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Offa
Offley
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that he was worthy of respect, both personally and as a powerful king. Offa put forth laws for his people; they are not extant, but King Ælfred, in the preface to his laws, declares that he used them in common with the laws of others of his predecessors (Thorpe, Ancient Laws and Institutes, i. 58). His queen was Kynethryth, who is said to have been concerned in the death of Æthelberht. His only son, Ecgferth or Egfrith, succeeded him, and reigned only a few months, being succeeded in the same year by Cenwulf. His daughters were Eadburga, Eadburgh, or Eadburh (fl. 802) [q. v.], wife of Beorhtric, king of the West-Saxons; Elfleda or Ælflæd, wife of Æthelred of Northumbria; Ethelburga or Æthelburh, an abbess; Ælfthryth, perhaps the Elfrida said to have been promised to Æthelberht, died a virgin (Flor. Wig.); and Æthelswyth.

Offa is the subject of legends. Some are connected with the death of Æthelberht [see under Ethelbert]. Others are contained in the ‘Vitæ duorum Offarum,’ falsely attributed to Matthew Paris, which gives, first, a wholly legendary life of one of his ancestors, also named Offa, fifth in descent from Woden; and, secondly, a life of the Mercian king, whose name, so the writer asserts, was originally Winfrith, and was changed to Offa on account of his likeness to an ancestor of that name. The story is of no historic value. It was believed at St. Albans and elsewhere that, after Offa had translated the relics of St. Alban, he journeyed to Rome, was received by Pope Hadrian, obtained from him a privilege for the monastery that he was about to build in honour of the saint, and granted the Roman see St. Peter's pence, to be paid by every family for ever to the English school at Rome, which was then flourishing or which he then founded (Chronica Majora, i. 358–60; Gesta Abbatum S. Albani, i. 45; Vitæ duorum Offarum, pp. 984, 985; Hen. Hunt. p. 124). This belief, which was mistaken, was no doubt derived from the king's actual yearly grant to the pope begun in 787. Offa is further said to have been buried in a chapel on the Ouse, near Bedford. The place of his burial was not known, and the St. Albans historian comforts himself, when writing of this calamity, with the reflection that it was not otherwise with Moses. A German legend connects Offa with the town of Offenburg, in the grand-duchy of Baden.

[Anglo-Sax. Chron. ann. 777, 792, 794, 796, Sym. Dunelm. i. 353, ii. 41, 44, 48, Henry of Huntingdon, pp. 123, 124, 126, 128–31, Will. of Malmesbury's Gesta Regum, i. 84–6, 91, 95, 105, 109, and Gesta Pontiff. pp. 66, 194, 305, 388; Hist. de Abingdon, i. 14, 18, Matt. Paris's Chron. Maj. i. 342, 354–63, Gesta Abb. S. Albani, i. 4–9 (all in the Rolls Ser.); Flor. Wig. i. 56, 59, 62, 63, 266 (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Ann. Camb. ann. 778, 784, 795 (Mon. Hist. Brit. p. 835); Jaffé's Monumenta Carolina, pp. 279–82, 351, 352, 357, and Mon. Alcuin. p. 167; Gesta Abb. Fontanell. c. 16, ed. Pertz; Kemble's Codex Dipl. Nos. 105–67 passim (Engl. Hist. Soc.); Haddan and Stubbs's Eccl. Documents, iii. 440–7, 462, 478–88, 496–9; Dugdale's Monast. i. 266, ii. 214; Thorpe's Ancient Laws and Institutes, i. 58 (8vo edit.); Vitæ duorum Offarum, ap. Matt. Paris, pp. 969 seq. (ed. Wats); Dict. Chr. Biogr. iv. 68–71, art. ‘Offa’ (4) by Bishop Stubbs; Green's Making of England, pp. 418–22, 424; Rhys's Celtic Britain, p. 141; Parker's Early Hist. of Oxford, p. 109, Oxford Hist. Soc.]

W. H.

OFFALEY, Baroness. [See Digby, Lettice, Lady, 1588?-1658.]

OFFALY, Lords of Barons of. [See Fitzgerald, Gerald, d. 12040; Fitzgerald, Maurice, 1194?-1257; Fitzgerald, John, first Earl of Kildare, d. 1316; Fitzgerald, Thomas, tenth Earl of Kildare, 1513-1537.]

OFFLEY, Sir THOMAS (1505?–1582), lord mayor of London, born at Stafford, apparently about 1505, was eldest son of William Offley, a native of Staffordshire, who afterwards migrated to Chester, and became sheriff there in 1517. His mother's maiden name was Cradock. He was sent up to London at the age of twelve, and went to school under William Lily [q. v.], ‘then newly elected schoolmaster of Jesus School in Pauls Church Yard’ (Hunter, Chorus Vatum, v. 542). Under Lily he became proficient in grammar, and, having a good voice, ‘was put to learn pricksong among the choristers of Pauls’ (ib.) He was apprenticed at an early age to a merchant-taylor and merchant of the staple, named John Mechels, described as an intimate friend of Lily. Taking up his freedom, he rose in time to be master (1547) of the Merchant Taylors' Company. In 1549 he was chosen alderman of Portsoken Ward; in 1553 he was sheriff, and in 1556 lord mayor. The year of his mayoralty was memorable for its ‘burning fevers’ (Grafton, Chronicle, 1569, p. 1351), seven aldermen dying within two months. The useful institution of nightbellmen originated with Offley (Stow, Survey, ed. Strype, ii. 133). On 7 Feb. 1556–7 he was knighted by the queen at Greenwich. About the same time he was mayor of the staple, and corresponded in this capacity with Sir W. Cecil (Cal. State Papers, 1547–80, pp. 241, 312, &c.). His residence was at first in Lime Street, but afterwards in the parish of St. Dionis Backchurch. He died on 29 Aug. 1582, and was buried, at his own request, in the church of St. Andrew Undershaft, where his monu-