Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, completed in 731, is a masterpiece of historical writing. Bede's clear narrative, his scrupulous sifting of evidence and his vigorous pursuit of information from many sources written and oral are all features which commend themselves to modern readers. The work was read in every part of Europe throughout the Middle Ages, and today it still remains the best-known text to have survived from Anglo-Saxon England. From its pages we learn the stories of Edwin and Oswald, Cuthbert and Caedmon, and many more which have become an indelible part of English national consciousness.
The present edition, first published in 1969, is recognized as standard and authoritative: its text is based on all the important early witnesses (including, for the first time, the 'Leningrad Bede'), and the Introduction contains Sir Roger Mynors's classic account of the work's complex manuscript transmission. A number of printer's errors has now been corrected, and marginal cross-references to discussion in J. M. Wallace-Hadrill Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Oxford Medieval Texts, 1988) have been added.