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BEWDLEY—BEXLEY

imprisonment, his final vengeance on his stepfather are related in detail. After succeeding to his inheritance he is, however, driven into exile and separated from Josiane, to whom he is reunited only after each of them has contracted, in form only, a second union. The story also relates the hero’s death and the fortunes of his two sons.

The oldest extant version appears to be Boeve de Haumtone, an Anglo-Norman text which dates from the first half of the 13th century. The English metrical romance, Sir Beues of Hamtoun, is founded on some French original varying slightly from those which have been preserved. The oldest MS. dates from the beginning of the 14th century. The French chanson de geste, Beuve d’Hanstone, was followed by numerous prose versions. The printed editions of the story were most numerous in Italy, where Bovo d’Antona was the subject of more than one poem, and the tale was interpolated in the Reali di Francia, the Italian compilation of Carolingian legend. Although the English version that we possess is based on a French original, it seems probable that the legend took shape on English soil in the 10th century, and that it originated with the Danish invaders. Doon may be identified with the emperor Otto the Great, who was the contemporary of the English king Edgar of the story. R. Zenker (Boeve-Amlethus, Berlin and Leipzig, 1904) establishes a close parallel between Bevis and the Hamlet legend as related by Saxo Grammaticus in the Historia Danica. Among the more obvious coincidences which point to a common source are the vengeance taken on a stepfather for a father’s death, the letter bearing his own death-warrant which is entrusted to the hero, and his double marriage.[1] The motive of the feigned madness is, however, lacking in Bevis. The princess who is Josiane’s rival is less ferocious than the Hermuthruda of the Hamlet legend, but she threatens Bevis with death if he refuses her. Both seem to be modelled on the type of Thyrdo of the Beowulf legend. A fanciful etymology connecting Bevis (Boeve) with Béowa (Béowulf), on the ground that both were dragon slayers, is inadmissible.

Bibliography.—The Romance of Sir Beues of Hamtoun, edited from six MSS. and the edition (without date) of Richard Pynson, by E. Kölbing (Early Eng. Text Soc., 1885-1886-1894); A. Stimming, “Der anglonormannische Boeve de Haumtone,” in H. Suchier’s Bibl. Norm. vol. vii. (Halle, 1899); the Welsh version, with a translation, is given by R. Williams, Selections of the Hengwrt MSS. (vol. ii., London, 1892); the old Norse version by G. Cederschiöld, Fornsögur Sudhrlanda (Lund, 1884); A. Wesselofsky, “Zum russischen Bovo d’Antona” (in Archiv für slav. Phil. vol. viii., 1885); for the early printed editions of the romance in English, French and Italian see G. Brunet, Manuel du libraire, s.vv. Bevis, Beufues and Buovo.

BEWDLEY, a market town and municipal borough in the Bewdley parliamentary division of Worcestershire, England; 137 m. N.W. by W. from London and 17¼ N. by W. from Worcester by rail. Pop. (1901) 2866. The Worcester-Shrewsbury line of the Great Western is here joined by lines east from Birmingham and west from Tenbury. Bewdley is pleasantly situated on the sloping right bank of the Severn, on the eastern border of the forest of Wyre. A bridge by Telford (1797) crosses the river. A free grammar school, founded in 1591, was re-founded by James I. in 1606, and possesses a large library bequeathed in 1812. The town manufactures combs and horn goods, brass and iron wares, leather, malt, bricks and ropes. The town is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 2105 acres.

Bewdley (i.e. Beaulieu) is probably referred to in the Domesday survey as “another Ribbesford,” and was held by the king. The manor, then called Bellus Locus or Beaulieu on account of its beautiful situation, was afterwards granted to the Mortimers, in whose family it continued until it was merged in the crown on the accession of Edward IV. It is from this time that Bewdley dates its importance. Through its situation on the Severn it was connected with the sea, and in 1250 a bridge, the only one between it and Worcester, was built across the river and added greatly to the commerce of the town. From Edward IV. Bewdley received its charter in 1472, and there appears to be no evidence that it was a borough before this time. Other charters were granted in 1605, 1685 and 1708. By James I.’s charter the burgesses sent one member to parliament, and continued to do so until 1885. A fair and a market on Wednesday were granted by Edward III. in 1373 to his grand-daughter Philippa, wife of Edmund Mortimer, and confirmed to Richard, duke of York, by Henry VI. Edward IV. also granted the burgesses a market on Saturdays, and three fairs, which were confirmed to them by Henry VII. Coal-mines were worked in Bewdley as early as 1669, and the town was formerly noted for making caps.

