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I whacked the "Mercland" because there is zero evidence for it, and I just finished The Earliest English Kings which would have mentioned it if the name was real. So let's see the authority here. Stan 22:37, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)

That's an interesting explanation, but still doesn't answer my question about authorities. My unabridged OED has a third of a column about "Mercia" and "Mercian", but "Mercland" is nowhere to be seen. If the term is not of your own invention, there must be somebody else who uses it also. Google only shows "Mercland" as a surname and for auto dealerships, but it's certainly possible that there are print authorities without web pages. We only need one. Stan 23:15, 3 Mar 2004 (UTC)
It's possible that because Mercia was "out of the loop" on written materials later than other parts of England, that "Mercland" had gone out of use before anything was written down in the vernacular. The OED sez "Mercia" is a latinization of Ole English "Mierce", so perhaps "land" was simply never added to the name. I don't have a textbook or dictionary of Old English at home, but will visit university library in a couple weeks, can look up then. Stan 00:53, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
But if it's not a real name, then it shouldn't be there. Otherwise you leave the door open to nutcases who say their study of Gnostic writings make it clear that it was really called "Oogabooga", and then the edit warring never stops. We have to have an authoritative source that we can cite by name. (Yes, not everything in WP has that level of support, but that's a bug, not a feature.) Stan 04:34, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)
No decrees needed! - just a use in print. That's how the OED works after all; they have a lot of really weird words, but each definition includes one or more quotes showing that it was really used by people; for modern words the quote may very well be something as minor as a campus newspaper, but it's still something verifiable. "Mierce" is cool with me, although I'd still like to investigate the "Mercland" possibility. Stan 07:01, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Okay, at the risk of stirring up the pot, I started to look thru my small collection of A-S references, & did find the forms "Myrcnaland", "Miercnalond" & "Mercnaland" attested in the A & D versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (Plummer's edition). P.H. Sawyer's Anglo-Saxon Charters only provides the original forms when they cannot be identified with the modern name, & the charters in my copies of Sweet's Anglo-Sazon Reader(15th ed.) & his A Second Anglo-Saxon Reader (2nd ed.) do not provide any meaningful help.

My guess is that the "-na-" syllable suggests a dative form of "Mercia", so it is possible that "Mercland" was used. It is in any case an uncommon variant.

However, I have to side with Stan that when one makes a contribution to Wikipedia, she/he should be prepared to provide some kind of support for the contribution. In this case, the English Place-Name Society has fairly well documented the various variants of every place name in England, even at times down to street & individual field names; their works are available in every public library in England (so I found when I checked in a couple of cities). Even my local public library here in Oregon even has a couple volumes that they produced. Taking a moment to consult this authoritative work should always replace guesswork.

Adding material without documentation -- even a newspaper article or pamphlet -- only leads to trouble. I've been engaged in a flame-war with someone who insists that his contributions "are true", but refuses to provide this desired documentation, despite my pleas; as a result some of the articles he has written has appeared on VfD -- & not because I nominated them. And the process of listing articles at VfD to keep out dubious material is a waste of everyone's time when simply supplying sources at the beginning could have avoided the ensuing debates. -- llywrch 18:04, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Interesting speculation. Sadly, Wikipedia does not treat speculation as fact... Morwen 18:14, Mar 4, 2004 (UTC)

Morwen, do you have access to any of the EPNS references I mentioned above? I figure that would have the authoritative answer to this question, & settle this matter.

And the issue of spelling Mercia can be overprecise: I've seen diplomatic texts that spell Mercia "Myrce", "Mierce" & "Mearce". Obviously the original writer was trying to capture the quality of the first vowel, which probably varied depending on how he heard it spoken, & his habits of spelling. Spelling was more of an art than a science before the introduction of the printing press.

BTW, the Mercian charters printed in A Second Anglo-Saxon Reader (2nd ed.) call kings Offa & Ethelbald rex merciorum -- "king of the Mercias". So if we want to add contemporary variants on Mercia to this article, we should add all of them; it will be quite a chore to collect them, unless someone can find a paper that has done so. -- llywrch 23:11, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Note to the reader: the reason for the bizarre appearance of the above dialogue is that Kenneth Alan afterwards deleted all of his comments. He believes that their existence in the history of changes for this page is a sufficient record. -- llywrch 17:47, 12 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Tolkien & Mercia?[edit]

Someone added a "see also" link from this article to J. R. R. Tolkien. A glance at that article fails to show what relevance Mercia has to this writer. (Yes, Tolkien was an expert on Old English -- & how does that relate to Mercia?) Unless someone objects, I'm going to remove that link. -- llywrch 01:42, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

I agree. It's no secret Tolkien based the language/names of Rohan on Old English, but I'd like to see some reference to the Mercian dialect. I've never heard of the "Mercian dialect" anyway. --Jquarry 02:32, 15 November 2006 (UTC)


Is it possible to find coconuts in Mercia? Or would they have to be carried there by swallows? --Thephotoman 06:32, 8 January 2006 (UTC)

African Swallows - Marc29th 01:48, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
No, African swallows are non-migratory. --JerryOrr 17:48, 8 March 2006 (UTC)


I think this article would benefit from a map. That is, I'm confused as to the exact location of Mercia and would like to see a map. Does anyone know where to find one?Marksman45 09:32, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

I've added one. Thanks for bringing it up. Everyking 09:38, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Ah, thanks! That helps me out a lot. Marksman45 20:04, 14 March 2006 (UTC)


I have re-instated the white dragon, or ‘wyrm’, with suitable references. As there are no Mercian symbols contemporary with historic Mercia, the dragon is no more ‘fake’ than the eagle or the saltire and should be treated equally with them as part of the account of ‘post-historic’ Mercia. David Robins (talk) 14:00, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

anyone ever seen that flag flying?

'White Dragon' flag

I have repeatedly asked user TharkunColl for evidence that the white dragon flag he has posted on the Mercia page was actually in use during the Anglo-Saxon period. TharkunColl has added this text to the image:

‘In pagan times the Mercians fought under the banner of the white dragon. This remained in use during the Christian period as well’

When I asked for any Anglo-Saxon literary or archaeological evidence of this, I was accused of vandalism and invited to check his reference. This turns out to be this vague comment in the Flags of the World web page:

‘There is a medieval map of the English "heptarchy", a period where there were seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms at war with each other. This map, made I believe in the 12th Century after the heptarchy period is illustrated with banners of the kingdoms. Those shown for Essex, Kent and Sussex appear to be very similar to their "county standards" today, while East Anglia has three crowns on a white background, Mercia appears to have a white dragon of some kind’

This note does not specifically identify which medieval map is referred to, only claims that Mercia ‘appears to have a white dragon of some kind’ and does not refer to any symbol earlier than the 12th century, centuries after the end of the Kingdom of Mercia. How does TharkunColl get ‘in pagan times the Mercians fought under the banner of the white dragon’ from that citation? It is widely understood that these symbols of the Heptarchy kingdoms which appear on old maps and manuscripts were invented by medieval heralds to represent the old Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, just as they invented coats of arms for Adam, Jesus and King David. ssex (difficulty of trying to copy from one Windows window to another! --jmb 12:27, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I repeat my earlier proposal, that there is no Anglo-Saxon literary or archaeological evidence that the Mercians used a ‘white dragon’ flag. This image should certainly not appear above the St. Alban’s cross, which is the traditional, well-known and widely-used emblem of Mercia, and really should be deleted as it appears to be an invention. The flag has already been cited for deletion once, back in September 2006, and its continuing presence is misleading in a fact-based online encyclopedia

The famous Welsh legend of the red dragon fighting the white dragon refers to the wars between the Welsh and the Mercians. To call it "pagan" is, I think, a justified inference based on the fact that the Mercians were pagans at the time. TharkunColl 11:53, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

I thought you might bring that up...but a symbolic Welsh legend referring to dragons fighting is not historical evidence of an actual flag used by the Mercians, any more than the legend of Merlin is archaeological evidence that Stonehenge was magically transported from Ireland to Salisbury Plain.

In your note at [1] you claim ‘I created this image myself’. However, it is identical to the dragon emblem on merchandise from the ‘England First Party’ (see [2]), who are the only other source I have found for the claim that the white dragon was used as an emblem by Anglo-Saxons. Their web site is clearly POV and cannot be cited in support of your claim.

So, again, please provide firm evidence from Anglo-Saxon literature or archaeology for the use of this flag or it will be cited for deletion.

You will notice that their dragon has a red background, as is typical of English nationalists. Perhaps they created it by using the image from Wikipedia? TharkunColl 23:59, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
the flag is mentioned in Schama --Isolani 16:26, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
I have to take my former claim back, the flag Schama talked about was the Wyvern and had no links with mercia as such, I agree that the historical status of the flag needs to be cleared up. --Isolani 10:38, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm changing the shade of blue of the St. Albans cross from the blue of the flag of Scotland to a more accurate one. Cdh1984 11:22, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

A couple of books suggest it was a golden dragon
The Symbols, Standards, Flags and Banners of Ancient and Modern Nations By George Henry Preble refers to the "golden dragon, standard of Wessex" [3] --jmb 11:51, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Also The History and Antiquities of Boston: and the villages of Skirbeck,Fishtoft, Freiston,... By Pishey Thompson
"The banner displayed by Ethelbald .... was a golden dragon which became adopted as the flag of Mercia" [4] --jmb 11:54, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I have updated the flag accordingly, and removed the OR tag. TharkunColl 12:12, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Was Mercia ruled by Wessex for a time so perhaps only golden for that period - sorry the first reference should have read We
This reference is very ambiguous The Encircled Serpent: A Study of Serpent Symbolism in All Countries and Ages By M Oldfield Howey [5] --jmb 12:31, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Contributor TharkunColl is clearly determined to foist an invented Mercian flag of some sort upon Wikipedia for some obscure reason of his own. His own Talk page indicates he is relentless in pursuing POV with numerous warnings about his conduct, and other users have tried and failed to get rid of this imaginary flag. I'm afraid I have other things to do than pursue revert wars. However, for the record (as Wikipedia is a fact-based online encyclopedia, and it would be on my conscience if anybody was misled by TharkunColl's contribution), there is no evidence from any of the surviving Anglo-Saxon literature or archaeological discoveries of a Mercian flag comprising a white or golden dragon, and none of the standard academic publications or websites on Mercia or vexillology refer to any such flag. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 1 February 2007 12:37 - Ekki01 19:38, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

I've gone through a lot of the primary sources I have, and I am afraid I've not come across anything that would justify such a detailed depiction of a flag of Mercia. It's just not in the sources. Whilst googling (for whatever it is worth), however, I came across your flag only on the sites of those fringe parties mentioned in the wikipedia article of Mercia. Is there any connection? Ekki01 19:02, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks Ekki01 for finally getting rid of the fake 'pagan' flag! However, there is a case for retaining an image of the saltire emblem as the 'traditional' heraldic symbol for Mercia. Medieval heralds used such symbols widely to represent the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms (such as the horse for Kent, seaxes for Essex, three crowns for East Anglia, and while they were not of course used as flags by those kingdoms during the Anglo-Saxon period, they have been in use for hundreds of years and are widely used today to symbolise those places. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 22 May 2007 08:41 - Ekki01 16:26, 22 May 2007 (UTC))

I would then suggest you put the flags under a different header (e.g. after "Arrival of the Danes" and before "Contemporary references") with an explanatory remark that the flag was used in later times, preferably with the appropriate references and sources, indicating when the flag and/or coat of arms was first mentioned. I have no qualms with that as long as it is very clear that these emblems were not the ones used during the Anglo-Saxon period. Ekki01 16:26, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Capital of Mercia[edit]

Which city is the capital of Mercia? In school I was told it was Repton in Derbyshire, but this page says it was Tamworth. I 'googled' 'Capital of Mercia' and got entries for both Repton and Tamworth. Where they both capitals? Jsp3970 16:54, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

  • Repton was the location of the principal royal burial site of the Mercian kings, many of whose tombs are preserved in the church there to the present day. Tamworth was the principal royal residence for most of Mercian history, though other residences existed elsewhere, such as at Repton. TharkunColl 18:13, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
I checked around and the information seems to claim that Repton was the first capital, and it was later moved to Tamworth. Jsp3970 20:33, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Such thing as a capital city didn't really exist in those days. What is normally regarded as the capital is the main royal residence. Deaþe gecweald 10:38, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

A capital as such did indeed not exist. The main royal residence is thought to have been Tamworth. It has been argued by Nicholas Brooks that the Mercian royal line originated as leaders of the Tomsæte, i. e., the dwellers at the river Tame. Ekki01 18:26, 9 April 2007 (UTC)


Pardon my ignorance, but how exactly is Mercia pronounced? Here's a few alternatives (my guess is top-most)....

  • MER-see-a
  • MER-kee-a
  • MER-sya
  • MER-shya
  • MER-kya

--Jquarry 02:27, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

The historian Michael Wood, in his BBC series In Search of the Dark Ages, pronounced it like the first on your list. TharkunColl 08:25, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
I've always pronounced it somewhere between the first and third, a short ee merging into the ya. Of course I'm dead common so I might be wrong. MrWeeble Talk Brit tv 20:47, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Hey I'm an Aussie, so go no further if you want the pronunciation of beautiful English words mangled to oblivion :p --Jquarry 09:09, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
The pronounciation of 'c' as 's' was one of the changes introduced by the Normans.
The Anglo-Saxons pronounced 'c' as 'k'.
Hence 'Cedd' is 'Kedd', 'Cerdic' is 'Kerdik', 'Bernicia' is 'Bernikia' and 'Mercia' is 'Merkia'. --JohnArmagh 09:23, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
This is incorrect. The Anglo-Saxons pronounced "c" in front of "e" and "i" as "ch" (e.g. in the word cild, meaning "child"). Furthermore, the Anglo-Saxon spelling of Mercia was Mierce, and is closely related to the modern word "march", meaning border (e.g. the Welsh Marches). TharkunColl 09:33, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

The word Mercia is just a latinised version of Mierce, the Mercian name for Mercia. Therefore, you would probably pronounce it something like IPA [mɜ:siə]. Deaþe gecweald 10:41, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

According to Mitchell & Robinson's Guide to Olde English (p. 15) a c before a, o, u, and y is pronounced k; before e and i it is usually pronounced like ch in Modern English child. Ekki01 17:50, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
This probably does not apply to latinised words. However it does apply to Mierce, the Englisc name that Mercia is a latinised form of.

Deaþe gecweald 17:21, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Ahh, I misunderstood. I thought the question was about the original pronunciation not the modern one. Ekki01 18:08, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
The original pronunciation of Mierce was something like MEER-cha; Mercia is pronounced MER-see-a

Where is Mercia?[edit]

Surely Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Staffordshire need to be mentioned in the opening paragrapg as where it cover? Robert C Prenic 23:50, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

The source that you cite is an unreliable one, I'm afraid. At least half of the area you describe was not part of the original kingdom, and only became so through later conquests. TharkunColl 23:58, 22 January 2007 (UTC)
You are right. In the Wikipedia article it clearly states that Merica "was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy, centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries in what is now the Midlands of England. Mercia's neighbours included..." I do apologise as I read this wrong and if you look at the Midlands entry, it covers Shropshire for example. The entry is perfectly fine, it was me reading it wrong. And, I also apologise for giving this source, I thought they may know as White Dragon is based on Mercia. Robert C Prenic 11:23, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes but reread, they say 'in Paganlink terms', in terms of a previous pagan organisation, that is the area called Mercia:) And remember, too Pagans rewrite reality and history to suit their fantasies.Merkinsmum 12:51, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Anyone interested in working on Mercia-related articles?[edit]

I left a note at the forum page for the medieval wiki project, but I don't know how many people read that, so I thought I'd post a note here and at Wessex too. Is anyone interested in working on getting all the Mercia (or Wessex) related articles up to high quality, e.g. featured standard? It would mainly be the kings and battles articles, plus a general history article (this one) and maybe a few others. If you're interested, let me know and I'll see about setting up a task force page under the main wiki project to help coordinate activities. Mike Christie (talk) 17:16, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I would be interested. TharkunColl 09:13, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

For Mercia, apart from Mercia itself, my suggestions for articles needing love and attention would be:

  1. Æthelflæd. Interesting subject - there aren't many early medieval female rulers - and quite well documented. Walker's book, which is easy enough to find, covers her in some detail. There are all manner of exciting (and possibly made-up) things about her in the Fragmentary Annals of Ireland. If needed, it can be fleshed out with no end of discussion of queenship and the status of women among the Anglo-Saxons.
  2. Æthelred of Mercia. I never did get round to finishing that. Should be more than enough for a featured article.
  3. Wulfhere of Mercia. A bit nearer being finished than his brother, but still not done. Again, plenty of raw material.
  4. Offa of Mercia. Deserves to be good, but since I seem unable to finish a modest article on Mrs Offa there's not much danger of me doing it.

Of course, there are lots of little articles that don't exist (most are found in the Oxford DNB however). No Wulfric Spot, no Ulfcytel Snillingr, no Eadnoth the Staller, no Eadric of Laxfield, no Ælfgifu, wife of Eadwig, none of Æthelstan Half-King's sons or brothers, no Edwin Ætheling (doubtless a cover-up by the pro-Æthelstan tendency), no Eadwig Basan ... Just my tuppenceworth. Angus McLellan (Talk) 21:12, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

I think the four rulers you pick are good candidates. I'm working on Wiglaf right now; Penda and Aethelbald are already featured. There's a summary list of the kings and the current states of the articles at this subpage of mine. The next on the list I think after your four would be Coenwulf.
We can either work on a given article together, or work separately and call each other in for proofreading, copyediting and so on. Any preference? I'm quite happy working by myself and helping others out with copyediting, but I am also happy to pick an article we can go after as a team if that's the preference. I do think the goal should be FA for each article we work on.
I think after we do the main kings, we should work our way down to the more and more obscure ones, and eventually get to the ones that probably don't need articles of their own and can be merged into Mercia. Mike Christie (talk) 23:19, 18 October 2007 (UTC)


Yorkshirian recently added this new version of an old map to this article; it was removed by Deacon of Pndapetzim and re-added by Yorkshirian. I'd like to replace it with this map instead, which doesn't use boundaries. I think the boundaries are misleading at this period in history, and modern secondary sources don't use them Yorkshirian commented that the average reader is going to want to know which towns are in which kingdoms and his map does that. I'm not convinced, but I would like to get more opinions here to try to reach consensus. Please comment here on which map you would prefer.

The map changes also happened on other articles; I will post there and ask interested editors to comment here. Mike Christie (talk) 02:35, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

I think the new map you are suggesting is a definite improvement. I agree that it should be used in place of the current map. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 03:08, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Deacon posted this at Talk:Kingdom of Strathclyde; I'm pasting it here as the central discussion location: "Hey, good idea. I won't respond to each individual post, but yes, your map is better for a whole range of reasons ... some of which you already mentioned; it should be used instead of the inaccurate one. I'd replace "Strathclyde" with "Alt Clut" (we're talking 800 here), and try as hard as possible not imply control beyond the Clyde valley (it's floating over Kyle and Carrick atm); also I'd replace "Northern Picts" with Fortriu, and delete Southern Picts (again, it's 800 rather than 700). I don't, incidentally, see why maps should be allowed to contain inaccuracies any more than text. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 03:02, 10 January 2008 (UTC)" (pasted in by Mike Christie (talk) 03:16, 10 January 2008 (UTC))
That's three people supporting the change of map. I'll make the changes Deacon suggested and upload the new version shortly, then change the articles. Thanks. Mike Christie (talk) 00:11, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I didn't see this discussion till now, however the map that I uploaded of 802 is the historically correct one. I created it using cartographer and historian William R. Shepherd's 802 map as a reference[6]. This shows the rough borders which the kingdoms and is the one which all modern maps for that period are dervied from. It is far more useful than having one which shows no kingdom borders are all (which isn't in following with how country maps are supposed to be). Yorkshirian (talk) 04:37, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I've thought & hard about this matter, especially since I don't entirely agree with the simplified map Mike Christie advocates. But his map the best choice at the moment, due to a number of issues. One is that there are several errors in the map based on Shepherd's version, for example assigning the area that became Surrey to Wessex -- when there is evidence that it was more likely part of Mercia or even Essex. Another is that it could be quite plausibly argued that the boundaries circa 800 are unrecoverable: while various scholars have detected signs of regional or local boundaries that have remained unchanged from before the Roman conquest, & one expert has made a fairly persuasive case of recovering the boundaries of the 6th century Celtic kingdom of Elmet, the location of most of the boundaries remain conjectural. Considering that before 1800, most international boundaries were notably fluid -- that is, they could move back & forth from one year to the next -- one could argue that definable boundaries between these polities never existed. This entire topic is a complex one, & probably would make for an interesting article in Wikipedia. -- llywrch (talk) 06:05, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I would be happy to modify the map in line with whatever sources we regard as reliable. I see Yorkshirian started changing the maps back before noticing this discussion, but has stopped. Yorkshirian, do you have further comments? I see four people preferring the new map, so I'd like to change back. As I say, I'm happy to improve the map if we have suggestions. Mike Christie (talk) 12:40, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I've come to this discussion late, but I would like to point out that in one respect concerning the northern border between Mercia and Northumbria around what becomes Cheshire, there seems to be an error or a disagreement with recent reliable published sources. Effectively, the western part of the northern border is placed too far north, according to the evidence of these recent reliable sources. You can see the evidence described in the following articles (I don't want to duplicate stuff I have already written a number of times): History of Cheshire, and History of Lancashire, in particular the notes which refer to Crosby's book. Of course, precise borders at this distance in time will often be problematic, but I think this case we can say the Mersey was more likely to be the border than the northern part currently shown in the map (which may well have been arrived at by extrapolation from a now less likely interpretation of the status of "Inter Ripam et Mersham" in the Domesday returns. The problematic nature of the lack of precise evidence at this distance in time about the boundaries could be satisfactorily reconciled, I think, by omitting the boundaries entirely, which would be in agreement with others' opinions in this discussion.  DDStretch  (talk) 09:34, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
The thing is, all kingdom's and regions have borders and if we have a widespread source, the one of William R. Shepherd who was a professional and respected cartographer then why should we not use that? Especially as it is standard on articles about countries and kingdoms to have maps with borders. Which other map sources do we have to use as guidelines out of curiosity, to support no borders at all. - Yorkshirian (talk) 07:21, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't have all my sources with me at the moment, but from what I have, here's a list of maps.
  • Lapidge et al. Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England, p. 517-520, some borders shown (e.g. for Danelaw) borders not shown for individual Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Pp. 517 and 520 can be seen on Google Books.
  • Yorke, Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England, pp. 12 and 14. No borders shown. Both are visible on Google Books.
  • Stenton, Anglo-Saxon England. Various maps: p. 201 shows Mercia, and a fold-out map on p. 730 shows England. Neither uses borders. The map on p. 201 is visible on Google Books; the map on p. 730 is partly visible.
  • Kirby, Earliest English Kings. Map on p. xiv. No borders. Visible on Google Books.
Those four are among the best secondary sources that it is possible to find for the period, so I think this makes it clear it is not only legitimate but actually usual practice not to include borders.
With regard to your other point, it's not so much that modern historians believe there were no borders, though that may have been effectively true at the earliest stages of Anglo-Saxon settlement. It's that it is impossible to tell exactly where they were, and a map is misleading because it gives the impression of certainty. In some cases there is quite a bit of evidence, for example for the boundary between Wessex and Mercia, but even there the evidence often consists of a battle which one side won, and then decades of silence. Deducing where the border was from one battle has to be speculative.
If you're still not convinced, I'll have a look at some other books when I get back home tonight and see if I can find more examples. Mike Christie (talk) 11:57, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I think the problem here is everyone is assuming that borders were so fluid as to be unrecoverable, but this is not the case. Towns and districts were known and accepted as traditionally Mercian, or traditionally West Saxon, etc. - even if they were temporarily occupied by another kingdom. These accepted boundaries can be recovered very simply - by using ecclesiastical boundaries. Each kingdom had one or more bishoprics, and their boundaries are known (in many cases they survived unchanged until the Reformation, and any earlier or later changes are recorded). TharkunColl (talk) 12:21, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I think there are two things wrong with that argument. First, supposing that the ecclesiastical boundaries are fixed definitely doesn't mean that the boundaries of the kingdoms were fixed -- the boundaries are known to have shifted with the fortunes of war, so if the dioceses had fixed boundaries it just means we know they sometimes didn't correspond to the boundaries of the kingdoms. But more importantly we don't have modern secondary sources using that argument to reconstruct the boundaries of the kingdoms. In addition to the above, I'm pretty sure that Peter Hunter Blair's books don't use boundaries, and the maps in James Campbell's The Anglo-Saxons don't either. I'll check both tonight, but I used those as sources for some maps I drew, so I'm fairly certain. Modern historians just don't use boundaries as far as I can see. Mike Christie (talk) 12:54, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
If those historians chose not to use boundaries, then we simply refer to those who do. I notice, for example, that all your books are general histories, when you should in fact be using dedicated historical atlases. Try, for example, the Atlas of British History G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville (1979) which is full of the very maps you are looking for. To assume that those historians who don't use them are "correct", is original research. TharkunColl (talk) 14:42, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
It's not a matter of choosing to use boundaries, it's the fact that many boundaries in the north are totally obscure. Anyway, Shephard's map is dubious: it shows Whithorn in Strathclyde in 802. How did that happen when the bishop of Whithorn was at Eardwulf's coronation in York in 796? Shephard's 802 Northumbria looks like the c. 900 version in the Blackwell Encyclopedia rather than the c. 800 one. As has been said elsewhere, the map also seems to misplace the western part of the boundary between Northumbria and Mercia, generally presumed to have been near the Mersey. Better no map at all than one which misleads the reader. Angus McLellan (Talk) 15:34, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
More examples. Fletcher, Who's Who in Roman Britain and Anglo-Saxon England; no boundaries. Blair, Introduction to Anglo-Saxon England, no boundaries, though he does give diocesan boundaries for c. 750. Featherstone gives a map of Mercia, with boundaries, in Brown & Farr "Mercia"; he calls it a suggested reconstruction, though he may be primarily referring to the internal divisions (it's an analysis of the Tribal Hidage). Zaluckyj, Mercia, no boundaries. Campbell et al., The Anglo-Saxons, no boundaries.
Re Freeman-Grenville, he appears not to be a specialist: he's done atlases of African and Middle-Eastern history too. I would regard him as a tertiary source. For interest's sake I checked my copy of The Times Atlas of World History, and it also gives a map with no boundaries.
To date five people have agreed that the map without boundaries is preferable; I suspect Angus agrees too, from his comment, though he didn't actually say so. I'll wait another day to see if there are more comments; if nobody changes their mind, I'll change the map on the Mercia page, and wait to make sure we don't get in an edit war. Assuming we don't I'll change the others too. Mike Christie (talk) 23:18, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Just to add to my comment about the erroneous western part of the (northern) border between Mercia and Northumbria. The map needs to be edited at the very least and (my preference) have no boundaries. To have the boundaries as they are now shown will contradict facts provided elsewhere (given above), and which come from more recent reputable sources (including the Victoria County History series). If we are serious about writing a good quality encyclopaedia, we should be alert to, and attend to removing inconsistencies of this nature. The map without boundaries solves the inconsistency problem adequately.  DDStretch  (talk) 23:25, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
A map without boundaries is worse than pointless, so you might as well not have one at all. A map without boundaries has words like "Mercia" and "Wessex" written on it, and only the size of the letters can give an indication of what territory is indicated. I submit that even an inaccurate map is better than a map that is so vague that what it says can be better said in writing.
As for Freeman-Grenville being a tertiary source, that is clearly a matter of opinion. It could just as well be argued that his work on political boundaries around the world throughout history makes him an expert in precisely the field we are discussing here, unlike the generalised historians you are quoting. And incidentally, my edition of The Times Atlas of World History does indeed give boundaries. TharkunColl (talk) 00:02, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
The Yorkshirian map verges on historical fiction, and there's no question that map has to be edited significantly or removed. As for borders ... none! Historians don't know them, so why try to make readers believe they are known? How is delusion beneficial? Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 00:38, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Historians do know them. Were you unaware of this fact? TharkunColl (talk) 00:41, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
So "knowledge" isn't true, justified, belief for you then? Welcome back from your two week wiki-ban btw! Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 00:44, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but you appear to be wholly ignorant of the historical study of boundaries and the like. That's ok, most people are. Just check out the source I mentioned above, and his sources, if you wish to learn something about it. TharkunColl (talk) 00:48, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
It would help if your sources gave complete references that allowed people to check them. At the moment, they are not given in sufficient detail: a reference one is invited to check without adequate information is worse than no reference at all, one might say 8-) So, what editions, when were they published, and what are their ISBN numbers? Since you say you have them, it won't be too much trouble for you, I guess.  DDStretch  (talk) 01:11, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I doubt very much if TharkunColl's useless tertiary sources will move the opinions of any one here. it's not like makers of those directly studied the evidence of boundaries in the AS kingdoms; anyways, it's pretty much impossible to do anything more than make an informed guess at the boundaries of any dark age kingdom at any fixed point (ignoring clear geographical barriers), the evidence just doesn't tell that ... not that most specialist historians would actually care. To a certain extent, the idea of fixed boundaries kinda misunderstands the nature of early medieval political structures. Barbed wire laden border fences with guards and Alsatians was not really something these guys had much experience of. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 01:30, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
"it's not like makers of those directly studied the evidence of boundaries in the AS kingdoms" - what an almost unbelievably arrogant and ignorant thing to say! How on earth would you know? There's a whole discipline devoted to this of which you are clearly completely unaware. TharkunColl (talk) 09:54, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Psychic power. Your knowledge and my psychic power are around the same. Psychic power, Tharkun. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 17:36, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh, I agree entirely. I was mainly pointing out the possible irony of believing that "incomplete" maps were useless, but that it was adequate to provide references that were also "incomplete" (using incomplete in the sense that sems to be implied.)  DDStretch  (talk) 01:50, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Do you have access to Google? Then type in "Atlas of British History" "Freeman-Grenville" and hey presto, it's there. The info I provided was perfectly adequate for finding the book. TharkunColl (talk) 09:02, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

