Ceolwulf I of Mercia

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Ceolwulf I was King of Mercia, East Anglia and Kent, from 821 to 823. He was the brother of Cœnwulf, his predecessor, and was deposed by Beornwulf.

William of Malmesbury declared that, after Coenwulf: “the kingdom of the Mercians declining, and if I may use the expression, nearly lifeless, produced nothing worthy of historical commemoration.” Actually, Mercia did have a moment of glory that William was unaware of. Indicating the year 822, the ‘Annales Cambriae’ states: “The fortress of Degannwy (in Gwynedd) is destroyed by the Saxons and they took the kingdom of Powys into their own control.”

A later charter depicts a disturbed state of affairs during Ceolwulf's reign: “After the death of Coenwulf, king of the Mercians, many disagreements and innumerable disputes arose among leading persons of every kind – kings, bishops, and ministers of the churches of God – concerning all manner of secular affairs”. In 823, sometime after 26th May, on which date he granted land to Archbishop Wulfred in exchange for a gold and silver vessel, Ceolwulf was overthrown. His replacement was one Beornwulf, whose pedigree is not known.

Ceolwulf had ruled Kent directly – in his two charters, he is styled as ‘king of the Mercians and of the men of Kent'. Beornwulf would place a kinsman, Baldred, on the Kentish throne.

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Titles of nobility
Preceded by
Coenwulf
King of Mercia
821–823
Succeeded by
Beornwulf
King of East Anglia
821–823
King of Kent
821–823
Succeeded by
Baldred