(c. 694—764) archbishop of Canterbury

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(d. 764), archbishop of Canterbury. Reputedly a Continental Saxon who became a monk in England after attending the school founded by Theodore, he became archbishop in 761. He received the pallium from Pope Paul I. The only recorded act of his episcopate is an attempt to recover the monastery of Cookham (Berks.) from Cynewulf, king of Wessex. But there are also later references to a synod held by him. A letter of his to Lull, archbishop of Mainz, survives. This reminds him of their friendship during a visit to Rome, regrets the loss of contact due to war, and refers to the present of a reliquary.

Like his predecessor Cuthbert he was buried in the baptistery of Canterbury cathedral, to the intense indignation of the monks of St Augustine's, whose ancient privilege it was to bury the archbishops in their own church. When the baptistery was destroyed by fire in 1067, the relics of Bregwine and other archbishops buried there were placed together over the vault of the north transept.

In 1121–2 a German monk named Lambert, who had friends in high places, came to Canterbury and obtained permission from the dying archbishop Ralph to transfer Bregwine's body to a monastery he planned to build in his own country. But Lambert died soon afterwards, supposedly through the saint's displeasure, and was buried at Canterbury. Bregwine's relics were translated, not to his native Germany, but to the altar of St Gregory in the south transept of Canterbury Cathedral: this event was the occasion for the short Life by Eadmer. There is no surviving record of an early feast: Florence of Worcester placed his death on 24 August, while some 15th-century calendars record his feast on 26 August.

From The Oxford Dictionary of Saints in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Christianity.

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