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Offa
Offa
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was completed in the course of the next year (Ecclesiatical Documents, iii. 444 seq.) At this synod Offa's son Ecgferth was nominated king in conjunction with his father (not specially king of Kent, as Hen. Huxt. p. 128), though it is probable that his as- sumption of royalty was delayed until, in common with the erection of the new archbishopric, it received the express sanction of the pope. Moreover, at this synod Offa granted to the see of Rome a yearly payment of 365 mancuses for the relief of the poor and the maintenance of lights in St. Peter's Church (Ecclesiastical Documents, iii. 445, 524). This grant seems to have been the origin of Peter's pence. The trade between England and Germany received the attention of both Offa and Charles, and Offa was on terms of close friendship with Gerwold, abbot of St. Wandrille, who was several times sent to him on embassies by the Frankish king, and was employed by Charles to collect the customs at different ports, and specially at Quentavic, or Etaples, at the mouth of the Canche. On one occasion the friendly relations between the two kings were for a time interrupted. It is said that Charles asked for one oi Offa's daughters in marriage for his eldest son, that Offa refused unless Charles would give his daughter in marriage to Offa's son, and that Charles was deeply angered by this assumption of equality by the Mercian king. Whatever the cause may have been, the fact of the disagreement between the kings is certain. In 790 both of them stopped all trade between their countries. Gerwold used his influence to arrange matters, and Alcuin [q. v.] wrote that he thought it likely that he should be sent to England to that end (Gesta Abhatum Fontariellensium, c. 16 ; Monunienta Alcuiniana, p. 167). The two kings soon became friends again. Letters from Charles to Offa request the recall to England of a Scottish priest residing at Cologne, promise immunity to pilgrims on their way to Rome and protection to merchants, and announce that gifts had been sent by the Prankish king to Offa and to Mercian and Northumbrian sees (Monumenta Carolina, pp. 351, 357, 358 ; the letter from which Lingard, Preeman, and others derive the assertion that Charles addressed Offa as the 'most powerful of the Christian kings of the west,' in Heciieil des Historiens, V. 620, is an obvious forgery, and as such has not been included by Jaffé in his Monumenta Carolina).

Offa was a liberal benefactor to monasteries, and a large number of extent charters purport to be grants from him to Christ Church and St. Augustine's at Canterbury, to Worcester, Peterborough, Evesham, St. Alban's, Rochester, and other churches. Some of these charters are forgeries ; but, setting aside their authenticity, their number alone seems to prove that nis benefactions were numerous, for otherwise so many would not have been attributed to him (all the references to these charters in Kemble's Codex Diplomaticus are given, and some of them are criticised by Bishop Stubbs in his article on 'Offa, king of the Mercians,' in the Dictionary of Christian Biography, iv. 68 seq.) He is said to have founded the abbeys of St. Albans and Bath ({sc|Hen. Hunt.}} p. 124; Will. Malm. Gesta Pontif. pp. 196, 316). Bath monastery he received in exchangre from Heathored, bishop of Worcester, in 781, and he may perhaps nave raised new buildings there ; but there were monks there when he received it (see Codex Dipl. No. 143). He is also credited with having restored Westminster (Monasticon, i. 266), and with having granted land to the abbey of St. Denys at Paris Birch, Cartularium Saxonirum, i. 360). On the other hand, William of Malmesbury asserts that he despoiled many churches, Malmesbury, from which he took an estate to give to the see of Worcester, being among the number (Gesta Pontiff. p. 388 ; Gesta Regum, i. 86). In the latter years of his reign he made an alliance with Æthelred, king of Northumbria (murdered in 796), and gave him one of his daughters in marriage, in 792. In 794 he caused Ethelbert or Sithelberht [q. v.], king of the East-Angles, to be beheaded, probably on account of some sign of impatience of the Mercian supremacy among his people, and subdued his kingdom. This act is generally condemned as cruel and treacherous [see under Ethelbert or Æthelberht]. He is said to have again made war on the Welsh and to have ravaged Rienuch in 795 (Annales Cambrenses, sub ann.) During his last days the Kentish nobles made some attempts to shake off the Mercian yoke, and resisted the strenuous efforts of Ethelhard or Æthelheard [q.v.], archbishop of Canterbury, who was devoted to the Mercian cause, to keep them in order (Ecclesiastical Documents, iii. 495, 496). Offa died on 29 July 796 (comp. Flor. Wig. i. 63, and Monumenta Carolina, p. 357), and immediately on his death Kent openly revolted under Eadbert Praen [q. v.] Save as regards the death of Æthelberht and William of Malmesbury's probably exaggerated accusation with respect to certain dealings with church lands, Offa left behind him a high character. He was certainly religious, and was a remarkably able and active ruler. The correspondence between him and Charles the Great proves