sent to him, together &ith his aforesaid messengers, several fello&
labourers and ministers of the &ord of &hom the first and principal &ere ;ellitus, 9ustus, Paulinus, and
/ufinianus, and by them all things in general that &ere necessary for the &orship and service of the
church, viE#, sacred vessels and vestments for the altars, also ornaments for the churches, and vestments
1*
for the priests and cler(s, as li(e&ise relics of the holy apostles and martyrsD besides many boo(s# He
also sent letters, &herein he signified that he had transmitted the pall to him, and at the same time
directed ho& he should constitute bishops in Britain# .he letters &ere in these &ords "
"To his most reverend and holy brother and fellow bishop, Augustine+ Gregory, the servant of the
servants of God. .hough it be certain, that the unspea(able re&ards of the eternal (ingdom are reserved
for those &ho labour for 'lmighty >od, yet it is reCuisite that &e besto& on them the advantage of
honours, to the end that they may by this recompense be enabled the more vigorously to apply
themselves to the care of their spiritual &or(# 'nd, in regard that the ne& church of the English is,
through the goodness of the 8ord, and your labours, brought to the grace of >od, &e grant you the use
of the pall in the same, only for the performing of the solemn service of the massD so that you in several
places ordain t&elve bishops, &ho shall be subFect to your Furisdiction, so that the bishop of 8ondon
shall, for the future, be al&ays consecrated by his o&n synod, and that he receive the honour of the pall
from this holy and apostolical see, &hich +, by the grace of >od, no& serve# But &e &ill have you send
to the city of Bor( such a bishop as you shall thin( fit to ordainD yet so, if that city, &ith the places
adFoining, shall receive the &ord of >od, that bishop shall also ordain t&elve bishops, and enFoy the
honour of a metropolitanD for &e design, if &e live, by the help of >od, to besto& on him also the pallD
and yet &e &ill have him to be subservient to your authorityD but after your decease, he shall so preside
over the bishops he shall ordain, as to be in no &ay subFect to the Furisdiction of the bishop of 8ondon#
But for the future let this distinction be bet&een the bishops of the cities of 8ondon and Bor( that he
may have the precedence &ho shall be first ordained# But let them unanimously dispose, by common
advice and uniform conduct, &hatsoever is to be done for the Eeal of hristD let them Fudge rightly, and
perform &hat they Fudge convenient in a uniform manner#
GBut to you, my brother, shall, by the authority of our >od, and 8ord 9esus hrist, be subFect not
only those bishops you shall ordain, and those that shall be ordained by the bishop of Bor(, but also all
the priests in BritainD to the end that from the mouth and life of your holiness they may learn the rule of
believing rightly, and living &ell, and fulfilling their office in faith and good manners, they may, &hen
it shall please the 8ord, attain the heavenly (ingdom# >od preserve you in safety, most reverend
brother#
GDated the 66nd of 9une, in the nineteenth year of the reign of our most pious lord and emperor,
;auritius .iberius, the eighteenth year after the consulship of our said lord# .he fourth indiction#G
17
CHAPTER XXX
' !PB !F .HE 8E..E/ AH+H P!PE >/E>!/B <E=. .! .HE 'BB!. ;E88+.?<,
.HE= >!+=> +=.! B/+.'+=# H'#D# )-,#I
.HE aforesaid messengers being departed, the holy father, >regory, sent after them letters &orthy
to be preserved in memory, &herein he plainly sho&s &hat care he too( of the salvation of our nation#
.he letter &as as follo&s "
"To his most beloved son, the Abbot ,ellitus+ Gregory, the servant of the servants of God. Ae
have been much concerned, since the departure of our congregation that is &ith you, because &e have
received no account of the success of your Fourney# Ahen, therefore, 'lmighty >od shall bring you to
the most reverend Bishop 'ugustine, our brother, tell him &hat + have, upon mature deliberation on the
affair of the English, determined upon, viE#, that the temples of the idols in that nation ought not to be
destroyedD but let the idols that are in them be destroyedD let holy &ater be made and sprin(led in the
said temples, let altars be erected, and relics placed# For if those temples are &ell built, it is reCuisite
that they be converted from the &orship of devils to the service of the true >odD that the nation, seeing
that their temples are not destroyed, may remove error from their hearts, and (no&ing and adoring the
true >od, may the more familiarly resort to the places to &hich they have been accustomed# 'nd
because they have been used to slaughter many oxen in the sacrifices to devils, some solemnity must be
exchanged for them on this account, as that on the day of the dedication, or the nativities of the holy
martyrs, &hose relics are there deposited, they may build themselves huts of the boughs of trees, about
those churches &hich have been turned to that use from temples, and celebrate the solemnity &ith
religious feasting, and no more offer beasts to the Devil, but (ill cattle to the praise of >od in their
eating, and return than(s to the >iver of all things for their sustenanceD to the end that, &hilst some
gratifications are out&ardly permitted them, they may the more easily consent to the in&ard
consolations of the grace of >od# For there is no doubt that it is impossible to efface everything at once
from their obdurate mindsD because he &ho endeavours to ascend to the highest place, rises by degrees
or steps, and not by leaps# .hus the 8ord made Himself (no&n to the people of +srael in EgyptD and yet
He allo&ed them the use of the sacrifices &hich they &ere &ont to offer to the Devil, in his o&n
&orshipD so as to command them in his sacrifice to (ill beasts, to the end that, changing their hearts,
they might lay aside one part of the sacrifice, &hilst they retained anotherD that &hilst they offered the
same beasts &hich they &ere &ont to offer, they should offer them to >od, and not to idolsD and thus
they &ould no longer be the same sacrifices# .his it behooves your affection to communicate to our
14
aforesaid brother, that he, being there present, may consider ho& he is to order all things# >od preserve
you in safety, most beloved son#
G>iven the ,*th of 9une, in the nineteenth year of the reign of our lord, the most pious emperor,
;auritius .iberius, the eighteenth year after the consulship of our said lord# .he fourth indiction#G
CHAPTER XXXI
P!PE >/E>!/B, BB 8E..E/, E5H!/.< '?>?<.+=E =!. .! >8!/B += H+<
;+/'8E<# H'#D# )-,#I
'. &hich time he also sent 'ugustine a letter concerning the miracles that he had heard had been
&rought by himD &herein he admonishes him not to incur the danger of being puffed up by the number
of them# .he letter &as in these &ords "
G+ (no&, most loving brother, that 'lmighty >od, by means of your affection, sho&s great
miracles in the nation &hich He has chosen# Aherefore it is necessary that you reFoice &ith fear, and
tremble &hilst you reFoice, on account of the same heavenly giftD viE#, that you may reFoice because the
souls of the English are by out&ard miracles dra&n to in&ard graceD but that you fear, lest, amidst the
&onders that are &rought, the &ea( mind may be puffed up in its o&n presumption, and as it is
externally raised to honour, it may thence in&ardly fall by vainglory# For &e must call to mind, that
&hen the disciples returned &ith Foy after preaching, and said to their heavenly ;aster, :8ord, in thy
name, even the devils are subFect to usD: they &ere presently told, :Do not reFCice on this account, but
rather reFoice for that your names are &ritten in heaven#: For they placed their thoughts on private and
temporal Foy , &hen they reFoiced in miraclesD but they are recalled from the private to the public, and
from the temporal to the eternal Foy, &hen it is said to them, :/eFoice for this, because your names are
&ritten in heaven#: For all the elect do not &or( miracles, and yet the names of all are &ritten in heaven#
For these &ho are disciples of the truth ought not to reFoice, save for that good thing &hich all men
enFoy as &ell as they, and of &hich their enFoyment shall be &ithout end#
G+t remains, therefore, most dear brother, that amidst those things, &hich through the &or(ing of
our 8ord, you out&ardly perform, you al&ays in&ardly strictly Fudge yourself, and clearly understand
both &hat you are yourself, and ho& much grace is in that same nation, for the conversion of &hich
you have also received the gift of &or(ing miracles# 'nd if you remember that you have at any time
offended our reator, either by &ord or deed, that you al&ays call it to mind, to the end that the
3-
remembrance of your guilt may crush the vanity &hich rises in your heart# 'nd &hatsoever you shall
receive, or have received, in relation to &or(ing miracles, that you consider the same, not as conferred
on you, but on those for &hose salvation it has been given you#G
CHAPTER XXXII
P!PE >/E>!/B <E=D< 8E..E/< '=D P/E<E=.< .! @+=> E.HE8BE/.
.HE same holy Pope >regory, at the same time, sent a letter to @ing Ethelbert, &ith many
presents of several sortsD being desirous to glorify the (ing &ith temporal honours, at the same time that
he reFoiced that through his labour and Eeal he had attained the (no&ledge of the heavenly glory# .he
copy of the said letter is as follo&s "
"To the most glorious Lord, and his most e'"ellent son, (thelbert, -ing of the (nglish, ishop
Gregory. 'lmighty >od advances all good men to the government of nations, that He may by their
means besto& the gifts of his mercy on those over &hom they are placed# .his &e (no& to have been
done in the English nation, over &hom your glory &as therefore placed, that by means of the goods
&hich are granted to you, heavenly benefits might also be conferred on the nation that is subFect to you#
.herefore, my illustrious son, do you carefully preserve the grace &hich you have received from the
Divine goodness, and hasten to promote the hristian faith, &hich you have embraced, among the
people under your subFectionD multiply the Eeal of your uprightness in their conversionD suppress the
&orship of idolsD overthro& the structures of the templesD edify the manners of your subFects by much
cleanness of life, exhorting, terrifying, soothing, correcting, and giving examples of good &or(s, that
you may find Him your re&arder in heaven, &hose name and (no&ledge you shall spread abroad upon
earth# For He also &ill render the fame of your honour more glorious to posterity, &hose honour you
see( and maintain among the nations#
GFor even so onstantine, our most pious emperor, recovering the /oman common&ealth from
the perverse &orship of idols, subFected the same &ith himself to our 'lmighty >od and 8ord 9esus
hrist, and &as himself, &ith the people under his subFection, entirely converted to Him# Ahence it
follo&ed, that his praises transcended the fame of former princesD and he as much excelled his
predecessors in reno&n as he did in good &or(s# =o&, therefore, let your glory hasten to infuse into the
(ings and people that are subFect to you, the (no&ledge of one >od, Father, <on, and Holy >hostD that
you may both surpass the ancient (ings of your nation in praise and merit, and become by so much the
3,
more secure against your o&n sins before the dreadful Fudgment of 'lmighty >od, as you shall &ipe
a&ay the sins of others in your subFects#
GAillingly hear, devoutly perform, and studiously retain in your memory, &hatsoever you shall be
advised by our most reverend brother, Bishop 'ugustine, &ho is instructed in the monastical rule, full
of the (no&ledge of the holy <cripture, and, by the help of >od, endued &ith good &or(sD for if you
give ear to him in &hat he spea(s for 'lmighty >od, the same 'lmighty >od &ill the sooner hear him
praying for you# But if N&hich >od avertKO you slight his &ords, ho& shall 'lmighty >od hear him in
your behalf, &hen you neglect to hear him for >odJ ?nite yourself, therefore, to him &ith all your
mind, in the fervour of faith, and further his endeavours, through the assistance of that virtue &hich the
Divinity affords you, that He may ma(e you parta(er of his (ingdom, &hose faith you cause to be
received and maintained in your o&n#
GBesides, &e &ould have your glory (no&, &e find in the holy <cripture, from the &ords of the
'lmighty 8ord, that the end of this present &orld, and the (ingdom of the saints, is about to come,
&hich &ill never terminate# But as the same end of the &orld approaches, many things are at hand
&hich &ere not before, viE# changes of air, and terrors from heaven, and tempests out of the order of the
seasons, &ars, famines, plagues, earthCua(es in several placesD &hich things &ill not, nevertheless,
happen in our days, but &ill all follo& after our days# +f you, therefore, find any of these things to
happen in your country, let not your mind be in any &ay disturbedD for these signs of the end of the
&orld are sent before, for this reason, that &e may be solicitous for our souls, suspicious of the hour of
death, and may be found prepared &ith good &or(s to meet our 9udge# .hus much, my illustrious son, +
have said in fe& &ords, to the end that &hen the hristian faith shall increase in your (ingdom, our
discourse to you may also be more copious, and &e may be pleased to say the more, in proportion as
Foy for the conversion of your nation is multiplied in our mind#
G+ have sent you some small presents, &hich &ill not appear small, &hen received by you &ith the
blessing of the holy apostle, Peter# ;ay 'lmighty >od, therefore, perfect in you his grace &hich He has
begun, and prolong your life here through a course of many years, and after a time receive you into the
congregation of the heavenly country# ;ay heavenly grace preserve your excellency in safety#
G>iven the 66nd day of 9une, in the nineteenth year of the reign of the most pious emperor,
;auritius .iberius, in the eighteenth year after his consulship# Fourth indiction#G
36
CHAPTER XXXIII
'?>?<.+=E /EP'+/< .HE H?/H !F !?/ <'2+!?/, '=D B?+8D< .HE
;!='<.E/B !F <.# PE.E/ .HE 'P!<.8ED PE.E/ .HE F+/<. 'BB!. !F .HE <';E# H'#D#
)-6#I
'?>?<.+=E having his episcopal see granted him in the royal city, as has been said, and being
supported by the (ing, recovered therein a church, &hich he &as informed had been built by the ancient
/oman hristians, and consecrated it in the name our holy <aviour, >od and 8ord, 9esus hrist, and
there established a residence for himself and his successors# He also built a monastery not far from the
city to the east&ard, in &hich, by his advice, Ethelbert erected from the foundation the church of the
blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, and enriched it &ith several donationsD &herein the bodies of the same
'ngustine, and of all the bishops of anterbury, and of the (ings of @ent, might be buried# Ho&ever,
'ugustine himself did not consecrate that church, but 8aurentius, his successor#
.he first abbot of that monastery &as the priest Peter, &ho, being sent ambassador into France,
&as dro&ned in a bay of the sea, &hich is called 'mfleat, and privately buried by the inhabitants of the
placeD but 'lmighty >od, to sho& ho& deserving a man he &as, caused a light to be seen over his grave
every nightD till the neighbours &ho sa& it, perceiving that he had been a holy man that &as buried
there, inCuiring &ho, and from &hence he &as, carried a&ay the body, and interred it in the church, in
the city of Boulogne, &ith the honour due to so great a person#
CHAPTER XXXIV
E.HE8F/+D, @+=> !F .HE =!/.H?;B/+'=<, H'2+=> 2'=M?+<HED .HE ='.+!=<
!F .HE <!.<, E5PE8< .HE; F/!; .HE .E//+.!/+E< !F .HE E=>8l<H# H'#D# )-0#I
'. this time, Ethelfrid, a most &orthy (ing, and ambitious of glory, governed the (ingdom of the
=orthumbrians, and ravaged the Britons more than all the great men of the English, insomuch that he
might be compared to <aul, once (ing of the +sraelites, excepting only this, that he &as ignorant of the
true religion# For he conCuered more territories from the Britons, either ma(ing them tributary, or
driving the inhabitants clean out, and planting English in their places, than any other (ing or tribune# .o
him might Fustly be applied the saying of the patriarch blessing his son in the person of <aul,
GBenFamin shall ravin as a &olfD in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide
the spoil#G Hereupon, Ldan, (ing of the <cots that inhabit Britain, being concerned at his success, came
30
against him &ith an immense and mighty armyD but &as beaten by an inferior force, and put to flightD
for almost all his army &as slain at a famous place, called Degsastan, that is, Degsastone# +n &hich
battle also .heodbaid, brother to Ethelfrid, &as (illed, &ith almost all the forces he commanded# .his
&ar Etheifrid put an end to in the year )-0 after the incarnation of our 8ord, the eleventh of his o&n
reign, &hich lasted t&enty"four years, and the first year of the reign of Phocas, &ho the governed the
/oman empire# From that time, no (ing the <cots durst come into Britain to ma(e &ar on the English to
this day#
31
Boo( ++
33
CHAPTER I
!= .HE DE'.H !F .HE B8E<<ED P!PE >/E>!/B# H'#D# )-3I
'. this time, that is, in the year of our 8ord )-3, the blessed Pope >regory, after
having most gloriously governed the /oman apostolic see thirteen years, six months, and
ten days, died, and &as translated to the eternal see of the heavenly (ingdom# !f &hom, in
regard that he by his Eeal converted our nation, the English, from the po&er of <atan to the
faith of hrist, it behooves us to discourse more at large in our Ecclesiastical History, for
&e may and ought rightly to call him our apostleD because, &hereas he bore the pontifical
po&er over all the &orld, and &as placed over the churches already reduced to the faith of
truth, he made our nation, till then given up to idols, tbe church of hrist, so that &e may be
allo&ed thus to attribute to him the character of an apostleD for though he is not an apostle
to others, yet he is so to usD for &e are the seal of his apostleship in our 8ord#
He &as by nation a /oman, son of >ordian, deducing his race from ancestors that
&ere not only noble, but religious# 'nd Felix, once bishop of the same apostolical see, a
man of great honour in hrist and his church, &as his great"grandfather# =or did he
exercise the nobility of religion &ith less virtue of devotion than his parents and (indred#
But that &orldly nobility &hich he seemed to have, by the help of the Divine >race, he
entirely used to gain the honour of eternal dignityD for soon Cuitting his secular habit, he
repaired to a monastery, &herein he began to behave himself &ith so much grace of
perfection that Nas he &as after&ards &ont &ith tears to testifyO his mind &as above all
transitory thingsD that he despised all that is subFect to changeD that he used to thin( of
nothing but &hat &as heavenlyD that &hilst detained by the body, he by contemplation
bro(e through the bonds of fleshD and that he loved death, &hich is a terror to almost all
men, as the entrance into life, and the re&ard of his labours# .his he said of himself, not to
boast of his progress in virtue, but rather to be&ail the decay, &hich, as he &as &ont to
declare, he imagined he sustained through the pastoral care# +n short, &hen he &as, one day,
in private, discoursing &ith Peter, his deacon, after having enumerated the former virtues of
his mind, he &ith grief added, GBut no&, on account of the pastoral care, it is entangled
&ith the affairs of laymen, and, after so beautiful an appearance of repose, is defiled &ith
the dust of earthly action# 'nd after having &asted itself by condescending to many things
3)
that are &ithout, &hen it desires the in&ard things, it returns to them less Cualified to enFoy
them# + therefore consider &hat + endure, + consider &hat + have lost, and &hen + behold that
loss, &hat + bear appears the more grievous#
.his the holy man said out of the excess of his humility# But it becomes us to believe
that he lost nothing of his monastic perfection by his pastoral care, but rather that he
improved the more through the labour of converting many, than by the former repose of his
conversation, and chiefly because, &hilst exercising the pontifical function, he provided to
have his house made a monastery# 'nd &hen first dra&n from the monastery, ordained to
the ministry of the altar, and sent as respondent to onstantinople from the apostolic see,
though he no& mixed &ith the people of the palace, yet he intermitted not his former
heavenly lifeD for some of the brethren of his monastery, having out of brotherly charity
follo&ed him to the royal city, he (ept them for the better follo&ing of regular observances,
viE# that at all times, by their example, as he &rites himself, he might be held fast to the
calm shore of prayer, as it &ere &ith the cable of an anchor, &hilst he should he tossed up
and do&n by the continual &aves of &orldly affairsD and daily among them, by the
intercourse of studious reading, strengthen his mind &hilst it &as sha(en &ith temporal
concerns# By their company he &as not only guarded against earthly assaults, but more and
more inflamed in the exercises of a heavenly life#
For they persuaded him to give a mystical exposition of the boo( of holy 9ob, &hich is
involved in great obscurityD nor could he refuse to underta(e that &or(, &hich brotherly
affection imposed on him for the future benefit of manyD but in a &onderful manner, in five
and thirty boo(s of exposition, taught ho& that same boo( is to be understood literallyD ho&
to be referred to the mysteries of hrist and the churchD and in &hat sense it is to be adapted
to every one of the faithful# .his &or( he began &hen legate in the royal city, but finished it
at /ome after being made pope# Ahilst he &as still in the royal city, he, by the assistance of
the Divine grace of atholic truth, crushed in its first rise a heresy ne&ly started,
concerning the state of our resurrection# For Eutychius, bishop of that city, taught, that our
body, in that glory of resurrection, &ould be impalpable, and more subtile than the &ind
and airD &hich he hearing, proved by force of truth, and by the instance of the resurrection
of our 8ord, that this doctrine &as every &ay opposite to the hristian faith# For the
atholic faith is that our body, sublimed by the glory of immortality, is rendered subtle by
3*
the effect of the spiritual po&er, but palpable by the reality of natureD according to the
example of our 8ord:s body, of &hich, &hen risen from the dead, He Himself says to his
disciples, G.ouch me and see, for a spirit bath not flesh and bones as ye see me have#G +n
asserting &hich faith, the venerable Father >regory so earnestly laboured against the rising
heresy, and by the assistance of the most pious emperor, .iberius onstantine, so fully
suppressed it, that none has been since found to revive it#
He li(e&ise composed another notable boo(, called G8iber Pastoralis,G &herein he
manifestly sho&ed &hat sort of persons ought to be preferred to govern the churchD ho&
such rulers ought to liveD &ith ho& much discretion to instruct every one of their hearers,
and ho& seriously to reflect every day on their o&n frailty# He also &rote forty homilies on
the >ospel, &hich he eCually divided# into t&o volumesD and composed four boo(s of
dialogues, into &hich, at the reCuest of Peter, his deacon, he collected the miracles of the
saints &hom he either (ne&, or had heard to be most reno&ned in +taly, for an example to
posterity to lead their livesD to the end that, as he taught in his boo(s of Expositions, &hat
virtues ought to be laboured for, so by describing the miracles of saints, he might ma(e
(no&n the glory of those virtues# He further, in t&enty"t&o homilies, discovered ho& much
light there is concealed in the first and last parts of the prophet EEe(iel, &hich seemed the
most obscure# Besides &hich he &rote the GBoo( of 'ns&ers,G to the Cuestions of
'ugustine, the first bishop of the English nation, as &e have sho&n above, inserting the
same boo( entire in this historyD besides the useful little G<ynodical Boo(,G &hich he
composed &ith the bishops of +taly on the necessary affairs of the churchD and also familiar
letters to certain persons# 'nd it is the more &onderful that he could &rite so many and
such large volumes, in regard that almost all the time of his youth, to use his o&n &ords, he
&as often tormented &ith pains in his bo&els, and a &ea(ness of his stomach, &hilst he &as
continually suffering from slo& fever# But &hereas at the same time he carefully reflected
that, as the <cripture testifies, GEvery son that is received is scourged,G the more he
laboured and &as depressed under those present evils, the more he assured himself of his
eternal salvation#
.hus much may be said of his immortal genius, &hich could not he restrained by such
severe bodily painsD for other popes applied themselves to building, or adorning of churches
&ith gold and silver, but >regory &as entirely intent upon gaining souls# Ahatsoever
37
money he had, he diligently too( care to distribute and give to the poor, that his
righteousness might endure for ever, and his horn be exalted &ith honourD so that &hat
blessed 9ob said might be truly said of him, GAhen the ear heard me, then it blessed meD
and &hen the eye sa& me, it gave &itness to me$ because + delivered the poor that cried,
and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him# .he blessing of him that &as ready to
perish came upon me, and + caused the &ido&:s heart to sing for Foy# + put on righteousness,
and it clothed meD my Fudgment &as as a robe and diadem# + &as the eye to the blind, and
feet &as + to the lame# + &as father to the poorD and the cause &hich + (ne& not, + searched
out# 'nd + bra(e the Fa&s of the &ic(ed, and pluc(ed the spoil out of his teeth#G 'nd a little
after$ G+f + have &ithheld,G says he, Gthe poor from their desireD or have caused the eye of
the &ido& to failD or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten
thereof# For of my youth compassion gre& up &ith me, and from my mother:s &omb it
came forth &ith me#G
.o these &or(s of piety and righteousness this also may be added, that he saved our
nation, by the preachers he sent hither, from the teeth of the old enemy, and made it
parta(er of eternal libertyD in &hose faith and salvation reFoicing, and &orthily commending
the same, he in his exposition on holy 9ob, says, GBehold, a tongue of Britain, &hich only
(ne& ho& to utter barbarous language, has long since begun to resound the Hebre&
HalleluFahK Behold, the once s&elling ocean no& serves prostrate at the feet of the saintsD
and its barbarous motions, &hich earthly princes could not subdue &ith the s&ord, are no&,
through the fear of >od, bound by the mouths of priests &ith &ords onlyD and he that &hen
an infidel stood not in a&e of fighting troops, no& a believer, fears the tongues of the
humbleK For by reason that the virtue of the Divine (no&ledge is infused into it by
precepts, heavenly &ords, and conspicuous miracles, it is curbed by the dread of the same
Divinity, so as to fear to act &ic(edly, and bends all its desires to arrive at eternal glory#G +n
&hich &ords holy >regory declares this also, that <t# 'ugustine and his companions
brought the English to receive the truth, not only by the preaching of &ords, but also by
sho&ing of heavenly signs# .he holy Pope >regory, among other things, caused masses to
be celebrated in the churches of the apostles, Peter and Paul, over their bodies# 'nd in the
celebration of masses, he added three phrases full of great goodness and perfection$ G'nd
dispose our days in thy peace, and preserve us from eternal damnation, and ran( us in the
34
number of thy elect, through hrist our 8ord#G
He governed the church in the days of the Emperors ;auritius and Phocas, but
passing out of this life in the second year of the same Phocas, he departed to the true life
&hich is in heaven# His body &as buried in the church of <t# Peter the 'postle, before the
sacristy, on the 1th day of ;arch, to rise one day in the same body in glory &ith the rest of
the holy pastors of the church# !n his tomb &as &ritten this epitaph "
Earth + ta(e that body &hich at first you gave,
.ill >od again shall raise it from the grave#
His soul amidst the stars finds heavenly dayD
+n vain the gates of dar(ness ma(e essay
!n him &hose death but leads to life the &ay#
.o the dar( tomb, this prelate, though decreed,
8ives in all places by his pious deed#
Before his bounteous board pale Hunger fledD
.o &arm the poor he fleecy garments spreadD
'nd to secure their souls from <atan:s po&er,
He taught by sacred precepts every hour#
=or only taughtD but first th: example led,
8ived o:er his rules, and acted &hat he said#
.o English <axons hristian truth he taught,
'nd a believing floc( to heaven he brought#
.his &as thy &or( and study, this thy care,
!fferings to thy /edeemer to prepare#
For these to heavenly honours raised on high,
Ahere thy re&ard of labours ne:er shall die#
=or is the account of <t# >regory, &hich has been handed do&n to us by the tradition
of our ancestors, to be passed by in silence, in relation to his motives for ta(ing such
interest in the salvation of our nation# +t is reported, that some merchants, having Fust
arrived at /ome on a certain day, exposed many things for sale in the mar(etplace, and
abundance of people resorted thither to buy$ >regory himself &ent &ith the rest, and,
)-
among other things, some boys &ere set to sale, their bodies &hite, their countenances
beautiful, and their hair very fine# Having vie&ed them, he as(ed, as is said, from &hat
country or nation they &ere broughtJ and &as told, from the island of Britain, &hose
inhabitants &ere of such personal appearance# He again inCuired &hether those islanders
&ere hristians, or still involved in the errors of paganismJ and &as informed that they
&ere pagans# .hen fetching a deep sigh from the bottom of his heart, G'lasK &hat pity,G said
he, Gthat the author of dar(ness is possessed of men of such fair countenancesD and that
being remar(able for such graceful aspects, their minds should be void of in&ard grace#G
He therefore again as(ed, &hat &as the name of that nationJ and &as ans&ered, that they
&ere called 'ngles# G/ight,G said he, for they have an 'ngelic face, and it becomes such to
be co"heirs &ith the 'ngels in heaven# Ahat is the name,G proceeded he, Gof the province
from &hich they are broughtJG +t &as replied, that the natives of that province &ere called
Deiri# G.ruly are they .e ira,G said he, G&ithdra&n from &rath, and called to the mercy of
hrist# Ho& is the (ing of that province calledJG .hey told him his name &as Llla$ and he,
alluding to the name said, GHalleluFah, the praise of >od the reator must be sung in those
parts#G
.hen repairing to the bishop of the /oman apostolical see Nfor he &as not himself then
made popeO, he entreated him to send some ministers of the &ord into Britain to the nation
of the English, by &hom it might be converted to hristD declaring himself ready to
underta(e that &or(, by the assistance of >od, if the apostolic pope should thin( fit to have
it so done# Ahich not being then able to perform, because, though the pope &as &illing to
grant his reCuest, yet the citiEens of /ome could not be brought to consent that so noble, so
reno&ned, and so learned a man should depart the cityD as soon as he &as himself made
pope, he perfected the long"desired &or(, sending other preachers, but himself by his
prayers and exhortations assisting the preaching, that it might be successful# .his account,
as &e have received it from the ancients, &e have thought fit to insert in our Ecclesiastical
History#
CHAPTER II
'?>?<.+=E 'D;!=+<HED .HE B+<H!P< !F .HE B/+.!=< .! '.H!8+
PE'E '=D ?=+.B, '=D .! .H'. EFFE. A/!?>H. ' HE'2E=8B ;+/'8E
),
+= .HE+/ P/E<E=ED '=D !F .HE 2E=>E'=E .H'. P?/<?ED .HE; F!/
.HE+/ !=.E;P.# H'#D# )-0#I
+= the meantime, 'ugustine, &ith the assistance of @ing Ethelbert, dre& together to a
conference the bishops, or doctors, of the next province of the Britons, at a place &hich is
to this day called 'ugustine:s 'c, that is, 'ugustine:s !a(, on the borders of the Aiccii and
Aest <axonsD and began by brotherly admonitions to persuade them, that preserving
atholic unity &ith him, they should underta(e the common labour of preaching the >ospel
to the >entiles# For they did not (eep Easter <unday at the proper time, but from the
fourteenth to the t&entieth moonD &hich computation is contained in a revolution of eighty"
four years# Besides, they did several other things &hich &ere against the unity of the
church# Ahen, after long disputation, they did not comply &ith the entreaties, exhortations,
or rebu(es of 'ugustine and his companions, but, preferred their o&n traditions before all
the churches in the &orld, &hich in hrist agree among themselves, the holy father,
'ugustine, put an end to this troublesome and tedious contention, saying, G8et us beg of
>od, &ho causes those &ho are of one mind to live in his Father:s house, that He &ill
vouchsafe, by his heavenly to(ens, to declare to us, &hich tradition is to be follo&edD and
by &hat means &e are to find our &ay to his heavenly (ingdom# 8et some infirm person be
brought, and let the faith and practice of those, by &hose prayers he shall be healed, be
loo(ed " upon as acceptable to >od, and be adopted by all#G .he adverse party un&illingly
consenting, a blind man of the English race &as brought, &ho having been presented to the
priests of the Britons, found no benefit or cure from their ministryD at length, 'ugustine,
compelled by real necessity, bo&ed his (nees to the Father of our 8ord 9esus hrist,
praying that the lost sight might be restored to the blind man, and by the corporeal
enlightening of one man, the light of spiritual grace might be (indled in the hearts of many
of the faithful# +mmediately the blind man received sight, and 'ugustine &as by all declared
the preacher of the Divine truth# .he Britons then confessed, that it &as the true &ay of
righteousness &hich 'ugustine taughtD but that they could not depart from their ancient
customs &ithout the consent and leave of their people# .hey therefore desired that a second
synod might be appointed, at &hich more of their number &ould be present#
.his being decreed, there came Nas is assertedO seven bishops of the Britons, and many
most learned men, particularly from their most noble monastery, &hich, in the English
)6
tongue, is called Bancornburg, over &hich the 'bbot Dinooth is said to have presided at
that time# .hey that &ere to go to the aforesaid council, repaired first to a certain holy and
discreet man, &ho &as &ont to lead an eremitical life among them, advising &ith him,
&hether they ought, at the preaching of 'ugustine, to forsa(e their traditions# He ans&ered,
G+f he is a man of >od, follo& him#G " GHo& shall &e (no& thatJG said they# He replied,
G!ur 8ord saith, .a(e my yo(e upon you, and learn of me, for + am mee( and lo&ly in heart
if therefore, 'ugustine is mee( and lo&ly of heart, it to be believed that he has ta(en upon
him the yo(e of hristD and offers the same to you to ta(e upon you# But if he is stern and
haughty, it appears that he is not of >od, nor are &e to regard his &ords#G .hey insisted
again, G'nd ho& shall &e discern even thisJG " GDo you contrive,G said the anchorite, Gthat
he may first arrive &ith his company at the place &here the synod is to be heldD and if at
your approach he shall rise up to you, hear him submissively, being assured that he is the
servant of hristD but if he shall despise you, and not rise up to you, &hereas you are more
in number, let him also be despised by you#G
.hey did as he directedD and it happened that &hen they came, 'ugustine &as sitting
on a chair, &hich they observing, &ere in a passion, and charging him &ith pride,
endeavoured to contradict all he said# He said to them, GBou act in many particulars
contrary to our custom, or rather the custom of the universal church, and yet, if you &ill
comply &ith me in these three points, viE# to (eep Easter at the due timeD to administer
baptism, by &hich &e are again born to >od, according to the custom of the holy /oman
'postolic hurchD and Fointly &ith us to preach the &ord of >od to the English nation, &e
&ill readily tolerate all the other things you do, though contrary to our customs#G .hey
ans&ered they &ould do none of those things, nor receive him as their archbishopD for they
alleged among themselves, that Gif he &ould not no& rise up to us, ho& much more &ill he
contemn us, as of no &orth, if &e shall begin to be under his subFectionJG .o &hom the man
of >od, 'ugustine, is said, in a threatening manner, to have foretold, that in case they
&ould not Foin in unity &ith their brethren, they should be &arred upon by their enemiesD
and, if they &ould not preach the &ay of life to the English nation, they should at their
hands undergo the vengeance of death# 'll &hich, through the dispensation of the Divine
Fudgment, fell out exactly as he had predicted#
For after&ards the &arli(e (ing of the English, Ethelfrid, of &hom &e have already
)0
spo(en, having raised a mighty army, made a very great slaughter of that perfidious nation,
at the ity of 8egions, &hich by the English is called 8egacestir, but by the Britons more
rightly arlegion# Being about to give battle, he observed their priests, &ho &ere come
together to offer up their prayers to >od for the soldiers, standing apart in a place of more
safetyD he inCuired &ho they &ereJ or &hat they came together to do in that placeJ ;ost of
them &ere of the monastery of Bangor, in &hich, it is reported, there &as so great a number
of mon(s, that the monastery being divided into seven parts, &ith a ruler over each, none of
those parts contained less than three hundred men, &ho all lived by the labour of their
hands# ;any of these, having observed a fast of three days, resorted among others to pray
at the aforesaid battle, having one Brocmail appointed for their protector, to defend them
&hilst they &ere intent upon their prayers, against the s&ords of the barbarians# @ing
Ethelfrid being informed of the occasion of their coming, said, G+f then they cry to their
>od against us, in truth, though they do not bear arms, yet they fight against us, because
they oppose us by their prayers#G He, therefore, commanded them to be attac(ed first, and
then destroyed the rest of the impious army, not &ithout considerable loss of his o&n
forces# 'bout t&elve hundred of those that came to pray are said to have been (illed, and
only fifty to have escaped by flight# Brocmail turning his bac( &ith his men, at the first
approach of the enemy, left those &hom he ought to have defended, unarmed and exposed
to the s&ords of the enemies# .hus &as fulfilled the prediction of the holy Bishop
'ugustine, though he himself had been long before ta(en up into the heavenly (ingdomD
that those perfidious men should feel the vengeance of temporal death also, because they
had despised the offer of eternal salvation#
CHAPTER III
H!A <.# '?>?<.+=E ;'DE ;E88+.?< '=D 9?<.?< B+<H!P<D '=D !F
H+< DE'.H# H'#D# )-1#I
+= the year of our 8ord )-1, 'ugustine, archbishop of Britain, ordained t&o bishops,
viE# ;ellitus and 9ustusD ;ellitus to preach to the province of the East"<axons, &ho are
divided from @ent by the river .hames, and border on the Eastern sea# .heir metropolis is
the city of 8ondon, &hich is situated on the ban(s of the aforesaid river, and is the mart of
many nations resorting to it by sea and land# 't that time, <abert, nephe& to Ethelbert by
)1
his sister /icula, reigned over the nation, though he &as under subFection to Ethelbert, &ho,
as has been said above, had command over all the nations of the English as far as the river
Humber# But &hen this province also received the &ord of truth, by the preaching of
;ellitus, @ing Ethelbert built the church of <t# Paul, in the city of 8ondon, &here he and
his successors should have their episcopal see# 's for 9ustus, 'ugustine ordained him
bishop in @ent, at the city &hich the English nation named /hofescestir, from one that &as
formerly the chief man of it, called /hof# +t &as almost t&enty"four miles distant from the
city of anterbury to the &est&ard, and contains a church dedicated to <t# 'ndre&, the
apostle# @ing Ethelbert, &ho built it, besto&ed many gifts on the bishops of both those
churches, as &ell as on that of anterbury, adding lands and possessions for the use of those
&ho &ere &ith the bishops#
'fter this, the beloved of >odD Father 'ugustine, died, and his body &as deposited
&ithout, close by the church of the apostles, Peter and Paul, above spo(en of, by reason that
the same &as not yet finished, nor consecrated, but as soon as it &as dedicated, the body
&as brought in, and decently buried in the north porch thereofD &herein also &ere interred
the bodies of all the succeeding archbishops, except t&o only, .heodorus and Berth&ald,
&hose bodies are &ithin that church, because the aforesaid porch could contain no more#
'lmost in the midst of this church is an altar dedicated in honour of the blessed Pope
>regory, at &hich every <aturday their service is solemnly performed by the priest of that
place# !n the tomb of the said 'ugustine is &ritten this epitaph "
GHere rests the 8ord 'ugustine, first archbishop of anterbury, &ho, being formerly
sent hither by the blessed >regory, bishop of the city of /ome, and by >od:s assistance
supported &ith miracles, reduced @ing Ethelbert and his nation from the &orship of idols to
the faith of hrist, and having ended the days of his office in peace, died the 6)th day of
;ay, in the reign of the same (ing#G
CHAPTER IV
8'?/E=.+?< '=D H+< B+<H!P< 'D;!=+<H .HE <!.< .! !B<E/2E .HE
?=+.B !F .HE H!8B H?/H, P'/.+?8'/8B += @EEP+=> !F E'<.E/D
;E88+.?< >!E< .! /!;E# H'#D# )-3#I
)3
8'?/E=.+?< succeeded 'ugustine in the bishopric, having been ordained thereto
by the latter, in his lifetime, lest, upon his death, the state of the church, as yet unsettled,
might begin to falter, if it should be destitute of a pastor, though but for one hour# Aherein
he also follo&ed the example of the first pastor of the church, that is, of the most blessed
prince of the apostles, Peter, &ho, having founded the church of hrist at /ome, is said to
have consecrated lement his assistant in preaching the >ospel, and at the same time his
successor# 8aurentius, being advanced to the degree of an archbishop, laboured
indefatigably, both by freCuent exhortations and examples of piety, to raise to perfection the
foundations of the church, &hich had been so nobly laid# +n short, he not only too( care of
the ne& church formed among the English, but endeavoured also to employ his pastoral
solicitude among the ancient inhabitants of Britain, as also the <cots, &ho inhabit the island
of +reland, &hich is next to Britain# For &hen he understood that the course of life and
profession of the <cots in their aforesaid country, as &ell as of the Britons in Britain, &as
not truly ecclesiastical, especially that they did not celebrate the solemnity of Easter at the
due time, but thought that the day of the resurrection of our 8ord &as, as has been said
above, to be celebrated bet&een the ,1th and 6-th of the moonD he &rote, Fointly &ith his
fello& bishops, an exhortatory epistle, entreating and conFuring them to observe unity of
peace, and conformity &ith the church of hrist spread throughout the &orld# .he
beginning of &hich epistle is as follo&s "
"To our most dear brothers, the lords bishops and abbots throughout &"otland,
Laurentius, ,ellitus, and /ustus, servants of the servants of God. Ahen the apostolic see,
according to the universal custom &hich has follo&ed else&here, sent us to these &estern
parts to preach to pagan nations, &e came into this island, &hich is called Britain, &ithout
possessing any previous (no& ledge of its inhabitants# Ae held both the Britons and <cots
in great esteem for sanctity, believing that they had proceeded according to the custom of
the universal churchD but coming acCuainted &ith the errors of the Britons, &e thought the
<cots had been betterD but &e have been informed by Bishop Dagan, coming into this
aforesaid island, and the 'bbot olumbanus in France, that the <cots in no &ay differ from
the Britons in their behaviourD for Bishop Dagan coming to us, not only refused to eat &ith
us, but even to ta(e his repast in the same house &here &e &ere entertained#G
.he same 8aurentius and his fello& bishops &rote a letter to the priests of the Britons,
))
suitable to his ran(, by &hich he endeavoured to confirm them in atholic unityD but &hat
he gained by so doing the present times still declare#
'bout this time, ;ellitus, bishop of 8ondon, &ent to /ome, to confer &ith Pope
Boniface about the necessary affairs of the English church# 'nd the same most reverend
pope, assembling a synod of the bishops of +taly, to prescribe orders for the life and peace
of the mon(s, ;ellitus also sat among them, in the eighth year of the reign of the Emperor
Phocas, the thirteenth indiction, on the 6*th of February, to the end that he also by his
authority might confirm such things as should be regularly decreed, and at his return into
Britain might carry the same to the churches of the English, to be prescribed and observedD
together &ith letters &hich the same pope sent to the beloved of >od, 'rchbishop
8aurentius, and to all the clergyD as li(e&ise to @ing Ethelbert and the English nation# .his
pope &as Boniface, &ho came fourth after Pope >regory, and &ho obtained of the Emperor
Phocas that the temple called by the ancients Pantheon, as representing all the gods, should
be given to the hurch of hristD &herein he, having purified it from contamination,
dedicated a church to the holy mother of >od, and to all hrist:s martyrs, to the end that,
the devils being excluded, the blessed company of the saints might have therein a perpetual
memorial#
CHAPTER V
H!A, 'F.E/ .HE DE'.H !F .HE @+=>< E.HE8BE/. '=D <'BE/., .HE+/
<?E<<!/< /E<.!/ED +D!8'./BD F!/ AH+H /E'<!=, B!.H ;E88+.?<
'=D 9?<.?< DEP'/.ED !?. !F B/+.'+=# H'#D# ),)#I
+= the year of our 8ord:s incarnation ),), &hich is the t&enty"first year after
'ugustine and his companions &ere sent to preach to the English nation, Ethelbert, (ing of
@ent, having most gloriously governed his temporal (ingdom fifty"six years, entered into
the eternal Foys of the (ingdom &hich is heavenly# He &as the third of the English (ings
that had the sovereignty of all the southern provinces that are divided from the northern by
the river Humber, and the borders contiguous to the sameD but the first of the (ings that
ascended to the heavenly (ingdom# .he first &ho had the li(e <overeignty &as Elli, (ing or
the <outh"<axonsD the second, elin, (ing of the Aest"<axons, &ho, in their o&n language,
is called eaulinD the third, as has been said, &as Ethelbert, (ing of @entD the fourth &as
)*
/ed&ald, (ing of the East"'ngles, &ho, &hilst Ethelbert lived, had been subservient to him#
.he fifth &as Ed&in, (ing of the nation of the =orthumbrians, that is, of those &ho live on
the north side of the river Humber, &ho, &ith great po&er, commanded all the nations, as
&ell of the English as of the Britons &ho inhabit Britain, except only the people of @ent,
and he reduced also under the dominion of the English, the ;evanian +slands of the
Britons, lying bet&een +reland and BritainD the sixth &as !s&ald, the most hristian (ing
of the =orthumbrians, &ho also had the same extent under his commandD the seventh,
!s&y, brother to the former, held the same dominions for some time, and for the most part
subdued and made tributary the nations of the Picts and <cots, &hich possess the northern
parts of Britain$ but of these hereafter#
@ing Ethelbert died on the 61th day of the month of February, t&enty"one years after
he had received the faith, and &as buried in <t# ;artin:s porch &ithin the church of the
blessed apostles Peter and Paul, &here also lies his Cueen, Bertha# 'mong other benefits
&hich he conferred upon the nation, he also, by the advice of &ise persons, introduced
Fudicial decrees, after the /oman modelD &hich, being &ritten in English, are still (ept and
observed by them# 'mong &hich, he in the first place set do&n &hat satisfaction should be
given by those &ho should steal anything belonging to the church, the bishop, or the other
clergy, resolving to give protection to those &hose doctrine be had embraced#
.his Ethelbert &as the son of +rminric, &hose father &as !cta, &hose father &as
!rric, surnamed !isc, from &hom the (ings of @ent are &ont to be called !iscings# His
father &as Hengist, &ho, being invited by 2ortigern, first came into Britain, &ith his son
!isc, as has been said above#
But after the death of Ethelbert, the accession of his son Eadbald proved very
preFudicial to the ne& churchD for he not only refused to embrace the faith of hrist, but
&as also defiled &ith such a sort of fornication, as the apostle testifies, &as not heard of,
even among the >entilesD for he (ept his father:s &ife# By both &hich crimes he gave
occasion to those to return to their former uncleanness, &ho, under his father, had, either for
favour, or through fear of the (ing, submitted to the la&s of faith and chastity# =or did the
perfidious (ing escape &ithout Divine punishment and correctionD for he &as troubled &ith
freCuent fits of madness, and possessed by an evil spirit# .his confusion &as increased by
)7
the death of <abert, (ing of the East"<axons, &ho departing to the heavenly (ingdom, left
three sons, still pagans, to inherit his temporal cro&n# .hey immediately began to profess
idolatry, &hich, during their father:s reign, they had seemed a little to abandon, and they
granted free liberty to the people under their government to serve idols# 'nd &hen they sa&
the bishop, &hilst celebrating mass in the church, give the eucharist to the people, they,
puffed up &ith barbarous folly, &ere &ont, as it is reported, to say to him, GAhy do you not
give us also that &hite bread, &hich you used to give to our father <aba Nfor so they used to
call himO, and &hich you still continue to give to the people in the churchJG .o &hom he
ans&ered, G+f you &ill be &ashed in that laver of salvation, in &hich our father &as &ashed,
you may also parta(e of the holy bread of &hich he partoo(D but if you despise the laver of
life, you may not receive the bread of life#G .hey replied, GAe &ill not enter into that laver,
because &e do not (no& that &e stand in need of it, and yet &e &ill eat of that bread#G 'nd
being often earnestly admonished by him, that the same could not be done, nor any one
admitted to parta(e of the sacred oblation &ithout the holy cleansing, at last, they said in
anger, G+f you &ill not comply &ith us in so small a matter as that is &hich &e reCuire, you
shall not stay in our province#G 'nd accordingly they obliged him and his follo&ers to
depart from their (ingdom# Being forced from thence, he came into @ent, to advise &ith his
fello& bishops, 8aurentius and 9ustus, &hat &as to be done in that caseD and it &as
unanimously agreed, that it &as better for them all to return to their o&n country, &here
they might serve >od in freedom, than to continue &ithout any advantage among those
barbarians, &ho had revolted from the faith# ;ellitus and 9ustus accordingly &ent a&ay
first, and &ithdre& into France, designing there to a&ait the event of things# But the (ings,
&ho had driven from them the preacher of the truth, did not continue long unpunished in
their heathenish &orship# For marching out to battle against the nation of the >e&issie, they
&ere all slain &ith their army# Ho&ever, the people, having been once turned to
&ic(edness, though the authors of it &ere destroyed, &ould not be corrected, nor return to
the unity of faith and charity &hich is in hrist#
CHAPTER VI
8'?/E=.+?<, BE+=> /EP/!2ED BB .HE 'P!<.8E, !=2E/., /+=>
E'DB'8D .! H/+<.D ;E88+.?< '=D 9?<.?< '/E /E'88ED# H'#D# ),)#I
)4
8'?/E=.+?<, being about to follo& ;ellitus and 9ustus, and to Cuit Britain, ordered
his bed to be laid the night before in the church of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul,
&hich has been often mentioned beforeD &herein having laid himself to ta(e some rest, after
he had poured out many prayers and tears to >od for the state of the church, be fell asleepD
in the dead of night, the blessed prince of the apostles appeared to him, and scourging him a
long time &ith apostolical severity, as(ed of him, GAhy he &ould forsa(e the floc( &hich
he had committed to himJ or to &hat shepherds he &ould commit hrist:s sheep that &ere
in the midst of &olvesJ Have you,G said he, Gforgotten my example, &ho, for the sa(e of
those little ones, &hom hrist recommended to me in to(en of his affection, under&ent at
the hands of infidels and enemies of hrist, bonds, stripes, imprisonment, afflictions, and
lastly, the death of the cross, that + might at last be cro&ned &ith himJG 8aurentius, the
servant of hrist, being excited by these &ords and stripes, the very next morning repaired
to the (ing, and ta(ing off his garment, sho&ed the scars of the stripes &hich he had
received# .he (ing, astonished, as(ed, GAho had presumed to give such stripes to so great a
manJG 'nd &as much frightened &hen he heard that the bishop had suffered so much at the
hands of the apostle of hrist for his salvation# .hen abFuring the &orship of idols, and
renouncing his unla&ful marriage, he embraced the faith of hrist, and being baptiEed,
promoted the affairs of the church to the utmost of his po&er#
He also sent over into France, and recalled ;ellitus and 9ustus, and commanded them
freely to return to govern their churches, &hich they accordingly did, one year after their
departure# 9ustus, indeed, returned to the city of 8ochester, &here he had before presidedD
but the 8ondoners &ould not receive Bishop ;ellitus, choosing rather to be under their
idolatrous high priestsD for @ing Eadbald had not so much authority in the (ingdom as his
father, nor &as he able to restore the bishop to his church against the &ill and consent of the
pagans# But he and his nation, after his conversion to our 8ord, diligently follo&ed the
Divine precepts# 8astly, he built the church of the holy ;other of >od, in the monastery of
the most blessed prince of the apostles, &hich &as after&ards consecrated by 'rchbishop
;ellitus#
CHAPTER VII
B+<H!P ;E88+.?< BB P/'BE/ M?E=HE< ' F+/E += H+< +.B# H'#D# ),4#I
*-
+= this (ing:s reign, the holy 'rchbishop 8aurentius &as ta(en up to the heavenly
(ingdom$ he &as buried in the church and monastery of the holy 'postle Peter, close by his
predecessor 'ugustine, on the 6nd day of the month of February# ;ellitus, &ho &as bishop
of 8ondon, &as the third archbishop of anterbury from 'ugustineD 9ustus, &ho &as still
living, governed the church of /ochester# .hese ruled the church of the English &ith much
industry and labour, and received letters of exhortation from Boniface, bishop of the /oman
apostolic see &ho presided over the church after Deusdedit, in the year of our 8ord ),4#
;ellitus laboured under an infirmity of body, that is, the goutD but his mind &as sound,
cheerfully passing over all earthly things, and al&ays aspiring to love, see(, and attain to
those &hich are celestial# He &as noble by birth, but much nobler in mind#
+n short, that + may give one testimony of his virtue, by &hich the rest may be guessed
at, it happened once that the ity of anterbury, being by carelessness set on fire, &as in
danger of being consumed by the spreading conflagrationD &ater &as thro&n over the fire in
vainD a considerable part of the city &as already destroyed, and the fierce flame advancing
to&ards the bishop, &hen he, confiding in the Divine assistance, &here human failed
ordered himself to be carried to&ards the raging fire, that &as spreading on every side# .he
church of the four cro&ned ;artyrs &as in the place &here the fire raged most# .he bishop
being carried thither by his servantsD the sic( man averted the danger by prayer, &hich a
number of strong men had not been able to perform by much labour# +mmediately, the &ind,
&hich blo&ing from the south had spread the conflagration throughout the city, turning to
the north, prevented the destruction of those places that had lain in its &ay, and then ceasing
entirely, the flames &ere immediately extinguished# 'nd thus the man of >od, &hose mind
&as inflamed &ith the fire of Divine charity, and &ho &as &ont to drive a&ay the po&ers
of the air by his freCuent prayers, from doing harm to himself, or his people, &as
deservedly allo&ed to prevail over the &orldly &inds and flames, and to obtain that they
should not inFure him or his#
.his archbishop also, having ruled the church five years, departed to heaven in the
reign of @ing Eadbald, and &as buried &ith his predecessors in the monastery and church,
&hich &e have so often mentioned, of the most blessed prince of the apostles, in the year of
our 8ord:s incarnation )61, on the 61th day of 'pril#
*,
CHAPTER VIII
P!PE B!=+F'E <E=D< .HE P'88 '=D '= EP+<.8E .! 9?<.?<,
<?E<<!/ .! ;E88+.?<# H'#D# )61#I
9?<.?<, bishop of /ochester, immediately succeeded ;ellitus in the archbishopric#
He consecrated /omanus bishop of that see in his o&n stead, having obtained leave of
ordaining bishops from Pope Boniface, &hom &e mentioned above to have been successor
to Deusdedit$ of &hich licence this is the form"
onifa"e, to his most beloved brother /ustus. =ot only the contents of your letter, but
the perfection &hich your &or( has obtained, has informed us ho& devoutly and diligently
you have laboured, my brother, for the >ospel of hristD for 'lmighty >od has not forsa(en
either the mystery of his name, or the fruit of your labours, having Himself faithfully
promised to the preachers of the >ospel, :8oK + am &ith you al&ay, even unto the end of the
&orldD: &hich promise his mercy has particularly manifested in this ministry of yours,
opening the hearts of nations to receive the mystery of your preaching# For He has
enlightened the acceptable course of your endeavours, by the approbation of his graceD
granting a plentiful increase to your faithful management of the talents committed to you,
and &hich you may secure for many generations# .his is by that re&ard conferred on you,
&ho, constantly adhering to the ministry enFoined you, &ith laudable patience a&ait the
redemption of that nation, &hose salvation is set on foot that they may profit by your
merits, our 8ord Himself saying, He that perseveres to the end shall be saved#: Bou are,
therefore, saved by the hope of patience, and the virtue of endurance, to the end that the
hearts of infidels, being cleansed from their natural and superstitious disease, might obtain
to mercy of their /edeemer$ for having received the letters of our son Ethel&ald, &e
perceive &ith ho& much (no&ledge of the sacred &ord your mind, my brother, has brought
over his mind to the belief in real conversion and the true faith# .herefore, firmly confiding
in the long"suffering of the Divine clemency, &e believe there &ill, through the ministry of
your preaching, ensue most full salvation not only of the nations subFect to him, but also of
those that neighbour round aboutD to the end, that as it is &ritten, the re&ard of a perfect
&or( may be conferred on you by our 8ord, the giver of all good thingsD and that the
universal confession of all nations, having received the mystery of the hristian faith, may
declare, that their :<ound &ent into all the earth, and their &ords unto the ends of the &orld#:
*6
GAe have also, my brother, encouraged by Eeal for &hat is good, sent you by the
bearer of these, the pall, &hich &e have only given leave to use in the celebration of the
sacred mysteriesD granting you li(e&ise to ordain bishops &hen there shall be occasion,
through the mercy of our 8ordD that so the >ospel of hrist, by the preaching of many, may
be spread abroad in all the nations that are not yet converted# Bou must, therefore,
endeavour, my brother, to preserve &ith unblemished sincerity of mind that &hich you have
received through the favour of the 'postolic <ee, as an emblem &hereof you have obtained
so principal an ornament to be borne on your shoulders# 'nd ma(e it your business,
imploring the Divine goodness, so to behave yourself, that you may present before the
tribunal of the <upreme 9udge that is to come, the re&ards of the favour granted you, not
&ith guiltiness, but &ith the benefit of souls#
G>od preserve you in safety, most dear brotherKG
CHAPTER IX
.HE /E+>= !F @+=> EDA+=, '=D H!A P'?8+=?<, !;+=> .! P/E'H
.HE >!<PE8, F+/<. !=2E/.ED H+< D'?>H.E/ '=D !.HE/< .! .HE F'+.H
!F H/+<.# H'#D# )63#I
'. this time the nation of the =orthumbrians, that is, the nation of the 'ngles that live
on the north side of the river Humber, &ith their (ing, Ed&in, received the faith through the
preaching of Paulinus, above mentioned# .his Ed&in, as a re&ard of his receiving the faith,
and as an earnest of his share in the heavenly (ingdom, received an increase of that &hich
he enFoyed on earth, for he reduced under his dominion all the borders of Britain that &ere
provinces either of the aforesaid nation, or of the Britons, a thing &hich no British (ing had
ever done beforeD and he in li(e manner subFected to the English the ;evanian islands, as
has been said above# .he first &hereof, &hich is to the south&ard, is the largest in extent,
and most fruitful, containing nine hundred and sixty families, according to the English
computationD the other above three hundred#
.he occasion of this nation:s embracing the faith &as, their aforesaid (ing, being allied
to the (ings of @ent, having ta(en to &ife Ethelberga, other&ise called .ate, daughter to
@ing Ethelbert# He having by his ambassadors as(ed her in marriage of her brother
*0
Eadbald, &ho then reigned in @ent, &as ans&ered, G.hat it &as not la&ful to marry a
hristian virgin to a pagan husband, lest the faith and the mysteries of the heavenly @ing
should be profaned by her cohabiting &ith a (ing that &as altogether a stranger to the
&orship of the true >od#G .his ans&er being brought to Ed&in by his messengers, he
promised in no manner to act in opposition to the hristian faith, &hich the virgin
professedD but &ould give leave to her, and all that &ent &ith her, men or &omen, priests or
ministers, to follo& their faith and &orship after the custom of the hristians# =or did he
deny, but that he &ould embrace the same religion, if, being examined by &ise persons, it
should be found more holy and more &orthy of >od#
Hereupon the virgin &as promised, and sent to Ed&in, and pursuant to &hat had been
agreed on, Paulinus, a man beloved of >od, &as ordained bishop, to go &ith her, and by
daily exhortations, and celebrating the heavenly mysteries, to confirm her and her company,
lest they should be corrupted by the company of the pagans# Paulinus &as ordained bishop
by the 'rchbishop 9ustus, on the 6,st day of 9uly, in the year of our 8ord )63, and so he
came to @ing Ed&in &ith the aforesaid virgin as a companion of their union in the flesh#
But his mind &as &holly bent upon reducing the nation to &hich he &as sent to the
(no&ledge of truthD according to the &ords of the apostle, G.o espouse her to one husband,
that he might present her as a chaste virgin to hrist#G Being come into that province, he
laboured much, not only to retain those that &ent &ith him, by the help of >od, that they
should not revolt from the faith, but, if he could, to convert some of the pagans to a state of
grace by his preaching# But, as the apostle says, though he laboured long in the &ord, G.he
god of this &orld blinded the minds of them that believed not, lest the light of the glorious
>ospel of hrist should shine unto them#G
.he next year there came into the province a certain assassin, called Eumer, sent by
the (ing of the Aest"<axons, &hose name &as uichelm, in hopes at once to deprive @ing
Ed&in of his (ingdom and his life# He had a t&o"edged dagger, dipped in poison, to the
end, that if the &ound &ere not sufficient to (ill the (ing, it might be performed by the
venom# He came to the (ing on the first day of Easter, at the river Der&ent, &here then
stood the regal city, and heing admitted as if to deliver a message from his master, &hilst he
&as in an artful manner delivering his pretended embassy, he started on a sudden, and
dra&ing the dagger from under his garment, assaulted the (ingD &hich 8illa, the (ing:s
*1
beloved minister, observing, having no buc(ler at hand to secure the (ing from death,
interposed his o&n body to receive the stro(eD but the &retch struc( so home, that he
&ounded the (ing through the (night:s body# Being then attac(ed on all sides &ith s&ords,
he in that confusion also sle& another soldier, &hose name &as Forthhere#
!n that same holy night of Easter <unday, the Cueen had brought forth to the (ing a
daughter, called Eanfled# .he (ing, in the presence of Bishop Paulinus, gave than(s to his
gods for the birth of his daughterD and the bishop, on the other hand, returned than(s to
hrist, and endeavoured to persuade the (ing, that by his prayers to Him he had obtained
that the Cueen should bring forth the child in safety, and &ithout much pain# .he (ing,
delighted &ith his &ords, promised, that in case >od &ould grant him life and victory over
the (ing by &hom the assassin had been sent, he &ould cast off his idols, and serve hristD
and as a pledge that he &ould perform his promise, he delivered up that same daughter to
Paulinus, to be consecrated to hrist# <he &as the first baptiEed of the nation of the
=orthunibrians, on Ahitsunday, &ith t&elve others of her family# 't that time, the (ing,
being recovered of the &ound &hich he had received, marched &ith his army against the
nation of the Aest"<axonsD and having begun the &ar, either sle& or subdued all those that
he had been informed had conspired to murder him# /eturning thus victorious unto his o&n
country, he &ould not immediately and unadvisedly embrace the mysteries of the hristian
faith, though he no longer &orshipped idols, ever since he made the promise that he &ould
serve hristD but thought fit first at leisure to be instructed, by the venerable Paulinus, in the
(no&ledge of faith, and to confer &ith such as he (ne& to be the &isest of his prime men,
to advise &hat they thought &as fittest to be done in that case# 'nd being a man of
extraordinary sagacity, he often sat alone by himself a long time, silent as to his tongue, but
deliberating in his heart ho& he should proceed, and &hich religion he should adhere to#
CHAPTER X
P!PE B!=+F'E, BB 8E..E/, E5H!/.< .HE <';E @+=> .! E;B/'E
.HE F'+.H# H'#D# )63#I
'. this time he received letters from Pope Boniface H+2#I exhorting him to embrace
the faith, &hich &ere as follo&s"
*3
!PB !F .HE 8E..E/ !F .HE H!8B '=D 'P!<.!8+ P!PE !F .HE
H?/H !F /!;E, B!=+F'E, .! .HE >8!/+!?< EDA+=, @+=> !F .HE
E=>8+<H#
"To the illustrious (dwin, -ing of the (nglish, ishop onifa"e, the servant of the
servants of God. 'lthough the po&er of the <upreme Deity cannot be expressed by human
speech, as consisting in its o&n greatness, and in invisible and unsearchable eternity, so that
no sharpness of &it can comprehend or express itD yet in regard that the goodness of >od, to
give some notion of itself, having opened the doors of the heart, has mercifully, by secret
inspiration, infused into the minds of men such things as He is &illing shall be declared
concerning Himself, &e have thought fit to extend our priestly care to ma(e (no&n to you
the fulness of the hristian faithD to the end that, informing you of the >ospel of hrist,
&hich our <aviour commanded should be preached to all nations, they might offer to you
the cup of life and salvation#
G.hus the goodness of the <upreme ;aFesty, &hich, by the &ord of his command,
made and created all things, the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, disposing
the order by &hich they should subsist, hath, &ith the counsel of his co"eternal Aord, and
the unity of the Holy <pirit, formed man after his o&n li(eness, out of the slime of the
earthD and granted him such super"eminent prerogative, as to place him above all othersD so
that, observing the command &hich &as given him, his continuance should be to eternity#
.his >od,"Father, <on, and Holy >host, &hich is an undivided .rinity," man(ind, from the
east unto the &est, by confession of faith to the saving of their souls, do &orship and adore
as the reator of all things, and their o&n ;a(erD to &hom also the heights of empire, and
the po&ers of the &orld, are subFect, because the besto&al of all (ingdoms is granted by his
disposition# +t hath pleased Him, therefore, of his great mercy, and for the greater benefit of
all his creatures, by his Holy <pirit &onderfully to (indle the cold hearts also of the nations
seated at the extremities of the earth in the (no&ledge of Himself#
GFor &e suppose your excellency has, from the country lying so near, fully understood
&hat the clemency of our /edeemer has effected in the enlightening of our glorious son,
@ing Eadbald, and the nations under his subFectionD &e therefore trust, &ith assured
confidence of celestial hope, that his &onderful gift &ill be also conferred on youD since &e
*)
understand that your illustrious consort, &hich is (no&n to be a part of your body, is
illuminated &ith the re&ard of eternity, through the regeneration of holy baptism# Ae have,
therefore, ta(en care by these presents, &ith all possible affection, to exhort your illustrious
selves, that, abhorring idols and their &orship, and contemning the follies of temples, and
the deceitful flatteries of auguries, you believe in >od the Father 'lmighty, and his <on
9esus hrist, and the Holy >host, to the end that, being discharged from the bonds of
captivity to the Devil, by believing you may, through the co"operating po&er of the holy
and undivided .rinity, be parta(er of the eternal life#
GHo& great guilt they lie under, &ho adhere to the pernicious superstitions and
&orship of idolatry, appears by the examples of the perdition of those &hom they &orship#
Aherefore it is said of them by the Psalmist, :'ll the gods of the >entiles are devils, but the
8ord made the heavens#: 'nd again, :they have eyes and do not see, they have ears and do
not hear, they have noses and do not smell, they have hands and do not feel, they have feet
and do not &al(# .herefore they are li(e those that confide in them#: For ho& can they have
any po&er to yield assistance, that are made for you out of corruptible matter, by the hands
of your inferiors and subFects, to &it, on &hom you have by human art besto&ed an
inanimate similitude of membersJ Aho, unless they be moved by you, &ill not be able to
&al(D but, li(e a stone fixed in one place, being so formed, and having no understanding,
but absorbed in insensibility, have no po&er of doing harm or good# Ae cannot, therefore,
upon mature deliberation, find out ho& you come to be so deceived as to follo& and
&orship those gods, to &hom you yourselves have given the li(eness of a body#
G+t behooves you, therefore, by ta(ing upon you the sign of the holy cross, by &hich
the human race is redeemed, to root out of your hearts all those arts and cunning of the
Devil, &ho is ever Fealous of the &or(s of the Divine goodness, and to lay hold and brea( in
pieces those &hich you have hitherto made your material gods# For the very destruction and
abolition of these, &hich could never receive life or sense from their ma(ers, may plainly
demonstrate to you ho& &orthless they &ere &hich you till then had &orshipped, &hen you
yourselves, &ho have received life from the 8ord, are certainly better than they, as"
'lmighty >od has appointed you to be descended after many ages and through many
generations, from the first man &hom He formed# Dra& near, then, to the (no&ledge of
Him &ho created you, &ho breathed the breath of life into you, &ho sent his only"begotten
**
<on for your redemption, to cleanse you from original sin, that being delivered from the
po&er of the Devil:s &ic(edness, He might besto& on you a heavenly re&ard#
Hear the &ords of the preachers, and the >ospel of >od, &hich they declare to you, to
the end that, believing, as has been said, in >od the Father 'lmighty, and in 9esus hrist his
<on, and the Holy >host, and the indivisible .rinity, having put to flight the sensualities of
devils, and driven from you the suggestions of the venomous and deceitful enemy, and
being born again by &ater and the Holy >host, you may, through his assistance and bounty,
d&ell in the brightness of eternal glory &ith Him in &hom you shall believe# Ae have,
moreover, sent you the blessing of your protector, the blessed Peter, prince of the apostles,
that is, a shirt, &ith one gold ornament, and one garment of 'ncyra, &hich &e pray your
highness to accept &ith the same good&ill as it is friendly intended by us#G
CHAPTER XI
P!PE B!=+F'E 'D2+<E< M?EE= E.HE8BE/>' .! ?<E HE/ BE<.
