The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

By Bede | Go to book overview

in safety, most reverend brother. Dated the 10th of the kalends of August, in the fourteenth year of the reign of our most pious and august lord, Mauritius Tiberius, the thirteenth year after the consulship of our said lord. The fourteenth indiction."

A. D. 596


CHAPTER XXV.
AUGUSTINE, COMING INTO BRITAIN, FIRST PREACHED IN THE ISLE
OF THANET TO THE KING OF KENT, AND HAVING OBTAINED
LICENCE, ENTERED THAT COUNTY IN ORDER TO PREACH THEREIN.

Augustine, being strengthened by the confirmation of the blessed Father Gregory, returned to the work of the word of God, with the servants of Christ, and arrived in Britain. Ethelbert was at that time the most powerful king of Kent, who had extended his dominions as far as the great river Humber, by which the Southern-Saxons are divided from the Northern. On the east of Kent is the large Isle of Thanet, containing, according to the English way of reckoning, 600 families, divided from the other land by the river Wantsumu, which is about three furlongs over, and fordable only in two places, for both ends of it run into the sea. In this island landed the servant of our Lord, Augustine, and his companions, being as is reported nearly forty men. They had, by order of the blessed Pope Gregory, taken interpreters of the nation of the Franks, and sending to Ethelbert, signified that they were come from Rome, and brought a joyful message, which most undoubtedly assured all that took advantage of it everlasting joys in heaven, and a kingdom that would never end, with the living and true God. The king, having heard this, ordered them to stay in that island where they had landed, and that they should be furnished with all neces

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