Take Thy Pen and Write Quickly


Detail of window in the west wall, which can be seen through the pipes of the organ, at Nun Monkton, North Yorkshire. It depicts the Venerable Bede and Cuthbert.

I should have taken a step to the left – which would have ensured that I captured the whole quote (style over substance on my part – in my defence it was very dark in the church, the exposure being f.10 for 30 seconds).

The full quote “Nay, it is light, take thy pen and make ready and write quickly’ a quote of  Bede – which Cuthbert recorded in a letter to Cuthwin regarding the death of Bede.  Bede, or the Venerable Bede, wrote one of the most important books concerning the history of the English – ‘ The Ecclesiastical History of the English People’.  He died in 735.  I suspect that anyone who has studied English history, certainly ecclesiastical history, will have encountered that particular source material.

(Sometimes, coincidence knows no bounds – I made the image as a simple photograph, it wasn’t until I was prompted by our friend at http://scillagrace.com/ that I did a little more research.  It just so happens I have recently downloaded a translation of The Ecclesiastical History of the English People to give me a better understanding/feel for the underlying culture/history/background associated with the churches I am visiting and yesterday I happened to take a picture of the author (sort of) .)



~ by Stephen G. Hipperson on 13, February 2014.

4 Responses to “Take Thy Pen and Write Quickly”

  1. Any story on the deathbed dictation? Dramatic shot!

    • Eee-lass! Thank you for the prompt!

      Dropped a further note on the post, but it’s a of a guy called Bede who wrote a really important history book of us English, back in 700s. (It’s probably the only written record we have from way back then.)

      His scribe, Cuthbert, suggested that Bede should rest from his dictation but Bede, presumably realising his death was nigh, spoke the words ‘Nay, it is light, take thy pen and make ready and write quickly’ – so ‘The Ecclesiastical History of the English People’ was finished.

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