Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Kings of Hwicce

Hwicce was a kingdom in the Heptarchy period of Anglo-Saxon England. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it became a Kingdom in 577. It lasted until, 628 when it became client or sub-kingdom of Mercia after the Battle of Cirencester.According to the Anglo-Saxon chronicle there was a battle at Dyhmam in 577 in which the Gewisse (West Saxons) under Ceawlin killed three British Kings and captured Gloucester, Cirencester and Bath.

The Kingdom included the majority of Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. Also small parts of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and the north-west tip of Wiltshire.

Below is a list of different kings who sometimes ruled in tandem with other kings.

Eanhere and Eanfrith, mid 7th century were brothers who were believed to have been kings of the Hwicce. Eanfrith’s daughter Eafe married Aethelwealh, King of Sussex.

Osric, is believed to reigned jointly at points with his brother Oshere. Osric is believed to be the possible son of Eanhere and Osthryth who was daughter of Oswiu of Northumbria. It is claimed that Osric founded two monastic houses. One at Bath, which is now Bath Abbey and the other in Gloucester, now Gloucester Cathedral. Osric was buried at Gloucester Cathedral next to his sister Cyneburh, before the alter of St Petonilla. Cyneburh was the first Abbess. His remains now lie in a medieval tomb in the cathedral.

Oshere, was the believed brother to Osric. He was reigning in 693 when he issued a charter to Abbess Cuthswith, witnessed by his sons Aethelheard, Aethelweard, Aethelberht and Aetheric. It is believed after the death of Osric, that he would of ruled with his sons, including another son Aethelmod.

Aethelheard and Aethelweard together in 692 issued a charter to Abbess Cuthswith and also a charter with King Aethelred of Mercia. Aethelheard was styled ‘rex’ in a list of witnesses to a possible charter issued by King Cenred of Mercia in 709. Aethelweard in 706 granted land to Bishop Ecgwine.

Aethelric, in 706 was granted land with consent of King Cenred of Mercia, and in 736 he witnessed a charter by King Aethelbald of Mercia. In another undated charter he received a grant hiself from Aethelbald.

Eanberht, is said to have ruled along side Uhtred and Ealdred. In 757 the three granted land to Bishop Milred and in 759 to Abbot Headda. Eanberht is then not recorded after 759.

Uhtred and Ealdred, in 770 Uhtred issued a charter to the thegn Athelmund. Ealdred was styled ‘dux’ or duke by King Offa of Mercia, but considered himself king ruling with Earnberht and Uhtred his brothers. In 778 a charter with Offa gave land to Ealdred and after Ealdred’s death Offa then absorbed Hwicce into Mercia.

Ealdred’s successor was Aethelmund but he was only ever named as Earl or Ealdorman of Hwicce, which leads to believe it had integrated into Mercia fully by this time.

 

Modern day Bath Abbey

Modern day Bath Abbey

hwicce

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