Open main menu

CUTHRED (d. 754), king of the West-Saxons, succeeded his kinsman Æthelheard in 740, when the Mercian Æthelbald was at the height of his power, and appears to have been over-lord of the West-Saxon kingdom. Cuthred struggled against both the Mercians and the Welsh, though he managed never to have both foes arrayed against him at the same time. In 750 he had to meet with an enemy among his own subjects, and fought with Æthelhun, ‘the proud ealdorman,’ and defeated him. Determined to shake off the supremacy of the Mercian king, he made war on Æthelbald in 752 and put him to flight at Burford in Oxfordshire, a victory largely due to the valour of the former rebel Æthelhun, who bore in the battle the royal standard, the golden dragon of Wessex. The rout of Æthelbald at Burford freed the West-Saxons from the dominion of Mercia, and forms an important epoch in their history. The next year Cuthred defeated the Welsh with great slaughter. He died in 754, according to the chronology of the ‘Anglo-Saxon Chronicle,’ and was succeeded by Sigeberht.

[Anglo-Saxon Chron. sub ann.; Flor. Wig. i. 54–6 (Eng. Hist. Soc.); Henry of Huntingdon, p. 728 (Mon. Hist. Brit.); Freeman's Old English History, p. 75; Green's Making of England, p. 396.]

W. H.