Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 04.djvu/324
Reading School, 1804; Gent. Mag. lxvii. 3, lxxv. 144 ; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes, ix. 28, 758.]
BENYNG or De BININ, WILLIAM (fl. 1250), biographer, may be presumed to have been a native of Binning in Linlithgowshire. He was proir of the Cistercian abbey of Newbattle until 1243, when he was elected abbot of Cupar. He resigned this office on 29 Sept. 1258, probably on account of old age. The date of his death is unknown. He wrote the life of John Scot, bishop of Dunkeld, who became an inmate of Newbattle Abbey, and died there in 1203. The continuator of Fordun, who praises the elegance of Benyng's composition, says that he was already prior at the time of the bishop's death ; but there is no confirmation of this somewhat improbable statement. This biography does not appear to be now extant, nor is anything known of the other works which Benyng is said by Dempster to have written.
[Dempster's Hist. Eccl. Scotorum. art 188 ; Scotichrouicon, ed. Hearne, 695 ; Registers of Cupar Abbey, ed. Rogers i. 12 ; Chronica de Mailros (Bannatyne Club), 102, 105, 156, 184.]
BEORHTRIC or BRIHTRIC, king of the West Saxons (d. 802), of the royal race of Cerdic, succeeded Cynewulf on the throne of Wessex 785. In his days, in 787, the Northmen first landed in England, coming in three ships, and landing on the coast of Dorsetshire. When the 'reeve' heard of it he rode to the place, and because he knew not who they were he bade take them to the king's town, and they slew them there. Beorhtric was jealous of Ecgberht, who was an ætheling, or a member of the royal house, and, it is said, sought to slay him. Ecgberht fled to the court of Offa, king of the Mercians. Beorhtric, however, would not let him tind shelter there. He sent an embassy to Offa, and in 787 married Eadburh, daughter of the Mercian king. This marriage naturally turned Offa against Ecgberht. who was suspected of wishing to gain the West Saxon throne for himself, and the two kings drove him from England. Beorhtric was unfortunate in his marriage. Eadburh was an ambitious and unscrupulous woman, and he allowed her to have too much power. She hated everv one whom her husband favoured, and those whom she hated she accused falsely, that the king might put them to death. If her accusations were disregarded, she killed them by poison. Now the king greatly loved a yoimg ealdorman, whose name seems to have been Worr (A.-S. Chron, 800), and as Eadburh knew that it would be useless for her to bring an accusation against him she killed him by poison. It so that Beorhtric also tasted this died. Such is the story in Asserts 'Life of Ælfred,' and the writer says that he was told it by King Ælfred himself. It is copied by Simeon of Durham and William of Malmesbury. The Chronicle simply records the deaths of Beorhtric and the ealdorman Worr, couplong them together in a marked way. Beorhtic was buried at Wareham. He left no children, and was succeeded by the ætheling Ecgberht in 802 (according to most authorities in 800 ; but see Will. Malm., ed. Hardy, i. 60, E.H.S.)
[Anglo-Sax. Chron. ; Asser de Rebus gestis Ælfredi, 471, M.H.B.; Simeon Dun. 672, M.H.B.; Will.Malm. ii. 113.]
BEORHTWULF or BERTULF (d. 852), king of the Mercians, succeeded Wiglaf in 839. In his days Mercia was subject to the West-Saxon king. In 851 came 350 ships of the Danes to the mouth of the Thames, crews landed and took Canterbury and London by storm. Beorhtwulf gathered all his host, and went out to battle against them. He was defeated and fled. Henry of Huntingdon adds, possibly from some old ballad, that he never rallied from the blow. He died the following year. He had, by his wife Sæthryth. a son named Beorhtferth, who in 850 slew his kinsman St. Wistan, the grandson of the two Mercian kings, Wiglaf and Ceolwulf. The descent of St. Wistan from these kings doubtless roused the jealousy of Beorhtferth, and prompted the deed of violence. Several charters of Beorhtwulf are printed in Kemble's 'Codex Dipl.' vol. ii. He was succeeded by Burhred.
[Anglo-Sax. Chron. 850; Florence, a. 850-1; Henry of Huntingaon, p. 737, M.H.B.]
BEORN, earl of the Middle Angles (d. 1049), was the son of Ulf, the famous Danish jarl, put to death in the reign of Cnut, and of Estrith, Cnut's sister. He was therefore a nephew of Gytha, the wife of Earl Godwine, and brother of Sweyn, called Estrithson, who succeeded to the throne of Denmark 1047. Although on the accession of Eadward the Confessor the friends of Sweyn were marked for punishment for the hopes they entertained of placing him on the throne, and Beorn's brother Osbeorn was banished, Beorn himself remained in England, and probably in 1045, the year of Eadward^s marriage to Godwine's daughter Eadgyth, received the