Jarrow, Bede World Museum
Bede’s World Museum
Jarrow, Newcastle upon Tyne (Tyne and Wear county), England
Bede’s World is a museum located in Jarrow on the south banks of the river Tyne, close to the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and devoted to the life and times of a Benedictine monk called Bede (672/3-735). also referred to as Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede, an English monk at the monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth and its companion monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow, Northeast England, both of which were located in the former Kingdom of Northumbria.
Bede is well known as an author and scholar, and his most famous work, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People) gained him the title "The Father of English History" (to find out more about Bede please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bede).
Located in one of the most deprived areas in England, Bede’s World charitable trust celebrates the inspirational work and life of The Venerable Bede and early Anglo-Saxon culture, and is a gateway to the candidate Wearmouth-Jarrow World Heritage site. It is the only museum within the north of England which tells the vernacular history of Anglo-Saxon England through its demonstration landscape and experimental archaeological buildings.
The guests can visit Gyrwe, the 11-acre Anglo-Saxon demonstration farm with wonderful animals and replica buildings made of wattle and daub. The site is home to a collection of rare breed animals, which are the closest possible representatives of the animals that would have been present 1300 years ago. The crops grown in the garden section have also been chosen to represent early varieties of vegetables and herbs, and show the diet that would have been available in the past. The farm is complemented by a number of wonderful replica wattle and daub and timber-framed buildings that are based on structures excavated within Anglo-Saxon Northumbria.
There is also a Herb Garden designed to show the kind of garden and herbs that the Anglo-Saxon monastery of St Paul and later the medieval monastery were likely to have had. The first part of the garden draws on the structure of a typical medieval physic garden, with trellis work and a central arch, featuring a range of herbs from the Anglo-Saxon age, with a bed of Culinary Herbs and one of Medicinal Herbs situated behind them. The second part of the garden is based on the 9th century plan for the monastery at St Gall (in modern day Switzerland), featuring plants chosen according to Anglo-Saxon and medieval varieties suitable for the local soil and climate.
Another must is a visit to the museum with the permanent exhibition of finds from local archaeological excavations at St. Paul’s monastery providing an insight into Anglo-Saxon life. Fascinating fun for all the family, the museum begins with a permanent “Age of Bede” exhibition that tells the story of life over 1300 years ago and displays finds from the site, housing the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon coloured glass in Northern Europe.
Finally Bede’s World also manages the archaeological site of St Paul’s Monastery and Church, which is home to remarkable coloured stained glass windows, with some of the glass dating back an incredible 1300 years – still in place as a window today. The chancel is a direct survival from the 7th century when it was a free-standing chapel in the monastery. Inside the church, cemented into the wall of the tower, is the original stone slab which records, in a Latin inscription, the dedication of the church on 23rd April, 685 AD. There is also a permanent exhibition with a host of beautifully carved stones complete with literature on what their purpose would have been all those years ago. Behind the church you can see remains of the Benedictine monastery of the Middle Ages, which was re-founded on the site of Bede's monastery. Remains of buildings from Bede's day were found in excavations and their positions have been marked out on the ground for visitors to engage with the surroundings and have a greater understanding of the buildings that would have stood there 1300 years ago.
Bede’s World Museum is aimed to increase public understanding and appreciation of the world of Bede and his enduring legacy of culture, science, learning, innovation, creativity and his construction of English identity. The site offers both formal and informal schools programmes, welcoming around 9,000 school children annually. Bede’s World is a valuable resource for archaeology, history and theology students, with many universities visiting the site as an introduction to the early medieval period.
Info & Contact
Bede's World Museum
Address: Church Bank, Jarrow, Tyne & Wear NE32 3DY, United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 0191 489 2106
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A tour of Bede's World: