List of monarchs of Sussex

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Lists of the kings of Anglo-Saxon England
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Essex Mercia
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This list of kings and ealdormen of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Sussex contains substantial gaps, and many of the dates from this time are unreliable. No authentic South Saxon king list or genealogy exists. Most kings are known only from charters, some of which are forgeries, so great care is required in assigning dates to the kings. The styles listed below are copied from the authentic charters that are available online. The traditional residence of the South Saxon kings was at Kingsham, once outside the southern walls of Chichester although within its modern boundaries.[1]

Problems with the term "monarch"[edit]

To call these rulers "monarchs" is potentially misleading; Noðhelm reigned with two or three colleagues and Oslac with four. The locations of the lands granted in their charters indicate that they reigned jointly and that there was no division of territory. Such joint reigns can also be demonstrated for Hwicce, Essex, and Wessex. Indeed, “[t]here is nothing remarkable in the existence of two or even more contemporary kings in the same people in the seventh century. The ancient idea that royal dignity was a matter of birth rather than of territorial rule still survived at this date.”[2]

Kings and Ealdormen of the South Saxons[edit]

Reign Incumbent Style Notes
477 to 514 Ælle of Sussex according to Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, king. First Bretwalda
514 to 567 Cissa of Sussex According to Roger of Wendover, king. born in 477, co-ruler 491, king in 514.
fl. c. 660 to c.685 Æðelwealh Killed by Caedwalla; first king of Sussex to be baptized
fl. c. 683? Eadwulf Ealdulfus dux Suthsax is listed as a witness to a possibly spurious charter, S.232, of Caedwalla endowing Wilfrid's monastery at Selsey c. 683. Probably represents Ealdwulf.
fl. c. 683 to c.685? Ecgwald sub-regulus. Ecwald, also Ecguald, a sub-king, is named in, or witnesses, possibly spurious charters, S.230 and S.232, of Caedwalla endowing Wilfrid's monastery at Selsey c. 683 to 685.
fl.685 Berhthun According to Bede, an alderman of the King. Ealdorman
fl.685 Andhun According to Bede, an alderman of the King. Ceawlin of Wessex
Subject to Wessex (c.686 to 726)
fl.692 to 717 Noðhelm
Nothelmus rex Suthsax’
Nunna rex Sussax’
Nunna rex Suthsax’
jointly with Watt, Osric, and Æðelstan.
fl.692 to c.700 Watt Wattus rex jointly with Noðhelm
fl. c.700 Bryni Bruny dux Suthsax' Ealdorman under Noðhelm and Watt
fl. c.710 ?Osric Osricus jointly with Noðhelm
fl.717 Æðelstan Athelstan rex jointly with Noðhelm
fl. c.740 Æðelberht Ethelbertus rex Sussaxonum a contemporary of Sigeferth
fl.760 to 772 Osmund Osmundus rex
Osmund dux
jointly with Oswald, Ælfwald, and Oslac
Subject to Mercia (771 to 825)
fl.772 Oswald Osuualdus dux Suðsax' Ealdorman under Offa jointly with Osmund, Ælfwald, and Oslac
fl. c.765 to 772 Oslac Osiac rex
Oslac dux
jointly with Ealdwulf, Ælfwald, Oswald, and Osmund.
fl. c.765 to c.791 Ealdwulf Alduulf rex
Aldwlfus dux Suthsaxonum
Aldwlf dux
Aldwlfus dux Suthsaxonum
jointly with Ælfwald and Oslac
fl. c.765 to 772 Ælfwald Ælhuuald rex
Ælbuuald dux
jointly with Ealdwulf, Oslac, Oswald, and Osmund
Subject to Wessex (from 825)
died 982 Eadwine Eaduuine dux Ealdorman under Æðelræd Unræd

In 825 the South Saxons submitted to Ecgberht, King of Wessex.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alec Hamilton-Barr. In Saxon Sussex. The Arundel Press, Bognor Regis. p 29
  2. ^ Mawer, A.; Stenton, F. M. (1929). The place-names of Sussex.  FOR A RECONSTRUCTED SUSSEX 'KING LIST', SEE FOOTNOTE REFERENCE 2.

Adapted from the reconstructed king list in Rulers of the South Saxons before 825, Slaughter, 2009.

Ancestral Rulers in Sussex c?430's until 477.

Table and genealogy developed from archaeological evidence, Nennius, patronymic place names in England (Johnston) and Holland (Wapedia), Kessler History Files and Old English inflections. Saxon colony between the Ouse and tha Cuckmere, c. ?430's until 477, with Lancing Aldermanry of Wlanca (father of Cymen Wlencing) from about 450x?455.

