Dacre, Cumbria, the early medieval monastery described by the Venerable Bede
Dacre is rare in the world of early medieval archaeology in being referenced in a contemporary historical source. In c AD 731, the Venerable Bede wrote that a miracle had taken place in a monastery by the river Dacore, and high-quality stone sculpture, dating to the ninth and tenth centuries, added empirical evidence. In 1982, excavations to the west of the churchyard, and in its northern extension, found evidence of early medieval activity, and between 1983 and 1985, a cemetery of at least 230 graves was recorded, along with at least two buildings. Whilst almost no human bone survived the aggressively acidic soil conditions, the orientation of the graves, and the lack of finds, indicated a Christian population. Evidence of wooden ‘chests’, with fine iron fittings, suggested a rite peculiar to high-status burials in the Anglian kingdom of Northumbria. Window glass, similar to that from Jarrow, and an assemblage of metalwork, including a gold ring and a stylus, add weight to its importance.