Cædwalla of Wessex

Cædwalla (/ˈkædˌwɔːlə/ KAD-wawl-ə; c. 659 – 20 April 689 AD) was the King of Wessex from approximately 685 until he abdicated in 688. His name is derived from the Welsh Cadwallon. He was exiled from Wessex as a youth and during this period gathered forces and attacked the South Saxons, killing their king, Æthelwealh, in what is now Sussex. Cædwalla was unable to hold the South Saxon territory, however, and was driven out by Æthelwealh's ealdormen. In either 685 or 686, he became King of Wessex. He may have been involved in suppressing rival dynasties at this time, as an early source records that Wessex was ruled by underkings until Cædwalla.

After his accession Cædwalla returned to Sussex and won the territory again, and also conquered the Isle of Wight, engaging in genocide, extinguishing the ruling dynasty there, and forcing the population of the island at sword point to renounce their pagan beliefs for Christianity.[1] He gained control of Surrey and the kingdom of Kent, and in 686 he installed his brother, Mul, as king of Kent. Mul was burned in a Kentish revolt a year later, and Cædwalla returned, possibly ruling Kent directly for a period.

Cædwalla was wounded during the conquest of the Isle of Wight, and perhaps for this reason he abdicated in 688 to travel to Rome for baptism. He reached Rome in April 689, and was baptised by Pope Sergius I on the Saturday before Easter, dying ten days later on 20 April 689. He was succeeded by Ine.

King of Wessex
Cædwalla in Barnard Chichester mural (full body)
Imaginary depiction of Cædwalla by Lambert Barnard
King of Wessex
Bornc. 659
Died20 April 689 (aged 29–30), Rome, Italy


A major source for West Saxon events is the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written about 731 by Bede, a Northumbrian monk and chronicler. Bede received a good deal of information relating to Cædwalla from Bishop Daniel of Winchester; Bede's interest was primarily in the Christianization of the West Saxons, but in relating the history of the church he sheds much light on the West Saxons and on Cædwalla.[2] The contemporary Vita Sancti Wilfrithi or Life of St Wilfrid (by Stephen of Ripon, but often misattributed to Eddius Stephanus) also mentions Cædwalla.[3] Another useful source is the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a set of annals assembled in Wessex in the late 9th-century, probably at the direction of King Alfred the Great. Associated with the Chronicle is a list of kings and their reigns, known as the West Saxon Genealogical Regnal List.[2] There are also six surviving charters, though some are of doubtful authenticity. Charters were documents drawn up to record grants of land by kings to their followers or to the church, and provide some of the earliest documentary sources in England.[4]

West Saxon territory in the 680s

British seventh century kingdoms
The kingdoms of Britain in the late 7th century.

In the late 7th century, the West Saxons occupied an area in the west of southern England, though the exact boundaries are difficult to define.[5] To their west was the native British kingdom of Dumnonia, in what is now Devon and Cornwall. To the north were the Mercians, whose king, Wulfhere, had dominated southern England during his reign. In 674 he was succeeded by his brother, Æthelred, who was less militarily active than Wulfhere had been along the frontier with Wessex, though the West Saxons did not recover the territorial gains Wulfhere had made.[6] To the southeast was the kingdom of the South Saxons, in what is now Sussex; and to the east were the East Saxons, who controlled London.[7]

Not all the locations named in the Chronicle can be identified, but it is apparent that the West Saxons were fighting in north Somerset, south Gloucestershire, and north Wiltshire, against both British and Mercian opposition. To the west and south, evidence of the extent of West Saxon influence is provided by the fact that Cenwalh, who reigned from 642 to 673, is remembered as the first Saxon patron of Sherborne Abbey, in Dorset; similarly, Centwine (676–685) is the first Saxon patron of Glastonbury, in Somerset. Evidently these monasteries were in West Saxon territory by then. Exeter, to the west, in Devon, was under West Saxon control by 680, since Boniface was educated there at about that time.[5]


