Bishop of Wells
Term ended973
PredecessorWulfhelm II
Other post(s)Archbishop of Canterbury
Personal details
Died15 May 973
Archbishop of Canterbury
Term ended959

Byrhthelm[a] (died 973) was the Bishop of Wells and briefly the archbishop of Canterbury. A monk from Glastonbury Abbey, he served as Bishop of Wells beginning in 956, then was translated to Canterbury in 959, only to be translated back to Wells in the same year.

In October 959, King Eadwig died and his brother Edgar was readily accepted as ruler of the Kingdom of England. One of the last acts of Eadwig had been to appoint a successor to Archbishop Oda, who died on 2 June 958. First he appointed Ælfsige of Winchester, but he perished of cold in the Alps as he journeyed to Rome for the pallium. In his place Eadwig nominated Byrhthelm. Byrhthelm was a supporter of Eadwig, and as soon as Edgar became king he reversed this act on the ground that Byrhthelm had not been able to even govern the Diocese of Wells properly. Edgar said that Byrhthelm was too gentle to maintain discipline, and he was replaced with Dunstan.[1][2] He returned to Wells, where he served until he died on 15 May 973.[3]


  1. ^ Also Beorhthelm, Birthelm, Birhelm, Brithelm or Brihthelm


  1. ^ Stenton Anglo-Saxon England p. 367
  2. ^ Lapidge "Dunstan" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. ^ Fryde, et al. Handbook of British Chronology p. 222


  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X.
  • Lapidge, Michael (2004). "Dunstan (St Dunstan) (d. 988), archbishop of Canterbury". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/8288. Retrieved 14 April 2013.(subscription or UK public library membership required)
  • Stenton, F. M. (1971). Anglo-Saxon England (Third ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280139-5.
Christian titles Preceded byWulfhelm II Bishop of Wells 956–973 Succeeded byCyneweard Preceded byÆlfsige Archbishop of Canterbury 959 Succeeded byDunstan