I've replaced the map with boundaries with a map without boundaries, per the above. I'll give it a day to see if there are further comments or reversions and then I'll make the change on the other articles that use this map. Mike Christie (talk) 03:01, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Lindsey is certainly in the wrong place, it only ever covered north-east Lincolnshire (see Lindsey). Even more importantly, in 802 it had been part of Mercia for well over a century, so why is it mentioned at all? If Lindsey is included then so should the Hwicce be, which was also a former kingdom absorbed by Mercia. Other inaccuracies include the placing of the name East Anglia, which strays far too far to the west into the territory of the Middle Angles, and the placing of the name Wessex which strays north of the Avon-Thames line. I think Powys is also too far south - perhaps you had confused it with the modern county? The argument has been used that because some boundaries are not known, we should show none. But in fact some boundaries for 802 are well established - Offa's Dyke springs to mind, and the aforementioned Avon-Thames line. So the strictly proper thing to do would be to show boundaries where they are known, and not elsewhere. TharkunColl (talk) 08:54, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I need to move the text if it's misleading, that's for sure. I'll look at the various sources I've got and see if I can get the text placed any more accurately for all of them. I'll post here again when I've done that so people can take a look. For the boundaries, I'm more hesitant -- Offa's dyke and parts of the Thames are very plausible, but I think it would look odd to have just a few boundaries. Take a look at Image:Wiglaf locations.gif for one approach -- I put the dyke itself in, rather than assert it was the border. I could do that here too. Mike Christie (talk) 11:49, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I've made some modifications in line with TharkunColl's comments along with checking some other sources. I've uploaded the new version and will go ahead and change the other articles that use the old map to point to this one. Any other comments would be welcome. Mike Christie (talk) 02:26, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Why do you still have Lindsey? In 802 it had been part of Mercia for over a century. Why spell Alt Clut like that, but use modern spellings for all the other names? TharkunColl (talk) 17:32, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
The main reason I included Lindsey is that the map I used for the source included it. (The sources is one of Peter Hunter Blair's books.) I believe the situation is that the last king of Lindsey is Aldfrith, according to the genealogies, and that until fairly recently it was thought that a charter witness with a similar name was this same person. The charter was dated 787, so that seemed to indicate the survival of the dynasty to that date, and possibly beyond. However, it's no longer thought that the witness was the same person as the king, so there is no evidence that Lindsey retained its kings at this date. So I'd say it's OK to remove Lindsey from the map, despite the source. For Alt Clut, I originally had Strathclyde, again per the source, but was told me someone who knows more than I do about the period that Alt Clut would be more accurate. (It might have been Deacon or Angus; not sure.) I know very little about the kingdoms north of Northumbria so I won't express an opinion of my own. If you'd prefer Strathclyde I'll change it back if nobody objects. I'll leave this conversation a day or so to see what others think before making the changes. Mike Christie (talk) 18:38, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
"Alt Clut [Height on the Clyde"] is name of for the Kingdom based on what the Scots renamed Dumbarton ("Dún Bretain", "Fortress of the Britons"). It's a "city". Calling its domain Strathclyde is dangerous, because it presumes much that isn't known, but it is in use in many secondary sources. As far as I am concerned, it's better to use the term Strathclyde than have Alt Clut hanging over Ayrshire, which probably had nothing to do with the Alt Clut kingdom. At least "Strathclyde is in use as a regional term today and for the kingdom in later in the century. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 18:46, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I've uploaded the new version of the map. Please let me know if further changes are needed. Mike Christie (talk) 22:10, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Why 802? This is surely left over from the old map that was based on Egbert's accession date, but it seems rather inappropriate now and just seems arbitrary. Nothing else of note happened that year. In a map that is now deliberately imprecise it can no longer be sustained. So let's shift it to 800, or around 800. TharkunColl (talk) 14:35, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
You're right; it was left over from the old map. I fixed it.
Yorkshirian has recently reverted several of the changed maps at other articles, though not this one. I've opened an RfC below. Mike Christie (talk) 16:07, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
The previous map was incorrect as it shows Cornwall as included in Wessex - this map indicates that this was not the case in 1035. -- William of Malmesbury, writing around 1120, says that King Athelstan of England fixed Cornwall's eastern boundary at the Tamar in 936 after the remaining Cornish had been evicted from Exeter and the rest of Devon in 927 - "Exeter was cleansed of its defilement by wiping out that filthy race". (ref: Professor Philip Payton - (1996). Cornwall. Fowey: Alexander Associates). In 944 Athelstan's successor, Edmund I of England, styled himself 'King of the English and ruler of this province of the Britons' (ref: Malcolm Todd -- The South West to AD 1000 - 1987), an indication of how that accommodation was understood at the time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:48, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

RFC: Map for miscellaneous medieval England articles[edit]

RFC tag removed. Mike Christie (talk) 11:32, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Which map should be used for this and related medieval England articles? The two at issue are Image:GreatBritain802.png and Image:British kingdoms c 800.gif. See Talk:Mercia#Map section above for background discussion.