E=DE'2!?/< F!/ .HE <'82'.+!= !F HE/ !=<!/., @+=> EDA+=# H'#D#
)63#I
.HE same pope also &rote to @ing Ed&in:s onsort, Ethelberga, to this effect
.HE !PB !F .HE 8E..E/ !F .HE ;!<. B8E<<ED '=D 'P!<.!8+
B!=+F'E, P!PE !F .HE +.B !F /!;E, .! E.HE8BE/>', @+=> EDA+=:<
M?EE=#
"To the illustrious lady his daughter, Queen (thelberga, onifa"e, bishop, servant of
the servants of God0 .he goodness of our /edeemer has &ith much providence offered the
means of salvation to the human raceD &hich He rescued, by the shedding of his precious
blood, from the bonds of captivity to the DevilD so that ma(ing his name (no&n in divers
&ays to the >entiles, they might ac(no&ledge their reator by embracing the mystery of
the hristian faith, &hich thing, the mystical purification of your regeneration plainly
sho&s to have been besto&ed upon the mind of your highness by >od:s bounty# !ur mind,
therefore, has been much reFoiced in the benefit of our 8ord:s goodness, for that He has
vouchsafed, in your conversion, to (indle a spar( of the orthodox religion, by &hich He
might the more easily inflame in his love the understanding, not only of your glorious
*7
consort, but also of all the nation that is subFect to you#
GFor &e have been informed by those, &ho came to acCuaint us &ith the laudable
conversion of our illustrious son, @ing Eadbald, that your highness, also, having received
the &onderful sacrament of the hristian faith, continually excels in the performance of
&or(s pious and acceptable to >od# .hat you li(e&ise carefully refrain from the &orship of
idols, and the deceits of temples and auguries, and having changed your devotion, are so
&holly ta(en up &ith the love of your /edeemer, as never to cease lending your assistance
for the propagation of the hristian faith# 'nd our fatherly charity having earnestly inCuired
concerning your illustrious husband, &e &ere given to understand that he still served
abominable idols, and &ould not yield obedience or give ear to the voice of the preachers#
.his occasioned us no small grief, for that part of your body still remained a stranger to the
(no&ledge of the supreme and undivided .rinity# Ahereupon &e, in our fatherly care, did
not delay to admonish your hristian highness, exhorting you, that, &ith the help of the
Divine inspiration, you &ill not defer to do that &hich, both in season and out of season, is
reCuired of usD that &ith the co"operating po&er of our 8ord and <aviour 9esus hrist, your
husband also may be added to the number of hristiansD to the end that you may thereby
enFoy the rights of marriage in the bond of a holy and unblemished union# For it is &ritten,
:.hey t&o shall be in one flesh Ho& can it be said, that there is unity bet&een you, if he
continues a stranger to the brightness of your faith, by the interposition of dar( and
detestable errorJ
GAherefore, applying yourself continually to prayer, do not cease to beg of the Divine
;ercy the benefit of his illuminationD to the end, that those &hom the union of carnal
affection has made in a manner but one body, may, after death, continue in perpetual union,
by the bond of faith# Persist, therefore, illustrious daughter, and to the utmost of your po&er
endeavour to soften the hardness of his heart by insinuating the Divine preceptsD ma(ing
him sensible ho& noble the mystery is &hich you have received by believing, and ho&
&onderful is the re&ard &hich, by the ne& birth, you have merited to obtain# +nflame the
coldness of his heart by the (no&ledge of the Holy >host, that by the abolition of the cold
and pernicious &orship of paganism, the heat of Divine faith may enlighten his
understanding through your freCuent exhortationsD that the testimony of the holy <cripture
may appear the more conspicuous, fulfilled by you, :.he unbelieving husband shall be
*4
saved by the believing &ife#: For to this effect you have obtained the mercy of our 8ord:s
goodness# that you may return &ith increase the fruit of faith, and the benefits entrusted in
your handsD for through the assistance of his mercy &e do not cease &ith freCuent prayers
to beg that you may be able to perform the same#
Having premised thus much, in pursuance of the duty of our fatherly affection, &e
exhort you, that &hen the opportunity of a bearer shall offer, you &ill as soon as possible
acCuaint us &ith the success &hich the Divine Po&er shall grant by your means in the
conversion of your consort, and of the nation subFect to youD to the end, that our solicitude,
&hich earnestly expects &hat appertains to the salvation of you and yours, may, by hearing
from you, be set at restD and that &e, discerning more fully the brightness of the Divine
propitiation diffused in you, may &ith a Foyful confession abundantly return due than( to
>od, the >iver of all good things, and to <t# Peter the prince of apostles# Ae have,
moreover, sent you the blessing of your protector, <t# Peter, the prince of the apostles, that
is, a silver loo(ing"glass, and a gilt ivory comb, &hich &e entreat your glory &ill receive
&ith the same (ind affection as it is (no&n to be sent by us#G
CHAPTER XII
@+=> EDA+= +< PE/<?'DED .! BE8+E2E BB ' 2+<+!= AH+H HE H'D
<EE= AHE= HE A'< += E5+8E# HBEF!/E '#D# )63#I
.H?< the aforesaid Pope Boniface &rote for the salvation of @ing Ed&in and his
nation# But a heavenly vision, &hich the Divine ;ercy &as pleased once to reveal to this
(ing, &hen he &as in banishment at the court of /ed&ald, (ing of the 'ngles, &as of no
little use in urging him to embrace and understand the doctrines of salvation# Paulinus,
therefore, perceiving that it &as a very difficult tas( to incline the (ing:s lofty mind to the
humility of the &ay of salvation, and to embrace the mystery of the cross of life, and at the
same time using both exhortation &ith men, and prayer to >od, for his and his subFects:
salvationD at length, as &e may suppose, it &as sho&n him in spirit &hat &as the vision that
had been formerly revealed to the (ing# =or did he lose any time, but immediately
admonished the (ing to perform the vo& &hich he made, &hen he received the oracle,
promising to put the same in execution, if he &as delivered from the trouble he &as at that
time under, and should be advanced to the throne#
7-
.he vision &as this# Ahen Ethelfrid, his predecessor, &as persecuting him, he for
many years &andered in a private manner through several places and (ingdoms, and at last
came to /ed&ald, beseeching him to give him protection against the snares of his po&erful
persecutor# /ed&ald &illingly admitted him, and promised to perform &hat he reCuested#
But &hen Ethelfrid understood that he had appeared in that province, and that he and his
companions &ere hospitably entertained by /ed&ald, he sent messengers to offer that (ing
a great sum of money to murder him, but &ithout effect# He sent a second and a third time,
bidding more and more each time, and threatening to ma(e &ar on him if he refused#
/ed&ald, either terrified by his threats, or gained by his gifts, complied &ith his reCuest,
and promised either to (ill Ed&in, or to deliver him up to the ambassadors# .his being
observed by a trusty friend of his, he &ent into his chamber, &here he &as going to bed, for
it &as the first hour of the nightD and calling him out, discovered &hat the (ing had
promised to do &ith him, adding, G+f, therefore, you for you good &ill, yet + cannot do &hat
you propose, province, and lead you to a place &here neither /ed&ald nor Ethelfrid shall
ever find you#G He ans&ered, G+ than( you thin( fit, + &ill this very hour conduct you out of
this or be guilty of brea(ing the compact + have made &ith so great a (ing, &hen he has
done me no harm, nor offered me any inFuryD but, on the contrary, if + must die, let it rather
be by his hand than by that of any meaner person# For &hither shall + no& fly, &hen + have
for so many years been a vagabond through all the provinces of Britain, to escape the hands
of my enemiesJG His friend being gone, Ed&in remained alone &ithout, and sitting &ith a
heavy heart before the palace, began to be over&helmed &ith many thoughts, not (no&ing
&hat to do, or &hich &ay to turn himself#
Ahen he had remained a long time in silence, brooding over his misfortunes in
anguish of mind, he, on a sudden, in the dead of night, sa& approaching a person, &hose
face and habit &ere eCually strange, at &hich unexpected sight he &as not a little
frightened# .he stranger coming close up, saluted him, and as(ed him, GAhy he sat there
alone and melancholy on a stone at that time, &hen all others &ere ta(ing their rest, and
&ere fast asleepJG Ed&in, in his turn, as(ed, GAhat it &as to him, &hether he spent the
night &ithin doors or abroadJG .he stranger, in reply, said, GDo not thin( that + am ignorant
of the cause of your grief, your &atching, and sitting alone &ithout# For + (no& &ho you
are, and &hy you grieve, and the evils &hich you fear &ill fall upon you# But tell me, &hat
7,
re&ard you &ill give the man that shall deliver you out of this anguish, and persuade
/ed&ald neither to do you any harm himself, nor to deliver you up to be murdered by your
enemies# Ed&in replied, G.hat he &ould give that person all that he &as able for so singular
a favour#G .he other further added, GAhat if + also assure you, that you shall overcome your
enemies, and surpass in po&er, not !nly all your o&n progenitors, but even all that have
reigned before you over the English nationJG Ed&in, encouraged by these Cuestions, did not
hesitate to promise that he &ould ma(e a suitable return to him &ho should so highly oblige
him# .hen said the other, GBut if he &ho foretells so much good as is to befall you, can also
give you better advice for your life and salvation than any of your progenitors or (indred
ever heard of, do you consent to submit to him, and to follo& his &holesome counselJG
Ed&in did not hesitate to promise that he &ould in all things follo& the directions of that
man &ho should deliver him from so many calamities, and raise him to a throne#
Having received this ans&er, the person that tal(ed to him laid his hand on his head
saying, GAhen this sign shall he given you, remember this present discourse that has passed
bet&een us, and do not delay the performance of &hat you no& promise#G Having uttered
these &ords, he is said to have immediately vanished, that the (ing might understand it &as
not a man, but a spirit, that had appeared to him#
Ahilst the royal youth still sat there alone, glad of the comfort he had received, but
seriously considering &ho he &as, or &hence he came, that had so tal(ed to him, his above"
mentioned friend came to him, and saluting him &ith a pleasant countenance, G/ise,G said
he, Ggo in and compose yourself to sleep &ithout fearD for the (ing:s resolution is altered,
and he designs to do you no harm, but rather to perform the promise &hich he made youD fr
&hen he had privately acCuainted the Cueen &ith his intention of doing &hat + told you
before, she dissuaded him from it, declaring it &as un&orthy of so great a (ing to sell his
good friend in such distress for gold, and to sacrifice his honour, &hich is more valuable
than all other ornaments, for the lucre of money#G +n short, the (ing did as he &as advised,
and not only refused to deliver up the banished man to his enemy:s messengers, but assisted
him to recover his (ingdom# For as soon as the ambassadors &ere returned home, he raised
a mighty army to ma(e &ar on EthelfridD &ho, meeting him &ith much inferior forces Nfor
/ed&ald had not given him time to gather all his po&erO, &as slain on the borders of the
(ingdom of ;ercia, on the east side of the river that is called +dle# +n this battle, /ed&ald:s
76
son, called /egnhere, &as (illedD and thus Ed&in, pursuant to the oracle he had received,
not only escaped the danger from the (ing his enemy, but, by his death, succeeded him in
the throne#
@ing Ed&in, therefore, delaying to receive the &ord of >od at the preaching of
Paulinus, and using for some time, as has been said, to sit several hours alone, and seriously
to ponder &ith himself &hat he &as to do, and &hat religion he &as to follo&, the man of
>od came to him, laid his right hand on his head, and as(ed, GAhether he (ne& that signJG
.he (ing in a trembling condition, &as ready to fall do&n at his feet, but he raised him up,
and in a familiar manner said to him, GBehold, by the help of >od you have escaped the
hands of the enemies &hom you feared# Behold you have of his gift obtained the (ingdom
&hich you desired# .a(e heed not to delay that &hich you promised to performD embrace
the faith, and (eep the precepts of Him &ho, delivering you from temporal adversity, has
raised you to the honour of a temporal (ingdomD and if, from this time for&ard, you shall
be obedient to his &ill, &hich through me He signifies to you, He &ill not only deliver you
from the everlasting torments of the &ic(ed, but also ma(e you parta(er &ith Him of his
eternal (ingdom in heaven#G
CHAPTER XIII
!F .HE !?=+8 HE HE8D A+.H H+< H+EF ;E= 'B!?. E;B/'+=>
.HE F'+.H !F H/+<., '=D H!A .HE H+>H P/+E<. P/!F'=ED H+< !A=
'8.'/<# H'#D# )6*#I
.HE (ing, hearing these &ords, ans&ered, that he &as both &illing and bound to
receive the faith &hich he taughtD but that he &ould confer about it &ith his principal
friends and counsellers, to the end that if they also &ere of his opinion, they might all#
together be cleansed in hrist the Fountain of 8ife# Paulinus consenting, the (ing did as he
saidD for, holding a council &ith the &ise men, he as(ed of every one in particular &hat he
thought of the ne& doctrine, and the ne& &orship that &as preachedJ .o &hich the chief of#
his o&n priests, oifi, immediately ans&ered, G! (ing, consider &hat this is &hich is no&
preached to usD for + verily declare to you, that the religion &hich &e have hitherto
professed has, as far as + can learn, no virtue in it# For none of your people has applied
himself more diligently to the &orship of our gods than +D and yet there are many &ho
70
receive greater favours from you, and are more preferred than +, and are more prosperous in
all their underta(ings# =o& if the gods &ere good for any thing, they &ould rather for&ard
me, &ho have been more careful to serve them# +t remains, therefore, that if upon
examination you find those ne& doctrines, &hich are no& preached to us, better and more
efficacious, &e immediately receive them &ithout any delay#G
'nother of the (ing:s chief men, approving of his &ords and exhortations, presently
added$ G.he present life of man, ! (ing, seems to me, in comparison of that time &hich is
un(no&n to us, li(e to the s&ift flight of a sparro& through the room &herein you sit at
supper in &inter, &ith your commanders and ministers, and a good fire in the midst, &hilst
the storms of rain and sno& prevail abroadD the sparro&, + say, flying in at one door, and
immediately out at another, &hilst he# is &ithin, is safe from the &intry stormD but after a
short space of fair &eather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, into the dar( &inter
from &hich he had emerged# <o this life of man appears for a short space, but of &hat &ent
before, or &hat is to follo&, &e are utterly ignorant# +f, therefore, this ne& doctrine contains
something more certain, it seems Fustly to deserve to be follo&ed#G .he other elders and
(ing:s councillors, by Divine inspiration, spo(e to the same effect#
But oifi added, that he &ished more attentively to bear Paulinus discourse
concerning the >od &hom he preachedD &hich he having by the (ing:s command
performed, oifi, hearing his &ords, cried out, G+ have long since been sensible that there
&as nothing in that &hich &e &orshippedD because the more diligently + sought after truth
in that &orship, the less + found it# But no& + freely confess, that such truth evidently
appears in this preaching as can confer on us the gifts of life, of salvation, and of eternal
happiness# For &hich reason + advise, ! (ing, that &e instantly abFure and set fire to those
temples and altars &hich &e have consecrated &ithout reaping any benefit from them#G +n
short, the (ing publicly gave his licence to Paulinus to preach the >ospel, and renouncing
idolatry, declared that he received the faith of hrist$ and then he inCuired of the high priest
&ho should first profane the altars and temples of their idols, &ith the enclosures that &ere
about them, he ans&ered, G+D for &ho can more properly than myself destroy those things
&hich + &orshipped through ignorance, for an example to all others, through the &isdom
&hich has been given me by the true >odJG .hen immediately, in contempt of his former
superstitions, he desired the (ing to furnish him &ith arms and a stallionD and mounting the
71
same, he set out to destroy the idolsD for it &as not la&ful before for the high priest either to
carry arms, or to ride on any but a mare# Having, therefore, girt a s&ord about him, &ith a
spear in his hand, he mounted the (ing:s stallion and proceeded to the idols# .he multitude,
beholding it, concluded he &as distractedD but he lost no time, for as soon as he dre& near
the temple he profaned the same, casting into it the spear &hich he heldD and reFoicing in
the (no&ledge of the &orship of the true >od, he commanded his companions to destroy
the temple, &ith all its enclosures, by fire# .his place &here the idols &ere is still sho&n,
not far from Bor(, to the east&ard, beyond the river Der&ent, and is no& called
>odmundinghan, &here the high priest, by the inspiration of the true >od, profaned and
destroyed the altars &hich he had himself consecrated#
CHAPTER XIV
@+=> EDA+= '=D H+< ='.+!= BE!;E H/+<.+'=<D P'?8+=?<
B'P.+PE< .HE;# H'#D# )6*#I
@+=> EDA+=, therefore, &ith all the nobility of the nation, and a large number of the
common sort, received the faith, and the &ashing of regeneration, in the eleventh year of
his reign, &hich is the year of the incarnation of our 8ord )6*, and about one hundred and
eighty after the coming of the English into Britain# He &as baptiEed at Bor(, on the holy
day of Easter, being the ,6th of 'pril, in the church of <t# Peter the 'postle, &hich he
himself had built of timber, &hilst he &as catechising and instructing +n order to receive
baptism# +n that city also he appointed the see of the bishopric of his instructor and bishop,
Paulinus# But as soon as he &as baptiEed, he too( care, by the direction of the same
Paulinus, to build in the same place a larger and nobler church of stone, in the midst
&hereof that same oratory &hich he had first erected should be enclosed# Having therefore
laid the foundation, he began to build the church sCuare, encompassing the former oratory#
But before the &hole &as raised to the proper height, the &ic(ed assassination of the (ing
left that &or( to be finished by !s&ald his sucessor# Paulinus, for the space of six years
from that time, that is, till the end of the reign of that (ing, by his consent and favour,
preached the &ord of >od in that ountry, and all that &ere preordained to eternal life
believed and &ere baptiEed# 'mong &hom &ere !sfrid and Eadfrid, @ing Ed&in:s sons,
&ho &ere both born to him, &hilst he &as in banishment, of Muenberga, the daughter of
73
eari, (ing of the ;ercians#
'fter&ards other children of his by Mueen Ethelberga &ere baptiEed, viE# Ethelhun
and his daughter Etheidrith, and another, Auscfrea, a sonD the first t&o of &hich &ere
snatched out of this life &hilst they &ere still in their &hite garments, and buried in the
church at Bor(# +fli, the son of !sfrid, &as also baptiEed, and many more noble and
illustrious persons# <o great &as then the fervour of the faith, as is reported, and the desire
of the &ashing of salvation among the nation of the =orthumbrians, that Paulinus at a
certain time coming &ith the (ing and Cueen the royal country"seat, &hich is called
'dgefrin, stayed there &ith them thirty"six days, fully occupied in catechising and
baptiEingD during &hich days, from morning till night, he did nothing else but instruct the
people resorting from all villages and places, in hrist:s saving &ordD and &hen instructed,
he &ashed them &ith the &ater of absolution in the river >len, &hich is close by# .his
to&n, under the follo&ing (ings, &as abandoned, and another &as built intead of it, at the
place called ;elmin#
.hese things happened in the province of the BerniciansD but in that of the Deiri also,
&here he &as &ont often to be &ith the (ing, he baptiEed in the river <&ale, &hich runs by
the village of ataractD for as yet oratories, or fonts, could not be made in the early infancy
of the church in those parts# But he built a church in ampodonum, &hich after&ards the
pagans, by &hom @ing Ed&in &as slain, burnt, together &ith all the to&n# +n the place of
&hich the later (ings built themselves a country"seat in the ountry called 8oidis# But the
altar, being of stone, escaped the fire and is still preserved in the monastery of the most
reverend abbot and priest, .hrid&ulf, &hich is in Elsiete &ood#
CHAPTER XV
.HE P/!2+=E !F .HE E'<. '=>8E< /EE+2E< .HE F'+.H !F H/+<.#
H'#D# )6*#I
EDA+= &as so Eealous for the &orship of truth, that he li(e&ise persuaded Eorp&ald,
(ing of the East <axons, and son of /ed&ald, to abandon his idolatrous superstitions, and
&ith his &hole province to receive the faith and sacraments of hrist# 'nd indeed his father
/ed&ald had long before been admitted to the sacrament of the hristian faith in @ent, but
7)
in vainD for on his return home, he &as seduced by his &ife and certain perverse teachers,
and turned bac( from the sincerity of the faithD and thus his latter state &as &orse than the
formerD so that, li(e the ancient <amaritans, he seemed at the same time to serve hrist and
the gods &hom he had served beforeD and in the same temple he had an altar to sacrifice to
hrist, and another small one to offer victims to devilsD &hich temple, 'ld&ulf, (ing of that
same province, &ho lived in our time testifies had stood until his time, and that he had seen
it &hen he &as a boy# .he aforesaid @ing /ed&ald &as noble by birth, though ignoble in
his actions, being the son of .ytilus, &hose father &as ?uffa, from &hom the (ings of the
East 'ngles are called ?uffings#
Eorp&ald &as, not long after he had embraced the hristian faith, slain by one
/ichbert, a paganD and from the time the province &as under error for three years, till the
cro&n came into the possession of <igebert, brother to the same Eorp&ald, a most hristian
and learned man, &ho &as banished, and &ent to live in France during his brother:s life,
and &as there admitted to the sacraments of the faith, &hereof he made it his business to
cause all his province to parta(e as soon as he came to the throne# His exertions &ere much
promoted by the Bishop Felix, &ho coming to Honorius, the archbishop, from Burgundy,
&here he had been born and ordained, and having told him &hat he desired, he sent him to
preach the &ord of life to the aforesaid nation of the 'ngles# =or &ere his good &ishes in
vainD for the pious husbandman reaped therein a large harvest of believers, delivering all
that province Naccording to the signification of his name, FelixO from long iniCuity and
infelicity, and bringing it to the faith and &or(s of righteousness, and the gifts of
everlasting happiness# He had the see of his bishopric appointed him in the city Dommoc,
and having presided over the same province &ith pontifical authority seventeen years, he
ended his days there in peace#
CHAPTER XVI
H!A P'?8+=?< P/E'HED += .HE P/!2+=E !F 8+=D<EBD '=D !F .HE
/E+>= !F EDA+=# H'#D# )67#I
P'?8+=?< also preached the &ord to the province of 8indsey, &hich is the first on
the south side of the river Humber, stretching out as far as the seaD and he first converted
the governor of the city of 8incoln, &hose name &as Blecca, &ith his &hole family# He
7*
li(e&ise built, in that city, a stone church of beautiful &or(manshipD the roof of &hich
having either fallen through age, or been thro&n do&n by enemies, the &alls are still to be
seen standing, and every year some miraculous cures are &rought in that place, for the
benefit of those &ho have faith to see( the same# +n that church, 9ustus having departed to
hrist, Paulinus consecrated Honorius bishop in his stead, as &ill be hereafter mentioned in
its proper place# ' certain abbot and priest of the monastery of Peartaneu, a man of singular
veracity, &hose name &as Deda, in relation to the faith of this province told me that one of
the oldest persons had informed him, that he himself had been baptiEed at noon"day, by the
Bishop Paulinus, in the presence of @ing Ed&in, &ith a great number of the people, in the
river .rent, near the city, &hich in the English tongue is called .iovulfingacestirD and he
&as also &ont to describe the person of the same Paulinus, that he &as tall of stature, a little
stooping, his hair blac(, his visage meagre, his nose slender and aCuiline, his aspect both
venerable and maFestic# He had also &ith him in the ministry, 9ames, the deacon, a man of
Eeal and great fame in hrist:s church, &ho lived even to our days#
+t is reported that there &as then such perfect peace in Britain, &heresoever the
dominion of @ing Ed&in extended, that, as is still proverbially said, a &oman &ith her
ne&born babe might &al( throughout the island, from sea to sea, &ithout receiving any
harm# .hat (ing too( such care for the good of his nation, that in several places &here he
had seen clear springs near the high&ays he caused sta(es to be fixed, &ith brass dishes
hanging at them, for the conveniency of travellersD nor durst any man touch them for any
other purpose than that for &hich they &ere designed, either through the dread they had of
the (ing, or for the affection &hich they bore him# His dignity &as so great throughout his
dominions, that his banners &ere not only borne before him in battle, but even in time of
peace, &hen he rode about his cities, to&ns, or provinces, &ith his officers, the standard"
bearer &as &ont to go before him# 'lso, &hen he &al(ed along the streets, that sort of
banner &hich the /omans call .ufa, and the English, .uuf, &as in li(e manner borne before
him#
CHAPTER XVII
EDA+= /EE+2E< 8E..E/< !F E5H!/.'.+!= F/!; P!PE H!=!/+?<,
AH! '8<! <E=D< P'?8+=?< .HE P'88# H'#D# )01I
77
'. that time Honorius, successor to Boniface, &as prelate of the apostolic see, &ho,
&hen he understood that the nation of the =orthumbrians, &ith their (ing, had been, the
preaching of Paulinus, converted to the faith and confession of hrist, sent the pall to the
said Paulinus, and &ith it letters of exhortation to @ing Ed&in, exciting him, &ith fatherly
charity, that his people should persist in the faith of truth, &hich they had received# .he
contents of &hich letter &ere as follo&"
"To his most noble son, and e'"ellent lord, (dwin -ing of the Angles, ishop
1onorius, servant of the servants of God, greeting0 .he integrity of your hristian
character, in the &orship of your reator, is so much inflamed &ith the fire of faith, that it
shines out far and near, and, being reported throughout the &orld, brings forth plentiful fruit
of your labours# For your conduct as a (ing is based upon the (no&ledge &hich by
orthodox preaching you have obtained of your >od and reator, &hereby you believe and
&orship Him, and as far as man is able, pay Him the sincere devotion of your mind# For
&hat else are &e able to offer to our >od, but in endeavouring to &orship, and to pay Him
our vo&s, persisting in good actions, and confessing Him the reator of man(indJ 'nd,
therefore, most excellent son, &e exhort you &ith such fatherly charity as is reCuisite, that
you &ith careful mind, and constant prayers, every &ay labour to preserve this gift, that the
Divine ;ercy has vouchsafed to call you to his graceD to the end, that He, &ho has been
pleased to deliver you from all errors, and bring you to the (no&ledge of his name, may
li(e&ise prepare you mansions in the heavenly country# Employing yourselves, therefore, in
reading the &or(s of my 8ord >regory, your preacher, of apostolical memory, represent
before yourself the tenderness of his doctrine, &hich he Eealously employed for the sa(e of
your soulsD that his prayers may increase your (ingdom and people, and present you
blameless before 'lmighty >od# Ae are preparing &ith a &illing mind immediately to grant
those things &hich you hoped &ould be by us ordained for your priests, &hich &e do on
account of the sincerity of your faith, &hich has been often made (no&n to us in terms of
praise by the bearers of these presents# Ae have sent t&o pails to the t&o metropolitans,
Honorius and PaulinusD to the intent, that &hen either of them shall be called out of this
&orld to his creator, the other may, by this authority of ours, substitute another bishop in his
placeD &hich privilege &e are induced to grant, as &ell in regard to your charitable
affection, as of the large and extensive provinces &hich lie bet&een us and youD that &e
74
may in all things afford our concurrence to your devotion, according to your desires# ;ay
>od:s grace preserve your excellency in safetyK
CHAPTER XVIII
H!=!/+?<, AH! <?EEDED 9?<.?< += .HE B+<H!P/+ !F
'=.E/B?/B, /EE+2E< .HE P'88 '=D 8E..E/< F/!; P!PE H!=!/+?<#
H'#D# )01#I
+= the meantime, 'rchbishop 9ustus &as ta(en up to the heavenly (ingdom, on the
,-th of =ovember, and Honorius, &ho &as elected to the see in his stead, came to Paulinus
to be ordained, and meeting him at 8incoln &as there consecrated the fifth prelate of the
hurch of anterbury from 'ugustine# .o him also the aforesaid Pope Honorius sent the
pall, and a letter, &herein he ordains the same that he had before established in his epistle to
@ing Ed&in, viE# that &hen either of the bishops of anterbury or of Bor( shall depart this
life, the survivor of the same degree shall have po&er to ordain a priest in the room of him
that is departedD that it might not be necessary al&ays to travel to /ome, at so great a
distance by sea and land, to ordain an archbishop# Ahich letter &e have also thought fit to
insert in this our history"
"1ononus to his most beloved brother 1onorius0 'mong the many good gifts &hich
the mercy of our /edeemer is pleased to besto& on his servants, the munificent bounty of
love is never more conspicuous than &hen He permits us by brotherly intercourse, as it
&ere face to face, to exhibit our mutual love# For &hich gift &e continually return than(s to
his maFestyD and &e humbly beseech Him, that He &ill ever confirm your piety in preaching
the >ospel, and bringing forth fruit, and follo&ing the rule of your master and head, his
holy servant, <t# >regoryD and that, for the advancement of his church, He may by your
means add further increaseD to the end, that the souls already &on by you and your
predecessors, beginning &ith our 8ord >regory, may gro& strong and be further extended
by faith and &or(s in the fear of >od and charityD that so the promises of the &ord of >od
may hereafter be brought to pass in youD and that this voice may call you a&ay to the
everlasting happiness# :ome unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and + &ill give
you rest#: 'nd again, :Aell done, thou good and faithful servantD thou hast been faithful over
a fe& things, + &ill ma(e thee ruler over many thingsD enter thou into the Foy of thy 8ord#:
4-
'nd &e, most beloved brothers, offering you these &ords of exhortation, out of our
abundant charity, do not hesitate further to grant those things &hich &e perceive may be
suitable for the privileges of your churches#
GAherefore, pursuant to your reCuest, and to that of the (ings our sons, &e do by these
presents, in the name of <t# Peter, prince of the apostles, grant you authority, that &hen the
Divine >race shall call either of you to Himself, the survivor shall ordain a bishop in the
room of him that is deceased# .o &hich effect also &e have sent a pall to each of you, for
celebrating the said ordinationD that by the authority of our precept, you may ma(e an
ordination acceptable to >odD because the long distance of sea and land that lies bet&een us
and you, has obliged us to grant you this, that no loss may happen to your church in any
&ay, on account of any pretence &hatever, but that the devotion of the people committed to
you may be more fully extended# >od preserve you in safety, most dear brotherK >iven the
,,th day of 9une, in the t&enty" fourth year of the reign of our most pious emperor,
Heraclius, and the t&enty"third after his consulshipD and in the t&enty"third of his son
onstantine, and the third after his consulshipD and in the third year of the most illustrious
aesar, his son Heraclius, the seventh indictionD that is, in the year of the incarnation of our
8ord, )01#G
CHAPTER XIX
H!A .HE 'F!/E<'+D H!=!/+?< F+/<., '=D 'F.E/A'/D< 9!H=,
A/!.E 8E..E/< .! .HE ='.+!= !F .HE <!.<, !=E/=+=> .HE
!B<E/2'=E !F E'<.E/, '=D .HE PE8'>+'= HE/E<B# H'#D# )01#I
.HE same Pope Honorius also &rote to the <cots H+rishI, &hom he had found to err in
the observance of Easter, as has been sho&n above, earnestly exhorting them not to thin(
their stnall number, placed in the utmost borders of the earth, &iser than all the ancient and
modern churches of hrist, throughout the &orldD and not to celebrate a different Easter,
contrary to the Paschal calculation, and the synodical decrees of all the bishops upon earth#
8i(e&ise 9ohn, &ho succeeded <everinus, successor to the same Honorius, being yet but
pope elect, sent to them letters of great authority and erudition for correcting the same
errorD evidently sho&ing, that Easter <unday is to be found bet&een the fifteenth moon and
the t&enty"first, as &as proved in the ouncil of =ice# He also in the same epistle
4,
admonished them to be careful to crush the Pelagian heresy, &hich he had been informed
&as reviving among them# .he beginning of the epistle &as as follo&s"
"To our most beloved and most holy Tomianus, !olumbanus, !romanus, .imanus,
and aithanus, bishops+ to !romanus, 1ernianus, Laistranus, &"ellanus, and &egenus
priests+ to &aranus and the rest of the &"ottish do"tors, or abbots, health from 1ilarius, the
ar"h2priest, and -eeper of the pla"e of the holy Apostoli" &ee+ /ohn, the dea"on, and ele"t
in the name of God+ from /ohn, the "hief se"retary and -eeper of the pla"e of the holy
Apostoli" &ee, and from /ohn, the servant of God, and "ounsellor of the same Apostoli"
&ee. .he &ritings &hich &ere brought by the bearers to Pope <everinus, of holy memory,
&ere left, at his death, &ithout an ans&er to the things contained in them# 8est such
intricate Cuestions should remain unresolved, &e opened the same, and found that some of
your province, endeavouring to revive a ne& heresy out of an old one, contrary to the
orthodox faith, do through ignorance reFect our Easter, &hen hrist &as sacrificedD and
contend that the same should be (ept on the fourteenth moon &ith the Hebre&s#G
By this beginning of the epistle it evidently appears that this heresy sprang up among
them of very late times, and that not all their nation, but only some of them, had fallen into
the same#
'fter having laid do&n the manner of (eeping Easter, they add this concerning the
Pelagians in the same epistle#
G'nd &e have also understood that the poison of the Pelagian heresy again springs up
among youD &e, therefore, exhort you, that you put a&ay from your thoughts all such
venomous and superstitious &ic(edness# For you cannot be ignorant ho& that execrable
heresy has been condemnedD for it has not only been abolished these t&o hundred years, but
it is also daily anathematised for ever by usD and &e exhort you, no& that the &eapons of
their controversy have been burnt, not to ra(e up the ashes# For &ho &ill not detest that
insolent and impious proposition, :.hat man can live &ithout sin of his o&n free &ill, and
not through >od:s graceJ 'nd in the first place, it is the folly of blasphemy to say that man
is &ithout sin, &hich none can be, but only the ;ediator of >od and man, the man hrist
9esus, &ho &as conceived and born &ithout sinD for all other men, being born in original
sin, are (no&n to bear the mar( of 'dam:s prevarication, even &hilst they are &ithout
46
actual sin, according to the saying of the prophet, :For behold, + &as shapen in iniCuityD and
in sin did my mother conceive me#
CHAPTER XX
EDA+= BE+=> <8'+=, P'?8+=?< /E.?/=< +=.! @E=., '=D H'< .HE
B+<H!P/+ !F /!HE<.E/ !=FE//ED ?P!= H+;# H'#D# )00#I
EDA+= reigned most gloriously seventeen years over the nations of the English and
the Britons, six &hereof, as has been said, he also &as a servant in the (ingdom of hrist#
ad&allaD (ing of the Britons, rebelled against him, being supported by Penda, a most
&arli(e man of the royal race of the ;ercians, and &ho from that time governed that nation
t&enty"t&o years &ith various success# ' great battle being fought in the plain that is called
Heathfield, Ed&in &as (illed on the ,6th of !ctober, in the year of our 8ord )00, being
then forty"seven years of age, and all his army &as either slain or dispersed# +n the same
&ar also, before him, fell !sfrid, one of his sons, a &arli(e youthD Eanfrid, another of them,
compelled by necessity, &ent over to @ing Penda, and &as by him after&ards, in the reign
of !s&ald, slain, contrary to his oath# 't this time a great slaughter &as made in the church
or nation of the =orthumbriansD and the more so because one of the commanders, by &hom
it &as made, &as a pagan, and the other a barbarian, more cruel than a paganD for Penda,
&ith all the nation of the ;ercians, &as an idolater, and a stranger to the name of hristD
but ad&alla, though he bore the name and professed himself a hristian, &as so barbarous
in his disposition and behaviour, that he neither spared the female sex, nor the innocent age
of children, but &ith savage cruelty put them to tormenting deaths, ravaging all their
country for a long time, and resolving to cut off all the race of the English &ithin the
borders of Britain# =or did he pay any respect to the hristian religion &hich had ne&ly
ta(en root among themD it being to this day the custom of the Britons not to pay any respect
to the faith and religion of the English, nor to correspond &ith them any more than &ith
pagans# @ing Ed&in:s head &as brought to Bor(, and after&ards into the church of <t# Peter
the 'postle, &hich he had begun, but &hich his successor !s&ald finished, as has been said
before# +t &as deposited in the porch of <t# >regory, Pope, from &hose disciples he had
received the &ord of life#
.he affairs of the =orthumbrians being in confusion, by reason of this disaster,
40
&ithout any prospect of safety except in flight, Paulinus, ta(ing &ith him Mueen
Ethelberga, &hom he had before brought thither, returned into @ent by sea, and &as
honourably received by the 'rchbishop Honorius and @ing Eadbald# He came thither under
the conduct of Bassus, a most valiant soldier of @ing Ed&in, having &ith him Eanfleda, the
daughterD and Auscfrea, the son of Ed&in, as also +ffi, the son of !sfrid, his son, &hom
after&ards the mother, for fear of Eadbald and !s&ald, sent over into France to be bred up
by @ing Dagobert, &ho &as her friendD and there they both died in infancy, and &ere buried
in the church &ith the honour due to royal children and to innocents of hrist# He also
brought &ith him many rich goods of @ing Ed&in, among &hich &ere a large gold cross,
and a golden chalice, dedicated to the use of the altar, &hich are still preserved, and sho&n
in the church of anterbury#
't that time the church of /ochester had no bishop, for /omanus, the prelate thereof,
being sent to Pope Honorius, by 'rchbishop 9ustus, as his legate, &as dro&ned in the
+talian <eaD and thereupon Paulinus, at the reCuest of 'rchbishop Honorius, and @ing
Eadbald, too( upon him the charge of the same, and held it until he departed to heaven,
&ith the glorious fruits of his laboursD and, dying in that church, he left there the pall &hich
he had received from the pope of /ome# He had left behind him in his church at Bor(,
9ames, the deacon, a holy ecclesiastic, &ho continuing long after in that church, by teaching
and baptiEing, rescued much prey from the po&er of the old enemy of man(indD from
&hom the village, &here he mostly resided, near ataract, has its name to this day# He &as
extraordinarily s(illful in singing, and &hen the province &as after&ards restored to peace,
and the number of the faithful increased, he began to teach many of the church to sing,
according to the custom of the /omans, or of the antuarians# 'nd being old and full of
days, as the <cripture says, he &ent the &ay of his forefathers#
41
Boo( +++
43
CHAPTER I
H!A @+=> EDA+=:< =E5. <?E<<!/< 8!<. B!.H .HE F'+.H !F .HE+/ ='.+!=
'=D .HE @+=>D!;D B?. .HE ;!<. H/+<.+'= @+=> !<A'8D /E./+E2ED B!.H# H'#D#
)00#I
EDA+= being slain in battle, the (ingdom of the Deira, to &hich province his family belonged,
and &here he first began to reign, devolved on !sric, the son of his uncle Elfric, &ho, through the
preaching of Paulin us, had also received the faith# But the (ingdom of the Bernicians for into these t&o
provinces the nation of the =orthumbrians &as formerly divided"&as possessed by Eanfrid, the son of
Etheifrid, &ho derived his origin from the royal family of that province# For all the time that Ed&in
reigned, the sons of the aforesaid Etheifrid, &ho had reigned before him, &ith many of the nobility,
lived in banishment among the <cots or Picts, and &ere there instructed according to the doctrine of the
<cots, and received the grace of baptism# ?pon the death of the (ing, their enemy, they returned home,
and Eanfrid, as the eldest of them, mentioned above, became (ing of the Bernicians# Both those (ings,
as soon as they obtained the government of their earthly (ingdoms, renounced and lost the faith of the
heavenly (ingdom, and again delivered themselves up to be defiled by the abominations of their former
idols#
But soon after, the (ing of the Britons, ad&alla, sle& them both, through the rightful vengeance
of Heaven, though the act &as base in him# He first sle& !sric, the next summerD for, being besieged by
him in a strong to&n, he sallied out on a sudden &ith all his forces, by surprise, and destroyed him and
all his army# 'fter this, for the space of a year, he reigned over the provinces of the =orthumbrians, not
li(e a victorious (ing, but li(e a rapacious and bloody tyrant, and at length brought to the same end
Eanfrid, &ho unadvisedly came to him &ith only t&elve chosen soldiers, to sue for peace# .o this day,
that year is loo(ed upon as unhappy, and hateful to all good menD as &ell on account of the apostasy of
the English (ings, &ho had renounced the faith, as of the outrageous tyranny of the British (ing# Hence
it has been agreed by all &ho have &ritten about the reigns of the (ings, to abolish the memory of those
perfidious monarchs, and to assign that year to the reign of the follo&ing (ing, !s&ald, a man beloved
by >od# .his last (ing, after the death of his brother Eanfrid, advanced &ith an army, small, indeed, in
number, but strengthened &ith the faith of hristD and the impious commander of the Britons &as slain,
though he had most numerous forces, &hich he boasted nothing could &ithstand, at a place in the
English tongue called Denises"burn, that is, Denis:s"broo(#
4)
CHAPTER II
H!A, ';!=> +==?;E/'B8E !.HE/ ;+/'?8!?< ?/E< A/!?>H. BB .HE
/!<<, AH+H @+=> !<A'8D, BE+=> /E'DB .! E=>'>E '>'+=<. .HE B'/B'/+'=<,
E/E.ED ' E/.'+= B!?.H H'D H+< 8';E '/; HE'8ED# H'#D# )03#I
.HE place is sho&n to this day, and held in much veneration, &here !s&ald, being about to
engage, erected the sign of the holy cross, and on his (nees prayed to >od that he &ould assist his
&orshipers in their great distress# +t is further reported, that the cross being made in haste, and the hole
dug in &hich it &as to be fixed, the (ing himself, full of faith, laid hold of it and held it &ith both his
hands, till it &as set fast by thro&ing in the earth and this done, raising his voice, he cried to his army,
G8et us all (neel, and Fointly beseech the true and living >od 'lmighty, in his mercy, to defend us from
the haughty and fierce enemyD for He (no&s that &e have underta(en a Fust &ar for the safety of our
nation#G 'll did as he had commanded, and accordingly advancing to&ards the enemy &ith the first
da&n of day, they obtained the victory, as their faith deserved# +n that place of prayer very many
miraculous cures are (no&n to have been performed, as a to(en and memorial of the (ing:s faithD for
even te this day, many are &ont to cut off small chips from the &ood of the holy cross, &hich being put
into &ater, men or cattle drin(ing thereof, or sprin(led &ith that &ater, are immediately restored to
health#
.he place in the English tongue is called Heavenfield, or the Heavenly Field, &hich name it
formerly received as a presage of &hat &as after&ards to happen, denoting, that there the heavenly
trophy &ould be erected, the heavenly victory begun, and heavenly miracles be &rought to this day#
.he same place is near the &all &ith &hich the /omans formerly enclosed the island from sea to sea, to
restrain the fury of the barbarous nations, as has been said before# Hither also the brothers of the church
of Hagulstad, &hich is not far from thence, repair yearly on the day before that on &hich @ing !s&ald
&as after&ards slain, to &atch there for the health of his soul, and having sung many psalms, to offer
for him in the morning the sacrifice of the holy oblation# 'nd since that good custom has spread, they
have lately built and consecrated a church there, &hich has attached additional sanctity and honor to
that place$ and this &ith good reasonD for it appears that there &as no sign of the hristian faith, no
church, no altar erected throughout all the nations of the Bernicians, before that ne& commander of the
army, prompted by the devotion of his faith, set up the cross as he &as going to give battle to his
barbarous enemy#
4*
=or is it foreign to our purpose to relate one of the many miracles that have been &rought at this
cross# !ne of the brothers of the same church of Hagufstad, &hose name is Bothelm, and &ho is still
living, a fe& years since, &al(ing carelessly on the ice at night, suddenly fell and bro(e his armD a most
raging pain commenced in the bro(en part, so that he could not lift his arm to his mouth for the
violence of the anguish# Hearing one morning that one of the brothers designed to go to the place of the
holy cross, he desired him, at his return, to bring him a bit of that venerable &ood, saying, he believed
that &ith the help of >od he might thereby be healed# .he brother did as he &as desiredD and returning
in the evening, &hen the brothers &ere sitting at table, gave him some of the old moss &hich gre& on
the surface of the &ood# 's he sat at table, having no place to lay up that &hich &as brought him, he
put the same into his bosomD and forgetting &hen he &ent to bed to put it by, left it in his bosom#
'&a(ing in the middle of the night, he felt something cold lying by his side, and putting his hand to
feel &hat it &as, he found his arm and hand as sound as if he had never felt any such pain#
CHAPTER III
.HE <';E @+=> !<A'8D, '<@+=> ' B+<H!P !F .HE <!..+<H ='.+!=, H'D
'+D'= <E=. H+;, '=D >/'=.ED H+; '= EP+<!P'8 <EE += .HE +<8E !F 8+=D+<F'/=E#
H'#D# )03#I
.HE same !s&ald, as soon as he ascended the throne, being desirous that all his nation should
receive the hristian faith, &hereof he had found happy experience in vanCuishing the barbarians, sent
to the elders of the <cots, among &hom himself and his follo&ers, &hen in banishment, had received
the sacrament of baptism, desiring they &ould send him a bishop, by &hose instruction and ministry the
English nation, &hich he governed, might be taught the advantages, and receive the sacraments of the
hristian faith# =or &ere they slo& in granting his reCuestD but sent him Bishop 'idan, a man of
singular mee(ness, piety, and moderationD Eealous in the cause of >od, though not altogether according
to (no&ledgeD for he &as &ont to (eep Easter <unday according to the custom of his country, &hich &e
have before so often mentioned, from the fourteenth to the t&entieth moonD the northern province of
the <cots, and all the nation of the Picts, celebrating Easter then after that manner, and believing that
they therein follo&ed the &ritings of the holy and praise&orthy Father 'natoliusD the truth of &hich
every s(illful person can discern# But the <cots &hich d&elt in the <outh of +reland had long since, by
the admonition of the bishop of the 'postolic <ee, learned to observe Easter according to the canonical
custom#
47
!n the arrival of the bishop, the (ing appointed him his episcopal see in the isle of 8indisfarne, as
he desired# Ahich place, as the tide flo&s and ebbs t&ice a day, is enclosed by the &aves of the sea li(e
an islandD and again, t&ice in the day, &hen the shore is left dry, becomes contiguous to the land# .he
(ing also humbly and &illingly in all cases giving ear to his admonitions, industriously applied himself
to build and extend the church of hrist in his (ingdomD &herein, &hen the bishop, &ho &as not
s(illful in the English tongue, preached the gospel, it &as most delightful to see the (ing himself
interpreting the &ord of >od to his commanders and ministers, for he had perfectly learned the
language of the <cots during his long banishment# From that time many of the <cots came daily into
Britain, and &ith great devotion preached the &ord to those provinces of the English, over &hich @ing
!s&ald reigned, and those among them that had received priest:s orders, administered to them the grace
of baptism# hurches &ere built in several placesD the people Foyfully floc(ed together to hear the
&ordD money and lands &ere given of the (ing:s bounty to build monasteriesD the English, great and
small, &ere, by their <cottish masters, instructed in the rules and observance of regular disciplineD for
most of them that came to preach &ere mon(s# Bishop 'idan &as himself a mon( of the island called
Hii, &hose monastery &as for a long time the chief of almost all those of the northern <cots, and all
those of the Picts, and had the direction of their people# .hat island belongs to Britain, being divided
from it by a small arm of the sea, but had been long since given by the Picts, &ho inhabit those parts of
Britain, to the <cottish mon(s, because they had received the faith of hrist through their preaching#
CHAPTER IV
AHE= .HE ='.+!= !F .HE P+.< /EE+2ED .HE F'+.H# H'#D# 3)3I
+= the year of our 8ord 3)3, &hen 9ustin, the younger, the successor of 9ustinian, had the
government of the /oman empire, there came into Britain a famous priest and abbot, a mon( by habit
and life, &hose name &as olumba, to preach the &ord of >od to the provinces of the northern Picts,
&ho are separated from the southern parts by steep and rugged mountainsD for the southern Picts, &ho
d&ell on this side of those mountains, had long before, as is reported, forsa(en the errors of idolatry,
and embraced the truth, by the preaching of =inias, a most reverend bishop and holy man of the British
nation, &ho had been regularly instructed at /ome, in the faith and mysteries of the truthD &hose
episcopal see, named after <t# ;artin the bishop, and famous for a stately church N&herein he and many
other saints rest in the bodyO, is still in existence among the English nation# .he place belongs to the
province of the Bernicians, and is generally called the Ahite House, because he there built a church of
44
stone, &hich &as not usual among the Britons#
olumba came into Britain in the ninth year of the reign of Bridius, &ho &as the son of
;eilochon, and the po&erful (ing of the Pictish nation, and he converted that nation to the faith of
hrist, by his preaching and example, &hereupon he also received of them the aforesaid island for a
monastery, for it is not very large, but contains about five families, according to the English
computation# His successors hold the island to this dayD he &as also buried therein, having died at the
age of seventy"seven, about thirty"t&o years after he came into Britain to preach# Before he passed over
into Britain, he had built a noble monastery in +reland, &hich, from the great number of oa(s, is in the
<cottish tongue called Dearmach" .he Field of !a(s# From both &hich monasteries, many others had
their beginning through his disciples, both in Britain and +relandD but the monastery in the island &here
his body lies, is the principal of them all#
.hat island has for its ruler an abbot, &ho is a priest, to &hose direction all the province, and even
the bishops, contrary to the usual method, are subFect, according to the example of their first teacher,
&ho &as not a bishop, but a priest and mon(D of &hose life and discourses some Aritings are said to be
preserved by his disciples# But &hatsoever he &as himself, this &e (no& for certain, that he left
successors reno&ned for their continency, their love of >od, and observance of monastic rules# +t is true
they follo&ed uncertain rules in their observance of the great festival, as having none to bring them the
synodal decrees for the observance of Easter, by reason of their being so far a&ay from the rest of the
&orldD &herefore they only practiced such &or(s of piety and chastity as they could learn from the
prophetical, evangelical, and apostolical &ritings# .his manner of (eeping Easter continued among
them for the space of ,3- years, till the year of our 8ord:s incarnation *,3#
But then the most reverend and holy father and priest, Egbert, of the English nation, &ho had long
lived in banishment in +reland for the sa(e of hrist, and &as most learned in the <criptures, and
reno&ned for long perfection of life, came among them, corrected their error, and reduced them to the
true and canonical day of EasterD the &hich they nevertheless did not al&ays (eep on the fourteenth
moon &ith the 9e&s, as some imagined, but on <unday, although not in the proper &ee(# For, as
hristians, they (ne& that the resurrection of our 8ord, &hich happened on the first day after the
<abbath, &as al&ays to be celebrated on the first day after the <abbathD but being rude and barbarous,
they had not learned &hen that same first day after the <abbath, &hich is no& called the 8ord:s day,
should come# But because they had not laid aside the fervent grace of charity, they &ere &orthy to be
,--
informed in the true (no&ledge of this particular, according to the promise of the apostle, saying, G'nd
if in any thing ye be other&ise minded, >od shall reveal even this unto you#G !f &hich &e shall spea(
more fully in its proper place#
CHAPTER V
!F .HE 8+FE !F B+<H!P '+D'=# H'#D# )03#I
F/!; the aforesaid island, and college of mon(s, &as 'idan sent to instruct the English nation in
hrist, having received the dignity of a bishop at the time &hen <egenius, abbot and priest, presided
over that monasteryD &hence, among other instructions for life, he left the clergy a most salutary
example of abstinence or continenceD it &as the highest commendation of his doctrine, &ith all men,
that he taught no other&ise than he and his follo&ers had livedD for he neither sought nor loved any
thing of this &orld, but delighted in distributing immediately among the poor &hatsoever &as given
him by the (ings or rich men of the &orld# He &as &ont to traverse both to&n and country on foot,
never on horsebac(, unless compelled by some urgent necessityD and &herever in his &ay he sa& any,
either rich or poor, he invited them, if infidels, to embrace the mystery of the faith or if they &ere
believers, to strengthen them in the faith, and to stir them up by &ords and actions to alms and good
&or(s#
His course of life &as so different from the slothfulness of our times, that all those &ho bore him
company, &hether they &ere shorn mon(s or laymen, &ere employed in meditation, that is, either in
reading the <criptures, or learning psalms# .his &as the daily employment of himself and all that &ere
&ith him, &heresoever they &entD and if it happened, &hich &as but seldom, that he &as invited to eat
&ith the (ing, he &ent &ith one or t&o cler(s, and having ta(en a small repast, made haste to be gone
&ith them, either to read or &rite# 't that time, many religious men and &omen, stirred up by his
example, adopted the custom of fasting on Aednesdays and Fridays, till the ninth hour, throughout the
year, except during the fifty days after Easter# He never gave money to the po&erful men of the &orld,
but only meat, if he happened to entertain themD and, on the contrary, &hatsoever gifts of money he
received from the rich, he either distributed them, as has been said, to the use of the poor, or besto&ed
them in ransoming such as had been &rong# fully sold for slaves# ;oreover, he after&ards made many
of those he had ransomed his disciples, and after having taught and instructed them, advanced them to
the order of priesthood#
,-,
+t is reported, that &hen @ing !s&ald had as(ed a bishop of the <cots to administer the &ord of
faith to him and his nation, there &as first sent to him another man of more austere disposition, &ho,
meeting &ith no success, and being unregarded by the English people, returned home, and in an
assembly of the elders reported, that he had not been able to do any good to the nation he had been sent
to preach to, because they &ere unciviliEed men, and of a stubborn and barbarous disposition# .hey, as
is testified, in a great council seriously debated &hat &as to be done, being desirous that the nation
should receive the salvation it demanded, and grieving that they had not received the preacher sent to
them# .hen said 'idan, &ho &as also present in the council, to the priest then spo(en of, G+ am of
opinion, brother, that you &ere more severe to your unlearned hearers than you ought to have been and
did not at first, conformably to the apostolic rule, give them the mil( of more easy doctrine, till being
by degrees nourished &ith the &ord of >od, they should be capable of greater perfection, and be able to
practice >od:s sublimer precepts#G Having heard these &ords, all present began diligently to &eigh
&hat he had said, and presently concluded, that he deserved to be made a bishop, and ought to be sent
to instruct the incredulous and unlearnedD since he &as found to be endued &ith singular discretion,
&hich is the mother of other virtues, and accordingly being ordained, they sent him to their friend, @ing
!s&ald, to preachD and he, as time proved, after&ards appeared to possess all other virtues, as &ell as
the discretion for &hich he &as before remar(able#
CHAPTER VI
!F @+=> !<A'8D:< A!=DE/F?8 P+E.B# H'#D# )03#I
@+=> !<A'8D, &ith the nation of the English &hich he governed being instructed by the
teaching of this most reverend prelate, not only learned to hope for a heavenly (ingdom un(no&n to his
progenitors, but also obtained of the same one 'lmighty >od, &ho made heaven and earth, larger
earthly (ingdoms than any of his ancestors# +n short, he brought under his dominion all the nations and
provinces of Britain, &hich are divided into four languages, viE# the Britons, the Picts, the <cots, and
the English# Ahen raised to that height of dominion, &onderful to relate, he al&ays continued humble,
affable, and generous to the poor and <trangers#
+n short, it is reported, that &hen he &as once sitting at dinner, on the holy day of Easter, &ith the
aforesaid bishop, and a silver dish full of dainties before him, and they &ere Fust ready to bless the
bread, the servant, &hom he had appointed to relieve the poor, came in Mn a sudden, and told the (ing,
that a great multitude of needy persons from all parts &ere sitting in the streets begging some alms of
,-6
the (ingD he immediately ordered the meat set before him to be carried to the poor, and the dish to be
cut in pieces and divided among them# 't &hich sight, the bishop &ho sat by him, much ta(en &ith
such an act of piety, laid hold of his right hand, and said, G;ay this hand never perish#G Ahich fell out
according to his prayer, for his arm and hand, being cut off from his body, &hen he &as slain in battle,
remain entire and uncorrupted to this day, and are (ept in a silver case, as revered relics, in <t# Peter:s
church in the royal city, &hich has ta(en +ts name from Bebba, one of its former Cueens# .hrough this
(ing:s management the provinces of the Deiri and the Bernicians, &hich till then had been at variance,
&ere peacefully united and molded into one people# He &as nephe& to @ing Ed&in by his sister 'chaD
and it &as fit that so great a predecessor should have in his !&n family so great a person to succeed
him in his religion and sovereignty#
CHAPTER VII
H!A .HE AE<. <'5!=< /EE+2ED .HE A!/D !F >!D BB .HE P/E'H+=> !F
B+/+=?<D '=D !F H+< <?E<<!/<, '>+8BE/. '=D E8E?.HE/+?<# H'#D# )03#I
'. that time, the Aest <axons, formerly called >e&issae, in the reign of ynegils, embraced the
faith of hrist, at the preaching of Bishop Birinus, &ho came into Britain by the advice of Pope
HonoriusD having promised in his presence that he &ould so& the seed of the holy faith in the inner
parts beyond the dominions of the English# &here no other teacher had been before him# Hereupon he
received episcopal consecration from 'sterius, bishop of >enoaD but on his arrival in Britain, he first
entered the nation of the >e&issae, and finding all there most confirmed pagans, he thought it better to
preach the &ord of >od there, than to proceed further to see( for others to preach to#
=o&, as he preached in the aforesaid province, it happened that the (ing himself, having been
catechiEed, &as baptiEed together &ith his people, and !s&ald, the most holy and victorious (ing of the
=orthumbrians, being present, received him as he came forth from baptism, and by an alliance most
pleasing and acceptable to >od, first adopted him, thus regenerated, for his son, and then too( his
daughter in marriage# .he t&o (ings gave to the bishop the city called Dorcic, there to settle his
episcopal seeD &here having built and consecrated churches, and by his labor called many to the 8ord,
he departed this life, and &as buried in the same city D but many years after, &hen Hedda &as bishop,
he &as translated thence to the city of Ainchester, and laid in the church of the blessed apostles, Peter
and Paul#
,-0
.he (ing also dying, his son oin&alch succeeded him in the throne, but refused to embrace the
mysteries of the faith, and of the heavenly (ingdomD and not long after also he lost the dominion of his
earthly (ingdomD for he put a&ay the sister of Penda, (ing of the ;ercians, &hom he had married, and
too( another &ifeD &hereupon a &ar ensuing, he &as by him expelled his (ingdom, and &ithdre& to
'nna, (ing of the East <axons, &here living three years in banishment, he found and received the true
faith, and &as baptiEedD for the (ing, &ith &hom he lived in his banishment, &as a good man, and
happy in a good and pious offspring, as &e shall sho& hereafter#
But &hen oin&alch &as restored to his (ingdom, there came into that province out of +reland, a
certain bishop called 'gilbert, by nation a Frenchman, but &ho had then lived a long time in +reland,
for the purpose of reading the <criptures# .his bishop came of his o&n accord to serve this (ing, and
preach to him the &ord of life# .he (ing, observing his erudition and industry, desired him to accept an
episcopal see, and stay there as his bishop# 'gilbert complied &ith the prince:s reCuest, and presided
over those people many years# 't length the (ing, &ho understood none but the language of the <axons,
gro&n &eary of that bishop:s barbarous tongue, brought into the province another bishop of his o&n
nation, &hose name &as Aini, &ho had been ordained in FranceD and dividing his province into t&o
