Kingdom of Essex
Overview
The Kingdom of Essex or Kingdom of the East Saxons was one of the seven traditional kingdoms of the so-called Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 Heptarchy
Heptarchy
The Heptarchy is a collective name applied to the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of south, east, and central Great Britain during late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, conventionally identified as seven: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex and Wessex...

. It was founded in the 6th century and covered the territory later occupied by the counties
Counties of England
Counties of England are areas used for the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcation. For administrative purposes, England outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly is divided into 83 counties. The counties may consist of a single district or be divided into several...

 of Essex
Essex
Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

, Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

, Middlesex
Middlesex
Middlesex is one of the historic counties of England and the second smallest by area. The low-lying county contained the wealthy and politically independent City of London on its southern boundary and was dominated by it from a very early time...

 and (for a short while) Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

. Kings of Essex were frequently subservient to foreign overlords. The last king of Essex was Sigered and in 825, he ceded the kingdom to Egbert of Wessex
Egbert of Wessex
Egbert was King of Wessex from 802 until his death in 839. His father was Ealhmund of Kent...

.
The kingdom was bounded to the north by the River Stour
River Stour, Suffolk
The River Stour is a river in East Anglia, England. It is 76 km long and forms most of the county boundary between Suffolk to the north, and Essex to the south. It rises in eastern Cambridgeshire, passes to the east of Haverhill, through Cavendish, Sudbury and the Dedham Vale, and joins the...

 and the Kingdom of East Anglia, to the south by the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

 and Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, to the east lay the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 and to the west Mercia
Mercia
Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. It was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries in the region now known as the English Midlands...

.
Encyclopedia
The Kingdom of Essex or Kingdom of the East Saxons was one of the seven traditional kingdoms of the so-called Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 Heptarchy
Heptarchy
The Heptarchy is a collective name applied to the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of south, east, and central Great Britain during late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, conventionally identified as seven: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex and Wessex...

. It was founded in the 6th century and covered the territory later occupied by the counties
Counties of England
Counties of England are areas used for the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcation. For administrative purposes, England outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly is divided into 83 counties. The counties may consist of a single district or be divided into several...

 of Essex
Essex
Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

, Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

, Middlesex
Middlesex
Middlesex is one of the historic counties of England and the second smallest by area. The low-lying county contained the wealthy and politically independent City of London on its southern boundary and was dominated by it from a very early time...

 and (for a short while) Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

. Kings of Essex were frequently subservient to foreign overlords. The last king of Essex was Sigered and in 825, he ceded the kingdom to Egbert of Wessex
Egbert of Wessex
Egbert was King of Wessex from 802 until his death in 839. His father was Ealhmund of Kent...

.

Extent

The kingdom was bounded to the north by the River Stour
River Stour, Suffolk
The River Stour is a river in East Anglia, England. It is 76 km long and forms most of the county boundary between Suffolk to the north, and Essex to the south. It rises in eastern Cambridgeshire, passes to the east of Haverhill, through Cavendish, Sudbury and the Dedham Vale, and joins the...

 and the Kingdom of East Anglia, to the south by the River Thames
River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. While it is best known because its lower reaches flow through central London, the river flows alongside several other towns and cities, including Oxford,...

 and Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, to the east lay the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 and to the west Mercia
Mercia
Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. It was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries in the region now known as the English Midlands...

. The territory included the remains of two provincial Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 capitals Colchester
Colchester
Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

 and London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. The early kingdom included the land of the Middle Saxons
Middle Saxons
The Middle Saxons or Middel Seaxe were a people and their territory which later became, with somewhat contracted boundaries, the county of Middlesex, England. It included the early London settlement. The area was part of the Kingdom of Essex, but was ceded to Mercia in the 8th century....

, later Middlesex, most if not all of Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

 and may at times have included Surrey. For a brief period in the 8th century, the Kingdom of Essex controlled what is now Kent.

The modern English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 county
County
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

 of Essex maintains the historic northern and the southern borders, but only covers the territory east of the River Lea, the other parts being lost to neighbouring Mercia
Mercia
Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. It was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries in the region now known as the English Midlands...

 during the 8th Century.