Bede states that Cædwalla was a "daring young man of the royal house of the Gewissæ", and gives his age at his death in 689 as about thirty, making the year of his birth about 659.[8] "Gewisse", a tribal name, is used by Bede as an equivalent to "West Saxon": the West Saxon genealogies trace back to one "Gewis", an invented eponymous ancestor.[9] According to the Chronicle, Cædwalla was the son of Coenberht, and was descended via Ceawlin from Cerdic, who was the first of the Gewisse to land in England.[10][11] However, it appears that the many difficulties and contradictions in the regnal list are caused partly by the efforts of later scribes to demonstrate that each king on the list was descended from Cerdic; thus Cædwalla's genealogy must be treated with caution.[12] His name is an Anglicised form of the British name "Cadwallon", which may indicate British (Brythonic) ancestry.[13]

First campaign in Sussex

The first mention of Cædwalla is in the Life of St Wilfrid, in which he is described as an exiled nobleman in the forests of Chiltern and Andred.[14] It was not uncommon for a 7th-century king to have spent time in exile before gaining the throne; Oswald of Northumbria is another prominent example.[15] According to the Chronicle, it was in 685 that Cædwalla "began to contend for the kingdom".[10] Despite his exile, he was able to put together enough military force to defeat and kill Æthelwealh, the king of Sussex. He was, however, soon expelled by Berthun and Andhun, Æthelwealh's ealdormen, "who administered the country from then on", possibly as kings.[16]

The Isle of Wight and the Meon valley in what is now eastern Hampshire had been placed under Æthelwealh's control by Wulfhere;[17] the Chronicle dates this to 661, but according to Bede it occurred "not long before" Wilfrid's mission to the South Saxons in the 680s, which implies a rather later date. Wulfhere's attack on Ashdown, also dated by the Chronicle to 661, may likewise have actually happened later. If these events happened in the early 680s or not long before, Cædwalla's aggression against Æthelwealh would be explained as a response to Mercian pressure.[6]

Another indication of the political and military situation may be the division in the 660s of the West Saxon see at Dorchester-on-Thames; a new see was established at Winchester, very near to the South Saxon border. Bede's explanation for the division is that Cenwalh grew tired of the Frankish speech of the bishop at Dorchester,[18] but it is more likely that it was a response to the Mercian advance, which forced West Saxon expansion, such as Cædwalla's military activities, west, south, and east, rather than north.[5] Cædwalla's military successes may be the reason that at about this time the term "West Saxon" starts to be used in contemporary sources, instead of "Gewisse". It is from this time that the West Saxons began to rule over other Anglo-Saxon peoples.[5]

Accession and reign

In 685 or 686, Cædwalla became king of the West Saxons after Centwine, his predecessor, retired to a monastery.[5] Bede gives Cædwalla a reign of two years,[19] ending in 688, but if his reign was less than three years then he may have come to the throne in 685. The West Saxon Genealogical Regnal List gives his reign a length of three years, with one variant reading of two years.[17]

According to Bede, before Cædwalla's reign, Wessex was ruled by underkings, who were conquered and removed when Cædwalla became king.[20] This has been taken to mean that Cædwalla himself ended the reign of the underkings, though Bede does not directly say this. Bede gives the death of Cenwalh as the start of the ten-year period in which the West Saxons were ruled by these underkings; Cenwalh is now thought to have died in about 673, so this is slightly inconsistent with Cædwalla's dates. It may be that Centwine, Cædwalla's predecessor as king of the West Saxons, began as a co-ruler but established himself as sole king by the time Cædwalla became king.[21][22] It may also be that the underkings were another dynastic faction of the West Saxon royal line, vying for power with Centwine and Cædwalla; the description of them as "underkings" may be due to a partisan description of the situation by Bishop Daniel of Winchester, who was Bede's primary informant on West Saxon events.[23] It is also possible that not all the underkings were deposed. There is a King Bealdred, who reigned in the area of Somerset and West Wiltshire, who is mentioned in two land-grants, one dated 681 and the other 688, though both documents have been treated as spurious by some historians.[24][25] Further confusing the situation is another land-grant, thought to be genuine,[26] showing Ine's father, Cenred, still reigning in Wessex after Ine's accession.[17]

