ST. BIRINUS, FIRST BISHOP OF DORCHESTER, C.
BIRINUS, a priest of Rome, addressed himself to
pope Honorius for leave to preach the gospel to the idolaters in
Britain. The pope commended his zeal, and caused him to be ordained
bishop. The apostolic missionary landed in the kingdom of the
West-Saxons, and, with many others, baptized king Cynegils, who began
to reign in 611, and filled the throne thirty-one years, being the
sixth from Cerdic, who founded that kingdom in 519. Birinus fixed his
see at Dercis, now at Dorchester, on the Thames, in Oxfordshire upon,
the edge of Berkshire:* he built and consecrated many churches,
gained many souls to God, and departing to him was buried in the same
city, about the year 650. His remains were translated to Winchester
by bishop Hedda, and there laid in the church of SS. Peter and Paul.
Of the painted windows in Dorchester church which have escaped the
fury of the plunderers, Mr. Hearne, in his notes on William of
Newborough, vol. 3, p 773, makes this remark “I know of no
truly religious person but what is affected with what now remains of
the historical painting in Dorchester windows, relating to Birinus’s
voyage thither, and his converting the heathens.” See on St.
Birinus, Robert of Gloucester’s Chronicle, p. 247; Bede,1. 3,
c. 7 and Neve’s Fasti Anglicani, pp. 137, 283.