In the Tribal Hidage
Tribal Hidage
Image:Tribal Hidage 2.svg|thumb|400px|alt=insert description of map here|The tribes of the Tribal Hidage. Where an appropriate article exists, it can be found by clicking on the name.rect 275 75 375 100 Elmetrect 375 100 450 150 Hatfield Chase...

 it is listed as containing 7,000 hide
Hide (unit)
The hide was originally an amount of land sufficient to support a household, but later in Anglo-Saxon England became a unit used in assessing land for liability to "geld", or land tax. The geld would be collected at a stated rate per hide...

s.

History

Although the kingdom of Essex was one of the kingdoms of the Heptarchy, its history is not well documented. It produced relatively few Anglo-Saxon Charters
Anglo-Saxon Charters
Anglo-Saxon charters are documents from the early medieval period in Britain which typically make a grant of land or record a privilege. The earliest surviving charters were drawn up in the 670s; the oldest surviving charters granted land to the Church, but from the eighth century surviving...

 and no version of the Anglo-Saxon chronicle
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the Chronicle was created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great...

; in fact the only mention in the chronicle concerns Bishop Mellitus. As a result, the kingdom is regarded as comparatively obscure. For most of the kingdom's existence, the Essex king was subservient to an overlord - variously the kings of Kent, Anglia or Mercia.

Origin

Saxon occupation of land that was to form the kingdom had begun by the early 5th century at Mucking and other locations. A large proportion of these original settlers came from Old Saxony
Old Saxony
Old Saxony is the original homeland of the Saxons in the northwest corner of modern Germany and roughly corresponds today with the contemporary Lower Saxony, Westphalia and western Saxony-Anhalt....

. According to British legend (see: Historia Brittonum) the territory known later as Essex was ceded by the Britons to the Saxons following the infamous Brad y Cyllyll Hirion
Night of the Long Knives (Arthurian)
The Night of the Long Knives is the name Geoffrey of Monmouth gave to the treacherous killing of native British chieftains by Anglo-Saxon mercenaries on Salisbury Plain in the 5th century...

event which occurred ca. AD 460 during the reign of High-King Vortigern
Vortigern
Vortigern , also spelled Vortiger and Vortigen, was a 5th-century warlord in Britain, a leading ruler among the Britons. His existence is considered likely, though information about him is shrouded in legend. He is said to have invited the Saxons to settle in Kent as mercenaries to aid him in...

. Della Hooke relates the territory ruled by the kings of Essex to the pre-Roman territory of the Trinovantium
Trinovantes
The Trinovantes or Trinobantes were one of the tribes of pre-Roman Britain. Their territory was on the north side of the Thames estuary in current Essex and Suffolk, and included lands now located in Greater London. They were bordered to the north by the Iceni, and to the west by the Catuvellauni...

.

The kingdom of Essex grew by the absorption of smaller sub-kingdoms or Saxon tribal groups. There are a number of suggestions for the location of these sub-kingdoms including:
  • the Rodings - the people of Hrotha,
  • the Haemele, (Hemel Hempstead
    Hemel Hempstead
    Hemel Hempstead is a town in Hertfordshire in the East of England, to the north west of London and part of the Greater London Urban Area. The population at the 2001 Census was 81,143 ....

    )
  • Vange - marsh district (possibly stretching to the Mardyke
    Mardyke (river)
    The Mardyke is a small river, mainly in Thurrock, that flows into the River Thames at Purfleet, close to the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. In part, it forms the boundary between the Essex hundreds of Barstable and Chafford...

    )
  • Denge
  • Ginges
  • Berecingas - Barking
    Barking
    Barking is a suburban town in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, in East London, England. A retail and commercial centre situated in the west of the borough, it lies east of Charing Cross. Barking was in the historic county of Essex until it was absorbed by Greater London. The area is...

    , in the south west of the kingdom
  • Haeferingas in Havering
  • Uppingas - Epping
    Epping
    Epping is a small market town and civil parish in the Epping Forest district of the County of Essex, England. It is located north-east of Loughton, south of Harlow and north-west of Brentwood....

    .