Under the Vortigern (High King of the Britons), around ?430-?455. Independent Aldermanic Rule, around ?455-?477 For a possible example (Hailshan): The ?Hegeling under Alderman ?Hegel, around ?455-?475 The ?Hegeling under Alderman Aelle, around ?475-477.

The Aellean Warlordship

List and genealogy developed from A-S Chronicles, Roger of Wendover, pairing of elements in sibling names from published genealogies and in Beowulf plus the fifth-6th century coastline of Sussex. Also King Hywel's laws on reaching manhood at 14. In her book, Charters of Selsey, Dr Susan Kelly discusses Aelle as a credible historical figure.

Aelle, 477-491, Warlord and first Bretwalda. Aelle and Cissa (born 477), 491-514, Warlord and Co-warlord. Genealogy: brothers Aelle (Chichester Harbour/died 514) and Maelle (Ouse floodplane). Aelle father of Cissa (born 477), Cissa (Chichester/died 567) father of Wine Cissing (Winchelsea/died 563). There is a case for stating that the landing in 477 near Selsey Bill was later associated with a landing near Old Shoreham, perhaps Cymenes Oraham, about 485x486, involving Aelle and Cymen Wlencing with the boy Cissa in train.

The Cissan Kingdom

developed from Roger of Wendover, with an emendation to the Wendover text regarding Cissa from 'died in 590' to 'died aged 90', and kelly's Post office Directory (Winchelsea, Sussex) 1867.

Cissa alone, 514-c. ?518, Unitary King. Cissa and Wine Cissing, c. ?518-died 567, Unitary king and royal alderman. Cissa alone, 563-567, Unitary king.

The Devolvement.

(from 567, following the traditional king list of Wessex) - King Ceawlin of Wessex, 567-592, as guardian overlord, re: Wendover. Ceawlin (brother of Cutha) was the father of Cuthwine, whose name was appropriate to his having been a grandson of Wine Cissing.

- King Ceol of Wessex 592-597, as second guardian overlord.

- king Ceolwulf of Wessex 597-611, as third guardian overlord.

- King Cynegils of Wessex 611-643, as fourth guardian overlord.

- King Cenwalh of Wessex 643-645, as fifth guardian overlord. The end of the Devolvement points to Penda (a kingmaker) when he occupied Wessex in 645.

The Realm of the Two Dynasties ?645-772 (Held by the ?Sussex Cerdicingas).

List and genealogies developed from Bede, A-S Chronicles, Compiler of the Worcester Chronicle, South Saxon Charters and Anglo-Saxon dynastic naming patterns from published genealogical tables. Note: Aethelwalh was king by 661 (A-S. C.). It is unlikely that Cenwalh would have released Sussex from the Devlovement on Wessex; the obvious candidate for installing Aethelwalh was Penda in 645. * Denotes ?West Saxon appointments.

- Aethelwalh about 645-685, Unitary King.

- Berhtun/Andhun, around 685-686, Co-ruling Royal Aldermen.

- Ecgwald*, around 686-688, Caedwalla’s Under-king.

- Nothhelm*/Watt*, around 688-700, Dominant and Co-ruling King.

- Nothhelm/Aethelstan* around 700-722, Dominant and Co-ruling King.

- Aethelberht*/Aethelstan, around 722-725, Dominant and Co-ruling King.

- Aethelberht, around 725-758, Unitary King.

- Osmund and Ealdwulf, Aelfwald and Oslac ?758-772 Dominant King and three co-rulers.


a] Nothhelm son of Ecgwald and nephew of Ceowald, the grandfather of Ine. b] AETHEL- dynasty > Aethelwalh (brother of Cenwalh) father of Aethelthryth and Aethelstan by Eafe of Hwicce, Aethelstan father of Aethelberht and Ealdberht the Exile, Aethelberht the father of Ealdwulf and Aethelwulf. If we accept that Ealdberht was the son of Aethelstan we have an obvious reason for his rebellions, kingship. c] Watt, Berhthun, Andhun and Bryni had alliterating names suggesting that they were brothers. d] OS- dynasty > Osric (brother of Bishop Osa) father of Osmund, Oswald, Aelfwald and Oslac. The OS- dynasty had a similar naming pattern as the House of Hwicce. This connection is best explained if we accept 1) that Queen Aethelthryth (of Sussex) was a daughter of Aethelwalh by Eafe, 2) that she was the wife of Nothhelm and 3) that their heir was Alderman Oscic.

The Rule of Offa II, King of the Mercians 772-796. The Dukes of the South Saxons, under King Offa of the Mercians who died in 796. It appears that Offa would appoint a succeeding duke after the death of his predecessor. List developed from South Saxon Charters and dynastic naming patterns. Oswald, First Duke, 772-?780. Oslac, Second Duke, ?780-before 786. Ealdwulf, Third Duke from before, 786-after 791.