The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation

By Bede | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V.
HOW, AFTER THE DEATH OF THE KINGS ETHELBERT AND SEBERHT,
THEIR SUCCESSORS RESTORED IDOLATRY; FOR WHICH REASON,
BOTH MELLITUS AND JUSTUS DEPARTED OUT OF BRITAIN.

In the year of our Lord's incarnation 613, which is the twenty-first year after Augustine and his companions were to preach to the English nation, Ethelbert, King of Kent, having most gloriously governed his temporal kingdom fifty-six years, entered into the eternal joys of the kingdom which is heavenly. He was the third of the English kings that had the sovereignty of all the southern provinces that are divided from the northern by the river Humber, and the borders contiguous to the same; but the first of the kings that ascended to the heavenly kingdom. The first who had the like sovereignty was Elli, King of the South Saxons; the second, Celin, King of the West Saxons, who, in their own language, is called Ceaulin; the third, as has been said, was Ethelbert, King of Kent; the fourth was Redwald, King of the East Angles, who, whilst Ethelbert lived, had been subservient to him. The fifth was Edwin, King of the nation of the Northumbrians, that is, of those who live on the north side of the river Humber, who, with great power, commanded all the nations, as well of the English as of the Britons who inhabit Britain, except only the people of Kent, and he reduced also under the dominion of the English the Mevanian islands of the Britons, lying between Ireland and Britain; the sixth was Oswald, the most Christian King of the Northumbrians, who also had the same extent under his command; the seventh, Oswi, brother to the former, held the same dominions for some time, and for the most part subdued and made tributary the nations of the Picts and Scots, which possess the northern parts of Britain: but of these hereafter.

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