Saint Birinus converting the Saxons of Wessex to Christianity. Engraving by W. Walker, 1773, after S. Wale.

  • Wale, Samuel, -1786.
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Previous title, replaced May 2023 : Birinus of Wessex. Engraving by Walker after S. Wale.


"A.D. 634. Though the Christian religion had, for for some years, been planted in the kingdom of Kent, yet the West Saxons were still immersed in all the errors of Pagan superstition. The torch of truth had not yet been lighted up in this part of the island, to dispel the darkness of bigotry and error. But the period was now arrived when the absurd worship of the Saxons should be abolished, and the true religion established in its stead. Berenius, an Italian ecclesiastic, after being consecrated by the pope, was sent-into Britain, to assist in converting the Saxons to christianity. Kinegils listened to the preaching of Berenius, declared himself convinced of the truth of the gospel, and was immediately baptized. His example was followed by numbers of his subjects; churches were erected for the worship of the true God; the heathen temples were, in many places, demolished; and Berenius was invested with an episcopal character as bishop of York. Quinchelm did not, however, follow the example of Kinegils immediately but being seized with a violent fever, embraced the faith, and died immediately after his baptism. Kinegils survived his brother about eight years, and laboured incessantly to promote the happiness of his people."--Sydney, loc. cit.

On the left is a statue of the Saxon god equivalent to the Roman god Saturn, holding a wheel and a bucket and standing on a fish



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1 print


Birinus converting the Saxons to Christianity. Engraved for Sydney's History of England. Wale del. Walker sculp.


Wellcome Collection 3658i



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