Essex monarchy

Essex emerged as a single kingdom during the 6th century. The dates, names and achievements of the Essex kings, like those of most early rulers in the Heptarchy
Heptarchy
The Heptarchy is a collective name applied to the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of south, east, and central Great Britain during late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, conventionally identified as seven: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex and Wessex...

, remain conjectural. The historical identification of the kings of Essex, including the evidence and a reconstructed genealogy are discussed extensively by Yorke. The dynasty claimed descent from Woden
Woden
Woden or Wodan is a major deity of Anglo-Saxon and Continental Germanic polytheism. Together with his Norse counterpart Odin, Woden represents a development of the Proto-Germanic god *Wōdanaz....

 via Seaxnēat
Seaxneat
In Germanic mythology, Seaxnēat or Saxnōt is a god connected with the Saxons and, as recorded in Anglo-Saxons sources, their founder and ancestor. Seaxnēat appears in the genealogies of the kings of Essex. His name does not survive in any English placenames, although the element nēat in isolation...

. A genealogy of the Essex royal house was prepared in Wessex in the 9th century. Unfortunately the surviving copy is somewhat mutilated. At times during the history of the kingdom several sub-kings within Essex appear to have been able to rule simultaneously. They may have exercised authority over different parts of the kingdom. The first recorded king, according to the East Saxon King List, was Æscwine
Aescwine of Essex
Æscwine, or Erkenwine, Erchenwine, was reputedly the settler from Old Saxony who in 527 founded the Kingdom of Essex , becoming the first king of the region .Precious little evidence is available for his existence...

 to which a date of AD 527 is given for the start of his reign, although there are some difficulties with the date of his reign, and Sledda is listed as the founder of the Essex royal house by other sources.

The Essex kings issued coins that echoed those issued by Cunobelin simultaneously asserting a link to the first century rulers while emphasising independence from Mercia.

Christianity

The earliest English record of the kingdom dates to Bede
Bede
Bede , also referred to as Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede , was a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth, today part of Sunderland, England, and of its companion monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow , both in the Kingdom of Northumbria...

's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum
Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum
The Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum is a work in Latin by Bede on the history of the Christian Churches in England, and of England generally; its main focus is on the conflict between Roman and Celtic Christianity.It is considered to be one of the most important original references on...

, which noted the arrival of Bishop (later Saint) Mellitus
Mellitus
Mellitus was the first Bishop of London in the Saxon period, the third Archbishop of Canterbury, and a member of the Gregorian mission sent to England to convert the Anglo-Saxons from their native paganism to Christianity. He arrived in 601 AD with a group of clergymen sent to augment the mission,...

 in London in 604. Æthelberht (King of Kent and overlord of southern England according to Bede) was in a position to exercise some authority in Essex shortly after 604, when his intervention helped in the conversion of King Saebert of Essex
Saebert of Essex
Sæberht, Saberht or Sæbert was a King of Essex , in succession of his father King Sledd. He is known as the first East Saxon king to have been converted to Christianity....

 (son of Sledd), his nephew, to Christianity. It was Æthelberht, and not Sæberht, who built and endowed St. Pauls in London, where St. Paul’s Cathedral now stands. Bede describes Æthelberht as Sæberht’s overlord. After the death of Saebert
Saebert of Essex
Sæberht, Saberht or Sæbert was a King of Essex , in succession of his father King Sledd. He is known as the first East Saxon king to have been converted to Christianity....

 in AD 616, Mellitus was driven out and the kingdom reverted to paganism. This may have been the result of opposition to Kentish influence in Essex affairs rather than being specifically anti-Christian.

The kingdom reconverted to Christianity under Sigeberht II the Good
Sigeberht II of Essex
Sigeberht II, nicknamed the Good or the Blessed , was King of the East Saxons , in succession to his relative Sigeberht I the Little...

 following a mission by St Cedd
Cedd
Cedd was an Anglo-Saxon monk and bishop from Northumbria. He was an evangelist of the Middle Angles and East Saxons in England and a significant participant in the Synod of Whitby, a meeting which resolved important differences within the Church in England...

 who established monasteries at Tilaburg (probably East Tilbury
East Tilbury
East Tilbury is a village in the unitary authority of Thurrock borough, England and one of the traditional parishes in Thurrock.-History:In Saxon times, the location on which the church now stands was surrounded by tidal marshland...

