M. (Paul) Rapin de Thoyras.

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the Kingdom of Kent. But afterwards he reftored it to
Wibba, Son of Crida, referring however fome right of So-
vereignty, the nature of which Hiftorians have neglected to


This Prince reigned nineteen Years, and died in 615.
He left a Son called Pcnda, who fhould have fucceeded
him, but Ethelbtrt being ftill alive, and dreading his reftlefs
and turbulent Spirit, left Mercia about a Year without a
King. After that he placed Ccarlus, Coufm-german of
IVtbba, on the Throne.

C E A R L U S.

After the Death of Ethclbert in 6 1 6, Cearlus freed Mer-
cia from the Dominion of the Kings of Kent, he reigned
nine Years, and died in 624. As he left no Children,
Penda Son of ll'ibba pollened the Throne after him.

P E N D A.

This Prince was fifty Years old when he came to the
Crown. Ethclbert had not without reafon palled him by
after his Father's Death, he being the moft reftlefs and
ftirring Prince that ever reigned before or fince in England.
He hated Peace worfe than Death. I have already, in the
Hiftory of Northumberland, fpoken of his Wars with Ed-
win, Ofwald and UJivy. His war with the Kings of IVeffex
and Eajl-Anglia, to avoid Repetition, ftiall be related in
the Hiftory of thefe two Kingdoms.

In 653, Penda caufed Peda his eldeft Son to be crown'd
King of Leicejhr, and then fent him into Northumberland
to efpoufe the Daughter of King Ofwy, where he was con-
verted to Chriftianity. He brought back with him fome
Miffionaries, who preached the Gofpel in Mercia with
good Succefs. But Penda liv'd and dyed a Pagan.

At length Penda was (lain in Battle in the eightieth
Year of his Age, as was related in the Hiftory of North-
umberland. He left five Sons, Peda, Wulfier, Ethelred,
Mcrowald, and Mercelm, and two Daughters, Ciniburga,
and Cinifwintba.


After the Defeat and Death of Penda, Ofwy became 657.
Mafter of Mercia, and kept it three Years. However he Eede.
left Peda his Son-in-law the little Kingdom of Leicefler. £? 1 5"*£.

a # J f lor- Wjg.

But Peda being foon after poifoned by his Wife, OJwy
feized that too, and held it with the reft of Mercia, till he
was driven thence by IVulfer, as we have feen in the Hi-
ftory of Northumberland.

W U L F E R.

IVulfer was almoft as much a Stranger to Peace as his 659.
Father Penda. He waged War at feveral times, with all M Wert.
the neighbouring Princes, with various Succefs, one while
Conqueror, another while vanquifhed. As the Particular
of thefe Wars are not very material, and befides are but
lamely related by the Hiftorians, it is needlefs to infift upon
them. I fhall only cbferve, that he took Adelwalch King
of Suffcx Prifoner, and brought him to Mercia, after hav-
ing conquered his Kingdom (2). Some time after, Add- 663,
walcb turning Chriftian during his Imprisonment, IVulfer 6 ^-, '■ 4-
gave him the Iile of Wight, which he had likewife fubdued. p^Wie. 7 '
There is room to conjecture, that IVulfer had alfo conquer- £,&(,,
ed the Kingdom of Effex, lince it is well known he dif-
pofed of the Bijhoprick of London in favour of one IVina.

IVulfer was ftill an Idolater when he came to the Crown ; Malm. /. r,
but fhortly after was converted., and his Children were£4
brought up in the Chriftian Religion (3). Vcreburga, one
of his Daughters, was honoured as a Saint. He died in 675,
thinking to leave his Crown to his Son Cenrid; but his
Brother Ethelred found means to fupplant his Nephew
and obtain the Kingdom.

W: j




1. c.4.


Ethelred, as foon as he was feated on the Throne, erect-
ed Hcrcfordjlsire into a Kingdom, and gave it to Aferowald
his Brother (4), who dying without Heirs, left it to his
younger Brother Mercelm. But he dying alfo without Chil-
dren, this little Kingdom was reunited to Mercia.

