St Paul’s Church was built in AD681 to AD685. King Ecgfrith of Northumbria donated the land on which both church and monastery was founded by Benedict Biscop who some seven years earlier had built the church and monastery of St. Peter’ at Wearmouth (Sunderland).
The chancel of St. Paul’s is the original Saxon church, built as a separate chapel and possibly dedicated to Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Both church and monastery were sacked AD794 by the Vikings. In 1704 after some considerable repairs had been carried out. Aldwin Prior of Winchcombe Abbey in Gloucestershire re-founded the church.
Today the church has become part of the Parish of Jarrow Team Ministry in the Diocese of Durham. It also has the oldest dated dedication stone of any church in England.
The brochure says
“The church and its associated monastery were one half of the twin monastery of Wearmouth-Jarrow, home to St Bede the Venerable, and is a candidate World Heritage Site. We welcome some 60,000 visitors and pilgrims each year: to book a visit call the church on 0191 489 7052”
St Paul’s Church can be found in the same grounds as Saint Paul’s/Bede’s Monastery.
Not more than a few hundred feet north is Bede’s World, a museum dedicated to the life and times of the Venerable Bede.
Here you can see an example of an Anglo-Saxon farm as it would have probably appeared back in the days of Saint Bede and is monastic brothers.
The farm comes complete with animals bred to give the visitor an idea of the type of animals that would have been commonplace at that time (smaller than they are now), as well as reconstructed timber buildings, interactive displays, an ‘Age of Bede’ exhibition plus Anglo-Saxon to medieval objects.
If you have a keen interest in the life and times of Bede between both these sites of historical interest you could easily spend a full day viewing.