Once on the throne, Cædwalla attacked the South Saxons again, this time killing Berthun, and "the province was reduced to a worse state of subjection".[16] He also conquered the Isle of Wight, which was still an independent pagan kingdom, and set himself to kill every native on the island, resettling it with his own people. Arwald, the king of the Isle of Wight, left his two young brothers as heirs. They fled the island, but were found at Stoneham, in Hampshire, and killed on Cædwalla's orders, though he was persuaded by a priest to let them be baptised before they were executed. Bede also mentions that Cædwalla was wounded; he was recovering from his wounds when the priest found him to ask permission to baptise the princes.[27]

In a charter of 688, Cædwalla grants land at Farnham for a minster,[28] so it is evident that Cædwalla controlled Surrey. He also invaded Kent, in 686, and may have founded a monastery at Hoo, northeast of Rochester, between the Medway and the Thames. He installed his brother, Mul, as king of Kent, in place of its king Eadric. In a subsequent Kentish revolt, Mul was "burned" along with twelve others, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Cædwalla responded with a renewed campaign against Kent, laying waste to its land and leaving it in a state of chaos. He may have ruled Kent directly after this second invasion.[29]


Barnard Chichester mural
A 16th-century mural by Lambert Barnard in Chichester Cathedral, depicting Cædwalla granting land to Saint Wilfrid.

Cædwalla was unbaptised when he came to the throne of Wessex, and remained so throughout his reign, but though he is often referred to as a pagan this is not necessarily the most apt description; it may be that he was already Christian in his beliefs but delayed his baptism to a time of his choice.[30] He was clearly respectful of the church, with charter evidence showing multiple grants to churches and for religious buildings.[4] When Cædwalla first attacked the South Saxons, Wilfrid was at the court of King Æthelwealh, and on Æthelwealh's death Wilfrid attached himself to Cædwalla;[17] the Life of Wilfrid records that Cædwalla sought Wilfrid out as a spiritual father.[14] Bede states that Cædwalla vowed to give a quarter of the Isle of Wight to the church if he conquered the island and that Wilfrid was the beneficiary when the vow was fulfilled; Bede also says that Cædwalla agreed to let the heirs of Arwald, the king of the Isle of Wight, be baptised before they were executed.[27] Two of Cædwalla's charters were grants of land to Wilfrid,[4] and there is also subsequent evidence that Cædwalla worked with Wilfrid and Eorcenwald, a bishop of the East Saxons, to establish an ecclesiastical infrastructure for Sussex.[31] However, there is no evidence that Wilfrid exerted any influence over Cædwalla's secular activities or his campaigns.[32]

Wilfrid's association with Cædwalla may have benefited him in other ways: the Life of Wilfrid asserts that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Theodore, expressed a wish that Wilfrid succeed him in that role, and if this is true it may be a reflection of Wilfrid's association with Cædwalla's southern overlordship.[29]

Abdication, baptism and death

In 688 Cædwalla abdicated and went on a pilgrimage to Rome, possibly because he was dying of the wounds he had suffered while fighting on the Isle of Wight.[5] Cædwalla had not been baptised, and Bede states that he wished to "obtain the particular privilege of receiving the cleansing of baptism at the shrine of the blessed Apostles". He stopped in Francia at Samer, near Calais, where he gave money for the foundation of a church, and is also recorded at the court of Cunincpert, king of the Lombards, in what is now northern Italy.[33] In Rome, he was baptised by Pope Sergius I on the Saturday before Easter (according to Bede) taking the baptismal name Peter, and died not long afterwards, "still in his white garments". He was buried in St. Peter's church. Bede's Ecclesiastical History and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle agree that Cædwalla died on 20 April, but the latter says that he died seven days after his baptism, although the Saturday before Easter was on 10 April that year. The epitaph on his tomb described him as "King of the Saxons".[8][34]