, but possibly West Tilbury
West Tilbury
West Tilbury is a village situated on the top of a river terrace overlooking the river Thames. The modern town of Tilbury is mainly in the traditional parish of Chadwell St Mary.-Location and administration:...

) and Ithancester (almost certainly Bradwell-on-Sea
Bradwell-on-Sea
Bradwell-on-Sea is a village in Essex, England. The village is on the Dengie peninsula. It is located about north-northeast of Southminster and is east from the county town of Chelmsford. The village is in the District of Maldon in the parliamentary constituency of Maldon whose boundaries were...

). Essex reverted to Paganism again in 660 with the ascension of the Pagan King Swithelm of Essex
Swithelm of Essex
Swithelm was King of Essex from 660 to 664.Swithelm succeeded King Sigeberht II after he, along with his brother Swithfrith, murdered him. They accused him of being too friendly toward Christians. In 662, however, he was persuaded to convert to Christianity by Aethelwald, king of East Anglia. ...

. He converted in 662, but died in 664. He was succeeded by his two sons, Sigehere
Sighere of Essex
Sighere was the joint king of the Kingdom of Essex along with his brother Sebbi from 664 to 683. He was outlived by Sebbi, who became the sole ruler of Essex after his death. Sighere and Sebbi were cousins of their predecessor Swithelm. While Sighere returned to paganism, Sebbi remained...

 and Sæbbi
Sebbi of Essex
Sebbi was the joint King of Essex from 664 to 683 along with his brother, Sighere. After Sighere died, Sebbi became sole ruler of Essex until 694....

. A plague the same year caused Sigehere and his people to recant their Christianity and Essex reverted to Paganism a third time. This rebellion was suppressed by Wulfhere of Mercia
Wulfhere of Mercia
Wulfhere was King of Mercia from the end of the 650s until 675. He was the first Christian king of all of Mercia, though it is not known when or how he converted from Anglo-Saxon paganism. His accession marked the end of Oswiu of Northumbria's overlordship of southern England, and Wulfhere...

 who established himself as overlord. Bede describes Sigehere and Sæbbi as "rulers … under Wulfhere, king of the Mercians". Wulfhere sent Jaruman, the bishop of Lichfield
Lichfield
Lichfield is a cathedral city, civil parish and district in Staffordshire, England. One of eight civil parishes with city status in England, Lichfield is situated roughly north of Birmingham...

, to reconvert the East Saxons.

A royal tomb
Royal saxon tomb in Prittlewell
The Royal Saxon tomb in Prittlewell is a high-status Anglo-Saxon tomb excavated at Prittlewell, north of Southend-on-Sea, in the English county of Essex....

 at Prittlewell was discovered and excavated in 2003. Finds included gold foil crosses, suggesting the occupant was Christian. If the occupant was a king, it was probably either Saebert or Sigeberht (murdered AD 653). It is, however, also possible that the occupant was not royal, but simply a wealthy and powerful individual whose identity has gone unrecorded.

Wine
Wine (bishop)
Wine was a medieval Bishop of London and the first Bishop of Winchester.Wine was consecrated the first bishop of Winchester in 660 and possibly translated to Dorchester around 663...

 (in 666) and Erkenwald (in 675) were appointed bishops of London with spiritual authority over the East Saxon Kingdom. Although London (and the rest of Middlesex) was lost by the East Saxons in the 8th century, the bishops of London continued to exert spiritual authority over Essex as a kingdom, shire and county until 1845.