dioceses, appointed this last his episcopal see in the city of Ainchester, by the <axons called
Aintancestir# 'gilbert, being highly offended, that the (ing should do this &ithout bis advice, returned
into France, and being made bishop of the city of Paris, died there, aged and full of days# =ot many
years after his departure out of Britain, Aini &as also expelled from his bishopric, and too( refuge &ith
Aulfhere, (ing of the ;ercians, of &hom he purchased for money the see of the city of 8ondon, and
remained bishop thereof till his death# .hus the province of the Aest <axons continued no small time
&ithout a bishop#
During &hich time, the (ing of that nation, sustaining very great losses in his (ingdom from his
enemies, at length bethought himself, that as he had been before expelled from the throne for his
infidelity, and had been restored &hen he received the faith of hrist, his (ingdom, being destitute of a
bishop, &as Fustly deprived of the Divine protection# He, therefore, sent messengers into France to
'gilbert, humbly entreating him to return to the bishopric of his nation# But he excused himself, and
affirmed that he could not go, because he &as bound to the bishopric of his o&n cityD ho&ever, that he
might not seem to refuse him assistance, he sent in his stead thither the priest Eleutherius, his nephe&,
&ho, if he thought fit, might be ordained his bishop, saying, GHe thought him &orthy of a bishopric#G
.he (ing and the people received him honorably, and entreated .heodore, then archbishop of
,-1
anterbury, to consecrate him their bishop# He &as accordingly consecrated in the same city, and many
years Eealously governed the &hole bishopric of the Aest <axons by synodical authority#
CHAPTER VIII
H!A E'/!=BE/., @+=> !F @E=., !/DE/ED .HE +D!8< .! BE DE<./!BEDD '=D
!F H+< D'?>H.E/ E'/!=>!.', '=D H+< @+=<A!;'= E.HE8BE/>', 2+/>+=<,
!=<E/'.ED .! >!D# H'#D# )1-#I
+= the year of our 8ord )1-, Eadbald, (ing of @ent, departed this life, and left his (ingdom to his
son Earconbert, &hich he most nobly governed t&enty"four years and some months# He &as the first of
the English (ings that of his supreme authority commanded the idols, throughout his &hole (ingdom,
to be forsa(en and destroyed, and the fast of forty days before Easter to be observedD and that the same
might not be neglected, he appointed proper and condign punishments for the offenders# His daughter
Earcongota, as became the offspring of such a parent, &as a most virtuous virgin, al&ays serving >od
in a monastery in France, built by a most noble abbess, called Fara, at a place called BrieD for at that
time but fe& monasteries being built in the country of the 'ngles, many &ere &ont, for the sa(e of
monastic conversation, to repair to the monasteries of the Fran(s or >aulsD and they also sent their
daughters there to be instructed, and delivered to their heavenly bridegroom, especially in the
monasteries of Brie, of helles, and 'ndelys# 'mong &hom &as also <ethrid, daughter of the &ife of
'nna, (ing of the East 'ngles, above mentionedD and Ethelberga, natural daughter of the same (ingD
both of &hom, though strangers, &ere for their virtue made abbesses of the monastery of Brie#
<exberga, that (ing:s eldest daughter, &ife to Earconbert, (ing of @ent, had a daughter called
Earcongota, of &hom &e are about to spea(#
;any &onderful &or(s and miracles of this virgin, dedicated to >od, are to this day related by the
inhabitants of that placeD but it shall suffice us to say something briefly of her passage out of this &orld
to the heavenly (ingdom# .he day of her departure dra&ing near, she visited the cells of the infirm
servants of hrist, and particularly those that &ere of a great age, or most noted for probity of life, and
humbly recommending herself to their prayers, let them (no& that her death &as at hand, as she (ne&
by revelation, &hich she said she had received in this manner# <he had seen a number of men, all it,
&hite, come into the monastery, and being as(ed by her GAhat they &anted, and &hat they did thereJG
they ans&ered, G.hey had been sent thither to carry a&ay &ith them the gold medal that had been
brought thither from @ent#G .hat same night, at the da&n of morning, leaving the dar(ness of this
,-3
&orld, she departed to the light of heaven# ;any of the brethren of that monastery that &ere in other
houses, declared they had then plainly heard concerts of angels singing, and the noise as it &ere of a
multitude entering the monastery# Ahereupon going out immediately to see &hat it might be, they sa&
an extraordinary great light coming do&n from heaven, &hich conducted that holy soul, set loose from
the bonds of the flesh, to the eternal Foys of the celestial country# .hey add other miracles that &ere
&rought the same night in the same monasteryD but as &e must proceed to other matters, &e leave them
to be related by those to &hom such things belong# .he body of this venerable virgin and bride of
hrist &as buried in the church of the blessed protomartyr, <tephen# +t &as thought fit, three days after,
to ta(e up the stone that covered the grave, and to raise it higher in the same place, and &hile they did
this, so great a fragrancy of perfume rose from belo& that it seemed to all the brothers and sisters there
present as if a store of the richest balsams had been opened#
Her aunt also, Ethelberga above mentioned, preserved the glory so pleasing to >od, of perpetual
virginity, in great continency of body, but the extent of her virtue became more conspicuous after her
death# Ahilst she &as abbess, she began to build in her monastery a church in honor of all the apostles,
&herein she desired her hod might be buriedD but &hen that &or( &as advanced half &ay, she &as
prevented by death from finishing it, and buried in the very place of the church &here she had desired#
'fter her death, the brothers occupied themselves &ith other things, and this structure &as intermitted
for seven years, at the expiration &hereof they resolved by reason of the greatness of the &or(, &holly
to lay aside the building of the church, but to remove the abbess:s bones from thence to some other
church that &as finished and consecratedD but, on opening her tomb, they found the body as free from
decay as it had been from the corruption of carnal concupiscence, and having &ashed it again and put
on it other clothes, they removed the same to the church of <t# <tephen, ;artyr, &hose nativity Nor
commemoration"dayO is celebrated &ith much magnificence on the *th of 9uly#
CHAPTER IX
H!A ;+/'?8!?< ?/E< H'2E BEE= F/EM?E=.8B D!=E += .HE P8'E AHE/E
@+=> !<A'8D A'< @+88EDD '=D H!A, F+/<., ' ./'2E8E/:< H!/<E A'< /E<.!/ED
'=D 'F.E/A'/D< ' B!?=> >+/8 ?/ED !F .HE P'8<B# H'#D# )16#I
!<A'8D, the most hristian (ing of the =orthumbrians, reigned nine years, including that year
&hich is to be held accursed for the brutal impiety of the (ing of the Britons, and the apostasy of the
English (ingsD for, as &as said above, it is agreed by the unanimous consent of all, that the names of the
,-)
apostates should be erased from the catalogue of the hristian (ings, and no date ascribed to their
reign# 'fter &hich period, !s&ald &as (illed in a great battle, by the same pagan nation and pagan (ing
of the ;ercians, &ho had slain his predecessor Ed&in, at a place called in the English tongue
;aserfield, in the thirty"eighth year of his age, on the fifth day of the month of 'ugust#
Ho& great his faith &as to&ards >od, and ho& remar(able his devotion, has been made evident
by miracles since his deathD for, in the place &here he &as (illed by the pagans, fighting for his country,
infirm men and cattle are healed to this day# Ahereupon many too( up the very dust of the place &here
his body fell, and putting it into &ater, did much good &ith it to their friends &ho &ere sic(# .his
custom came so much into use, that the earth being carried a&ay by degrees, there remained a hole as
deep as the height of a man# =or is it to be &ondered that the sic( should be healed in the place &here
he diedD for, &hilst he lived, he never ceased to provide for the poor and infirm, and to besto& alms on
them, and assist them# ;any miracles are said to have been &rought in that place, or &ith the earth
carried from thenceD but &e have thought it sufficient to mention t&o, &hich &e heard from our
ancestors#
+t happened, not long after his death, that a man &as traveling near that place, &hen his horse on a
sudden began to tire, to stand stoc( still, hang do&n his head, and foam at the mouth, and, at length, as
his pain increased, he fell to the groundD the rider dismounted, and thro&ing some stra& under him,
&aited to see &hether the beast &ould recover or die# 't length, after much rolling about in extreme
anguish, the horse happened to come to the very place &here the aforesaid (ing died# +mmediately the
pain ceased, the beast gave over his struggles, and, as is usual &ith tired cattle, turned gently from side
to side, and then starting up, perfectly recovered, began to graEe on the green herbageD &hich the man
observing, being an ingenious person, he concluded there must be some &onderful sanctity in the place
&here the horse had been healed, and left a mar( there, that he might (no& the spot again# 'fter &hich
he again mounted his horse and repaired to the inn &here he intended to stop# !n his arrival he found a
girl, niece to the landlord, &ho had long languished under the palsyD and &hen the friends of the family,
in his presence, lamented the girl:s calamity, he gave them an account of the place &here his horse had
been cured# +n short, she &as put into a cart and carried and laid do&n at the place# 't first she slept
a&hile, and &hen she a&a(ed found herself healed of her infirmity# ?pon &hich she called for &ater,
&ashed her face, put up her hair, and dressed her head, and returned home on foot, in good health, &ith
those &ho had brought her#
,-*
CHAPTER X
.HE P!AE/ !F .HE E'/.H !F .H'. P8'E '>'+=<. F+/E# H'#D# )16I
'B!?. the same time, another person of the British nation, as is reported, happened to travel by
the same place, &here the aforesaid battle &as fought, and observing one particular spot of ground
greener and more beautiful than any other part of the field, he Fudiciously concluded &ith himself that
there could be no other cause for that unusual greenness, but that some person of more holiness than
any other in the army had been (illed there# He therefore too( along &ith him some of that earth, tying
it up in a linen cloth, supposing it &ould some time or other be of use for curing sic( people, and
proceeding on his Fourney, came at night to a certain village, and entered a house &here the neighbors
&ere feasting at supperD being received by the o&ners of the house, he sat do&n &ith them at the
entertainment, hanging the cloth, in &hich he had brought the earth, on a post against the &all# .hey sat
long at supper and dran( hard, &ith a great fire in the middle of the roomD it happened that the spar(s
fle& up and caught the top of the house, &hich being made of &attles and thatch, &as presently in a
flameD the guests ran out in a fright, &ithout being able to put a stop to the fire# .he house &as
conseCuently burnt do&n, only that post on &hich the earth hung remained entire and un" touched# !n
observing this, they &ere all amaEed, and inCuiring into it diligently, understood that the earth had been
ta(en from the place &here the blood of @ing !s&ald had been shed# .hese miracles being made
(no&n and reported abroad, many began daily to freCuent that place, and received health to themselves
and theirs#
CHAPTER XI
!F .HE HE'2E=8B 8+>H. .H'. 'PPE'/ED '88 .HE =+>H. !2E/ .HE B!=E< !F
@+=> !<A'8D, '=D H!A PE/<!=< P!<<E<<ED A+.H DE2+8< AE/E DE8+2E/ED BB H+<
B!=E<# H'#D# )4*#I
';!=> the rest, + thin( &e ought not to pass over, in silence, the heavenly favors and miracles
that &ere sho&n &hen @ing !s&ald:s bones &ere found, and translated into the church &here they are
no& preserved# .his &as done by the Eealous care of !sthrida, Cueen of the ;ercians, the daughter of
his brother !s&y, &ho reigned after him, as shall be said hereafter#
.here is a noble monastery in the province of 8indsey, called Beardeneu, &hich that Cueen and
her husband Ethelred much loved, and conferred upon it many honors and ornaments# +t &as here that
,-7
she &as desirous to lay the venerable bones of her uncle# Ahen the &agon in &hich those bones &ere
carried arrived to&ards evening at the aforesaid monastery, they that &ere in it refused to admit them,
because, though they (ne& him to be a holy man, yet, as he &as originally of another province, and had
reigned over them as a foreign (ing, they retained their ancient aversion to him, even after death# .hus
it came to pass that the relics &ere left in the open air all that night, &ith only a large tent spread over
themD but the appearance of a heavenly miracle sho&ed &ith ho& much reverence they ought to be
received by all the faithfulD for during that &hole night, a pillar of light, reaching from the &agon up to
heaven, &as seen by almost all the inhabitants of the province of 8indsey# Hereupon, in the morning,
the brethren &ho had refused it the day before, began themselves earnestly to pray that those holy
relics, so beloved by >od, might be deposited among them# 'ccordingly, the bones, being &ashed,
&ere put into a shrine &hich they had made for that purpose, and placed in the church, &ith due honorD
and that there might be a perpetual memorial of the royal person of this holy man, they hung up over
the monument his banner made of gold and purpleD and poured out the &ater in &hich they had &ashed
the bones, in a corner of the sacred place# From that time, the very earth &hich received that holy &ater,
had the virtue of expelling devils from the bodies of persons possessed#
8astly, &hen the aforesaid Cueen after&ards made some stay in that monastery, there came to visit
her a certain venerable abbess, &ho is still living, called Ethelhilda, the sister of the holy men, Ethel&in
and 'ld&in, the first of &hom &as bishop in the province of 8indsey, the other abbot of the monastery
of PeartaneuD not far from &hich &as the monastery of Ethelhilda# Ahen this lady &as come, in a
conversation bet&een her and the Cueen, the discourse, among other things, turning upon !s&ald, she
said, that she also had that night seen a light reaching from the relics up to heaven# .he Cueen
thereupon added, that the very dust of the pavement on &hich the &ater that &ashed the bones had been
spilt, had already healed many sic( persons# .he abbess thereupon desired that some of the said dust
might be given her, &hich she tied up in a cloth, and, putting it into a cas(et, returned home# <ome time
after, &hen she &as in her monastery, there came to it a guest, &ho &as &ont often in the night to be on
a sudden grievously tormented &ith an evil spiritD he being hospitably entertained, and gone to bed
after supper, &as on a sudden seiEed by the Devil, and began to cry out, to gnash his teeth, to foam at
the mouth, and to distort his limbs in a most strange manner# =one being able to hold or bind him, the
servant ran, and (noc(ing at the door, acCuainted the abbess# <he, opening the monastery door, &ent
out herself &ith one of the nuns to the men:s apartment, and calling a priest, desired he &ould go &ith
her to the sufferer# Being come thither, and seeing many more present, &ho had not been able, though
,-4
they endeavored it, to hold the tormented person and prevent his convulsive motions, the priest used
exorcisms, and did all he could to assuage the madness of the unfortunate man, but, though he too(
much pains, could not prevail# Ahen no hopes appeared of easing him, the abbess bethought herself of
the dust, and immediately ordered her servant to go and fetch her the cas(et in &hich it &as# 's soon as
she came &ith &hat she had been sent for into the porch of the house, in the inner part &hereof the
possessed person &as tormented, he &as presently &ere silent, and laid do&n his head, as if he had
been falling asleep, stretching out all his limbs to rest# 'll present &ere silent, and stood attentive to see
the end of the affair# 'fter some time, the man that had been tormented sat up, and fetching a deep sigh,
said, G=o& + am li(e a sound man, for + am restored to my senses#G .hey earnestly inCuired ho& that
came to pass, and he ans&ered, G's soon as that virgin dre& near the porch of this house, &ith the
cas(et she brought, all the evil spirits that vexed me departed, and &ere no more to be seen#G .hen the
abbess gave him a little of that dust, and the priest having prayed, he had a very Cuiet nightD nor did he,
from that time for&ard, receive the least disturbance from his old enemy#
CHAPTER XII
!F ' B!B ?/ED !F '= '>?E '. <.# !<A'8D:< .!;B# H'#D# )16#I
<!;E time after, there &as a certain little boy in the said monastery, &ho had been long troubled
&ith an agueD he &as one day anxiously expecting the hour that his fit &as to come on, &hen one of the
brothers, coming in to him, said, G<hall + tell you, child, ho& you may be cured of this distemperJ /ise,
go into the church, and get close to <t# !s&ald:s tombD stay there Cuiet, and do not leave itD do not come
a&ay, or stir from the place, till the time that your fit is to go off$ then + &ill go in and fetch you a&ay#G
.he boy did as he &as advised, and the disease durst not affect him as he sat by the saint:s tombD but
fled so absolutely, that he felt it no more, either the second or third day, or ever after# .he brother that
came from thence, and told me this, added, that at the time &hen he &as tal(ing &ith me, the young
man &as then still living in the monastery, on &hom, &hen a boy, that miraculous cure had been
&rought# =or is it to be &ondered that the prayers of that (ing &ho &as then reigning &ith our 8ord,
should be very efficacious &ith him, since he, &hilst yet governing his temporal (ingdom, &as also
&ont to pray and ta(e more pains for that &hich is eternal# +n short, it is reported, that he often
continued in prayer from the hour of morning than(sgiving till it &as dayD and that by reason of his
constant custom of praying or giving than(s to >od, he &as &ont al&ays, &herever he sat, to hold his
hands turned up on his (nees# +t is also given out, and become a proverb, G.hat he ended his life in
,,-
prayerDGfor &hen he &as beset &ith &eapons and enemies, he perceived he must immediately be (illed,
and prayed to >od for the souls of his army# Ahence it is proverbially said, G8ord, have mercy on their
souls, said !s&ald, as he fell to the ground#G His bones, therefore, &ere translated to the monastery
&hich &e have mentioned, and buried therein$ but the (ing that sle& him commanded his head, hands,
and arms to be cut off from the body, and set upon sta(es# But his successor in the throne, !s&y,
coming thither the next year &ith his army, too( them do&n, and buried his head in the church of
8indisfarne, and the hands and arms in his royal city#
CHAPTER XIII
!F ' E/.'+= PE/<!= += +/E8'=D .H'. A'< /E!2E/ED, AHE= '. .HE P!+=.
!F DE'.H, BB .HE B!=E< !F @+=> !<A'8D# H'#D# )16#I
=!/ &as the fame of the reno&ned !s&ald confined to Britain, but, spreading the rays of his
healing brightness even beyond the sea, reached also to >ermany and +reland# +n short, the most
reverend prelate, 'cca, is &ont to relate, that &hen, in his Fourney to /ome, he and his bishop Ailfrid
stayed some time &ith Ailbrord, no& the holy bishop of the Fresons, he had often heard him tal( of the
&onders that had been &rought in that province at the relics of that most reverend (ing# 'nd that in
+reland, &hen, being yet only a priest, he led a pilgrim:s life therein for love of the eternal country, the
fame of that (ing:s sanctity &as already spread far and near# !ne of the miracles, among the rest, &hich
he related, &e have thought fit to insert in our history#
G't the time,G said he, Gof the mortality &hich made such great havoc in Britain and +reland,
among others, the infection reached a certain scholar of the <cottish race, a man indeed learned in
&orldly literature, but in no &ay solicitous or studious of his eternal salvationD &ho, seeing his death
near at hand, began to fear, lest, as soon as he &as dead he should be hurried a&ay to hell for his sins#
He sent for me, &ho &as in that neighborhood, and &hilst he &as trembling and sighing, &ith a
mournful voice made his complaint to me, in this manner$ :Bou see that my distemper increases, and
that + am no& reduced to the point of death# =or do + Cuestion but that after the death of my body, +
shall be immediately snatched a&ay to the perpetual death of my soul, and cast into the torments of
hell, since for a long time, amidst all my reading of divine boo(s, + have rather addicted myself to vice,
than to (eep the commandments of >od# But it is my resolution, if the Divine ;ercy shall grant me a
ne& term of life, to correct my vicious habits, and totally to reform my mind and course of life in
obedience to the Divine &ill# But + am sensible, that + have no merits of my o&n to obtain a
,,,
prolongation of life, nor can + confide in it, unless it shall please >od to forgive me, through the
assistance of those &ho have faithfully served Him# Ae have heard, and the report is universal, that
there &as in your nation a (ing, of &onderful sanctity, called !s&ald, the excellency of &hose faith and
virtue is become reno&ned even after his death by the &or(ing of miracles# + beseech you, if you have
any relics of his in your custody, that you &ill bring the same to meD in case the 8ord shall be pleased,
through his merits, to have mercy on me#: + ans&ered, :+ have indeed some of the sta(e on &hich his
head &as set up by the pagans, &hen he &as (illed, and if you believe, &ith a sincere heart, the Divine
>oodness may, through the merit of so great a man, both grant you a longer term of life here, and
render you &orthy of admittance into eternal life#: He ans&ered immediately, :.hat he had entire faith
therein#: .hen + blessed some &ater, and put into it a chip of the aforesaid oa(, and gave it the sic( man
to drin(# He presently found ease, and, recovering of his sic(ness, lived a long time afterD and, being
entirely converted to >od in heart and actions, &herever he came, he spo(e of the goodness of his
merciful reator, and the honour of His faithful servant#G
CHAPTER XIV
!= .HE DE'.H !F P'?8+=?<, +.H';'/ A'< ;'DE B+<H!P !F /!HE<.E/ += H+<
<.E'D# !F .HE A!=DE/F?8 H?;+8+.B !F @+=> !<A+=, AH! A'< /?E88B <8'+= BB
!<AB# H'#D# )16#I
!<A'8D being translated to the heavenly (ingdom, his brother !s&y, a young man of about
thirty years of age, succeeded him on the throne of his earthly (ingdom, and held it t&enty"eight years
&ith much trouble, being harassed by the pagan (ing, Penda, and by the pagan nation of the ;ercians,
that had slain his brother, as also by his son 'lfred, and by his cousin"german Ethel&ald, the son of his
brother &ho reigned before him# +n his second year, that is, in the year of our 8ord )11, the most
reverend Father Paulinus, formerly bishop of Bor(, but then of the city of /ochester, departed to our
8ord, on the ,-th day of !ctober, having held the bishopric nineteen years, t&o months, and t&enty"
one daysD and &as buried in the sacristy of the blessed 'postle 'ndre&, &hich @ing Ethelbert had built
from the foundation, in the same city of /ochester# +n his place, 'rchbishop Honorius ordained
+thamar, of the @entish nation, but not inferior to his predecessors for learning and conduct of life#
!s&y, during the first part of his reign, had a partner in the royal dignity called !s&in, of the race
of @ing Ed&in, and son to !sric, of &hom &e have spo(en above, a man of &onderful piety and
devotion, &ho governed the province of the Deiri seven years in very great prosperity, and &as himself
,,6
beloved by all men# But !s&y, &ho governed all the other northern part of the nation beyond hee
Humber, that is, the province of the Bernicians, could not live at peace &ith himD but on the contrary,
the causes of their disagreement being heightened, he murdered him most cruelly# For &hen they had
raised armies against one another, !s&in perceived that he could not maintain a &ar against one &ho
had more auxiliaries than himself, and he thought it better at that time to lay aside all thoughts of
engaging, and to preserve himself for better times# He therefore dismissed the army &hich he had
assembled, and ordered all his men to return to their o&n homes, from the place that is called
Ailfaresdun, that is, Ailfar:s Hill, &hich is almost ten miles distant from the village alled ataract,
to&ards the north"&est# He himself, &ith only one trusty soldier, &hose name &as .onhere, &ithdre&
and lay concealed in the house of Earl Hun&ald, &hom he imagined to be his most assured friend# But,
alasK it &as other&iseD for the earl betrayed him, and !s&y, in a detestable manner, by the hands of his
commander, Ethil&in, sle& him and the soldier aforesaid, this happened on the 6-th of 'ugust, in the
ninth year of his reign, at a place called +ngethlingum, &here after&ards, to atone for his crime, a
monastery &as built, &herein prayers &ere to be daily offered up to >od for the souls of both (ings,
that is, of him that &as murdered, and of him that commanded him to be (illed#
@ing !s&in &as of a graceful aspect, and tall of stature, affable in discourse, and courteous in
behaviorD and most bountiful, as &ell to the ignoble as the nobleD so that he &as beloved by all men for
his Cualities of body and mind, and persons of the first ran( ame from almost all provinces to serve
him# 'mong other virtues and rare endo&ments, if + may so express it, humility is said to have been the
greatest, &hich it &ill suffice to prove by one example#
He had given an extraordinarily fine horse to Bishop 'idan, &hich he might either use in rossing
rivers, or in performing a Fourney upon any urgent necessity, though he &as &ont to travel ordinarily on
foot# <ome short time after, a poor man meeting him, and as(ing alms, he immediately dismounted, and
ordered the horse, &ith all his royal furniture, to be given to the beggarD for he &as very compassionate,
a great friend to the poor, and, as is &ere, the father of the &retched# .his being told to the (ing, &hen
they &ere going in to dinner, he said to the bishop, GAhy &ould you, my lord bishop, give the poor
man that royal horse, &hich &as necessary for your useJ Had not &e many other horses of less value,
and of other sorts, &hich &ould have been good enough to give to the poor, and not to give that horse,
&hich + had particularly chosen for yourselfJG .o &hom the bishop instantly ans&ered, GAhat is it you
say, ! (ingJ +s that foal of a mare more dear to you than the <on of >odJG ?pon this they &ent in to
dinner, and the bishop sat in his placeD but the (ing, &ho &as come from hunting, stood &arming
,,0
himself, &ith his attendants, at the fire# .hen, on a sudden, &hilst he &as &arming himself, calling to
mind &hat the bishop had said to him, he ungirt his s&ord, and gave it to a servant, and in a hasty
manner fell do&n at the bishop:s feet, beseeching him to forgive himD GFor from this time for&ard,G
said he, G+ &ill never spea( any more of this, nor &ill + Fudge of &hat, or ho& much of our money you
shall give to the sons of >od#G .he bishop &as much moved at this sight, and starting up, raised him,
saying, GHe &as entirely reconciled to him, if he &ould sit do&n to his meat, and lay aside all sorro&#G
.he (ing, at the bishop:s command and reCuest, beginning to be merry, the bishop, on the other hand,
gre& so melancholy as to shed tears# His priest then as(ing him, in the language of his country, &hich
the (ing and his servants did not understand, &hy he &ept, G+ (no&,G said he, Gthat the (ing &ill not live
longD for + never before sa& so humble a (ingD &hence + conclude that he &ill soon be snatched out of
this life, because this nation is not &orthy of such a ruler#G =ot long after, the bishop:s prediction &as
fulfilled by the (ing:s death, as has been said above# But Bishop 'idan himself &as also ta(en out of
this &orld, t&elve days after the (ing he loved, on the 0,st of 'ugust, to receive the eternal re&ard of
his labours from our 8ord#
CHAPTER XV
H!A B+<H!P '+D'= F!/E.!8D .! E/.'+= <E';E= ' <.!/; .H'. A!?8D
H'PPE=, '=D >'2E .HE; <!;E H!8B !+8 .! 8'B +.# H'#D# )3,#I
Ho& great the merits of 'idan &ere, &as made manifest by the all"seeing 9udge, &ith the
testimony of miracles, &hereof it &ill suffice to mention three as a memorial# ' certain priest, &hose
name &as ?tta, a man of great gravity and sincerity, and on that account honored by all men, even the
princes of the &orld, being ordered to @ent, to bring from thence, as &ife for @ing !s&y, Eanfleda, the
daughter of @ing Ed&in, &ho had been carried thither &hen her father &as (illedD and intending to go
thither by land, but to return &ith the virgin by sea, repaired to Bishop 'idan, entreating him to offer up
his prayers to our 8ord for him and his company, &ho &ere then to set out on their Fourney# He,
blessing and recommending them to our 8ord, at the same time gave them some holy oil, saying, G+
(no& that &hen you go abroad, you &ill meet &ith a storm and contrary &indD but do you remember to
cast this oil + give you into the sea, and the &ind shall cease immediatelyD you &ill have pleasant calm
&eather, and return home safe#G
'll &hich fell out as the bishop had predicted# For in the first place, the &inds raging, the sailors
endeavored to ride it out at anchor, but all to no purposeD for the sea brea(ing in on all sides, and the
,,1
ship beginning to be filled &ith &ater, they all concluded that certain death &as at handD the priest at
last, remembering the bishop:s &ords, laid hold of the phial and cast some of the oil into the sea, &hich,
as had been foretold, became presently calm# .hus it came to pass that the man of >od, by the spirit of
prophecy, foretold the storm that &as to happen, and by virtue of the same <pirit, though absent,
appeased the same# Ahich miracle &as not told me by a person of little credit, but by ynemund, a
most faithful priest of our church, &ho declared that it &as related to him by ?tta, the priest, on and by
&hom the same &as &rought#
CHAPTER XVI
H!A .HE <';E '+D'=, BB H+< P/'BE/<, <'2ED .HE /!B'8 +.B AHE= F+/ED BB
.HE E=E;B# H'#D# )3,#I
'=!.HE/ notable miracle of the same father is related by many such as &ere li(ely to have
(no&ledge thereofD for during the time that he &as bishop, the hostile army of the ;ercians, under the
command of Penda, cruelly ravaged the country of the =orthumbrians far and near, even to the royal
cityD &hich has its name from Bebba, formerly its Cueen# =ot being able to enter it by force, or by a
long siege, he endeavored to burn itD and having destroyed all the villages in the neighborhood of the
city, he brought to it an immense Cuantity of plan(s, beams, &attles and thatch, &here&ith he
encompassed the place to a great height on the land side, and &hen the &ind set upon it, he fired the
mass, designing to burn the to&n#
't that time, the most reverend Bishop 'idan resided in the isle of Fame, &hich is nearly t&o
miles from the cityD for thither he &as &ont often to retire to pray in private, that he might be
undisturbed# +ndeed, this solitary residence of his is to this day sho&n in that island# Ahen he sa& the
flames of fire and the smo(e carried by the boisterous &ind above the city &alls, he is reported, &ith
eyes and hands lifted up to heaven, to have said, GBehold, 8ord, ho& great mischief Penda doesKG
Ahich &ords &ere hardly uttered, &hen the &ind immediately turning from the city, drove bac( the
flames upon those &ho had (indled them, so that some being hurt, and all frightened, they forbore any
further attempts against the city, &hich they perceived &as protected by the hand of >od#
CHAPTER XVII
H!A .HE P!<. !F .HE H?/H != AH+H B+<H!P '+D'= A'< 8E'=+=> AHE=
HE D+ED, !?8D =!. BE B?/=. AHE= .HE /E<. !F .HE H?/H A'< !=<?;ED BB
,,3
F+/ED '=D !F H+< +=A'/D 8+FE# H'#D# )3,#I
'+D'= &as in the (ing:s country"house, not far from the city of &hich &e have spo(en above, at
the time &hen death separated him from his body, after he had been bishop sixteen yearsD for having a
church and a chamber there, he &as &ont often to go and stay there, and to ma(e excursions to preach
in the country round about, &hich he li(e&ise did at other of the (ing:s country"seats, having nothing of
his o&n besides his church and a fe& fields about it# Ahen he &as sic( they set up a tent for him close
to the &all at the &est end of the church, by &hich means it happened that he gave up the ghost, leaning
against a post that &as on the outside to strengthen# the &all# He died in the seventeenth year of his
episcopacy, the last day of the month of 'ugust# His body &as thence translated to the isle of
8indisfarne, and buried in the churchyard belonging to the brethren# <ome time after, &hen a larger
church &as built there and dedicated in honor of the blessed prince of the apostles, his bones &ere
translated thither, and deposited on the right hand of the altar, &ith the respect due to so great a prelate#
Finan, &ho had li(e&ise come from the same monastery of Hii in the <cottish island, succeeded
him, and continued a considerable time in the bishopric# +t happened some years after, that Penda, (ing
of the ;ercians, coming into these parts &ith a hostile army, destroyed all he could &ith fire and
s&ord, and burned do&n the village and church above mentioned, &here the bishop diedD hut it fell put
in a &onderful manner that the post, &hich he had leaned upon &hen he died, could not be consumed
by the ire &hich consumed all about it# .his miracle being ta(en notice of, the church &as <oon rebuilt
in the same place, and that very post &as set up on the outside, as it had been before, to strengthen the
&all# +t happened again, some time after, that the same village and church &ere burned do&n the
second time, and even then the fire could not touch that postD and &hen in a most miraculous manner
the fire bro(e through the very holes in it &here&ith it &as fixed to the building, and destroyed the
church, yet it could do no hurt to the said post# .he church being therefore built there the third time,
they did not, as before, place that post on the outside as a support, but &ithin, as a memorial of the
miracleD and the people coming in &ere &ont to (neel there, and implore the Divine mercy# 'nd it is
manifest that since then many have heen healed in that same place, as also that chips being cut off from
that post, and put into &ater, have healed many from their distempers#
+ have &ritten thus much concerning the person and &or(s of the aforesaid 'idan, in no &ay
commending or approving &hat he imperfectly understood in relation to the observance of EasterD nay,
very much detesting the same, as + have most manifestly proved in the boo( + have &ritten, GDe
,,)
.emporibusGD but, li(e an impartial historian, relating &hat &as done by or &ith him, and commending
such things as are praise&orthy in his actions, and preserving the memory thereof for the benefit of the
readersD viE# his love of peace and charityD his continence and humilityD his mind superior to anger and
avarice, and despising pride and vaingloryD his industry in (eeping and teaching the heavenly
commandmentsD his diligence in reading and &atchingD his authority becoming a priest in reproving the
haughty and po&erful, and at the same time his tenderness in comforting the afflicted, and relieving or
defending the poor# .o say all in a fe& &ords, as near as + could be informed by those that (ne& him,
he too( care to omit none of those things &hich he found in the apostolical or prophetical &ritings, but
to the utmost of his po&er endeavored to perform them all#
.hese things + much love and admire in the aforesaid bishopD because + do not doubt that they
&ere pleasing to >odD but + do not praise or approve his not observing Easter at the proper time, either
through ignorance of the canonical time appointed, or, if he (ne& it, being prevailed on by the authority
of his nation, not to follo& the same# Bet this + approve in him, that in the celebration of his Easter, the
obFect &hich he had in vie& in all he said, did, or preached, &as the same as ours, that is, the
redemption of man(ind, through the passion, resurrection and ascension into heaven of the man 9esus
hrist, &ho is mediator bet&ixt >od and man# 'nd therefore he al&ays celebrated the same, not, as
some falsely imagine, on the fourteenth moon, li(e the 9e&s, &hatsoever the day &as, but on the 8ord:s
day, from the fourteenth to the t&entieth moonD and this he did from his belief of the resurrection of our
8ord happening on the day after the <abbath, and for the hope of our resurrection, &hich also he, &ith
the holy hurch, believed &ould happen on the same day after the <abbath, no& called the 8ord:s day#
CHAPTER XVIII
!F .HE 8+FE '=D DE'.H !F .HE /E8+>+!?< @+=> <+>EBE/.# H'#D# )03#I
'. this time, the (ingdom of the East 'ngles, after the death of Earp&ald, the successor of
/ed&ald, &as subFect to his brother <igebert, a good and religious man, &ho long before had been
baptiEed in France, &hilst he lived in banishment, flying from the enmity of /ed&aldD and returning
home, as soon as he ascended the throne, being desirous to imitate the good institutions &hich he had
seen a France, he set up a school for youth to be instructed in literature, and &as assisted therein by
Bishop Felix, &ho came to him from @ent, and &ho furnished him &ith matters and teachers after the
manner of that country#
,,*
.his (ing became so great a lover of the heavenly (ingdom, that Cuitting the affairs of his cro&n,
and committing the same to his (insman, Ecgric, &ho before held a part of that (ingdom, he Aent
himself into a monastery, &hich he had built, and having received the tonsure, applied himself rather to
gain a heavenly throne# <ome time after this, it happened that the nation of the ;ercians, under @ing
Penda, made &ar on the East 'nglesD &ho, finding themselves inferior in martial affairs to their enemy,
entreated <igebert to go &ith them to battle, to encourage the soldiersD He refused, upon &hich they
thre& him against his &ill out of the monastery, and carried him to the army, hoping that the soldiers
&ould be less disposed to flee in the presence of him, &ho had once been a notable and a brave
commander# But he, still (eeping in mind his profession, &hilst in the midst of a royal army, &ould
carry nothing in his hand but a &and, and &as (illed &ith @ing EcgricD and the pagans pressing on, all
their army &as either slaughtered or dispersed#
'nna, the son of Eni, of the blood royal, a good man, and father of an excellent family of children,
succeeded them in the (ingdom# !f &hom &e shall spea( hereafterD he being also slain by the same
pagan commander as his predecessor had been#
CHAPTER XIX
H!A F?/<EB B?+8. ' ;!='<.E/B ';!=> .HE E'<. '=>8E<, '=D !F H+<
2+<+!=< '=D <'=.+.B, !F AH+H, H+< F8E<H /E;'+=+=> ?=!//?P.ED 'F.E/
DE'.H B!/E .E<.+;!=B# H'#D# )00#I
AH+8<. <igebert still governed the (ingdom, there came out of +reland a holy man called Fursey
reno&ned both for his &ords and actions, and remar(able for singular virtues, being desirous to live a
stranger for our 8ord, &herever an opportunity should offer# !n coming into the province of the East
<axons, he &as honorably received by the aforesaid (ing, and performing his usual employment of
preaching the >ospel, by the example of his virtue and the efficacy of his discourse, converted many
unbelievers to hrist, and confirmed in his faith and love those that already believed#
Here he fell into some infirmity of body, and &as thought &orthy to see a vision from >odD in
&hich he &as admonished diligently to proceed in the ministry of the &ord &hich he had underta(en,
and indefatigably to continue his usual &atching and prayersD inasmuch as his end &as certain, but the
hour of it &ould be uncertain, according to the saying of our 8ord, GAatch ye therefore, because ye
(no& not the day nor the hour#G Being confirmed by this vision, he applied himself &ith all speed to
,,7
build a monastery on the ground &hich had been given him by @ing <igebert, and to establish regular
discipline therein# .his monastery &as pleasantly situated in the &oods, and &ith the sea not far offD it
&as built &ithin the area of a castle, &hich in the English language is called nobheresburg, that is,
nobher:s .o&nD after&ards, 'nna, (ing of that province, and the nobility, embellished it &ith more
stately buildings and donations# .his man &as of noble <cottish blood, but much more noble in mind
than in birth# From his boyish years, he had particularly applied himself to reading sacred boo(s, and
follo&ing monastic discipline, and, as is most becoming to holy men, he carefully practiced all that he
learned &as to be done#
+n short, he built himself the monastery, &herein he might &ith more freedom indulge his
heavenly studies# .here, falling sic(, as the boo( about his life informs us, he fell into a trance, and
Cuitting his body from the evening till the coc( cre&, he &as found &orthy to behold the choirs of
angels, and to hear the praises &hich are sung in heaven# He &as &ont to declare, that among other
things he distinctly heard this$ G.he saints shall advance from one virtue to another#G 'nd again, G.he
>od of gods shall be seen in <ion#G Being restored to his body at that time, and again ta(en from it
three days after, he not only sa& the greater Foys of the blessed, but also extraordinary combats of evil
spirits, &ho by freCuent accusations &ic(edly endeavored to obstruct his Fourney to heavenD but the
angels protecting him, all their endeavors &ere in vain# oncerning &hich particulars, if any one
desires to be more fully informed, that is, &ith &hat subtle fraud the devils represented both his actions
and superfluous &ords, and even his thoughts, as if they had been &ritten do&n in a boo(D and &hat
pleasing or disagreeable things he &as informed of by the angels and saints, or Fust men &ho appeared
to him among the angelsD let him read the little boo( of his life &hich + have mentioned, and + believe
he &ill thereby reap much spiritual profit#
But there is one thing among the rest, &hich &e have thought may be beneficial to many if
inserted in this history# Ahen he had been lifted up on high, he &as ordered by the angels that
conducted him to loo( bac( upon the &orld# ?pon &hich, casting his eyes do&n&ard, he sa&, as it
&ere, a dar( and obscure valley underneath him# He also sa& four fires in the air, not far distant from
each other# .hen as(ing the angels, &hat fires those &ereJ he &as told, they &ere the fires &hich &ould
(indle and consume the &orld# !ne of them &as of falsehood, &hen &e do not fulfil that &hich &e
promised in baptism, to renounce the Devil and all his &or(s# .he next of covetousness, &hen &e
prefer the riches of the &orld to the love of heavenly things# .he third of discord, &hen &e ma(e no
difficulty to offend the minds of out neighbors even in needless things# .he fourth of iniCuity, &hen &e
,,4
loo( upon it as no crime to rob and to defraud the &ea(# .hese fires, increasing by degrees, extended so
as to meet one another, and being Foined, became an immense flame# Ahen it dre& near, fearing for
himself, he said to the angel, G8ord, behold the fire dra&s near me#G .he angel ans&ered, G.hat &hich
you did not (indle shall not burn youD for though this appears to be a terrible and great fire, yet it tries
every man according to the merits of his &or(sD for every man:s concupiscence shall burn in the fireD
for as every one burns in the body through unla&ful pleasure, so &hen discharged of the body, he shall
burn in the punishment &hich he has deserved#G
.hen he sa& one of the three angels, &ho had been his conductors throughout both visions, go
before and divide the flame of fire, &hilst the other t&o, flying about on both sides, defended him from
the danger of that fire# He also sa& devils flying through the fire, raising conflagrations of &ars against
the Fust# .hen follo&ed accusations of the &ic(ed spirits against him, the defense of the good angels in
his favor, and a more extended vie& of the heavenly troopsD as also of holy men of his o&n nation,
&ho, as he had long since been informed, had been deservedly advanced to the degree of priesthood,
from &hom he heard many things that might be very salutary to himself, or to all others that &ould
listen to them# Ahen they had ended their discourse, and returned to heaven &ith the angelic spirits, the
three angels remained &ith the blessed Fursey, of &hom &e have spo(en before, and &ho &ere to bring
him bac( to his body# 'nd &hen they approached the aforesaid immense fire, the angel divided the
flame, as he had done beforeD but &hen the man of >od came to the passage so opened amidst the
flames, the unclean spirits, laying hold of one of those &hom they tormented in the fire, thre& him at
him, and, touching his shoulder and Fa&, burned them# He (ne& the man, and called to mind that he had
received his garment &hen he diedD and the angel, immediately laying hold, thre& him bac( into the
fire, and the malignant enemy said, GDo not reFect him &hom you before receivedD for as you accepted
the goods of him &ho &as a sinner, so you must parta(e of his punishment#G .he angel replying, said,
GHe did not receive the same through avarice, but in order to save his soul#G .he fire ceased, and the
angel, turning to him, added, G.hat &hich you (indled burned in youD for had you not received the
money of this person that died in his sins, his punishment &ould not burn in you#G 'nd proceeding in
his discourse, he gave him &holesome advice for &hat ought to be done to&ards the salvation of such
as repented#
Being after&ards restored to his body, throughout the &hole course of his life he bore the mar( of
the fire &hich he had felt in his soul, visible to all men on his shoulder and Fa&D and the flesh publicly
sho&ed, in a &onderful manner, &hat the soul had suffered in private# He al&ays too( care, as he had
,6-
done before, to persuade all men to the practice of virtue, as &ell by his example, as by preaching# But
as for the matter of his visions, he &ould only relate them to those &ho, from holy Eeal and desire of
reformation, &ished to learn the same# 'n ancient brother of our monastery is still living, &ho is &ont
to declare that a very sincere and religious man told him, that he had seen Fursey himself in the
province of the East 'ngles, and heard those visions from his mouthD adding, that though it &as in most
sharp &inter &eather, and a hard frost, and the man &as sitting in a thin garment &hen he related it, yet
he s&eated as if it had been in the greatest heat of summer, either through excessive fear, or spiritual
consolation#
.o return to &hat &e &ere saying before, &hen, after preaching the &ord of >od many years in
<cotland H+relandI, he could no longer bear the cro&ds that resorted to him, leaving all that he seemed
to possess, he departed from his native island, and came &ith a fe& brothers through the Britons into
the province of the English, and preaching the &ord of >od there, as has been said, built a noble
monastery# .hese things being rightly performed, he became desirous to rid himself of all business of
this &orld, and even of the monastery itself, and forth&ith left the same, and the care of souls, to his
brother Fullan, and the priests >obban and Dicull, and being himself free from all that &as &orldly,
resolved to end his life as a hermit# He had another brother called ?ltan, &ho, after a long monastical
probation, had also adopted the life of an anchorite# /epairing all alone to him, he lived a &hole year
&ith him in continence and prayer, and labored daily &ith his hands#
'fter&ards seeing the province in confusion by the irruptions of the pagans, and presaging that
the monasteries &ould be also in danger, he left all things in order, and sailed over into France, and
being there honorably entertained by lovis, (ing of the Fran(s, or by the patrician Ercon&ald, he built
a monastery in the place called 8atiniacum, and falling sic( not long after, departed this life# .he same
Ercon&ald too( his body, and deposited it in the porch of a church he &as building in his to&n of
Perrone, till the church itself should be dedicated# .his happened t&enty"seven days after, and the body
being ta(en from the porch, to be re"buried near the altar, &as found as entire as if he had Fust then
died# 'nd again, four years after, a more decent tabernacle or chapel being built for the same body to
the east&ard of the altar, it &as still found free from corruption, and translated thither &ith due honourD
&here it is &ell (no&n that his merits through the divine operation, have been declared by many
miracles# .hese things and the incorruption of his body &e have ta(en notice of, that the sublimeness of
this man may be the better (no&n to the readers# 'll &hich, &hosoever &ill read it, &ill find more fully
described, as also about his fello&"laborers, in the boo( of his life before mentioned#
,6,
CHAPTER XX
H!=!/+?< DB+=>, DE?<DED+. +< H!<E= '/HB+<H!P !F '=.E/B?/B, !F
.H!<E AH! AE/E '. .H'. .+;E B+<H!P< !F .HE E'<. '=>8E<, '=D !F .HE H?/H
!F /!HE<.E/# H'#D# )30#I
+= the meantime, Felix, bishop of the East 'ngles, dying, &hen he had held that see seventeen
years, Honorius ordained .homas his deacon, of the province of the >irvii in his placeD and he
departing this life &hen he had been bishop five years, Bertgils, surnamed Boniface, of the province of
@ent, &as appointed in his stead# Honorius himself also, having run his course, departed this life in the
year of our 8ord )30, on the 0-th of <eptemberD and &hen the see had been vacant a year and six
months, Deusdedit, of the nation of the <outh <axons, &as chosen the sixth archbishop of anterbury#
.o ordain &hom, +thamar, bishop of /ochester, came thither# His ordination &as on the 6)th of ;arch,
and he ruled nine years, four months, and t&o daysD &hen he also died# +thamar consecrated in his place
Damian, &ho &as of the race of the <outh <axons#
CHAPTER XXI
H!A .HE P/!2+=E !F .HE ;+D8'=D '=>8E< BE';E H/+<.+'= ?=DE/ @+=>
PE'D'# H'#D# )30#I
'. this time, the ;iddle 'ngles, under their Prince Peada, the son of @ing Penda, received the
faith and sacraments of the truth# Being an excellent youth, and most &orthy of the title and person of a
(ing, he &as by his father elevated to the throne of that nation, and came to !s&y, (ing of the
=orthumbrians, reCuesting to have his daughter Elfieda given him to &ifeD but could not obtain his
desires unless he &ould embrace the faith of hrist, and be baptiEed, &ith the nation &hich he
governed# Ahen he heard the preaching of truth, the promise of the heavenly (ingdom, and the hope of
resurrection and future immortality, he declared that he &ould &illingly become a hristian, even
though he should be refused the virginD being chiefly prevailed on to receive the faith by @ing !s&y:s
son 'ifrid, &ho &as his relation and friend, and had married his sister yneherga, the daughter of @ing
Penda#
'ccordingly he &as baptiEed by Bishop Finan, &ith all his earls and soldiers, and their servants,
that came along &ith him, at a noted village belonging to the (ing, called 't the Aall# 'nd having
received four priests, &ho for their erudition and good life &ere deemed proper to instruct and baptiEe
,66
his nation, he returned home &ith much Foy# .hese priests &ere edd and 'dda, and Betti and DiumaD
the last of &hom &as by nation a <cot, the others English# 'dda &as brother to ?tta, &hom &e have
mentioned before, a reno&ned priest, and abbot of the monastery of >ateshead# .he aforesaid priests,
arriving in the province &ith the prince, preached the &ord, and &ere &illingly listened toD and many,
as &ell of the nobility as the common sort, renouncing the abominations of idolatry, &ere baptiEed
daily#
=or did @ing Penda obstruct the preaching of the &ord among his people, the ;ercians, if any
&ere &illing to hear itD but, on the contrary, he hated and despised those &hom he perceived not to
perform the &or(s of faith, &hen they had once received the faith, saying, G.hey &ere contemptible
and &retched &ho did not obey their >od, in &hom they believed#G .his &as begun t&o years before
the death of @ing Penda#
But &hen he &as slain, and !s&y, the most hristian (ing, succeeded him in the throne, Diuma,
one of the aforesaid four priests, &as made bishop of the ;idland 'ngles, as also of the ;ercians,
being ordained by Bishop FinanD for the scarcity of priests &as the occasion that one prelate &as set
over t&o nations# Having in a short time gained many people to our 8ord, he died among the ;idland
'ngles, in the country called FeppingumD and eollach, of the <cottish nation, succeeded him in the
bishopric# .his prelate, not long after, left his bishopric, and returned to the island of Hii, &hich, among
the <cots, &as the chief and head of many monasteries# His successor in the bishopric &as .rumhere, a
religious man, and educated in the monastic life of the English nation, but ordained bishop by the
<cots, &hich happened in the days of @ing Aulfhere, of &hom &e shall spea( hereafter#
CHAPTER XXII
H!A .HE E'<. <'5!=< '>'+= /EE+2ED .HE F'+.H, AH+H .HEB H'D BEF!/E
'<. !FF ?=DE/ @+=> <+>EBE/., .H/!?>H .HE P/E'H+=> !F EDD# H'#D# )30#I
'. that time, also, the East <axons, at the instance of @ing !s&y, again received the faith, &hich
they had formerly cast off &hen they expelled ;ellitus, their bishop# For <igebert, &ho reigned next to
<igebert surnamed .he 8ittle, &as then (ing of that nation, and a friend to @ing !s&y, &ho, &hen he
often came to him into the province of the =orthumbrians, used to endeavor to persuade him that those
could not be gods that had been made by the hands of menD that a stoc( or a stone could not be proper
matter to form a god, the remains &hereof &ere either burned in the fire, or framed into any vessels for
,60
the use of men, or else &ere cast out as refuse, trampled on and bruised to dust# .hat >od is rather to be
understood as of incomprehensible maFesty and invisible to human eyes, almighty, eternal, the reator
of heaven and earth, and of man(indD &ho governs and &ill Fudge the &orld in righteousnessD &hose
everlasting seat is in heaven, and not in vile and fading matterD and that it ought in reason to be
concluded, that all those &ho have learned and obeyed the &ill of Him by &hom they &ere created,
&ill receive from Him eternal re&ards# @ing !s&y having often, in a friendly and brotherly manner,
said this and much more to the li(e effect, at length, &ith the consent of his friends, he believed, and
after consulting &ith those about him, and exhorting them, they all agreed and gave their approbation,
and &ere baptiEed &ith him by Bishop FinanD in the (ing:s village above spo(en of, &hich is called 't
the Aall, because it is close by the &all &ith &hich the /omans formerly divided the island of Britain,
at the distance of t&elve miles from the eastern sea#
@ing <igebert, being no& become a citiEen of the eternal (ingdom, returned to the seat of his
temporal (ingdom, reCuesting of !s&y that he &ould give him some teachers, &ho might convert his
nation to the faith of hrist, and baptiEe them# !s&y, accordingly, sending into the province of the
;idland 'ngles, invited to him the man of >od, edd, and, giving him another priest for his
companion, sent them to preach to the East <axons# Ahen these t&o, traveling to all parts of that
country, had gathered a numerous church to our 8ord, it happened that edd returned home, and came
to the church of 8indisfarne to confer &ith Bishop FinanD &ho, finding ho& successful he had been in
the &or( of the >ospel, made him bishop of the church of the East <axons, calling to him t&o other
bishops to assist at the ordination# edd, having received he episcopal dignity, returned to his province,
and pursuing the &or( he had begun &ith more ample authority, built churches in several places,
ordaining priests and deacons to assist him in the &or( of faith, and the ministry of baptiEing,
especially in the city &hich, in the language of the <axons, is called +thancestir, as also in that &hich is
named .ilaburgD the first of &hich places is on the ban( of the Pante, the other on the ban( of the
.hames, &here, gathering a floc( of servants of hrist, he taught them to observe the discipline of
regular life, as far as those rude people &ere then capable#
Ahilst the doctrine of everlasting life &as thus, for a considerable time, ma(ing progress, to the
Foy of the (ing and of all the people, it happened that the (ing, at the instigation of the enemy of all
good men, &as murdered by his o&n (indred# .hey &ere t&o brothers &ho did this &ic(ed deedD and
being as(ed &hat had moved them to it, had nothing else to ans&er, but that they had been incensed
against the (ing, and hated him, because he &as too apt to spare his enemies, and easily to forgive the
,61
&rongs they had done him, upon their entreaty# <uch &as the crime for &hich the (ing &as (illed,
because he observed the precepts of the >ospel &ith a devout heart in &hich innocent death, ho&ever,
his real offence &as also punished, according to the prediction of the man of >od# For one of those
earls that murdered him &as unla&fully married, &hich the bishop not being able to prevent or correct,
he excommunicated him, and commanded all that &ould give ear to him not to enter &ithin his house,
nor to eat of his meat# .he (ing made slight of this inhibition, and being invited by the earl, &ent to an
entertainment at his house, and &hen he &as going thence, the bishop met him# .he (ing, beholding
him, immediately dismounted from his horse, trembling, and fell do&n at his feet, begging pardon for
his offenceD for the bishop, &ho &as li(e&ise on horsebac(, had also alighted# Being much incensed, he
touched the (ing, lying in that humble posture, &ith the rod he held in his hand, and using his pontifical
authority, spo(e thus$ G+ say to you, forasmuch as you &ould not refrain from the house of that &ic(ed
and condemned person, you shall die in that very house#G Bet it is to be believed, that such a death of a
religious man not only blotted out his offence, but also added to his meritD because it happened on
account of his pious observance of the commands of hrist#
<igebert &as succeeded in the (ingdom by <uidhelm, the son of <exbald, &ho &as baptiEed by the
same edd, in the province of the East 'ngles, at the (ing:s countryseat, called /endelsham, that is,
/endil:s ;ansionD and Ethel&ald, (ing of the East 'ngles, brother to 'nna, (ing of the same people,
&as his godfather#
CHAPTER XXIII
B+<H!P EDD, H'2+=> ' P8'E >+2E= H+; BB @+=> E.HE8A'8D, !=<E/'.E<
.HE <';E .! !?/ 8!/D A+.H P/'BE/ '=D F'<.+=># !F H+< DE'.H# H'#D# )34#I
.HE same man of >od, &hilst he &as bishop among the East <axons, &as also &ont several times
to visit his o&n country, =orthumberland, to ma(e exhortations# Ethel&ald, the son of @ing !s&ald,
&ho reigned among the Deiri, finding him a holy, &ise, and good man, desired him to accept some land
to build a monastery, to &hich the (ing himself might freCuently resort, to offer his prayers and hear the
&ord, and be buried in it &hen he diedD for he believed that he should receive much benefit by the
prayers of those &ho &ere to serve >od in that place# .he (ing had before &ith him a brother of the
same bishop, called elin, a man no less devoted to >od, &ho, being a priest, &as &ont to administer to
him the &ord and the sacraments of the faithD by &hose means he chiefly came to (no& and love the
bishop# .hat prelate, therefore, complying &ith the (ing:s desires, chose himself a place to build a
,63
monastery among craggy and distant mountains, &hich loo(ed more li(e lur(ing"places for robbers and
retreats for &ild beasts, than habitations for menD to the end that, according to the prophecy of +saiah,
G+n the habitations &here before dragons d&elt, might be grass &ith reeds and rushesD G that is, that the
fruits of good &or( should spring up, &here before beasts &ere &ont to d&ell, or men to live after the
manner of beasts#
.he man of >od, desiring first to cleanse the place for the monastery from former crimes, by
prayer and fasting, that it might become acceptable to our 8ord, and so to lay the foundations,
reCuested of the (ing that he &ould give him leave to reside there all the approaching time of 8ent to
pray# 'll &hich days, except <undays, be fasted till the evening, according to custom, and then too( no
other sustenance than a little bread, one hen:s egg, and a little mil( mixed &ith &ater# .his, he said, &as
the custom of those of &hom he had learned the rule of regular disciplineD first, to consecrate to our
8ord, by prayer and fasting, the places &hich they had ne&ly received for building a monastery or a
church# Ahen there &ere ten days of 8ent still remainingD there came a messenger to call him to the
(ingD and he, that the religious &or( might not be intermitted, on account of the (ing:s affairs, entreated
his priest ynebil, &ho &as also his o&n brother, to complete that &hich had been so piously begun#
ynebil readily complied, and &hen the time of fasting and prayer &as over, he there built the
monastery, &hich is no& called 8estingnu, and established therein the religious customs of 8indisfarne,
&here they had been educated#
edd for many years having charge of the bishopric in the aforesaid province, and of this
monastery, over &hich he had placed superiors, it happened that he came thither at a time &hen there
&as a mortality, and fell sic( and died# He &as first buried in the open airD but in the process of time a
church &as built of stone in the monastery, in honor of the ;other of >od, and his body interred in the
same, on the right hand of the altar#
.he bishop left the monastery to be governed after him by his brother had, &ho &as after&ards
made bishop, as shall be said in its place# For the four brothers &e have mentioned, edd and ynebil,
elia and eadda HhadI, &hich is a rare thing to be met &ith, &ere all celebrated priests of our 8ord,
and t&o of them also came to be bishops# Ahen the brethren &ho &ere in his monastery, in the
province of the East <axons, heard that the bishop &as dead in the province of the =orthumbrians,
about thirty men of that monastery came thither, being desirous either to live near the body of their
father, if it should please >od, or to die there and be buried# Being lovingly received by their brethren
,6)
and fello& soldiers in hrist, all of them died there by the aforesaid pestilence, except one little boy,
&ho &as delivered from death by his father:s prayers# For &hen he bad lived there a long time after, and
applied himself to the reading of sacred &rit, he &as informed that he had not been regenerated by the
&ater of baptism, and being then &ashed in the laver of salvation, he &as after&ards promoted to the
order of priesthood, and proved very useful to many in the church# + do not doubt that he &as delivered
at the point of death, as + have said, by the intercession of his father, &hilst he &as embracing his
beloved corpse, that so he might himself avoid eternal death, and by teaching, exhibit the ministry of
life and salvation to others of the brethren#
CHAPTER XXIV
@+=> PE=D' BE+=> <8'+=, .HE ;E/+'=< /EE+2ED .HE F'+.H !F H/+<., '=D
!<AB >'2E P!<<E<<+!=< '=D .E//+.!/+E< .! >!D, F!/ B?+8D+=> ;!='<.E/+E<,
+= '@=!A8ED>;E=. F!/ .HE 2+.!/B !B.'+=ED# H'#D# )33#I
'. this time, @ing !s&y &as exposed to the fierce and intolerable irruptions of Penda, (ing of the