  • For now we should use the map with no boundaries. At a later point we could introduce a map with boundaries if there is consensus on an existing scholarly source for such a map. We should avoid the original research entailed in trying to construct the boundaries for a map from separate bits of historical evidence. Nesbit (talk) 18:21, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
  • The first one lacks source information. The second one looks more professional, but how do you find it on the Demis Web Map server? The Transhumanist 03:20, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
It was built by hand using a Demis base image and using information taken primarily from the map on p. 209 of Peter Hunter Blair's "Roman Britain and Early England", slightly modified as Blair's map represents the state of affairs in the late seventh century. Mike Christie (talk) 04:24, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
I like the first one with borders better, it does provide more information. As for the reliability, it seems ok, just cite it to the original cartographer in the caption. -Icewedge (talk) 06:23, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Icewedge. The first one (Image:GreatBritain802.png) is better because of its borders that show the boundaries of each area. --DavidD4scnrt (talk) 07:25, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Result of RFC and discussion[edit]

The RFC did not change the consensus on the use of the map. To summarize, here are the editors supporting one or other map:

  • No borders: Mike Christie, RepublicanJacobite, Deacon of Pndapetzim, Llywrch, DDStretch, Angusmclellan, and Nesbit.
  • Borders: Yorkshirian, TharkunColl, Icewedge.

I will revert to the map with no borders shortly.

A user, Sakurambo, recently did a revised svg version of the map without borders. It can be seen at Image:British kingdoms c 800.svg. I plan to use that version as SVG files resize better, and it looks a little neater. Please let me know if there are any reasons to prefer the gif file. Mike Christie (talk) 11:39, 23 February 2008 (UTC)


Is there any chance of tweaking the introduction so that it makes Mercia's timeline more apparent? I had to scroll through the article before I could find out which millenium Mercia existed in, let alone which year. For people who are unaccquainted with the history of medieval Britain, the intro is a bit obfuscatory. ManicParroT (talk) 19:45, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

The fully truth? - ok - It was the folk of Numa Pompilus. germannus 16:45, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Why the move?[edit]

This article contains stuff not directly related to the kingdom, such as more recent history and dialects etc. Can someone undo it please? ðarkuncoll 19:13, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Because this page is meant to be about the Kingdom of Mercia. Mercia is still a name used today and asuch there needs to be a seperation of the Kingdom and the modern meaning. The Quill (talk) 19:29, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
Who said this page was supposed to be about the Kingdom of Mercia? ðarkuncoll 00:22, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
If I want to find an article on Mercia, I'll search for 'Mercia'. I won't make any hair-splitting distinctions and will be much better informed if I can find the historical and contemporary usages in the same place. Why 'Kingdom of Mercia', any more than 'Kingdom of England'? Not all post-kingdom history is modern either: think of Leofric and Aelfgar. David Robins (talk) 21:26, 5 December 2008 (UTC)
How do we revert it? Do we need an admin to do it? ðarkuncoll 00:22, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I've reverted it for you. I suggest you review the moving editor's other page moves (e.g., Wessex, and so on), because it looks like all the heptarchy kingdoms and related areas have also been moved by The Quill.  DDStretch  (talk) 00:29, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
I've also left a suitable message on The Quill's talk page asking for the other page moves to be reverted unless and until agreement to their moves are obtained on the appropriate talk pages, rather than moving them and then singlehandedly attempting to state what the articles ought to be about.  DDStretch  (talk) 00:36, 6 December 2008 (UTC)
The meaning of Mercia comes from the english word merchant. In spanish the word mercado means market. The land of the Mark or market. This border country was the marketplace for the surrounding areas. a map of economic activity would be useful here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by WarrenGordonPaterson (talkcontribs) 01:49, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

Penda and the Mercian Supremacy/Mercian religion[edit]

This section has been fleshed out and edited to a disproportionate length. It needs to be trimmed down again and cited details moved to main articles if they are not duplicated. Metabaronic (talk) 20:23, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

I've moved 2 paragraphs from the Supremacy section into a new one covering Mercian religion.Metabaronic (talk) 20:36, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

Tolkien and "translation"[edit]

I can't believe someone actually cited a fictional appendix to a fictional book to make an assertion of fact.

Tolkien did not translate some actual Rohirric language into Mercian. He wrote that language as Mercian ab initio, and came up with a fictionalized rationalization for it as he explained in the Appendices. Those Appendices do NOT purport to be factual. They're part of the literary conceit of Tolkien as translator of the Red Book of Westmarch rather than the author who concocted the thing from whole cloth.

If you want the facts, look at Letters. As I do not have my copy to hand at the moment I have left the citation as it was, but please let's not pretend in an encyclopedia that fiction is really history. (talk) 00:05, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

Contemporary Mercian groups[edit]

I have removed the 'Mercian National Party' and 'Mercian Socialist Party' as I don't think they deserve a mention unless they can be proved to be actual 'groups', i.e. consisting of more than one person between them. Cdh1984 (talk) 19:07, 12 June 2011 (UTC)

After looking at the webpage of 'Sovereign Mercia', I'm hardly convinced that it exists as anything other than a personal website either. I don't think it has a place here unless it can be established that the 'group' is an actual existing entity that campaigns or holds functions offline. Cdh1984 (talk) 19:09, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Descent from Anglo-Saxon Royalty[edit]

The following statement in the article is incorrect:

"The Arden family claim descent from Leofric, Earl of Mercia and as such are one of the few families in England that claim Anglo-Saxon royalty among their ancestors."

- Good grief! A great many families can claim descent from Anglo-Saxon royalty, and most certainly the present Royal family, and quite rightly so! Perhaps the person who made this statement meant something else - Mercian Royalty perhaps, though I am uncertain as to whether Earl Leofric could genuinely be described as royalty in any event. Since the statement is so patently false in it's current form, I am removing the second half of this sentence following the word 'Mercia'. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Johnpretty010 (talkcontribs) 20:00, 19 November 2011 (UTC)

You're obviously right. Mathematically, most west Europeans can reasonably assume Charlemagne, Offa, or almost anyone else alive in the "Dark Ages" as an ancestor - the obvious exception being known celibates. Remember that the spread of your ancestry doubles with each generation you trace back. Use the Power of two page to check. At 40 generations back - mid-Anglo-Saxon times - you can theoretically have over a billion ancestors. That's actually impossible, of course, as it greatly exceeds the actual world population at that time: in reality we are connected to many of our ancestors by multiple lines of descent. However, I would be very surprised if I am not descended from Anglo-Saxon royalty, and from Atilla the Hun and Boudica too, for all it matters. Sjwells53 (talk) 17:46, 20 November 2011 (UTC)


There is an interesting discussion above about the correct pronunciation of Mercia, and I don't dispute that now it is generally pronounced MERS-ia. But given that the derivation of the word is clearly related to the Welsh Marches, and that the letters "er" are frequently pronounced "ar" in English placenames (Derby, Hertford, Berkshire), is it not likely that it was originally pronounced MARCH-ia? Since the Angles spoke a Germanic language, the German cognate Mark (as in Mark Brandenburg, originally in the "Polish Marches") is also relevant. Intelligent Mr Toad (talk) 06:05, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

