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The tomb of the Venerable Bede can be seen in the Galilee Chapel at Durham Cathedral.

There have been many changes to it over the centuries, but it remains an important destination for visitors and pilgrims.

Notable people

The Venerable Bede

  • During his lifetime, the Venerable Bede rarely left his home monastery at Jarrow, yet the influence of this humble monk from Northumbria was felt throughout Europe and continues across the world today.
  • Most of what is known about Bede’s life comes from a short note at the end of his book The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written around 731. 
  • Bede rarely travelled from his monastery, but dedicated himself to study. Wearmouth-Jarrow was a renowned centre of learning, with one of the best libraries in Europe, and Bede was considered its finest scholar. 
  • During his lifetime Bede wrote or translated around 40 books, including commentaries, letters, hymns and poems, on subjects including religion, science, history, astronomy, mathematics and language.
  • Bede died as he lived – teaching and praying.
Read more about the Venerable Bede


From the Feretory to the Galilee

  • After Bede's died his remains were moved from Jarrow to Durham Cathedral. At first he shared a coffin – and a shrine – with Cuthbert. 
  • The bag containing Bede’s bones was rediscovered in 1104, when Cuthbert’s coffin was moved into the newly-built Norman Cathedral. The bones were enshrined near to Cuthbert in the Feretory and, a few years later, Bishop Hugh de Puiset placed them in their own gold and silver relic box.
  • Bede remained next to Cuthbert until 1370, when Richard of Barnard Castle, who was Archdeacon of Northumberland and worked for Thomas Hatfield, Bishop of Durham, persuaded the Bishop to move Bede’s relics from Cuthbert’s Feretory into his own shrine in the Galilee Chapel. 
  • When Richard died he was buried next to Bede’s tomb, his grave marked by a black stone in the floor which can still be seen today.

Did you know?

Finding the right words...

The title most often used for Bede is ‘Venerable’, meaning ‘respect is due’. Legend tells that a fellow monk had been given the job of composing a Latin memorial for Bede’s gravestone, but was struggling to find the right words. He fell asleep, and when he awoke found an angel had miraculously filled in the gap:

Hac sunt in fossa Bedae Venerabilis ossa

In this grave are the bones of the Venerable Bede

Venerable, Saint and Doctor

In 1899 Bede was officially ‘canonised’ or made a saint. He was also declared a ‘Doctor of the Church’, a title given to saints who have made significant contributions to church teachings. There are only 37 Doctors, and Bede is the only English person to hold this title.

Follow the guided tour

You’re in: The Galilee Chapel You’re at: Bede's Tomb Next stop: Alington Memorial

  • Look towards the wall behind Bede's tomb
  • You can see a wooden sculpture with gold writing on it
  • This is the Alington Memorial