;ercians, &hom &e have so often mentioned, and &ho had slain his brotherD at length, necessity
compelling him, he promised to give him greater gifts than can he imagined, to purchase peaceD
provided that the (ing &ould return home, and cease to destroy the provinces of his (ingdom# .hat
perfidious (ing refused to grant his reCuest, and resolved to extirpate all his nation, from the highest to
the lo&estD &hereupon he had recourse to the protection of the Divine goodness for deliverance from
his barbarous and impious foes, and binding himself by a vo&, said, G+f the pagan &ill not accept of our
gifts, let us offer them to Him that &ill, the 8ord our >od#G He then vo&ed, that if he should come off
victorious, he &ould dedicate his daughter to our 8ord in holy virginity, and give t&elve farms to build
monasteries# 'fter this he gave battle &ith a very small army against superior forces$ indeed, it is
reported that the pagans had three times the number of menD for they had thirty legions, led on by most
noted commanders# @ing !s&y and his son 'ifrid met them &ith a very small army, as has been said,
but confiding in the conduct of hristD his other son, Egfrid, &as then (ept an hostage at the court of
Mueen yn&ise, in the province of the ;ercians# @ing !s&ald:s son Ethei&ald, &ho ought to have
assisted them, &as on the enemy:s side, and led them on to fight against his country and uncleD though,
during the battle, he &ithdre&, and a&aited the event in a place of safety# .he engagement beginning,
the pagans &ere defeated, the thirty commanders, and those &ho had come to his assistance &ere put to
flight, and almost all of them slainD among &hom &as Ethelbere, brother and successor to 'nna, (ing of
,6*
the East 'ngles, &ho had been the occasion of the &ar, and &ho &as no& (illed, &ith all his soldiers#
.he battle &as fought near the river 2in&ed, &hich then, &ith the great rains, had not only filled its
channel, hut overflo&ed its ban(s, so that many more &ere dro&ned in the flight than destroyed by the
s&ord#
.hen @ing !s&y, pursuant to the vo& he had made to our 8ord, returned than(s to >od for the
victory, and gave his daughter Elfieda, &ho &as scarce a year old, to he consecrated to Him in
perpetual virginityD delivering also t&elve small portions of land, &herein earthly &arfare should cease,
and in &hich there should be a perpetual residence and subsistence for mon(s to follo& the &arfare
&hich is spiritual, and pray diligently for the peace of his nation# !f those possessions six &ere in the
province of the Deiri, and the other six in that of the Bernicians# Each of the said possessions contained
ten families, that is, a hundred and t&enty in all# .he aforesaid daughter of @ing !s&y, thus dedicated
to >od, &as put into the monastery, called Heruteu, or, G.he island of the Hart,G &here, at that time, the
'bbess Hilda presided, and, t&o years after, having acCuired a possession of ten families, at the place
called <treaneshalch, she built a monastery there, in &hich the aforesaid (ing:s daughter &as first a
learner, and after&ards a teacher of the monastic lifeD till, being sixty years of age, the blessed virgin
departed to the nuptials and embraces of her heavenly bridegroom# +n that same monastery, she and her
father, !s&y, her mother, Eanfleda, her mother:s father, Ed&in, and many other noble persons, are
buried in the church of the holy 'postle Peter# @ing !s&y concluded the aforesaid &ar in the country
of 8oidis, in the thirteenth year of his reign, on the ,3th of =ovember, to the great benefit of both
nationsD for he both delivered his o&n people from the hostile depredations of the pagans, and, having
cut off the &ic(ed (ing:s head, converted the ;ercians and the adFacent provinces to the grace of the
hristian faith#
Diuma &as made the first bishop of the ;ercians, as also of 8indisfarne and the ;idland 'ngles,
as has been said above, and he died and &as buried among the ;idland 'ngles# .he second &as
eollach, &ho, Cuitting the episcopal office &hilst still alive, returned into <cotland, to &hich nation he
belonged as &ell as Bishop Diuma# .he third &as .rumhere, an Englishman, but taught and ordained
by the <cots, being abbot in the monastery that is called +ngethlingum, and is the place &here @ing
!s&in &as (illed, as has been said aboveD for Mueen Eanfleda, his (ins&oman, in satisfaction for his
unFust death, begged of @ing !s&y that he &ould give the aforesaid servant of >od a place there to
build a monastery, because he also &as (insman to the slaughtered (ingD in &hich monastery continual
prayers should be offered up for the eternal health of the (ings, both of him that had been slain, and of
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him that caused it to be done# .he same @ing !s&y governed the ;ercians, as also the people of the
other southern provinces, three years after he had slain @ing PendaD and he li(e&ise subdued the
greater part of the Picts to the dominion of the English#
't &hich time he gave to the above"mentioned Peada, son to @ing Penda, &ho &as his (insman,
the (ingdom of the <outhern ;ercians, consisting, as is reported, of 3--- families, divided by the river
.rent from the =orthern ;ercians, &hose land contained *--- familiesD but that Peada &as the next
spring very &ic(edly (illed, by the treachery, as is said, of his &ife, during the very time of celebrating
Easter# .hree years after the death of @ing Penda, +mmin, and Eafa, and Eadbert, generals of the
;ercians, rebelled against @ing !s&y, setting up for their (ing, Aulfhere, son to the said Penda, a
youth, &hom they had (ept concealedD and expelling the officers of the foreign (ing, they at once
recovered their liberty and their landsD and being thus free, together &ith their (ingD they reFoiced to
serve hrist the true @ing, that they might obtain the everlasting (ingdom &hich is in heaven# .his
(ing governed the ;ercians seventeen years, and had for his first bishop .rumhere, above spo(en ofD
the second 9arumanD the third hadD the fourth Ainfrid# 'll these, succeeding each other regularly
under @ing Aulfhere, discharged the episcopal duties to the ;ercian nation#
CHAPTER XXV
H!A .HE !=./!2E/<B '/!<E 'B!?. .HE D?E .+;E !F @EEP+=> E'<.E/,
A+.H .H!<E .H'. ';E !?. !F <!.8'=D# H'#D# )36#I
+= the meantime, Bishop 'idan being dead, Finan, &ho &as ordained and sent by the <cots,
succeeded him in the bishopric, and built a church in the +sle of 8indisfarne, the episcopal seeD
nevertheless, after the manner of the <cots, he made it, not of stone, hut of he&n oa(, and covered it
&ith reedsD and the same &as after&ards dedicated in honor of <t# Peter the 'postle, by the reverend
'rchbishop .heodore# Eadbert, also bishop of that place, too( off the thatch, and covered it, both roof
and &alls, &ith plates of lead#
't this time, a great and freCuent controversy happened about the observance of EasterD those that
came from @ent or France affirming, that the <cots (ept Easter <unday contrary to the custom of the
universal church# 'mong them &as a most Eealous defender of the true Easter, &hose name &as /onan,
a <cot by nation, but instructed in ecclesiastical truth, either in France or +taly, &ho, disputing &ith
Finan, convinced many, or at least induced them to ma(e a more strict inCuiry after the truthD yet he
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could not prevail upon Finan, but, on the contrary, made him the more inveterate by reproof, and a
professed opposer of the truth, being of a hot and violent temper# 9ames, formerly the deacon of the
venerable 'rchbishop Paulinus, as has been said above, (ept the true and atholic Easter, &ith all those
that he could persuade to adopt the right &ay# Mueen Eanfleda and her follo&ers also observed the
same as she had seen practiced in @ent, having &ith her a @entish priest that follo&ed the atholic
mode, &hose name &as /omanus# .hus it is said to have happened in those times that Easter &as t&ice
(ept in one yearD and that &hen the (ing having ended the time of fasting, (ept his Easter, the Cueen
and her follo&ers &ere still fasting, and celebrating Palm <unday# .his difference about the observance
of Easter, &hilst 'idan lived, &as patiently tolerated by all men, as being sensible, that though he could
not (eep Easter contrary to the custom of those &ho had sent him, yet he industriously labored to
practice all &or(s of faith, piety, and love, according to the custom of all holy menD for &hich reason he
&as deservedly beloved by allD even by those &ho differed in opinion concerning Easter, and &as held
in veneration, not only by indifferent persons, but even by the bishops, Hononus of anterbury, and
Felix of the East 'ngles#
But after the death of Finan, &ho succeeded him, &hen olman, &ho &as also sent out of
<cotland, came to be bishop, a greater controversy arose about the observance of Easter, and the rules
of ecclesiastical life# Ahereupon this dispute began naturally to influence the thoughts and hearts of
many, &ho feared, lest having received the name of hristians, they might happen to run, or to have
run, in vain# .his reached the ears of @ing !s&y and his son 'lfridD for !s&y, having been instructed
and baptiEed by the <cots, and being very perfectly s(illed in their language, thought nothing better
than &hat they taught# But 'lfrid, having been instructed in hristianity by Ailfrid, a most learned
man, &ho had first gone to /ome to learn the ecclesiastical doctrine, and spent much time at 8yons
&ith Dalfin, archbishop of France, from &hom also he had received the ecclesiastical tonsure, rightly
thought this man:s doctrine ought to be preferred before all the traditions of the <cots# For this reason
he had also given him a monastery of forty families, at a place called /hypumD &hich place, not long
before, he had given to those that follo&ed the system of the <cots for a monasteryD but forasmuch as
they after&ards, being left to their choice, prepared to Cuit the place rather than alter their opinion, he
gave the place to him, &hose life and doctrine &ere &orthy of it#
'gilbert, bishop of the Aest <axons, above"mentioned, a friend to @ing 'lfrid and to 'bbot
Aufrid, had at that time come into the province of the =orthumbrians, and &as ma(ing some stay
among themD at the reCuest of 'lfrid, made Ailfrid a priest in his monastery# He had in his company a
,0-
priest, &hose name &as 'gatho# .he controversy being there started, concerning Easter, or the tonsure,
or other ecclesiastical affairs, it &as agreed, that a synod should be held in the monastery of
<treaneshaich, &hich signifies the Bay of the 8ighthouse, &here the 'bbess Hilda, a &oman devoted to
>od, then presidedD and that there this controversy should be decided# .he (ings, both father and son,
came thither, Bishop olman Aith his <cottish cler(s, and 'gilbert &ith the priests 'gatho and Ailfrid,
9ames and /omanus &ere on their sideD but the 'bbess Hilda and her follo&ers &ere for the <cots, as
&as also the venerable Bishop edd, long before ordained by the <cots, as has been said above, and he
&as in that council a most careful interpreter for both parties#
@ing !s&y first observed, that it behooved those &ho served one >od to observe the same rule of
lifeD and as they all expected the same (ingdom in heaven, so they ought not to differ in the celebration
of the Divine mysteriesD but rather to inCuire &hich &as the truest tradition, that the same might be
follo&ed by allD he then commanded his bishop, olman, first to declare &hat the custom &as &hich he
observed, and &hence it derived its origin# .hen olman said, G.he Easter &hich + (eep, + received
from my elders, &ho sent me bishop hitherD all our forefathers, men beloved of >od, are (no&n to have
(ept it after the same mannerD and that the same may not seem to any contemptible or &orthy to be
reFected, it is the same &hich <t# 9ohn the Evangelist, the disciple beloved of our 8ord, &ith all the
churches over &hich he presided, is recorded to have observed#G Having said thus much, and more to
the li(e effect, the (ing commanded 'gilbert to sho& &hence his custom of (eeping Easter &as
derived, or on &hat authority it &as grounded# 'gilbert ans&ered, G+ desire that my disciple, the priest
Aufrid, may spea( in my steadD because &e both concur &ith the other follo&ers of the ecclesiastical
tradition that are here present, and he can better explain our opinion in the English language, than + can
by an interpreter#G
.hen Ailfrid, being ordered by the (ing to spea(, delivered himself thus $" G.he Easter &hich &e
observe, &e sa& celebrated by all at /ome, &here the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, lived, taught,
suffered, and &ere buriedD &e sa& the same done in +taly and in France, &hen &e traveled through
those countries for pilgrimage and prayer# Ae found the same practiced in 'frica, 'sia, Egypt, >reece,
and all the &orld, &herever the church of hrist is spread abroad, through several nations and tongues,
at one and the same timeD except only these and their accomplices in obstinacy, + mean the Picts and the
Britons, &ho foolishly, in these t&o remote islands of the &orld, and only in part even of them, oppose
all the rest of the universe# Ahen he had so said, olman ans&ered, G+t is strange that you &ill call our
labors foolish, &herein &e follo& the example of so great an apostle, &ho &as thought &orthy to lay
,0,
his head on our 8ord:s bosom, &hen all the &orld (no&s him to have lived most &isely#G Ailfrid
replied, GFar be it from us to charge 9ohn &ith folly, for he literally observed the precepts of the 9e&ish
la&, &hilst the church still 9udaiEed in many points, and the apostles &ere not able at once to cast off
all the observances of the la& &hich had been instituted by >od# +n &hich &ay it is necessary that all
&ho come to the faith should forsa(e the idols &hich &ere invented by devils, that they might not give
scandal to the 9e&s that &ere among the >entiles# For this reason it &as, that Paul circumcised
.imothy, that he offered sacrifice in the temple, that he shaved his head &ith 'Cuila and Priscilla at
orinthD for no other advantage than to avoid giving scandal to the 9e&s# Hence it &as, that 9ames said,
to the same Paul, :Bou see, brother, ho& many thousands of the 9e&s have believedD and they are all
Eealous for the la&# 'nd yet, at this time, the >ospel spreading throughout the &orld, it is needless, nay,
it is not la&ful, for the faithful either to be circumcised, or to offer up to >od sacrifices of flesh#: <o
9ohn, pursuant to the custom of the la&, began the celebration of the feast of Easter, on the fourteenth
day of the first month, in the evening, not regarding &hether the same happened on a <aturday, or any
other day# But &hen Peter preached at /ome, being mindful that our 8ord arose from the dead, and
gave the &orld the hopes of resurrection, on the first day after the <abbath, he understood that Easter
ought to be observed, so as al&ays to stay till the rising of the moon on the fourteenth day of the first
moon, in the evening, according to the custom and precepts of the la&, even as 9ohn did# 'nd &hen that
came, if the 8ord:s day, then called the first day after the <abbath, &as the next day, he began that very
evening to (eep Easter, as &e all do at this day# But if the 8ord:s day did not fall the next morning after
the fourteenth moon, but on the sixteenth, or the seventeenth, or any other moon till the t&enty"first, he
&aited for that, and on the <aturday before, in the evening, began to observe the holy solemnity of
Easter# .hus it came to pass, that Easter <unday &as only (ept from the fifteenth moon to the t&enty"
first# =or does this evangelical and apostolic tradition abolish the la&, but rather fulfil itD the command
being to (eep the Passover from the fourteenth moon of the first month in the evening to the t&enty"
first moon of the same month in the eveningD &hich observance all the successors of <t# 9ohn in 'sia,
since his death, and all the church throughout the &orld, have since follo&edD and that this is the true
Easter, and the only one to be (ept by the faithful, &as not ne&ly decreed by the council of =ice, but
only confirmed afreshD as the hurch History informs us#
.hus it appears, that you, olman, neither follo& the example of 9ohn, as you imagine, nor that of
Peter, &hose traditions you (no&ingly contradictD and that you neither agree &ith the la& nor the
>ospel in the (eeping of your Easter# For 9ohn, (eeping the Paschal time according to the decree of the
,06
;osaic la&, had no regard to the first day after the <abbath, &hich you do not practice, &ho celebrate
Easter only on the first day after the <abbath# Peter (ept Easter <unday bet&een the fifteenth and the
t&enty"first moon, &hich you do not, but (eep Easter <unday from the fourteenth to the t&entieth
moonD so that you often begin Easter on the thirteenth moon in the evening, &hereof neither the la&
made any mention, nor did our 8ord, the 'uthor and >iver of the >ospel, on that day, but on the
fourteenth, either eat the old passover in the evening, or deliver the sacraments of the =e& .estament,
to be celebrated by the church, in memory of his passion# Besides, in your celebration of Easter, you
utterly exclude the t&enty"first moon, &hich the la& ordered to be principally observed# .hus, as + said
before, you agree neither &ith 9ohn nor Peter, nor &ith the la&, nor the >ospel, in the celebration of the
greatest festival#G
.o this olman reFoined$ GDid 'natolius, a holy man, and much commended in church history, act
contrary to the la& and the >ospel, &hen he &rote, that Easter &as to be celebrated from the fourteenth
to the t&entiethJ +s it to be believed that our most reverend Father olumba and his successors, men
beloved by >od, &ho (ept Easter after the same manner, thought or acted contrary to the Divine
&ritingsJ Ahereas there &ere many among them, &hose sanctity is testified by heavenly signs and the
&or(ing of miracles, &hose life, customs, and discipline + never cease to follo&, not Cuestioning their
being saints in heaven#G
G+t is evident,G said Aufrid, Gthat 'natolius &as a most holy, learned, and commendable manD but
&hat have you to do &ith him, since you do not observe his decreesJ For he, follo&ing the rule of truth
in his Easter, appointed a revolution of nineteen years, &hich either you are ignorant of, or if you (no&
it, though it is (ept by the &hole church of hrist, yet you despise it# He so computed the fourteenth
moon in the Easter of our 8ord, that according to the custom of the Egyptians, he ac(no&ledged it to be
the fifteenth moon in the eveningD so in li(e manner he assigned the t&entieth to Easter"<unday, as
believing that to be the t&enty"first moon, &hen the sun had set, &hich rule and distinction of his it
appears you are ignorant of, in that you sometimes (eep Easter before the full of the moon, that is, on
the thirteenth day# oncerning your Father olumba and his follo&ers, &hose sanctity you say you
imitate, and &hose rules and precepts you observe, &hich have been confirmed by signs from heaven, +
may ans&er, that &hen many, on the day of Fudgment, shall say to our 8ord, :.hat in his name they
prophesied, and cast out devils, and &rought many &onders,: our 8ord &ill reply, :.hat He never (ne&
them#: But far be it from me, that + say so of your fathers, because it is much more Fust to believe &hat
is good, than &hat is evil, of persons &hom one does not (no&# Aherefore + do not deny those to have
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been >od:s servants, and beloved by Him, &ho &ith rustic simplicity, but pious intentions, have
themselves loved Him# =or do + thin( that such (eeping of Easter &as very preFudicial to them, as long
as none came to sho& them a more perfect ruleD and yet + do believe that they, if any catholic adviser
had come among them, &ould have as readily follo&ed his admonitions, as they are (no&n to have
(ept those commandments of >od, &hich they had learned and (ne&#
GBut as for you and your companions, you certainly sin, if, having heard the decrees of the
'postolic <ee, and of the universal church, and that the same is confirmed by holy &rit, you refuse to
follo& themD for, though your fathers &ere holy, do you thin( that their small number, in a corner of the
remotest island, is to be preferred before the universal church of hrist throughout the &orldJ 'nd if
that olumba of yours Nand, + may say, ours also, if he &as hrist:s servantO, &as a holy man and
po&erful in miracles, yet could he be preferred before the most blessed prince of the apostles, to &hom
our 8ord said, :.hou art Peter, and upon this roc( + &ill build my church, and the gates of hell shall not
prevail against it, and to thee + &ill give the (eys of the (ingdom of heavenJ:G
Ahen Aufrid had spo(en thus, the (ing said, G+s it true, olman, that these &ords &ere spo(en to
Peter by our 8ordJG He ans&ered, G+t is true, ! (ing G .hen says he, Gan you sho& any such po&er
given to your olumbaJG olman ans&ered, G=one#G .hen added the (ing, GDo you both agree that
these &ords &ere principally directed to Peter, and that the (eys of heaven &ere given to him by our
8ordJG .hey both ans&ered, GAe do#G .hen the (ing concluded, G'nd + also say unto you, that he is the
door"(eeper, &hom + &ill not contradict, but &ill, as far as + (no& and am able, in all things obey his
decrees, lest, &hen + come to the gates of the (ingdom of heaven, there should be none to open them,
he being my adversary &ho is proved to have the (eys#G .he (ing having said this, all present, both
great and small, gave their assent, and renouncing the more imperfect institution, resolved to conform
to that &hich they found to be of better#
CHAPTER XXVI
!8;'=, BE+=> A!/<.ED, /E.?/=ED H!;ED .?D' <?EEDED H+; += .HE
B+<H!P/+D .HE <.'.E !F .HE H?/H ?=DE/ .H!<E .E'HE/<# H'#D# ))1#I
.HE disputation being ended, and the ompany bro(en up, 'gilbert returned home# olman,
perceiving that his doctrine &as reFected, and his sect despised, too( &ith him such as &ould not
comply &ith the atholic Easter and the tonsure Nfor there &as much controversy about that alsoO, and
,01
&ent bac( into <cotland, to consult &ith his people &hat &as to be done in this case# edd, forsa(ing
the practices of the <cots, returned to his bishopric, having submitted to the atholic observance of
Easter# .his disputation happened in the year of our 8ord:s incarnation ))1, &hich &as the t&enty"
second year of the reign of @ing !s&y, and the thirtieth of the episcopacy of the <cots among the
EnglishD for 'idan &as bishop seventeen years, Finan ten, and olman three#
Ahen olman &as gone bac( into his o&n country, >od:s servant, .uda, &as made bishop of the
=orthumbrians in his place, having been instructed and ordained bishop among the <outhern <cots,
having also the ecclesiastical tonsure of his cro&n, according to the custom of that province, and
observing the atholic time of Easter# He &as a good and religious man, but governed his church a very
short timeD he came out of <cotland &hilst olman &as yet bishop, and, both by &ord and example,
diligently taught all persons those things that appertain to the faith and truth# But Eata, &ho &as abbot
of the monastery of ;elrose, a most reverend and mee( man, &as appointed abbot over the brethren
that stayed in the church of 8indisfarne &hen the <cots &ent a&ayD they say, olman, upon his
departure, reCuested and obtained this of @ing !s&y, because Eata &as one of 'idan:s t&elve boys of
the English nation, &hom he received &hen first made bishop there, to be instructed in hristD for the
(ing much loved Bishop olman on account of his singular discretion# .his is the same Eata, &ho not
long after, &as made bishop of the same church of 8indisfarne# olman carried home &ith him part of
the bones of the most reverend Father 'idan, and left part of them in the church &here he had presided,
ordering them to be interred in the sacristy#
.he place &hich he governed sho&s ho& frugal he and his predecessors &ere, for there &ere very
fe& houses besides the church found at their departureD indeed, no more than &ere barely sufficient for
their daily residenceD they had also no money, but cattleD for if they received any money from rich
persons, they immediately gave it to the poorD there being no need to gather money, or provide houses
for the entertainment of the great men of the &orldD for such never resorted to the church, except to
pray and hear the &ord of >od# .he (ing himself, &hen opportunity offered, came only &ith five or six
servants, and having performed his devotions in the church, departed# But if they happened to ta(e a
repast there, they &ere satisfied &ith only the plain and daily food of the brethren, and reCuired no
moreD for the &hole care of those teachers &as to serve >od, not the &orld"to feed the soul, and not the
belly#
For this reason the religious habit &as at that time in great venerationD so that &heresoever any
,03
clergyman or mon( happened to come, he &as Foyfully received by all persons, as >od:s servantD and if
they chanced to meet him upon the &ay, they ran to him, and bo&ing, &ere glad to be signed &ith his
hand, or blessed &ith his mouth# >reat attention &as also paid to their exhortationsD and on <undays
they floc(ed eagerly to the church, or the monasteries, not to feed their bodies, but to hear the &ord of
>odD and if any priest happened to come into a village, the inhabitants floc(ed together to hear from
him the &ord of lifeD for the priests and clergymen &ent into the village on no other account than to
preach, baptiEe, visit the sic(, and, in fe& &ords, to ta(e care of soulsD and they &ere so free from
&orldly avarice that none of them received lands and possessions for building monasteries, unless they
&ere compelled to do so by the temporal authoritiesD &hich custom &as for some time after observed in
all the churches of the =orthumbrians# But enough has no& been said on this subFect#
CHAPTER XXVII
E>HE/., ' H!8B ;'= !F .HE E=>8+<H ='.+!=, 8ED ' ;!='<.+ 8+FE +=
+/E8'=D# H'#D# ))1#I
+= the same year of our 8ord:s incarnation, ))1, there happened an eclipse of the sun, on the third
of ;ay, about ten o:cloc( in the morning# +n the same year, a sudden pestilence also depopulated the
southern coasts of Britain and after&ards extending into the province of the =orthumbrians, ravaged
the country far and near, and destroyed a great multitude of men# .o &hich plague the aforesaid priest
.uda fell a victim, and &as honorably buried in the monastery of Pegnaleth# .his pestilence did no less
harm in the island of +reland# ;any of the nobility, and of the lo&er ran(s of the English nation, &ere
there at that time, &ho, in the days of the Bishops Finan and olman, forsa(ing their native island,
retired thither, either for the sa(e of Divine studies, or of a more continent lifeD and some of them
presently devoted themselves to a monastical life, others chose rather to apply themselves to study,
going about from one master:s cell to another# .he <cots &illingly received them all, and too( care to
supply them &ith food, as also to furnish them &ith boo(s to read, and their teaching, gratis#
'mong these &ere Etheihun and Eghert, t&o youths of great capacity, of the English nobility# .he
former of &hom &as brother to Ethel&in, a man no less beloved by >od, &ho also after&ards &ent
over into +reland to study, and having been &ell instructed, returned into his o&n country, and being
made bishop in the province of 8indsey, long governed that church &orthily and creditably# .hese t&o
being in the monastery &hich in the language of the <cots is called /athmelsigi, and having lost all
their companions, &ho &ere either cut off by the mortality, or dispersed into other places, fell both
,0)
desperately sic( of the lame distemper, and &ere grievously afflicted# !f these, Egbert Nas + &as
informed by a priest venerable for his age, and of great veracity, &ho declared he had heard those
things from his o&n mouthO, concluding that he &as at the point of death, &ent out of his chamber,
&here the sic( lay, in the morning, and sitting alone in a convenient place, began seriously to reflect
upon his past actions, and, being full of compunction at the remembrance of his sins, bede&ed his face
&ith tears, and prayed fervently to >od that he might not die yet, before he could ma(e amends for the
offences &hich he had committed in his infancy and younger years, or might further exercise himself in
good &or(s# He also made a vo& that he &ould, for the sa(e of >od, live in a strange place, so as never
to return into the island of Britain, &here he &as bornD that besides the canonical times of singing
psalms, he &ould, unless prevented by corporeal infirmity, say the &hole Psalter daily to the praise of
>odD and that he &ould every &ee( fast one &hole day and a night# /eturning home, after his tears,
prayers, and vo&s, he found his companion asleep, and going to bed himself, began to compose himself
to rest# Ahen he had lain Cuiet a&hile, his comrade a&a(ing, loo(ed on him, and said, G'las, Brother
Eghert, &hat have you doneJ + &as in hopes that &e should have entered together into life everlastingD
but (no& that &hat you prayed for is granted#G For he had learned in a vision &hat the other had
reCuested, and that his prayer &as granted#
+n short, Ethelhun died the next nightD but Eghert sha(ing off his distemper, recovered and lived a
long time after to grace the priestly office, &hich he had received, by his &orthy behaviorD and after
much increase of virtue, according to his desire, he at length, in the year of our 8ord:s incarnation *64,
being ninety years of age, departed to the heavenly (ingdom# He led his life in great perfection of
humility, mee(ness, continence, simplicity, and Fustice# .hus he &as a great benefactor, both to his o&n
nation, and to those of the <cots and Picts among &hom he lived a stranger, by his example of life, his
industry in teaching, his authority in reproving, and his piety in giving a&ay much of &hat he received
from the bounty of the rich# He also added this to his vo& above"mentionedD during 8ent, he &ould eat
but one meal a day, allo&ing himself nothing but bread and thin mil(, and even that by measure# .hat
mil(, ne& the day before, he (ept in a vessel, and the next day s(imming off the cream, dran( the rest,
as has been said, &ith a little bread# Ahich sort of abstinence he li(e&ise al&ays observed forty days
before the nativity of our 8ord, and as many after the solemnity of Pentecost, that is, of the
MuinCuagesima#
,0*
CHAPTER XXVIII
.?D' BE+=> DE'D, A+8F/+D A'< !/D'+=ED, += F/'=E '=D H'D, += .HE
P/!2+=E !F .HE AE<. <'5!=<, .! BE B+<H!P< !F .HE =!/.H?;B/+'=<# H'#D# ))3#I
+= the meantime, @ing 'lfrid sent the priest, Ailfrid, to the (ing of France, to be consecrated
bishop over him and his people# .hat prince sent him to be ordained by 'gilbert, &ho, as &as said
above, having left Britain, &as made bishop of the city of Paris, and by him Ailfrid &as honorably
consecrated, several bishops meeting together for that purpose in a village belonging to the (ing, called
ompiegne# He made some stay in the parts beyond the sea, after his consecration, and !s&y,
follo&ing the example of the (ing his son, sent a holy man, of modest behavior, &ell read in the
<cripture, and diligently practicing those things &hich he had learned therein, to be ordained bishop of
the church of Bor(# .his &as a priest called eadda HhadI, brother to the reverend prelate edd, of
&hom mention has been often made, and abbot of the monastery of 8estingau# Aith him the (ing also
sent his priest Eadhed, &ho &as after&ards, in the reign of Egfrid, made bishop of the church of /ipon#
!n arriving in @ent, they found that 'rchbishop Deusdedit &as departed this life, and no other prelate
as yet appointed in his placeD &hereupon they proceeded to the province of the Aest <axons, &here
Aini &as bishop, and by him the person above"mentioned &as consecrated bishopD t&o bishops of the
British nation, &ho (ept Easter <unday according to the canonical manner, from the fourteenth to the
t&entieth day of the moon, as has been said, being ta(en to assist at the ordinationD for at that time there
&as no other bishop in all Britain canonically ordained, besides that ;ini#
had, being thus consecrated bishop, began immediately to devote himself to ecclesiastical truth
and to chastityD to apply himself to humility, continence, and studyD to travel about, not on horsebac(,
but after the manner of the apostles, on foot, to preach the >ospel in to&ns, the open country, cottages,
villages, and castlesD for he &as one of the disciples of 'idan, and endeavored to instruct his people, by
the same actions and behavior, according to his and his brother edd:s example# Aufrid also being
made a bishop, came into Britain, and in li(e manner by his doctrine brought into the English hurch
many rules of atholic observance# Ahence it follo&ed, that the atholic institutions daily gained
strength, and all the <cots that d&elt in England either conformed to these, or returned into their o&n
country#
CHAPTER XXIX
H!A .HE P/+E<. A+>H'/D A'< <E=. F/!; B/+.'+= .! /!;E, .! BE
,07
!=<E/'.ED '/HB+<H!P, !F H+< DE'.H .HE/E, '=D !F .HE 8E..E/< !F .HE
'P!<.!8+ P!PE >+2+=> '= '!?=. .HE/E!F# H'#D# ))3#I
'. this time the most noble @ing !s&y, of the province of the =orthumbrians, and Egbert of
@ent, having consulted together about the state of the English hurch Nfor !s&y, though educated by
the <cots, perfectly understood that the /oman &as the atholic and 'postolic hurchO, &ith the
consent of the holy church of the English nation, accepted of a good man, and fit priest, to be made a
bishop, called Aighard, one of Bishop Deusdedit:s clergy, and sent him to /ome to be ordained bishop,
to the end that he, having received the degree of an archbishop, might ordain atholic prelates for the
churches of the English nation throughout all Britain# But Aighard, arriving at /ome, &as cut off by
death, before he could be consecrated bishop, and the follo&ing letter &as sent bac( into Britain to
@ing !s&y"
"To the most e'"ellent Lord, our son, 3swy, -ing of the &a'ons, *italian, bishop, servant of the
servants of God. Ae have received your excellency:s pleasing lettersD by reading &hereof &e
understand your most pious devotion and fervent love to obtain everlasting lifeD and that by the
protecting hand of >od you have been converted to the true and apostolic faith, hoping that as you
reign in your nation, so you &ill hereafter reign in hrist# Blessed be the nation, therefore, that has been
found &orthy to have such a &ise (ing and &orshiper of >odD forasmuch as he is not himself alone a
&orshiper of >od, but also studies day and night the conversion of all his subFects to the atholic and
apostolic faith, to the redemption of his o&n soul# Aho &ill not reFoice at hearing such pleasant thingsJ
Aho &ill not be delighted at such good &or(sJ Because your nation has believed in hrist the
'lmighty >od, according to the &ords of the Divine prophets, as it is &ritten in +saiah, : +n that day
there shall be a root of 9esse, &hich shall stand for an ensign of the peopleD to him shall the >entiles
see(#: 'nd again, : 8isten, ! isles, unto me, and hear(en ye people from afar#: 'nd a little after, :+t is a
light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of 9acob, and to restore the preserved
of +srael# + &ill also give thee for a light to the >entiles, that thou mayest be my salvation to the ends of
the earth#: 'nd again, :@ings shall see, princes also shall arise and &orship#: 'nd presently after, :+ have
given thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, and possess the desolate heritagesD that
thou mayest say to the prisoners, >o forthD to them that are in dar(ness, <ho& yourselves#: 'nd again, :
+ the 8ord have called thee in righteousness, and &ill hold thine hand, and &ill (eep thee, and give thee
for a light of the >entiles, and for a covenant of the peopleD to open the blind eyes, to bring out the
prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in dar(ness From the prison"house#:
,04
GBehold, most excellent son, ho& plain it is, not only of you, but also of all the nations of the
prophets, that they shall believe in hrist, the reator of all things# Aherefore it behooves your
highness, as being a member of hrist, in all things, continually to follo& the pious rule of the prince of
the apostles, in celebrating Easter, and in all things delivered by the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul,
&hose doctrine daily enlightens the hearts of believers, even as the t&o heavenly lights, the sun and
moon, daily illumine all the earth#G
'nd after some lines, &herein he spea(s of celebrating Easter uniformly throughout all the &orld,
he adds,"
GAe have not been able no& to find, considering the length of the Fourney, a man, docile, and
Cualified in all respects to be a bishop, according to the tenor of your letters# But as soon as such a
proper person shall be found, &e &ill send him &ell instructed to your country, that he may, by &ord of
mouth, and through the Divine oracles, &ith the assistance of >od, root out all the enemy:s tares
throughout your island# Ae have received the presents sent by your highness to the blessed prince of
the apostles, for an eternal memorial, and return you than(s, and al&ays pray for your safety &ith the
clergy of hrist# But he that brought these presents has been removed out of this &orld, and is buried at
the church of the apostles, for &hom &e have been much concerned, because he died here# Ho&ever,
&e have ordered the blessed gifts of the holy martyrs, that is, the relics of the blessed apostles, Peter
and Paul, and of the holy martyrs, 8aurentius, 9ohn, and Paul, and >regory, and Pancratius, to be
delivered to the bearers of these our letters, to be by them delivered to you# 'nd to your consort also,
our spiritual daughter, &e have by the aforesaid bearers sent a cross, &ith a gold (ey to it, made out of
the most holy chains of the apostles, Peter and PaulD at &hose pious endeavors all the 'postolic <ee
reFoices &ith us, as much as her pious &or(s shine and blossom before >od#
GAe therefore desire your highness &ill hasten, according to our &ish, to dedicate all your island
to hrist our >odD for you certainly have for your protector, the /edeemer of man(ind, our 8ord 9esus
hrist, &ho &ill prosper you in all things, that you may bring together a ne& people of hristD
establishing there the atholic and apostolic faith# For it is &ritten, : <ee( first the (ingdom of >od and
his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you#: .ruly your highness see(s, and shall no
doubt obtain, that all your islands shall be made subFect to you, as is our &ish and desire# <aluting your
excellency &ith fatherly affection, &e al&ays pray to the Divine >oodness, that it &ill vouchsafe to
assist you and yours in all good &or(s, that you may reign &ith hrist in the &orld to come# ;ay the
,1-
Heavenly >race preserve your excellency in safetyKG
+n the next boo( &e shall have a more suitable occasion to sho& you &ho &as found out and
consecrated in Aighard:s place#
CHAPTER XXX
.HE E'<. <'5!=<, D?/+=> ' PE<.+8E=E, /E.?/=+=> .! +D!8'./B, '/E
+;;ED+'.E8B B/!?>H. B'@ F/!; .HE+/ E//!/ BB .HE B+<H!P 9'/?;'=# H'#D#
))3#I
'. the same time, the @ings <ighere and <ebbi, though subFect to Aulfhere, (ing of the ;ercians,
governed the province of the East <axons after <uidhelm, of &hom &e have spo(en above# .hat
province laboring under the aforesaid mortality, <ighere, &ith that part of the people that &as under his
dominion, forsoo( the mysteries of the hristian faith, and turned apostate# For the (ing himself, and
many of the ommons and great men, being fond of this life, and not see(ing after another, or rather
not believing that there &as any other, began to restore the temples that had been abandoned, and to
adore idols, as if they might by those means be protected against the mortality# But <ebbi, his
companion and co"heir in the (ingdom, &ith his people, very devoutly preserved the faith &hich he had
embraced, and, as &e shall sho& hereafter, ended his faithful life &ith much felicity#
@ing Aulfhere, understanding that the faith of the province &as partly profaned, sent Bishop
9aruman, &ho &as successor to .rumhere, to orrect that error, and restore the province to the truth# He
proceeded &ith much discretion Nas + &as informed by a priest &ho bore him company in that Fourney,
and had been his fello& laborer in the &ordO, for he &as a religious and good man, and traveling
through all the ountry, far and near, reduced both the aforesaid (ing and people to the &ay of
righteousness, so that, either forsa(ing or destroying the temples and altars &hich they had erected,
they opened the churches, and reFoiced in confessing the name of hrist &hich they had opposed, being
more desirous to die in Him &ith the faith of the resurrection, than to live in the filth of apostasy among
their idols# .hese things being performed, the priests and teachers returned home &ith Foy#
,1,
Boo( +2
,16
CHAPTER I
DE?<DED+., '/HB+<H!P !F '=.E/B?/B, DB+=>, A+>H'/D A'< <E=. .!
/!;E .! <?EED H+; += .H'. D+>=+.BD B?. HE DB+=> .HE/E5 .HE!D!/E 2'<
!/D'+=ED '/HB+<H!P, '=D <E=. +=.! B/+.'+= A+.H .HE 'BB!. H'D/+'=# H'"D"
))1"I
+= the above"mentioned year of the aforesaid eclipse, &hich &as presently follo&ed by the
pestilence, in &hich also Bishop olman, being overcome by the unanimous consent of the atholics,
returned home, Deusdedit, the sixth bishop of the church of anterbury, died on the +1th of 9uly#
Erconbert, also, (ing of @ent, departed this life the same month and dayD leaving his (ingdom to his
son Egbert, &hich he held nine years# .he see then became vacant for some considerable time, until the
priest Aighard, a man s(illed in ecclesiastical discipline, of the English race, &as sent to /ome by the
said @ing EEbert, and !s&y, (ing of the =orthumbrians, as &as briefly mentioned in the foregoing
boo(, &ith a reCuest that he might be ordained bishop of the church of EnglandD sending at the same
time presents to the apostolic pope, and many vessels of gold and silver# 'rriving at /ome, &here
2italian presided at that time over the 'postolic <ee, and having made (no&n to the aforesaid pope the
occasion of his Fourney, he &as not long after snatched a&ay, &ith almost all his companions that &ent
&ith him, by a pestilence &hich happened at that time#
But the apostolic pope having consulted about that affair, made diligent inCuiry for some one to
send to be archbishop of the English churches# .here &as then in the =iridian monastery, &hich is not
far from the city of =aples in ampania, an abbot, called Hadrian, by nation an 'frican, &ell versed in
holy &rit, experienced in monastical and ecclesiastical discipline, and excellently s(illed both in the
>ree( and 8atin tongues# .he pope, sending for him, commanded him to accept of the bishopric, and
repair into BritainD he ans&ered, that he &as un&orthy of so great a dignity, but said he could name
another, &hose learning and age &ere fitter for the episcopal office# 'nd having proposed to the pope a
certain mon(, belonging to a neighbouring monastery of virgins, &hose name &as 'ndre&, he &as by
all that (ne& him Fudged &orthy of l a bishopricD but bodily infirmity prevented his being advanced to
the episcopal station# .hen again Hadrian &as pressed to accept of the bishopricD but he desired a
respite for a time, to see &hether he could find another fit to be ordained bishop#
.here &as at that time in /ome, a mon(, called .heodore, &ell (no&n to Hadrian, born at .arsus
in ilicia, a man &ell instructed in &orldly and Divine literature, as also in >ree( and 8atinD of (no&n
,10
probity of life, and venerable for age, being sixty"six years old# Hadrian offered him to the pope to be
ordained bishop, and prevailedD but upon these conditions, that he should conduct him into Britain,
because he had already travelled through France t&ice upon several occasions, and &as, therefore,
better acCuainted &ith the &ay, and &as, moreover, sufficiently provided &ith men of his o&nD as also
that being his fello& labourer in doctrine, he might ta(e special care that .heodore should not,
according to the custom of the >ree(s, introduce anything contrary to the true faith into the church
&here he presided# Hadrian, being ordained sub"deacon, &aited four months for his hair to gro&, that it
might be shorn into the shape of a cro&nD for he had before the tonsure of <t# Paul, the apostle, after the
manner of the eastern people# He &as ordained by Pope 2italian, in the year of our 8ord ))7, on
<unday, the 6)th of ;arch, and on the 6*th of ;ay &as sent &ith Hadrian into Britain#
.hey proceeded by sea to ;arseilles, and thence by land to 'rles, and having there delivered to
9ohn, archbishop of that city, Pope 2italian:s letters of recommendation &ere by him detained till Ebrin,
the (ing:s mayor of the palace, sent them a pass to go &here they pleased# Having received the same,
.heodore repaired to 'gilbert, bishop of Paris, of &hom &e have spo(en above, and &as by him (indly
received, and long entertained# But Hadrian &ent first to Emme, and then to Faro, bishops of <ens and
;eaux, and lived &ith them a considerable timeD for the hard vinter had obliged them to rest &herever
they could# @ing Egbert, being informed by messengers that the bishop they had as(ed of the /oman
prelate vas in the (ingdom of France, sent thither his prQfect, /edfrid, to conduct himD &ho, being
arrived there, &ith Ebrin:s leave, conveyed him to the port of MuentavicD &here, being indisposed, he
made some stay, and as soon as he began to recover, sailed over into Britain# But Ebrin detained
Hadrian, suspecting that he &ent on some message from the emperor to the (ings of Britain, to the
preFudice of his (ingdom, of &hich he at that time too( especial careD ho&ever, &hen he found that he
really had no such commission, he discharged him, and permitted him to follo& .heodore# 's soon as
he came, he received from him the monastery of <t# Peter the apostle, &here the archbishops of
anterbury are usually buried, as + have said beforeD for at his departure, the apostolic lord had ordered
that he should provide for him in his diocese, and give him a suitable place to live in &ith his follo&ers#
CHAPTER II
.HE!D!/E 2+<+.< '88 P8'E<D .HE H?/HE< !F .HE E=8+<H BE>+= .! BE
+=<./?.ED += H!8B 8+.E/'.?/E, '=D += .HE '.H!8+ ./?.HD P?..' +< ;'DE
B+<H!P !F .HE H?/H !F /!HE<.E/ += .HE /!!; !F D';+'=?<#
,11
H'# D# ))4I
.HE!D!/E arrived at his church the second year after his consecration, on <unday, the 6*th of
;ay, and held the same t&enty"one years, three months, and t&enty"six days# <oon after, he visited all
the island, &herever the tribes of the 'ngles inhabited, for he &as &illingly entertained and heard by all
personsD and every&here attended and assisted by Hadrian, he taught the right rule of life, and the
canonical custom of celebrating Easter# +t &as the first archbishop &hom all the English church obeyed#
'nd forasmuch as both of them &ere, as has been said before, &ell read both in sacred and in secular
literature, they gathered a cro&d of disciples, and there daily flo&ed from them rivers of (no&ledge to
&ater the hearts of their hearersD and, together &ith the boo(s of holy &rit, they also taught them the
arts of ecclesiastical poetry, astronomy, and arithmetic# ' testimony of &hich is, that there are still
living at this day some of their scholars, &ho are as &ell versed in the >ree( and 8atin tongues as in
their o&n, in &hich they &ere born# =or &ere there ever happier times since the English came into
BritainD for their (ings, being brave men and good hristians, they &ere a terror to all barbarous
nations, and the minds of all men &ere bent upon the Foys of the heavenly (ingdom of &hich they had
Fust heardD and all &ho desired to be instructed in sacred reading had masters at hand to teach them#
From that time also they began in all the churches of the English to learn sacred music, &hich till
then had been only (no&n in @ent# 'nd, excepting 9ames above"mentioned, the first singing"master in
the churches of the =orthumbrians &as Eddi, surnamed <tephen, invited from @ent by the most
reverend Ailfrid, &ho &as the first of the bishops of the English nation that taught the churches of the
English the atholic mode of life#
.heodore, visiting all parts, ordained bishops in proper places, and &ith their assistance corrected
such things as he found faulty# 'mong the rest, &hen he upbraided Bishop had that he had not been
duly consecrated, he, &ith great humility, ans&ered, G +f you (no& + have not duly received episcopal
ordination, + &illingly resign the office, for + never thought myself &orthy of itD but, though un&orthy,
in obedience submitted to underta(e it#G .heodore, hearing his humble ans&er, said that he should not
resign the bishopric, and he himself completed his ordination after the atholic manner# But at the time
&hen Deusdedit died, and a bishop for the church of anterbury &as by reCuest ordained and sent,
Ailfrid &as also sent out of Britain into Erance to be ordainedD and because he returned before
.heodore, he ordained priests and deacons iR @ent till the archbishop should come to his see# Being
arrived in the city of /ochester, &here the see had been long vacant by the death of Damianus, he
,13
ordained a person better s(illed in ecclesiastical discipline, and more addicted to simplicity of life than
active in &orldly affairs# His name &as Putta, and he vas extraordinarily s(ilful in the /oman style of
church music, &hich he had learned from the disciples of the holy Pope >regory#
CHAPTER III
H!A H'D, 'B!2E";E=.+!=ED, A'< ;'DE B+<H!P !F .HE ;E/+'=<# !F H+<
8+FE, DE'.H, '=D B?/+'8#
H' D# ))4I
'. that time, the ;ercians &ere governed by @ing Aulfhere, &ho, on the death of 9aruman,
desired of .heodore to supply him and his people &ith a bishopD but .heodore &ould not obtain a ne&
one for them, but reCuested of (ing !s&y that had might be their bishop# He then lived retired at his
monastery, &hich is at 8estingau, Ailfrid filling the bishopric of Bor(, and of all the =orthumbrians,
and li(e&ise of the Picts, as far as the dominions of @ing !s&y extended# 'nd, seeing that it &as the
custom of that most reverend prelate to go about the &or( of the >ospel to several places rather on foot
than on horsebac(, .heodore commanded him to ride &henever he had a long Fourney to underta(eD
and finding him very un&illing to omit his former pious labour, he himself, &ith his hands, lifted him
on the horseD for he thought him a holy man, and therefore obliged him to ride &herever he had need to
go# had having received the bishopric of the ;ercians and 8indisfarne, too( care to administer the
same &ith great rectitude of life, according to the example of the ancients# @ing Aulfhere also gave
him land of fifty families, to build a monastery, at the place called 'd Barve, or G 't the Aood,G in the
province of 8indsey, &herein mar(s of the regular life instituted by him continue to this day#
He had his episcopal see in the place called 8ichfield, in &hich he also died, and &as buried, and
&here the see of the succeeding bishops of that province still continues# He had built himself a
habitation not far from the church, &herein he &as &ont to pray and read &ith seven or eight of the
brethren, as often as he had any spare time from the labour and ministry of the &ord# Ahen he had
most gloriously governed the church in that province t&o years and a half, the Divine Providence so
ordaining, there came round a season li(e that of &hich Ecclesiastes says, G.hat there is a time to cast
stones, and a time to gather themD G for there happened a mortality sent from heaven, &hich, by means
of the death of the flesh, translated the stones of the church from their earthly places to the heavenly
building# 'nd &hen, after many of the church of that most reverend prelate had been ta(en out of the
,1)
flesh, his hour also dre& near &herein he &as to pass out of this &orld to our 8ord, it happened one day
that he &as in the aforesaid d&elling, &ith only one brother, called !&ini, his other companions being
upon some reasonable occasion returned to the church# =o& !&ini &as a mon( of great merit, having
forsa(en the &orld &ith the pure intention of obtaining the heavenly re&ardD &orthy in all respects to
have the secrets of our 8ord revealed to him, and &orthy to have credit given by his hearers to &hat he
said, for he came &ith Mueen Etheldrid from the province of the East 'ngles, and &as her prime
minister, and governor of her family " 's the fervour of his faith increased, resolving to renounce the
&orld, he did not go about it slothfully, but so fully forsoo( the things of this &orld, that, Cuitting all he
had, clad in a plain garment, and carrying an axe and hatchet in his hand, he came to the monastery of
that most reverend prelate, called 8estingauD denoting that he did not go to the monastery to live idle, as
some do, but to labour, &hich he also confirmed by practiceD for as he &as less capable of meditating
on the Holy <criptures, he the more earnestly applied himself to the labour of his hands# +n short, he
&as received by the bishop into the house aforesaid, and there entertained &ith the brethren, and &hilst
they &ere engaged &ithin in reading, he &as &ithout, doing such things as &ere necessary#
!ne day &hen he &as thus employed abroad, and his companions &ere gone to the church, as +
began to state, the bishop &as alone reading or praying in the oratory of that place, &hen on a sudden,
as he after&ards said, he beard the voice of persons singing most s&eetly and reFoicing, and appearing
to descend from heaven# Ahich voice he said he first heard coming from the south"east, and that
after&ards it dre& near him, till it came to the roof of the oratory &here the bishop &as, and entering
therein, filled the same and all about it# He listened attentively to &hat he heard, and after about half an
hour, perceived the same song of Foy to ascend from the roof of the said oratory, and to return to heaven
the same &ay it came, &ith inexpressible s&eetness# Ahen he had stood some time astonished, and
seriously revolving in his mind &hat it might be, the bishop opened the &indo& of the oratory, and
ma(ing a noise &ith his hand, as he &as often &ont to do, ordered him to come in to him# He
accordingly &ent hastily in, and the bishop said to him, G;a(e haste to the church, and cause the seven
brothers to come hither, and do you come &ith them#G Ahen they &ere come, he first admonished them
to preserve the virtue of peace among themselves, and to&ards all othersD and indefatigably to practise
the rules of regular discipline, &hich they had either been taught by him, or seen him observe or had
noticed in the &ords or actions of the former fathers# .hen he added, that the day of his death &as at
handD for, said he, G that amiable guest, &ho &as &ont to visit our brethren, has vouchsafed also to
come to me this day, and to call me out of this &orld# /eturn, therefore, to the church, and spea( to the
,1*
brethren, that they in their prayers recommend my passage to our 8ord, and that they be careful to
provide for their o&n, the hour &hereof is uncertain, by &atching, prayer, and good &or(s#G
Ahen he had spo(en thus much and more, and they, having received his blessing, had gone a&ay
in sorro&, he &ho had heard the heavenly song returned alone, and prostrating himself on the ground,
said, G+ beseech you, father, may + be permitted to as( a CuestionJ G"G's( &hat you &ill,G ans&ered the
bishop# .hen he added, G + entreat you to tell me &hat song of Foy &as that &hich + heard coming upon
this oratory, and after some time returning to heavenJ G .he bishop ans&ered, G +f you heard the
singing, and (no& of the coming of the heavenly company, + command you, in the name of our 8ord,
that you do not tell the same to any before my death# .hey &ere angelic spirits, &ho came to call me to
my heavenly re&ard, &hich + have al&ays longed after, and they promised they &ould return seven
days hence, and ta(e me a&ay &ith them#G Ahich &as accordingly fulfilled, as had been said to himD
for being presently seiEed &ith a languishing distemper, and the same daily increasing, on the seventh
day, as had been promised to him, &hen he had prepared for death by receiving the body and blood of
our 8ord, his soul being delivered from the prison of the body, the angels, as may Fustly be believed,
attending him, he departed to the Foys of heaven#
+t is no &onder that he Foyfully beheld the day of his death, or rather the day of our 8ord, &hich
he had al&ays carefully expected till it cameD for not&ithstanding his many merits of continence,
humility, teaching, prayer, voluntary poverty, and other virtues, he &as so full of the fear of >od, so
mindful of his last end in all his actions, that, as + &as informed by one of the brothers &ho instructed
me in Divinity, and &ho had been bred in his monastery, and under his direction, &hose name &as
.rumhere, if it happened that there ble& a strong gust of &ind &hen he &as reading or doing any other
thing, he immediately called upon >od for mercy, and begged it might be extended to all man(ind# +f
the &ind gre& stronger, he closed his boo(, and prostrating himself on the ground, prayed still more
earnestly# But, if it proved a violent storm of &ind or rain, or else that the earth and air &ere filled &ith
thunder and lightning, he &ould repair to the church, and devote himself to prayers and repeating of
psalms till the &eather became calm# Being as(ed by his follo&ers &hy he did so, he ans&ered, G Have
not you read": .he 8ord also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave forth his voice# Bea, he
sent out his arro&s and scattered themD and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them#: For the 8ord
moves the air, raises the &inds, darts lightning, and thunders from heaven, to excite the inhabitants of
the earth to fear HimD to put them in mind of the future FudgmentD to dispel their pride, and vanCuish
their boldness, by bringing into their thoughts that dreadful time, &hen the heavens and the earth being
,17
in a flame, He &ill come in the clouds, &ith great po&er and maFesty, to Fudge the Cuic( and the dead#
Aherefore,G said he, G it behoves us to ans&er his heavenly admonition &ith due fear and loveD that, as
often as He lifts his hand through the trembling s(y, as it &ere to stri(e, but does not yet let it fall, &e
may immediately implore his mercyD and searching the recesses of our hearts, and cleansing the filth of
our vices, &e may carefully behave ourselves so as never to be struc(#G
Aith this revelation and account of the aforesaid brother, concerning the death of this prelate,
agrees the discourse of the most reverend Father Egbert, above spo(en of, &ho long led a monastic life
&ith the same had, &hen both &ere youths, in +reland, praying, observing continency, and meditating
on the Holy <criptures# + But &hen he after&ards returned into his o&n country, the other continued in
a strange country for our 8ord:s sa(e till the end of his life# ' long time after, Hygbald, a most holy and
continent man, &ho &as an abbot in the province of 8indsey, came out of Britain to visit him, and
&hilst these holy men &ere discoursing of the life of the former fathers, and reFoicing to imitate the
same, mention &as made of the most reverend prelate, had, &hereupon Egbert said, G + (no& a man in
this island, still in the flesh, &ho, &hen that prelate passed out of this &orld, sa& the soul of his brother
edd, &ith a company of angels, descending from heaven, &ho, having ta(en his soul along &ith them,
returned thither again#G Ahether he said this of himself, or some other, &e do not certainly (no&D but
the same being said by so great a man, there can be no doubt of the truth thereof#
had died on the 6nd of ;arch, and &as first buried by <t# ;ary:s hurch, but after&ards, &hen
the church of the most holy prince of the apostles, Peter, &as built, his bones &ere translated into it# +n
both &hich places, as a testimony of his virtue, freCuent miraculous cures are &ont to be &rought# 'nd
of late, a certain distracted person, &ho had been &andering about every&here, arrived there in the
evening, un(no&n or unregarded by the (eepers of the place, and having rested there all the night, &ent
out in his perfect senses the next morning, to the surprise and delight of allD thus sho&ing that a cure
had been performed on him through the goodness of >od# .he place of the sepulchre is a &ooden
monument, made li(e a little house, covered, having a hole in the &all, through &hich those that go
thither for devotion usually put in their hand and ta(e out some of the dust, &hich they put into &ater
and give to sic( cattle or men to drin(, upon &hich they are presently eased of their infirmity, and
restored to health# +n his place, .heodore ordained Ainfrid, a good and modest man, to preside, as his
predecessors had done, over the bishoprics of the ;ercians, the ;idland 'ngles, and the 8indisfarnes,
of all &hich, Aulfhere, &ho &as still living, &as (ing# Ainfrid &as one of the clergy of the prelate he
had succeeded, and had for a considerable time filled the office of deacon under him#
,14
CHAPTER IV
B+<H!P !8;'=, H'2+=> 8EF. B/+.'+=, B?+8. .A! ;!='<.E/+E< +=
<!.8'=DD .HE !5E F!/ .HE <!.<, .HE !.HE/ F!/ .HE E=>8+<H HE H'D .'@E=
'8!=> A+.H H+;#
H'#D# ))*I
+n the meantime, olman, the <cottish bishop, departing from Britain, too( along &ith him all the
<cots he had assembled in the isle of 8indisfarne, and also about thirty of the English nation, &ho had
been all instructed in the monastic lifeD and leaving some brothers in his church, he repaired first to the
isle of Hii N+onaO, &hence he had been sent to preach the &ord of >od to the English nation#
'fter&ards he retired to a small island, &hich is to the &est of +reland, and at some distance from
its coast, called in the language of the <cots, +nisbofinde, the +sland of the Ahite Heifer# 'rriving there,
he built a monastery, and placed in it the mon(s he had brought of both nationsD &ho not agreeing
among themselves, by reason that the <cots in the summer season, &hen the harvest &as to be brought
in, leaving the monastery, &andered about through places &ith &hich they &ere acCuaintedD but
returned again the next &inter, and &ould have &hat the English had provided to be in commonD
olman sought to put an end to this dissension, and travelling about far and near, he found a place in
the island of +reland fit to build a monastery, &hich, in the language of the <cots, is called ;ageo, and
brought a small part of it of the earl to &hom it belonged, to build his monastery thereonD upon
condition, that the mon(s residing there should pray to our 8ord for him &ho had let them have the
place# .hen building a monastery, &ith the assistance of the earl and all the neighbours, he placed the
English there, leaving the <cots in the aforesaid island# .his monastery is to this day possessed by
English inhabitantsD being the same that, gro&n up from a small beginning to be very large, is generally
called ;ageoD and as all things have long since been brought under a better method, it contains an
exemplary society of mon(s, &ho are gathered there from the province of the English, and live by the
labour of their hands, after the example of the venerable fathers, under a rule and a canonical abbot, in
much continency and singleness of life#
CHAPTER V
!F .HE DE'.H !F .HB @+=>< !<AB '=D E>BE/., '=D !F .HE <B=!D HE8D '.
