Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Séamus Cunningham

St Bega

St Bee's Head
St Bee's Head where St Bega was a hermit

St Bega is perhaps better known in Cumbria than Northumbria but St Bee's Head, which is associated with her, was once part of the Kingdom of Northumbria, and King Oswald and St Aidan both have connections with her.


A legend is that St. Bega was the daughter of an Irish king and was the most beautiful woman in her country, and was to be married to a King.

Bega wanted however a religious ascetic life and legend has it that she received from an Angel a special bracelet marked with the sign of the Cross. The night before she was to be married she fled while others were feasting taking the bracelet with her.

At the coast she cut a turf from the ground and crossed to the English coast on it arriving at St Bee's Head.

She stayed at St Bee's Head living the life of a hermit.

Later, with an increase in piratical raids, she was advised by King Oswald to enter the safety of a convent.

She received the veil from St. Aidan, Bishop of Northumbria and travelled the district preaching.