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The Glories of Northumbria

Episode 2 of 10

Melvyn Bragg looks at the glorious Northumbrian Renaissance, which gave us some of the world's great treasures.

Episode Two features the glories of the glittering Northumbrian Renaissance. Melvyn begins with the Ruthwell Cross - now in Scotland - it is possible that it is inscribed with the world's oldest surviving text of English poetry - it has been described as one of the greatest art works of the Middle Ages. Melvyn travels to Jarrow to tell the story of Bede, known as the father of English History and author or The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, one of the most important books of the age. As well as writing history Bede was also one of the first people to describe the relationship between the moon and the tides. Melvyn crosses the causeway to Holy Island where the Lindisfarne Gospels were created and visits the British Library where they are preserved. The man who made the Gospels was an artist and a scientist, inventing the pencil 300 years before it was in common use. Melvyn ends in Durham Cathedral alongside the shrines of Bede and St Cuthbert - the latter occupying a special place in the hearts of local people who refer to him simply as Cuddy.

Contributors
Dr Chris Jones, University of St Andrews
Professor Nick Higham, University of Manchester
Claire Breay, British Library
Professor Michelle Brown, School of Advanced Study, University of London
Revd Canon Rosalind Brown, Durham Cathedral
Professor Richard Gameson, Durham University

Producer: Faith Lawrence.

Available now

28 minutes

The Ruthwell Cross inside Ruthwell Church, Dumfriesshire

The Ruthwell Cross inside Ruthwell Church, Dumfriesshire

Vine scroll and runic detail on the Ruthwell Cross

Dr Chris Jones with Melvyn Bragg

Dr Chris Jones with Melvyn Bragg

By the Ruthwell Cross inside Ruthwell Church, Dumfriesshire

Melvyn Bragg and Professor Nick Higham

Melvyn Bragg and Professor Nick Higham

St Paul’s Church, Jarrow – home of the Venerable Bede

Melvyn Bragg and Reverend Canon Rosalind Brown of Durham Cathedral

Melvyn Bragg and Reverend Canon Rosalind Brown of Durham Cathedral

The Shrine of St Cuthbert at Durham Cathedral

Melvyn Bragg and Professor Richard Gameson

Melvyn Bragg and Professor Richard Gameson

Palace Green Library, Durham

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