In 679, Ethelred invaded Kent, and made great Devalua-
tions (5). After that he turned his Arms againft Nortbnm-K^. '• 4-
berland (6), and compelled Egfrid to reftore certain ■^'■-vjfxjalm
cian Towns, taken during the Reign ot IVulfer. Theodore]. 3. de
Archbifhop of Canterbury, preatly contributed to the Peace p,nt Bc< k.

1 t » Fl Wif*

concluded between thefe two Kings. M - yrS

In 697, Ojhith, Wife of Ethelred, was a(TalTinated(7),
and the little care taken to dilcover the Murderers, gives
room to fufpecT: the King himfelf was not innocent. How-
ever that be, Ethelred growing weary of the World, re-f'
figned his Crown to Cenred his Nephew, Son of IVulfer, '
and turned Monk in Bardney Monaftery, of which fhortly
after he was made Abbot.


Nothing remarkable was done by this Prince, during his 704.
four Years Reign, but the exchanging his Crown for the B ^ L '' '• 5"
Monkijl) Habit, after the Example of Offa King of Effex,
who was come to his Court to demand Cinifwintba his
Aunt, Daughter of Penda in Mariiagf. By thePerfuafions
of this PrLncefs, both Kings were prevailed upon to turn
Monks, and go to Rjome, and receive the Tonfure at the
Pope's Hands. Ceolred, Son of Ethelred, fucceeded his
Coufin Cenrid.


Ceolred had a terrible War to fuftain againft Ina King of 709,
the IVcjl-Saxons. Hiftoiians, according to Cuftom, with- Ann sax
out relating the Motives or Particulars of this War, only *■"■ W u '|j-
fay, the two Kings, at Wodenburg in TViltJhire fought ai. 4 .

(1) The Saxon Annals fay in 593.

(2) He alfo defeated Cent-watch, King of tfejftx, at A/Ion, mar M'allinpfird, Sax. Ann. Matnfb Tyrrel, p. lSS-

(3) He married Lrmcmtda, the Daughter of Enombcrt King of font. Higd. Polycbrun. p. 236.

(4) He married the Daughter of Ermemed King of Kent. Higd. Polycbron. p. 240.

(5) Particularly, he deftroy'd hocbifttr. Huntingd. p. 318. p. 184.

(6) In this Battle was (lain Elfwiti, King El/rid'i Brother near the River Trent Sax. Ann. Molmb. Hmtingd. f 184.

(7) By the Soutb-Humlxri, i, e. the Mctaans, South of the Trent. Sax. Ann. Tyml, p. 210.

N"3. Vol. I.


blood v



Vol. I.

I... M


(1 . B..r


us latt

Sucli kind


bloody Rattle with fuch equal Succefs, that neither could
boaftof the Victory.

Ceolred was far from being of his Predecefior 5 Mmd to
prefer the Monks Habit before a Crown. He not only dif-
regarded the Monks and the reft of the Clergy, but, it the
Hiftorians are to be credited, violated their Privileges with-
out any fcruple. This Behaviour, fo contrary to that of
all the other Englijb Princes, raifed great Clamors againft
him The Monks in particular took all occaiions to paint
him' in the blacked Colours. Their Animofity follov/d
him even into the other World. After his Death, which
happen'd in 716, they gave out that he refign'd
Breath, blafpheming and talking with theDevil. Si
of Reports againft thole that were not in the Intereit oi the
Monks, were not fpread without Def.gn. The Hiftones
of thofe days are full of the like Tales. Ethelbald, G rand-
fon of Eoppa, Brother of Penda, mounted the 1 hrone al-
ter Ceolred.


This Prince was one of the moft illuftrious Kings that
had hitherto worn the Crown of Mercia, to which he. ad-
ded the Dignity of Monarch of the Anglo-Saxons, rcfigncd
by Ina King of IFeffex, when he turned Monk. This
Dignity feems to have confifted originally only in prehding
at the general AlTemblies, and commanding the Armies ot
the feven Kingdoms, and fome other Prerogatives, wh

But thefe Wars are fo confufedly and lamely related by the
Hiftorians, that all I could fay would not fuffice to give a
clear Notion of them. We mult therefore be contented
with what has been laid of him in general, which may ferve
to difcover the Character of King Offa.