Cædwalla's departure in 688 appears to have led to instability in the south of England. Ine, Cædwalla's successor, abdicated in 726, and the West Saxon Genealogical Regnal List says that he reigned for thirty-seven years, implying his reign began in 689 instead of 688. This could indicate an unsettled period between Cædwalla's abdication and Ine's accession. The kingship also changed in Kent in 688, with Oswine, who was apparently a Mercian client, taking the throne; and there is evidence of East Saxon influence in Kent in the years immediately following Cædwalla's abdication.[35]

In 694, Ine extracted compensation of 30,000 pence from the Kentishmen for the death of Mul; this amount represented the value of an aetheling's life in the Saxon system of Weregild. Ine appears to have retained control of Surrey, but did not recover Kent.[36] No king of Wessex was to venture so far east until Egbert, over a hundred years later.[37]

See also


  1. ^ Bloxham 2010, pp. 267–268.
  2. ^ a b Yorke 1990, pp. 128–130.
  3. ^ "Stephen of Ripon" in Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England.
  4. ^ a b c "Anglo-Saxons.net". Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d e f For a discussion of 7th-century West Saxon expansion, see Yorke 1990, pp. 135–138.
  6. ^ a b Kirby 1992, pp. 115–116.
  7. ^ The general topography of the 7th-century kingdoms is given in map form in Hunter Blair 1966, p. 209.
  8. ^ a b Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book V, Ch. 7, from Sherley-Price's translation, p. 275.
  9. ^ Kirby 1992, pp. 48, 223.
  10. ^ a b Swanton 1996, p. 38.
  11. ^ Yorke 1990, p. 133.
  12. ^ Yorke 1990, pp. 130–131.
  13. ^ Yorke 1990, pp. 138–139.
  14. ^ a b Kirby 1992, p. 119.
  15. ^ Campbell, John & Wormald 1991, p. 56.
  16. ^ a b Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book IV, Ch. 15, from Sherley-Price's translation, p. 230.
  17. ^ a b c d Kirby 1992, p. 120.
  18. ^ Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book III, Ch. 7, from Sherley-Price's translation, pp. 153–155.
  19. ^ Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book V, Ch. 7, from Sherley-Price's translation, pp. 275–276.
  20. ^ Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book IV, Ch. 12, from Sherley-Price's translation, p. 224.
  21. ^ Yorke 1990, pp. 145–146.
  22. ^ Kirby 1992, pp. 51–52.
  23. ^ Kirby 1992, p. 53.
  24. ^ "Anglo-Saxons.net S 236". Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  25. ^ "Anglo-Saxons.net S 1170". Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  26. ^ "Anglo-Saxons.net S 45". Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  27. ^ a b Bede, Ecclesiastical History, Book IV, Ch. 16, from Sherley-Price's translation, pp. 230–232.
  28. ^ "Anglo-Saxons.net S 235". Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  29. ^ a b Kirby 1992, p. 121.
  30. ^ This suggestion is made in Stenton 1971, p. 70 note. For an example of a modern historian referring to Cædwalla unequivocally as a pagan, see Kirby 1992, p. 118.
  31. ^ Yorke 1990, p. 56.
  32. ^ Kirby 1992, p. 117.
  33. ^ Stenton 1971, pp. 2–7.
  34. ^ Swanton 1996, pp. 40–41.
  35. ^ Kirby 1992, p. 122.
  36. ^ Kirby 1992, p. 124.
  37. ^ Kirby 1992, p. 192.


Primary sources

Secondary sources

  • Bloxham, Donald (2010), The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies, London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-923211-3
  • Campbell, James; John, Eric & Wormald, Patrick (1991), The Anglo-Saxons, London: Penguin, ISBN 0-14-014395-5
  • Hunter Blair, Peter (1966), Roman Britain and Early England: 55 B.C. – A.D. 871, New York: Norton, ISBN 0-393-00361-2
  • Kirby, D. P. (1992), The Earliest English Kings, London: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-09086-5
  • Lapidge, Michael (1999), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford: Blackwell, ISBN 0-631-22492-0
  • Stenton, Frank M. (1971), Anglo-Saxon England, Oxford: Clarendon Press, ISBN 0-19-821716-1
  • Yorke, Barbara (1990), Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England, London: Seaby, ISBN 1-85264-027-8

External links

Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Wessex
Succeeded by

Year 680 (DCLXXX) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 680 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


The 680s decade ran from January 1, 680, to December 31, 689.


