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Twin monastery site of Wearmouth-Jarrow

Tyne and Wear


Creativity and innovation lie at the heart of Wearmouth-Jarrow. Founded in the 7th century this twin monastery epitomises the cultural dominance of the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Northumbria.

At a time when most buildings were made from timber, Wearmouth-Jarrow was unique in being built from stone. Use of innovative new techniques resulted in finely crafted buildings with intricate, decorative architecture, some of which has survived to this day.

Under the inspirational leadership of its founder, Benedict Biscop, Wearmouth-Jarrow developed into the greatest centre of learning in the northern world. Great manuscripts were produced that have survived to the present including the 8th century Saxon Bible (the Codex Amiatinus) and the oldest intact European book, the St Cuthbert Gospel. Wearmouth-Jarrow even supplied text for use in the creation of the Lindisfarne Gospels.

Scholars, most notably the Venerable Bede, flourished in this creative environment. Bede’s prolific output included his seminal work The Ecclesiastical History of the English People as well as other works on science, theology and astronomy.

Wearmouth-Jarrow represents an outstanding period in the history of North East England: the Golden Age of Northumbria.

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