Biography of Bishop Birinus of Dorchester 600-649

Around Bishop Birinus of Dorchester was born.

In 634 Bishop Birinus of Dorchester came to England landing at Hamwic where he founded St Mary's Church, Southampton. He was appointed Bishop of Dorchester.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 634. This year Osric, whom Paulinus baptized, succeeded to the government of King of Deira. He was the son of Elfric, the uncle of Edwin. And to Bernicia succeeded Eanfrith (age 44), son of Ethelfrith. This year also Bishop Birinus first preached baptism to the West-Saxons, under King Cynegils. The said Birinus went thither by the command of Pope Honorius; and he was bishop there to the end of his life. Oswald (age 30) also this year succeeded to the government of the King Northumbrians, and reigned nine winters. The ninth year was assigned to him on account of the heathenism in which those lived who reigned that one year betwixt him and Edwin.

In 635 Bishop Birinus of Dorchester was given permission to preach by King Cynegils of Wessex. He baptised King Cynegils of Wessex who then gave him Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire [Map] for his episcopal see.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 635. This year King Cynegils was baptized by Bishop Birinus at Dorchester [Map]; and Oswald (age 31), king of the Northumbrians, was his sponsor.

In 636 Bishop Birinus of Dorchester baptised King Cynegils' son Cwichelm King of Wessex.

In 639 Bishop Birinus of Dorchester baptised King Cynegils' grandson Cuthred King of Wessex to whom he was godfather.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 639. This year Birinus baptized King Cuthred at Dorchester [Map], and received him as his son.

On 03 Dec 649 or 03 Dec 650 Bishop Birinus of Dorchester died.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 650. This year Egelbert (age 25), from Gaul, after Birinus the Romish bishop, obtained the bishopric of the West-Saxons.

Bede. 673. Eleutherius was the fourth bishop of the West Saxons; for Birinus was the first, Agilbert the second, and Wine the third. When Coinwalch, in whose reign the said Eleutherius was made bishop, died, his under-rulers took upon them the kingdom of the people, and dividing it among themselves, held it ten years; and during their rule he died, and Heddi succeeded him in the bishopric, having been consecrated by Theodore (age 71), in the city of London; during whose prelacy, Cadwalla (age 14), having subdued and removed those rulers, took upon him the government. When he had reigned two years, and whilst the same bishop still governed the church, he quitted his sovereignty for the love of the heavenly kingdom, and, going away to Rome, ended his days there, as shall be said more fully hereafter.