Kings of Mercia 527 – 918

Kings of Mercia - Anglo Saxon England

This timeline details all Kings of Mercia from 515 to 918

See also: Kings of Kent
Kings of Wessex
Kings of Sussex
Kings of Essex
Kings of East Anglia

Icel c.527 – c.535
Son of Eomer
It is believed that Icel landed in East Anglia around 515 at the head of an army of Angles and defeated the Britons. After taking control of East Anglia he took control of Mercia.
Cnebba c.535 – c.545
Son of Icel
Succeeded his father as King. Little is known of his life or reign. It is believed he died around 545.
Cynewald c.545 – c.580
Son of Cnebba
No details of Cynewald’s reign as King of Mercia are recorded.
Creoda c.580 – c.595
Son of Cynewald
Creoda is sometimes cited as the first secure King of Mercia. He built a fortress at Tamworth.
Pybba c.595 – c.606
Son of Creoda
Expanded the region controlled by Mercia into the west Midlands. He is alleged to have had 12 sons and a daughter.
Cearl c.606 – c.626
A kinsman of Pybba
It is not known why Cearl took the throne after the death of Pybba. In 616 Cearl fought and lost the Battle of Chester against the Northumbrians. The defeat may have contributed to his loss of Power.
Son of Pybba
Married Cynewise
Penda took the throne from his cousin Cearl. The rule of Penda saw Mercia become the dominant Kingdom in England. Success in the Battle of Cirencester in 628 gave Mercia control of the Severn Valley. Penda defeated Edwin of Northumbria in the Battle of Hatfield Chase in 633 and Oswald of Northumbria at the Battle of Maserfield in 642. In 655 he was killed in battle against Oswiu of Northumbria at Winwaed.
Oswiu of Northumbria 655 – 658
Son of Aethelfrith
Married three times and had seven children
Oswiu took control of Mercia after defeating Penda at Winwaed.
Wulfhere 658 – 675
Son of Penda
Wulfhere ousted Oswiu and became King of Mercia. He was the first Christian King of Mercia.
Aethelred I 675 – 704
Son of Penda
Married Osthryth of Northumbria
He invaded Kent and Northumbria taking land from both. Aethelred’s wife was murdered in 697, and in 704 Aethelred abdicated and entered a monastery.
Coenred 704 – 709
Son of Wulfhere
Became King after Aethelred abdicated. He also abdicated in 709 and left England on pilgrimage to Rome.
Ceolred 709 – 716
Son of Aethelred I
Little is known of his reign but he was an unpopular ruler. He was possibly poisoned.
Aethelbald 716 – 757
Grandson of Eowa. Ceolred’s cousin
Aethelbald was a strong ruler who made Mercia the dominant Anglo-Saxon kingdom. He was killed by his bodyguards in 757 but the reason for this is not recorded.
Beornred 757
Lineage not known
Became king after the murder of Aethelbald. He was deposed by Offa.
Offa 757 – 29th July 796
Great-great grandson of Eowa
Defeated and deposed Beornred to become King of Mercia. He took control of Sussex and Kent and built Offa’s Dyke to mark the boundary between Mercia and Wales.
Ecgfrith 29th July 796 – 17th December 796
Son of Offa
Ecgfrith ruled for just five months before he died, possibly murdered.
Coenwulf 17th December 796 – 821
Son of Cuthberht, descendant of Pybba
Maintained control of southern England after invading Kent and blinding and imprisoning Eadbert.
Ceolwulf I 821 – 823
Son of Offa
Became King after his brother died. He resisted a challenge from East Anglia. Was deposed by Beornwulf.
Beornwulf 823 – 826
Lineage unknown
In 825 Beornwulf fought the Battle of Ellandon against Wessex and lost. The loss reduced the power of Mercia. East Anglia withdrew its allegiance to Mercia, Beornwulf attacked but was killed in battle.
Ludeca 826 – 827
Lineage unknown
Ludeca attacked East Anglia seeking revenge for the death of Beornwulf but he too was killed in battle.
Wiglaf 827 – 829, 830 – 839
Possible descendant of Penda
Wiglaf fought to retain control of Mercia in the face of attacks by Wessex but was unsuccessful and deposed by Ecgberht of Wessex in 829. Wiglaf was restored in 830 and managed to keep Mercia independent.
Wigmund 839 – 840
Son of Wiglaf
Became King after the death of his father. Some sources do not acknowledge his kingship.
Wigstan 840
Son of Wigmund
Wigmund was murdered soon after becoming King.
Beorhtwulf 840 – 852
Descendant of Beornwulf
Killed Wigstan and took control of Mercia. His reign saw the first Viking attacks on London.
Relation of Beorhtwulf
Viking attacks continued throughout his reign and in 874 he left England for Wales.
Ceolwulf II 874 – 883
Descendant of Ceowulf I
After Burgred fled the Vikings installed Ceowulf II as a puppet king.
Aethelred II 883 – 911
Lineage unknown
Aethelred was known as Lord of the Mercians rather than King. He formed an alliance with King Alfred the Great of Wessex and married Alfred’s daughter Aethelflaed.
Daughter of Alfred the Great
Aethelflaed was proclaimed Lady of the Mercians after the death of her husband Aethelred II. She worked closely with her brother, Edward the Elder to defend Mercia against Viking attacks.
Aelfwynn 918
Daughter of Aethelred II and Aethelflaed
She became Lady of Mercia after the death of her mother but her position was shortlived as her uncle Edward the Elder annexed Mercia and sent her to a convent.

 

Published Mar 30, 2020 @ 6:20 pm – Updated – May 20, 2020 @ 1:16 pm

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Kings of Mercia 527 – 918. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/kings-of-mercia-527-918 Last accessed October 20th, 2020