Born in AD 673, on land that would form part of the monastery estates, Bede was only 7 years old when he was sent to train for orders with the monks at the new monastery of St. Peter’s in Wearmouth, Sunderland.
Although he never left the area, his gift for collecting and connecting information gave him a truly unique view of the world. He corresponded with monks at other monasteries across Britain, and even sent the Bishop of London to research the papal archives in Rome on his behalf.
He wrote the seminal ‘History of the English Church and People’, was the first English person to use the term ‘English’, two centuries before England would be united, popularised the AD/BC dating system we use today, devised the method we use to calculate when Easter falls and worked out how the moon affects the tides.
As well as the above Venerable Bede is the world’s earliest witness of pure Gregorian tradition in England. His works “Musica theoretica ” and “De arte Metricâ” (Migne, XC) have long been studied and seen as especially valuable by present-day music and choral scholars engaged in the study of the primitive form of the chant.
The tremendous breadth of his works meant he was a true Renaissance man, 700 years before the actual Renaissance itself! However, he was pivotal in moving Britain out of the Dark Ages and, along with other important figures, beginning the civilisation we know and understand today.