He was elected to succeed Abbot Ceolfrith in 716 or 717 when Ceolfrith set off on a pilgrimage to Rome. Bede reports that Hwaetberht had himself made a pilgrimage to Rome, "and had stayed there a good long while, learning, copying down and bringing back with him all that he thought necessary for his studies" during the papacy of Sergius I (687–701).
Hwaetberht was the author of a collection of sixty riddles, known as the Enigmata Eusebii, written under the pen-name Eusebius. These were written as a supplement to forty riddles written earlier by Tatwine, Archbishop of Canterbury. Bede's De temporum ratione is dedicated to Hwaetberht and Bede appears to have regarded him highly. A part of the correspondence between Hwaetberht and Saint Boniface has survived, date to circa 747, placing Hwaetberht's death after that date.
- Bede, Lives of the Abbots of Wearmouth and Jarrow in Webb and Farmer (eds & trs), The Age of Bede. London: Penguin, 1998. ISBN 0-14-044727-X
- Lapidge, M., "Hwaetberht", in M. Lapidge et al., The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Blackwell, 1999. ISBN 0-631-22492-0
- Bede, Lives of the Abbots of Wearmouth and Jarrow
- Hwætberht 1 at Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England
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