The Venerable Bede

November 21, 2004 · updated December 14, 2023

Born: 672/3, Northumbria, England
Died: May 25, 735, near Newcastle, England
Feast day: May 27

The Venerable Bede was the first English church historian. He was a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Wearmouth (today part of Sunderland), and of its daughter monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow.

Bede is well known as an author and scholar. His most famous work is Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People), which gained him the title "The father of English History." Bede also wrote on many other topics, from music and metrics to scripture commentaries.


External Links on the Venerable Bede

  • Bede Net -"An academic resource dedicated to the works of the Venerable Bede."
  • Bede the Venerable - Patron Saints Index
  • Bede, the Venerable - Britannia Biographies
  • Bede's World - The Museum of Early Medieval Northumbria at Jarrow Website of the physical museum in England.
  • St. Bede's Tomb - University of Durham Description and photo of Bede's tomb in Durham, England.
  • The Venerable Bede - Catholic Encyclopedia


Works of Bede

The collected editions of Bede's works (such as by J. A. Giles, with Eng. transl. of the historical works and life, Patres ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, 12 vols., London, 1843–44; in MPL, xc–xcv) leave much to be desired. Good editions of the historical works, particularly of the Historia ecclesiastica, have been issued by J. Smith, Cambridge, 1722; J. Stevenson, Hist. eccl., London, 1838, Opera historica minora, 1841; G. H. Moberly, Oxford, 1869; J. E. B. Mayor and J. R. Lumby, Hist. eccl., books iii and iv, Cambridge, 1881; A. Holder, Freiburg, 1890; C. Plummer, 2 vols., Oxford, 1896; Eccl. Hist., transl., introduction, life, and notes, by A. M. Sellar, London, 1907. The two works on chronology have been edited by T. Mommsen in MGH, Chron. min., iii (1898). There are English versions of the Ecclesiastical History by Stevens, 1723, revised by J. A. Giles, London, 1840; J. Stevenson, ib. 1853; and L. Gridley, Oxford, 1870. The old Eng. version of the Hist. eccl., with transl. and introduction, was ed. by T. Miller, in 4 parts, ib. 1870.

Biographies of Bede

For Bede's life consult the introductions and notes to the editions mentioned, particularly those of Stevenson and Plummer; G. F. Browne, The Venerable Bede, in The Fathers for English Readers, London, 1879, New York 1891; K. Werner, Beda der Ehrwürdige und seine Zeit, Vienna, 1881; J. B. Lightfoot, in Leaders of the Northern Church, London, 1890 (biographical sermons); F. Phillips, in Fathers of the English Church, vol. i, London, 1891 (simple, scholarly, fair); W. Bright, Early English Church History, pp. 367–371 et passim, Oxford, 1897.