The Northern Way

Angliad

9. THE HEPTARCHY

But in Britain, now that Arthur was dead, the Angles began inviting over more and more of their people from Germany, and they continued this until the reign of Ida, son of Eoppa, who was the first king in Bernicia. By now there were seven kingdoms ruled by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, over whom reigned kings of the blood of Woden and other gods.

These kingdoms included Northumbria, which was divided between Deira (whose rulers were descended from Wægdæg son of Woden), and Bernicia - whose kings were of the blood of Bældæg, as were those of Wessex. East Anglia's kings are descended from Casere son of Woden; those of Kent and Mercia go back to Wihtlæg son of Woden; while the kings of Essex descend from Seaxneat, god of the Saxons. Also there are the kings of Sussex, whose origin is unrecorded.


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Octha was the first king of Kent, of whom we have already spoken. His father was Hengest, whose father was Wihtgils, whose father was Witta, whose father was Wehta, whose father was Wihtlæg, whose father was Woden.

The first king of Sussex was Ælle, who came to Britain with his three sons, Cymen, and Wlencing, and Cissa, in three ships, landing at the place that is named Cymenes ora. There they killed many of the Britons, and drove some in flight into the wood that is named the Weald. Then they fought against the Britons at Mercred's Burnsted, and later Ælle and Cissa besieged the city of Pevensey, and slew all within, nor was one Briton left there afterwards.

Two leaders came into Britain, Cerdic and Cynric his son, in five ships, at Cerdices ora, fighting with the Britons on the same day. Cerdic slew the British king Natanleod at Charford, and took from him the land of Netley. Later they fought the Britons at Cerdicsley, and seized the Isle of Wight, slaying all who held Carisbrooke, which he gave to his nephews Stuf and Wihtgar. Then Cerdic died, and Cynric succeeded him. Cerdic was the son of Elesa, son of Gewis, son of Wig, whose sister married Offa of Angeln, son of Freawine whom Eadgils slew, son of Frithugar, son of Brand, son of Bældæg, son of Woden.

The first man to rule over Essex was Æscwine, son of Offa, whose father was Beadca, whose father was Sigefugel, whose father was Sweppa, whose father was Antsecg, whose father was Gesecg, whose father was Seaxneat.

At the same time men came from Germany to occupy East Anglia, and some of them invaded what was later called Mercia, and they waged war with the Britons. But because their leaders were many, their names have not come down to us. But the first king of East Anglia was Wehha, son of Wilhelm, son of Hryp, son of Hrothmund, son of Trygil, son of Tætman, son of Casere, son of Woden. Wehha begat Wuffa, who begat Tyttla, who begat Redwald, who received in his court Edwin son of Ælle, when he fled from Æthelfrith.

The first king of Deira was Ælle, whose father was Yffe, whose father was Uxfrea, whose father was Wilgisl, whose father was Sæfugel, whose father was Sæbald, whose father was Sigegeat, whose father was Swebdæg, whose father was Sigegar, whose father was Wægdæg son of Woden. Ælle's son was Edwin who was the first Christian king of Northumbria, but in his youth fled to Gwynedd after being sent into exile by Æthelfrith, first king to unite Deira and Bernicia.

The first king of Bernicia was Ida, son of Eoppa who poisoned Ambrosius, son of Esa, son of Ingwi, son of Angenwit, son of Aloc, son of Benoc, brother of Frithugar and like him son of Brand, son of Bældæg son of Woden. Ida had twelve sons, four of whom succeeded him in turn. One of his grandsons, Æthelric, had as a son that Æthelfrith who has already been mention, who united Deira and Bernicia. He had many sons, including Oswald who Penda of Mercia killed.

The first king of Mercia was Creoda, whose father was Cynewald, whose father was Cnebba, whose father was that Icel after whom the Mercian kings are called the Icelings. His father was Eomer, whose father was Angeltheow, whose father was that Offa who won the broadest of kingdoms in his youth with a duel against the atheling and the champion of the Swæfe nation. Wærmund was Offa's father, Wihtlæg begat Wærmund, Wadolgeat begat Wihtlæg, and Woden begat Wadolgeat. Creoda had a son named Pubba, who had twelve sons, of whom two are better known, Penda and Eowa. Penda fought against the Northumbrians, and slew Oswald, and fixed his head and limbs upon stakes, at Oswestry.
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Ida, the son of Eoppa, ruled over lands in the north of Britain, and reigned twelve years. Then Outigern the Briton fought bravely against the nation of the Angles.

Adda, son of Ida, reigned eight years; Æthelric, son of Adda, reigned four years. Theodric, son of Ida, reigned seven years. Freothwulf reigned six years. Hussa reigned seven years. Four kings fought against him, Urien, and Ryderchen, and Guallauc, and Morcant. Theodric and his sons fought bravely against Urien. But sometimes the Angles and sometimes the Britons were victorious, and Urien besieged them for three days and three nights in the island of Lindisfarne; but while he was out on a raid he was murdered by an agent of Morcant, who envied him his prowess.

Æthelfrith reigned in Bernicia for twelve years, and twelve more over Deira as well, and he gave to his wife Bebba, the town of Dingwary, which from her is called Bebbanburh, or Bamburgh.

Edwin, son of Ælle, who reigned for seventeen years, conquered Elmet, and expelled Ceretic, its king. Eanfled, his daughter, received baptism, on the twelfth day after Pentecost, with all her followers, both men and women. The following Easter Edwin himself received baptism, and twelve thousand of his subjects with him.

Oswald son of Æthelfrith, reigned for nine years; he slew Cadwalla, king of Gwynedd, at the battle of Heavenfield, with many losses on his own side. Oswy, son of Æthelfrith, reigned for twenty-eight years and six months. During his reign many of his subjects were killed, when Cadwallader succeeded his father as king among the Britons, and Oswy died among the rest. He killed Penda at Winwed, and the kings of the Britons who accompanied Penda as far as Stirling, were all slain.

Penda, son of Pybba, reigned for ten years; he separated the kingdom of Mercia from the North, and slew by treachery Anna, king of the East Anglians, and Oswald, king of the Northumbrians. He fought the battle of Masefeld, in which fell Eawa, son of Pybba, his brother, king of the Mercians, and Oswald, king of the Northumbrians, and he gained the victory through the favour of Woden. He was the last heathen king among the Angles, and after his day, the Angles were Christian.
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