Whilft Offa was employed in fubduing the Saxon Kings,
the Weljh, always upon the Watch to improve the Advan-
tages afforded them by the frequent Diflenlions of the Eng-
lijb, thought they had now a (air Opportunity to attack him.
This unexpected War, wherein the Weljh at firft were fuc-Sim. Dux.
cefsful, caus'd Offa to conclude a Peace with the Englijb,
\r\ order to turn his Arms againft the IVeljh. He quickly
redue'd them to fuch a Condition that they were foiced to
abandon not only their late Conquefts in Mercia, but alfo
part of their own Country beyond the Severn, which Offa
feiz'd and peopled with Englijb Colonies. But to prevent
the Weljh from ever retaking it, he threw up a Rampart,
defended by a large Ditch, by means of which he parted
his Conquefts from the reft of Wales. This Rampart, in
length twenty four Miles, reaching from the Mouth of the
Dec, to the place where the IVye runs into the Severn, was
called Clawdb Offa, or Offa's Dyke (5).

In 7S6, Offa made his Son Eg/rid Partner with him in Ann- Sax.
the Government, and gave his Daughter Edburg in Mar- M- p,ms '
riage to Britbrie King of Weffex.

What caft the grcateft Blemifh on Offa's Reputation was M.Wcft.
his Treachery to Ethslbert King of the EaJl-Angles. This ^ ™
young Prince deligning to marry, came to the Court of Of-

. Ann. Sax.

conferr'd no Right of Sovereignty over the other Kings. At fa and demanded his Daughter Adelfrida in Marriage. He

<_uiu __ P . ... ° J . ■ > ■ r • Li X)..t- .l,o nnc rerpiv'ii -\t firft with (Trpat Marl's of ArtfiiHinn nnrl

Bedc, 1. 5.

c. 24.
H. Hur.t.

75 2 -
Ann- Sax.
H. Hunt.

M. Well.


C . Malm-
I. 1. c. l-
Bedc, Eplt.

leaft, the Electors look'd upon it in this Light. But the
Monarcbs generally confider'd it after a very different man-
ner. They were no fooner inverted with it, but their nik
care was to grafp at an unlimited Power, to which they
thought themfelves intitled by the Examples of the preceding
Monarchs. Ethelbald, improving fome favorable Junctures
in his Reign, carried the Prerogatives of the Monarchy to
the higheft degree, and thereby grew very troublelome and
formidable to the other Kings ( 1 ). For which reaton
the Kings of Wejex and Northumberland agreed to attack
him from two different Quarters at once. As Merctavns
fituated between thefe two Kingdoms, Ethelbald was oblig-
ed to fend half his Army towards the North, whilft with
the other half he marched himfelf againft the Weft-Saxons
commanded by Ethelun. The Particulars of this War are
unknown, except that Ethelbald was vanquifhed and his
Army put to rout (2). ,.**..•

Four Years after, this Prince was (lain (3) in a Mutiny
of the Army raifed by a Lord named Beornrcd, who was
proclaim'd King by the Soldiers.

B E O R N R E D, the Ufurper.

Beornred't Election by the Army, who had no right to
aflume fuch an Authority, was very difpleafing to the Mer-
cian Lords, especially as the King eleft was no ways re-
lated to the Royal Family. And therefore, before Beorn-
rcd had time to eftablifh himfelf in his Ufurpation, they
forthwith placed on the Throne Offa Nephew of the
late King. Prefently after, Offa drawing an Army to-
gether, gave the Ufurper Battle, and obtained a complete
Victory. Some fay, Beornrcd was Main, and others, that
he maintain'd his Ground for a while in fome part of



(, Malm.

1. +.

11 1. Wig.
Huntil gd.
M. Paris,

Offa was one of the moft famous Kings that reigned in
England during the Heptarchy, not only for his being in-
verted with the Dignity of Monarch, but for his Victories
over the Weljh and the neighbouring Saxon Princes(4-), and
for feveral other things which I fhall briefly relate. One
of his greateft Victories was that over Aldric King of Kent,

in 774- *

Nothing was more common than to fee thofe who were
inverted with the Monarchy, afpiring to a fovereign Autho-
rity over the other Kings. Offa, treading in the Steps of
his Predeceffors, never ceafed to difturb his Neighbours on
that occafion, and was engaged by his Ambition in continual
Wars with fuch Princes as difputed his pretended Rights.

