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Christianity Arrives
in Berkshire, Part 1: Birinus meets the King of Wessex


St. Birinus at Churn Knob -  Nash Ford Publishing

 

  • The Saxons were all pagans when they first settled in Berkshire.
  • The Pope lived in Rome in Italy. He was in charge of all the Roman Catholic Christians. He wanted the Saxons in England to be Christian too. So he sent bishops there. One was called Birinus.
  • Birinus was supposed to go to a kingdom called Mercia in the Midlands. However, he found that the Gewisse people of Wessex were all pagans too. So he stopped there instead and started telling everyone about Jesus and the Bible. 
  • He went to see the King of Wessex called Cynegils. He was probably living at his palace in Cholsey, near Wallingford, in Berkshire. The King listened to Birinus and said he could preach to his people at Churn Knob in Blewbury.
  • The Knob is an old pagan burial mound on the Berkshire Downs. The King thought it would work magic on Birinus and his people would not be interested in Christianity. After listening to him though, the people wanted to become Christians.

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