HE/.F!/D, += AH+H '/HB+<H!P .HE!D!/E P/E<+DED#
,3-
H'#D# )*-I
+= the year of the incarnation of our 8ord )*-, being the second year after .heodore arrived in
England, !s&y, (ing of the =orthumbrians, fell sic(, and died, in the fifty"eighth year of his age# He at
that time bore so great affection to the /oman apostolical institution, that had he recovered of his
sic(ness, he had designed to go to /ome, and there to end his days at the Holy Places, having entreated
Bishop Ailfrid, by the promise of a considerable donation in money, to conduct him on his Fourney# He
died on the ,3th of February, leaving his son Egfrid his successor in the (ingdom# +n the third year of
his reign, .heodore assembled a synod of bishops, and many other teachers of the church, &ho loved
and &ere acCuainted &ith the canonical statutes of the fathers# Ahen they &ere met together, he began,
as became a prelate, to enFoin the observance of such things as &ere agreeable to the unity and the
peace of the church# .he purport of &hich synodical proceedings is as follo&s"
G +n the name of our 8ord >od and <aviour 9esus hrist, &ho reigns for ever and for
ever, and governs his church, it &as thought meet that &e should assemble, according to the
custom of the venerable canons, to treat about the necessary affairs of the church# Ae met
on the 61th day of <eptember, the first indiction, at a place called Hertford, myself,
.heodore, the un&orthy bishop of the see of anterbury, appointed by the 'postolic <ee,
our fello& priest and most reverend brother, Bisi, bishop of the East 'nglesD also by his
proxies, our brother and fello& priest, Ailfrid bishop of the nation of the =orthumbrians, as
also our brothers and fello& priests, Putta, bishop of the @entish castle, called /ochesterD
Eleutherius, bishop of the Aest <axons, and Ainfrid, bishop of the province of the
;ercians# Ahen &e &ere all met together, and &ere sat do&n in order, + said, : + beseech
you, most dear brothers, for the love and fear of our /edeemer, that &e may all treat in
common for our faithD to the end that &hatsoever has been decreed and defined by the holy
and reverend fathers, may be inviolably observed by all# : .his and much more + spo(e
tending to the preservation of the charity and unity of the churchD and &hen + had ended my
discourse, + as(ed every one of them in order, &hether they consented to observe the things
that had been formerly canonically decreed by the fathersJ .o &hich all our fello& priests
ans&ered, : +t so pleases us, and &e &ill all most &illingly observe &ith a cheerful mind
&hatever is laid do&n in the canons of the holy fathers# : + then produced the said boo( of
canons, and publicly sho&ed them ten chapters in the same, &hich + had mar(ed in several
places, because + (ne& them to be of the most importance to us, and entreated that they
,3,
might be most particularly received by them all#
Ghapter +# .hat &e all in common (eep the holy day of Easter on the <unday after the
fourteenth moon of the first month#
G++# .hat no bishop intrude into the diocese of another, but be satisfied &ith the
government of the people committed to him#
G+++# .hat it shall not be la&ful for any bishop to trouble monasteries dedicated to >od,
nor to ta(e anything forcibly from them#
G+2# .hat mon(s do not remove from one place to another, that is, from monastery to
monastery, unless &ith the consent of their o&n abbotD but that they continue in the
obedience &hich they promised at the time of their conversion #
G2# .hat no clergyman, forsa(ing his o&n bishop, shall &ander about, or be any&here
entertained &ithout letters of recommendation from his o&n prelate# But if he shall be once
received, and &ill not return &hen invited, both the receiver, and the person received, be
under excommunication #
G2+# .hat bishops and clergymen, &hen travelling, shall be content &ith the hospitality
that is afforded themD and that it be not la&ful for them to exercise any priestly function
&ithout leave of the bishop in &hose diocese they are#
G2++# .hat a synod be assembled t&ice a yearD but in regard that several causes
obstruct the same, it &as approved by all# that &e should meet on the ,st of 'ugust once a
year, at the place called lofeshoch#
G2+++# .hat no bishop, through ambition, shall set himself before anotherD but that they
shall all observe the time and order of their consecration#
G+5# +t &as generally set forth, that more bishops should be made, as the number of
believers increasedD but this matter for the present &as passed over#
G5# !f marriagesD that nothing be allo&ed but la&ful &edloc(D that none commit
incestD no man Cuit his true &ife, unless, as the gospel teaches, on account of fornication#
'nd if any man shall put a&ay his o&n &ife, la&fully Foined to him in matrimony, that he
ta(e no other, if he &ishes to be a good hristian, but continue as he is, or else be
,36
reconciled to his o&n &ife#
G .hese chapters being thus treated of and defined by all, to the end# that for the future,
no scandal of contention might arise from any of us, or that things be falsely set forth, it
&as thought fit that every one of us should, by subscribing his hand, confirm all the
particulars so laid do&n# Ahich definitive Fudgment of ours, + dictated to be &ritten by
.itillus our notary# Done in the month and indiction aforesaid# Ahosoever, therefore, shall
presume in any &ay to oppose or infringe this decision, confirmed by our consent, and by
the subscription of our hands, according to the decree of the canons, must ta(e notice, that
he is excluded from all sacerdotal functions, and from our society# ;ay the Divine >race
preserve us in safety, living in the unity of his holy church#G
.his synod &as held in the year from the incarnation of our 8ord )*0# +n &hich year, Egbert, (ing
of @ent, died + in the month of 9ulyD his brother 8othere succeeded him f on the throne, &hich he had
held eleven years and seven months# Bisi, the bishop of the East 'ngles, &ho is said to have been in the
aforesaid synod, &as successor to Boniface, before spo(en of, a man of much sanctity and religionD for
&hen Boniface died, after having been bishop seventeen years, he &as by .heodore substituted in his
place# Ahilst he &as still alive, but hindered by much sic(ness from administering his episcopal
functions, t&o bishops, Ecci and Bad&in, &ere elected and consecrated in his placeD from &hich time
to the present, that province has had t&o bishops#
CHAPTER VI
A+=F/+D BE+=> DEP!<ED, <E5A?8F A'< P?. +=.! H+< <EE, '=D E'/!=A'8D
;'DE B+<H!P !F .HE E'<. <'5!=<#
H'#D# ))1I l
=!. long after, .heodore, the archbishop, ta(ing offence at some disobedience of Ainfrid, bishop
of the ;ercians, deposed him from his bishopric &hen he had been possessed of it but a fe& years, and
in his place made <ex&ulf bishop, &ho &as founder and abbot of the monastery of ;edeshamstead, in
the country of the >irvii# Ainfrid, thus deposed, returned to his monastery of 'd Barve, and there
ended his life in holy conversation#
He then also appointed Earcon&ald bishop of the East <axons, in the city of 8ondon, over &hom
at that time presided <ebbi and <ighere, of &hom mention has been made above# .his Earcon&ald:s life
,30
and conversation, as &ell &hen he &as bishop as before his advancement to that dignity is reported to
have been most holy, as is even at this time testified by heavenly miraclesD for to this day his horse"
litter, in &hich he &as &ont to be carried &hen sic(, is (ept by his disciples, and continues to cure
many of agues and other distempersD and not only sic( persons &ho are laid in that litter, or close by it,
are curedD but the very chips of it, &hen carried to the sic(, are &ont immediately to restore them to
health
.his man, before he &as made bishop, had built t&o famous monasteries, the one for himself, and
the other for his sister Ethelberga, and established them both in regular discipline of the best (ind# .hat
for himself &as in the bounty of <urrey, by the river .hames, at a place called eortesei, that is, the
+sland of eorotD that for his sister in the province of the East <axons, at the place called Bercingum,
&herein she might be a mother and nurse of devout &omen# Being put into the government of that
monastery, she behaved herself in all respects as became the sister of such a brother, living herself
regularly, and piously, and orderly, providing for those under her, as &as also manifested by heavenly
miracles#
CHAPTER VII
H!A +. A'< +=D+'.ED BB ' HE'2E=8B 8+>H. AHE/E .HE B!D+E< !F .HE =?=<
<H!?8D BE B?/+ED += .HE ;!='<.E/B !F B'/@+=>#
H'#D# )*)I
+= this monastery many miracles &ere &rought, &hich have been committed to &riting by many,
from those &ho (ne& them, that their memory might be preserved, and follo&ing generations edifiedD
some &hereof &e have also ta(en care to insert in our Ecclesiastical History# Ahen the mortality, &hich
&e have already so often mentioned, ravaging all around, had also seiEed on that part of this monastery
&here the men resided, and they &ere daily hurried a&ay to meet their >od, the careful mother of the
society began often to inCuire in the convent, of the sisters, &here they &ould have their bodies buried,
and &here a church"yard should be made &hen the same pestilence should fall upon that part of the
monastery in &hich >od:s female servants &ere divided from the men, and they should be snatched
a&ay out of this &orld by the same destruction# /eceiving no certain ans&er, though she often put the
Cuestion to the sisters, she and all of them received a most certain ans&er from heaven# For one night,
&hen the morning psalm &as ended, and those servants of hrist &ere gone out of their oratory to the
,31
tombs of the brothers &ho had departed this life before them, and &ere singing the usual praises to our
8ord, on a sudden a light from heaven, li(e a great sheet, came do&n upon them all, and struc( them
&ith so much terror, that they, in consternation, left off singing# But that resplendent light, &hich
seemed to exceed the sun at noonday, soon after rising from that place, removed to the south side of the
monastery, that is, to the &est&ard of the oratory, and having continued there some time, and covered
those parts in the sight of them all, &ithdre& itself up again to heaven, leaving conviction in the minds
of all, that the same light, &hich &as to lead or to receive the souls of those servants of >od into
heaven, &as intended to sho& the place in &hich their bodies &ere to rest, and a&ait the day of the
resurrection# .his light &as so great, that one of the eldest of the brothers, &ho at the same time &as in
their oratory &ith another younger than himself, related in the morning, that the rays of light &hich
came in at the crannies of the doors and &indo&s, seemed to exceed the utmost brightness of daylight
itself#
CHAPTER VIII
' 8+..8E B!B, DB+=> += .HE <';E ;!='<.E/B, '88ED ?P!= ' 2+/>+= .H'.
A'< .! F!88!A H+;D '=!.HE/ '. .HE P!+=. !F 8E'2+=> HE/ B!DB, <'A <!;E
<;'88 P'/. !F .HE F?.?/E >8!/B#
H'#D# )*)I
.HE/E &as, in the same monastery, a boy, not above three years old, called EsicaD &ho, by
reason of his infant age, &as bred up among the virgins dedicated to >od, and there to pursue his
studies# .his child being seiEed by the aforesaid pestilence, &hen he &as at the last gasp, called three
times upon one of the virgins consecrated to >od, directing his &ords to her by her o&n name, as if she
had been present, Eadgith K Eadgith K Eadgith K and thus ending his temporal life, entered into that
&hich is eternal# .he virgin, &hom he called, &as immediately seiEed, &here she &as, &ith the same
distemper, and departing this life the same day on &hich she had been called, follo&ed him + that called
her into the heavenly country#
8i(e&ise, one of those same servants of >od, being ill of the same disease, and reduced to
extremity, began on a sudden, about midnight, to cry out to them that attended her, desiring they &ould
put out the candle that &as lighted thereD &hich, &hen she had often repeated, and yet no one did it, at
last she said, G+ (no& you thin( + spea( this in a raving fit, but let me inform you it is not soD for + tell
,33
you, that + see this house filled &ith so much light, that your candle there seems to me to be dar(# G 'nd
&hen still no one regarded &hat she said, or returned any ans&er, she added, G 8et that candle burn as
long as you &illD but ta(e notice, that it is not my light, for my light &ill come to me at the da&n of the
day#G .hen she began to tell, that a certain man of >od, &ho had died that same year, had appeared to
her, telling her that at the brea( of day she should depart to the heavenly light# .he truth of &hich
vision &as made out by the virgin:s dying as soon as the day appeared#
CHAPTER IX
!F .HE <+>=< AH+H AE/E <H!A= F/!; HE'2E= AHE= .HE ;!.HE/ !F .H'.
!=>/E>'.+!= DEP'/.ED .H+< 8+FE#
H'#D# )*)I
AHE= Ethelberga, the pious mother of that holy congregation, &as about to be ta(en out of this
&orld, a &onderful vision appeared to one of the sisters, called .ortgithD &ho, having lived many years
in that monastery, al&ays endeavoured, in all humility and sincerity, to serve >od, and too( care to
assist the same mother in (eeping up regular discipline, by instructing and reproving the younger ones#
=o&, in order that her virtue might be perfected in affliction, according to the apostle, she &as
suddenly seiEed &ith a most grievous distemper, under &hich, through the good providence of our
/edeemer, she suffered very much for the space of nine yearsD to the end, that &hatever stain of vice
remained amidst her virtues, either through ignorance or neglect, might all be eradicated by the fire of
long tribulation# .his person, going out of her chamber one night, Fust at the first da&n of the day,
plainly sa& as it &ere a human body, &hich &as brighter than the sun, &rapped up in a sheet, and lifted
up on high, being ta(en out of the house in &hich the sisters used to reside# .hen loo(ing earnestly to
see &hat it &as that dre& up the glorious body &hich she beheld, she perceived it &as dra&n up as it
&ere by cords brighter than gold, until, entering into the open heavens, it could no longer be seen by
her# /eflecting on this vision, she made no doubt that some one of the society &ould soon die, and her
soul be lifted up to heaven by her good &or(s as it &ere by golden cords, &hich accordingly happenedD
for a fe& days after, the beloved of >od, Ethelberga, mother of that society, &as delivered out of the
prison of the fleshD and her life is (no&n to have been such that no person &ho (ne& her ought to
Cuestion but that the heavenly (ingdom &as open to her, &hen she departed from this &orld#
.here &as also, in the same monastery, a certain nun, of noble &orldly origin, and much nobler in
,3)
the love of the &orld to comeD &ho had, for many years, been so disabled in all her body, that she could
not move a single limb# Being informed that the venerable abbess:s body &as carried into the church,
till it could be buried, she desired l to be carried thither, and to be bo&ed do&n to&ards it, after the
manner of one prayingD &hich being done, she spo(e to her as if she had been living, and entreated her
that she &ould obtain of the mercy of our compassionate reator, that she might be delivered from such
great and lasting painsD nor &as it long before her prayer &as heard$ for being ta(en out of the flesh
t&elve days after she exchanged her temporal afflictions for an eternal re&ard# .hree years after the
death of this lady, the above"mentioned servant of hrist, .ortgith, &as so far spent &ith the distemper
before mentioned, that her bones &ould scarcely hang togetherD and, at last, &hen the time of her
dissolution &as at hand, she not only lost the use of her other limbs, but also of her tongueD &hich
having continued three days and as many nights, she &as, on a sudden, relieved by a spiritual vision,
opened her mouth and eyes, and loo(ing up to heaven, began thus to direct her discourse to the vision
&hich she sa&$ G Bour coming is very acceptable to me, and you are &elcomeK G Having so said, she
&as silent a&hile, as it &ere, &aiting for the ans&er of the person she sa& and spo(e toD then, as if
displeased, she said, G+ am not pleased &ith thisD G then pausing a&hile, she said again, G +f it cannot be
today, + beg the delay may not be longD G and again holding her peace for a short &hile, she concluded
thus$ G +f it is positively so decreed, and the resolution cannot be altered, + beg that it may be no longer
deferred than this next night#G Having so said, and being as(ed by those about her to &hom she tal(ed,
she said, GAith my most dear mother, EthelbergaD G by &hich they understood, that she &as come to
acCuaint her that the time of her departure &as at handD for, as she had desired, after one day and night,
she &as delivered from the bonds and infirmity of the flesh, and entered the Foys of eternal salvation#
CHAPTER X
' B8+=D A!;'=, P/'B+=> += .HE B?/+'8"P8'E !F .H'. ;!='<.E/B, A'<
/E<+!/ED .! HE/ <+>H.#
H'#D# )*)I
H+8DE8+.H, a devout servant of >od, succeeded Ethelberga in the office of abbess, and presided
over that monastery many years, till she &as of an extreme old age, &ith exemplary conduct, in the
observance of regular discipline, and in the care of providing all things for the public use# .he
narro&ness of the place &here the monastery is built led her to thin( that the bones of the male and
female servants of hrist, &hich had been there buried, should be ta(en up, and translated into the
,3*
church of the blessed mother of >od, and interred in one placeD &hoever &ishes to read it, may find in
the boo( from &hich &e have gathered these things, ho& often a brightness of heavenly light &as seen
there, and a fragrancy of &onderful odour smelled, and &hat other miracles &ere &rought#
Ho&ever, + thin( it by no means fit to pass over the miraculous cure, &hich the same boo(
informs us &as &rought in the church"yard of the said religious house# .here lived in that
neighbourhood a certain earl, &hose i &ife &as seiEed &ith a dimness in her eyes, &hich at length
became so bad, that she could not see the least glimpse of light$ having continued some time in total
dar(ness, on a sudden she bethought herself that she might recover her lost sight, if she &ere carried to
the monastery of the nuns, and there pray for the same, at the relics of the saints# =or did she lose any
time in performing &hat she had thought of$ for being conducted by her maids to the monastery, &hich
&as very near, and professing that she had perfect faith that she should be there healed, she &as led into
the burial"place, and having long prayed there on her (nees, she did not fail to be heard, for as she rose
from prayer, before she &ent out of the place, she received the gift of sight &hich she had desiredD and
&hereas she had been led thither by her servants, she no& returned home Foyfully &ithout help$ as if
she had lost her sight to no other end than that she might ma(e it appear ho& great light the saints
enFoyed in heaven, and ho& great &as the po&er of their virtue#
CHAPTER XI
<EBB+, @+=> !F .HE <';E P/!2+=E, E=D< H+< 8+FE += ' ;!='<.E/B
H'#D# )41I
'. that time, as the same little boo( informs us, <ebbi, a devout man, of &hom mention has been
made above, governed the (ingdom of the East <axons# He &as much addicted to religious actions,
almsgiving, and freCuent prayerD preferring a private and monastic life to all the &ealth and honours of
his (ingdom, &hich sort of life he &ould also long before have underta(en, had not his &ife positively
refused to be divorced from himD for &hich reason many &ere of opinion, and often said so, that a
person of such a disposition ought rather to have been a bishop than a (ing# Ahen he had been thirty
years a (ing, and a soldier of the heavenly (ingdom, he fell into a violent sic(ness, of &hich he died,
and admonished his &ife, that they should then at least Fointly devote themselves to the service of >od,
since they could no longer enFoy, or rather serve, the &orld# Having &ith much difficulty obtained this
of her, he repaired to Aaldhere, bishop of 8ondon, &ho had succeeded Earcon&ald, and Aith his
,37
blessing received the religious habit, &hich he had long desired# He also carried to him a considerable
sum of money, to be given to the poor, reserving nothing to himself, but rather coveting to remain poor
in spirit for the sa(e of the (ingdom of heaven
Ahen the aforesaid distemper increased upon him, and he perceived the day of his death to be
dra&ing near, being a man of a royal disposition, he began to apprehend lest, &hen under pain, and at
the approach of death, he might be guilty of anything un&orthy of his person, either in &ords, or any
motion of his limbs# Aherefore, calling to him the aforesaid bishop of 8ondon, in &hich city he then
&as, he entreated him that none might be present at his death, besides the bishop himself, and t&o of
his attendants# .he bishop having promised that he &ould most &illingly perform the same, not long
after the man of >od composed himself to sleep, and sa& a comforting vision, &hich too( from him all
anxiety for the aforesaid uneasinessD and, moreover, sho&ed him on &hat day he &as to depart this life#
For, as he after&ards related, he sa& three men in bright garments come to himD one of &hom sat do&n
before his bed, &hilst his companions stood and inCuired about the state of the sic( man they came to
see$ he &ho &as sitting in front of the bed said, that his soul should depart his body &ithout any pain,
and &ith a great splendour of lightD and declared that he should die the third day afterD both &hich
particulars happened, as he had been informed by the visionD for on the third day after, he suddenly fell,
as it &ere, into a slumber, and breathed out his soul &ithout any sense or pain#
' stone coffin having been provided for burying his body, &hen they came to lay it in the same,
they found his body a span longer than the coffin# Hereupon they he&ed a&ay the stone, and made the
coffin about t&o fingers longerD but neither &ould it then contain the body# ?nder this difficulty of
entombing him, they had thoughts either to get another coffin, or else to shorten the body, by bending it
at the (nees, if they could# But a &onderful event, caused by Providence, prevented the execution of
either of those designs " for on a sudden, in the presence of the bishop, and <ighard, the son of the (ing
&ho had turned mon(, and &ho reigned after him Fointly &ith his brother <uefred, and of a
considerable number of men, that same coffin &as found to ans&er the length of the body, insomuch
that a pillo& might also be put in at the headD and at the feet the coffin &as four fingers longer than the
body# He &as buried in the church of the blessed 'postle of the >entiles, by &hose instructions he had
learned to hope for heavenly things#
CHAPTER XII
HEDD' <?EED< E8E?.HE/+?< += .HE B+<H!P/+ !F .HE AE<. <'5!=<D
,34
?+HE8; <?EED< P?..' += .H'. !F /!HE<.E/, '=D +< H+;<E8F <?EEDED
BB >E/;?=DD '=D AH! AE/E .HE= B+<H!P< !F .HE =!/.H?;B/+'=<#
H'# D# )*0I
E8E?.HE/+?< &as the fourth bishop of the Aest <axonsD for Birinus &as the first, 'gilbert the
second, and Aini the third# Ahen @en&al(, in &hose reign the said Eleutherius &as made bishop, died,
his under"rulers too( upon them the (ingdom of the people, and dividing it among themselves, held it
ten yearsD and during their rule he died, and Hedda succeeded him in the bishopric, having been
consecrated by .heodore, in the city of 8ondonD during &hose prelacy, ad&alla, having subdued and
removed those rulers, too( upon him the government# lS hen he had reigned t&o years, and &hilst the
same bishop still governed the church, he Cuitted his sovereignty for the love of the heavenly (ingdom,
and, going a&ay to /ome, ended his days there, as shall be said more fully hereafter#
+n the year of our 8ord:s incarnation )*), &hen Ethelred, (ing of the ;ercians, ravaged @ent &ith
a po&erful army, and profaned churches and monasteries, &ithout regard to religion, or the fear of >od,
he among the rest destroyed the city of /ochesterD Putta, &ho &as bishop, &as absent at that time, but
&hen he understood that his church &as ravaged, and all things ta(en a&ay, he &ent to <ex&ulfs
bishop of the ;ercians, and having received of him a certain church, and a small spot of land, ended
his days there in peaceD in no &ay endeavouring to restore his bishoprics because Nas has been said
aboveO he &as more industrious in spiritual than in &orldly affairsD serving >od only in that church,
and going &herever he &as desired, to teach church music# .heodore consecrated uichelm bishop of
/ochester in his steadD but he, not long after, departing from his bishopric for &ant of necessaries, and
&ithdra&ing to other parts, >ebmund &as substituted in his place#
+n the year of our 8ord:s incarnation, )*7, &hich is the eighth of the reign of Egfrid, in the month
of 'ugust, appeared a star, called a comet, &hich continued for three months, rising in the morning, and
darting out, as it &ere, a pillar of radiant flame# .he same year a dissension bro(e out bet&een @ing
Egfrid and the most reverend prelate, Ailfrid, &ho &as driven from his see, and t&o bishops
substituted in his stead, to preside over the nation of the =orthumbrians, namely, Bosa, to preside over
the nation of the DeiriD and Eata over that of the Bernicians, the former having his see in the city of
Bor(, the latter in the church of Hagulstad, or else 8indisfarneD both of them promoted to the episcopal
dignity from a society of mon(s# Aith them also &as Edhed ordained bishop in the province of
8indsey, &hich @ing Egfrid had but ne&ly subdued, having overcome and vanCuished AulfhereD and
,)-
this &as the first bishop of its o&n &hich that province hadD the second &as Ethel&inD the third EdgarD
the fourth ynebert, &ho is there at present# Before Edhed, <ex&ulf &as bishop as &ell of that province
as of the ;ercians and ;idland 'nglesD so that, &hen expelled from 8indsey, he continued in the
government of those provinces# Edhed, Bosa, and Eata, &ere ordained at Bor( by 'rchbishop
.heodoreD &ho also, three years after the departure of Ailfrid, added t&o bishops to their numberD
.umbert, in the church of Hagulstad, Eata still continuing in that of 8indisfarneD and .rum&ine in the
province of the Picts &hich at that time &as subFect to the English# Edhed returning from 8indsey,
because Ethelred had recovered that province, &as placed by him over the church of /ipon#
CHAPTER XIII
B+<H!P A+8F/+D !=2E/.< .HE P/!2+=E !F .HE <!?.H <'5!=< .! H/+<.#
H'#D# )7,I
BE+=> expelled from his bishopric, and having travelled in + several parts, Ailfrid &ent to /ome#
He after&ards returned to BritainD and though he could not, by reason of the enmity of the aforesaid
(ing, be received into his o&n country or diocese, yet he could not be restrained from Preaching the
>ospelD for, ta(ing his &ay into the province of the <outh <axons, &hich extends from @ent on the
&est and south, as far as the Aest <axons, and contains land !f *--- families, &ho at that time &ere
still pagans, he administered to them the &ord of faith, and the baptism of salvation# Ethel&alch, (ing
of that nation, had been, not long before, baptiEed in the province of the ;ercians, by the persuasion of
@ing Aulfhere, &ho &as present, and &as also his godfather, and as such gave him t&o provinces, viE#,
the +sle of Aight, and the province of ;ean&ara, in the nation of the Aest <axons# .he bishop,
therefore, &ith the (ing:s consent, or rather to his great satisfaction, baptiEed the principal generals and
soldiers of that countryD and the priests, Eappa, and Padda, and Burghelm, and Eadda, either then, or
after&ards, baptiEed the rest of the people# .he Cueen, &hose name &as Ebba, had been christened in
her o&n island, the province of the Aiccii# <he &as the daughter of Eanfrid, the brother of Eanher, &ho
&ere both hristians, as &ere their peopleD but all the province of the <outh <axons &ere strangers to
the name and faith of >od# .here &as among them a certain mon( of the <cottish nation, &hose name
&as Dicul, &ho had a very small monastery, at the place called Bosanham, encompassed &ith the sea
and &oods, and in it five or six brothers, &ho served our 8ord in poverty and humilityD but none of the
natives cared either to follo& their course of life, or hear their preaching#
,),
But Bishop Ailfrid, by preaching to them, not only delivered them from the misery of perpetual
damnation, but also from an inexhaustible calamity of temporal death, for no rain had fallen in that
province in three years before his arrival, &hereupon a dreadful famine ensued, &hich cruelly
destroyed the people# +n short, it is reported, that very often, forty or fifty men, being spent &ith &ant,
&ould go together to some precipice, or to the sea"shore, and there, hand in hand, perish by the fall, or
be s&allo&ed up by the &aves# But on the very day on &hich the nation received the baptism of faith,
there fell a soft but plentiful rainD the earth revived again, and the verdure being restored to the fields,
the season &as pleasant and fruitful# .hus the former superstition being reFected, and idolatry exploded,
the hearts and flesh of all reFoiced in the living >od, and became convinced that He &ho is the true >od
had, through his heavenly grace, enriched them &ith &ealth, both temporal and spiritual# For the
bishop, &hen he came into the province, and found so great misery from famine, taught them to get
their food by fishingD for their sea and rivers abounded in fish, but the people had no s(ill to ta(e them,
except eels alone# .he bishop:s men having gathered eel"nets every&here, cast them into the sea, and
by the blessing of >od too( three hundred fishes of several sorts, &hich, being divided into three parts,
they gave a hundred to the poor, a hundred to those of &hom they had the nets, and (ept a hundred for
their o&n use# By this benefit the bishop gained the affections of them all, and they began more readily
at his preaching to hope for heavenly goods, seeing that by his help they had received those &hich are
temporal#
't this time, @ing Ethel&alch gave to the most reverend prelate, Ailfrid, land of eighty"seven
families, to maintain his company &ho &ere in banishment, &hich place is called <elsey, that is, the
+sland of the <ea"alf# .hat place is encompassed by the sea on all sides, except the &est, &here is an
entrance about the cast of a sling in &idthD &hich sort of place is by the 8atins called a peninsula, by
the >ree(s, a hersonesus# Bishop Ailfrid, having this place given him, founded therein a monastery,
&hich his successors possess to this day, and established a regular course of life, chiefly of the brethren
he had brought &ith himD for he both in &ord and action performed the duties of a bishop in those parts
during the space of five years, until the death of @ing Egfrid# 'nd forasmuch as the aforesaid (ing,
together &ith the said place, gave him all the goods that &ere therein, &ith the lands and men, he
instructed them in the faith of hrist, and baptiEed them all# 'mong &hom &ere t&o hundred and fifty
men and &omen slaves, all of &hom he, by baptism, not only rescued from the servitude of the Devil,
but gave them their bodily libertB also, and exempted them from the yo(e of human servitude#,
,)6
CHAPTER XIV
H!A ' PE<.+8E=.+'8 ;!/.'8+.B E'<ED .H/!?>H .HE +=.E/E<<+!= !F @+=>
!<A'8D#
H'#D# )7,I
+= this monastery, at that time, certain manifestations of the heavenly grace are said to have been
sho&n forthD for the tyranny of the Devil having been recently exploded, the faith of hrist began to
prevail therein# !f &hich number + have thought it proper to perpetuate the memory of one &hich the
most reverend Bishop 'cca &as &ont to relate to me, affirming it had been told him by most creditable
brothers of the same monastery# 'bout the same time the this province of the <outh <axons embraced
the faith of hrist, a grievous mortality ran through many provinces of BritainD &hich, also, by the
Divine dispensation, reached to the aforesaid monastery, then governed by the most reverend and
religious priest of hrist, EappaD and many as &ell of those that had come thither &ith the bishop, as of
those that had been called to the faith of the same province of the <outh <axons, &ere snatched a&ay
out of this &orld# .he brethren, in conseCuence, thought fit to (eep a fast of three days, and to implore
the Divine goodness, that it &ould vouchsafe to extend mercy to them either by delivering those that
&ere in danger by the distemper from death, or by delivering those &ho departed this life from eternal
damnation#
.here &as at that time in the monastery, a little boy, of the <axon nation, lately called to the faith,
&ho had been seiEed &ith the same distemper, and had long (ept his bed# !n the second day of the
fasting and praying, it happened that the said boy &as, about the second hour of the day, left alone in
the place &here he lay sic(, and through the Divine disposition, the most blessed princes of the apostle
vouchsafed to appear to himD for he &as a, lad of an extraordinarily mild and innocent disposition, and,
&ith sincere devotion observed the mysteries of the faith &hich he had received# .he apostles therefore,
saluting him in a most affectionate manner, said, G;y child, do not fear death, about &hich you are so
uneasyD for &e &ill this day conduct you to the heavenly (ingdomD but you are first to stay till the
masses are said, that having received the body and blood of our 8ord, to support you on your Fourney,
and being so discharged through sic(ness and death, you may be carried up to the everlasting Foys in
heaven#
G all therefore to you the priest, Eappa, and tell him, that the 8ord has heard your prayers and
devotion, and has favourably accepted of your fast, and not one more shall die of this plague, either in
,)0
the monastery or its adFacent possessionsD but all your people &ho any&here labour under this
distemper, shall be eased of their pain, and restored to their former health, except you alone, &ho are
this day to be delivered by death, and to be carried into heaven, to behold our 8ord hrist, &hom you
have faithfully served $ this favour the Divine mercy has vouchsafed to grant you, through the
intercession of the godly and dear servant of >od, @ing !s&ald, &ho formerly ruled over the nation of
the =orthumbrians, &ith the authority of a temporal (ing, and such devotion of hristian piety as leads
to the heavenly (ingdomD for this very day that (ing &as (illed in &ar by the infidels, and ta(en up to
the everlasting Foys of souls in heaven, and associated among the number of the elect# 8et them loo( in
their boo(s, &herein the departure of the dead is set do&n, and they &ill find that he &as, this day, as
&e have said, ta(en out of this &orld# 8et them, therefore, celebrate masses in all the oratories of this
monastery, either in than(sgiving for their prayers being heard, or else in memory of the aforesaid @ing
!s&ald, &ho once governed their nationD and therefore he humbly offered up his prayers to our 8ord
for them, as for strangers of his nation D and let all the brethren assembling in the church, communicate
in the heavenly: sacrifices, and so let them cease to fast, and refresh themselves &ith food#G
.he boy called the priest, and repeated all these &ords to him D the priest particularly inCuired
after the habit and form of the men that had appeared to him# He ans&ered, G.heir habit &as noble, and
their countenances most pleasant and beautiful, such as + had never seen before, nor did + thin( there
could be any men so graceful and comely# !ne of them indeed &as shorn li(e a cler(, the other had a
long beardD and they said that one of them &as called Peter, the other PaulD and both of them the
servants of our 8ord and <aviour 9esus hrist, sent by Him from heaven to protect our monastery#G .he
priest believed &hat the boy said, and going thence immediately, loo(ed in his chronicle, and found
that @ing !s&ald had been (illed on that very day# He then called the brethren, ordered dinner to be
provided, masses to be said, and all of them to communicate as usualD causing also part of the 8ord:s
oblation of the same sacrifice to be carried to the sic( boy#
<oon after this, the boy died, on that same dayD and by his death proved that &hat he had heard
from the apostles of >od &as true# ' further testimony of the truth of his &ords &as, that no person
besides himself, belonging to the same monastery, died at that time# By &hich vision, many that heard
of it &ere &onderfully excited to implore the Divine mercy in adversity, and to adopt the &holesome
remedy of fasting# From that time, the day of the nativity of that (ing and soldier of hrist began to be
yearly honoured &ith the celebration of masses, not only in that monastery, but in many other places#
,)1
CHAPTER XV
@+=> 'EDA'88', H'2+=> <8'+= E.HE8A'8H, @+=> !F .HE AE<. <'5!=<,
A'<.ED .H'. P/!2+=E A+.H /'P+=E '=D <8'?>H.E/#
H'#D# )73I
+= the meantime, aed&alla, a daring young man, of the royal race of the >e&issae, &ho had
been banished his country, came &ith an army, sle& Ethel&alch, and &asted that country &ith much
slaughter and plunderingD but he &as soon expelled by Berthun and 'ndhun, the (ing:s commanders,
&ho after&ards held the government of that province# .he first of them &as after&ards (illed by the
same Eed&alla, &hen he &as (ing of the >e&issae, and the province &as more entirely subdued $ +na,
li(e&ise, &ho reigned after aed&alla, (ept that country under the li(e servitude for several yearsD for
&hich reason, during all that time, they had no bishop of their o&nD but their first bishop, Ailfrid,
having been recalled home, they &ere subFect to the bishop of the >e&issae, i#e# the Aest <axons, in
the city of Ainchester#
CHAPTER XVI
H!A .HE +<8E !F A+>H. /EE+2ED H/+<.+'= +=H'B+.'=.<, '=D .A! /!B'8
B!?.H< !F .H'. +<8'=D AE/E @+88ED +;;ED+'.E8B 'F.E/ B'P.+<;#
H'#D# )7)I
',F.E/ oed&alla had possessed himself of the (ingdom of the >e&issae, he also too( the +sle
of Aight, &hich till then &as entirely given over to idolatry, and by cruel slaughter endeavoured to
destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place in their stead people from his o&n provinceD having
bound himself by a vo&, though he &as not yet, as is reported, regenerated in hrist, to give the fourth
part of the land, and of the booty, to our 8ord, if he too( the island, &hich he performed by giving the
same for our 8ord to the use of Bishop Ailfred, &ho happened at the time to have accidentally come
thither out of his o&n nation# .he measure of that island, according to the computation of the English,
is of t&elve hundred families, and accordingly the bishop had given him land of three hundred families#
.he part &hich he received, he committed to one of his cler(s called Bern&in, &ho &as his sister:s son,
assigning him a priest, &hose name &as Hiddila, &ho might administer the &ord and baptism of
salvation to all that &ould be saved#
Here + thin( it ought not to be omitted that the first fruits of the natives of that island &ho, by
,)3
believing, secured their salvation, &ere t&o royal youths, brothers to 't&ald, (ing of the island, &ho
&ere honoured by the particular grace of >od# For &hen the enemy approached, they made their escape
out of the island, and passed over into the neighbouring province of the 9utesD &here, being conducted
to the place called 't the <tone, as they thought to, be concealed from the victorious (ing, they &ere
betrayed and ordered to be (illed# .his being made (no&n to a certain abbot and priest, &hose name
&as ynebert, &ho had a monastery not far from thence, at a place called /eodford, that is, the Ford of
/eeds, he came to the (ing, &ho then lay privately in those parts, to be cured of the &ounds &hich he
had received &hilst he &as fighting in the +sle of Aight, and begged of him that if the lads must
inevitably be (illed, he might be allo&ed first to instruct them in the mysteries of the faith# .he (ing
consented, and the bishop having taught them the &ord of truth, and cleansed their souls by baptism,
made the entrance into the (ingdom of heaven sure to them# .hen the executioner being at hand, they
Foyfully under&ent the temporal death, through &hich they did not doubt they &ere to pass to the life of
the soul, &hich is everlasting# .hus, after all the provinces of the island of Britain had embraced the
faith of hrist, the +sle of Aight also received the sameD yet being under the affliction of foreign
subFection, no man there received the ministry, or ran( of a bishop, before Daniel, &ho is no& bishop
of the Aest <axons#
.he island is situated opposite the division bet&een the <outh <axons and the >e&issae, being
separated from it by a sea, three miles over, &hich is called <olente# +n this narro& sea, the t&o tides of
the ocean, &hich flo& around Britain from the immense northern ocean, daily meet and oppose one
another beyond the mouth of the river Homelea, &hich runs into that narro& sea, from the lands of the
9utes, &hich belong to the country of the >e&issaeD after this meeting and struggling together of the
t&o seas, they return into the ocean from &hence they come#
CHAPTER XVII
!F .HE <B=!D HE8D += .HE P8'+= !F HE'.HF+E8D, AHE/E '/HB+<H!P
.HE!D!/E P/E<+DED#
H'#D# )7-I
'B!?. this time, .heodore being informed that the faith of the church at onstantinople &as
much perplexed by the heresy of Eutyches, and desiring to preserve the churches of the English, over
&hich he presided, from that infection, an assembly of many venerable priests and doctors &as
,))
convened, at &hich he diligently inCuired into their doctrines, and found they all unanimously agreed in
the atholic faith# .his he too( care to have committed to &riting by the authority of the synod, as a
memorial, and for the instruction of succeeding generations D the beginning of &hich instrument is as
follo&s
G +n the name of our 8ord and <aviour 9esus hrist, in the tenth year of the reign of
our most pious lord, Egfrid, (ing of the =orthumbrians, the seventeenth of <eptember, the
eighth indictionD and in the sixth year of the reign of Ethelfrid, (ing of the ;ercians, in the
seventeenth year of the reign of 'ldhulf, of the East 'ngles, in the seventh year of the reign
of 8othair, (ing of @entD .heodore, by the grace of >od, archbishop of the island of Britain,
and of the city of anterbury, being president, and the other venerable bishops of the island
of Britain sitting &ith him, the holy >ospels being laid before them, at the place &hich, in
the <axon tongue, is called Heathfield, &e conferred together, and expounded the true and
orthodox faith, as our 8ord 9esus in the flesh delivered the same to his disciples, &ho sa&
Him present, and heard his &ords, and as it is delivered in the creed of the holy fathers, and
by all holy and universal synods in general, and by the consent of all approved doctors of
the atholic churchD &e, therefore, follo&ing them Fointly and orthodoxly, and professing
accordance to their divinely inspired doctrine, do believe, and do, according to the holy
fathers, firmly confess, properly and truly, the Father, and <on, and Holy >host, a trinity
consubstantial in unity, and unity in trinity, that is, one >od subsisting in three
consubstantial persons, of eCual honour and glory#G
'nd after much more of this sort, appertaining to the confession of the true faith, this holy synod
added to its instrument, GAe have received the five holy and general councils of the blessed fathers
acceptable to >odD that is, !f 0,7 bishops, &ho &ere assembled at =ice, against the most impious
'rius and his tenetsD and at onstantinople, !f ,3-, against the madness of ;acedonius and Eudoxius,
and their tenetsD and at Ephesus, first of 6--, against the most &ic(ed =estorius and his tenetsD and at
halcedon, -f 0)-, against Eutyches and =estorius, and their tenets, and again at onstantinople# +n a
fifth council, in the reign of 9ustinian the younger, against .heodorus and .heodoret, and the epistles of
+ba, and their tenets, against yrilDG and again a little lo&er, Gthe synod held in the city of /ome, in the
time of the blessed Pope ;artin, in the eighth indiction, and in the ninth year of the most pious
Emperor onstantine, &e receive $ and &e glorify our 8ord 9esus hrist, as they glorified Him, neither
adding nor diminishing anything D anathematiEing those &ith our hearts and mouths &hom they
,)*
anathematiEed, and receiving those &hom they received, glorifying >od the Father, &ho is &ithout
beginning, and his only"begotten <on generated from eternity, and the Holy >host proceeding from the
Father and the <on in an ineffable manner, as those holy apostles, prophets, and doctors, &hom &e
have above"mentioned, did declare# 'nd all &e, &ho, &ith 'rchbishop .heodore, have thus expounded
the atholic faith, have also subscribed thereto#G
CHAPTER XVIII
!F 9!H=, .HE <+=>E/ !F .HE 'P!<.!8+ <EE, AH! ';E +=.! B/+.'+= .!