was receiv'd at firft with great Marks of AfFe&ion and
Efteem. But foon after the Scene was changed, Offa, by
the pre/ling and repeated Iniligations of shtendrida his
Wife (6), who reprefented to him that he ought by all
means to embrace fo fair an Opportunity ol becoming Ma-
tter of Eajl-Anglia, was perfuaded to break the molt facred
Laws of Honor and Hofpitality, by the Murder of Ethel-
beri (7). Which done he marches into Eajl-Anglia with Brompton.
a numerous Army, before the Eajl- Angles had time to pre-
pare for their Defence, and meeting with no Oppofition,
ieizes the Kingdom, and unites it to Mercia.

He had no fooner committed this Horrid Fa£l, but he was
tormented with cruel Remorfe. His Crime was continu-
ally before his Eyes, and tortured him to fuch a Degree,
that he could not enjoy a Moment's Eafe. To appeafe his 794a
raging Confcience, he refolv'd upon a Journey to Rome t
(which he perform'd in 79+) to obtain a Pardon from the
Pope, and fecure himfelf from the Punifhment due to his
Crime. The Pope (8) granted his Requeft, on condition
he would be liberal to the Churches and Monajleries : for
that was the only way then of atoning for Sins. It were
to be wifh'd that Reftitution had alfo been enjoined as a
neceffary and previous Condition.

Among the Liberalities oi Offa to the Churches of Rome,
we mult not omit one of great Confequence for England.
Ina King of the JVeJl-Saxons, had now founded at Rome a
College tor the Education of Englijb Youth ; for the Main-
tenance whereof the Founder order'd a Penny to be col-
lected yearly of every Family in his Dominions (9). This
kind of Charity was term'd Rome/cot, that is, Tribute of
Rome, or fent to Rome. Offa extended this Tax through- m. raj*.
out Mercia and Eajl-Anglia, the Lands belonging to the M - Wett -
Monaftery of St. Albans only excepted : And becaufe this
Money was paid at Rome on a Holy-day, call'd St. Peter's
ad vinculo ( 1 o), this Tax was nam'd Peter-Pence, inftead of
Romefcot. By this Means the Directors of the College were
abundantly fupplied wherewithal to defray the Expence they
were at frem the great Concourfe of the Englijb, who
came to ftudy at Rome. In procefs of Time, the Popes
pretending it was a Tribute paid by the Englijb to St. Peter
and his Succeffors, converted it to their own ufe, 'till it
was entirely abolifh'd by HenryVlll (11).

Before Offa left Rome, he obtain'd of the Pope the Ca-
nonization of St. Alban, the firft Britijh Martyr, whofe

Relicks were pretended to be found mVcrulam. At his re- 70 j.
turn, he built there a fine Church and a ftately Monaftery, Bedc, /. i»
to which he granted great Privileges and a large Revenue. '• 7-
From that time Verulam was call'd St. Albans. Offa was
alfo very munificent to the Church of Hereford, where the
Body of the King of Eajl-Anglia lay buried, that Prayers


(1) Anno?;-,, HetookiWttx: In 74s defeated the We1f>, and made all the Kings and Provinces of EnglaU, South of the Humher, acknowledge
him for their Sovereign. Huntingd. Brompt. Sax. Ann.

(■>.) At Bcorgjoid, or Burford, in Oxfirdjbiri. Tyrrel, p 216.
(3: Ai Seauubinc, now call'd Seckingtm, in WanaMJb?—
1 .19.1. Sec Sax. Ann. Huntingd Ingulf b. Bnaptou, 4rc.

