Father – Pybba of Mercia
Mother – Unknown
Spouse – Cynewise
Children – Peada, Wulfhere, Aethelred, Merewalh King of Mercia – c626 – 655
Predecessor – Cearl 606 – 626
Successor – Oswiu 655 – 658
Penda became King of Mercia after taking the position from his cousin Cearl. His age is not known – sources vary stating that he was anywhere between 20 years and 50 years when he became King. He declared Mercia independent from the overlordship of Northumbria.
Battle of Cirencester
Penda won this battle against Cynegils of Wessex and gained control of Cirencester and the Severn Valley.
Penda agreed an alliance with Cadwallon ap Cadfan of Gwynedd, Wales.
Battle of Hatfield Chase
Penda and Cadwallon ap Cadfan defeated and killed Edwin of Northumbria in this battle. Penda took Edwin’s son, Eadfrith, hostage.
Battle of Heavenfield Oswald of Bernicia fought and killed Cadwallon ap Cadfan. There is no record of Penda taking part in this battle and it is believed he may have ended his alliance with Cadwallon after Hatfield Chase.
Oswald of Bernicia became King of Northumberland.
Eadfrith of Northumbria, son of Edwin of Northumbria, was executed. This may have been carried out on the insistence of Oswald of Northumbria since Eadfrith was a rival for the throne of Northumbria. On the other hand, Penda may have seen Eadfrith as a rival to his own position since Eadfrith was the grandson of Cearl of Mercia.
Penda invaded East Anglia and killed King Egric. The East Anglians then brought former king, Sigebert, out of the monastery to which he had retired to continue the battle. Penda’s force killed Sigebert and won the battle.
Battle of Maserfield
Penda defeated Oswald of Northumbria. Penda’s victory in this battle gave him increased power.
Penda of Mercia took control of Elmet and Lindsey.
Penda attacked Cenwalh, King of Wessex after he put aside his wife who was Penda’s sister. Cenwalh was defeated and forced into exile in East Anglia.
Penda invaded Northumbria and lay siege to Bamburgh where King Oswiu was resident.
Penda’s son, Peada, married Alhflaed, daughter of Oswiu of Northumbria.
Penda of Mercia attacked East Anglia and killed King Anna. Aethelhere became King of East Anglia and may have been a puppet king for Penda.
Battle of Winwaed
Penda had provoked war between Mercia and Northumbria. The reasons for the war are uncertain but may have been due to Northumbria trying to impose Christianity on pagan Mercia. Penda was killed in this battle by Oswiu of Northumbria. Oswiu took control of Mercia.
Published Apr 27, 2020 @ 12:35 pm – Updated – May 20, 2020 @ 1:15 pm
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Penda of Mercia d. 655. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/penda-of-mercia. Last accessed October 20th, 2020