The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

By Bede | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVII.
EGBERCHT, A HOLY MAN OF THE ENGLISH NATION, LED A MONASTIC
LIFE IN IRELAND.

In the same year of our Lord's incarnation 664, there happened an eclipse of the sun, on the 3rd of May, about ten o'clock in the morning. In the same year, a sudden pestilence also depopulated the southern coasts of Britain, and afterwards extending into the province of the Northumbrians, raged the country far and near, and destroyed a great multitude of men. To which plague the aforesaidpriest Tuda fell a victim, and was honourably buried in the monastery of Pegnaleth. This pestilence did no less harm in the island of Ireland. Many of the nobility, and of the lower ranks of the English nation, were there at that time, who, in the days of the Bishops Finan and Colman, forsaking their native island, retired thither, either for the sake of Divine studies, or of a more continent life; and some of them presently devoted themselves to a monastical life, others chose rather to apply themselves to study, going about from one master's cell to another. The Scots willingly received them all, and took care to supply them with food, as also to furnish them with books to read, and their teaching, gratis. Among these were Edilhun and Egbercht, two youths of great capacity, of the English nobility. The former of which was brother to Ethilwin, a man no less beloved by God, who also afterwards went over into Ireland to study, and having been well instructed, returned into his own country, and being made bishop in the province of Lindsey, long governed that church worthily and creditably. These two being in the monastery which in the language of the Scots is called Rathmelsigi, and having lost all their companions, who were either cut off by the mortality, or dispersed into other places, fell both desperately sick of the

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