It is an interesting discussion above, and it seems to a non-expert like me that they got it about right in the end. Surely the explananation for the apparently anomalous Derby/Hertford spellings lies in the Great Vowel Shift of the 14th century, at the other end of the Middle Ages, and relates to changes in Middle English, not Anglo-Saxon. The spelling reflects the older pronunciation, which was long retained in regional dialects and US English and is still sometimes used - as in West Derby, Liverpool, which is derived from Lord Derby, the original landowner, but not pronounced as with the traditional county town of Derbyshire. In other words, er never was pronounced like ar, but the spellings got suspended in the old orthography when the pronunciation evolved: the main reason why so many English words appear illogical in spelling is that they are etymological. Sjwells53 (talk) 10:27, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Kingdom of the Mercians[edit]

Hi Rushton2010. "Miercna rīce" directly translates to "Mercian kingdom". Interpreting this as being synonyms to "Kingdom of Mercia" is not correct, as "Mercia" didn't exist at the time. There was a kingdom of "Mercians", however there was no region called "Mercia". "Miercna" (the only term of that nature at the time) means "Border people", and thus, "Miercna rīce" directly translates to "Mercian kingdom" or "Border peoples kingdom", which is synonyms with "kingdom of the Mercians" or "kingdom of the border people". "Mercia" is a modern term that comes from "Miercna" ("Mercian"), and describes the region where the kingdom of the Mercians was located, however at the time, there was no place called "Mercia". In modern English, historians commonly refer to the kingdom of the Mercians, as the "Kingdom of Mercia", however that is simply combining "Kingdom", what it is, and "Mercia" the name of the region today. Including what the state was named at the time, in my opinion at-least, is useful. If you're still not convinced, I may try to find some research on this. Regards, Rob (talk) 02:25, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

I note you've made this switch on a number of related pages, from eg "Mercia/Wessex/etc" to "Kingdom of the Mercians/West Saxons/etc". I appreciate that the former terms are probably modern descriptions, but I'm not sure the latter formulation isn't as well. I'm not sure we should be claiming there are definitive names from the time in this way, not least because even if there were official names in old English, there would definitely not have been any modern English translation. Ultimately, it's fine to just use the most common modern English term, or all the equivalent alternatives, rather than suggesting one is the actual, historical name and the other not but, by contrast, some kind of modern invention. N-HH talk/edits 11:25, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
Linguistically, "Mercian kingdom" is what it translates to, and "kingdom of the Mercians" describes what that term means. I included the latter, as in modern English, the former could be incorrectly interpreted as "of Mercia" (the region), which didn't exist. Many sources refer to the "kingdom of the Mercians" and this source suggests that terms such as "Miercna rīce" are synonymous with "kingdom of the Mercians". I don't think we can talk about official names for these kingdoms, but primary sources show that "Miercna rīce" was the most common term used to refer to the kingdom as the time. Contrasting the most common historical name to the modern names isn't necessary, but informative. Rob (talk) 13:12, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

You are incorrect to say I am interpreting anything. The article has used "Kingdom of Mercia" as it is the one, along with simply "Merica", that is used near universally by sources. Your attempts to interpret primary sources is not allowed -it is a breach of wikipedia's policy of WP:Original Research. Rushton2010 (talk

I'm not interpreting primary sources, I'm simply stating how common a term is used in a primary source, which is perfectly acceptable as per WP:NOR. Apart from that, I don't disagree with you, and wasn't suggesting otherwise. I'm not arguing that "kingdom of the Mercians" is more commonly used, but rather that it was the term/definition of a term used at the time, and I have supported this with secondary sources. The only other question, like I said, is whether the historical name is even worthy of inclusion (of interest to the reader), which I believe it is. Also, including "Miercna rīce", adjacent to "Kingdom of Mercia", is grammatically misleading, as the terms are not grammatically synonymous (although the definitions are), whereas "kingdom of the Mercians" is. Rob (talk) 18:16, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

The most commonly used term without a doubt is simply "Mercia". It was a Kingdom, ergo "Kingdom of Mercia" - the second most common name. There is nothing grammatically misleading.
What is misleading is incorrectly calling it a "of the Mercians", which incorrectly assumes and implies the kingdom contained only a single race/tribe, the "Mercians" -which of course could not be further from the truth. The kingdom contained countless tribes, even before the expansion of the Mercian Supremacy. The Hwicce and the Pecsæte, or smaller tribes like the Stoppingas for example. Even the people of Tamworth - the capital of Mercia - did not not identify themselves as Mercians, but as the Tomsaete. --Rushton2010 (talk) 11:31, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Firstly, how is it not grammatically misleading? Is "kingdom of the Mercians" grammatically synonymous with "Kingdom of Mercia"? No, so how is "Miercna rīce"?
Secondly, so what if it's misleading calling it "of the Mercians"? If it was called that at the time, as my sources collectively suggest, then that is the reason to include it, whether it's misleading is irrelevant, as the article or even lead, should latter describe the tribes that formed the kingdom. The point is to inform the reader about the kingdom's historical name, not to clarify the topic of the article as the current title does perfectly well.
Do you have any reason not to inform the reader on the kingdom's historicall name in some form? Possibly not in the introduction, although I think that is the most appropriate section.
Rob (talk) 17:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

First and foremost "of the Mercians" is not the historical name. Miercna rīce may very well be, but to bastardize it into English, force it into some semblance of modern grammar and claim it a correct "historical" name that would have been used by contemporaries is just preposterous. As stated above, even those in the capital did not identify as "Mercians". In such a huge area occupied by the last vestiges of the various British tribes, the dregs of the Romans, and the multitude of tribes from across the Anglo-Saxon homeland, existing in a somewhat near constant state of conflict and only tentatively held together though warlordship and bonds of kinship and fealty, to claim some form of homogeneous cultural identity and self identification... is just ridiculous. Especially as these were kingdoms of conquest. When the Mercian King conquered the rest of Southern England, did these people become "Mercians" and identify themselves as such? No of course not. But they lived in the "Kingdom of the Mercians" ergo they were Mercian...? The Mercians were the "border people"- In such a large kingdom, did those who lived no where near the border call themselves this over their local or tribal names?
It is the same as why we talk of the historic Kingdom of Scotland, not of the Kingdom of the Scots - its a geograpic/territorial name because the kingdom contained a far larger and varied group of peoples than just the Scots. Mercia, Northumbria, Scotland - they may take their geographic/territorial name from leading group in power, but there was no homogeneous culture, identification and language.
The trouble is that people tend to enforce our modern understanding of the world onto the past. Our modern understanding of what a "state" is, the entirely modern concept of "nationality". Even our modern definitions of words. The one I always use is "Apocalypse" -the modern definition of which could not be further from that of the original. It's why is deathly important to be careful when using such terms. For example the use of "sovereign state" in various Anglo-Saxon articles, relies on a modern definition and implies similarity to modern examples, but in a tribal kingdom with no form of centralised "state"...? Similar is the "absolute monarchy", which is more akin to the late-medieval, early modern period and the divine right of kings. Does it fit as well to a warlord King who's position is not thought divine, who's control of his territories is not centralized or absolute, who frequently rules with "sub" or even "co-kings"?
Anyway. I'd fully support a section about the etymology of the names or the cultural identities of the people. I think it would have to be a section though -It's obviously more detail than can be covered in a passing sentence or two in the introduction.
As a whole the articles about the kingdoms of the Heptarchy are as a whole hugely under referenced, in places I've spotted some quite large inaccuracies and even plainly incorrect information; any addition of good, interesting, referenced material would be great.

