St Bede

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Monk. Born in Northumbria in 673, Bede studied at the newly-founded monastery of Wearmouth, and then Jarrow. Here he became a monk, and spent the rest of his life - probably travelling no further afield than York and Lindisfarne.

The Venerable Bede said: "'I have devoted my energies to the study of the Scriptures. Observing monastic discipline, singing the daily services in church, study, teaching and writing have always been my delight."

Bede's religious writings were very important in his day, but it is as a historian that he is most remembered now. He is one of the main contemporary authorities about the early saints in these islands. His most famous work is the Ecclesiastical History of the English People. He wrote other histories, the first martyrology, letters and poems - all in Latin. He wrote in the vernacular, although most of his English writing has been lost.

During his last illness he was translating the Gospel of St John and extracts from the writings of St Isidore of Seville. He died in 735, surrounded by his community, after dictating the last sentence.

A hundred years later he was already referred to as 'the Venerable'. It was not until 1899 that he was formally recognised as a Doctor of the Church. St Boniface called him ' a light of the Church, lit by the Holy Spirit'.

He wrote the Latin words of the hymns 'The hymns for conquering martyrs raise' and ' Sing we triumphant hymns of praise'.

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