(V He conquer'd the Kings of Kent, Wejfex and Northumbria.
• . ,„ Oxfirdlhire. Hunting*, p. 343- Tyrrel, p 230

! his Dike may be feen on Bracby Hill, and near Rbyd er Hehg_ and Lanterden xnjttnfi'djh,
of Sbropjbirt into Wsmtgamtryjhire, and

•ntingd. p. 341, fays it was at Hertford. See Sax. Ann. Malmsb. Brotr.pt.
Cfmdtn, p. 507, 515; and was buried at Rnpandune, or Rtfun, in Derbyjiiire, CanrMn,

Hunting. Sax. Ann. M.Paris, Malmsb. Anno 778, he defeated the JPtfl-Saxm at

e .• and is continued northwards from Knighton

' his Dike may be feen on Bracby Hill, and near Rbyd «<■ Helig and Lanterda in Herfrdflnre : and is continued northwards irom Kmgbtm
over a rart of Shroblbirt into Msntgmttrffhirt, and goes over the long Mountain of tern D<gQtb, to Harden-JCuJtU, crofs the Severn and Lb.w-Dnr,,
Common: from whence it paffes the Vyrnwy again into Sb,*fjhire, not far from Ofwaldj,ry. In De»b,gbJb^ it 1£ v.i.bU : along the Road between
Klyaatnl and Wrexham, and being continued thro' Flint/hire, ends a little below lhlywdl, a place. formerly the fite ol the Laftle ol Baj,ngyi:rk. Sc;
CW.p.698. _ : _ u u;

'innd. p. 69S. .

(6) Matt.Parit fays, that he fhut her up, and w.,uld never let her come nigh him again, p. 05 1.

(7) He was murdcr'd at Mardan, about three Miles from Hereford. Lewis's Wft of Gr. Brit- Intra
(9) It was in all upon twenty-three of our prefent Countries, for fo tar his Dominions extended.
[11J Nicb, Bacon in his hiftorfcaj and political Difcourlcs, c. 9- roakts it appear it was far from being a Tribute

:d. p. 43. (8 ) Adrian.

(10) Firft D.y cf Auguji,



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Book III.

The Kingdom of EAST-ANGLIA.


1. 1

Lanlbi 't-
.Sax- leg.
S pel man.


G. Malm.
/. i. c-4-


M. W c rt.
H- Hunt.
Flor- Wig,

Sim. Dun-
R. de Htv.

might be inceflantly made for the Murdered and Mur-

William of Malmsbury, fpeaking of King Offa, doubts
whether he ihould rank him among the good or bad Princes
(1). The Canonization of St. Alban, procured by his means,
and the founding a noble Monaftery in Honour of that Saint,
being put in the Balance againft the Murder of Ethelbert,
is the Ground of that Hiftorian's Uncertainty.

The Reign of Offa is memorable upon feveral Accounts:
His Dike: The Union of Eajl-Anglia to Mercia: Thee-
rectino- of Lichfield into an Archbifhoprick (2), of which I
{hall fpeak elfewhere: Peter-Pence: A Body of Laws
publifh'd under the Title of Mercens Leaga, (i. e.) Laws
of the Mcrcians{-f), which ferv'd for Pattern to his Succeflbrs,
and the grcateft part whereof were inferted in King Alfrid's
Laws, publifhed about the end of the next Century (4).

Offa had contracted a clofe Friendfhip with Charles the
Great. We meet with fome of their Letters in the Life of
Offa at the end of Matthew Parish Hiftory : A Life where-
in are almoft as many Fables as Truths.

This Prince died in 796, after a Reign of thirty nine
Years. Egfrid who had already been crowned as his Part-
ner fucceeded him both in the Kingdom of Mercia, and
Dignity of Monarch.


Egfrid, who furvived his Father but four or five Months,
employed that time in enriching the Monks, and particularly
thofe of St. Albans. Cenulpb, defcended from Wibba by
another Branch, fucceeded him in both his Dignities.

C E N U L P H.

Cenulph was no fooner on the Throne, but he declared

War againft Edbert-Pren King of Kent, the motive where-
of is unknown (5). We are only told, it proved fatal to
the King of Kent, who being taken Prifoner, was carried to
Mercia, where Cenulph ordered his Eyes to be put out (6;,
after he had placed another King (7) on the Throne of
Kent (8).

Cenulph died in 819, after a glorious Reign of twenty G. Malm,
four Years. He left a Son very young, named Ctnelm, Pol 3 ta
and two Daughters, ^uendrida and Burganilda.


Quendrida, eldeft Sifter of Cenelm, hoping to mount the g , Q
Throne, if her brother was out of the way, caufed him to Higdc*. "
be aflaffinated by one Afobert, who threw his Body into
a Well, where it was found as it is pretended by a Mira-
cle. Quendrida did not reap that Benefit from her Crime,
fhe expected ; for the Mercians placed on the Throne Ceo-
lulph Uncle of the late King.