Best--Rushton2010 (talk) 14:46, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

I don't think Anglo-Saxon identity is as straight forward as you make out (for example by the 10th century the West Saxons considered themselves "Ænglisc", derived from "Ængle"). Besides, if you were ruled by a Mercian king, you were part of the kingdom of the Mercians, that's effectively what a "king-dom" is. Anyway, this isn't going anywhere, and I would need a source to back up my background knowledge of old English, which quite frankly I don't have time for. You're fully entitled to remove the phrases on other articles if you wish. Regards, Rob (talk) 16:27, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Given name (citation needed)[edit]

This article has "It also occurs as a female given name.[citation needed]"

What citation do you need? I know two women named Mercia. (Pronounced MER-see-uh) It's an unusual name but it does exist.

Also I found this - showing app. 14,000 women with the name in SA. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:17, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Mercian Monarchy Matrilineal in the Ninth Century?[edit]

Each of the last several Queens of Mercia was a daughter of the previous Queen: Eadburh, Ealhswith, Aethelflaed and Aelfwynn. The husbands of the first three were "King" of Mercia jure uxoris (by right of the wife). Several of the earlier ninth century Kings of Mercia were also not sons of a King in the preceding generation, though a few married either a daughter or later female descendant of one. Is there any secondary source that discusses this? Zoetropo (talk) 12:06, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

There was no matrilineal descent. Eadburh was daughter of Offa of Mercia and queen of Wessex. Ealhswith and Æthelflæd were daughters of kings of Wessex. These were thus diplomatic marriages. Ælfwynn was daughter of Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians, but she was an only child - and was deposed by Edward the Elder within months. Dudley Miles (talk) 17:29, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Different Eadburh: yours flourished 789-802 and was depicted by Asser as a poisoner who ended her days penniless in Pavia, but I'm writing about the mother of Ealhswith (died 5 Dec 902) named Eadburh, who was the wife of the Mercian nobleman Æthelred Mucil, Ealdorman of the Gaini. This Eadburh was a member of the Mercian royal family, so a branch of the Mercian royal line continued through her. But speaking of Offa, coins were issued in the name of his wife Cynethryth, so although we know nothing of her parents, she must have been important in her own right. Æthelflæd was called "Lady" rather than "Queen" of the Mercians, precisely because of (your) Queen Eadburh's extremely unsavoury reputation. Although the Wikipedia article on him asserts that Æthelred Mucil "ruled" Mercia "shortly after the death of its last king, Ceolwulf II in 879", it's clear that he had no hereditary entitlement to rule other than through his wife Eadburh II (otherwise their marriage would have been incestuous). Zoetropo (talk) 23:39, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
Incidentally, an 11th century genealogy of the family of Count Eudon of Brittany (Odo, Count of Penthièvre), constructed by his rival the Count of Anjou, claimed that his (significantly younger) wife Orguen ("Agnes") of Kernev was a maternal grand-daughter of Melisende of Maine, sister of Count Hugh III of Maine (who, the historian Keats-Rohan thinks, married a sister of Duke Geoffrey I of Brittany, Eudon's father). A genealogy (with at least one doubtful descent) for Count Hugh III provides him and his sister with a long matrilineal descent from Queens of Mercia, so, for what it's worth, someone thought this important. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zoetropo (talkcontribs) 23:54, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

"Pound Sterling" the official currency of Mercia?[edit]

The "Pound" in it's various forms does indeed go back to Roman times, but the way it was stated so casually in the infobox, it gave the impression that the "Pound Sterling" (as currently defined) was the official currency of Mercia. That's the silly part. To remedy the silly part, the subject needs to be removed from the infobox and explained in real words in the text as to what was intended by the words in the infobox. I imagine it would be something probably along the lines of "The (then-version of the Pound) was one form of money used at the time in the kingdom of Mercia, other money also used was X". Of course, that entry would be subject to notability requirements as well (which it would propably have considering the existing level of detail in the article). Most importantly too, it would require a reliable reference.

The entry in the infobox conveyed a meaning probably not intended and also lacked a solid ref supporting either meaning (the one intended or the silly one expressed). That's why I removed it. According to WP:BURDEN "The burden to demonstrate verifiability lies with the editor who adds or restores material, and is satisfied by providing a citation to a reliable source that directly supports the contribution.". That is, it may not be reinstated (in it's previous form) without a reliable ref which actually mentions Mercia and actually supports the actual meaning expressed in the actual words in the text. (talk) 17:57, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Check Stenton, and Google pound sterling and Offa, for literally hundreds of references. Don't remove unless you get a consensus to do so. TharkunColl (talk) 18:07, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
I do not think it is correct that the pound was the currency. The BBC source cited says "pounds and shillings were merely useful units of account." Stenton p. 223 says "From the reign of Offa to that of Henry III the English currency was based on a silver penny..." The article on coinage in the Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England says "The gold shilling was superseded c.675 by the silver penny which was to remain the principal denomination until the mid-fourteenth century. The concept of an offical currency in this period is probably anachronistic, but it certainly was not the pound. Dudley Miles (talk) 18:30, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

TharkunColl, please review WP:burden (the first non-lede paragraph). If it's you who want's to re-list a removed purported fact, then it's your burden to provide the proper ref., not mine. As things stand now, you're fighting the wrong battle. You should instead be looking for a good ref, or better yet rewriting the entry (with ref. of course) so it doesn't convey the wrong idea. In the mean time, the disputed entry must remain not included. (talk) 18:52, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Dudley, a unit of account is a currency. That's the whole point of it. TharkunColl (talk) 19:31, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
But that's not what's communicated by the actual text in dispute. If you mean to say that, then say that in a way that is clear, not by way of the ambiguous disputed text. (talk) 19:47, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Anonymous IP, I've added another reference. How many do you want? TharkunColl (talk) 19:39, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
You know darned well it's not about me or "what I want", don't play stupid head games. It's about WP:verifiability and unambiguous wording. (talk) 19:47, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
TharkunColl The Cambridge Online Dictionary at [7] defines currency as "the money that is used in a particular country at a particular time". In the later Anglo-Saxon period that would the silver penny (contrary to my previous comment that currency in this period is anachronistic). Also the first reference says pounds and shillings, not pounds only, and the second is a commercial site which is not WP:RS. Dudley Miles (talk) 19:59, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Guys, I went ahead and made a stub of an entry into the text as the new section "Origin of the British Pound". If someone really really wants an entry in the infobox, it should be revised from the original to be unambiguous and to reflect ref'd material in the text. (talk) 20:04, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

I just noticed in the loan website ref that it wasn't until 1158, that "a change was made so that pennies were cast from 92.5 percent silver", now called sterling silver. So, a "Pound Sterling" (even by another name) could not have been associated with Mercia as the alloy didn't come into play until after Mercia ended. (talk) 20:25, 25 February 2015 (UTC)