World-famous astronomers celebrate the Venerable Bede
LEADING astronomers last night hailed a new attraction which highlights the scientific brilliance of one of the North East’s greatest stars.
The Venerable Bede, based at the Wearmouth-Jarrow twin monastery site, is famed for his theological works and for being the father of English history.
But Bede, one of the leading scholars in 8th Century Europe, was also an outstanding scientist.
Last night a new permanent gallery at Bede’s World in Jarrow, called Bede the Scientist, was opened. Sir Arnold Wolfendale, Emeritus Professor of Physics at Durham University and former Astronomer Royal, had been due to attend – only to be foiled by the weather.
A recorded message was also played from Sky at Night astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, who says: “I would like to congratulate Bede’s World for establishing the permanent exhibition which celebrates the remarkable contribution which Bede made to scientific thought in the 8th Century. We know that Bede was a great historian but few people know that he was one of the very early astronomers of his time.”
The gallery has been funded by the Catherine Cookson Trust and The William Leech Charitable Trust and will strengthen the Wearmouth-Jarrow bid to be the North East’s third world heritage site.
Bede’s World director Kate Sussams said: “Visitors will be able to really appreciate Bede’s amazing scientific achievements. Bede was a formidable thinker and writer and his influence is still widely felt today. This exhibition underlines how important the monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow was and that local people should be so proud of its place in their community.
“Bede did not have the internet or calculators but his amazing work in a small monastery in the North East had an impact on the whole world.”
Carrie Philip, Bede’s World education team leader, said: “Many people don’t really know about Bede’s scientific work, which came out of his desire to explain the world. This included writing about how the world was round and the fact that tides are dragged round the Earth by the moon. Bede was the first scientist to put this in writing, centuries before the discovery of gravity.”
The gallery features a 24-hour camera recording of the rising and falling tide on the River Don next to Bede’s World, which can be speeded up by visitors. Bede’s World is offering free admission to the museum and farm this weekend.