Beornwulf of Mercia
|King of Mercia|
|King of East Anglia|
|House||House of Mercia|
Beornwulf's ancestry is practically unknown. His father was a Mercian nobleman, ealdorman Beorhtweald (died 796). A man named Beornwulf is mentioned as having witnessed a charter of King Coenwulf in 812 and another of King Ceolwulf in 823, but his position on each of these charters suggests he was not of an exceptionally high rank.
Ceolwulf I was overthrown in 823, and Beornwulf became king. Powys was conquered by the Mercians at about this time, but it is unclear which of the two kings was ruling when it occurred. It has been argued that the known record suggests Beornwulf was more vigorous and likely to wage such a campaign than Ceolwulf, and that the conquest of Powys may have therefore been accomplished by Beornwulf at the beginning of his rule. Soon after he rebuilt the Abbey of St. Peter (later Gloucester Cathedral). He presided over two synods at Clofesho (an unknown location believed to be near London) with archbishop Wulfred of Canterbury, in 824 and 825.
From their recent success against the Welsh, it can be judged that the Mercian army was a formidable force. It must have been with a high degree of confidence, therefore, that, in 825, Beornwulf marched against the West Saxons, but was badly defeated at the battle of Ellandun at the hands of their king Egbert, fought at present day Wroughton near Swindon, Wiltshire. Ecgbert's son Æðelwulf subsequently invaded Kent and drove out its pro-Mercian king, Baldred.
In the wake of these events, Mercia's dominance of southern England rapidly unravelled. Essex and Sussex switched their loyalty to Egbert. The East Angles, led by Athelstan and backed by the West Saxons, exploited the moment of weakness by rebelling against Mercian rule, and Beornwulf was killed attempting to crush the revolt. One extant charter of Beornwulf refers to his third regnal year, 825.
A silver penny coinage of Beornwulf was struck during his reign. These coins are very rare indeed today, with only around twenty-five examples known to exist.
|Titles of nobility|
|King of Mercia
|King of East Anglia