The English version of the “Ecclesiastical History” in the following pages is a revision of the translation of Dr. Giles, which is itself a revision of the earlier rendering of Stevens. In the present edition very considerable alterations have been made, but the work of Dr. Giles remains the basis of the translation. The Latin text used throughout is Mr. Plummer's. Since the edition of Dr. Giles appeared in 1842, so much fresh work on the subject has been done, and recent research has brought so many new facts to light, that it has been found necessary to rewrite the notes almost entirely, and to add a new introduction. After the appearance of Mr. Plummer's edition of the Historical Works of Bede, it might seem superfluous, for the present at least, to write any notes at all on the “Ecclesiastical History.” The present volume, however, is intended to fulfil a different and much humbler function. There has been no attempt at any original work, and no new theories are advanced. The object of the book is merely to present in a short and convenient form the substance of the views held by trustworthy authorities, and it is hoped that it may be found useful by those students who have either no time or no inclination to deal with more important works.
Among the books of which most use has been made, are Mr. Plummer's edition of the “Ecclesiastical History,” Messrs. Mayor and Lumby's edition of Books III and IV, Dr. Bright's “Early English Church History,” and Dr. Hunt's “History of the English Church from its foundation to the Norman Conquest.” Many of the articles in the “Dictionary of Christian Biography” and the “Dictionary of Christian Antiquities,” Dr. Mason's “Mission of St. Augustine,” Dr. Rhŷs's “Celtic Britain,” and a number of other books, mentioned in the notes, have been consulted.
For help received in different ways I wish to express my gratitude to various correspondents and friends. I am particularly indebted to Mr. Edward Bell, who has kindly revised my proofs and made many valuable suggestions. For information on certain points I have to thank the Rev. Charles Plummer, Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Professor Lindsay of St. Andrews University, Miss Wordsworth, Principal, and Miss Lodge, Vice-Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford; and in a very special sense I wish to acknowledge my obligations to Miss Paterson, Assistant Librarian at the University Library, St. Andrews, whose unfailing kindness in verifying references, and supplying me with books, has greatly lightened my labours.
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