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Kingdom of Mercia

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Part of the England Project

(English History is a sub-category of "British History")

Mercia Background

Cawley cites Bede that of the three Germanic tribes that invaded Britain -- Saxons, Angles, and Jutes, it was the Angles who were the ancestors of East and Midland Anglia, Northumbira, and Mercia. Cawley cites Stenton regarding the derivation of the name "Mercia" -- it means "boundary folk" and the boundary may have been the belt of high land connecting Cannock Chase and the forest of Arden. [1]

The seat of the bishop of Mercia was Lichfield, and the seat of the Mercian kings was Tamworth. [1]

Creoda was the first king of Mercia and like other early Anglo-Saxon rulers, claimed descent from Woden. Mercian kings were known collectively as Icelingas, after one of these mythical ancestors. [1]

Cawley states that "The kingdom of Mercia is only mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle from 626, when it records the accession of Penda. Penda’s supposed predecessors are named in the Chronicle only in the passages which set out the supposed early ancestry of the Mercian kings. Florence of Worcester’s genealogies name none of the supposed kings of Mercia before the accession of King Penda in 626. [1]Mercia was probably only a province of the kingdom of Northumbria before the accession of King Penda, and he continued to rule under Northumbrian overlordship." [1]

The Danes appropriated the northern part of Mercia in 877, and no further Mercian kings are recorded after King Ceolwulf II in that year. [1]

Chronology of the Rulers of Mercia 585 - 919[2]

Name Reign
Creoda or Crida c.585-c.593
Pybba c.593 - c.606
Ceorlc.606 - c.626
Penda (c. 604 - 655) c.626 - 655
Eowa (d.642)c.635 - 642
Peada (b. c.629 - 656)c.653-656
Wulfhere (b. c.640 - 675)658 - 675
Athelred (b. c.642 - 716)675-704
Athelbald (d.757)716-757
Offa (d.796)757-796
Egfrith (d.796)Jul - Dec 796
Cenwulf (d.821)796-821
Ceolwulf I821-823 deposed
Beornwulf (d.826)823-826
Ludeca (d.827)826-827
Wiglaf (d.839)827-829 expelled; 830-839
Wigmund (d.840)c.839 - 840 (?)
Beorhtwulf840 - 852
Burgred852 - 874(?)
Ceolwulf II (d. c.883)874 - c883
Athelred (d.911)c.883 - 911
Athelflaed (b. c.869 - 918)911 - 918
Elfwynn (b. c.898)918-19(?)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Cawley, Charles. Foundation for Medieval Genealogy. Medieval Lands: A Prosopography of Medieval European Noble and Royal Families Pybba son of Creoda Accessed 2/5/2019 jhd
  2. Ashley, M. (2008). Mercia (585-919): Including Hwicce, Lindsey and the Magonsaete. A Brief History of British Kings and Queens, (pp.432). Philadelphia, PA: Running Press Book Publishers. Print.

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Categories: Kingdom of Mercia