Tomorrow, 25th May, is the Memorial of St. Bede the Venerable (673 – 735), who spent his life in the library at Jarrow, yet whose writings inspired every succeeding generation of historian, such that he has been called the ‘Father of English History.’ What we know of him comes from a note at the end of his History of the English Church and People and from the account of his death by his brother monk, Cuthbert. Born in 673, and educated at the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow by St. Benedict Biscop and St. Ceolfrith, Bede entered the monastery of Jarrow aged 7 and spent the rest of his life there. He was a model brother whose self-discipline, devotion and application were as notable as his scholarly achievements. He was ordained a priest in 703 by St. John of Beverly. ‘Venerable’ was a title commonly given to priests in those days and since monks were seldom ordained, it was a title that became attached to him as a distinguishing feature. In the monastery, Bede’s love of study and writing flourished. He completed 25 works of biblical commentary, several lives of the saints, some scientific and theological treatises, including a series on music and several hymns, but above all his Historia Ecclesiastica which he finished in 731. In it, he gives an account, in a highly readable style, of the history and development of Christianity in England down to his day. It is still the single most valuable source for the history of that period written. Throughout, Bede demonstrates a remarkable historical approach, citing authorities and presenting, comparing and evaluating the evidence. He was the first historian to use the convention ‘AD’ signifying Anno Domini. His death in 735 was recorded by the monk Cuthbert, who tells how Bede pressed on with his translation of St. John’s Gospel, dictating to a young monk the last sentence just before his death. He died singing the Gloria. His cult began barely five years after his death. In 1899 Pope Leo XIII recognised him as the only English doctor of the church, and he is the only Englishman mentioned by Dante in the Paradiso.