List of monarchs of East Anglia

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Edmund, king of the East Angles, who was killed during the invasion of his kingdom by the Great Heathen Army

The kingdom of East Anglia (also known as the kingdom of the East Angles), was a small independent Anglo-Saxon kingdom that comprised what are now the English counties of Norfolk and Suffolk and perhaps the eastern part of the Fens. The kingdom was one of the seven traditional members of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. The East Angles were initially ruled (from the 6th century until 749) by members of the Wuffingas dynasty, named after Wuffa, whose name means 'descendants of the wolf'.[1] The last king was Guthrum II, who ruled in the 10th century.

After 749 East Anglia was ruled by kings whose genealogy is not known, or by sub-kings who were under the control of the kings of Mercia. East Anglia briefly recovered its independence after the death of Offa of Mercia in 796, but Mercian hegemony was soon restored by his successor, Coenwulf.[2] Between 826 and 869, following an East Anglian revolt in which the Mercian king, Beornwulf, was killed, the East Angles again regained their independence. In 869 a Danish army defeated and killed the last native East Anglian king, Edmund the Martyr.[3] The kingdom then fell into the hands of the Danes and eventually formed part of the Danelaw.[3] In 918 the East Anglian Danes accepted the overlordship of Edward the Elder of Wessex. East Anglia then became part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of England.

Many of the regnal dates of the East Anglian kings are considered unreliable, often being based upon computations. Some dates have presented particular problems for scholars: for instance, during the three-year-long period of apostasy that followed the murder of Eorpwald, when it is not known whether any king ruled the East Angles.[4] The main source of information about the early history of the kingdom's rulers is Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People.[5]

Chronological list[edit]

Timeline Dynasty Reign King Notes
East Anglian kings chart gray.svg
Wuffingas d. 571 Wehha Possible ruler;[6] "The first to rule over the East Angles", according to Nennius.[7]
571–578 (from unknown annal).[6] Wuffa Possible ruler;[6] son of Wehha and the king after whom the Wuffingas dynasty is named.
578 (from unknown annal).[6] Tytila Possible ruler; son of 'Uffa' (Wuffa); acceded in 578, according to the Flores Historiarum.[8]
Acceded around 616,[9] died before 627.[10] Rædwald Son of Tytila;[6] named imperium by Bede, later interpreted as Bretwalda.[11] The Flores Historiarum gives 599 for Rædwald's accession.[12] Rædwald is the first of the Wuffingas of which more than a name is known.
Died 627 or 628.[10] Eorpwald Son of Rædwald; murdered by Ricberht.[4]
c. 627 to c. 630.[10] Ricberht Possible ruler.[6]
Acceded c. 630.[10] Sigeberht Abdicated to lead a monastic life; later slain in battle.[6]
Acceded c. 630 (ruled jointly with Sigeberht until c. 634). Ecgric Slain in battle, possibly as late as 641;[13] kinsman of Sigeberht.
early 640s[9] to c. 653.[10] Anna Nephew of Rædwald and son of Eni;[6] killed, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.[14]
c. 653[10] to 655.[6] Æthelhere Brother of Anna. Slain at the Battle of the Winwaed.[6]
655[10] to 663.[10] Æthelwold Brother of Anna.
663[10] to 713.[10] Ealdwulf Nephew of Anna, Æthelhere and Æthelwold.
713[10] to 749[10] Ælfwald Son of Ealdwulf.
East Anglian dynasty Ruling in 749.[9] Beonna, Alberht and possibly Hun Joint kings, of unknown origin[6] Alberht is also known as Æthelberht I.[15] Nothing is known of Hun.[16]
Unknown. Æthelred I Possibly succeeded Beonna; sub-king named as the father of Æthelberht II.[17]}
?779[10] to 794.[10] Æthelberht II Accession date is from a late mediaeval source; East Anglian independence indicated by ability of Æthelberht to mint his own coins.[18] Executed at the command of Offa.[6]
Mercian dynasty Offa Ruled Mercia from 757 to July 796; jointly ruled with his son Ecgfrith from 787 (who succeeded him and died after ruling for less than five months).[6][19] Held dominion over the East Angles.[17]
East Anglian dynasty c. 796[20] to c. 800.[20] Eadwald Ancestry unknown; emerged as king during a period of instability following the death of Offa.[20]
Mercian dynasty Coenwulf Ruled Mercia from 796 to 821:[9] held dominion over the East Angles after Eadwald's brief reign;[21] no precise date is known for the start of his overlordship in East Anglia.[22]
Ceolwulf Brother of Coenwulf; ruled Mercia from 821 to 823.[23]
Beornwulf Of unknown origin;[24] Ruled Mercia from 823.[9] to 826;[9] killed during an East Anglian revolt.[23]
East Anglian Dynasty 827[20] to 845.[9] Æthelstan May have led a revolt against the Mercians in 825.[6] East Anglian independence re-established at his accession.[24]
c.845[9] to 855.[9] Æthelweard
855[10] to 869.[9] Edmund (Eadmund) The last native East Anglian king; acceded at the age of 14 (according to Asser);[25] killed by the Vikings 20 November 869;[9] canonised.[26] Political organisation of East Anglia following the death of Edmund is uncertain.
Kings under Norse suzerainty c. 875.[9] Oswald Underking, known only from numismatic evidence.[9]
c. 875.[9] Æthelred II Underking, known only from numismatic evidence.[9]
Danish kingdom of East Anglia c. 879[9] to 890.[27] Guthrum East Anglia was awarded to him in 879 as part of a peace settlement with Alfred the Great of Wessex.[28]
Ruled until 902.[9] Eohric Killed in battle (along with Æthelwold) in December 902.
902.[9] Æthelwold Sub-king of the Danes; killed in battle December 902.[29]
902 to 918. Guthrum II Killed in battle 918.[30]
East Anglia became part of England after 918. See List of English monarchs

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Higham 1999, pp. 154–155.
  2. ^ Yorke 2002, p. 121.
  3. ^ a b Jones 1973, p. 421.
  4. ^ a b Colgrave & Mynors 1969, book II, chapter 15.
  5. ^ Hoggett 2010, pp. 24–27.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Fryde et al. 1986, p. 8.
  7. ^ Nennius 2008, p. 46.
  8. ^ Yonge 1853, p. 269.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Lapidge 1999, pp. 508–509.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Yorke 2002, p. 67.
  11. ^ Swanton 1997, p. x.
  12. ^ Yonge 1853, p. 277.
  13. ^ Kirby 2000, p. 74.
  14. ^ Swanton 1997, p. 28.
  15. ^ Hill & Worthington 2005, p. 128.
  16. ^ Ashley 1998, p. 244.
  17. ^ a b Yorke 2002, p. 64.
  18. ^ Kirby 2000, p. 164.
  19. ^ Brown & Farr 2001, pp. 5, 135.
  20. ^ a b c d McKitterick 1995, p. 555.
  21. ^ Kirby 2000, p. 179.
  22. ^ Brown & Farr 2001, p. 219.
  23. ^ a b Yorke 2002, p. 122.
  24. ^ a b Brown & Farr 2001, p. 222.
  25. ^ Giles 1858, p. 115.
  26. ^ Yorke 2002, p. 59.
  27. ^ Lapidge 1999, p. 223.
  28. ^ Ashley 1998, p. 246.
  29. ^ Stenton 1988, pp. 321–22.
  30. ^ Jaques 2007, p. 1006.


Further reading[edit]