The only recorded statement of British pre-christian paganism is found in an account by the Venerable Bede in his History of the English Church and People. Bede describes the arrival of Christian monks at the court of the pagan King Edwin of Northumbria and in their discussion of religion one of the King's advisers says this:
The present life of man upon earth, O king, seems to me, in comparison with that time which is unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the house wherein you sit at supper in winter, with your ealdormen and thegns, while the fire blazes in the midst, and the hall is warmed, but the wintry storms of rain or snow are raging abroad. The sparrow, flying in at one door and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry tempest; but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, passing from winter into winter again. So this life of man appears for a little while, but of what is to follow or what went before we know nothing at all.