Year 685 (DCLXXXV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 685 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 686 (DCLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 686 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 687 (DCLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 687 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 689 (DCLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 689 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Allhallows, Kent

Allhallows is a village and civil parish on the Hoo Peninsula in Kent, England. Situated in the northernmost part of Kent, and covering an area of 23.99 km², the parish is bounded on the north side by the River Thames, and in the east by the course of Yantlet creek, now silted up. At the 2001 census the parish had a population of 1,649.

Allhallows village is in two parts: the ancient Hoo All Hallows and the 20th century holiday colony Allhallows-on-Sea.

Near to the village of Allhallows is Windhill Green. There used to be a hamlet on the site of Windhill Green, but all of the original buildings have been demolished. The name remains on the Ordnance Survey maps.

Amberley Castle

Amberley Castle stands in the village of Amberley, West Sussex (grid reference TQ027132).

The castle was erected as a 12th-century manor house and fortified in 1377, giving it a rhomboid shaped stonework enclosure with high curtain walls, internal towers in each corner, a hall and a gateway. It was used as a fortress by the bishops of Chichester. The walls, gateway and two of the towers remain as a Grade I listed building and are now in use as a privately owned hotel.


Cadwalader by itself most often refers to

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, the oldest continuously running law firm in the United States, and named in part after John Lambert Cadwalader (1836–1914), an American lawyer and politician.

Cadwalader's Ice Cream, a chain of ice cream parlours across WalesAs a given name, it may also refer to

Cadwaladr, King of Gwynedd from c. 655 to 682

Cædwalla of Wessex, King of Wessex from 685 until 688

Cadwaladr ap Gruffydd (12th century), brother of Owain Gwynedd


Cadwaladr ap Cadwallon (also spelled Cadwalader or Cadwallader in English) was king of Gwynedd in Wales from around AD 655 to 682. Two devastating plagues happened during his reign, one in 664 and the other in 682; he himself was a victim of the second. Little else is known of his reign.

Though little is known about the historical Cadwaladr, he became a mythical redeemer figure in Welsh culture. He is a prominent character in the romantic stories of Geoffrey of Monmouth, where he is portrayed as the last in an ancient line to hold the title King of Britain. In Geoffrey's account, he does not die of plague. He renounces his throne in 688 to become a pilgrim, in response to a prophecy that his sacrifice of personal power will bring about a future victory of the Britons over the Anglo-Saxons. Geoffrey's story of Cadwaladr's prophecy and trip to Rome is believed to be an embellishment of the events in the life of Cædwalla of Wessex, whom Geoffrey mistakenly conflated with Cadwaladr. Cædwalla renounced his throne and travelled to Rome in 688.

For later Welsh commentators, the myth "provided a messianic hope for the future deliverance of Britain from the dominion of the Saxons". It was also used by both the Yorkist and Lancastrian factions during the Wars of the Roses to claim that their candidate would fulfil the prophecy by restoring the authentic lineage stemming from Cadwaladr.

The red dragon (Welsh: Y Ddraig Goch) has long been known as a Welsh symbol, appearing in the Mabinogion, the Historia Brittonum, and the stories of Geoffrey of Monmouth. Since the accession of Henry VII to the English throne, it has often been referred to as "The Red Dragon of Cadwaladr". The association with Cadwaladr is a traditional one, without a firm historical provenance.

Cadwaladr (name)

Cadwaladr, Cadwalader or Cadwallader (with other variant spellings) is a given name and surname of Welsh origin. It was most notably held by Cadwaladr, a seventh-century king of Gwynedd, who was the last Welsh king to claim lordship over all of Britain.


