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9* s. ix. JAN. is, 1902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


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626. Penda succeeded to the kingdom and reigned thirty years ; and he was fifty years old when he succeeded. (This was the year in which Edwin chastised the West Saxons for their attempted assassination of him.)

628. This year Cynegils and Cuichelm fought against Penda at Cirencester, and then made a treaty.

633. This year King Edwin was slain by Cad walla and Penda at Heathfield, 12 October.

After that went Cad walla and Penda

and laid waste the whole country of the Northumbrians. (Bede, iii. 1, attributes this wasting of the North to Cadwallon only, and he it was who was defeated and slain by Oswald in 635 at Denisesburn or Catscaul. Oswald re-established the suzerainty over all England which had been acquired by Edwin.)

(635. Penda conquered East Anglia. Bede, iii. 18.)

642. This year Oswald, King of the North- umbrians, was slain by Penda and the Southumbrians at Maserfield on 5 August. (From this time till his death in 655 Penda had no one south of the H umber who could resist him.)

645. This year Kenwalk was driven out of his (West Saxon) kingdom by King Penda. (He took refuge in East Anglia, where he was baptized, and in 648 was restored to his place, apparently without war. Bede, iii. 7.)

654. This year King Anna was slain (by Penda. who then ravaged East Anglia for the second time. Bede, iii. 18).

655. This year King Oswy slew King Penda

at Winwidfield and Peada, the son of

Penda, succeeded to the kingdom of the Mercians.

This last statement proves that Penda was by origin King of the Southern Mercians, for it was over this part of Mercia that Peada was by Oswy allowed to rule (Bede, iii. 24). The pedigrees of the kings may be cited in confirmation : the men of Lindsey had had a line of kings of their own, which ceases at the tenth descent from Woden ; the Mercian line is quite distinct, and, singularly enough, the first who is known to have had any kingly rank in England is Creoda, the eleventh from Woden, whose remote ancestor Offa ruled the Angles before they came over to this island. The kingdom therefore to which Penda " succeeded " was that of the South Mercians, perhaps with the Pec ssetna added ; and with these the North Mercians (men of Lindsey and Nottingham) associated themselves. The " treaty " of Cirencester and the peace with Kenwalk, the great victories over Edwin and Oswald, and the two invasions of East Anglia would have


results in the expansion of the boundaries of Mercia to include districts formerly held by the West Saxons, Northumbrians, and East Anglians ; and the first part of the * Tribal Hidage ' (excepting the 1,500 hides belonging to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight) probably shows tne extent of the kingdom at Penda's death, while the second part shows that his overlordship extended over all England south of the Humber. In the latter part of his reign he allowed his son Peada to rule over the Middle English (Bede, iii. 21), and to these were probably added the Gyrwas, de- tached from the East Angles, for the founda- tion of Peterborough is attributed to Peada. There is no record that Penda conquered the East or South Saxons or Kent ; these king- doms probably submitted without resistance after the overthrow of Oswald. It seems clear that England south of the Humber had had some sort of unity for a long period, for Bede in his list of Bretwaldas (ii. 5) says that the earlier of them Ella, Ceawlin, Ethelbert, and Redwald governed this district, Edwin being the first to govern north as well as south of the Humber; so that Penda's rule was really a continuation of the old state of affairs the most powerful of the princes having the overlordship.

After Oswy's brief revival for two or three years of the wider lordship of Edwin and Oswald, the youthful Wulfhere (658-675) regained the domains which his father Penda had governed, and in 661 added the Jutish districts of Wight and Hampshire. He seems to have pushed the Mercian boundary south- wards to the Thames, and to have designed further annexations of the West Saxon lands, for in the last year of his reign he was fighting with Esc win at Beadenhead (Bed win 1). His brother arid successor Ethelred (675-704) managed to maintain the Mercian limits as extended, and though greater kings, in Ethel- bald and Offa, exercised probably a more direct and coercive authority, the boundaries remained unaltered. One point about Wulf- here's reign may be noticed : he seems to have moved his chief residence westward as time wenton(Beresford's 'Lichfield Diocese,' p. 28); and a similar movement is noticeable in the life of his daughter St. Werburgh, for while her early associations are with Ely and Wee- don, she afterwards founded Hanbury and Trentham. Lichfield also became the prin- cipal see of Mercia, and Leicester and Lindsey occupied subordinate positions.

III. With the growth of Mercia in area changes took place in its administration. The king associated with himself some ealdor- men. These were normally five in number