Written in AD 731, Bede's work opens with a background sketch of Roman Britain's geography and history. It goes on to tell of the kings and bishops, monks and nuns who helped to develop Anglo-Saxon government and religion during the crucial formative years of the English people. Leo Sherley-Price's translation brings us an accurate and readable version, in modern English, of a unique historical document. This edition now includes Bede's Letter to Egbert concerning pastoral care in early Anglo-Saxon England, at the heart of which lay Bede's denunciation of the false monasteries; and The Death of Bede, an admirable eye-witness account by Cuthbert, monk and later Abbot of Jarrow, both translated by D. H. Farmer.
Bede was born in 673. He became a monk at an early age and lived most of his life at Jarrow. Scholar, teacher and writer, he wrote biblical and other works. He has been described as the 'Father of English History'. Bede died in 735. Leo Sherley-Price is a Rural Dean and parish priest at Devon. He has translated a number of other historical and theological texts. D. H. Farmer is author and editor of several books on ecclesiastical and monastic history.
Book one: the situation of Britain and Ireland - their earliest inhabitants; on Gaius Julius Caesar, the first Roman to reach Britain; Claudius - the second Roman to reach Britain - annexes the Isles of Orkney to the Roman Empire - under his direction Vespasian subdues the Isle of Wight; Lucius - a British king - writes to Pope Eleutherus and asks to be made a Christian; Severus divides Roman Britain from the rest by an earth work; the reign of Diocletian - his persecution of the Christian Church; the martyrdom of Saint Alban and his companions - who shed their life-blood for Christ at this time; the Church in Britain enjoys peace from the end of this persecution until the time of the Arian heresy; during the reign of Gratian - Maximus is created Emperor in Britain and returns to Gaul with a large army; during the reign of Arcadius - the Briton Pelagius presumptuously belittles the grace of God; during the reign of Honorius - Gratian and Constantine set up as despots in Britain - the former is killed shortly afterwards in Britain - the latter in Gaul; the Britons - harassed by the Irish and Picts - seek help from the Romans - who come and build a second wall across the island - notwithstanding, these enemies again break in and reduce the Britons to worse straits; during the reign of Theodosius the Younger - Palladius is sent to the Christians among the Irish - the Britons make an unsuccessful appeal to the Consul Aetius; the Britons made desperate by famine drive the Barbarians out of their land - there soon follows an abundance of corn - luxury - plague - and doom on the nation. (Part contents)