C E O L U P H.

This Prince after a Year's Reign was depofed by Ber- 819,
nulph, one of the principal Lords of the Country. An - iax -

W I T G L A P H, 825.

I fhall fay nothing here of thefe three laft Kings of Mer-
cia, becaufe I fhall have occafion to mention them in the
Hiftory of the Kings of JVeffex.


Hiftory of EAST-ANGLIA.





Lang. (Jhr.

G. Malm.
I. .. c. 3.


H E Kingdom of the Eafl- Angles was bounded on
the North by the Humber and the German O-
cean: On the Eaft by the fame Ocean, which
furrounded it almoft on two fides: On the South
by the Kingdom of Ejfcx ; and on the Weft by Mercia.
Its greateft length was eighty, and its greateft breadth fifty
five miles. It contained the two Counties of Norfolk and
Suffolk, with part of Cambridge/hire. The chief Towns
Were Norwich, Thetford, Ely, and Cambridge. I have
already related, how this Kingdom was founded by the
Angles that landed on the eaftern Coafts of Britain, under
twelve Chiefs, the Survivor of whom, Uffa, aflumed the
Title of King of the Eajl- Angles.


We don't find this Prince a£ted any thing remarkable
after his being King. He died in 578, leaving his Son 77-
tilus to fucceed him.

T I T I L U S.

All we know of this King is, that he died in 599, and
had for Succeflbr his Son Rcdoivald.


This Prince was the moft illuftrious of all the Kings of
Eajl-Anglia, if not of the whole Heptarchy. As I have
had occafion to fpeak of him largely in the Hiftory of
Northumberland, I fhall only obferve here that he died in
624, leaving his Crown to his Son Erpwald.

E R P W A L D.

Erpwald made but a very indifferent Figure in the Hep-
tarchy, being all along in Subjection to Edwin King of

Northumberland, who might have depriv'd him of his
Kingdom, with the Confent of the Eajl-Angles, if the
Obligations he had received from Redowald his Father
would have fuffered him to have been guilty of fo black an
Ingratitude. However he was in reality the Sovereign of
Eajl-Anglia, tho' he left Erpwald the Title of King.
Erpwald was aflaffinated in 63 3, after he had reign'd about Bede > '■
nine Years. '' ' 5 '



After his Death, Eajl-Anglia had no King for three
Years, the Reafon whereof is unknown. In 636 the Eajl-
Angles placed on the Throne Sigebcrt, half Brother of their
laft King.

S I G E B E R T.

This Prince who was banifhed by Erpwald his Brother 636.
by the Mother's Side, on fufpicion of afpiring to the Crown, G. Malm.
had retired into France, where he became a Chriftian. As 1, '• c : S«
foon as he was King of Eajl-Anglia, he made it his chief Be ' de> }f"
Buftnefs to bring his Subjects to the Knowledge of the truer. 18.
God ; which indeed was planted among them in the Reign . H- Hant *
of Redowald, but having made no great Progrefs, was now
almoft extinguifhed. After he had effected this Work by the
Affiftance of Felix a Burgundian Prieft, he retired into a
Monaftery, refigning his Crown to Egric his Coufin.

E G R I C.

Egric foon after his Coronation, being attacked by Penda 644,
King of Mercia, the Eajf- Angles having no great Confi- Bede.
denee in their new King, petition Sigebert to quit his Mo-
naftery, and put himfelf at the Head of their Army. He
flood out a good while againft their Intreaties: But poflefs'd
with a Notion that Heaven mull crown (o pious a Prince

(1) Picbably the true Reafon why W. Malmsbury gives him an indifferent Character, is, becaufe he feized the Lands of feveral Monafteries, particularly
of that at Malmsbury. See W. Malmsb p. 30.

(2) Upon his conquering Kent he remov d the Archiepifcopal See from Canterbury to Lichfield See M. Parts, p. 978, 979. Malmsb, de Pontif. p. 199.

(3) Concerning this Matter, fee Ntcholjon'z, tlifc. Libr p 45. and his Preface to Dr If'ilkins's Saxon-Laws.

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