Cadwallon is a Welsh name derived from the Common Brittonic *Katuwellaunos (Proto-Celtic *Katu-welnā-mnos) "The One Who (-mnos) Leads (welnā-) in Battle (katu-)". The same name belonged to the Catuvellauni who lived in what is now Hertfordshire, one of the most powerful British polities in the Late Iron Age who led the resistance against the Romans in 43 CE and possibly against Caesar in 55 and 54 BCE as well.

Cadwallon is not to be confused with Caswallon, which derives from *Kađđi-welnā-mnos (the same name as Cassivellaunus), meaning "The Passionate Leader". Note that in Cornish, both Katuwellaunos(/Catuvellaunus) and Kađđiwellaunos(/Cassivellaunus) give the form Kaswallon, which adds to the confusion.

Cadwallon may refer to:

Cadwallon Lawhir ap Einion (reigned early 6th century), King of Gwynedd

Cadwallon ap Cadfan (reigned early 7th century), King of Gwynedd

Cadwallon ab Owain (died c. 961), prince of Deheubarth

Cadwallon ab Ieuaf (died 986), King of Gwynedd

Cadwallon ap Gruffydd (12th century), son of Gruffudd ap Cynan

Cadwallon ap Madog (12th century), ruler of Maelienydd

Cadwallon (role-playing game), a 2006 game published by Rackham

Cædwalla of Wessex (c. 659 – 689), King of Wessex (Cædwalla is the Old English spelling of Cadwalla (< Brythonic *Katuwallios), an alternative form of the same name.)

Cadwallon ap Cadfan

Cadwallon ap Cadfan (died 634) was the King of Gwynedd from around 625 until his death in battle. The son and successor of Cadfan ap Iago, he is best remembered as the King of the Britons who invaded and conquered the Kingdom of Northumbria, defeating and killing its king, Edwin, prior to his own death in battle against Oswald of Bernicia. His conquest of Northumbria, which he held for a year or two after Edwin died, made him the last Briton to hold substantial territory in eastern Britain until the rise of the House of Tudor. He was thereafter remembered as a national hero by the Britons and as a tyrant by the Anglo-Saxons of Northumbria.


Cenberht (Old English: Cēnberht, Cœ̅nberht) (died c. 661) was a king in the lands of the West Saxons.

Cenberht was said to be the son of Cedda (or Cadda), about whom nothing is recorded, and the grandson of Cutha. It is thought that Cutha is the same person as Cuthwine, also found in West Saxon genealogies. He was thus, according to later genealogies, a third cousin of King Cenwalh of Wessex. The later King Caedwalla and his brother Mul were said to be sons of Cenberht.The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 661 reports that both Cuthred, son of King Cwichelm, and Cenberht died in that year. This is the sole report of Cenberht in an early source, but based on the pattern of shared rulership among the West Saxons in this period, it is presumed that Cenberht shared power with Cenwalh in a junior role, either as a junior king or as sub-king of some part of Wessex.

Christianisation of Anglo-Saxon England

The Christianisation of Anglo-Saxon England was a process spanning the 7th century. It was essentially the result of the Gregorian mission of 597, which was joined by the efforts of the Hiberno-Scottish mission from the 630s. From the 8th century, the Anglo-Saxon mission was, in turn, instrumental in the conversion of the population of the Frankish Empire.

Æthelberht of Kent was the first king to accept baptism, circa 601. He was followed by Saebert of Essex and Rædwald of East Anglia in 604. However, when Æthelberht and Saebert died, in 616, they were both succeeded by pagan sons who were hostile to Christianity and drove the missionaries out, encouraging their subjects to return to their native paganism. Christianity only hung on with Rædwald, who was still worshiping the pagan gods alongside Christ.

The first Archbishops of Canterbury during the first half of the 7th century were members of the original Gregorian mission. The first native Saxon to be consecrated archbishop was Deusdedit of Canterbury, enthroned in 655. The first native Anglo-Saxon bishop was Ithamar, enthroned as Bishop of Rochester in 644.

