Tag Archives: Mellitus

Sæberht of Essex

Title : King of Essex

Reign : c.600 – c.616

Born :

Died :

Spouse : Ethelgoda

Parents : Sledd, King of Essex and Ricula, sister of King Æthelberht of Kent

Succeeded his father Sledd as King of Essex in c.604 and is known as the first East Saxon king to convert to Christianity. More and likely he was persuaded by his uncle King Æthelberht of Kent, to whom he was more and likely a vassal to.   He converted in 604 as per Bede and was baptised by Mellitus, Bishop of London.

Later medieval legend states that Sæberht and his wife Ethelgoda built the original chapel on the site of Westminster Abbey and were later buried there.

Sæberht is more and likely the occupier of the Prittlewell tomb ‘by the Prittle stream’ near Southend-on-Sea, Essex.  The tomb was filled with vast amounts of impressive grave goods.  These came not only from England but also from the continent.  The only part left of the body was a few teeth.  The discovery of golden foil crosses shows that the grave was an early Christian.

After his death his sons converted back to paganism.