BEWICK, THOMAS (1753-1828), English wood-engraver, was born at Cherryburn, near Newcastle-on-Tyne, in August 1753. His father rented a small colliery at Mickleybank, and sent his son to school at Mickley. He proved a poor scholar, but showed, at a very early age, a remarkable talent for drawing. He had no tuition in the art, and no models save natural objects. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to Mr Beilby, an engraver in Newcastle. In his office Bewick engraved on wood for Dr Hutton a series of diagrams illustrating a treatise on mensuration. He seems thereafter to have devoted himself entirely to engraving on wood, and in 1775 he received a premium from the Society for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufactures for a woodcut of the “Huntsman and the Old Hound.” In 1784 appeared his Select Fables, the engravings in which, though far surpassed by his later productions, were incomparably superior to anything that had yet been done in that line. The Quadrupeds appeared in 1790, and his great achievement, that with which his name is inseparably associated, the British Birds, was published from 1797-1804. Bewick, from his intimate knowledge of the habits of animals acquired during his constant excursions into the country, was thoroughly qualified to do justice to his great task. Of his other productions the engravings for Goldsmith’s Traveller and Deserted Village, for Parnell’s Hermit, for Somerville’s Chase, and for the collection of Fables of Aesop and Others, may be specially mentioned. Bewick was for many years in partnership with his former master, and in later life had numerous pupils, several of whom gained distinction as engravers. He died on the 8th of November 1828.

His autobiography, Memoirs of Thomas Bewick, by Himself, appeared in 1862.

BEXHILL, a municipal borough and watering-place in the Rye parliamentary division of Sussex, England, 62 m. S.E. by S. from London, on the London, Brighton & South Coast, and the South-Eastern & Chatham railways. Pop. (1891) 5206; (1901) 12,213. The ancient village, with the Norman and Early English church of St Peter, lies inland on the slope of the low hills fringing the coast, but the watering-place on the shore has developed very rapidly since about 1884, owing to the exertions of Earl De la Warr, who owns most of the property. It has a marine parade, pier, golf links, and the usual appointments of a seaside resort, while the climate is bracing and the neighbouring country pleasant. Bexhill was incorporated in 1902, the corporation consisting of a mayor, 6 aldermen and 18 councillors. Area, 8013 acres.

BEXLEY, NICHOLAS VANSITTART, Baron (1766-1851), English politician, was the fifth son of Henry Vansittart (d. 1770), governor of Bengal, and was born in London on the 29th of April 1766. Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, he took his degree in 1787, and was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1791. He began his public career by writing pamphlets in defence of the administration of William Pitt, especially on its financial side, and in May 1796 became member of parliament for Hastings, retaining his seat until July 1802, when he was returned for Old Sarum. In February 1801 he was sent on a diplomatic errand to Copenhagen, and shortly after his return was appointed joint secretary to the treasury, a position which he retained until the resignation of Addington’s ministry in April 1804. Owing to the influence of his friend, Ernest, duke of Cumberland, he became secretary for Ireland under Pitt in January 1805, resigning his office in the following September. With Addington, now Viscount Sidmouth, he joined the government of Fox and Grenville as secretary to the treasury in February 1806, leaving office with Sidmouth just before the fall of the ministry in March

  1. On double marriage in early romance see G. Paris, “La Légende du mari aux deux femmes,” in La Poésie du moyen âge (2nd series, Paris, 1895); and A. Nutt, “The Lai of Eliduc,” &c, in Folk-Lore, vol. iii. (1892).