.E'H#
H'#D# )7-I
';!=> those &ho &ere present at this synod, &as the venerable 9ohn, archchanter of the church
of the holy 'postle Peter, and abbot of the monastery of <t# ;artin, &ho came lately from /ome, by
order of Pope 'gatho, together &ith the most reverend 'bbot Biscop, surnamed Benedict, of &hom
mention has been made above, and this 9ohn, &ith the rest, signed the declaration of the atholic faith#
For the said Benedict, having built a monastery in Britain, in honour of the most blessed prince of the
apostles, at the mouth of the river Aere, &ent to /ome &ith eolfrid, his companion and fello&"
labourer in that &or(, &ho &as after him abbot of the same monasteryD he had been several, times
before at /ome, and &as no& honourably received by Pope 'gatho of blessed memoryD from &hom he
also obtained the confirmation of the immunities of this monastery, being a bull of privilege signed by
apostolical authority, pursuant to &hat he (ne& to be the &ill and grant of @ing Egfrid, by &hose
consent and gift of land he had built that monastery#
He then received the aforesaid 'bbot 9ohn to be conducted into Britain, that he might teach in his
monastery the method of singing throughout the year, as it &as practised at <t# Peter:s at /ome# .he
'bbot 9ohn did as he had been commanded by the pope, teaching the singers of the said monastery the
order and manner of singing and reading aloud, and committing to &riting all that &as reCuisite
throughout the &hole course of the year for the celebration of festivalsD all &hich are still observed in
that monastery, and have been copied by many others else&here# .he said 9ohn not !nly taught the
brothers of that monasteryD but such as had s(ill in singing resorted from almost all the monasteries of
the same province to hear himD and many invited him to teach in other places#
Besides singing and reading, he had also been directed by the pope carefully to inform himself
,)7
concerning the faith of the English church, and to give an account thereof at his return to /ome# For he
also brought &ith him the decision of the synod of the blessed Pope ;artin and ,-3 bishops, held not
long before at /ome, principally against those &ho taught but one &ill and operation in hrist, and
gave it to be transcribed in the aforesaid monastery of the most religious 'bbot Benedict# .he men &ho
follo&ed such opinion, much perplexed the faith of the church of onstantinople at that timeD but by
the help of >od they &ere then discovered and subdued# Aherefore, Pope 'gatho, being desirous to be
informed concerning the state of the church in Britain, as &ell as in other provinces, and to &hat extent
it &as clear from the contagion of heretics, gave this affair in charge to the most reverend 'bbot 9ohn,
then appointed to go to Britain# .he synod &e have spo(en of having been called for this purpose in
Britain, the atholic faith &as found untainted in them all, and a copy of the same given him to carry to
/ome#
But in his return to his o&n country, soon after crossing the sea, he fell sic( and died and his body,
for the sa(e of <t# ;artin, in &hose monastery he presided, &as by his friends carried to .ours and$
honourably buriedD for he had been (indly entertained there &hen he &ent into, Britain, and earnestly
entreated by the brethren#, that in his return to /ome he &ould ta(e that road,## and give them a visit# +n
short, he &as, there supplied &ith some to conduct him on his &ay, and assist him in the &or( enFoined
him# .hough he died by the &ay, yet the testimony of the faith of the English nation &as carried to
/ome, and most agreeably received by the apostolic pope, and all those that heard or read it#
CHAPTER XIX
H!A M?EE= E.HE8D/+D' '8A'B< P/E<E/2ED HE/ 2+/>+=+.B, '=D HE/ B!DB
<?FFE/ED =! !//?P.+!= += .HE >/'2E#
H'#D# ))-I
@+=> E>F/+D too( to &ife, Etheldrida, the daughter of 'nna, (ing of the East 'ngles, of &hom
mention has been often madeD a man very religious, and in all respects reno&ned for his in&ard
disposition and actions# <he had before been given in marriage to another, viE# to .onbert, chief of the
<outhern >irviiD but he died soon after he bad received her, and she &as given to the aforesaid (ing#
.hough she lived &ith him t&elve years, yet she preserved the glory of perfect virginity, as + &as
informed by Bishop Ailfrid, of blessed memory, of &hom + inCuired, because some Cuestioned the
truth thereofD and he told me that he &as an undoubted &itness of her virginity, forasmuch as Egfrid
,)4
promised he &ould give many lands and much money, if he could persuade the Cueen to consent to pay
the marriage duty, for he (ne& the Cueen loved no man so much as himselfD and it is not to be doubted
that the same might in one instance ta(e place in our age, &hich true histories tell us happened several
times in former ages, through the assistance of the same 8ord &ho has promised to continue &ith us
unto the end of the &orldD for the miraculous circumstance that her flesh, being buried, could not suffer#
corruption, is a to(en that she had not been defiled by familiarity &ith man#
<he had# long reCuested# the (ing that he &ould permit her to lay, aside &ordly cares, and to serve
only the true @ing, hrist, in a monasteryD and having at length &ith difficulty prevailed, she &ent as a
nun into the monastery of the 'bbess Ebba, &ho &as aunt to @ing Egfrid, at the place called the city
oludi, having ta(en the veil from the hands of the aforesaid Bishop AilfridD but a year after she &as
herself made abbess in the country called Ely, &here, having built a monastery, she began, by &or(s
and examples of a heavenly life, to be the virgin mother of very many virgins dedicated to >od# +t is
reported of her, that from the time of her entering into the monastery, she never &ore any linen but only
&oollen garments, and &ould rarely &ash in a hot bath, unless Fust before any of the great festivals, as
Easter , Ahitsuntide, and the Epiphany, and then she did it last of all, after having, &ith the assistance
of those about her, first &ashed the other servants of >od there presentD besides, she seldom did eat
above once a day, excepting on the great solemnities, or some other urgent occasion, unless some
considerable distemper obliged her# From the time of matins she continued in the church at prayer till it
&as dayD some also say, that by the spirit of prophecy, she, in the presence of all, not only foretold the
pestilence of &hich she &as to die, but also the number of those that should be then snatched a&ay out
of her monastery# <he &as ta(en to our 8ord, in the midst of her floc(, seven years after she had been
made abbessD and, as she had ordered, &as buried among them, in such a manner as she had died, in a
&ooden coffin#
<he &as succeeded in the office of abbess by her sister <exberga, &ho had been &ife to Erconbert,
(ing of @entD &ho, &hen her sister had been buried sixteen years, thought fit to ta(e up her bones, and,
putting them into a ne& coffin, to translate them into the church# 'ccordingly she ordered some of the
brothers to provide a stone to ma(e a coffin ofD they accordingly &ent on board ship, because the
country of Ely is on every side encompassed &ith the sea or marshes, and has no large stones, and
came to a small abandoned city, not far from thence, &hich, in the language of the English, is called
>rantchester, and presently, near the city &alls, they found a &hite marble coffin, most beautifully
&rought, and neatly covered &ith a lid of the same sort of stone# oncluding therefore that >od had
,*-
prospered their Fourney, they returned than(s to Him, and carried it to the monastery#
.he body of the holy virgin and spouse of hrist, &hen her grave &as opened, being brought into
sight, &as found as free from corruption as if she had died and been buried on that very dayD as the
aforesaid Bishop Ailfrid, and many others that (no& it, can testify# But the physician, ynefrid, &ho
&as present at her death, and &hen she &as ta(en up out of the grave, &as &ont of more certain
(no&ledge to relate, that in her sic(ness she had a very great s&elling under her Fa&# G 'nd + &as
ordered,G said he, Gto lay open that s&elling, to let out the noxious matter in it, &hich + did, and she
seemed to be some&hat more easy for t&o days, so that many thought she might recover from her
distemperD but the third day the former pains returning, she &as soon snatched out of the &orld, and
exchanged all pain and death for everlasting life and health# 'nd &hen so many years after her bones
&ere to be ta(en out of the grave, a pavilion being spread over it, all the congregation of brothers &ere
on the one side, and of sisters on the other, standing about it singing, and the abbess, &ith a fe&, being
gone to ta(e up and &ash the bones, on a sudden &e heard the abbess &ithin loudly cry out, : >lory be
to the name of the 8ord#: =ot long after they called me in, opening the door of the pavilion, &here ,
found the body of the holy virgin ta(en out of the grave and laid on a bed, as if it had been asleepD then
ta(ing off the veil from the face, they also sho&ed the incision &hich + had made, healed upD so that, to
my great astonishment, instead of the open gaping &ound &ith &hich she had been buried, there then
appeared only an extraordinarily slender scar#
GBesides, all the linen cloths in &hich the body had been buried, appeared entire and as fresh as if
they had been that very day &rapped about her chaste limbs#G +t is reported, that &hen she &as much
troubled &ith the aforesaid s&elling and pain in her Fa&, she &as much pleased &ith that sort of
distemper, and &ont to say, G + (no& that + deservedly bear the &eight of my sic(ness on my nec(, for +
remember, &hen + &as very young, , bore there the needless &eight of Fe&elsD and therefore + believe
the Divine goodness &ould have me endure the pain in my nec(, that + may be absolved from the guilt
of my needless levity, having no&, instead of gold and precious stones, a red s&elling and burning on
my nec(#G +t happened also that by the touch of that linen, devils &ere expelled from bodies possessed,
and other distempers &ere sometimes curedD and the coffin she &as first buried in is reported to have
cured some of distempers in the eyes, &ho, praying &ith their heads touching that coffin, presently
&ere delivered from the pain or dimness in their eyes# .hey &ashed the virgin:s body, and having
clothed it in ne& garments, brought it into the church, and laid it in the coffin that had been brought,
&here it is held in great veneration to this day# .he coffin &as found in a &onderful manner, as fit for
,*,
the virgin:s body as if it had been made purposely for her, and the place for the head particularly cut,
exactly fit for her head,, and shaped to a nicety#
Ely is in the province of the East 'ngles, a country of about six hundred families, in the nature of
an island, enclosed, as has been said, either &ith marshes or &aters, and therefore it has its name from
the great plenty of eels ta(en in those marchesD there the aforesaid servant of hrist desired to have a
monastery, because, as &e have before observed, she &as descended from that same province of the
East 'ngles#
CHAPTER XX
' HB;=# != .HE 'F!/E<'+D H!8B 2+/>+=#
H'#D# ))-I
+ .H+=@ it proper to insert in this history a hymn of virginity, &hich + composed in elegiac verse
several years ago, in praise and honour of the same Cueen and spouse of hristD and therefore truly a
Cueen, because the spouse !f hristD and to imitate the method of the Holy <cripture, in &hose history
many poetical pieces are inserted ,Ahich are (no&n to be composed in metre#
Hail, .riune Po&er, &ho rulest every age,
'ssist the numbers &hich my pen engage#
8et ;aro &ars in loftier numbers sing,
+ sound the praises of our heavenly @ing#
haste is my verse, nor Helen:s rape + &riteD
8ight tales li(e these, but prove the mind as light#
<ee + from on high the >od descends, confined
+n ;ary:s &omb, to rescue lost man(ind#
Behold + a spotless maid a >od brings forth,
' >od is born, &ho gave e:en nature birth +
.he virgin"choir the mother"maid resound,
'nd chaste themselves, her praises shout around#
Her bright example numerous vot:ries raise,
.read spotless paths, and imitate her &ays#
.he blessed 'gatha and Eulalia trust
,*6
<ooner to flames than far more dangerous lust#
.ecula and chaste Euphemia overcame
.he fear of beasts to save a virgin name#
'gnes and s&eet ecilia, Foyful maids,
<mile &hile the pointed s&ord their breasts invades#
.riumphing Foy attends the peaceful soul,
Ahere heat, nor rain, nor &ishes mean control#
.hus Etheldrida, pure from sensual crime,
Bright shining star + arose to bless our time#
Born of a regal race, her sire a (ing,
;ore noble honour to her lord shall bring#
' Cueen her name, her hand a sceptre rears,
But greater glories &ait above the spheres#
Ahat man &ouldst thou desireJ <ee hrist is made
Her spouse, her blessed /edeemer &eds the maid#
Ahile you attend the heavenly ;other:s train,
.hou shalt be mother of a heavenly reign#
.he holy maid &ho t&elve years sat a Cueen,
' cloister:d nun devote to >od &as seen#
=oted for pious deeds, her spotless soul
8eft the vile &orld, and soar:d above the pole#
<ixteen =ovembers since &as the blest maid
Entomb:d, &hose flesh no putrid damps invade#
.hy grace, ! hrist + for in the coffin:s found
=o tainted vest &rapping the corpse around#
.he s&elling dropsy, and dire atrophy,
' pale disease from the blest vestments fly#
/age fires the fiend, &ho &hilom Eve betray:d,
Ahile shouting angels hail the glorious maid#
<ee + &edded to her >od, &hat Foy remains,
+n earth, or heaven, see K &ith her >od she reigns K
,*0
Behold + the spouse, the festal torches shine,
He comesK behold + &hat Foyful gifts are thine K
.hou a ne& song on the s&eet harp shalt sing,
' hymn of praise to thy celestial @ing#
=one from the floc( of the throned 8amb shall move,
Ahom grateful passion bind, and heavenly love
CHAPTER XXI
B+<H!P .HE!D!/E ;'DE PE'E BE.AEE= .HE @+=>< E>F/+D '=D E.HE8/ED#
H'#D# )*4I
+= the ninth year of the reign of @ing Egfrid, a greatbattle &as fought bet&een him and Ethelred,
(ing of the ;ercians, near the river .rent, and Elf&in, brother to @ing Egfrid, &as slain, a youth about
eighteen years !f age, and much beloved by both provinces, for @ing Ethel red had married his sister
!sthritha# .here &as no& reason to expect a more bloody &ar, and more lasting enmity bet&een those
(ings and their fierce nationsD but .heodore the bishop, beloved of >od, relying on the Divine
assistance, by his &holesome admonitions extinguished the dangerous fire that &as brea(ing outD so
that the (ings and their people on both sides being appeased, no man &as Put to death, but only the
usual mulct paid to the (ing for his brother that had been (illedD and this peace continued long after
bet&een those (ings and their (ingdoms#
CHAPTER XXII
H!A ' E/.'+= 'P.+2E:< H'+=< FE88 !FF AHE= ;'<<E< AE/E <?=> F!/
H+;#
H'#D# )*4I
+= the aforesaid battle, &herein Elf&in, the (ing:s b rother, &as (illed, a memorable fact is (no&n
to have happened, &hich + thin( ought not to be passed by in silence ", for the relation of the same &ill
conduce to the salvation of many# +n that battle, one +mma, a youth belonging to the (ing, &as left as
dead, and having lain so all that day and the next night among the dead bodies, at length he came to
himself, and sitting, bound up his &ounds in the best &ay he could# .hen having rested a&hile, he
stood up, and began to go off to see( some friends that might ta(e care of himD but in so doing he &as
,*1
discovered and ta(en by some of the enemy:s army, and carried before their lord, &ho &as an earl
belonging to @ing Ethelred# Being as(ed by him &ho he &as, and fearing to o&n himself a soldier, he
ans&ered, GHe &as a peasant, poor and married, and that he came to the army &ith others to bring
Provisions to the soldiers#G .he earl entertained him, and ordered his &ounds to be dressedD and &hen
he began to recover, to prevent his escaping, he ordered him to be boundD but that could not be
performed, for as soon as they that bound him &ere gone, his bonds &ere all loosened#
He had a brother called .unna, &ho &as a priest and abbot of a monastery in the city &hich from
him is still called , .unnacester# Hearing that his brother had been (illed in the fight, he &ent to see
&hether he could find his bodyD and finding another very li(e him in all respects, oncluding it to be
his, he carried the same to his monastery, and buried it honourably, and too( care often to say masses
for the absolution of his soulD the celebration Ahereof occasioned &hat + have said, that none could
bind him but he &as presently loosed again# +n the meantime, the earl that (ept him &as amaEed, and
began to inCuire Ahy he could not be boundD &hether he had any spells about him, as are spo(en of in
fabulous stories# He ans&ered, GHe (ne& nothing of those contrivancesD but + have,G said he, Ga brother
&ho is a priest in my country, and + (no& that he, supposing me to be (illed, causes masses to be said
for meD and if + &ere no& in the other life, my soul there, through his intercession, &ould be delivered
from pain#G
Having continued &ith the earl some time, those &ho attentively observed him, by his
countenance, mien, and discourse, too( notice, that he &as not of the meaner sort, as he had said, but of
some Cuality# .he earl then privately sending for him, pressed to (no& &ho he &as, promising to do
him no harm, if he &ould ingenuously confess his Cuality# Ahich &hen he had done, declaring that he
had been the (ing:s servant, the earl ans&ered, G+ perceived by your ans&ers that you &ere no peasant#
'nd no& you deserve to die, because all my brothers and relations &ere (illed in that fightD yet + &ill
not put Bou to death, because it &ill be a breach of my promise#G
's soon, therefore, as he &as recovered, he sold him at 8ondon, to a Freson, but he could not be
bound by him the &hole &ay as he &as led alongD but though his enemies put several sorts of bonds on
him, they &ere all loosed# .he buyer, perceiving that he could in no &ay be bound, gave him leave to
ransom himself if he couldD no& it &as at the third hour Nnine in the morningO &hen the masses &ere
&ont to be said, that his bonds &ere generally loosed# He, having ta(en an oath that he &ould either
return, or send him the money for his ransom, &ent into @ent to @ing 8othaire, &ho &as son to the
,*3
sister of Mueen Etheldrida, above spo(en of, for he had once been her servant# From him he obtained
the price of his ransom, and as he had promised, sent it to his master#
/eturning after&ards into his o&n country, and coming to his brother, he gave him an exact
account of all his fortunes, good and badD and by his relation he understood, that his bonds had been
generally loosed at those times &hen masses had been celebrated for himD and that other advantages
&hich had accrued to him in his time of danger, had been conferred on him from Heaven, through the
intercession of his brother, and the oblation of his saving sacrifice# ;any persons, on hearing this
account from the aforesaid man, &ere stirred up in the faith and devotion of piety either to prayer, or to
almsgiving, or to offer up to our 8ord the sacrifice of the holy oblation, for the deliverance of their
friends &ho had departed this &orldD for they understood and (ne& that such saving sacrifice &as
available for the eternal redemption bath of body and soul# .his story &as also told me by some of
those &ho had heard it related by the person himself to &hom it happenedD therefore, + have thought fit
to insert it in my Ecclesiastical History as + had it related to me#
CHAPTER XXIII
!F .HE 8+FE '=D DE'.H !F .HE 'BBE<< H+8D'#
H'#D# )7-I
+=#the year of the incarnation of our 8ord )7-, the most religious servant of hrist, Hilda, abbess
of the monastery that is called <treaneshalch, as above"mentioned, after having performed many
heavenly &or(s on earth, passed from thence to receive the re&ards of the heavenly life, on the ,*th of
=ovember, at the age of sixty"six yearsD the first thirty"three of &hich she spent living most nobly in the
secular habitD and more nobly dedicated the remaining half to our 8ord in a monastic life# For she &as
nobly born, being the daughter of Hereric, nephe& to @ing Ed&in, &ith &hich (ing she also embraced
the faith and mysteries of hrist, at the preaching of Paulinus, the first bishop of the =orthumbrians, of
blessed memory, and preserved the same undefiled till she attained to the sight of him in heaven#
/esolving to Cuit the secular habit, and to serve him alone, she &ithdre& into the province of the
East 'ngles, for she &as allied to the (ingD being desirous to pass over from thence into France, to
forsa(e her native country and all she had, and so live a stranger for our 8ord in the monastery of ale,
that she might &ith more case attain to the eternal (ingdom in heavenD because her sister Heresuid :
mother to 'ld&ulf, (ing of the East 'ngles, at that time living in the same monastery, under regular
,*)
discipline, &as &aiting for her eternal re&ard# Being led by her example, she continued a &hole year in
the aforesaid province, &ith the design of going abroadD after&ards, Bishop 'idan being recalled home,
he gave her the land of one family on the north side of the river AearD &here for a year she also led a
monastic life, &ith very fe& companions#
'fter this she &as made abbess in the monastery called Heruteu, &hich monastery had been
founded, not long before, by the religious servant of hrist, Heiu, &ho is said to have been the first
&oman that in the province of the =orthumbrians too( upon her the habit and life of a nun, being
consecrated by Bishop 'idanD but she, soon after she had founded that monastery, &ent a&ay to the city
of alcacestir, and there fixed her d&elling# Hilda, the servant of hrist, being set over that monastery,
began immediately to reduce all things to a regular system, according as she had been instructed by
learned menD for Bishop 'idan, and other religious men that (ne& her and loved her, freCuently visited
and diligently instructed her, because of her innate &isdom and inclination to the service of >od#
Ahen she had for some years governed this monastery, &holly intent upon establishing a regular
life, it happened that she also undertoo( either to build or to arrange a monastery in the place called
<treaneshalch HAhitbyI, &hich &or( she industriously performedD for she put this monastery under the
same regular discipline as she had done the formerD and taught there the strict observance of Fustice,
piety, chastity, and other virtues, and particularly of peace and charityD so that, after the example of the
primitive church, no person &as there rich, and none poor, all being in common to all, and none having
any property# Her prudence &as so great, that not only indifferent persons, but even (ings and princes,
as occasion offered, as(ed and received her adviceD she obliged those &ho &ere under her direction to
attend so much to reading of the Holy <criptures, and to exercise themselves so much in &or(s of
Fustice, that many might be there found fit for ecclesiastical duties, and to serve at the altar#
+n short, &e after&ards sa& five bishops ta(en out !f that monastery, and all of them men of
singular merit and sanctity, &hose names &ere Bosa, Hedda, !ftfor, 9ohn, and Ailfrid# Ae have above
ta(en notice, that the first of them &as consecrated bishop at Bor(D of the second, it is to be observed
that he &as appointed bishop of Dorchester# !f the t&o last &e shall spea( hereafter, as they &ere
consecrated$ the &as bishop of Hagulstad, the second of the church of Bor(D of the third, &e &ill here
ta(e notice that, having applied himself to the reading and observation of the <criptures in both the
monasteries of Hilda, at length, being desirous to attain to greater perfection, he &ent into @ent, to
'rchbishop .heodore, of blessed memoryD &here having spent some more time in sacred studies, he
,**
also resolved to go to /ome, &hich, in those days, &as rec(oned of great moment $ returning thence
into Britain, he too( his &ay into the province of the Aiccii, &here @ing !sric then ruled, and
continued there a long time, preaching the &ord of faith, and ma(ing himself an example of good life to
all that sa& and heard him# 't that time, Bosel, the bishop of that province, laboured under such
&ea(ness of body, that he could not perform the episcopal functionsD for &hich reason, this !ftfor &as,
by universal consent, chosen bishop in his stead, and by order of @ing Ethelred, consecrated by Bishop
Ailfrid, of blessed memory, &ho &as then bishop of the ;idland 'ngles, because 'rchbishop
.heodore &as dead, and no other bishop ordained in his place# Before the aforesaid man of >od, Bosel,
.atfrid, a most learned and industrious man, and of excellent ability, had been chosen bishop there,
from the same abbess:s monastery, but had been snatched a&ay by an untimely death, before he could
be ordained#
.hus this servant of hrist, 'bbess Hilda, &hom all that (ne& her called ;other, for her singular
piety and grace, &as not only an example of good life, to those that lived in her monastery, but afforded
occasion of amendment and salvation to many &ho lived at a distance, to &hom the fame &as brought
of her industry and virtueD for it &as necessary that the dream &hich her mother, Bregusuit, had, during
her infancy, should be fulfilled# 't the time that her husband, Hereric, lived in banishment, under
erdic, (ing of the Britons, &here he &as also poisoned, she fancied, in a dream, that she &as see(ing
for him most carefully, and could find no sign of him any&hereD but, after having used all her industry
to see( him, she found a most precious Fe&el under her garment, &hich, &hilst she &as loo(ing on it
very attentively, cast such a light as spread itself throughout all BritainD &hich dream &as brought to
pass in her daughter that &e spea( of, &hose life &as a bright example, not only to herself, but to all
&ho desired to live &ell#
Ahen she had governed this monastery many years, it pleased Him &ho has made such merciful
provision for our salvation, to give her holy soul the trial of a long sic(ness, to the end that, according
to the apostle:s example, her virtue might be perfected in infirmity# Falling into a fever, she fell into a
violent heat, and &as afflicted &ith the same for six years continuallyD during all &hich time she never
failed either to return than(s to her ;a(er, or publicly and privately to instruct the floc( committed to
her chargeD for by her o&n example she admonished all persons to serve >od dutifully in perfect health,
and al&ays to return than(s to Him in adversity, or bodily infirmity# +n the seventh year of her sic(ness,
the distemper turning in&ards, she approached her last day, and about coc("cro&ing, having received
the holy communion to further her on her &ay, and called together the servants of hrist that &ere
,*7
&ithin the same monastery, she admonished them to preserve evangelical peace among themselves, and
&ith all othersD and as she &as ma(ing her speech, she Foyfully sa& death approaching, or if + may
spea( in the &ords of our 8ord, passed from death to life#
.hat same night it pleased 'lmighty >od, by a manifest vision, to ma(e (no&n her death in
another monastery, at a distance from hers, &hich she had built that same year, and is called Hac(ness#
.here &as in that monastery, a certain nun called Begu, &ho, having dedicated her virginity to >od,
had served Him up&ards of thirty years in monastical conversation# .his nun, being then in the
dormitory of the sisters, on a sudden heard the &ell (no&n sound of a bell in the air, &hich used to
a&a(e and call them to prayers, &hen any one of them &as ta(en out of this &orld, and opening her
eyes, as she thought, she sa& the top of the house open, and a strong light pour in from aboveD loo(ing
earnestly upon that light, she sa& the soul of the aforesaid servant of >od in that same light, attended
and conducted to heaven by angels# .hen a&a(ing, and seeing the other sisters lying round about her,
she perceived that &hat she had seen &as either in a dream or a visionD and rising immediately in a
great fright, she ran to the virgin &ho then presided in the monastery instead of the abbess, and &hose
name &as Frigyth, and, &ith many tears and sighs, told her that the 'bbess Hilda, mother of them all,
had departed this life, and had in her sight ascended to eternal bliss, and to the company of the
inhabitants of heaven, &ith a great light, and &ith angels conducting her# Frigyth having heard it,
a&o(e all the sisters, and calling them to the church, admonished them to pray and sing psalms for her
soulD &hich they did during the remainder of the nightD and at brea( of day, the brothers came &ith
ne&s of her death, from the place &here she had died# .hey ans&ered that they (ne& it before, and then
related ho& and &hen they had heard it, by &hich it appeared that her death had been revealed to them
in a vision the very same hour that the others said she had died# .hus it &as by Heaven happily
ordained, that &hen some sa& her departure out of this &or+d, the others should be acCuainted &ith her
admittance into the spiritual life &hich is eternal# .hese monasteries are about thirteen miles distant
from each other#
+t is also reported, that her death &as, in a vision, made (no&n the same night to one of the holy
virgins &ho loved her most passionately, in the same monastery &here the said servant of >od died#
.his nun sa& her soul ascend to heaven in the company of angelsD and this she declared, the very same
hour that it happened, to those servants of hrist that &ere &ith herD and a&a(ened them to pray for her
soul, even before the rest of the congregation had heard of her death# .he truth of &hich &as (no&n to
the &hole monastery in the morning# .his same nun &as at that time &ith some other servants of
,*4
hrist, in the remotest part of the monastery, &here the &omen ne&ly converted &ere &ont to be upon
trial, till they &ere regularly instructed, and ta(en into the society of the congregation#
CHAPTER XXIV
.HE/E A'< += .HE <';E ;!='<.E/B ' B/!.HE/, != AH!; .HE >+F. !F
A/+.+=> 2E/<E< A'< BE<.!AED BB HE'2E=#
H'# D# )7-I
.HE/E &as in this abbess:s monastery a certain brother, particularly remar(able for the grace of
>od, &ho &as &ont to ma(e pious and religious verses, so that &hatever &as interpreted to him out of
<cripture, he soon after put the same into poetical expressions of much s&eetness and humility, in
English, &hich &as his native language# By his verses the minds of many &ere often excited to despise
the &orld, and to aspire to heaven# !thers after him attempted, in the English nation, to compose
religious poems, but none could ever compare &ith him, for he did not learn the art of poetry from men,
but from >odD for &hich reason he never could compose any trivial or vain poem, but only those &hich
relate to religion suited his religious tongueD for having lived in a secular habit till he &as &ell
advanced in years, he had never learned anything of versifyingD for &hich reason being sometimes at
entertainments, &hen it &as agreed for the sa(e of mirth that all present should sing in their turns, &hen
he sa& the instrument come to&ards him, he rose up from table and returned home#
Having done so at a certain time, and gone out of the house &here the entertainment &as, to the
stable, &here he had to ta(e care of the horses that night, he there composed himself to rest at the
proper timeD a person appeared to him in his sleep, and saluting him by his name, said, Gaedmon, sing
some song to me#G He ans&ered, G+ cannot singD for that &as the reason &hy + left the entertainment,
and retired to this place because + could not sing#G .he other &ho tal(ed to him, replied, GHo&ever, you
shall sing#G " GAhat shall + singJG reFoined he# G<ing the beginning of created beings,G said the other#
Hereupon he presently began to sing verses to the praise of >od, &hich he had never heard, the purport
&hereof &as thus $ Ae are no& to praise the ;a(er of the heavenly (ingdom, the po&er of the reator
and his counsel, the deeds of the Father of glory# Ho& He, being the eternal >od, became the author of
all miracles, &ho first, as almighty preserver of the human race, created heaven for the sons of men as
the roof of the house, and next the earth# .his is the sense, but not the &ords in order as he sang them in
his sleepD for verses, though never so &ell composed, cannot be literally translated out of one language
,7-
into another, &ithout losing much of their beauty and loftiness# '&a(ing from his sleep, he remembered
all that he had sung in his dream, and soon added much more to the same effect in verse &orthy of the
Deity#
+n the morning he came to the ste&ard, his superior, and having acCuainted him &ith the gift he
had received, &as conducted to the abbess, by &hom he &as ordered, in the presence of many learned
men, to tell his dream, and repeat the verses, that they might all give their Fudgment &hat it &as, and
&hence his verse proceeded# .hey all concluded, that heavenly grace had been conferred on him by our
8ord# .hey expounded to him a passage in holy &rit, either historical, or doctrinal, ordering him, if he
could, to put the same into verse# Having underta(en it, he &ent a&ay, and returning the next morning,
gave it to them composed in most excellent verseD &hereupon the abbess, embracing the grace of >od
in the :man, instructed him to Cuit the secular habit, and ta(e upon him the monastic lifeD &hich being
accordingly done, she associated him to the rest of the brethren in her monastery, and ordered that he
should be taught the &hole series of sacred history# .hus aedmon : (eeping in mind all he heard, and
as it &ere che&ing the cud, converted the same into most harmonious verseD and s&eetly repeating the
same, made his masters in their turn his hearers# He sang the creation of the &orld, the origin of man,
and all the history of >enesis $ and made many verses on the departure of the children of +srael out of
Egypt, and their entering into the land of promise, &ith many other histories from holy &ritD the
incarnation, passion, resurrection of our 8ord, and his ascension into heavenD the coming of the Holy
>host, and the preaching of the apostles D also the terror of future Fudgment, the horror of the pains of
hell, and the delights of heavenD besides many more about the Divine benefits and Fudgments, by &hich
he endeavoured to turn a&ay all men from the love of vice, and to excite in them the love of, and
application to, good actionsD for he &as a very religious man, humbly submissive to regular discipline,
but full of Eeal against those &ho behaved themselves other&iseD for &hich reason he ended his life
happily#
For &hen the time of his departure dre& near, he laboured for the space of fourteen days under a
bodily infirmity &hich seemed to prepare the &ay, yet so moderate that he could tal( and &al( the
&hole time# +n his neighbourhood &as the house to &hich those that &ere sic(, and li(e shortly to die,
&ere carried# He desired the person that attended him, in the evening, as the night came on in &hich he
&as to depart this life, to ma(e ready a place there for him to ta(e his rest# .his person, &ondering &hy
he should desire it, because there &as as yet no sign of his dying soon, did &hat he had ordered# He
accordingly &ent there, and conversing pleasantly in a Foyful manner &ith the rest that &ere in the
,7,
house before, &hen it &as past midnight, he as(ed them, &hether they had the Eucharist thereJ .hey
ans&ered, GAhat need of the EucharistJ for you are not li(ely to die, since you tal( so merrily &ith us,
as if you &ere in perfect health#G "G Ho&ever,G said he, Gbring me the Eucharist#G Having received the
same into his hand, he as(ed, &hether they &ere all in charity &ith him, and &ithout any enmity or
rancourJ .hey ans&ered, that they &ere all in perfect charity, and free from angerD and in their turn
as(ed him, &hether he &as in the same mind to&ards themJ He ans&ered, G+ am in charity, my
children, &ith all the servants of >od#G .hen strengthening himself &ith the heavenly viaticum, he
prepared for the entrance into another life, and as(ed, ho& near the time &as &hen the brothers &ere to
be a&a(ened to sing the nocturnal praises of our 8ordJ .hey ans&ered, G+t is not far off#G .hen he said,
GAell, let us &ait that hourD G and signing himself &ith the sign of the cross, he laid his head on the
pillo&, and falling into a slumber, ended his life so in silence#
.hus it came to pass, that as he had served >od &ith a simple and pure mind, and undisturbed
devotion, so he no& departed to his presence, leaving the &orld by a Cuiet deathD and that tongue,
&hich had composed so many holy &ords in praise of the reator, uttered its last &ords &hilst he &as
in the act of signing himself &ith the cross, and recommending himself into his hands, and by &hat has
been here said, he seems to have had fore(no&ledge of his death#
CHAPTER XXV
!F .HE 2+<+!= .H'. 'PPE'/ED .! ' E/.'+=" ;'= !F >!D BEF!/E .HE
;!='<.E/B !F .HE +.B !8?D+ A'< B?/=ED D!A=#
H'#D# )*4I
'. this time, the monastery of virgins, called the city of oludi, above"mentioned, &as burned
do&n, through carelessnessD and yet all that (ne& the same, might observe that it happened through the
malice of those &ho d&elt in it, and chiefly of those &ho seemed to be the greatest# But there &anted
not a &arning of the approaching punishment from the Divine goodness, by &hich they might have
stood corrected, and by fasting, prayers, and tears, li(e the =inevites, have averted the anger of the Fust
Fudge#
.here &as in that monastery a man of the <cottish race, called 'damnan, leading a life entirely
devoted to >od in continence and prayer, insomuch that he never too( any food or drin(, except only
on <undays and .hursdaysD but often spent &hole nights in prayer# .his austerity of life he had first
,76
adopted from necessity to correct his evil propensities ", but in process of time the necessity became a
ustom#
For in his youth he had been guilty of some &ic(ed action, for &hich, &hen he came to himself,
he conceived extraordinary horror, and dreaded lest he should be punished for the same by the upright
Fudge# /epairing, therefore, to a priest, &ho he hoped might sho& him the &ay of salvation, he
confessed his guilt, and desired to be advised ho& he might avoid the future &rath of >od# .he priest
having heard his offence, said, G' great sore reCuires much attention in the cureD and, therefore, give
yourself up as far as you are able to fasting, reading of Psalms, and prayer, to the end, that thus
preventing the &rath of our 8ord, in confession, you may find Him merciful#G Being highly affected
&ith the grief of a guilty conscience, and desiring, as soon as possible, to be loosed from the in&ard
fetters of sin, &hich lay heavy upon him, he ans&ered, G + am young in years, and strong of body, and
shall, therefore, easily bear &hatever you shall enFoin me to do, so that + may be saved in the day !f
our 8ordD though you should command me to spend the &hole night in prayer standing, and to pass the
&hole &ee( in abstinence#G .he priest replied, G+t is too much for you to hold out the &hole &ee(
&ithout bodily sustenanceD but it is sufficient to fast t&o or three daysD do this till , come again to you
in a short time, &hen + &ill more fully sho& you &hat you are to do, and ho& long to continue our
penance#G Having so said, and prescribed the measure of his penance, the priest &ent a&ay, and yon
some sudden occasion passed over into +reland, &hence he derived his origin, and returned no more to
him, as he had appointed# /emembering this inFunction and his o&n promise, he totally addicted
himself to tears, penance, holy &atching, and continenceD so that he only fed on .hursdays and
<undays, as has been saidD and ate nothing all the other days of the &ee(# Ahen he heard that his priest
&as gone to +reland, and had died there, he ever after observed that same abstinence, according to his
directionD and as he had begun that course through the fear of >od, in penitence for his guilt, so he still
continued the same unremittingly for the Divine love, and in hope of his re&ard#
Having practised this carefully for a long time, it happened that he had gone on a certain day to a
distance from the monastery, accompanied by one of the brothersD and as they &ere returning from this
Fourney, &hen they dre& near to the monastery, and beheld its lofty buildings, the man of >od burst out
into tears, and his countenance discovered the trouble of his heart# His companion, perceiving it, as(ed
&hat &as the reason, to &hich he ans&ered$ G.he time is at hand, &hen a devouring fire shall consume
all the structures &hich you here behold, both public and private#G .he other, hearing these &ords, as
soon as they came into the monastery, told them to Ebba, the mother of the congregation# <he, &ith
,70
good cause, being much concerned at that prediction, called the man to her, and narro&ly inCuired of
him ho& he came to (no& it# He ans&ered, GBeing busy one night lately in &atching and singing
psalms, + on a sudden sa& a person un(no&n standing by me, and being startled at his presence, he
bade me not to fear, and spea(ing to me in a familiar manner, :Bou do &ell,: said he : in that you spend
this night"time of rest, not in giving yourself up to sleep, but in &atching and prayer#: + ans&ered, G+
(no& + have great need of &holesome &atching, and earnest praying to our 8ord to pardon my
transgressions,:G he replied, :Bou are in the right, for you and many more do need to redeem their sins
by good &or(s, and &hen they cease from labouring about temporal affairs, then to labour the more
eagerly for the desire of heavenly goodsD but this very fe& doD for +, having no& visited all this
monastery regularly, have loo(ed into every one:s chambers and beds, and found none of them except
yourself busy about the care of his soulD but all of them, both men and &omen, either indulge
themselves in slothful sleep, or are a&a(e in order to commit sinD for even the cells that &ere built for
praying or reading, are no& converted into places of feasting, drin(ing, tal(ing, and other delightsD the
very virgins dedicated to >od, laying aside the respect due to their profession, &hensoever they are at
leisure, apply themselves to &eaving fine garments, either to use in adorning themselves li(e brides, to
the danger of their condition, or to gain the friendship of strange menD for &hich reason, a heavy
Fudgment from heaven is deservedly ready to fall on this place and its inhabitants by devouring fire#: G
.he abbess said, GAhy did you not sooner acCuaint me &ith &hat you (ne&JG He ans&ered, G + &as
afraid to do it, out of respect to you, lest you should be too much afflictedD yet you may have this
comfort, that the calamity &ill not happen in your days#G .his vision being divulged abroad, the
inhabitants of that place &ere for a fe& days in some little fear, and leaving off their sins, began to
punish themselvesD but after the abbess:s death they returned to their former &ic(edness, nay, they
became more &ic(edD and &hen they thought themselves in peace and security, they soon felt the
effects of the aforesaid Fudgment#
.hat all this fell out thus, &as told me by my most reverend fello&"priest, Edgils, &ho then lived
in that monastery# 'fter&ards, &hen many of the inhabitants had departed thence, on account of the
destruction, he lived a long time in our monastery, and died there# Ae have thought fit to insert this in
our History, to admonish the reader of the &or(s of our 8ord, ho& terrible He is in his counsels on the
sons of men, lest &e should at some lime or other indulge in the pleasures of flesh, and dreading the
Fudgment of >od too little, fall under his sudden &rath, and either be severely afflicted &ith temporal
losses, or else being more severely tried, be snatched a&ay to eternal perdition#
,71
CHAPTER XXVI
!F .HE DE'.H !F .HE @+=>< E>F/+D '=D 8!.HE/E#
H'#D# )71I
+= the year of our 8ord:s incarnation )71, Egfrid, (ing of the =orthumbrians, sending Beort, his
general, &ith an army, into +reland, miserably &asted that harmless nation, &hich had al&ays been
most friendly to the EnglishD insomuch that in their hostile rage they spared not even the churches or
monasteries# .hose islanders , to the utmost of their po&er, repelled force &ith force, and imploring the
assistance of the Divine mercy, prayed long and fervently for vengeance and though such as curse
cannot possess the (ingdom of >od, it is believed, that those &ho &ere Fustly cursed on account of their
impiety, did soon suffer the penalty of their guilt from the avenging hand of >odD for the very next
year, that same (ing, rashly leading his army to ravage the province of the Picts, much against the
advice of his friends, and particularly of uthbert, of blessed memory, &ho had been lately ordained his
op, the enemy made sho& as if they fled, and the (ing &as dra&n into the straits of inaccessible
mountains, and slain &ith the greatest part of his forces, on the 6-th of ;ay, in the fortieth year of his
age, and the fifteenth of his reign# His friends, as has been said, advised him not to engage in this &arD
but he having the year before refused to listen to the most reverend father, Egbert, advising him not to
attac( the <cots, &ho did him no harm, it &as laid upon him as a punishment for his sin, that he Gshould
not no& regard those &ho &ould have prevented his death#
From that time the hopes and strength of the English cro&n Gbegan to &aver and retrogradeGD for
the Picts recovered their o&n lands, &hich had been held by the English and the <cots that &ere in
Britain, and some !f the Britons their liberty, &hich they have no& enFoyed for about forty"six years#
'mong the many English that then either fell by the s&ord, or &ere made slaves, or escaped by flight
out of the country of the Picts, the most reverend man of >od, .rum&ine, &ho had been made bishop
over them, &ithdre& &ith his people that &ere in the monastery of 'bercurnig, seated in the country of
the English, but close by the arm of the sea &hich parts the lands of the English and the <cots# Having
recommended his follo&ers, &heresoever he could, to his friends in the monasteries, he chose his o&n
place of residence in the monastery, &hich &e have so often mentioned, of ;en and &omen servants
!f >od, at <treaneshalchD and there he, for several years, led a life in all monastical austerity, not only
to his o&n, but to the benefit of many, &ith a fe& of his o&n peopleD and dying there, he &as buried in
the church of <t# Peter the 'postle, &ith the honour due to his life and ran(# .he royal virgin, Elfled,
,73
&ith her mother, Eanfled, &hom &e have mentioned before, then presided over that monasteryD but
&hen the bishop came thither, this devout &orrian found in him extraordinary assistance in governing,
and comfort to herself# 'lfrid succeeded Egfrid in the throne, being a +rian most learned in <cripture,
said to be brother to the other, and son to @ing !s&y $ he nobly retrieved the ruined state of the
(ingdom, though &ithin narro&er bounds#
.he same year, being the )73th from the incarnation !f our 8ord 8othere, (ing of @ent, died on
the sixth of February, D1en he had reigned t&elve years after his brother Egbert, &ho had reigned nine
years $ he &as &ounded in battle &ith the <outh <axons, &hom Edric, the son of Egbert, had raised
against him, and died &hilst his &ound &as being dressed# 'fter him, the same Edric reigned a year
and a half# !n his death, (ings of doubtful title, or foreigners, for some time &asted the (ingdom, till
the la&ful (ing, Aictred, the son of Egbert, being settled in the throne, by his piety and Eeal delivered
his nation from foreign invasion#
CHAPTER XXVII
?.HBE/., ' ;'= !F >!D, +< ;'DE B+<H!PD '=D H!A HE 8+2ED '=D .'?>H.
AH+8<. <.+88 += ' ;!='<.+ 8+FE#
H'#D# )73I
.HE same year that @ing Egfrid departed this life, he Nas has been saidO promoted to the bishopric
of the church of 8indisfarne the holy and venerable uthbert, &ho had for many years led a solitary
life, in great continence of body and mind, in a very small island, called Farne, distant almost nine
miles from that same church, in the ocean# From his very childhood he had al&ays been inflamed &ith
the desire of a religious lifeD but he too( upon him the habit and name of a mon( &hen he &as a young
man$ he first entered into the monastery of ;elrose , &hich is !n the ban( of the river .&eed, and &as
then governed by the 'bbot Eata, a mee( and simple man, &ho &as after&ards made bishop of the
church of Hagulstad or 8indisfarne, as has been said above, over &hich monastery at that time &as
placed Boisil, a priest of great virtue and of a prophetic spirit# uthbert, humbly submitting himself to
this man:s direction#, from him received both the (no&ledge of the Holy <criptures, and example of
good &or(s#
'fter he had departed to our 8ord, uthbert &as placed over that monastery, &here he instructed
many in regular life, both by the authority of a master, and the example of his o&n behaviour# =or did
,7)
he afford admonitions and an example of a regular life to his monastery alone, but endeavoured to
convert the people round " about far and near from the life of foolish custom, to the love of heavenly
FoysD for many profaned the faith &hich they had received by their &ic(ed actionsD and some also, in
the time of a mortality, neglecting the sacraments of faith &hich they had received, had recourse to the
false remedies of idolatry, as if they could have put a stop to the plague sent from >od, by
enchantments, spells, or other secrets of the hellish art# +n order to correct the error of both sorts, he
often &ent out of the monastery, sometimes on horsebac(, but oftener on foot, and repaired to the
neighbouring to&ns, &here he preached the &ay of truth to such as &ere gone astrayD &hich had been
also done by Boisil in his time# +t &as then the custom of the English people that &hen a cler( or priest
came into the to&n, hey all, at his command, floc(ed together to bear the &ordD &illingly heard &hat
&as said, and more &illingly practised those things that they could hear or understand# But uthbert
&as so s(ilful an orator so fond &as he of enforcing his subFect, and such a brightness appeared in his
angelic face, that no man present presumed to conceal from him the most hidden secrets of his heart,
but all openly confessed &hat they had doneD because they thought the same guilt could not be
concealed from him, and &iped off the guilt of &hat they had so confessed &ith &orthy fruits of
penance, as he commanded# He &as &ont chiefly to resort to those places, and preach in such villages,
as being seated high up amid craggy uncouth mountains, &ere frightful to others to behold, and &hose
Poverty and barbarity rendered them inaccessible to other teachersD &hich nevertheless he, having
entirely devoted himself to that pious labour, did so industriously apply himself to Polish &ith his
doctrine, that &hen he departed !ut of his monastery, he &ould often stay a &ee(, sometimes t&o or
three, and sometimes a &hole month, before he returned home, continuing among the mountains to
allure that rustic people by his preaching and example to heavenly employments#
.his venerable servant of our 8ord, having thus spent many years in the monastery of ;elrose,
and there become conspicuous by many miracles, his most reverend abbot, Eata, removed him to the
isle of 8indisfarne, that he might there also, by the authority of a superior and his o&n example,
instruct the brethren in the observance of regular disciplineD for the same reverend father then governed
that place also as abbotD for, from ancient times, the bishop &as &ont to reside there &ith his clergy,
and the abbot &ith his mon(s, &ho &ere li(e&ise under the care of the bishopD because 'idan, &ho &as
the first bishop of the place, being himself a mon(, brought mon(s thither, and settled the monastic
institution thereD as the blessed Father 'ugustine is (no&n to have done before in @ent, the most
reverend Pope >regory &riting to him, as has been said above, to this effect $"" G But since, my brother,
,7*
having been instructed in monastic rules, you must not live apart from your clergy in the church of the
English, &hich has been lately, through the help of >od + converted to the faithD you must, therefore,
establish that course of life, &hich &as among our ancestors in the primitive church, among &hom,
none called anything that he possessed his o&nD but all things &ere in common to them#G
CHAPTER XXVIII
.HE <';E <.# ?.HBE/., BE+=> '= '=H!/+.E, BB H+< P/'BE/< !B.'+=ED '
<P/+=> += ' D/B <!+8, '=D H'D ' /!P F/!; <EED <!A= BB H+;<E8F !?. !F
<E'<!=#
H'#D# ))1I
'F.E/ this, uthbert, advancing in his meritorious and devout intentions, proceeded even to the
adoption of a hermit:s life of solitude, as &e have mentioned# But forasmuch as &e several years ago
&rote enough of his life and virtues, both in heroic verse and prose, it may suffice at present only to
mention this, that &hen he &as about to repair to the island, he made this protestation to the brothers,
saying, G+f it shall please the Divine goodness to grant me, that + may live in that place by the labour of
my hands, + &ill &illingly reside thereD but if not, + &ill, by >od:s permission, very, soon return to you#
+s .he place &as Cuite destitute of &ater, corn, and treesD and being infested by evil spirits, very ill
suited for human habitationD but it became in all respects habitable, at the desire of the man of >odD for
upon his arrival the &ic(ed spirits &ithdre&# Ahen he had there, after expelling the enemies, &ith the
assistance of the brethren, built himself a small d&elling, &ith a trench about it, and the necessary cells
and an oratory, he ordered the brothers to dig a pit in the floor of the d&elling, although the ground &as
hard and stony, and no hopes appeared of any spring# Having done this upon the faith and at the reCuest
of the servant of >od, the next day it appeared full of &ater : and to this day affords plenty of its
heavenly bounty to all that resort thither# He also desired that all instruments for husbandry might be
brought him, and some &heatD and having so&n the same at the proper season, neither stal(, nor so
much as a leaf, sprouted from it by the next summer# Hereupon the brethren visiting him according to
custom, he ordered barley to be brought him, in case it &ere either the nature of the soil, or the Divine
&ill, that such grain should rather gro& there# He so&ed it in the same field Fust as it &as brought him,
after the proper time of so&ing, and conseCuently &ithout any li(elihood of its coming to goodD but a
plentiful crop immediately came up, and afforded the man of >od the means &hich he had so ardently
desired of supporting himself by his o&n labour#
,77
Ahen he had here served >od in solitude many years, the mound &hich encompassed his
habitation being so high, that he could from thence see nothing but heaven, to &hich he so ardently
aspired, it happened that a great <ynod &as assembled in the presence of @ing Egfrid, near the river
'lne, at a place called .&yford, &hich signifies Gthe t&o fords,G in &hich 'rchbishop .heodore, of
blessed memory, presided, uthbert &as, by the unanimous consent of all, chosen bishop of the church
of 8indisfarne# .hey could not, ho&ever, persuade him to leave his monastery, though many
messengers and letters &ere sent to himD at last the aforesaid (ing himself, &ith the most holy Bishop
.rum&ine, and other religious and great men, passed over into the islandD many also of the brothers of
the same isle of 8indisfarne assembled together for the same purpose $ they all (nelt, conFured him by
our 8ord, and &ith tears and entreaties, till they dre& him, also in tears, from his retreat, and forced him
to the synod# Being arrived there, after much opposition, he &as overcome by the unanimous resolution
of all present, and submitted to ta(e upon himself the episcopal dignityD being chiefly prevailed upon
by the mention that Boisil, the servant of >od, &hen he had prophetically foretold all things that &ere
to befall him, had also predicted that he should be a bishop# Ho&ever, the consecration &as not
appointed immediatelyD but after the &inter, &hich &as then at hand, it &as performed at Easter, in the
city of Bor(, and in the presence of the aforesaid @ing EgfridD seven bishops meeting on the occasion,
among &hom, .heodore, of blessed memory, &as primate# He &as first elected bishop of the church of
Hagulstad, in the place of .umbert, &ho had been deposed from the episcopal dignityD but in regard
that he chose rather to be placed over the church of 8indisfarne, in &hich he had lived, it &as thought
fit that Eata should return to the see of the church of Hagulstad, to &hich he had been first ordained,
and that uthbert should ta(e upon him the government of the church of 8indisfarne#
Follo&ing the example of the apostles, he became an ornament to the episcopal dignity, by his
virtuous actionsD for he both protected the people committed to his charge, by constant prayer, and
excited them, by most &holesome admonitions, to heavenly practicesD and, &hich is the greatest help in
teachers, he first sho&ed in his behaviour &hat he taught &as to be performed by !thersD for he &as
much inflamed &ith the fire of Divine charity, modest in the virtue of patience, most diligently intent
on devout prayers, and affable to all that came to him for comfort# He thought it eCuivalent to praying,
to afford the infirm brethren the help of his exhortations, &ell (no&ing that he &ho said G .hou shalt
love the 8ord thy >od , said li(e&ise, G.hou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself# He &as also
remar(able for penitential abstinence, and al&ays intent upon heavenly things, through the grace !f
humility $ lastly, &hen he offered up to >od the sacrifice of the saving victim, he commended his
,74
prayer to >od, not &ith a loud voice, but &ith tears dra&n from the bottom of his heart#
Having spent t&o years in his bishopric, he returned to his island and monastery, being advertised
by a Divine oracle, that the day of his death, or rather of his life, &as dra&ing nearD as he, at that time,
&ith his usual simplicity, signified to some persons, though in terms &hich &ere some&hat obscure, but
&hich &ere nevertheless after&ards plainly understoodD &hile to others he declared the same openly#
CHAPTER XXIX
<.# ?.HBE/. F!/E.!8D .! .HE '=H!/+.E, HE/EBE/., .H'. H+< DE'.H A'<
'. H'=D#
H'#D# )7*I
.HE/E &as a certain priest, venerable for the probity of his life and manners, called Herebert,
&ho had long been united &ith the man of >od, uthbert, in the bonds of spiritual friendship# .his man
leading a solitary life in the island of that great la(e from &hich the river Der&ent flo&s, &as &ont to
visit him every year, and to receive from him spiritual advice# Hearing that Bishop uthbert &as come
to the city of 8ugubalia, he repaired thither to him, according to custom, being desirous to be still more
and more inflamed in heavenly desires through his &holesome admonitions# Ahilst they alternately
entertained one another &ith the delights of the celestial life, the bishop, among other things, said,
GBrother Herebert, remember at this time to as( me all the Cuestions you &ish to have resolved, and say
all you designD for &e shall see one another no more in this &orld# For + am sure that the time of my
dissolution is at hand, and + shall speedily Put off this tabernacle of the flesh#G Hearing these &ords, he
fell do&n at his feet, and shedding tears, &ith a sigh, said, G + beseech you, by our 8ord, not to forsa(e
meD but that you remember your most faithful companion, and entreat the <upreme >oodness that, as
&e served Him together upon earth, &e may depart together to see his bliss in heaven# For you (no&
that + have al&ays endeavoured to live according to your directions, and &hatsoever faults + have
committed, either through ignorance or frailty, + have instantly submitted to correction according to
your &ill#G .he bishop applied himself to prayer, and having presently had intimation in the spirit that
he had obtained &hat he as(ed of the 8ord, he said, G/ise, brother, and do not &eep, but reFoice,
because the Heavenly >oodness has granted &hat &e desired#G
.he event proved the truth of this promise and prophecy, for after their parting at that time, they
no more sa& one another in the fleshD but their souls Cuitting their bodies on the very same day, that is,
,4-
on the 6-th of ;arch, they &ere immediately again united in spirit, and translated to the heavenly
(ingdom by the ministry of angels# But Herebert &as first prepared by a tedious sic(ness, through the
dispensation of the Divine >oodness, as may be believed, to the end that if he &as anything inferior in
merit to the blessed uthbert, the same might be made up by the chastising pain of a long sic(ness, that
being thus made eCual in grace to his intercessor, as he departed out of the body at the very same time
&ith him, so he might be received into the same seat of eternal bliss#
.he most reverend father died in the isle of Farne, earnestly entreating the brothers that he might
also be buried in that same place, &here he had served >od a considerable time# Ho&ever, at length
yielding to their entreaties, he consented to be carried bac( to the isle of 8indisfarne, and there buried
in the church# .his being done accordingly, the venerable Bishop Ailfrid held the episcopal see of that
church one year, till such time as one &as chosen to be ordained in that room of utbbut, 'fter&ards
Edbert &as consecrated, a man reno&ned for his (no&ledge in the Divine &ritings, as also for (eeping
the Divine precepts, and chiefly for almsgiving, so that, according to the la&, he every year gave the
tenth part, not only of four"footed beasts, but also of all corn and fruit, as also of garments, to the poor#
CHAPTER XXX
<.# ?.HBE/.:< B!DB A'< F!?=D '8.!>E.HE/ ?=!//?P.ED 'F.E/ +. H'D
BEE= B?/+ED E8E2E= BE'/<B <?E<<!/ += .HE B+<H!P/+ DEP'/.ED .H+< A!/8D
=!. 8!=> 'F.E/#
H'#D# )47I
+= order to sho& &ith ho& much glory the man of >od, uthbert, lived after death, his holy life
having been before his death signalised by freCuent miraclesD &hen he had been buried eleven years,
Divine Providence put it into the minds of the brethren to ta(e up his bones, expecting, as is usual &ith
dead bodies, to find all the flesh consumed and reduced to ashes, and the rest dried up, and intending to
put the same into a ne& coffin, and to lay them in the same place, but above the pavement, for the
honour due to him# .hey acCuainted Bishop Edbert &ith their design, and he consented to it, and
ordered that the same should be done on the anniversary of his burial# .hey did so, and opening the
grave, found all the body &hole, as if it had been alive, and the Foints pliable, more li(e one asleep than
a dead personD besides, all the vestments the body had on &ere not only found, but &onderful for their
freshness and gloss# .he brothers seeing this, &ith much amaEement hastened to tell the bishop &hat
,4,
they had foundD he being then alone in a place remote from the church, and encompassed by the sea# #
.here he al&ays used to spend the time of 8ent, and &as &ont to continue there &ith great devotion,
forty days before the birth of our 8ord, in abstinence, prayer, and tears# .here also his venerable
predecessor, uthbert, had some time served >od in private, before he &ent to the isle of Farne#
.hey brought him also some part of the garments that had covered his holy bodyD &hich presents
he than(fully accepted, and attentively listening to the miracles, he &ith &onderful affection (issed
those garments, as if they had been still upon his father:s body, and said, G8et the body be put into ne&
garments in lieu of these you have brought, and so lay it into the coffin you have providedD for + am
certain that the place &ill not long remain empty, having been sanctified &ith so many miracles of
heavenly graceD and ho& happy is he to &hom our 8ord, the author and giver of all bliss, shall grant the
privilege of lying in the same#G .he bishop having said this and much more, &ith many tears and great
humility, the brothers did as he had commanded them, and &hen they had dressed the body in ne&
garments, and laid it in a ne& coffin, they placed it on the pavement of the sanctuary# <oon after, >od:s
beloved bishop, Edbert, fell grievously sic(, and his distemper daily increasing, in a short time, that is,
on the )th of ;ay, he also departed to our 8ord, and they laid his body in the grave of the holy father
uthbert, placing over it the coffin, &ith the uncorrupted remains of that father# .he miracles
sometimes &rought in that place testify the merits of them bothD some of &hich &e before preserved
the memory of in the boo( of his life, and have thought fit to add some more in this History, &hich
have lately come to our (no&ledge#
CHAPTER XXXI
!F !=E .H'. A'< ?/ED !F ' P'8<B '. .HE .!;B !F <.# ?.HBE/.#
H'#D# )47I
.HE/E &as in that same monastery a brother &hose name &as Beth&egen, &ho had for a
considerable time &aited upon the guests of the house, and is still living, having the testimony of all the
brothers and strangers resorting thither, of being a man of much piety and religion, and serving the
office put upon him only for the sa(e of the heavenly re&ard# .his man, having on a certain day
&ashed the mantles or garments &hich he used in the hospital, in the sea, &as returning home, &hen on
a sudden, about half &ay, he &as seiEed &ith a sudden distemper in his body, insomuch that he fell
do&n, and having lain some time, he could scarcely rise again# Ahen at last he got up, he felt one half
,46
of his body, from the head to the foot, struc( &ith palsy, and &ith much difficulty got home by the help
of a staff# .he distemper increased by degrees, and as night approached, became still &orse, so that
&hen day returned, he could scarcely rise or go alone# +n this &ea( condition, a good thought came into
his mind, &hich &as to go to the church, the best &ay he could, to the tomb of the reverend father
uthbert, and there, on his (nees, to beg of the Divine >oodness either to be delivered from that
disease, if it &ere for his good, or if the Divine Providence had ordained him longer to lie under the
same for his punishment, that he might bear the pain &ith patience and a composed mind#
He did accordingly, and supporting his &ea( limbs &ith a staff, entered the church, and
prostrating himself before the body of the man of >od, he, &ith pious earnestness, prayed that, through
his intercession, our 8ord might be propitious to him# +n the midst of his prayers, he fell as it &ere into
a stupor, and, as he &as after&ards &ont to relate, felt a large and broad hand touch his head, &here the
pain lay, and by that touch, all the part of his body &hich had been affected &ith the distemper, &as
delivered from the &ea(ness, and restored to health do&n to his feet# He then a&o(e, and rose up in
perfect health, and returning than(s to >od for his recovery, told the brothers &hat had happened to
himD and to the Foy of them all, returned the more Eealously, as if chastened by his affliction, to the
service &hich he &as &ont before so carefully to perform# .he very garments &hich had been on
uthbert:s body, dedicated to >od, either &hilst living, or after he &as dead, &ere not exempt from the
virtue of performing cures, as may be seen in the boo( of his life and miracles, by such as shall read it#
CHAPTER XXXII
!F !=E AH! A'< ?/ED !F ' D+<.E;PE/ += H+< EBE '. .HE /E8+< !F <.#
?.HBE/.# H'#D# )47I
=!/ is that cure to be passed over in silence, &hich &as performed by his relics three years ago,
and &as told me by the brother himself, on &hom it &as &rought# +t happened in the monastery, &hich,
being built near the river Dacore, has ta(en its name from the same, over &hich, at that time, the
religious <uidbert presided as abbot# +n that monastery &as a youth &hose eyelid had a great s&elling
on it, &hich gro&ing daily, threatened the loss of the eye# .he surgeons applied their medicines to ripen
it, but in vain# <ome said it ought to be cut offD others opposed it, for fear of &orse conseCuences# .he
brother having long laboured under this malady, and seeing no human means li(ely to save his eye, but
that, on the contrary, it gre& daily &orse, &as cured on a sudden, through the Divine >oodness, by the
relics of the holy father, uthbertD for the brethren, finding his body uncorrupted, after having been
,40
many years buried, too( some part of the hair, &hich they might, at the reCuest of friends, give or sho&,
in testimony of the miracle#
!ne of the priests of the monastery, named .hridred, &ho is no& abbot there, had a small part of
these relics by him at that time# !ne day in the church he opened the box of relics, to give some part to
a friend that begged it, and it happened that the youth &ho had the distempered eye &as then in the
churchD the priest, having given his friend as much as he thought fit, delivered the rest to the Bouth to
put it into its place# Having received the hairs of the holy head by some fortunate impulse, he clapped
them to the sore eyelid, and endeavoured for some time, by the application of them, to soften and abate
the s&elling# Having done this, he again laid the relics into the box, as he had been ordered, believing
that his eye &ould soon be cured by the hairs of the man of >od, &hich had touched itD nor did his faith
disappoint him# +t &as then, as he is &ont to relate it, about the second hour of the dayD but he, being
busy about other things that belonged to that day, about the sixth hour of the same, touching his eye on
a sudden, found it as sound &ith the lid, as if there never had been any s&elling or deformity on it#
,41
Boo( 2
,43
CHAPTER I
H!A E.HE8A'8D, <?E<<!/ .! ?.HBE/., 8E'D+=> '= E/E;+.+'8 8+FE,
'8;ED ' .E;PE<. AHE= .HE B/E.H/E= AE/E += D'=>E/ '. <E'# H'#D# )7*#I
.HE venerable Ethel&ald, &ho had received the priesthood in the monastery of +nhrypum, and
had, by actions &orthy of the same, sanctified his holy office, succeeded the man of >od, uthbert, in
the exercise of a solitary life, having practiced the same before he Aas bishop, in the isle of Fame# For
the more certain demonstration of the life &hich he led, and his merit, + &ill relate one miracle of his,
&hich &as told me by one of these brothern for and on &hom the same &as &rought$ viE# >uthfrid, the
venerable servant and priest of hrist, &ho, after&ards, as abbot, presided over the brethren of the same
church of 8indisfarne, in &hich he had been educated#
G+ came,G says he, Gto the island of Farne, &ith t&o others of the brethren, to spea( &ith the most
reverend father, Ethel&ald# Having been refreshed &ith his discourse, and ta(en his blessing, as &e
&ere returning home, on a sudden, &hen &e &ere in the midst of the sea, the fair &eather &hich &as
&afting us over &as chec(ed, and there ensued so great and dismal a tempest, that neither the sails nor
oars &ere of any use to us, nor had &e anything to expect but death# 'fter long struggling &ith the &ind
and &aves to no effect, &e loo(ed behind us to see &hether it &as practicable at least to recover the
island from &hence &e came, but &e found ourselves on all sides so enveloped in the storm, that there
&as no hope of escaping# But loo(ing out as far as &e could see, &e observed, on the island of Farne,
Father Ethel&ald, beloved of >od, come out of his cavern to &atch our courseD for, hearing the noise of
the storm and raging sea, he &as come out to see &hat &ould become of us# Ahen he beheld us in
distress and despair, he bo&ed his (nees to the Father of our 8ord 9esus hrist, in prayer for our life
and safetyD upon &hich, the s&elling sea &as calmed, so that the storm eased on all sides, and a fair
&ind attended us to the very shore# Ahen &e had landed, and had dragged upon the shore the small
vessel that brought us, the storm, &hich had ceased a short time for our sa(e, immediately returned, and
raged continually during the &hole dayD so that it plainly appeared that the brief cessation of the storm
had been granted from Heaven at the reCuest of the man of >od, in order that &e might escape#G
.he man of >od remained in the isle of Farne t&elve years, and died thereD but &as buried in the
church of <t# Peter and Paul, in the isle of 8indisfarne, beside the bodies of the aforesaid bishops# .hese
things happened in the days of @ing 'lfred, &ho ruled the nation of the =orthumbrians eighteen years
after his brother Egfrid#
,4)
CHAPTER II
H!A B+<H!P 9!H= ?/ED ' D?;B ;'= BB B8E<<+=> H+;# H'#D# )73#I
+= the beginning of the aforesaid reign, Bishop Eata died, and &as succeeded in the prelacy of the
church of Hagulstad by 9ohn, a holy man, of &hom those that familiarly (ne& him are &ont to tell
many miraclesD and more particularly, the reverend Berthun, a man of undoubted veracity, and once his
deacon, no& abbot of the monastery called +ndera&ood, that is, in the &ood of the Deiri$ some of
&hich miracles &e have thought fit to transmit to posterity# .here is a certain building in a retired
situation, and enclosed by a narro& &ood and a trench, about a mile and a half from the church of
Hagulstad, and separated from it by the river .yne, having a burying"place dedicated to <t# ;ichael the
'rchangel, &here the man of >od used freCuently, as occasion offered, and particularly in 8ent, to
reside &ith a fe& companions# Being come thither once at the beginning of 8ent, to stay, he
commanded his follo&ers to find out some poor person laboring under any grievous infirmity, or &ant,
&hom he might (eep &ith him during those days, by &ay of alms, for so he &as al&ays used to do#
.here &as in a village not far off, a certain dumb youth, (no&n to the bishop, for he often used to
come into his presence to receive alms, and had never been able to spea( one &ord# Besides, he had so
much scurf and scabs on his head, that no hair ever gre& on the top of it, but only some scattered hairs
in a circle round about# .he bishop caused this young man to be brought, and a little cottage to be made
for him &ithin the enclosure of the d&elling, in &hich he might reside, and receive a daily allo&ance
from him# Ahen one &ee( of 8ent &as over, the next <unday he caused the poor man to come in to
him, and ordered him to put his tongue out of his mouth and sho& it himD then laying hold of his chin,
he made the sign of the cross on his tongue, directing him to dra& it bac( into his mouth and to spea(#
GPronounce some &ord,G said heD Gsay yea,G &hich, in the language of the 'ngle:s is the &ord of
affirming and consenting, that is, yes# .he youth:s tongue &as immediately loosed, and he said &hat he
&as ordered# .he bishop, then pronouncing the names of the letters, directed him to say 'D he did so,
and after&ards B, &hich he also did# Ahen he had named all the letters after the bishop, the latter
proceeded to put syllables and &ords to him, &hich being also repeated by him, he commanded him to
utter &hole sentences, and he did it# =or did he cease all that day and the next night, as long as he could
(eep a&a(e, as those &ho &ere present relate, to tal( something, and to express his private thoughts
and &ill to others, &hich he could never do beforeD after the manner of the cripple, &ho, being healed
by the 'postles Peter and 9ohn, stood up leaping, and that &al(ed, and &ent &ith them into the temple,
&al(ing, and s(ipping, and praising the 8ord, reFoicing to have the use of his feet, &hich he had so long
,4*
&anted# .he bishop, reFoicing at his recovery of speech, ordered the physician to ta(e in hand the cure
of his scurfed head# He did so, and &ith the help of the bishop:s blessing and prayers, a good head of
hair gre& as the flesh &as healed# .hus the youth obtained a good aspect, a ready utterance, and a
beautiful head of hair, &hereas before he had been deformed, poor, and dumb# .hus reFoicing at his
recovery,: the bishop offered to (eep him in his family, but he rather chose to return home#
CHAPTER III
.HE <';E B+<H!P, 9!H=, BB H+< P/'BE/<, HE'8ED ' <+@ ;'+DE=# H'#D# )7)#I
.HE same Berthun told another miracle of the bishop:s# Ahen the reverend Ailfrid, after a long
banishment, &as admitted to the bishopric of the church of Hagulstad, and the aforesaid 9ohn, upon the
death of Bosa, a man of great sanctity and humility, &as, in his place, appointed bishop of Bor(, he
came, once upon a time, to the monastery of 2irgins, at the place called Aetadun, &here the 'bbess
Hereberga then presided# GAhen &e &ere come thither,G said he, Gand had been received &ith great and
universal Foy, the abbess told us, that one of the virgins, &ho &as her daughter in the flesh, labored
under a grievous distemper, having been lately bled in the arm, and &hilst she &as engaged in study,
&as seiEed &ith a sudden violent pain, &hich increased so that the &ounded arm became &orse, and so
much s&elled, that it could not be grasped &ith both handsD and thus being confined to her bed, through
excess of pain, she &as expected to die very soon# .he abbess entreated the bishop that he &ould
vouchsafe to go in and give her his blessingD for that she believed she &ould be the better for his
blessing or touching her# He as(ed &hen the maiden had been bledJ and being told it &as on the fourth
day of the moon, said, :Bou did very indiscreetly and uns(illfully to bleed her on the fourth day of the
moonD for + remember that 'rchbishop .heodore, of blessed memory, said, that bleeding at that time
&as very dangerous, &hen the light of the moon and the tide of the ocean is increasingD and &hat can +
do to the girl if she is li(e to dieJ
G.he abbess still earnestly entreated for her daughter, &hom she dearly loved, and designed to
ma(e abbess in her stead, and at last prevailed &ith him to go in to her# He accordingly &ent in, ta(ing
me &ith him to the virgin, &ho lay, as + said, in great anguish, and her arm s&elled so fast that there
&as no bending of the elbo&D the bishop stood and said a prayer over her, and having given his
blessing, &ent out# 'fter&ards, as &e &ere sitting at table, some one came in and called me out, saying,
:oenberg: Nthat &as the virgin:s nameO :desires you &ill immediately go bac( to her#: + did so, and
entering the house, perceived her countenance more cheerful, and li(e one in perfect health# Having
,47
seated myself do&n by her, she said, :Aould you li(e me to call for something to drin(J: " :Bes,: said +,
:and am very glad if you can#: Ahen the cup &as brought, and &e had both drun(, she said, :'s soon as
the bishop had said the prayer, given me his blessing, and gone out, + immediately began to mendD and
though + have not yet recovered my former strength, yet all the pain is Cuite gone from my arm, &here
it &as most intense, and from all my body, as if the bishop had carried it a&ay &ith himD though the
s&elling of the arm still seems to remain#: Ahen &e departed from thence, the cure of the pain in her
limbs &as follo&ed by the assuaging of the s&ellingD and the virgin being thus delivered from torture
and death, returned praise to our 8ord and <avior, &ith his other servants &ho &ere there#G
CHAPTER IV
.HE <';E B+<H!P HE'8ED '= E'/8:< A+FE .H'. A'< <+@, A+.H H!8B A'.E/#
H'#D# )7)#I
.HE same abbot related another miracle, similar to the former, of the aforesaid bishop# G=ot very
far from our monastery, that is, about t&o miles off, &as the country# house of one Puch, an earl, &hose
&ife had languished near forty days under a very acute disease, insomuch that for three &ee(s she
could not be carried out of the room &here she lay# +t happened that the man of >od &as, at that time,
invited thither by the earl to consecrate a churchD and Ahen that &as done, the earl desired him to dine
at his house# .he bishop declined, saying, :He must return to the monastery, &hich &as very near#: .he
earl, pressing him more earnestly, vo&ed he &ould also give alms to the poor, if the bishop &ould
brea( his fast that day in his house# + Foined my entreaties to his, promising in li(e manner to give alms
for the relief of the poor, if he &ould go and dine at the earl:s house, and give his blessing# Having at
length, &ith much difficulty, prevailed, &e &ent in to dine# .he bishop had sent to the &oman that lay
sic( some of the holy &ater, &hich he had blessed for the consecration of the church, by one of the
brothers that &ent along &ith me, ordering him to give her some to drin(, and &ash the place &here her
greatest pain &as, &ith some of the same# .his being done, the &oman immediately got up in health,
and perceiving that she had not only been delivered from her tedious distemper, but at the same time
recovered the strength &hich she had lost, she presented the cup to the bishop and to us, and continued
serving us &ith drin( as she had begun till dinner &as overD follo&ing the example of Peter:s mother"in"
la&, &ho, having been sic( of a fever, arose at the touch of our 8ord, and having at once received
health and strength, ministered to them#G
,44
CHAPTER V
.HE <';E B+<H!P /E!2E/ED !=E !F .HE E'/8:< <E/2'=.< F/!; DE'.H# H'#D#
)7)#I
'. another time also, being called to consecrate Earl 'ddi:s church, &hen he had performed that
duty, he &as entreated by the earl to go in to one of his servants, &ho lay dangerously ill, and having
lost the use of all his limbs, seemed to be Fust at death:s doorD and indeed the coffin had been provided
to bury him in# .he earl urged his entreaties &ith tears, earnestly praying that he &ould go in and pray
for him, because his life &as of great conseCuence to himD and he believed that if the bishop &ould lay
his hand upon him and give him his blessing, he &ould soon mend# .he bishop &ent in, and sa& him in
a dying condition, and the coffin by his side, &hilst all that &ere present &ere in tears# He said a prayer,
blessed him, and on going out, as is the usual expression of comforters, said, G;ay you soon recover#G
'fter&ards, &hen they &ere sitting at table, the lad sent to his lord, to desire he &ould let him have a
cup of &ine, because he &as thirsty# .he earl, reFoicing that he could drin(, sent him a cup of &ine,
blessed by the bishopD &hich, as soon as he had drun(, he immediately got up, and, sha(ing off his late
infirmity, dressed himself, and going in to the bishop, saluted him and the other guests, saying, GHe
&ould also eat and be merry &ith them#G .hey ordered him to sit do&n &ith them at the entertainment,
reFoicing at his recovery# He sat do&n, ate and dran( merrily, and behaved himself li(e the rest of the
companyD and living many years after, continued in the same state of health# .he aforesaid abbot says
this miracle &as not &rought in his presence, but that he had it from those &ho &ere there#
CHAPTER VI
.HE <';E B+<H!P, BB H+< P/'BE/< '=D B8E<<+=>, DE8+2E/ED F/!; DE'.H
!=E !F H+< 8E/@<, AH! H'D B/?+<ED H+;<E8F BB ' F'88# H'#D# )7)#I
=!/ do + thin( that this further miracle, &hich Herebald, the servant of hrist, says &as &rought
upon himself, is to be passed over in silence# He &as then one of that bishop:s clergy, but no& presides
as abbot in the monastery at the mouth of the river .yne# GBeing present,G said he, Gand very &ell
acCuainted &ith his course of life, + found it to be most &orthy of a bishop, as far as it is la&ful for men
to FudgeD but + have (no&n by the experience of others, and more particularly by my o&n, ho& great
his merit &as before Him &ho is the Fudge of the heartD having been by his prayer and blessing brought
bac( from the gates of death to the &ay of life# For, &hen in the prime of my youth, + lived among his
clergy, applying myself to reading and singing, but not having yet altogether &ithdra&n my heart from
6--
youthful pleasures, it happened one day that as &e &ere traveling &ith him, &e came into a plain and
open road, &ell adapted for galloping our horses# .he young men that &ere &ith him, and particularly
those of the laity, began to entreat the bishop to give them leave to gallop, and ma(e trial of the
goodness of their horses# He at first refused, saying, it &as an idle reCuest:D but at last, being prevailed
on by the unanimous desire of so many, :Do so,: said he, :if you &ill, but let Herebald have no part in
the trial#: + earnestly prayed that + might have leave to ride &ith the rest, for + relied on an excellent
horse, &hich he had given me, but + could not obtain my reCuest#
GAhen they had several times galloped bac(&ards and for&ards, the bishop and + loo(ing on, my
&anton humor prevailed, and + could no longer refrain, but though he forbade me, + struc( in among
them, and began to ride at full speedD at &hich + heard him call after me, :'las ho& much you grieve me
by riding after that manner#: .hough + heard him, + &ent on against his commandD but immediately the
fiery horse ta(ing a great leap over a hollo& place, + fell, and lost both sense and motion, as if + had
been deadD for there &as in that place a stone, level &ith the ground, covered &ith only a small turf, and
no other stone to be found in all that plainD and it happened, as a punishment for my disobedience,
either by chance, or by Divine Providence so ordering it, that my head and hand, &hich in falling + had
clapped to my head, hit upon that stone, so that my thumb &as bro(en and my s(ull crac(ed, and + lay,
as + said, li(e one dead#
G'nd because + could not move, they stretched a canopy for me to lie in# +t &as about the seventh
hour of the day, and having lain still, and as it &ere dead from that time till the evening, + then revived
a little, and &as carried home by my companions, but lay speechless all the night, vomiting blood,
because something &as bro(en &ithin me by the fall# .he bishop &as very much grieved at my
misfortune, and expected my death, for he bore me extraordinary affection# =or &ould he stay that
night, as he &as &ont, among his clergyD but spent it all in &atching and prayer alone, imploring the
Divine goodness, as + imagine, for my health# oming to me in the morning early, and having said a
prayer over me, he called me by my name, and as it &ere &a(ing me out of a heavy sleep, as(ed,
:Ahether + (ne& &ho it &as that spo(e to meJ + opened my eyes and said, :+ doD you are my beloved
bishop#: " :an you liveJ: said he# + ans&ered, :+ may, .hrough your prayers, if it shall please our 8ord#:
GHe then laid his hand on my head, &ith the &ords of blessing, and returned to prayerD &hen he
came again to see me, in a short time, he found me sitting and able to tal(D and, being induced by
Divine instinct, as it soon appeared, began to as( me, :Ahether + (ne& for certain that + had been
6-,
baptiEedJ: + ans&ered, :+ (ne& beyond all doubt that + had been &ashed in the laver of salvation, to the
remission of my sins, and + named the priest by &hom + (ne& myself to have been baptiEed#: He
replied, :+f you &ere baptiEed by that priest, your baptism is not perfectD for + (no& him, and that
having been ordained priest, he could not, by reason of the dulness of his understanding, learn the
ministry of catechiEing and baptiEingD for &hich reason + commanded him altogether to desist from his
presumptuous exercising of the ministry, &hich he could not duly perform#: .his said, he too( care to
catechiEe me at that very timeD and it happened that he ble& upon my face, on &hich + presently found
myself better# He called the surgeon, and ordered him to close and bind up my s(ull &here it &as
crac(edD and having then received his blessing, + &as so much better that + mounted on horsebac( the
next day, and traveled &ith him to another placeD and being soon after perfectly recovered, + received
the baptism of life#G
He continued in his see thirty"three years, and then ascending to the heavenly (ingdom, &as
buried in <t# Peter:s Porch, in his o&n monastery, called +ndera&ood, in the year of our 8ord:s
incarnation *6,# For having, by his great age, become unable to govern his bishopric, he ordained
Ailfrid, his priest, bishop of the church of Bor(, and retired to the aforesaid monastery, and there ended
his days in holy conversation#
CHAPTER VII
LDA'88', @+=> !F .HE AE<. <'5!=<, AE=. .! /!;E .! BE B'P.+PEDD H+<
<?E<<!/ +=' '8<! DE2!?.8B /EP'+/ED .! .HE <';E H?/H !F .HE H!8B
'P!<.8E<# H'#D# )77#I
+= the third year of the reign of 'lfrid, aed&alla, (ing of the Aest <axons, having most
honorably governed his nation t&o years, Cuitted his cro&n for the sa(e of our 8ord and his everlasting
(ingdom, and &ent to /ome, being desirous to obtain the peculiar honor of being baptiEed in the
church of the blessed apostles, for he had learned that in baptism alone, the entrance into heaven is
opened to man(indD and he hoped at the same time, that laying do&n the flesh, as soon as baptiEed, he
should immediately pass to the eternal Foys of heavenD both &hich things, by the blessing of our 8ord,
came to pass accord# mg as he had conceived in his mind# For coming to /ome, at the time that <ergius
&as pope, he &as baptiEed on the holy <aturday before Easter Day, in the year of our 8ord )74, and
being still in his &hite garments, he fell sic(, and departed this life on the 6-th of 'pril, and &as
associated &ith the blessed in heaven# 't his baptism, the aforesaid pope had given him the name of
6-6
Peter, to the end that he might be also united in name to the most blessed prince of the apostles, to
&hose most holy body his pious love had brought him from the utmost bounds of the earth# He &as
li(e&ise buried in his church, and by the pope:s command an epitaph &ritten on his tomb, &herein the
memory of his devotion might be preserved for ever, and the readers or hearers might be inflamed &ith
religious desire by the example of &hat he had done#
.he epitaph &as this"
High state and place, (indred, a &ealthy cro&n,
.riumphs, and spoils in glorious battles &on,
=obles, and cities &alled, to guard his state,
High palaces, and his familiar seat,
Ahatever honors his o&n virtue &on,
!r those his great forefathers handed do&n,
aed&al armipotent, from heaven inspir:d,
For love of heaven hath left, and here retir:dD
Peter to see, and Peter:s sacred chair,
.he royal pilgrim traveled from afar,
Here to imbibe pure draughts from his clear stream,
'nd share the influence of his heavenly beamD
Here for the glories of a future claim,
onverted, chang:d his first and barbarous name#
'nd follo&ing Peter:s rule, he from his 8ord
'ssumed the name at Father <ergius: &ord,
't the pure font, and by hrist:s grace made clean,
+n heaven is free from former taints of sin#
>reat &as his faith, but greater >od:s decree,
Ahose secret counsels mortal cannot see
<afe came he, e:en from Britain:s isle, o:er seas,
'nd lands, and countries, and through dangerous &ays,
/ome to behold, her glorious temple see,
'nd mystic presents offer:d on his (nee"
=o& in the grave his fleshly members lie,
His soul, amid hrist:s floc(, ascends the s(y#
<ure &ise &as he to lay his sceptre do&n,
'nd gain in heaven above a lasting cro&n#
Here &as deposited aed&alla, called also Peter, (ing of the <axons, on the t&elfth day of the
(alends of ;ay, the second indiction# He lived about thirty years, in the reign of the most pious
emperor, 9ustinian, in the fourth year of his consulship, in the second year of our apostolic lord, Pope
<ergius#
Ahen Qd&alla &ent to /ome, +nn succeeded him on the throne, being of the blood royalD and
6-0
having reigned thirty"seven years over that nation, he gave up the (ing# dom in li(e manner to younger
persons, and &ent a&ay to /ome, to visit the blessed apostles, at the time &hen >regory &as pope,
being desirous to spend some time of his pilgrimage upon earth in the neighborhood of the holy place,
that he might be more easily received by the saints into heaven# .he same thing, about the same time,
&as done through the Eeal of many of the English nation, noble and ignoble, laity and lergy, men and
&omen#
CHAPTER VIII
'/HB+<H!P .HE!D!/E D+E<, BE/.HA'8D <?EED< H+; '< '/HB+<H!P, '=D,
';!=> ;'=B !.HE/< AH!; HE !/D'+=ED, HE ;'DE .!B+'<, ' ;!<. 8E'/=ED
;'=, B+<H!P !F .HE H?/H !F /!HE<.E/# H'#D# )4-#I
.HE year after that in &hich aed&alla died at /ome, that is, )4- after the incarnation of our
8ord, 'rchbishop .heodore, of blessed memory, departed this life, old and full of days, for he &as
eighty"eight years of ageD &hich number of years he had been &ont long before to foretell to his friends
that he should live, the same having been revealed to him in a dream# He held the bishopric t&enty"t&o
years, and &as buried in <t# Peter:s church, &here all the bodies of the bishops of anterbury are
buried# !f &hom, as &ell as of his ompanions, of the same degree, it may rightly and truly be said,
that their bodies are interred in peace, and their names shall live from generation to generation# For to
say all in fe& &ords, the English churches received more advantage during the time of his pontificate
than ever they had done before# His person, life, age, and death, are plainly described to all that resort
thither, by the epitaph on his tomb, consisting of thirty"four heroic verses# .he first &hereof are these "
Here rests fam:d .heodore, a >recian name,
Aho had o:er England an archbishop:s claimD
Happy and blessed, industriously he &rought,
'nd &holesome precepts to his scholars taught#
.he four last are as follo& "
'nd no& it &as <eptember:s nineteenth day,
Ahen, bursting from its ligaments of clay,
His spirit rose to its eternal rest,
'nd Foined in heaven the chorus of the blest#
Berth&ald succeeded .heodore in the archbishopric, being abbot of the monastery of /aculph,
&hich lies on the north side of the mouth of the river >enlade# He &as a man learned in the <criptures,
6-1
and &ell instructed in ecclesiastical and monastic discipline, yet not to be compared to his predecessor#
He &as chosen bishop in the year of our 8ord:s incarnation )46, on the first day of 9uly, Aithred and
<uebhard being (ings in @entD but he &as consecrated the next year, on <unday the 64th of 9une, by
>od&in, metropolitan bishop of France, and &as enthroned on <unday the 0,st of 'ugust# 'mong the
many bishops &hom he ordained &as .obias, a man learned in the 8atin, >ree(, and <axon tongues,
other&ise also possessing much erudition, &hom he consecrated in the stead of >ebmund, bishop of
that see, deceased#
CHAPTER IX
E>BE/., ' H!8B ;'=, A!?8D H'2E >!=E +=.! >E/;'=B .! P/E'H, B?.
