The “Moore Bede” is now online

Moore Bede (MS Kk.5.16)

Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis anglorum (HE) is the earliest surviving account of English history. Its central theme is the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms to Christianity and the establishment of the English Church. It was Bede’s last major work; he finished writing it in 731, and died a few years later on 25 May 735.

This manuscript is the earliest extant copy of Bede’s History, and may well have been copied at his own monastery, at Wearmouth or Jarrow, within a few years of his death, perhaps as early as 737. It is usually called theMoore Bede because, prior to entering the collections of the University of Cambridge in 1715 as a gift from George I, it had been owned by John Moore, bishop of Ely (1707–1714). Moore had acquired it sometime between 1697 and 1702, and before that it had been in France, in the library of the cathedral of St. Julien at Le Mans. The ex libris of St. Julien can be seen at the foot of the last complete folio (128v). Other evidence on that same page shows that the manuscript had been in France for a very long time, perhaps even since the reign of Charlemagne (r. 768–814). The travels of the book, as well as its very early date and proximity to the life of Bede himself, make it one of the most important surviving medieval English manuscripts.

Read more at the University of Cambridge Digital Library

Read the manuscript here