Berchthun (DNB00)

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BERCHTHUN, Saint (d. 733), abbot of Beverley, was originally a deacon under John, bishop of Hexham, now known as St. John of Beverley. When John was translated from Hexham to York, Berchthun appears to have accompanied him. One of John's first acts as archbishop was to found a monastery at Beverley, then called In Derawuda, and in the year 700 he appointed Berchthun its first abbot. In 717 the archbishop resigned his see, and at the invitation of Berchthun took up his residence at Beverley, where he died in 721. It was from Berchthun that Bæda obtained much of the information respecting the life and miracles of the sainted archbishop which is contained in his history. The year of Berchthun's death is variously given as 733 and 740, but the former date appears to be the best attested. Although no formal record of his canonisation seems to exist, the title of saint is given to him by early writers, and his name appears in the calendar under 15 May, the day of his death. In 1088 his remains were disinterred, and placed beside those of John in the minster church at Beverley. His name, which in Anglo-Saxon orthography would be written indifferently Beorhthun or Brihthun, is variously latinised as Berchthunus, Bercthunus, Bertunus, Brythunus, and Britunus.

[Bæda, Hist. Eccl. lib. v. cap. 3, 4, 5; Acta Sanctorum, May, iii. 503.]

H. B.