!?8D =!.D A+.BE/. AE=., B?B ;EE.+=> A+.H =! <?E<<, /E.?/=ED +=.!
+/E8'=D, F/!; AHE=E HE ';E# H'#D# )74#I
'. that time the venerable servant of hrist, and priest, Eghert, &hom + cannot name but &ith the
greatest respect, and &ho, as &as said before, lived a stranger in +reland to obtain hereafter a residence
in heaven, proposed to himself to do good to many, by ta(ing upon him the apostolical &or(, and
preaching the &ord of >od to some of those nations that had not yet heard itD many of &hich nations he
(ne& there &ere in >ermany, from &hom the 'ngles or <axons, &ho no& inhabit Britain, are (no&n to
have derived their originD for &hich reason they are still corruptly called >armans by the neighboring
nation of the Britons# <uch are the Frisons, the /ugins, the Danes, the Huns, the 'ncient <axons, and
the Boructuars Nor BructersO# .here are also in the same parts many other nations still follo&ing pagan
rites, to &hom the aforesaid soldier of hrist designed to repair, sailing round Britain, and to try
&hether he could deliver any of them from <atan, and bring them over to hristD or if this could not be
done, to go to /ome, to see and adore the hallo&ed thresholds of the holy apostles and martyrs of
hrist#
But the Divine oracles and certain events proceeding from heaven obstructed his performing
either of those designsD for &hen he had made choice of some most courageous companions, fit to
preach the &ord of >od, as being reno&ned for their learning and virtueD &hen all on a certain day in
the morning one of the brethren, formerly disciple and minister in Britain to the beloved priest of >od,
Boisil, &hen the said Boisil &as <uperior of the monastery of ;elrose, under the 'bbot Eata, as has
been said above# .his brother told him the vision &hich he had seen that night# GAhen after the
morning hymns,G said he, G+ had laid me do&n in my bed, and &as fallen into a slumber, my former
6-3
master and loving tutor, Boisil, appeared to me, and as(ed, :Ahether + (ne& himJ: + said, :+ doD you are
Boisil#: He ans&ered, :+ am come to bring Eghert a message from our 8ord and <avior, &hich
nevertheless must be delivered to him by you# .ell him, therefore, that he cannot perform the Fourney
he has underta(enD for it is the &ill of >od that he should rather go to instruct the monasteries of
olumba#:G =o& olumba &as the first teacher of hristianity to the Picts beyond the mountains
north&ard, and the founder of the monastery in the island Hii, &hich &as for a long time much honored
by many tribes of the <cots and PictsD &herefore he is no& by some called olumb(ill, the name being
compounded from olumb and ell# Egbert, having heard the vision, ordered the brother that had told
it him, not to mention it to any other, lest it should happen to be an illusion# Ho&ever, &hen he
considered of it &ith himself, he apprehended that it &as realD yet &ould not desist from preparing for
his voyage to instruct those nations#
' fe& days after the aforesaid brother came again to him, saying, G.hat Boisil had that night again
appeared to him after matins, and said, :Ahy did you tell Egbert that &hich + enFoined you in so light
and cold a mannerJ Ho&ever, go no& and tell him, that &hether he &ill or no, he shall go to olumb:s
monastery, because their ploughs do not go straightD and he is to bring them into the right &ay#: G
Hearing this, Egbert again commanded the brother not to reveal the same to any person# .hough no&
assured of the vision, he nevertheless attempted to underta(e his intended voyage &ith the brethren#
Ahen they had put aboard all that &as reCuisite for so long a voyage, and had &aited some days for a
fair &ind, there arose one night on a sudden so violent a storm, that the ship &as run aground, and part
of &hat had been put aboard spoiled# Ho&ever, all that belonged to Egbert and his companions &as
saved# .hen he, saying, li(e the prophet, G.his tempest has happened upon my account,G laid aside the
underta(ing and stayed at home#
Ho&ever, Aictbert, one of his companions, being famous for his contempt of the &orld and for
his (no&ledge, for he had lived many years a stranger in +reland, leading an eremitical life in great
purity, &ent abroad, and arriving in Frisland, preached the &ord of salvation for the space of t&o years
successively to that nation and to its (ing, /athbedD but reaped no fruit of all his great labor among his
barbarous auditors# /eturning then to the beloved place of his peregrination, he gave himself up to our
8ord in his &onted repose, and since he could not be profitable to strangers by teaching them the faith,
he too( care to be the more useful to his o&n people by the example of his virtue#
6-)
CHAPTER X
A+8B/!/D, P/E'H+=> += F/+<8'=D, !=2E/.ED ;'=B .! H/+<.D H+< .A!
!;P'=+!=<, .HE HEA'8D<, <?FFE/ED ;'/.B/D!;# H'#D# )4-#I
AHE= the man of >od, Egbert, perceived that neither he himself &as permitted to preach to the
>entiles, being &ithheld, on account of some other advantage to the church, &hich had been foretold
him by the Divine oracleD nor that Aictbert, &hen he &ent into those parts, had met &ith any successD
he nevertheless still attempted to send some holy and industrious men to the &or( of the &ord, among
&hom &as Ailbrord, a man eminent for his merit and ran( in the priesthood# .hey arrived there, t&elve
in number, and turning aside to Pepin, du(e of the Fran(s, &ere graciously received by himD and as he
had lately subdued the Hither Frisland, and expelled @ing /athbed, he sent them thither to preach,
supporting them at the same time &ith his authority, that none might molest them in their preaching,
and besto&ing many favors on those &ho consented to embrace the faith# .hus it came to pass, that
&ith the assistance of the Divine grace, they in a short time converted many from idolatry to the faith of
hrist#
.&o other priests of the English nation, &ho had long lived strangers in +reland, for the sa(e of the
eternal (ingdom, follo&ing the example of the former, &ent into the province of the 'ncient <axons, to
try &hether they could there gain any to hrist by preaching# .hey both bore the same name, as they
&ere the same in devotion, He&ald being the name of both, &ith this distinction, that, on account of the
difference of their hair, the one &as called Blac( He&ald and the other Ahite He&ald# .hey &ere both
piously religious, but Blac( He&ald &as the more learned of the t&o in <cripture# !n entering that
province, these men too( up their lodging in a certain ste&ard:s house, and reCuested that he &ould
conduct them to his lord, for that they had a message, and something to his advantage, to communicate
to himD for those 'ncient <axons have no (ing, but several lords that rule their nationD and &hen any
&ar happens, they cast lots indifferently, and on &homsoever the lot falls, him they follo& and obey
during the &arD but as soon as the &ar is ended, all those lords are again eCual in po&er# .he ste&ard
received and entertained them in his house some days, promising to send them to his lord, as they
desired#
But the barbarians finding them to be of another religion, by their continual prayer and singing of
psalms and hymns, and by their daily offering the sacrifice of the saving oblation, " for they had &ith
them sacred vessels and a consecrated table for an altar, " they began to gro& Fealous of them, lest if
6-*
they should come into the presence of their chief, and converse &ith him, they should turn his heart
from their gods, and convert him to the ne& religion of the hristian faithD and thus by degrees all their
province should change its old &orship for a ne&# Hereupon they, on a sudden, laid hold of them and
put them to deathD the Ahite He&ald they sle& immediately &ith the s&ordD but the Blac( they put to
tedious torture and tore limb from limb, thro&ing them into the /hine# .he hief, &hom they had
desired to see, hearing of it, &as highly incensed, that the strangers &ho desired to come to him had not
been allo&edD and therefore he sent and put to death all those peasants and burnt their village# .he
aforesaid priests and servants of hrist suffered on the 0rd of !ctober#
=or did their martyrdom &ant the honor of miraclesD for their dead bodies having been cast into
the river by the pagans, as has been said, &ere carried against the stream for the space of almost forty
miles, to the place &here their companions &ere# ;oreover, a long ray of light, reaching up to heaven,
shined every night over the place &here they arrived, in the sight of the very pagans that had slain
them# ;oreover, one of them appeared in a vision by night to one of his companions, &hose name &as
.ilmon, a man of illustrious and of noble birth, &ho from a soldier &as become a mon(, acCuainting
him that he might find their bodies in that place, &here he should see rays of light reaching from
heaven to the earthD &hich turned out accordinglyD and their bodies being found, &ere interred &ith the
honor due to martyrsD and the day of their passion or of their bodies being found, is celebrated in those
parts &ith proper veneration# 't length, Pepin, the most glorious general of the Fran(s, understanding
these things, caused the bodies to be brought to him, and buried them &ith much honor in the church of
the city of ologne, on the /hine# +t is reported, that a spring gushed out in the place &here they &ere
(illed, &hich to this day affords a plentiful stream#
CHAPTER XI
H!A .HE 2E=E/'B8E <A+DBE/. += B/+.'+=, '=D A+8B/!/D '. /!;E, AE/E
!/D'+=ED B+<H!P< F!/ F/+<8'=D# H'#D# )46#I
'. their first oming into Frisland, as soon as Ailbrord found he had leave given him by the
prince to preach, he made haste to /ome, &here Pope <ergius then presided over the apostolical see,
that he might underta(e the desired &or( of preaching the >ospel to the >entiles, &ith his licence and
blessingD and hoping to receive of him some relics of the blessed apostles and martyrs of# hristD to the
end, that &hen he destroyed the idols, and erected churches in the nation to &hich he preached, he
might have the relics of saints at hand to put into them, and having deposited them there, might
6-7
accordingly dedicate those places to the honor of each of the saints &hose relics they &ere# He &as also
desirous there to learn or to receive from thence many other things &hich so great a &or( reCuired#
Having obtained all that he &anted, he returned to preach#
't &hich time, the brothers &ho &ere in Frisland, attending the ministry of the &ord, chose out of
their o&n number a man, modest of behavior, and mee( of heart, called <&idbert, to be ordained bishop
for them# He, being sent into Britain, &as consecrated by the most reverend Bishop Ailfrid, &ho,
happening to be then driven out of his country, lived in banishment among the ;erciansD for @ent had
no bishop at that time, .heodore being dead, and Berth&ald, his successor, &ho &as gone beyond the
sea, to be ordained, not having returned#
.he said <&idbert, being made bishop, returned from Britain not long after, and &ent among the
BoructuariansD and by his preaching brought many of them into the &ay of truthD but the Boructuarians
being not long after subdued by the 'ncient <axons, those &ho had received the &ord &ere dispersed
abroadD and the bishop himself repaired to Pepin, &ho, at the reCuest of his &ife, Blithryda, gave him a
place of residence in a certain island on the /hine, &hich, in their tongue, is called +nlitoreD &here he
built a monastery, &hich his heirs still possess, and for a time led a most continent life, and there ended
his days#
Ahen they &ho &ent over had spent some years teaching in Frisland, Pepin, &ith the consent of
them all, sent the venerable Ailbrord to /ome, &here <ergius &as still pope, desiring that he might be
consecrated archbishop over the nation of the FrisonsD &hich &as accordingly done, in the year of our
8ord:s incarnation )4)# He &as consecrated in the church of the Holy ;artyr ecilia, on her feastdayD
the pope gave him the name of lement, and sent him bac( to his bishopric, fourteen days after his
arrival at /ome#
Pepin gave him a place for his episcopal see, in his famous castle, &hich in the ancient language
of those people is called Ailtaburg, that is, the to&n of the AiltsD but, in the French tongue, ?trecht#
.he most reverend prelate having built a church there, and preaching the &ord of faith far and near,
dre& many from their errors, and erected several churches and monasteries# For not long after he
constituted other bishops in those parts, from among the brethren that either came &ith him or after him
to preach thereD some of &hich are no& departed in our 8ordD but Ailbrord himself, surnamed lement,
is still living, venerable for old age, having been thirty"six years a bishop, and sighing after the re&ards
of the heavenly life, after the many spiritual conflicts &hich he has &aged#
6-4
CHAPTER XII
!F !=E ';!=> .HE =!/.H?;B/+'=<, AH! /!<E F/!; .HE DE'D, '=D
/E8'.ED .HE .H+=>< AH+H HE H'D <EE=, <!;E E5+.+=> .E//!/ '=D !.HE/<
DE8+>H.# H'#D# )4)#I
'. this time a memorable miracle, and li(e to those of former days, &as &rought in BritainD for,
to the end that the living might be saved from the death of the soul, a certain person, &ho had been
some time dead, rose again to life, and related many remar(able things he had seenD some of &hich +
have thought fit here briefly to ta(e notice of# .here &as a master of a family in that district of the
=orthumbrians &hich is called uningham, &ho led a religious life, as did also all that belonged to
him# .his man fell sic(, and his distemper daily increasing, being brought to extremity, he died in the
beginning of the nightD but in the morning early, he suddenly came to life again, and sat up, upon &hich
all those that sat about the body &eeping, fled a&ay in a great fright, only his &ife, &ho loved him best,
though in a great consternation and trembling, remained &ith him# He, comforting her, said, GFear not,
for + am no& truly risen from death, and permitted again to live among menD ho&ever, + am not to live
hereafter as + &as &ont, but from hencefor&ard after a very different manner#G .hen rising
immediately, be repaired to the oratory of the little to&n, and continuing in prayer till day, immediately
divided all his substance into three partsD one &hereof he gave to his &ife, another to his children, and
the third, belonging to himself, he instantly distributed among the poor# =ot long after, he repaired to
the monastery of ;elrose, &hich is almost enclosed by the &inding of the river .&eed, and having
been shaven, &ent into a private d&elling, &hich the abbot had provided, &here he continued till the
day of his death, in such extraordinary contrition of mind and body, that though his tongue had been
silent, his life declared that he had seen many things either to be dreaded or coveted, &hich others (ne&
nothing of#
.hus he related &hat he had seen# GHe that led me had a shining countenance and a bright
garment, and &e &ent on silently, as + thought, to&ards the north"east# Aal(ing on, &e came to a vale
of great breadth and depth, but of infinite lengthD on the left it appeared full of dreadful flames, the
other side &as no less horrid for violent hail and cold sno& flying in all directionsD both places &ere
full of men:s souls, &hich seemed by turns to be tossed from one side to the other, as it &ere by a
violent stormD for &hen the &retches could no longer endure the excess of heat, they leaped into the
middle of the cutting coldD and finding no rest there, they leaped bac( again into the middle of the
unCuenchable flames# =o& &hereas an innumerable multitude of deformed spirits &ere thus alternately
6,-
tormented far and near, as far as could be seen, &ithout any intermission, + began to thin( that this
perhaps might be hell, of &hose intolerable flames + had often heard tal(# ;y guide, &ho &ent before
me, ans&ered to my thought, saying, :Do not believe so, for this is not the hell you imagine#:
GAhen he had conducted me, much frightened &ith that horrid spectacle, by degrees, to the farther
end, on a sudden + sa& the place begin to gro& dus( and filled &ith dar(ness# Ahen + came into it, the
dar(ness, by degrees, gre& so thic(, that + could see nothing besides it and the shape and garment of
him that led me# 's &e &ent on through the shades of night, on a sudden there appeared before us
freCuent globes of blac( flames, rising as it &ere out of a great pit, and falling bac( again into the same#
Ahen + had been conducted thither, my leader suddenly vanished, and left me alone in the midst of
dar(ness and this horrid vision, &hilst those same globes of fire, &ithout intermission, at one time fle&
up and at another fell bac( into the bottom of the abyssD and + observed that all the flames, as they
ascended, &ere full of human souls, &hich, li(e spar(s flying up &ith smo(e, &ere sometimes thro&n
on high, and again, &hen the vapor of the fire ceased, dropped do&n into the depth belo&# ;oreover,
an insufferable stench came forth &ith the vapors, and filled all those dar( places#
Having stood there a long time in much dread, not (no&ing &hat to do, &hich &ay to turn, or
&hat end + might expect, on a sudden + heard behind me the noise of a most hideous and &retched
lamentation, and at the same time a loud laughing, as of a rude multitude insulting captured enemies#
Ahen that noise, gro&ing plainer, came up to me, + observed a gang of evil spirits dragging the
ho&ling and lamenting souls of men into the midst of the dar(ness, &hilst they themselves laughed and
reFoiced# 'mong those men, as + could discern, there &as one shorn li(e a clergyman, a layman, and a
&oman# .he evil spirits that dragged them &ent do&n into the midst of the burning pitD and as they
&ent do&n deeper, + could no longer distinguish bet&een the lamentation of the men and the laughing
of the devils, yet + still had a confused sound in my ears# +n the meantime, some of the dar( spirits
ascended from that flaming abyss, and running for&ard, beset me on all sides, and much perplexed me
&ith their glaring eyes and the stin(ing fire &hich proceeded from their mouths and nostrilsD and
threatened to lay hold on me &ith burning tongs, &hich they had in their hands, yet they durst not touch
me, though they frightened me# Being thus on all sides enclosed &ith enemies and dar(ness, and
loo(ing about on every side for assistance, there appeared behind me, on the &ay that + came, as it
&ere, the brightness of a star shining amidst the dar(nessD &hich increased by degrees, and came
rapidly to&ards me$ &hen it dre& near, all those evil spirits, that sought to carry me a&ay &ith their
tongs, dispersed and fled#
6,,
GHe, &hose approach put them to flight, &as the same that led me beforeD &ho, then turning
to&ards the right began to lead me, as it &ere, to&ards the south"east, and having soon brought me out
of the dar(ness, conducted me into an atmosphere of clear light# Ahile he thus led me in open light, +
sa& a vast &all before us, the length and height of &hich, in every direction, seemed to be altogether
boundless# + began to &onder &hy &e &ent to the &all, seeing no door, &indo&, or path through it#
Ahen &e came to the &all, &e &ere presently, + (no& not by &hat means, on the top of it, and &ithin it
&as a vast and delightful field, so full of fragrant flo&ers that the odor of its delightful s&eetness
immediately dispelled the stin( of the dar( furnace, &hich had pierced me through and through# <o
great &as the light in this place, that it seemed to exceed the brightness of the day, or the sun in its
meridian height# +n this field &ere innumerable assemblies of men in &hite, and many companies
seated together reFoicing# 's he led me through the midst of those happy inhabitants, + began to thin(
that this might, perhaps, be the (ingdom of heaven, of &hich + had often heard so much# He ans&ered
to my thought, saying, .his is not the (ingdom of heaven, as you imagine#:
GAhen &e had passed those mansions of blessed souls and gone farther on, + discovered before
me a much more beautiful light, and therein heard s&eet voices of persons singing, and so &onderful a
fragrancy proceeded from the place, that the other &hich + had before thought most delicious, then
seemed to me but very indifferentD even as that extraordinary brightness of the flo&ery field, compared
&ith this, appeared mean and inconsiderable# Ahen + began to hope &e should enter that delightful
place, my guide on a sudden stood stillD and then turning bac(, led me bac( by the &ay &e came#
GAhen &e returned to those Foyful mansions of the souls in &hite, he said to me, :Do you (no&
&hat all these things are &hich you have seenJ: + ans&ered# + did notD and then he replied, :.hat vale
you sa& so dreadful for consuming flames and cutting cold, is the place in &hich the souls of those are
tried and punished, &ho, delaying to confess and amend their crimes, at length have recourse to
repentance at the point of death, and so depart this lifeD but nevertheless because they, even at their
death, confessed and repented, they shall all be received into the (ingdom of heaven at the day of
FudgmentD but many are relieved before the day of Fudgment, by the prayers, alms, and fasting, of the
living, and more especially by masses# .hat fiery and stin(ing pit, &hich you sa&, is the mouth of hell,
into &hich &hosoever falls shall never be delivered to all eternity# .his flo&ery place, in &hich you see
these most beautiful young people, so bright and merry, is that into &hich the souls of those are
received &ho depart the body in good &or(s, but &ho are not so perfect as to deserve to be
immediately admitted into the (ingdom of heavenD yet they shall all, at the day of Fudgment, see hrist,
6,6
and parta(e of the Foys of his (ingdomD For &hoever are perfect in thought, &ord and deed, as soon is
they depart the body, immediately enter into the (ingdom of heavenD in the neighborhood, &hereof that
place is, &here you heard the sound of s&eet singing, &ith the fragrant odor and bright light# 's for
you, &ho are no& to return to your body, and live among men again, if you &ill endeavor nicely to
examine your actions, and direct your speech and behavior in righteousness and simplicity, you shall,
after death, have a place or residence among these Foyful troops of blessed soulsD for &hen + left you for
a &hile, it &as to (no& ho& you &ere to be disposed of#: Ahen he had said this to me, + much abhorred
returning to my body, being delighted &ith the s&eetness and beauty of the place + beheld, and &ith the
company of those + sa& in it# Ho&ever, + durst not as( him any CuestionsD but in the meantime, on a
sudden, + found myself alive among men#G
=o& these and other things &hich this man of >od sa&, he &ould not relate to slothful persons
and such as lived negligentlyD but only to those &ho, being terrified &ith the dread of torments, or
delighted &ith the hopes of heavenly Foys, &ould ma(e use of his &ords to advance in piety# +n the
neighborhood of his cell lived one Hemgils, a mon(, eminent in the priesthood, &hich he honored by
his good &or(s$ he is still living, and leading a solitary life in +reland, supporting his declining age &ith
coarse bread and cold &ater# He often &ent to that man, and as(ing several Cuestions, heard of him all
the particulars of &hat he had seen &hen separated from his bodyD by &hose relation &e also came to
the (no&ledge of those fe& particulars &hich &e have briefly set do&n# He also related his visions to
@ing 'lfrid, a man most learned in all respects, and &as by him so &illingly and attentively heard, that
at his reCuest he &as admitted into the monastery above mentioned, and received the monastic tonsureD
and the said (ing, &hen he happened to be in those parts, very often &ent to hear him# 't that time the
religious and humble abbot and priest, Ethel&ald, presided over the monastery, and no& &ith &orthy
conduct possesses the episcopal see of the church of 8indisfarne#
He had a more private place of residence assigned him in that monastery, &here he might apply
himself to the service of his reator in continual prayer# 'nd as that place lay on the ban( of the river,
he &as &ont often to go into the same to do penance in his body, and many times to dip Cuite under the
&ater, and to continue saying psalms or prayers in the same as long as he could endure it, standing still
sometimes up to the middle, and sometimes to the nec( in &aterD and &hen he &ent out from thence
ashore, he never too( off his cold and froEen garments till they gre& &arm and dry on his body# 'nd
&hen in the &inter the half"bro(en pieces of ice &ere s&imming about him, &hich he had himself
bro(en, to ma(e room to stand or dip himself in the river, those &ho beheld it &ould say, G+t is
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&onderful, brother Dritheim Nfor so he &as calledO, that you are able to endure such violent coldD G he
simply ans&ered, for he &as a man of much simplicity and in different &it, G+ have seen greater cold#G
'nd &hen they said, G+t is strange that you &ill endure such austerityDG he replied, G+ have seen more
austerity#G .hus he continued, through an indefatigable desire of heavenly bliss, to subdue his aged
body &ith daily fasting, till the day of his being called a&ayD and thus he for&arded the salvation of
many by his &ords and example#
CHAPTER XIII
!F '=!.HE/, AH! BEF!/E H+< DE'.H <'A ' B!!@ !=.'+=+=> '88 H+< <+=<,
AH+H A'< <H!AED H+; BB DE2+8<# H'#D# *-1"*-4#I
+. happened Cuite the contrary &ith one in the province of the ;ercians, &hose visions and
&ords, and also his behavior, &ere neither advantageous to others nor to himself# +n the reign of
oenred, &ho succeeded Ethelred, there &as a layman in a military employment, no less acceptable to
the (ing for his &orldly industry, than displeasing to him for his private neglect of himself# .he (ing
often admonished him to confess and amend, and to forsa(e his &ic(ed courses, before he should lose
all time for repentance and amendment by a sudden death# .hough freCuently &arned, he despised the
&ords of salvation, and promised he &ould do penance at some future time# +n the meantime, falling
sic( he &as confined to his bed, and began to feel very severe pains# .he (ing coming to him Nfor he
loved the manO, earnestly exhorted him, even then, before death, to repent of his offences# He
ans&ered, GHe &ould not then confess his sins, but &ould do it &hen he &as recovered of his sic(ness,
lest his companions should upbraid him of having done that for fear of death, &hich he had refused to
do in health#G He thought he then spo(e very bravely, but it after&ards appeared that he had been
miserable deluded by the &iles of the Devil#
.he distemper still increasing, &hen the (ing came again to visit and instruct him, he cried out
&ith a lamentable voice, GAhat &ill you have no&J Ahat are ye come forJ for you can no longer do
me any good#G .he (ing ans&ered, GDo not tal( soD behave yourself li(e a man in his right mind#G G+ am
not mad,G replied he, Gbut + have no& all the guilt of my &ic(ed conscience before my eyes#G " GAhat is
the meaning of thatJ G reFoined the (ing# G=ot long since,G said he, Gthere came into this room t&o most
beautiful youths, and sat do&n by me, the one at my head and the other at my feet# !ne of them
produced a very small and most curious boo(, and gave it me to readD loo(ing into it, + there found all
the good actions + had ever done in my life &ritten do&n, and they &ere very fe& and inconsiderable#
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.hey too( bac( the boo( and said nothing to me# .hen, on a sudden, appeared an army of &ic(ed and
deformed spirits, encompassing this house &ithout, and filling it &ithin# .hen he, &ho, by the
blac(ness of his dismal face, and his sitting above the rest, seemed to be the chief of them, ta(ing out a
boo( horrid to behold, of a prodigious siEe, and of almost insupportable &eight, commanded one of his
follo&ers to bring it to me to read# Having read it, + found therein most plainly &ritten in blac(
characters, all the crimes + ever committed, not only in &ord and deed, but even in the least thoughtD
and he said to those men in &hite, &ho sat by me, :Ahy do you sit here, since you most certainly (no&
that this man is oursJ: .hey ans&ered, :Bou are in the rightD ta(e and add him to the number of the
damned#: .his said, they immediately vanished, and t&o most &ic(ed spirits rising, &ith for(s +n their
hands, one of them struc( me on the head, and the other on the foot# .hese stro(es are no& &ith great
torture penetrating through my bo&els to the in&ard parts of my body, and as soon as they meet + shall
die, and the devils being ready to snatch me a&ay + shall be dragged into hell#G
.hus tal(ed that &retch in despair, and dying soon after, he is no& in vain suffering in eternal
torments that penance &hich he refused to suffer during a short time, that he might obtain forgiveness#
!f &hom it is manifest, that Nas the holy Pope >regory &rites of certain personsO he did not see these
things for his o&n sa(e, since they availed him only for the instruction of others, &ho, (no&ing of his
death, should be afraid to put off the time of repentance, &hilst they have leisure, lest, being prevented
by sudden death, they should depart impenitent# His having boo(s laid before him by the good or evil
spirits, &as done by Divine dispensation, that &e may (eep in mind that our actions and thoughts are
not lost in the &ind, but are all (ept to be examined by the <upreme 9udge, and &ill in the end be
sho&n us either by friendly or hostile angels# 's to the angels first producing a &hite boo(, and then
the devils a blac( oneD the former a very small one, the latter one very largeD it is to be observed, that in
his first years he did some good actions, all &hich he nevertheless obscured by the evil actions of his
youth# +f, on the contrary, he had ta(en care in his youth to correct the errors of his more tender years,
and to cancel them in >od:s sight by doing &ell, he might have been associated to the number of those
of &hom the Psalm says, GBlessed are those &hose iniCuities are forgiven, and &hose sins are hid#G
.his story, as + learned it of the venerable Bishop Pechthelm, + have thought proper to relate in a plain
manner, for the salvation of my hearers#
CHAPTER XIV
!F '=!.HE/, AH! BE+=> '. .HE P!+=. !F DE'.H, <'A .HE P8'E !F
6,3
P?=+<H;E=. 'PP!+=.ED F!/ H+; += HE88# H'#D# *-1#I
+ @=EA a brother myself, &ould to >od + had not (no&n him, &hose name + could mention if it
&ere necessary, and &ho resided in a noble monastery, but lived himself ignobly# He &as freCuently
reproved by the brethren and elders of the place, and admonished to adopt a more regular lifeD and
though he &ould not give ear to them, he &as long patiently borne &ith by them, on account of his
usefulness in temporal &or(s, for he &as an excellent carpenterD he &as much addicted to drun(enness,
and other pleasures of a la&less life, and more used to stop in his &or(house day and night, than to go
to church to sing and pray, and hear the &ord of life &ith the brethren# For &hich reason it happened to
him according to the saying, that he &ho &ill not &illingly and humbly enter the gate of the church,
&ill certainly be damned, and enter the gate of hell &hether he &ill or no# For he falling sic(, and being
reduced to extremity, called the brethren, and &ith much lamentation, and li(e one damned, began to
tell them, that he sa& hell open, and <atan at the bottom thereofD as also aiaphas, &ith the others that
sle& our 8ord, by him delivered up to avenging flames# G+n &hose neighborhood,G said he, G+ see a
place of eternal perdition provided for me, miserable &retch#G .he brothers, hearing these &ords, began
seriously to exhort him, that he should repent even then &hilst he &as in the flesh# He ans&ered in
despair, G+ have no time no& to change my course of life, &hen + have myself seen my Fudgment
passed#G
Ahilst uttering these &ords, he died &ithout having received the saving viaticum, and his body
&as buried in the remotest parts of the monastery, nor did any one dare either to say masses or sing
psalms, or even to pray for him# Ho& far has our 8ord divided the light from dar(nessK .he blessed
martyr, <tephen, being about to suffer death for the truth, sa& the heavens open, the glory of >od
revealed, and 9esus standing on the right hand of >od# 'nd &here he &as to be after death, there he
fixed the eyes of his mind, that he might die &ith the more satisfaction# !n the contrary, this carpenter,
of a dar( mind and actions, &hen death &as at hand, sa& hell open and &itnessed the damnation of the
Devil and his follo&ersD the unhappy &retch also sa& his o&n prison among them, to the end that,
despairing of his salvation, he might die the more miserablyD but might by his perdition afford cause of
salvation to the living &ho should hear of it# .his happened lately in the province of the Bernicians, and
being reported abroad far and near, inclined many to do penance for their sins &ithout delay, &hich &e
hope may also be the result of this our narrative#
6,)
CHAPTER XV
<E2E/'8 H?/HE< !F .HE <!.<, '. .HE +=<.'=E !F 'D';='=,
!=F!/;ED .! .HE '.H!8+ E'<.E/D .HE <';E PE/<!= A/!.E ' B!!@ 'B!?.