The decisive shift to Christianity occurred in 655 when King Penda was slain in the Battle of the Winwaed and Mercia became officially Christian for the first time. The death of Penda also allowed Cenwalh of Wessex to return from exile and return Wessex, another powerful kingdom, to Christianity. After 655, only Sussex and the Isle of Wight remained openly pagan, although Wessex and Essex would later crown pagan kings. In 686 Arwald, the last openly pagan king was slain in battle and from this point on all Anglo-Saxon kings were at least nominally Christian (although there is some confusion about the religion of Caedwalla who ruled Wessex until 688).

Lingering paganism among the common population gradually became English folklore.

List of monarchs of Sussex

The list of monarchs of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Sussex (or South Saxons) contains substantial gaps, and many of the dates from this time are unreliable. No authentic South Saxon king list or genealogy exists, unlike what can be found for other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Most kings are known only from Anglo-Saxon charters, some of which are forgeries, which makes it difficult to date the reigns of each king. The monarchs were either known as kings or ealdormen.

According to the charters, most kings did not govern alone: Nothhelm reigned with two or three colleagues and Oslac with four. The locations of the lands granted in their charters indicate that they reigned jointly and that there was no division of territory. Such joint reigns can also be demonstrated for the Hwicce, the East Saxons, and the West Saxons. Indeed, “[t]here is nothing remarkable in the existence of two or even more contemporary kings in the same people in the seventh century. The ancient idea that royal dignity was a matter of birth rather than of territorial rule still survived at this date.”The traditional residence of the South Saxon kings was at Kingsham, once outside the southern walls of Chichester although within its modern boundaries.

Pope Sergius I

Pope Sergius I (c. 650 – 8 September 701) was Bishop of Rome from December 15, 687, to his death in 701. He was elected at a time when two rivals, the Archdeacon Paschal and the Archpriest Theodore, were locked in dispute about which of them should become pope.

His papacy was dominated by his response to the Quinisext Council, whose canons he refused to accept. Thereupon the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II ordered Sergius' arrest (as his predecessor Constans II had done with Pope Martin I), but the Roman people and the Italian militia of the Exarch of Ravenna refused to allow the exarch to remove Sergius to Constantinople.

Trinoda necessitas

Trinoda necessitas ("three-knotted obligation" in Latin) is a term used to refer to a "threefold tax" in Anglo-Saxon times. Subjects of an Anglo-Saxon king were required to yield three services: bridge-bote (repairing bridges and roads), burgh-bote (building and maintaining fortifications), and fyrd-bote (serving in the militia, known as the fyrd). Rulers very rarely exempted subjects from the trinoda necessitas, because these services were the lifeblood of an Anglo-Saxon kingdom. After the Norman Conquest, exemptions from the trinoda necessitas became more common.The term "trinoda necessitas" was rarely used in Anglo-Saxon times: its only known use is in a grant of land near Pagham, Sussex from King Cædwalla of Wessex to Saint Wilfred. The Wilfred grant used the term trimoda (Latin for "triple"); trinoda (Latin for "triple-knotted") was an error introduced by John Selden in 1610.Instead of the term "trinoda necessitas", it was common for Anglo-Saxon land grants to spell out the three obligations individually. For example, the land grant of Æthelberht of Kent to a thegn in 858 was free of obligation, except explicitly for military service, bridge repair, and fortification.

Wihtred of Kent

Wihtred (Latin: Wihtredus) (c. 670 – 23 April 725) was king of Kent from about 690 or 691 until his death. He was a son of Ecgberht I and a brother of Eadric. Wihtred ascended to the throne after a confused period in the 680s, which included a brief conquest of Kent by Cædwalla of Wessex, and subsequent dynastic conflicts. His immediate predecessor was Oswine, who was probably descended from Eadbald, though not through the same line as Wihtred. Shortly after the start of his reign, Wihtred issued a code of laws—the Law of Wihtred—that has been preserved in a manuscript known as the Textus Roffensis. The laws pay a great deal of attention to the rights of the Church (of the time period), including punishment for irregular marriages and for pagan worship. Wihtred's long reign had few incidents recorded in the annals of the day. He was succeeded in 725 by his sons, Æthelberht II, Eadberht I, and Alric.


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