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Denewulf, Bishop of Winchester
(c.AD 845-908)

Denewulf succeeded Bishop Tunberht to the See of Winchester in AD 878. A persistant ancient tradition claims that he was the swineherd at whose cottage, in the Isle of Athelney (Somerset), King Alfred the Great took shelter during his retreat to fight a guerilla war against the invading Danes. It was Denewulf's wife who supposedly reproved the King so sharply for allowing her cakes to burn. Alfred had been greatly struck by Denewulf's natural powers and intelligence; and, on his return to power, caused him to be ordained and appointed him Bishop of Winchester. His wife, we must suppose, was dead. At all events, the second part of the tradition takes small account of her. Dates, however, to say nothing of other difficulties, render the truth of this story impossible; although Denewulf was very probably of humble origin. He died in AD 908.

 

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