Saints and Stones: Wearmouth-Jarrow
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Located on the River Wear in present day Monkwearmouth, St. Peter's is a Benedictine monastery founded in 674 A.D. by St. Benedict Biscop on land given by Egfrid, King of Northumbria. Benedict dedicated it to St. Peter, and ten years later founded its sister house at Jarrow, on the Tyne, in honour of St. Paul. These two monasteries were so closely connected in their early history that they are often spoken of as one, despite being almost seven miles apart.

St. Benedict Biscop built his church at Wearmouth in the Roman fashion and furnished it with glass windows (a first in England), pictures, and service-books. The abbey was thus the cradle not only of English art but of English literature, for the Venerable Bede received his early education at St. Peter's and resided the rest of his life in Jarrow.

The founder of the monastery, Benedict Biscop, was well travelled. He journeyed three times to Rome before beginning to build St Peter's, and undertook a further three journeys bringing back books and equipment for his monasteries. He visited monasteries and experienced monastic life across Anglo-Saxon England and in France and Italy, including two years spent living the monastic life at the monastery of St Honorat, Lérins. He drew on these experiences for his own foundation, putting together a rule based on the best rules he had seen at 17 different monasteries.

The chancel of St. Paul's Church is a direct survival from the 7th Century when it was a free-standing chapel in the monastery. Inside the church, cemented into the wall of the tower, is the original stone slab which records in a Latin inscription the dedication of the church in 685 A.D.

The inscription reads:
DEDICATIO BASILICAE SCI PAUL VIIII KL MAI ANNO XV EFRIDI REG CEOLFRIDI ABB EIUSDEM Q ECCLES DO AVCTORE CONDITORIS ANNO IIII

The translation reads: The dedication of the basilica of St. Paul on the 9th day before the Kalens of May in the 15th year of King Ecgfrith and in the fourth year of Abbot Ceolfrith founder, by God's guidance, of the same church.

Behind St. Paul's Church are remains of the Benedictine monastery of the Middle Ages.

About Wearmouth-Jarrow

World Heritage Site Page: The Twin Monastery of Wearmouth Jarrow
Wikipedia: Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Abbey
St. Peter's Wearmouth-Jarrow
Bede's World Website
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: Wearmouth Abbey
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Benedict Biscop
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: The Venberable Bede
New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Ceolfrid
Wikipedia: Benedictines

Journey to Wearmouth-Jarrow

St. Peter's Church and site of St. Peter's monastery are in Monkwearmouth (formerly Wearmouth) near Sunderland off the A1231. St. Paul's Church, the site of St. Paul's monastery, and Bede's World are in Jarrow south of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne off the A19.

Ordnance Survey Map (St. Peter's in Monkwearmouth: NZ4006857787)
Ordnance Survey Map (St. Paul's in Jarrow: NZ3365)

Visitors Information

Visitors information for St. Peter's Church in Wearmouth may be found at the geograph.org.uk website. Visitors information for St. Paul's Church in Jarrow may be found at the geograph.org.uk website. Visitors information for Bede's World may be found at the Bede's World website. General tourist information for Northumberland is at the Visit Northumberland website.

Additional Photos of Wearmouth-Jarrow

Descriptive Sign at St. Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth
St. Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth
Front of St. Peter's Church
Another view of St. Peter's Church
Interior of St. Peter's Church
Original Wall of Early St. Peter's Church
Original Stone Work from Early St. Peter's Church
Stained-Glass Window of St. Ceolfrith, St. Peter's Church
Stained-Glass Window of St. Hilda, St. Peter's Church
Stained-Glass Window of St. Benedict Biscop, St. Peter's Church
(Left to right) Sts. Aidan, Bede, Peter, Paulinus, and Cuthbert, St. Peter's Church
Descriptive Sign at St. Paul's Church in Jarrow
Entrance to St. Paul's Church in Jarrow
St. Paul's Church Chancel from the 7th Century
Pew Ornamentation in St. Paul's Church
Plaque from Church Dedication in 685 A.D., St. Paul's Church
Facsimile of Plaque from Church Dedication in 685 A.D., St. Paul's Church
Stained-glass Window in St. Paul's Church
The Venerable Bede's Original Chair, St. Paul's Church
St. Paul's Church (background) and Monastery Ruins (foreground)
Benedictine Monastery Ruins Near St. Paul's Church
Benedictine Monastery Ruins Near St. Paul's Church
Benedictine Monastery Ruins Near St. Paul's Church
Benedictine Monastery Ruins Near St. Paul's Church
Doorway in Benedictine Monastery Ruins Near St. Paul's Church
Sign at Entrance to Bede's World Museum in Jarrow
Statue of The Venerable Bede in Bede's World Museum
Exhibit in Bede's World Museum
Life of Bede Exhibit in Bede's World Museum


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