Our museum tells the story of the Venerable Bede and his time, from the beginnings of the Anglo-Saxon period through Bede’s life, death and extraordinary legacy. Widely regarded as the ‘father of English history’, Bede was an author, scholar, skilled linguist and translator who also composed works on astronomical timekeeping and the motions of the sun, Earth and Moon.
An English monk at the double monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow, his most famous work is The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. One of the most important original references on Anglo-Saxon history, this work also played a key role in the development of an English national identity.
Home to Europe’s largest early collection of stained glass, the museum now also hosts a full-sized reproduction of the Codex Amiatinus; the earliest surviving manuscript of the nearly complete Bible. Three copies were commissioned by Ceolfrid in 692 and the double monastery raised 2000 head of cattle to produce the vellum pages of these huge, beautifully illuminated manuscripts. While one copy was passed on through time, the other two have been lost to history and our new exhibition tells this incredible story.