Later history and end

Despite the comparative obscurity of the kingdom, there were strong connections between Essex and the Kentish kingdom across the river Thames which led to the marriage of King Sledd to Ricula, sister of the king, Aethelbert of Kent. For a brief period in the 8th century the kingdom encompassed the Kentish Kingdom to the South. During this period, Essex kings were issuing their own sceattas (coins), perhaps as an assertion of their own independence. However, by the mid 8th century much of the kingdom, including London, had fallen to Mercia
Mercia
Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. It was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries in the region now known as the English Midlands...

 and the rump of Essex, roughly the modern county, was now subordinate to the same. After the defeat of the Mercian king Beornwulf
Beornwulf of Mercia
Beornwulf was King of Mercia from 823 to 825. His short reign saw the collapse of the Mercia's supremacy over the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy....

 around AD 825, Sigered, the last king of Essex, ceded the kingdom which then became a possession of the Wessex king Egbert
Egbert of Wessex
Egbert was King of Wessex from 802 until his death in 839. His father was Ealhmund of Kent...

.

The Mercians continued to control parts of Essex and may have supported a pretender to the Essex throne since a Sigeric rex Orientalem Saxonum witnessed a Mercian charter after AD 825. During the ninth century, Essex was part of a sub-kingdom that included Sussex, Surrey and Kent. Sometime between 878 and 886, the territory was formally ceded by Wessex to the Danelaw
Danelaw
The Danelaw, as recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , is a historical name given to the part of England in which the laws of the "Danes" held sway and dominated those of the Anglo-Saxons. It is contrasted with "West Saxon law" and "Mercian law". The term has been extended by modern historians to...

 kingdom of East Anglia, under the Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum
Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum
The Treaty of Alfred and Guthrum is an agreement between Alfred of Wessex and Guthrum, the Viking ruler of East Anglia. Its date is uncertain, but must have been between 878 and 890. The treaty is one of the few existing documents of Alfred's reign; it survives in Old English in Corpus Christi...

. After the reconquest by Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder was an English king. He became king in 899 upon the death of his father, Alfred the Great. His court was at Winchester, previously the capital of Wessex...

. the king's representative in Essex was styled an ealdorman
Ealdorman
An ealdorman is the term used for a high-ranking royal official and prior magistrate of an Anglo-Saxon shire or group of shires from about the ninth century to the time of King Cnut...

 and Essex came to be regarded as a shire
Shire
A shire is a traditional term for a division of land, found in the United Kingdom and in Australia. In parts of Australia, a shire is an administrative unit, but it is not synonymous with "county" there, which is a land registration unit. Individually, or as a suffix in Scotland and in the far...

.

List of kings

The following list of kings may omit whole generations.
Reign Incumbent Notes
527 to 587 Aescwine
Aescwine of Essex
Æscwine, or Erkenwine, Erchenwine, was reputedly the settler from Old Saxony who in 527 founded the Kingdom of Essex , becoming the first king of the region .Precious little evidence is available for his existence...

ÆSCVVINE CENFVSING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
ÆSCVVINE REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
587 to ante 604 Sledda
Sledda of Essex
Sledd was King of Essex in the late 6th century, possibly between 587 - c. 604. Extremely little is known about him.A West-Saxon genealogy fragmentarily preserved in London, British Library, Add. MS 23211, possibly of the late 9th century, makes him a son and successor of King Æscwine...

SLEDDA ÆSCVVINING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SLEDDA REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
ante 604 to 616/7 Saebert
Saebert of Essex
Sæberht, Saberht or Sæbert was a King of Essex , in succession of his father King Sledd. He is known as the first East Saxon king to have been converted to Christianity....

SÆBRYHT SLEDDING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SÆBRYHT REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
616/7 to 617 Sexred
Sexred of Essex
Sexred, or Sexræd, , was a king of the East-SaxonsSexred was the son of Sebert the first Christian king of the East Saxons. He refused to accept Christianity, and when he succeeded his father in 616, reigning conjointly with his two brothers, Saeward and another, said on no good authority to have...

SEXRED SÆBRYHTING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SEXRED REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
Joint king with Saeward
Saeward of Essex
Sæward was the joint king of the Kingdom of Essex from 616 to 617 along with his brother Sexred after the death of their father Sæbert. Their father converted to Christianity in 604. After his death they repressed the Christian religion in favor of the indigenous English religion, allowing the...

; killed in battle against the West Saxons
616/7 to 617 Saeward
Saeward of Essex
Sæward was the joint king of the Kingdom of Essex from 616 to 617 along with his brother Sexred after the death of their father Sæbert. Their father converted to Christianity in 604. After his death they repressed the Christian religion in favor of the indigenous English religion, allowing the...

