Skeletons buried near Bamburgh Castle were from people who had traveled across the British Isles
Britain was a vulnerable nation in the 7th century AD, still looking for stability a few centuries after the collapse of the Roman Empire.
At this point different kings ruled over different regions of the country and many languages and religions dominated certain locations.
The exact date of the church is unknown, but it is around 633 AD, or shortly thereafter, when Ethelburga, a native of Kent, probably returned to her homeland after the death of her husband, Edwin.
Edwin was the son of Ethelfrith, a Northumbrian king who was known for his fighting spirit and repeated skirmishes with the Gododdin, a fiercely Celtic-speaking people from the northeastern part of what was then known as ‘Britannia’.
King Redwalld of East Anglia dominated the center of the country and established the kingdom of Mercia while the Picts dominated contemporary Scotland.
Augustine (right, on bent knee), and another 40 Benedictines, landed in Thanet and were met by Ethelbert and Bertha (left). The mission required its litmus test in 602 AD. When the English king decided to join his wife’s beliefs and chose to be baptized. Augustine became the first archbishop of Canterbury Cathedral
Another king ruled the southeast, with Ethelbert of Kent and his French Christian wife Bertha at the head of the region.
These princes were visited by a bishop from Rome in 597 AD. Called Augustine after Pope Gregory had sent him on a mission to bring Christianity to the British Isles.
The pope’s sudden interest in the British Isles is supposed to result from a chance meeting with two “Angli” slaves in an Italian slave market.
Their blond hair and fair skin fascinated the Pope and he immediately said about the people of England, then known as Angels: “Non Angli sed angeli.”
Directly translated into English it means “not angels but angels of God.”
His immediate crush was the kick-start for Roman clergymen to begin their efforts to bring evangelicalism to the deserted and divided nation.
Augustine, and another 40 Benedictines, landed in Thanet and were met by Ethelbert and Bertha.
The mission collected its litmus test in 602AD when the English king decided to join his wife’s beliefs and chose to be baptized.
He then donated a certain location in Canterbury, where the country’s first and most important cathedral would be located.
Augustine became the first archbishop of Canterbury Cathedral.
Meanwhile, the feared Ethelfrith died from the north and was succeeded by his son, Edwin, who soon set up an accusation against the rest of Britannia.
His huge army fell from the north and rushed through Mercia to Kent.
The mission ended in the conquest of the southeast and Edwin seized Ethelburga, daughter of Ethelbert and Bertha, as his trophy.
She became his second wife and her dedicated Christian beliefs went north with her.
A Roman monk was also claimed as part of Edwin’s loot and he baptized the young king Edwin.
This monk was then given the task of establishing what is now one of the most iconic Christian sites in the UK, York Minster.
After Edwin gave up his pagan beliefs, his reflective approach was not matched by all his contemporaries.
His high priest was so inflamed by the king’s decision that he hurled a spear into his own temple and ordered the fire.
In 633AD, King Cadwallen of Gwynedd and King Penda of Mercia Northumbria invaded and killed Edwin in battle.
He was defeated during the Battle of Hatfield Chase and left Ethelburga widow.
The troops of King Cadwallon of Gwynedd lift their spears and rejoice over the death of King Edwin in 633 AD. He was defeated during the Battle of Hatfield Chase and left Ethelburga widow