Bregwin (DNB00)

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BREGWIN or BREGOWINE (d. 765), archbishop of Canterbury, the son of noble parents dwelling in the old Saxon land, came to England for the sake of the learning spread abroad here by Theodore and Hadrian. In this learning he is said to have excelled. He was elected archbishop in the presence of a large and rejoicing crowd, and was consecrated on or about St. Michael's day 759 (Flor. Wig. i. 57, ed. Thorpe; Anglo-Saxon Chron.; Eccl. Documents, iii. 397). In the account of the synod held at Clovesho in 798 there is a notice of a synod held by Bregwin, in which complaint was made of the unjust detention of an estate granted to Christ Church by Æthelbald of Mercia (Eccl. Documents, iii. 399, 512). A letter is extant addressed by Bregwin to Lullus, archbishop of Mentz, informing him of the death of the Abbess Bugge, or Eadburh (Epp. Bonif. ed. Jaffé, No. 113). From this letter it appears that Bregwin made the acquaintance of Lullus during a visit to Rome, where he had much friendly converse with him. The duration of Bregwin's archiepiscopate is variously stated; by the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' as four, by Eadmer as three, and by Osbern as seven years. As he signs charters in 764 {Codex Dipl. civ., cxi.), the date of his death given by Osbern (25 Aug. 765) may be accepted as correct. The place of his burial was a matter of interest. His predecessor, Cuthberht, caused the custom of making St. Augustine's the burying-place of the archbishops to be broken through, and was laid in his cathedral church. This greatly angered the monks of St. Augustine's; for the miracles and offerings at the tombs of archbishops brought them both honour and profit. In order to secure the new privilege of their church, the clergy of Christ Church observed the same secrecy on the death of Bregwin as they had done in the case, and by the order, of Cuthberht. They concealed the illness of the archbishop, and on his death buried him before they rang the bell for him. When Jaenberht, abbot of St. Augustine's, heard of the death, he came down with a band of armed men to claim the body, but found that he was too late (Thorn, 1772-4). An attempt was made in aftertimes to deprive Christ Church of Bregwin's body. After the marriage of Henry I and Adeliza of Louvain a monk named Lambert came from the queen's old home to see her, and was lodged at Canterbury. He begged the body of Bregwin of Archbishop Ralph, who promised to allow him to have it to carry back with him. Finding that the archbishop repented of his weakness, Lambert set out for Woodstock to lay his case before the queen. On his way he died at London. This attempt to despoil the church of Canterbury was naturally followed by a vision, in which the departed archbishop expressed his indignation.

[Osbern De Vita Bregwini, Eadmer De Vita Bregwini, Anglia Sacra, ii.; Florence of Worcester; Acta SS. Bolland. Aug. v. 827; Epp. Bonif., ed. Jaffé; Haddan and Stubbs's Eccles. Documents, iii. 397-99; Kemble's Codex Dipl. i. 129-35, 137, 140; Chron. W. Thorn, ed. Twysden, 1772-4; Hook's Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury, i. 234.]

W. H.