God's First Englishman



Professor David Wallace goes in search of the 8th-century Northumbria of the saint, historian and scientist, the Venerable Bede.


The Venerable Bede, 8th century saint, historian and scientist, spent most of his life in the Northumbrian twin monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow, yet soon became famous throughout the world.

The only Englishman to be admitted into Dante's Paradise, Bede was obsessed by time, tides and the exact dating of Easter.

His masterpiece, the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, is widely regarded as the beginning of British history writing and the first attempt to translate the tribes of England into a people.

But Bede's wider ambition was internationalist: to unify Celtic, English and Roman Christianity.

Professor David Wallace goes in search of the objects, places and traces of 8th century Northumbria and finds a culture as advanced and enlightened as anywhere in Europe.

With readings from Bede by Kevin Whately.