SÆVVARD SÆBRYHTING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SÆVVARD REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
Joint king with Sexred
Sexred of Essex
Sexred, or Sexræd, , was a king of the East-SaxonsSexred was the son of Sebert the first Christian king of the East Saxons. He refused to accept Christianity, and when he succeeded his father in 616, reigning conjointly with his two brothers, Saeward and another, said on no good authority to have...

; killed in battle against the West Saxons
617 to ante c.653 Sigeberht the Little SIGEBRYHT SÆVVARDING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SIGEBRYHT PARVVS REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
c.653 to 660 Sigeberht the Good SIGEBRYHT SÆVVARDING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SIGEBRYHT SANCTVS REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
Saint Sigeberht; Saint Sebbi (Feast Day 29 August)
660 to 664 Swithelm
Swithelm of Essex
Swithelm was King of Essex from 660 to 664.Swithelm succeeded King Sigeberht II after he, along with his brother Swithfrith, murdered him. They accused him of being too friendly toward Christians. In 662, however, he was persuaded to convert to Christianity by Aethelwald, king of East Anglia. ...

SVVIÞELM ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SVVIÞELM REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
664 to 683 Sighere
Sighere of Essex
Sighere was the joint king of the Kingdom of Essex along with his brother Sebbi from 664 to 683. He was outlived by Sebbi, who became the sole ruler of Essex after his death. Sighere and Sebbi were cousins of their predecessor Swithelm. While Sighere returned to paganism, Sebbi remained...

SIGHERE SIGEBRYHTING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SIGHERE REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
Joint-king with Sebbi
Sebbi of Essex
Sebbi was the joint King of Essex from 664 to 683 along with his brother, Sighere. After Sighere died, Sebbi became sole ruler of Essex until 694....

664 to c.694 Sebbi
Sebbi of Essex
Sebbi was the joint King of Essex from 664 to 683 along with his brother, Sighere. After Sighere died, Sebbi became sole ruler of Essex until 694....

SEBBI ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SEBBI REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
Joint-king with Sighere
Sighere of Essex
Sighere was the joint king of the Kingdom of Essex along with his brother Sebbi from 664 to 683. He was outlived by Sebbi, who became the sole ruler of Essex after his death. Sighere and Sebbi were cousins of their predecessor Swithelm. While Sighere returned to paganism, Sebbi remained...

; abdicated in favour of his son Sigeheard
Sigeheard of Essex
Sigeheard was joint king of Essex along with his brother, Swaefred, from 694 to 709, succeeding their father Sebbi.In 705, they became estranged from King Ine of Wessex for sheltering his rivals to the throne. At the Synod of Brentford, they agreed to banish the rivals from Essex in return for...

c.694 to c.709 Sigeheard
Sigeheard of Essex
Sigeheard was joint king of Essex along with his brother, Swaefred, from 694 to 709, succeeding their father Sebbi.In 705, they became estranged from King Ine of Wessex for sheltering his rivals to the throne. At the Synod of Brentford, they agreed to banish the rivals from Essex in return for...

SIGEHEARD SEBBING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SIGEHEARD REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
Joint-king with his brother Swaefred
Swaefred of Essex
Swaefred was joint king of Essex along with his brother, Sigeheard, from 694 to 709, succeeding their father Sebbi.In 705, they became estranged from King Ine of Wessex for sheltering his rivals to the throne. At the Synod of Brentford, they agree to banish them from Essex in return for King Ine...

c.695 to ante c.709 Swaefred
Swaefred of Essex
Swaefred was joint king of Essex along with his brother, Sigeheard, from 694 to 709, succeeding their father Sebbi.In 705, they became estranged from King Ine of Wessex for sheltering his rivals to the throne. At the Synod of Brentford, they agree to banish them from Essex in return for King Ine...


