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Christianity Arrives
in Berkshire, Part 2: Birinus spreads the Word

St. Birinus baptises King Cunegils of Wessex -  Nash Ford Publishing


  • King Cynegils of Wessex wanted to marry the daughter of King Oswald of Northumbria (up North). Oswald was very powerful and would help Cynegils in his war with Mercia, but he was a Christian. He wanted Cynegils to become a Christian too.
  • Some people say Oswald visited Cynegils at Easthampstead. He stopped at Finchampstead and a spring miraculously appeared there when he wanted a drink!
  • Bishop Birinus came too. He baptised Cynegils and made him a Christian. Some people say this was at Fountains Garth in Easthampstead, but it was probably at Dorchester-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. The King of Wessex gave him this old Roman town so he could build a cathedral there.
  • There was a big party there and Birinus baptised lots of the Saxons in the Thames between Brightwell and Dorchester.
  • Birinus went around Berkshire and persuaded lots of people to become Christians by showing them miracles. At Tutt's Clump, near Bradfield, he stuck his sword in the ground and it shone bright like a street lamp! 
  • Near Maidenhead, at Taplow in Buckinghamshire, he baptised the locals in Bapsey Pond. He is said to have set up churches at Abingdon, Reading, Hurley, Thatcham and other places.
  • He died in AD 649 and was buried at Dorchester Abbey. He was called a saint. Many pilgrims travelled through Berkshire to visit his shrine in Medieval times.

Click to find out What happened Before

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