.HE H!8B P8'E<# H'#D# *-0#I
'. this time a great part of the <cots in +reland, and some also of the Britons in Britain, through
the goodness of >od, conformed to the proper and ecclesiastical time of (eeping Easter# 'damnan,
priest and abbot of the mon(s that &ere in the isle of Hii, &as sent ambassador by his nation to 'lfrid,
(ing of the English, &here he made some stay, observing the canonical rites of the church, and &as
earnestly admonished by many, &ho &ere more learned than himself, not to presume to live contrary to
the universal custom of the hurch, either in relation to the observance of Easter, or any other decrees
&hatsoever, considering the small number of his follo&ers, seated in so distant a corner of the &orldD
inconseCuence of this he changed his mind, and readily preferred those things &hich he had seen and
heard in the English churches, to the customs &hich he and his people had hitherto follo&ed# For he
&as a good and &ise man, and remar(ably learned in Holy <cripture# /eturning home, he endeavored
to bring his o&n people that &ere in the isle of Hii, or that &ere subFect to that monastery, into the &ay
of truth, &hich he had learned and embraced &ith all his heartD but in this he could not prevail# He then
sailed over into +reland, to preach to those people, and by modestly declaring the legal time of Easter,
he reduced many of them, and almost all that &ere not under the dominion of those of Hii, to the
atholic unity, and taught them to (eep the legal time of Easter#
/eturning to his island, after having celebrated the canonical Easter in +reland, he most earnestly
inculcated the observance of the atholic time of Easter in his monastery, yet &ithout being able to
prevailD and it so happened that he departed this life before the next year came round, the Divine
goodness so ordaining it, that as he &as a great lover of peace and unity, he should be ta(en a&ay to
everlasting life before he should be obliged, on the return of the time of Easter, to Cuarrel still more
seriously &ith those that &ould not follo& him in the truth#
.his same person &rote a boo( about the holy places, most useful to many readersD his authority,
from &hom he procured his information, &as 'rculf, a French bishop, &ho had gone to 9erusalem for
the sa(e of the holy placesD and having seen all the 8and of Promise, traveled to Damascus,
onstantinople, 'lexandria, and many islands, and returning home by sea, &as by a violent storm
forced upon the &estern coast of Britain# 'fter many other accidents, he came to the aforesaid servant
6,*
of hrist, 'damnan, &ho, finding him to be learned in the <criptures, and acCuainted &ith the holy
places, entertained him Eealously, and attentively gave ear to him, insomuch that he presently
committed to &riting all that 'rculf said he had seen remar(able in the holy places# .hus he composed
a &or( beneficial to many, and particularly to those &ho, being far removed from those places &here
the patriarchs and apostles lived, (no& no more of them than &hat they learn by reading# 'damnan
presented this boo( to @ing 'lfrid, and through his bounty it came to be read by lesser persons# .he
&riter thereof &as also &ell re&arded by him, and sent bac( into his country# + believe it &ill be
acceptable to our readers if &e collect some particulars from the same, and insert them in our History#
CHAPTER XVI
.HE '!?=. >+2E= BB .HE 'F!/E<'+D B!!@ !F .HE P8'E !F !?/ 8!/D:<
='.+2+.B, P'<<+!=, '=D /E<?//E.+!=# H'#D# *-1#I
HE &rote concerning the place of the nativity of our 8ord to this effect# GBethlehem, the city of
David, is seated on a narro& ridge, encompassed on all sides &ith valleys, being a thousand paces in
length from east to &est, the &all lo& &ithout to&ers, built along the edge of the plain on the summit#
+n the east angle thereof is a sort of natural half cave, the out&ard part &hereof is said to have been the
place &here our 8ord &as bornD the inner is called our 8ord:s ;anger# .his cave &ithin is all covered
&ith rich marble, over the place &here our 8ord is said particularly to have been born, and over it is the
great church of <t# ;ary#G He li(e&ise &rote about the place of his Passion and /esurrection in this
manner# GEntering the city of 9erusalem# on the north side, the first place to be visited, according to the
disposition of the streets, is the church of onstantine, called the ;artyrdom# +t &as built by the
Emperor onstantine, in a royal and magnificent manner, on account of the cross of our 8ord having
been found there by his mother Helen# From thence, to the &est&ard, appears the church of >olgotha,
in &hich is also to be seen the roc( &hich once bore the cross &ith our <aviour:s body fixed on it, and
no& it bears a large silver cross, &ith a great braEen &heel hanging over it surrounded &ith lamps#
?nder the place of our 8ord:s cross, a vault is he&n out of the roc(, in &hich sacrifice is offered on an
altar for honourable persons deceased, their bodies remaining mean&hile in the street# .o the &est&ard
of this is the 'nastasis, that is, the round church of our <aviours resurrection, encompassed &ith three
&alls, and supported by t&elve columns# Bet&een each of the &alls is a broad space, containing three
altars at three different points of the middle &allD to the north, the south, and the &est, it has eight doors
or entrances through the three opposite &allsD four &hereof front to the north"east, and four to the
6,7
south"east# +n the midst of it is the round tomb of our 8ord cut out of the roc(, the top of &hich a man
standing &ithin can touchD the entrance is on the eastD against it is still laid that great stone# .o this day
it bears the mar(s of the iron tools &ithin, but on the outside it is all covered &ith marble to the very
top of the roof, &hich is adorned &ith gold, and bears a large golden cross# +n the north part of the
monument, the tomb of our 8ord is he&ed out of the same roc(, seven feet in length, and three palms
above the floorD the entrance being on the south side, &here t&elve lamps burn day and night, four
&ithin the sepulchre, and eight above on the right hand side# .he stone that &as laid at the entrance to
the monument is no& cleft in t&oD nevertheless, the lesser part of it stands as a sCuare altar before the
door of the monumentD the greater part ma(es another sCuare altar at the east end of the same church,
and is covered &ith linen cloths# .he colour of the said monument and supulchre appears to be &hite
and red#G
CHAPTER XVII
!F .HE P8'E !F !?/ 8!/D:< '<E=<+!=, '=D .HE .!;B< !F .HE P'./+'/H<#
H'#D# *-1#I
!=E/=+=> the place of our 8ord:s ascension, the aforesaid author &rites thus# G;ount !livet
is eCual in height to ;ount <ion, but exceeds it in breadth and lengthD bearing fe& trees besides vines
and olive trees, and is fruitful in &heat and barley, for the nature of that soil is not calculated for
bearing things of large or heavy gro&th, but grass and flo&ers# !n the very top of it, &here our 8ord
ascended into heaven, is a large round church, having about it three vaulted porches# For the inner
house could not be vaulted and covered, because of the passage of our 8ord:s bodyD but it has an altar
on the east side, covered &ith a narro& roof# +n the midst of it are to be seen the last prints of our 8ord:s
feet, the s(y appearing open above &here he ascendedD and though the earth is daily carried a&ay by
believers, yet still it remains as before, and retains the same +mpression of the feet# =ear this lies an
iron &heel, as high as a man:s nec(, having an entrance to&ards the &est, &ith a great lamp hanging
above it on a pulley, and burning night and day# +n the &estern part of the same church are eight
&indo&sD and eight lamps, hanging opposite to them by cords, cast their light through the glass as far
as 9erusalemD this light is said to stri(e the hearts of the beholders &ith a sort of Foy and humility# Every
year, on the day of the 'scension, &hen mass is ended, a strong blast of &ind is said to come do&n, and
to cast to the ground all that are in the church#G
!f the situation of Hebron, and the tombs of the fathers he &rites thus# GHebron, once the city and
6,4
metropolis of David:s (ingdom, no& only sho&ing &hat it &as by its ruins, has, one furlong to the east
of it, a double cave in the valley, &here the tombs of the patriarchs are enclosed &ith a sCuare &all,
their heads lying to the north, Each of the tombs is covered &ith a single stone, &or(ed li(e the stones
of a hurch, and of a &hite color, for three patriarchs# 'dam:s is of more mean and common
&or(manship, and lies not far from them at the farthest northern extremity# .here are also some poorer
and smaller monuments of three &omen# .he hill ;amre is a thousand paces from the monuments, and
is full of grass and flo&ers, having a flat plain on the top# +n the northern part of it, 'braham:s oa(,
being a stump about t&ice as high as a man, is enclosed in a church#G
.hus much have &e collected from the &or(s of the aforesaid &riter, (eeping to the sense of his
&ords, but more briefly delivered, and have thought fit to insert in our History# Ahosoever desires to
see more of the contents of that boo(, may see it either in the same, or in that &hich &e have lately
epitomised from it#
CHAPTER XVIII
.HE <!?.H <'5!=< /EE+2ED E'DBE/. '=D E!88', '=D .HE AE<. <'5!=<,
D'=+E8 '=D '8DHE8;, F!/ .HE+/ B+<H!P< !F .HE A/+.+=>< !F .hE <';E
'8DHE8;# H'#D# *-3#I
+= the year of the incarnation of our 8ord *-3, 'lfrid (ing of the =orthumbrians, died Fust before
the end of the t&entieth year of his reign# His son !sred, a boy about eight years of age, succeeding
him in the throne, reigned eleven years# +n the beginning of his reign, Hedda, bishop of the Aest
<axons, departed to the heavenly (ingdomD for he &as a good and Fust man, and exercised his episcopal
duties rather by his innate love of virtue, than by &hat he had gained from learning# .he most reverend
prelate, Pechthelm, of &hom &e shall spea( in the proper place, and &ho &as a long time either deacon
or mon( &ith his successor 'ldhelm, is &ont to relate that many miraculous cures have been &rought
in the place &here he died, through the merit of his sanctityD and that the man of that province used to
carry the dust from thence for the sic(, &hich, &hen they had put into &ater, the sprin(ling or drin(ing
thereof restored health to many sic( men and beastsD so that the holy earth being freCuently carried
a&ay, there &as a considerable hole left#
?pon his death the bishopric of that province &as divided into t&o dioceses# !ne of them &as
given to Daniel, &hich he governs to this dayD the other to 'ldhelm, &herein he most &orthily presided
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four yearsD both of them &ere &ell instructed, as &ell in ecclesiastical affairs as in the (no&ledge of the
<criptures# 'ldhelm, &hen he &as only a priest and abbat of the monastery of ;almesbury, by order of
a synod of his o&n nation, &rote a notable boo( against the error of the Britons, in not celebrating
Easter at the proper time, and in doing several other things not consonant to the purity and the peace of
the churchD and by the reading of this boo( he persuaded many of them, &ho &ere subFect to the Aest
<axons, to adopt the atholic celebration of our 8ord:s resurrection# He li(e&ise &rote a notable boo(
on 2irginity, &hich, in imitation of <edulius, he composed double, that is, in hexameter verse and
prose# He &rote some other boo(s, as being a man most learned in all respects, for he had a clean style,
and &as, as + have said, &onderful for ecclesiastical and liberal erudition# !n his death, Forthere &as
made bishop in his stead, and is living at this time, being li(e&ise a man very learned in Holy Arit#
Ahilst they &ere bishops, it &as decreed in a synod, that the province of the <outh <axons, &hich
till then belonged to the diocese of the city of Ainchester, &here Daniel then presided, should also have
an episcopal see, and a bishop of its o&n# Eadbert, at that time abbot of the monastery of Bishop
Ailfrid, of blessed memory, called <elsey, &as consecrated their first bishop# !n his death, Eolla
succeeded in the bishopric# He also died some years since, and the bishopric has been discontinued to
this day#
CHAPTER XIX
!+=/ED, @+=> !F .HE ;E/+'=<, '=D !FF', !F .HE E'<. <'5!=<, E=DED
.HE+/ D'B< '. /!;E, += .HE ;!='<.+ H'B+.# !F .HE 8+FE '=D DE'.H !F B+<H!P
A+8F/+D# H'#D# *-4#I
+= the fourth year of the reign of !sred, oinred, &ho had for some time nobly governed the
(ingdom of the ;ercians, did a much more noble act, by Cuitting the throne of his (ingdom, and going
to /ome, &here being shorn, &hen onstantine &as pope, and made a mon( at the relics of the
apostles, he continued to his last hour Hi prayers, fasting and alms"deeds# He &as succeeded in the
throne by oelred, the son of Etheired, &ho had been (ing before oinred# Aith him &ent the son of
<ighere (ing of the East <axons above"mentioned, &hose name &as !ffa, a youth of most lovely age
and beauty, and most earnestly desired by all his nation to be their (ing# He, &ith li(e devotion, Cuitted
his &ife, lands, (indred and country, for hrist and for the >ospel, that he might receive an
hundredfold in this life, and in the &orld to ome life everlasting#G He also, &hen they came to the
holy places at /ome, receiving the tonsure, and adopting a monastic life, attained the long &ished"for
66,
sight of the blessed apostles in heaven#
.he same year that they departed from Britain, the celebrated prelate, Ailfrid, died in the province
of ?ndalum, after he had been bishop forty"five years# His body being laid in a coffin, &as carried to
his monastery, called /ipon, and there buried in the church of the blessed 'postle Peter, &ith the
honour due to so great a prelate# Ae &ill no& turn bac(, and briefly mention some particulars of his
life# Being a boy of a good disposition, and behaving himself &orthily at that age, he conducted himself
so modestly and discreetly in all respects, that he &as deservedly beloved, respected, and cherished by
his elders as one of themselves# 't fourteen years of age he preferred the monastic to the secular lifeD
&hich, &hen he had signified to his father, for his mother &as dead, he readily consented to his
heavenly &ishes, and advised him to persist in his holy resolution# 'ccordingly he came to the isle of
8indisfarne, and there giving himself up to the service of the mon(s, he too( care diligently to learn
and to perform those things &hich belong to monastic purity and pietyD and being of an acute
understanding, he in a very short time learned the psalms and some boo(s, before he &as shorn, but
&hen he &as already become very remar(able for the greater virtues of humility and obedience$ for
&hich he &as deservedly beloved and respected by his eCuals and elders# Having served >od some
years in that monastery, and being a clear sighted youth, he observed that the &ay to virtue taught by
the <cots &as not perfect, and he resolved to go to /ome, to see &hat ecclesiastical or monastic rites
&ere in use there# .he brethren being made acCuainted there&ith, commended his design, and advised
him to put it into execution# He then repaired to Mueen Eanfled, to &hom he &as &ell (no&n, and &ho
had got him into that monastery by her advice and assistance, and acCuainted her that he &as desirous
to visit the churches of the apostles# <he, being pleased &ith the youth:s resolution, sent him into @ent,
to @ing Earconbert, &ho &as her uncle:s son, reCuesting that he &ould send him to /ome in an
honorable manner# 't that time, Honorius, one of the disciples of the holy Pope >regory, and &ell
instructed in ecclesiastical institutes, &as archbishop there# Ahilst he made some stay there, and, being
a youth of an active spirit, diligently applied himself to learn those things &hich he undertoo(, another
youth, called Biscop, or other&ise Benedict, of the English nobility, arrived there, being li(e&ise
desirous to go to /ome, of &hich &e have before made mention#
.he (ing gave him Ailfrid for a companion, &ith orders to conduct him to /ome# Ahen they
came to 8yons, Ailfrid &as detained there by Dalfin, the bishop of that cityD but Benedict hastened on
to /ome# .hat prelate &as delighted &ith the youth:s prudent discourse, the gracefulness of his aspect,
the alacrity of his behavior, and the sedateness and gravity of his thoughtsD for &hich reason he
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plentifully supplied him and his companions &ith all necessaries, as long as they stayed &ith himD and
further offered to commit to him the government of a considerable part of France, to give him a maiden
daughter of his o&n brother to &ife, and to receive him as his adopted son# He returned than(s for the
favor, &hich he &as pleased to sho& to a stranger, and ans&ered, that he had resolved upon another
course of life, and for that reason had left his country and set out for /ome#
Hereupon the bishop sent him to /ome, furnishing him &ith a guide and plenty of all things
reCuisite for his Fourney, earnestly reCuesting that he &ould come that &ay &hen he returned into his
o&n country# Ailfrid arriving at /ome, by constantly applying himself to prayer and the study of
ecclesiastical affairs, as he had before proposed to himself, gained the friendship of the most holy and
learned Boniface, the archdeacon, &ho &as also counselor to the pope, by &hose instructions he
regularly learned the four >ospels, the true calculation of Easter, and many other things appertaining to
ecclesiastical discipline, &hich he could not attain in his o&n country# Ahen he had spent some months
there, in successful study, he returned into France, to DalfinD and having stayed &ith him three years,
received from him the tonsure, and &as so much beloved that he had thoughts of ma(ing him his heirD
but this &as prevented by the bishop:s untimely death, and Ailfrid &as reserved to be bishop of his
o&n, that is, the English, nationD for Mueen Baldhilda sent soldiers &ith orders to put the bishop to
deathD &hom Ailfrid, his cler(, attended to the place &here he &as to be beheaded, being very desirous,
though the bishop opposed it, to die &ith himD but the executioners, understanding that he &as a
stranger, and of the English nation, spared him, and &ould not put him to death &ith his bishop#
/eturning to England, he &as admitted to the friendship of @ing 'ifrid, &ho had al&ays follo&ed
the catholic rules of the hurchD and therefore finding him to be a atholic, he gave him land of ten
families at the place called <tanfordD and not long after, the monastery, of thirty families, at the place
called /iponD &hich place he had lately given to those that follo&ed the doctrine of the <cots, to build a
monastery upon# But, forasmuch as they after&ards, being left to their choice, &ould rather Cuit the
place than adopt the catholic Easter, and other canonical rites, according to the custom of the /oman
'postolic hurch, he gave the same to him, &hom he found to follo& better discipline and better
customs#
't the same time, by the said (ing:s command, he &as ordained priest in the same monastery, by
'gilbert, bishop of the Aest <axons, above"mentioned, the (ing being desirous that a man of so much
piety and learning should continue &ith him as priest and teacherD and not long after, having discovered
660
and banished the <cottish sect, as &as said above, he, &ith the advice and consent of his father !s&y,
sent him into Frdnce, to be consecrated bishop, at about thirty years of age, the same 'gilbert being
then bishop of Paris, and eleven other bishops meeting at the consecration of the ne& bishop, that
function &as most honourably performed# Ahilst he &as yet beyond the sea, had, a holy man, &as
consecrated bishop of Bor(, by command of @ing !s&y, as has been said aboveD and having ably ruled
that church three years, he retired to govern his monastery of 8estingau, and Ailfrid &as made bishop
of all the province of the =orthumbrians#
'fter&ards, in the reign of Egfrid, he &as expelled his bishopric, and others &ere consecrated
bishops in his stead, of &hom mention has been made above# Designing to go to /ome, to ans&er for
himself before the pope, &hen he &as aboard the ship, the &ind ble& hard &est, and he &as driven into
Frisland, and honorably received by that barbarous people and their @ing 'ldgist, to &hom he preached
hrist, and instructed many thousands of them in the &ord of truth, &ashing them from their
abominations in the laver of salvation# .hus he there began the &or( of the >ospel &hich &as
after&ards finished by Ailbrord, a most reverend bishop of 9esus hrist# Having spent the &inter there
&ith his ne& converts, he set out again on his &ay to /ome, &here his cause being tried before Pope
'gatho and several bishops, he &as by their universal consent, acCuitted of &hat had been laid to his
charge, and declared &orthy of his bishopric#
't the same time the said Pope 'gatho assembling a synod at /ome, of one hundred and t&enty"
five bishops, against those that taught there &as only one &ill and operation in our 8ord and <avior,
ordered Ailfrid also to be summoned, and, &hen seated among the bishops, to declare his o&n faith
and the faith of the province or island from &hence he cameD and they being found orthodox in their
faith, it &as thought fit to record the same among the acts of that synod, &hich &as done in this
manner$ GAilfrid, the beloved of >od, bishop of the city of Bor(, having referred to the 'postolic <ee,
and being by that authority acCuitted of every thing, &hether specified against him or not, and having
ta(en his seat in Fudgment, &ith one hundred and t&enty"five other bishops in the synod, made
confession of the true and catholic faith, and subscribed the same in the name of the northern part of
Britain and +reland, inhabited by the English and Britons, as also by the <cots and Picts#G
'fter this, returning to Britain, he converted the province of the <outh <axons from their
idolatrous &orship# He also sent ministers to the +sle of AightD and in the second year of 'lfrid, &ho
reigned after Egfrid, &as restored to his see and bishopric by that (ing:s invitation# Ho&ever, five years
661
after, being again accused by that same (ing and several bishops, he &as again expelled his diocese#
coming to /ome, together &ith his accusers and being allo&ed to ma(e his defense before a number of
bishops and the apostolic Pope 9ohn, it &as declared by the unanimous Fudgment of them all, that his
accusers had in part laid false accusations to his chargeD and the aforesaid pope undertoo( to &rite to
the (ings of the English, Etheired and 'lfrid, to cause him to be restored to his bishopric, because he
had been falsely accused#
His acCuittal &as much for&arded by the reading of the synod of Pope 'gatho, of blessed
memory, &hich had been formally held &hen Ailfrid &as in /ome, and sat in council among the
bishops, as has been said before# For that synod being, on account of the trial, by order of the apostolic
pope, read before the nobility and a great number of the people for some days, they came to the place
&here it &as &ritten, GAilfrid, the beloved of >od, bishop of the city of Bor(, having referred his cause
to the 'postolic <ee, and being by that po&er cleared,G etc#, as above stated# .his being read, the
hearers &ere amaEed, and the reader stopping, they began to as( of one another, &ho that Bishop
Ailfrid &asJ .hen Boniface, the pope:s counselor, and many others, &ho had seen him there in the
days of Pope 'gatho, said, he &as the same bishop that lately came to /ome, to be tried by the
'postolic <ee, being accused by his people, and &ho, said they, having long since been here upon such
li(e accusation, the cause and controversy bet&een both parties being heard and discussed, &as proved
by Pope 'gatho, of blessed memory, to have been &rongfully expelled from his bishopric, and so much
honored by him, that he commanded him to sit in the council of bishops &hich he had assembled, as a
man of untainted faith and an upright mind# .his being heard, the pope and all the rest said, that a man
of such great authority, &ho had exercised the episcopal function near forty years, ought not to be
condemned, but being cleared of all the crimes laid to his charge, to return home &ith honor#
Passing through France, on his &ay bac( to Britain, on a sudden he fell sic(, and the distemper
increasing, &as so ill, that he could not ride, but &as carried in his bed# Being thus come to the city of
;eaux, in France, be lay four days and nights, as if he had been dead, and only by his faint breathing
sho&ed that he had any life in himD having continued so four days, &ithout meat or drin(, spea(ing or
hearing, he, at length, on the fifth day, in the morning, as it &ere a&a(ening out of a dead sleep, sat up
in bed, and opening his eyes, sa& numbers of brethren singing and &eeping about him, and fetching a
sigh, as(ed &here 'cca, the priest, &asJ .his man, being called, immediately came in, and seeing him
thus recovered and able to spea(, (nelt do&n, and returned than(s to >od, &ith all the brethren there
present# Ahen they had sat a&hile, and begun to discourse, &ith much reverence, on the heavenly
663
Fudgments, the bishop ordered the rest to go out for an hour, and spo(e to the priest, 'cca, in this
manner "
G' dreadful vision has no& appeared to me, &hich + &ish you to hear and (eep secret, till + (no&
ho& >od &ill please to dispose of me# .here stood by me a certain person, remar(able for his &hite
garments, telling me he &as ;ichael, the 'rchangel, and said, :+ am sent to save you from death$ for the
8ord has granted you life, through the prayers and tears of your disciples, and the intercession of his
blessed mother ;ary, of perpetual virginityD &herefore + tell you, that you shall no& recover from this
sic(nessD but be ready, for + &ill return to visit you at the end of four years# But &hen you come into
your country, you shall recover most of the possessions that have been ta(en from you, and shall end
your days in perfect peace#G .he bishop accordingly recovered, at &hich all persons reFoiced, and gave
than(s to >od, and setting for&ard on his Fourney, arrived in Britain#
Having read the letters &hich he brought from the apostolic pope, Bert&ald, the archbishop, and
Ethelred, &ho had been formerly (ing, but &as then an abbot, readily too( his partD for the said
Ethelred, calling to him oinred, &hom he had made (ing in his o&n stead, he reCuested of him to be
friends &ith Ailfrid, in &hich reCuest he prevailedD but 'lfrid, (ing of the =orthumbrians# refused to
admit him# Ho&ever he died soon after, and his son !sred obtained the cro&n, &hen a synod &as
assembled, near the river =idd, and after some contesting on both sides, at length, by the consent of all,
he &as admitted to preside over his churchD and thus he lived in peace four years, till the day of his
death# He died on the ,6th of !ctober, in his monastery, &hich he had in the province of ?ndalum,
under the government of the 'bbot utbbaldD and by the ministry of the brethren, he &as carried to his
first monastery of /ipon, and buried in the church of <aint Peter the apostle, close by the south end of
the altar, as has been mentioned above, &ith this epitaph over him "
Here the great prelate Aufrid lies entomb:d,
Aho, led by piety, this temple rear:d
.o >od, and hallo&:d &ith blest Peter:s name
.o &hom our 8ord the (eys of heaven consign:d#
;oreover gold and purple vestments gave,
'nd plac:d a cross, " a trophy shining bright
Aith richest ore " four boo(s o:er&rought &ith gold,
<acred evangelists in order plac:d,
'nd Nsuited &ell to theseO a des( he rear:d,
NHighly conspicuousO cas:d &ith ruddy gold#
He li(e&ise brought the time of Easter right,
.o the Fust standard of the canon la&
66)
Ahich our forefathers fixed and &ell observ:d,
But long by error chang:d, he Fustly plac:d#
+nto these parts a numerous s&arm of mon(s
He brought, and strictly taught their founder:s rules#
+n lapse of years, by many dangers tossedD
't home by discords, and in foreign realms,
Having sat bishop five and forty years,
He died, and Foyful sought the realms aboveD
.hat, blessed by hrist, and favour:d &ith his aid,
.he floc( may follo& in their pastor:s path#
CHAPTER XX
'8B+=?< <?EEDED .! .HE /E8+>+!?< 'BB!. H'D/+'=, '=D '' .! B+<H!P
A+8F/+D# H'#D# *-4#I
.HE next year after the death of the aforesaid father NAilfridO, that is, in the first year of @ing
!sred, the most reverend father, 'bbot Hadrian, fello& laborer in the &ord of >od &ith .heodore the
archbishop of blessed memory, died, and &as buried in the church of the blessed ;other of >od, in his
o&n monastery, this being the forty"first year from his being sent by Pope 2italian &ith .heodore, and
the thirty"ninth after his arrival in England# !f &hose learning, as &ell as that of .heodore, one
testimony among others is, that 'lbinus, his disciple, &ho succeeded him in the government of his
monastery, &as so &ell instructed in the study of the <criptures, that he (ne& the >ree( tongue to no
small perfection, and the 8atin as thoroughly as the English, &hich &as his native language#
'cca, his priest, succeeded Ailfrid in the bishopric of the church of HagulstadD being himself a
most active man, and great in the sight of >od and man, he much adorned and added to the structure of
his church, &hich is dedicated to the 'postle <t# 'ndre&# For he made it his business, and does so still,
to procure relics of the blessed apostles and martyrs of hrist from all parts, to place them on altars,
dividing the same by arches in the &alls of the church# Besides &hich, he diligently gathered the
histories of their sufferings, together &ith other ecclesiastical &ritings, and erected there a most
numerous and noble library# He li(e&ise industriously provided holy vessels, lights, and such li(e
things as appertain to the adorning of the house of >od# He in li(e manner invited to him a celebrated
singer, called ;aban, &ho had been taught to sing by the successors of the disciples of the blessed
>regory in @ent, for him to instruct himself and his clergy, and (ept him t&elve years, to teach such
ecclesiastical songs as &ere not (no&n, and to restore those to their former state &hich &ere corrupted
either by &ant of use, or through neglect# For Bishop 'cca himself &as a most expert singer, as &ell as
66*
most learned in Holy Arit, most pure in the confession of the catholic faith, and most observant in the
rules of ecclesiastical institutionD nor did he ever cease to be so till he received the re&ards of his pious
devotion, having been bred up and instructed among the clergy of the most holy and beloved of >od,
Bosa, bishop of Bor(# 'fter&ards, coming to Bishop Ailfrid in hopes of improving himself, he spent
the rest of his life under him till that bishop:s death, and going &ith him to /ome, learned there many
profitable things concerning the government of the holy church, &hich he could not have learned in his
o&n country#
CHAPTER XXI
'BB!. E!8F/+D <E=. .HE @+=> !F .HE P+.< '/H+.E.< .! B?+8D '
H?/H, '=D A+.H .HE; '= EP+<.8E !=E/=+=> .HE '.H!8+ E'<.E/ '=D
.!=<?/E# H'#D# *,-#I
'. that time, =aitan, (ing of the Picts, inhabiting the northern parts of Britain, taught by freCuent
meditation on the ecclesiastical &ritings, renounced the error &hich he and his nation had till then been
under, in relation to the observance of Easter, and submitted, together &ith his people, to celebrate the
catholic time of our 8ord:s resurrection# For performing this &ith the more ease and greater authority,
be sought assistance from the English, &hom he (ne& to have long since formed their religion after the
example of the holy /oman 'postolic hurch# 'ccordingly he sent messengers to the venerable
eolfrid, abbot of the monastery of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, &hich stands at the mouth of
the river Aear, and near the river .yne, at the place called 9arro&, &hich he gloriously governed after
Benedict, of &hom &e have before spo(enD desiring, that he &ould &rite him a letter containing
arguments, by the help of &hich he might the better confute those that presumed to (eep Easter out of
the due timeD as also concerning the form and manner of tonsure for distinguishing the clergyD not to
mention that he himself possessed much information in these particulars# He also prayed to have
architects sent him to build a church in his nation after the /oman manner, promising to dedicate the
same in honor of <t# Peter, the prince of the apostles, and that he and all his people &ould al&ays
follo& the custom of the holy /oman 'postolic hurch, as far as their remoteness from the /oman
language and nation &ould allo&# .he reverend 'bbot eolfrid, complying &ith his desires and
reCuest, sent the architects he desired, and the follo&ing letter "
"To the most e'"ellent lord, and most glorious 4ing )aitan, Abbot !eolirid, greeting in the Lord.
Ae most readily and &illingly endeavor, according to your desire, to explain to you the catholic
667
observance of holy Easter, according to &hat &e have learned of the 'postolic <ee, as you, devout
(ing, &ith a religious intention, have reCuestedD for &e (no&, that &henever the hurch applies itself to
learn, to teach, and to assert the truth, &hich are the affairs of our 8ord, the same is given to it from
heaven# For a certain &orldly &riter most truly said, that the &orld &ould be most happy if either (ings
&ere philosophers, or philosophers &ere (ings# For if a &orldly man could Fudge truly of the
philosophy of this &orld, and form a correct choice concerning the state of this &orld, ho& much more
is it to be &ished, and most earnestly to be prayed for by the citiEens of the heavenly country, &ho are
traveling through this &orld, that the more po&erful any persons are in this &orld, the more they may
labor to be acCuainted &ith the commands of Him &ho is the <upreme 9udge, and by their example and
authority may induce those that are committed to their charge, as &ell as themselves, to (eep the same#
G.here are three rules in the <acred Aritings, on account of &hich it is not la&ful for any human
authority to change the time of (eeping Easter, &hich has been prescribed to usD t&o &hereof are
divinely established in the la& of ;osesD the third is added in the >ospel by means of the passion and
resurrection of our 8ord# For the la& enFoined, that the Passover should be (ept in the first month of the
year, and the third &ee( of that month, that is, from the fifteenth day to the one"and"t&entieth# +t is
added, by apostolic institution, in the >ospel, that &e are to &ait for our 8ord:s day in that third &ee(,
and to (eep the beginning of the Paschal time on the same# Ahich threefold rule &hosoever shall
rightly observe, &ill never err in fixing the Paschal feast# But if you desire to be more plainly and fully
informed in all these particulars, it is &ritten in Exodus, &here the people of +srael, being about to be
delivered out of Egypt, are commanded to (eep the first Passover, that the 8ord said to ;oses and
'aron, :.his month shall be unto you the beginning of monthsD it shall be the first month of the year to
you# <pea( ye unto all the congregation of +srael, saying, +n the tenth day of this month, they shall ta(e
to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house#: 'nd a little
lo&er, :'nd he shall (eep it until the fourteenth day of the same monthD and the &hole assembly of the
congregation of +srael shall (ill it in the evening#: By &hich &ords it most plainly appears, that thus in
the Paschal observance mention is made of the fourteenth day, not that the Passover is commanded to
be (ept on that day$ but the lamb is commanded to be (illed on the evening of the fourteenth dayD that
is, on the fifteenth day of the moon, &hich is the beginning of the third &ee(, &hen the moon appears
in the s(y# 'nd because it &as on the night of the fifteenth moon, &hen, by the slaughter of the
Egyptians, +srael &as redeemed from a long captivity, therefore it is said, :<even days shall ye eat
unleavened bread#: By &hich &ords all the third &ee( of the same month is decreed to be (ept solemn#
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But lest &e should thin( that those same seven days &ere to be rec(oned from the fourteenth to the
t&entieth, >od immediately adds, :Even the first day ye shall put a&ay leaven out of your housesD for
&hosoever eateth leavened bread, from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from
+sraelD: and so on, till he says, :For in this selfsame day + &ill bring your army out of the land of Egypt#:
G.hus lie calls that the first day of unleavened bread, in &hich he &as to bring their army out of
Egypt# But it is evident, that they &ere not brought out of Egypt on the fourteenth day, in the evening
&hereof the lamb &as (illed# and &hich is properly called the Passover or Phase, but on the fifteenth
day, as is most plainly &ritten in the boo( of =umbers# :Departing therefore from /amesse on the
fifteenth day of the first month, the next day the +sraelites (ept the Passover &ith a high hand#: .hus the
seven days of unleavened bread on the first &hereof the people of >od &ere brought out of Egypt, are
to be rec(oned from the beginning of the third &ee(, as has been said, that is, from the fourteenth day
of the first month, till the one"and" t&entieth of the same month, that day included# But the fourteenth
day is noted do&n separately from this number, by the name of the Passover, as is plainly made out by
&hat follo&s in Exodus$ &here &hen it is said, :For in this same day + &ill bring your army out of the
land of EgyptD: it is presently added, :Bou shall (eep it a feast by an ordinance for ever# +n the first
month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one"and"
t&entieth day of the month at even# <even days shall there be no leaven found in your houses#: =o&,
&ho is there that does not perceive, that there are not only seven days, but rather eight, from the
fourteenth to the one"and"t&entieth, if the fourteenth be also rec(oned in the numberJ But if, as by
diligent study of <criptures appears to be the truth, &e rec(on from the evening of the fourteenth day to
the evening of the one" and"t&entieth, &e shall certainly find, that the same fourteenth day gives its
evening for the beginning of the Paschal feastD so that the sacred solemnity contains no more than only
seven nights and as many days# By &hich our definition is proved to be true, &herein &e said, that the
Paschal time is to be celebrated in the first month of the year, and the third &ee( of the same# For it is
really the third &ee(, because it begins on the evening of the fourteenth day, and ends on the evening of
the one"and"t&entieth#
GBut since hrist our Paschal 8amb is slain, and has made the 8ord:s day, &hich among the
ancients &as called the first after the <abbath, a solemn day to us for the Foy of his resurrection, the
apostolic tradition has so inserted it into the Paschal festivals as to decree, that nothing in the least be
anticipated, or detracted from the time of the legal PassoverD but rather ordains, that the same first
month should be &aited for, pursuant to the precept of the la&, and accordingly the fourteenth day of
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the same, and the evening thereof# 'nd &hen this day should happen to fall on the <abbath, every one
in his family should ta(e a lamb, and (ill it in the evening, that is, that all the churches throughout the
&orld, composing one catholic church, should provide bread and &ine for the mystery of the flesh and
blood of the unspotted 8amb :that too( a&ay the sins of the &orldD: and after the solemnity of reading
the lessons and prayers of the Paschal ceremonies, they should offer up these things to the 8ord, in
hopes of future redemption# For that same night in &hich the people of +srael &ere delivered out of
Egypt by the blood of the 8amb, is the very same in &hich all the people of >od &ere, by hrist:s
resurrection, delivered from eternal death# .hen, on the morning of the 8ord:s day, they should
celebrate the first day of the Paschal festivalD for that is the day on &hich our 8ord, &ith much Foy of
pious revelation, made (no&n the glory of his resurrection# .he same is the first day of unleavened
bread, concerning &hich it is distinctly &ritten in 8eviticus, :+n the fourteenth day of the first month, at
even, is the 8ord:s Passover# 'nd on the fifteenth day of the same month, is the feast of unleavened
bread unto the 8ordD seven days ye must eat unleavened breadD the first day shall be most solemn and
holy#:
G+f therefore it could be that the 8ord:s day should al&ays happen on the fifteenth day of the first
month, that is, on the fifteenth moon, &e might al&ays celebrate Easter at the very same time &ith the
ancient people of >od, though the nature of the mystery be different, as &e do it &ith one and the same
faith# But in regard that the day of the &ee( does not (eep pace exactly &ith the moon, the apostolical
tradition, &hich &as preached at /ome by <t# Peter, and confirmed at 'lexandria by ;ar( the
Evangelist, his interpreter, appointed that &hen the first month &as come, and in it the evening of the
fourteenth day, &e should also &ait for the 8ord:s day, &hich falls bet&een the fifteenth and the one"
and"t&entieth days of the same month# For on &hichever of those days it shall fall, Easter &ill be
properly (ept on the sameD as +t is one of those seven days on &hich the unleavened bread is ordered to
be (ept# .hus it comes to pass that our Easter never deviates from the third &ee( of the first month, but
either observes the &hole, or at least some of the seven legal days of unleavened bread# For though it
ta(es in but one of them, that is, the seventh, &hich the <cripture so highly commends, saying, But the
seventh day shall be more solemn and holy, ye shall do no servile &or( therein,: none can lay it to our
charge, that &e do not rightly (eep our 8ord:s Paschal day, &hich &e received from the >ospel, in the
third &ee( of the first month as the 8a& prescribes#
G.he catholic reason of this observance being thus explainedD the unreasonable error, on the other
hand, of those &ho, &ithout any necessity, presume either to anticipate, or to go beyond the term
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prescribed in the 8a&, is manifest# For they that thin( the 8ord:s day of Easter is to be observed from
the fourteenth day of the first month till the t&entieth moon, anticipate the time prescribed in the 8a&,
&ithout any necessary reasonD for &hen they begin to celebrate the vigil of the holy night from the
evening of the thirteenth day, it is plain that they ma(e that day the beginning of their Easter, &hereof
they find no mention in the 8a&D and &hen they refuse to celebrate our 8ord:s Easter on the one"and"
t&entieth day of the month, they &holly exclude that day from their solemnity, &hich the 8a& often
recommends as memorable for the greater festivalD and thus, perverting the proper order, they place
Easter day in the second &ee(, and sometimes (eep it entirely in the same, and never bring it to the
seventh day of the third &ee(# 'nd again, because they rather thin( that Easter is to be (ept on the
sixteenth day of the said month, and so to the t&o"and"t&entieth, they no less erroneously, though the
contrary &ay, deviate from the right &ay of truth, and as it &ere avoiding to be ship&rec(ed on <cylla,
they run on and are dro&ned in the &hirlpool of harybdis# For &hen they teach that Easter is to be
begun at the rising of the sixteenth moon of the first month, that is, from the evening of the fifteenth
day, it is manifest that they altogether exclude from their solemnity the fourteenth day of the same
month, &hich the 8a& firstly and chiefly recommendsD so that they scarcely touch upon the evening of
the fifteenth day, on &hich the people of >od &ere delivered from the Egyptian servitude, and on
&hich our 8ord, by his blood, rescued the &orld from the dar(ness of sin, and on &hich being also
buried, He gave us hopes of a blessed repose after death#
G'nd the same persons, ta(ing upon themselves the penalty of their error, &hen they place the
8ord:s day of Easter on the t&enty"second day of the month, openly transgress and exceed the legal
term of Easter, as beginning the Easter on the evening of that day in &hich the la& appointed it to be
finished and completedD and appoint that to be the first day of Easter, &hereof no mention is any&here
found in the 8a&, viE# the first of the fourth &ee(# 'nd they are sometimes mista(en, not only in
defining and computing the moon:s age, but also in finding the first monthD but this controversy is
longer than can or ought to be contained in this letter# + &ill only say thus much, that by the vernal
eCuinox, it may al&ays be found, &ithout the chance of an error, &hich is the first month of the year,
according to the lunar calculation, and &hich the last# But the eCuinox, according to the opinion of all
the Eastern nations, and particularly of the Egyptians &ho exceed all other learned men in that
calculation, usually happens on the t&elfth day before the (alends of 'pril, as &e also prove by
horological inspection# Ahatever moon therefore is at the full before the eCuinox, being on the
fourteenth or fifteenth day, the same belongs to the last month of the foregoing year, and conseCuently
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is not proper for the celebration of EasterD but that moon &hich is full after the eCuinox, or on the very
eCuinox, belongs to the first month, and in it, &ithout a doubt, the ancients &ere &ont to celebrate the
PassoverD and &e also ought to (eep Easter &hen the <unday comes# 'nd that this must be so, there is
this cogent reason, because it is &ritten in >enesis, that :>od made t&o lightsD a greater light to rule the
day, and a lesser light to rule the night#: !r, as another edition has it, :' greater light to begin the day,
and a lesser to begin the night#: .he sun, therefore, proceeding from the midst of the east, fixed the
vernal eCuinox by his rising, and after&ards the moon, &hen the sun set in the evening, follo&ed full
from the midst of the eastD thus every year the same first month of the moon must be observed in the
li(e order, so that the full moon must be either on the very day of the eCuinox, as &as done from the
beginning, or after it is gone by# But if the full of the moon shall happen to be but one day before the
time of the eCuinox, the aforesaid reason proves that such moon is not to be assigned to the first month
of the ne& year, but rather to the last of the preceding, and that it is therefore not proper for the
celebration of the Paschal festival#
G=o& if it &ill please you li(e&ise to hear the mystical reason in this matter, &e are commanded
to (eep Easter in the first month of the year, &hich is also called the month of the ne& fruit, because &e
are to celebrate the mysteries of our 8ord:s resurrection and our deliverance, &ith our minds rene&ed to
the love of heavenly things# Ae are commanded to (eep it in the third &ee( of the same month, because
hrist, &ho had been promised before the 8a&, and under the 8a&, came &ith grace, in the third age of
the &orld, to be slain as our PassoverD and rising from the dead the third day after the offering of his
passion, He &ished this to be called the 8ord:s day, and the festival of his resurrection to be yearly
celebrated on the same# For &e also, in this manner only, can truly celebrate his solemnity, if &e ta(e
care &ith Him to (eep the Passover, that is, the passage out of this &orld to the Father, by faith, hope,
and charity# Ae are commanded to observe the full moon of the Paschal month after the vernal eCuinox,
to the end, that the sun may first ma(e the day longer than the night, and then the moon may afford the
&orld her full orb of lightD inasmuch as first :the sun of righteousness, in &hose &ings is salvation,: that
is, our 8ord 9esus, by the triumph of his resurrection, dispelled all the dar(ness of death, and so
ascending into heaven, filled his hurch, &hich is often signified by the name of the moon, &ith the
light of in&ard grace, by sending do&n upon her his <pirit# Ahich plan of salvation the prophet had in
his mind, &hen he said :.he sun &as exalted and the moon stood in her order#:
GHe, therefore, &ho shall contend that the full Paschal moon can happen before the eCuinox,
deviates from the doctrine of the Holy <criptures, in the celebration of the greatest mysteries, and
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agrees &ith those &ho confide that they may be saved &ithout the grace of hrist forerunning themD
and &ho presume to teach that they might have attained to perfect righteousness, though the true light
had never vanCuished the dar(ness of the &orld, by dying and rising again# .hus, after the eCuinoctial
rising of the sun, and after the subseCuent full moon of the first month, that is, after the end of the
fourteenth day of the same month, all &hich, according to the la&, ought to be observed, &e still, by the
instruction of the >ospel, &ait in the third &ee( for the 8ord:s dayD and thus, at length, &e celebrate our
due Easter solemnity, to sho& that &e do not, &ith the ancients, honor the sha(ing off of the Egyptian
yo(eD but that, &ith devout faith and affection, &e &orship the redemption of the &hole &orldD &hich
having been prefigured in the deliverance of >od:s ancient people, &as completed in hrist:s
resurrection, to ma(e it appear that &e reFoice in the sure and certain hope of the day of our o&n
resurrection, &hich &e believe &ill happen on the same 8ord:s day#
G=o& this calculation of Easter, &hich &e sho& you is to be follo&ed, is contained in a circle or
revolution of nineteen years, &hich began long since, that is, in the very times of the apostles,
especially at /ome and in Egypt, as has been said above# But by the industry of Eusebius, &ho too( his
surname from the blessed martyr Pamphilus, it &as reduced to a plainer systemD insomuch that &hat till
then used to be sent about to all the several churches by the patriarch of 'lexandria, might, from that
time for&ard, be most easily (no&n by all men, the course of the fourteenth day of the moon being
regularly ordered# .his Paschal calculation, .heophilus, patriarch of 'lexandria, composed for the
Emperor .heodosius, for a hundred years to come# yril also, his successor, comprised a series of
ninety"five years in five revolutions of nineteen years# 'fter &hom, Dionysius Exiguus added as many
more, in the same manner, reaching do&n to our o&n time# .he expiration of these is no& dra&ing
near, but there is so great a number of calculators, that even in our churches throughout Britain, there
are many &ho, having learned the ancient rules of the Egyptians, can &ith great ease carry on those
revolutions of the Paschal times for any distant number of years, even to five hundred and thirty"t&o
years, if they &illD after the expiration of &hich, all that belongs to the Cuestion of the sun and moon, of
month and &ee(, returns in the same order as before# Ae therefore forbear to send you those
revolutions of the times to come, because you only desired to be instructed respect mg the Paschal
time, and declared you had enough of those catholic tables concerning Easter#
GBut having said thus much briefly and succinctly, as you reCuired concerning Easter, + also
exhort you to ta(e care to promote the tonsure, as ecclesiastical and agreeable to the hristian faith, for
concerning that also you desired me to &rite to youD and &e (no& indeed that the apostles &ere not all
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shorn after the same manner, nor does the atholic hurch, though it agrees in the same Divine faith,
hope, and charity, agree in the same form of tonsure throughout the &orld$ in fine, to loo( bac( to
remote times, that is, the times of the patriarchs, 9ob, the example of patience, &hen, on the approach of
tribulation, he shaved his head, made it appear that he had used, in time of prosperity, to let his hair
gro&D and 9oseph, the great practicer and teacher of chastity, humility, piety, and other virtues, is found
to have been shorn &hen he &as to be delivered from servitudeD by &hich it appears, that during the
time of servitude, he &as in prison &ithout cutting his hair# =o& you may observe ho& each of these
men of >od differed in the manner of their appearance abroad, though their in&ard consciences &ere
ali(e influenced by the grace of virtue# But though &e may be free to confess, that the difference of
tonsure is not hurtful to those &hose faith is pure to&ards >od, and their charity sincere to&ards their
neighbor, especially since &e do not read that there ever &as any controversy among the atholic
fathers about the difference of tonsure, as there has been about the difference in (eeping Easter, or in
matters of faithD ho&ever, among all the tonsures that are to be found in the hurch, or among man(ind
at large, + thin( none more &orthy of being follo&ed than that &hich that disciple had on his head, to
&hom, on his confession, our 8ord said, :.hou art Peter, and upon this roc( + &ill build my hurch, and
the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and to thee + &ill give the (eys of the (ingdom of heaven#:
=or do + thin( any more &orthy to be abhorred and detested, by all the faithful, than that &hich that
man used, to &hom Peter, &hen he &ould have bought the grace of the Holy >host, said, :.hy money
be &ith thee to perdition, because thou thoughtest the gift of >od to be purchased for moneyD there is
no part or lot for thee in this speech#: =or do &e shave ourselves in the form of a cro&n only because
Peter &as so shornD but because Peter &as so shorn in memory of the passion of our 8ordD therefore &e
also, &ho desire to be saved by the same passion, do &ith him bear the sign of the same passion on the
top of our head, &hich is the highest part of our body# For as all the hurch, because it &as made a
church by the death of Him that gave it life, is &ont to bear the sign of his holy cross on the forehead,
to the end, that it may, by the constant protection of his sign, be defended from the assaults of evil
spirits, and by the freCuent admonition of the same be instructed, in li(e manner, to crucify its flesh
&ith its vices and concupiscencesD so also it behooves those, &ho have either ta(en the vo&s of mon(s,
or have any degree among the clergy, to curb themselves the more strictly by continence#
GEvery one of them is li(e&ise to bear on his head, by means of the tonsure, the form of the cro&n
&hich hrist in his passion bore of thorns, in order that hrist may bear the thorns and briars of our
sinsD and also that they may at once sho& that they, &illingly and &ith a ready mind, endure scoffs and
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reproaches for his sa(eD to ma(e it appear, that they al&ays expect :the cro&n of eternal life, &hich >od
has promised to those that love Him,: and that for the gaining thereof they despise both the adversities
and the prosperities of this &orld# But as for the tonsure &hich <imon ;agnus is said to have used,
&hat hristian &ill not immediately detest and cast it off together &ith his magicJ ?pon the top of the
forehead, it does seem indeed to resemble a cro&nD but &hen you come to the nec(, you &ill find the
cro&n you thought you had seen so perfect cut shortD so that you may be satisfied such a distinction
properly belongs not to hristians but to <imoniacs, such as &ere indeed in this life thought &orthy of
a perpetual cro&n of glory by erring menD but in that life &hich is to follo& this, are not only deprived
of all hopes of a cro&n, but are moreover condemned to eternal punishment#
GBut do not thin( that + have said this much, as Fudging those &ho use this tonsure, are to be
damned, in case they favor the catholic unity in faith and actionsD on the contrary, + confidently declare,
that many of them have been holy and &orthy of >od# !f &hich number is 'damnan, the abbot and
reno&ned priest of olumba, &ho, &hen sent ambassador by his nation to @ing 'lfrid, came to see our
monastery, and discovering &onderful &isdom, humility, and religion in his &ords and behavior,
among other things, + said to him in discourse, :+ beseech you, holy brother, &ho thin( you are
advancing to the cro&n of life, &hich (no&s no period, &hy do you, contrary to the habit of your faith,
&ear on your head a cro&n that is terminated, or boundedJ 'nd if you aim at the society of <t# Peter,
&hy do you imitate the tonsure of him &hom <t# Peter anathematiEedJ 'nd &hy do you not rather even
no& sho& that you imitate to your utmost the habit of him &ith &hom you desire to live happy for
ever#: He ans&ered, :Be assured, my dear brother, that though + have <imon:s tonsure, according to the
custom of my country, yet + utterly detest and abhor the <imoniacal &ic(ednessD and + desire, as far as
my littleness is capable of doing it, to follo& the footsteps of the most blessed prince of the apostles#: +
replied, :+ verily believe it as you sayD but let it appear by sho&ing out&ardly such things as you (no&
to be his, that you in your hearts embrace &hatever is from Peter the 'postle# For + believe your
&isdom does easily Fudge, that it is much more proper to estrange your countenance, already dedicated
to >od, from resemblance to him &hom in your heart you abhor, and of &hose hideous face you &ould
shun the sightD and, on the other hand, that it becomes you to imitate the out&ard resemblance of him,
&hom you see( to have for your advocate &ith >od, as you desire to follo& his actions and
instructions#:
G.his + then said to 'damnan, &ho indeed sho&ed ho& much he had improved upon seeing the
statutes of our churches, &hen, returning to <cotland, he after&ards by his preaching brought great
60)
numbers of that nation over to the catholic observance of the Paschal timeD though he &as not yet able
to gain the consent of the mon(s that lived in the island of Hii, over &hom he presided# He &ould also
have been mindful to amend the tonsure, if his authority had extended so far#
GBut + also admonish your &isdom, ! (ing, that you endeavor to ma(e the nation, over &hich the
@ing of (ings, and 8ord of lords, has placed you, observe in all points those things &hich appertain to
the unity of the atholic and 'postolic hurchD for thus it &ill come to pass, that after your temporal
(ingdom has passed a&ay, the blessed prince of the apostles &ill lay open to you and yours the
entrance into the heavenly (ingdom, &here you &ill rest for ever &ith the elect# .he grace of the eternal
@ing preserve thee in safely, long reigning, for the peace of us all, my most beloved son in hrist#G
.his letter having been read in the presence of @ing =aitan, and many more of the most learned
men, and carefully interpreted into his o&n language by those &ho could understand it, he is said to
have much reFoiced at the exhortationD inasmuch that, rising from among his great men that sat about
him, he (nelt on the ground, giving than(s to >od that he had been found &orthy to receive such a
present from the land of the EnglishD and, said he, G+ (ne& indeed before, that this &as the true
celebration of Easter, but no& + so fully (no& the reason for observing of this time, that + seem
convinced that + (ne& little of it before# .herefore + publicly declare and protest to you that are here
present, that + &ill for ever continually observe this time of Easter, &ith all my nationD and + do decree
that this tonsure, &hich &e have heard is most reasonable, shall be received by all the clergy in my
(ingdom#G 'ccordingly he immediately performed by his regal authority &hat he had said# For the
circles or revolutions of nineteen years &ere presently, by public command, sent throughout all the
provinces of the Picts to be transcribed, learned and observed, the erroneous revolutions of eighty" four
years being every&here suppressed# 'll the ministers of the altar and mon(s had the cro&n shorn, and
the nation thus reformed, reFoiced, as being ne&ly put under the direction of Peter, the most blessed
prince of the apostles, and secure under his protection#
CHAPTER XXII
.HE ;!=@< !F H++, '=D .HE ;!='<.E/+E< <?B9E. .! .HE;, BE>+= .!
E8EB/'.E .HE '=!=+'8 E'<.E/ '. .HE P/E'H+=> !F E>BE/.# H'#D# *,)#I
=!. long after, those mon(s also of the <cottish nation, &ho lived in the isle of Hii, &ith the
other monasteries that &ere subFect to them, &ere by the assistance of our 8ord brought to the
60*
canonical observation of Easter, and the right mode of tonsure# For in the year after the incarnation of
our 8ord *,), &hen !sred &as slain, and oenred too( upon him the government of the (ingdom of
the =orthumbrians, the holy father and priest, Egbert, beloved of >od, and &orthy to be named &ith all
honor, &hom &e have often mentioned before, coming among them, &as Foyfully and honorably
received# Being a most agreeable teacher, and devout in practicing those things &hich he taught, and
being &illingly heard by all, he, by his pious and freCuent exhortations, converted them from that
inveterate tradition of their ancestors, of &hom may be said those &ords of the apostle, G.hat they had
the Eeal of >od, but not according to (no&ledge#G He taught them to perform the principal solemnity
after the catholic and apostolic manner, as has been said, under the figure of a perpetual circleD &hich
appears to have been accomplished by a &onderful dispensation of the Divine goodnessD to the end,
that the same nation &hich had &illingly, and &ithout envy, communicated to the English people the
(no&ledge of the true Deity, should after&ards, by means of the English nation, be brought &here they
&ere defective to the true rule of life# Even as, on the contrary, the Britons, &ho &ould not acCuaint the
English &ith the (no&ledge of the hristian faith, no&, &hen the English people enFoy the true faith,
and are thoroughly instructed in its rules, continue inveterate in their errors, expose their heads &ithout
a cro&n, and (eep the solemnity of hrist &ithout the society of the hurch#
.he mon(s of Hii, by the instruction of Egbert, adopted the catholic rites, under 'bbot Dunchad,
about eighty years after they had sent 'idan to preach to the English nation# .his man of >od, Egbert,
remained thirteen years in the aforesaid island, &hich he had thus consecrated again to hrist, by
(indling in it a ne& ray of Divine grace, and restoring it to the unity of ecclesiastical discipline# +n the
year of our 8ord:s incarnation *64, in &hich the Easter of our 8ord &as celebrated on the 61th of 'pril,
he performed the solemnity of the mass, in memory of the same resurrection of our 8ord, and dying
that same day, thus finished, or rather never ceases to celebrate, &ith our 8ord, the apostles, and the
other citiEens of heaven, that greatest festival, &hich he had begun &ith the brethren, &hom he had
converted to the unity of grace# But it &as a &onderful dispensation of the Divine Providence, that the
venerable man not only passed out of this &orld to the Father, in Easter, but also &hen Easter &as
celebrated on that day, on &hich it had never been &ont to be (ept in those parts# .he brethren reFoiced
in the certain and catholic (no&ledge of the time of Easter, and reFoiced in the protection of their father,
departed to our 8ord, by &hom they had been converted# He also congratulated his being so long
continued in the flesh till he sa& his follo&ers admit, and celebrate &ith him, that as Easter day &hich
they had ever before avoided# .hus the most reverend father being assured of their standing corrected,
607
reFoiced to see the day of our 8ord, and he sa& it and &as glad#
CHAPTER XXIII
!F .HE P/E<E=. <.'.E !F .HE E=>8+<H ='.+!=, !/ !F '88 B/+.'+=# H'#D# *63"
*0,#I
+= the year of our 8ord:s incarnation *63, being the seventh year of !sric, (ing of the
=orthumbrians, &ho succeeded oenred, Aictred, the son of Egbert, (ing of @ent, died on the 60rd of
'pril, and left his three sons, Ethelbert, Eadbert, and 'lric, heirs of that (ingdom, &hich he had
governed thirty"four years and a half# .he next year died .obias, bishop of the church of /ochester, a
most learned man, as has been said beforeD for he &as disciple to those teachers of blessed memory,
.heodore, the archbishop, and 'bbot Hadrian, by &hich means, as &e have before observed, besides
his erudition in ecclesiastical and general literature, he learned both the >ree( and 8atin tongues to
such perfection, that they &ere as &ell (no&n and familiar to him as his native language# He &as
buried in the porch of <t# Paul the 'postle, &hich he had built &ithin the church of <t# 'ndre& for his
o&n place of burial# 'fter him 'ld&uif too( upon him the office of bishop, having been consecrated by
'rchbishop Bert&ald#
+n the year of our 8ord:s incarnation *64, t&o comets appeared about the sun, to the great terror of
the beholders# !ne of them &ent before the rising sun in the morning, the other follo&ed him &hen he
set at night, as it &ere presaging much destruction to the east and &estD one &as the forerunner of the
day, and the other of the night, to signify that mortals &ere threatened &ith calamities at both times#
.hey carried their flaming tail to&ards the north, as it &ere ready to set the &orld on fire# .hey
appeared in 9anuary, and continued nearly a fortnight# 't &hich time a dreadful plague of <aracens
ravaged France &ith miserable slaughterD but they not long after in that country received the
punishment due to their &ic(edness# +n &hich year the holy man of >od, Egbert, departed to our 8ord,
as has been said above, on Easter dayD and immediately after Easter, that is, on the 4th of ;ay, !sric,
(ing of the =orthumbrians, departed this life, after he had reigned eleven years, and appointed
eol&ulf, brother to oenred, &ho had reigned before him, his successorD the beginning and progress
of &hose reign &ere so filled &ith commotions, that it cannot yet be (no&n &hat is to be said
concerning them, or &hat end they &ill have#
+n the year of our 8ord:s incarnation *0,, 'rchbishop Bert&ald died of old age, on the 4th of
604
9anuary, having held his see thirty"seven years, <ix months and fourteen days# +n his stead, the same
year, .at&ine, of the province of the ;ercians, &as made archbishop, having been a priest in the
monastery called Briudun# He &as consecrated in the city of anterbury by the venerable men, Daniel,
bishop of Ainchester, +ng&ald of 8ondon, 'ld&in of 8ichfield, and 'ld&ulf of /ochester, on <unday,
the ,-th of 9une, being a man reno&ned for religion and &isdom, and notably learned in <acred Arit#
.hus at present, the bishops .at&ine and 'ld&ulf preside in the churches of @entD +ng&ald in the
province of tile East <axons# +n the province of the East 'ngles, 'ldbert and Hadulac are bishopsD in
the province of the Aest <axons, Daniel and Forthere are bishopsD in the province of the ;ercians,
'ld&in# 'mong those people &ho live beyond the river <evern to the &est&ard, Aalstod is bishopD in
the province of the Aiccians, AilfridD in the province of the 8indisfarnes, ynebert presides$ the
bishopric of the +sle of Aight belongs to Daniel, bishop of Ainchester# .he province of the <outh
<axons, having no& continued some years &ithout a bishop, receives the episcopal ministry from the
prelate of the Aest <axons# 'll these provinces, and the others south&ard to the ban( of the river
Humber, &ith their (ings, are subFect to @ing Ethelbald#
But in the province of the =orthumbrians, &here @ing eol&ulf reigns, four bishops no& preside$
Ailfrid in the church of Bor(, Ethel&ald in that of 8indisfarne, 'cca in that of Hagulstad, Pechthelm in
that &hich is called the Ahite House, &hich, from the increased number of believers, has lately become
an episcopal see, and has him for its first prelate# .he Picts also at this time are at peace &ith the
English nation, and reFoice in being united in peace and truth &ith the &hole atholic hurch# .he
<cots that inhabit Britain, satisfied &ith their o&n territories, meditate no hostilities against the nation
of the English# .he Britons, though they, for the most part, through innate hatred, are adverse to the
English nation, and &rongfully, and from &ic(ed custom, oppose the appointed Easter of the &hole
atholic hurchD yet, from both the Divine and human po&er &ithstanding them, can in no &ay prevail
as they desireD for though in part they are their o&n masters yet else&here they are also brought under
subFection to the English# <uch being the peaceable and calm disposition of the times, many of the
=orthumbrians, as &ell of the nobility as private persons, laying aside their &eapons, rather incline to
dedicate both themselves and their children to the tonsure and monastic vo&s, than to study martial
discipline# Ahat &ill be the end hereof, the next age &ill sho&# .his is for the present the state of all
BritainD in the year since the coming of the English into Britain about 673, but in the *0,st year of the
incarnation of our 8ord, in &hose reign may the earth ever reFoiceD may Britain exult in the profession
of his faithD and may many islands be glad, and sing praises in honor of his holinessK
61-
CHAPTER XXIV
H/!=!8!>+'8 /E'P+.?8'.+!= !F .HE AH!8E A!/@$ '8<! !=E/=+=>
.HE '?.H!/ H+;<E8F
+ H'2E thought fit briefly to sum up those things &hich have been related more at large,
according to the distinction of times, for the better preserving them in memory#
+n the sixtieth year before the incarnation of our 8ord, aius 9ulius aesar, first of the /omans,
invaded Britain, and &as victorious, yet could not gain the (ingdom#
+n the year from the incarnation of our 8ord, 1), laudius, second of the /omans, invading
Britain, had a great part of the island surrendered to him, and added the !r(ney islands to the /oman
empire#
+n the year from the incarnation of our 8ord, ,)*, Eleutherius, being made bishop at /ome,
governed the hurch most gloriously fifteen years# 8ucius, (ing of Britain, &riting to him, reCuested to
be made a hristian, and succeeded in obtaining his reCuest#
+n the year from the incarnation of our 8ord, ,74, <everus, being made emperor, reigned
seventeen yearsD he enclosed Britain &ith a trench from sea to sea#
+n the year 07,, ;aximus, being made emperor ln Britain, sailed over into >aul, and sle&
>ratian#
+n the year 1-4, /ome &as crushed by the >oths, from &hich time /oman emperors began to
reign in Britain#
+n the year 10-, Palladius &as sent to be the first bishop of the <cots that believed in hrist, by
Pope elestine#
+n the year 114, ;artian being made emperor &ith 2alentinian, reigned seven yearsD in &hose
time the English, being called by the Britons, came into Britain#
+n the year 307, there happened an eclipse of the sun, on the ,)th of February, from the first to the
third hour#
+n the year 31-, an eclipse of the sun happened on the 6-th of 9une, and the stars appeared during
almost half an hour after the third hour of the day#
+n the year 31*, +da began to reignD from him the royal family of the =orthumbrians derives its
61,
originalD he reigned t&elve years#
+n the year 3)3, the priest, olumba, came out of <cotland, into Britain, to instruct the Picts, and
he built a monastery in the isle of Hii#
+n the year 34), Pope >regory sent 'ugustine &ith mon(s into Britain, to preach the &ord of >od
to the English nation#
+n the year 34*, the aforesaid teachers arrived in BritainD being about the ,3-th year from the
coming of the English into Britain#
+n the year )o,, Pope >regory sent the pall into Britain, to 'ugustine, &ho &as already made
bishopD he sent also several ministers of the &ord, among &hom &as Paulinus#
+n the year )-0, a battle &as fought at Degsastane#
+n the year )-1, the East <axons received the faith of hrist, under @ing <abert, and Bishop
;ellitus#
+n the year )-3, >regory died#
+n the year ),), Ethelbert, (ing of @ent, died#
+n the year )63, the venerable Paulinus &as, by 'rchbishop 9ustus, ordained bishop of the
=orthumbrians#
+n the year )6), Eanfleda, daughter to @ing Ed&in, &as baptiEed &ith t&elve others, on Ahit"
<aturday#
+n the year )6*, @ing Ed&in &as baptiEed, &ith his nation, at Easter#
+n the year )00, @ing Ed&in being (illed, Paulinus returned to @ent#
+n the year )1-, Eadbald, (ing of @ent, died#
+n the year )16, @ing !s&ald &as slain#
+n the year )11, Paulinus, first bishop of Bor(, but no& of the city of /ochester, departed to our
8ord#
+n the year )3,, @ing !s&in &as (illed, and Bishop 'idan died#
+n the year )30, the ;idland 'ngles, under their prince, Penda, received the mysteries of the faith#
616
+n the year )33, Penda &as slain, and the ;ercians became hristians#
+n the year ))1, there happened an eclipse of the sun Earconbert, (ing of @ent, diedD and olman
returned to the <cotsD a pestilence aroseD eadda and Ailfrid &ere ordained bishops of the
=orthumbrians#
+n the year ))7, .heodore &as ordained bishop#
+n the year )*-, !s&y, (ing of the =orthumbrians, died#
+n the year )*0, Egbert, (ing of @ent, died, and a synod &as held at Hertford, in the presence of
@ing Egfrid 'rchbishop .heodore presidingD the synod did much good, and its decrees are contained in
ten chapters#
+n the year )*3, Aulfhere, (ing of the ;ercians, dying, &hen he had reigned seventeen years, left
the cro&n to his brother Ethelred#
+n the year )*), Ethelred ravaged @ent#
+n the year )*7, a comet appearedD Bishop Ailfrid &as driven from his see by @ing FgfridD and
Bosa, Eata, and Eadhed &ere consecrated bishops in his stead#
+n the year )*4, Elf&ine &as (illed#
+n the year )7-, a synod &as held in the field called Hethfeld, concerning the hristian faith,
'rchbishop .heodore presidingD 9ohn, the /oman abbot, &as also present# .he same year also the
'bbess Hilda died at <treaneshalch#
+n the year )73, Egfrid, (ing of the =orthumbrians, &as slain#
.he same year, 8othere, (ing of @ent, died#
+n the year )77, aed&alla, (ing of the Aest <axons, &ent to /ome from Britain#
+n the year )4-, 'rchbishop .heodore died#
+n the year )4*, Mueen !stritha &as murdered by her o&n people, that is, the nobility of the
;ercians#
+n the year )47, Berthred, the royal commander of the =orthumbrians, &as slain by the Picts#
+n the year *-1, Etheired became a mon(, after he had reigned thirty years over the nation of the
;ercians, and gave up the (ingdom to oenred#
610
+n the year *-3, 'lfrid, (ing of the =orthumbrians, died#
+n the year *-4, oenred, (ing of the ;ercians, having reigned six years, &ent to /ome#
+n the year *,,, Earl Bertfrid fought &ith the Picts#
+n the year *,), !sred, (ing of the =orthumbrians, &as (illedD and oenred, (ing of the ;ercians,
diedD and Egbert, the man of >od, brought the mon(s of Hii to observe the atholic Easter and
ecclesiastical tonsure#
+n the year *63, Aithred, (ing of @ent, died#
+n the year *64, comets appearedD the holy Egbert departedD and !sric died#
+n the year *0,, 'rchbishop Bert&ald died#
.he same year .at&ine &as consecrated ninth archbishop anterbury, in the fifteenth year of
Ethelbald, (ing of @ent#
.hus much of the Ecclesiastical History of Britain, and more especially of the English nation, as
far as + could learn either from the &ritings of the ancients, or the tradition of our ancestors, or of my
o&n (no&ledge, has, &ith the help of >od, been digested by me, Bede, the servant of >od, and priest
of the monastery of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, &hich is at Aearmouth and 9arro&D &ho being
born in the territory of that same monastery, &as given, at seven years of age, to be educated by the
most reverend 'bbot Benedict, and after&ards by eolfridD and spending all the remaining time of my
life in that monastery, + &holly applied myself to the study of <cripture, and amidst the observance of
regular discipline, and the daily care of singing in the church, + al&ays too( delight in learning,
teaching, and &riting# +n the nineteenth year of my age, + received deacon:s ordersD in the thirtieth,
those of the priesthood, both of them by the ministry of the most reverend Bishop 9ohn, and by the
order of the 'bbot eolfrid# From &hich time, till the fifty"ninth year of my age, + have made it my
business, for the use of me and mine, to compile out of the &or(s of the venerable Fathers, and to
interpret and explain according to their meaning these follo&ing pieces "
!n the Beginning of >enesis, to the =ativity of +saac and the /eprobation of +smaal, three boo(s#
!f the .abernacle and its 2essels, and of the Priestly 2estments, three boo(s#
!n the first Part of <amuel, to the Death of <aul, four boo(s#
!f the Building of the .emple, of 'llegorical Exposition, li(e the rest, t&o boo(s#
611
+tem, on the Boo( of @ings, thirty Muestions#
!n <olomon:s Proverbs, three boo(s#
!n the anticles, seven boo(s#
!n +saiah, Daniel, the t&elve Prophets, and part of 9eremiah, Distinctions of hapters, collected
out of <t# 9erome:s .reatise#
!n Esdras and =ehemiah, three boo(s#
!n the <ong of Habacuc, one boo(#
!n the Boo( of the blessed Father .obias, one Boo( of 'llegorical Exposition concerning hrist
and the hurch#
'lso, hapters of /eadings on ;oses:s Pentateuch, 9oshua, and 9udges#
!n the Boo(s of @ings and hronicles#
!n the Boo( of the blessed Father 9ob#
!n the Parables, Ecclesiastes, and anticles#
!n the Prophets +saiah, Esdras, and =ehemiah#
!n the >ospel of ;ar(, four boo(s#
!n the >ospel of 8u(e, six boo(s#
!f Homilies on the >ospel, t&o boo(s#
!n the 'postle, + have carefully transcribed in order all that + have found in <t# 'ugustine:s
Aor(s#
!n the 'cts of the 'postles, t&o boo(s#
!n the seven atholic Epistles, a boo( on each#
!n the /evelation of <t# 9ohn, three boo(s#
'lso, hapters of /eadings on all the =e& .estament, except the >ospel#
'lso a boo( of Epistles to different Persons, of &hich one is of the <ix ages of the &orldD one of
the ;ansions of the hildren of +sraelD one on the Aords of +saiah, G'nd they shall be shut up in the
613
prison, and after many days shall they be visitedD G one of the /eason of the Bissextile, or 8eap"Bear,
and of the ECuinox, according to 'natolius#
'lso, of the Histories of <aints# + translated the Boo( of the 8ife and Passion of <t# Felix,
onfessor, from Paulinus:s Aor( in metre, into prose#
.he Boo( of the 8ife and Passion of <t# 'nastasius, &hich &as ill translated from the >ree(, and
&orse amended by some uns(illful person, + have corrected as to the sense#
+ have &ritten the 8ife of the Holy Father uthbert, &ho &as both mon( and prelate, first in heroic
verse, and then in prose#
.he History of the 'bbots of this ;onastery, in &hich + reFoice to serve the Divine >oodness, viE#
Benedict, eolfrid, and Huetbert, in t&o boo(s#
.he Ecclesiastical History of our +sland and =ation in five boo(s#
.he ;artyrology of the Birthdays of the Holy ;artyrs, in# &hich + have carefully endeavored to
set do&n all that could find, and not only on &hat day, but also by &hat sort of combat, or under &hat
Fudge they overcame the &orld#
' Boo( of Hymns in several sorts of metre, or rhyme#
' Boo( of Epigrams in heroic or elegiac verse#
!f the =ature of .hings, and of the .imes, one boo( of each#
'lso, of the .imes, one larger boo(#
' boo( of !rthography digested in 'lphabetical !rder#
'lso a Boo( of the 'rt of Poetry, and to it + have added another little Boo( of .ropes and FiguresD
that is, of the Figures and ;anners of <pea(ing in &hich the Holy <criptures are &ritten#
'nd no&, + beseech thee, good 9esus, that to &hom thou hast graciously granted s&eetly to
parta(e of the &ords of thy &isdom and (no&ledge, thou &ilt also vouchsafe that he may some time or
other come to thee, the fountain of all &isdom, and al&ays appear before thy face, &ho livest and
reignest &orld &ithout end# 'menK
HE/E E=D<, BB >!D:< HE8P,
.HE F+F.H B!!@
61)
!F .HE E8E<+'<.+'8 H+<.!/B
!F .HE E=>8+<H ='.+!=#
61*