Beadwulf - Historical Context

Historical Context

The latter part of the eighth century was a tumultuous era in Northumbrian history. During Beadwulf's tenure at Candida Casa, the nation was weakened by dynastic strife within its leadership, with kings regularly murdered, deposed, or exiled. Vikings were beginning their increasingly destructive raids on Northumberland, sacking Lindisfarne in 793 and Jarrow in 794. The bishoprics were also in decline and if there is any foundation for Alcuin's 796 letter to the clergy of York regarding simony, ecclesiastical offices were available for purchase. The kingdom was in its final throes, and in 827 when the appearance of Egbert of Wessex and his army at Dore was sufficient to obtain Northumbrian submission, the once-dominant Kingdom of Northumbria disappeared into history.

William of Malmesbury says that the bishopric at Candida Casa was depopulated and destroyed by the incursions of Picts and Scots. There is no evidence to suggest any large-scale predations in Galloway at this time, but whether or not that was the case, it is certainly likely that the bishopric simply withered and died along with the other Northumbrian bishoprics.

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