The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

By Bede | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX.
THE REIGN OF KING EDWIN, AND HOW PAULINUS, COMING TO
PREACH THE GOSPEL, FIRST CONVERTED HIS DAUGHTER AND
OTHERS TO THE FAITH OF CHRIST.

At this time the nation of the Northumbrians, that is, the nation of the Angles, that live on the north side of the river Humber, with their king Edwin, received the faith, through the preaching of Paulinus, above mentioned. This Edwin, as a reward of his receiving the faith, and as an earnest of his share in the heavenly kingdom, received an increase of that which he enjoyed on earth, for he reduced under his dominion all the borders of Britain that were provinces either of the aforesaid nation, or of the Britons, a thing which no British king had ever done before; and he in like manner subjected to the English the Mevanian islands, as has been said above. The first whereof, which is to the southward, is the largest in extent, and most fruitful, containing nine hundred and sixty families, according to the English computation; the other above three hundred. The occasion of this nation's embracing the faith was, their aforesaid king being allied to the kings of Kent, having taken to wife Edelburga, otherwise called Tate, daughter to King Ethelbert. He having by his ambassadors asked her in marriage of her brother Eadbald, who then reigned in Kent, was answered, "That it was not lawful to marry a Christian virgin to a Pagan husband, lest the faith and the mysteries of the heavenly King should be profaned by her cohabiting with a king that was altogether a stranger to the worship of the true God." This answer being brought to Edwin by his messengers, he promised in no manner to act in opposition to the Christian faith, which the virgin professed; but would give leave to her, and all that went with her, men or women, priests or

A. D. 625.

-96-

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