(Swaebheard)
SVVÆFRED SIGEHEARDING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SVVÆFRED REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
Joint-king with his brother Sigeheard
Sigeheard of Essex
Sigeheard was joint king of Essex along with his brother, Swaefred, from 694 to 709, succeeding their father Sebbi.In 705, they became estranged from King Ine of Wessex for sheltering his rivals to the throne. At the Synod of Brentford, they agreed to banish the rivals from Essex in return for...

709 Offa
Offa of Essex
Offa was King of Essex until 709, when he abdicated in order that he may take up life in a monastery in Rome along with Cenred, King of Mercia. He was the son of Sigeheard of Essex, and, according to some sources, St...

OFFA SIGEHERING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
OFFA REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
Abdicated
c.709 to 746 Saelred
Saelred of Essex
Saelred of Essex reigned as King of Essex from c. 709 to 746. His claim to the throne was due to descent from Sigeberht II The Good. For part of his reign he probably ruled jointly with Swaefbert, who, it is speculated, may have ruled the sub-kingdom of Middlesex...


(Swebert)
SÆLRED SIGEBRYHTING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SÆLRED REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
Probably joint-king with Swaefbert
Swaefbert of Essex
Swaefbert of Essex was King of Essex . He ruled along with Saelred of Essex who appointed him provisional king in 715....

c.715 to 738 Swaefbert
Swaefbert of Essex
Swaefbert of Essex was King of Essex . He ruled along with Saelred of Essex who appointed him provisional king in 715....

SVVÆFBRYHT ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SVVÆFBRYHT REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
Probably joint-king with Saelred
Saelred of Essex
Saelred of Essex reigned as King of Essex from c. 709 to 746. His claim to the throne was due to descent from Sigeberht II The Good. For part of his reign he probably ruled jointly with Swaefbert, who, it is speculated, may have ruled the sub-kingdom of Middlesex...

746 to 758 Svvithred
Swithred of Essex
Swithred of Essex was King of Essex . He was the second son of Sebbi, and the grandson of King Sigeheard of Essex. Like his predecessors, he was not an independent ruler, but a dependent of the Kingdom of Mercia....

SVVIÞRED SIGEMVNDING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SVVIÞRED REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
758 to 798 Sigeric
Sigeric of Essex
Sigeric of Essex was a King of Essex, and a son of Saelred of Essex, reigning from 758 until he abdicated in 798, makes a pilgrimage to Rome, and enters Roman monastery. Like his predecessors, he was not an independent ruler, but a dependent of the Kingdom of Mercia....

SIGERIC ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SIGERIC REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
Abdicated
798 to 812 Sigered
Sigered of Essex
Sigered of Essex was the last king of Essex from 798 to 825. The son of Sigeric of Essex, Sigered became king when his father abdicated the throne....

SIGERED SIGERICING ESTSEAXNA CYNING
SIGERED REX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM
812 to 825 SIGERED DVX SAXONVM ORIENTALIVM Rank reduced by Mercia
Mercia
Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. It was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries in the region now known as the English Midlands...

n overlords
c.825 Mercia
Mercia
Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. It was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries in the region now known as the English Midlands...

 defeated by Egbert of Wessex
Egbert of Wessex
Egbert was King of Wessex from 802 until his death in 839. His father was Ealhmund of Kent...

, sub-kingdom of Essex subsumed into Wessex
Wessex
The Kingdom of Wessex or Kingdom of the West Saxons was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the West Saxons, in South West England, from the 6th century, until the emergence of a united English state in the 10th century, under the Wessex dynasty. It was to be an earldom after Canute the Great's conquest...


Spelling

There are a number of variations of the spelling of the names of the Kings listed above. This was a time when spellings varied widely, even within a document. Amongst these variations are the preference between þ and ð (both "th" - voiced or unvoiced depending on adjacent letters).

The character '' was used as the ampersand '&' in contemporary Anglo-Saxon writings. The era pre-dates the emergence of forms of writing accepted today, notably minuscule, and the letters 'W' and 'U'. Where W was followed by U this was generally rendered as 'VV' (which was also used for 'W' alone).

Other sources

  • Kings, Rulers and Statesmen, Clive Carpenter, Guinness Superlatives Ltd
  • Rulers and Governments of the World, Vol1, Earliest Times to 1491, Martha Ross
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